LOS ANGELES (AP) — Cave Rock, runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and trained by Bob Baffert, has died from complications of laminitis that developed after surgery in July.
The 3-year-old colt who died Friday had not raced since last year’s Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland.
His second-place finish to Forte in the BC Juvenile had placed Cave Rock among the early favorites for this year’s Triple Crown. He recorded six workouts this year, his last coming on April 2.
Cave Rock won three of four career starts and had earnings of $748,000 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.
Veterinarian Dr. Vince Baker at San Luis Rey Equine Hospital in Bonsall, California, said Cave Rock showed signs of colic after a morning workout on July 28. After being treated with a tranquilizer and an anti-inflammatory, the colt didn’t improve and went to the hospital.
Baker said tests showed Cave Rock had a congenital inguinal hernia. Surgery was done to re-section 18 inches of small intestine and the recovery went well, according to Baker, until signs of laminitis developed six days later.
Laminitis is inflammation that affects a horse’s feet and can lead to the inability to stand up, which requires euthanasia. Barbaro, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, developed the condition in both his front feet, which led to his death.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden illness and irreversible medical condition which led to the death of Cave Rock,” Baffert posted on X, formerly known as Twitter. “He was a talent at the top of his class and adored by our entire team. Learning of his death from the caring team at SLR Equine Hospital was like a gut punch to everyone who cared for this special horse. We are left with the great memories with which he graced us but we will miss him dearly.”
Baffert and owners Pegram, Watson and Weitman lost another 3-year-old colt earlier this year. Havnameltdown broke down in the Chick Lang Stakes ahead of the Preakness in May at Pimlico and had to be euthanized on the track.