Breeder’s Cup Tragedy: Geaux Rocket Ride Euthanized Days After Leg Injury

He was a 3-year-old with so much talent, and so much promise, but hampered by health issues from the start of his short racing career.

#1 Geaux Rocket Ride with Mike Smith riding won the $1,000,000 Grade I Haskell Stakes at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, NJ. 7/22/23. Photo By Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Geaux Rocket Ride, winner of the Haskell (G1) in July and a top Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) contender was euthanized on Wednesday (Nov. 1), five days after sustaining a condylar fracture and ligament damage in his right front leg during a morning workout.

Surgery was performed the following day (Oct. 29) at a clinic at Santa Anita, but the 3-year-old colt was unable to recover.

“It is with very heavy hearts that we report that, at the recommendation of his medical team, Geaux Rocket Ride has finally reached peace,” read a statement from Pin Oak Stud, owned by Jim and Dana Bernhard. “His mind and his spirit never quit, but his body never recovered from surgery. He had a very rare response post-op and he wasn’t able to stand up again. He fought hard and our team of vets tried everything they could.”

Breeder’s Cup Hopeful Geaux Rocket Ride’s Heartfelt Loss and Legacy

Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, Geaux Rocket Ride did not race as a 2-year-old but won in his 3-year-old debut before finishing second in the San Felipe (G3). He missed the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and Triple Crown races with spikes in his temperature and white-cell count, according to Mandella, but recovered to win the Affirmed Stakes in June, and then the Haskell (G1) — beating Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Mage — in July.

He didn’t race again until finishing second by a neck to Arabian Knight in the Pacific Classic (G1) on Sept. 2.

A Heroic Effort to Save Geaux Rocket Ride After Saturday’s Injury

The injury occurred during a Saturday workout when Geaux Rocket Ride appeared to stumble in mid-stretch. Jockey Mike Smith pulled up the colt, dismounted, and held the damaged leg until medical help arrived.

“The immense effort that went into Geaux Rocket Ride’s medical care following Saturday’s injury is a testament to his team’s deep commitment to his wellbeing,’’ the Breeders’ Cup said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with Pin Oak Stud, Richard Mandella, and everyone affected by his loss.”

Geaux Rocket Ride ran five times, with three victories and two second-place finishes.


2023 Breeders’ Cup Classic Odds and Post Positions
PP Horse Odds Trainer Jockey
2 Zandon 12-1 Chad C. Brown Lafranco Dettori
3 White Abarro 4-1 Richard E. Dutrow, Jr. Irad Ortiz,Jr.
4 Missed The Cut 30-1 John W. Sadler Luis Saez
5 Derma Sotogake 20-1 Hidetaka Otonashi Christophe Lemaire
6 Saudi Crown 12-1 Brad H. Cox Florent Geroux
7 Clapton 20-1 Chad Summers Tyler Gaffalione
8 Ushba Tesoro 4-1 Noboru Tagaki Yuga Kawada
9 Senor Buscador 30-1 Todd W.Fincher Geovanni Franco
10 Dreamlike 30-1 Todd A. Pletcher Jose L. Ortiz
11 Bright Future 10-1 Todd A. Pletcher John Velazquez
12 Arabian Knight 3-1 Bob Baffert Flavien Prat
13 Proxy 12-1 Michael Stidham Joel Rosario
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