3-year-old Graded Stakes winner and 2014 Kentucky Derby entrant Intense Holiday is dead (Thursday) from post-operative laminitis. Apparently, the colt fractured his right foreleg while training for the Belmont on May 25th and underwent surgery two days later. Although he was then retired, his owners were hoping to make him a stallion. The attending vet, Patty Hogan, had this to say (Blood-Horse):
“To lose such a strong and vibrant athlete like Intense Holiday (below) just underscores the insidious, nondiscriminatory nature of acute laminitis. No horse is immune to this disease and it can strike at any time and with little warning. Intense Holiday was an incredibly stoic patient and his toughness humbled those of us caring for him. …It is a tragedy to lose him.”
Adds co-owner Jack Wolf: “It’s a tough day for me, our partners and our team. This horse was a fighter and he fought for his life in the same way he battled on the track—with tenacity. It’s a terrible loss for all of us.”
First, although I’m not a vet, I’d be willing to wager that upwards of 90% of the current racehorse crop would have been euthanized same-day with this type of injury. In other words, the vast majority become virtually worthless when broken. So to be clear, these were not heroic, noble efforts to preserve a life for that life’s sake. It is a “tough day” and a “terrible loss” for Mr. Wolf and his partners because profits were lost.
As for Dr. Hogan, shame for narrowly focusing on “the insidious, nondiscriminatory nature of acute laminitis” rather than the ultimate cause – horseracing. In the end, this “stoic patient” with “humbling toughness” was made to suffer longer than he should have, just like St Nicholas Abbey before him. The tragedy, Dr. Hogan, is this vile business itself.