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Racehorse takes lead, dies at Laurel Park; Maryland’s 12th

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LAUREL, Md. — A 5-year-old horse died of a suspected heart attack during a race at Laurel Park, the 12th racehorse to die in Maryland this year.

The Baltimore Sun reports the mare named Follow the Petals collapsed on Sunday immediately after she had taken the lead in her race. The jockey was unharmed.

The Maryland Racing Commission reports nine horses have died during races and two during training between Jan. 1 and May 31. One of them was a filly that collapsed and died running at Baltimore’s Pimlico Race Course just one day ahead of the Preakness Stakes.

The Stronach Group owns Laurel Park and Pimlico as well as California’s Santa Anita Park, where 29 racehorses have died since December. It has called for sweeping reforms to medication rules.

Mike Tirico sorts through chaotic Kentucky Derby with Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey

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Country House’s historic win at the 145th Kentucky Derby sent shock waves around the country and forever impacted horse racing.

The 65-1 long shot crossed the wire second but was declared the winner after Maximum Security, who finished over a length ahead, was disqualified by race stewards for moving out of his lane and impeding several other horses.

Mike Tirico, the host of the 145th Kentucky Derby, invited NBC horse racing analysts Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey onto The Mike Tirico Podcast to sort out all the chaos.

“Think of a five-lane highway,” Tirico explained. “Maximum Security’s in the left lane without a blinker and comes over to the middle lane. Those cars either have to check up really quick, which sometimes causes a crash, or they get bumped or nicked and they crash.”

Retired Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey went on to say that there were some potentially unavoidable factors: horses are thousand-pound animals with minds of their own. However, he believes Maximum Security’s jockey Luis Saez reacted quickly, but not quick enough.

As Bailey explained, racing stewards—the rule enforcers—can press the inquiry button to open an investigation into anything they think may have been against the rules. Part of the chaos from Saturday’s race came from the stewards not flagging the incident. The stewards went on to cancel a post-race interview with NBC and didn’t take any questions after holding a press conference about the decision, which is representative of a bigger transparency issue in American horse racing.

Looking beyond the controversy, the three analyzed the run that put underdog Country House just behind Maximum Security. After breaking well and settling in mid-pack, Bailey said the deep closer found himself in prime position to come from behind.

“I was particularly impressed by his maturity and improvement,” he added.

Coming off of three starts in seven weeks, Moss wondered how Country House will run in the Preakness after a short, two-week turnaround. With other top Derby horses passing on the second leg of the Triple Crown, Tirico looked ahead to the possibility of a rematch between Country House, Maximum Security and even early favorite Omaha Beach, who scratched after an entrapped epiglottis impacted his breathing.

‘We’ve had two Triple Crowns in the last four years, and this might be the most talked about Kentucky Derby in 20 years,” Bailey concluded.

British horse racing inspired by Formula 1 for new series

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LONDON (AP) British horse racing is drawing inspiration from motor racing for a new championship.

Twelve branded teams will compete over eight consecutive Thursdays at different race courses across Britain when “The Series” is launched by Championship Horse Racing in 2019.

The aim is for each team to feature 30 horses and four jockeys. Each of the teams will enter one horse into each of the races to create 12-runner fields.

Organizers say a Formula One-style points system will be used to determine the winners of championships for teams and jockeys.

Championship Horse Racing CEO Jeremy Wray says it’s a chance to engage fans with “bite-size, interactive content.”

The Series has been developed with the Jockey Club, which hopes to attract a new audience to horse racing.