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Filly Cathedral Reader Euthanized After Race At Keeneland

Keeneland says that filly Cathedral Reader has been euthanized after a "catastrophic injury" sustained during the Madison Stakes on Saturday. Cathedral Reader's death comes amid scrutiny of the sport following the deaths of 23 horses at Santa Anita since Dec. 26.

Keeneland said in a statement that the Kentucky bred will undergo a necropsy at the University of Kentucky Diagnostic Lab. The track and Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will investigate factors such as surface conditions, past performances and veterinary records. Keeneland also expressed sympathy to owner GMB Racing and trainer Dallas Stewart over the horse's death.

The 4-year-old was among the leaders racing four-wide coming off the turn in the Grade 1, seven-furlong race when "something went wrong" near the quarter pole, race notes stated. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. pulled the horse up sharply and she was taken off in a van and later euthanized.

Stewards reviewed the race won by Spiced Perfection and upheld the finish. It was the track's first death since the spring meet opened on Thursday.

Cathedral Reader had three wins, two seconds and a third in nine career starts. One of her victories came in an allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 26.

Full statement from Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason:

“On what was an otherwise spectacular day, our celebration is tempered due to the catastrophic injury sustained by Cathedral Reader during the running of the Madison. We have spoken with Ms. Gayle Benson’s Racing Manager, Greg Bensel, and trainer Dallas Stewart, expressing our sympathy for their loss. As is the law in Kentucky, the horse will be transported to the University of Kentucky Diagnostic Lab for a complete necropsy. Keeneland, in full cooperation with the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, will perform a full investigation, which includes continued evaluation of race track surface conditions, forensic review of past race performances, veterinary records, and personal interviews with the jockey, trainer and attending veterinarian. Keeneland has received nothing but positive feedback about the racing surface since it reopened in mid-March from the winter break. As is Keeneland’s normal procedure, we will review and evaluate all facets of our racing operation to ensure the safest possible environment for the equine and human athletes participating in our racing program. For an overview of Keeneland’s safety protocols and initiatives, visit Keeneland.com/safety.”

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