SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Maple Leaf Mel was leading the field in the $500,000 Test at Saratoga when she suffered a catastrophic injury to her right front leg just before the finish line and was later euthanized on Saturday.
Jockey Joel Rosario was unseated and went to a hospital in Albany for further evaluation and to have stitches for facial abrasions, according to the New York Racing Association.
Trained by Melanie Giddings, Maple Leaf Mel was 5-0 in her career entering the race. She was owned by August Dawn Farm, which includes Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells.
The filly was drawing away from the field when she injured the leg. On-site veterinarians tended to Maple Leaf Mel, but she was euthanized because of the severity of the injury, NYRA said.
Maple Leaf Mel passed the required prerace veterinary inspection, NYRA said.
A required necropsy will be performed at Cornell University with the results to be analyzed by Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority officials, the New York State equine medical director and NYRA leadership.
Pretty Mischievous won the Test by a head after closing from fifth at the top of the stretch as the 9-5 favorite.
Winning jockey Tyler Gaffalione said, “I feel so bad for the connections of Mel. It’s hard to enjoy this one thinking about that. My condolences go out to their team. Hopefully, they’re able to get through this and God bless them.”