They say no one cares about horse racing outside of the Triple Crown. Well, one of racing’s most famous courses, a famous statue of the most famous horse, and a horse that completely lost his mind led to a tragic day, with the loss of a horse and the destruction of one of racing’s icons.
City On Line freaked out during the post parade at Belmont Park yesterday and bolted off the track to the paddock, where he smashed into a bronze statue of Secretariat. The horse and the statue both collapsed, and City On Line had to be euthanized on the spot. That statue isn’t anywhere near the track; this was premeditated horsey suicide.
City On Line was a 4-year-old colt who only recently started to figure out this racing business, says the BROOKLYN BACKSTRETCH. We don’t yet know what so spooked him to throw his jockey, Jose Lezcano, nor what caused him to run back through the tunnel under the grandstand to the paddock. We do know he tried to stop; there were skid marks on the pavement close to the statue.
The base of the statue, which weighs more than half a ton, collapsed and caused the famous statue to fall. City On Line was immediately sedated and found to have an irreparably broken femur, and was euthanized then and there.
The monument, “Secretariat in Full Stride,” was carved by John Skeaping in 1974, and has become an important part of Belmont lore: before the Belmont Stakes, contending owners and trainers will ask the statue for good luck. Maybe City On Line just got a little overzealous.