State probes equine deaths at Meadows

| Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, 12:03 a.m.

No changes are planned at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino after two unrelated horse deaths occurred about 15 minutes apart this week, Meadows Racing president Mike Jeannot said.

Calling the coincidence of the deaths “unprecedented,” Jeannot said The Meadows remains committed to safety at the Washington County racetrack.

“We review the track conditions with the horsemen and judges every day before racing, and we get a lot of input on the safety of the horses, drivers and the trainers,” Jeannot said. “There's nothing for the track to gain by racing in unsafe conditions and nothing to gain for the horsemen to race when it's not safe.”

The first horse, 7-year-old mare Little Bit Tricky, died prior to the 14th race on the card Monday while “choking down,” which Jeannot said is similar to a heart attack but leaves the horse unable to breathe. It is not contagious and does not put other horses in jeopardy, Jeannot said. A necropsy is being performed. Results typically are available in 30 to 45 days.

The second horse, 8-year-old mare Lislea Isabella, broke a leg during the 15th race and was euthanized.

“What happened on Monday was unprecedented,” Jeannot said. “There is no link between the two horses or any of the other horses.”

The Pennsylvania Racing Commission, a division of the Department of Agriculture, is investigating. The commission investigates every situation at the track, spokeswoman Samantha Krepps said.

“There will be follow-through,” Krepps said, “and the commission will take action if evidence is discovered and proven that the trainer has violated the rules in any way.”

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at kprice@tribweb.com or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib.

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