Horse dies on Stampede's opening night

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:26 PM ET

CALGARY - A horse has been put down after it suffered an injury on the opening night of the Stampede.

The Rangeland Derby got off to rough start -- Rookie driver Cliff Cunningham's right wheel horse went down with a broken leg going into Turn 2 and Cunningham was forced to pull his wagon to a stop.

Stampede spokesman Doug Fraser said the veterinary team was on the scene immediately.

"During the fifth race, one of Cliff Cunningham's horses suffered a broken leg," Fraser said.

"This is considered a catastrophic injury, and the vet made the decision to euthanize the animal immediately."

Fraser said the type of injury the horse suffered is not uncommon in the racing world.

"It's one of the most common types of musculo-skeletal injuries that you'll see with thoroughbred racing," he said.

"It's not just with chuckwagon racing.

"But we will send a blood sample out to toxicology to determine if there were any contributing factors."

The Stampede cut the number of outriders in half in an attempt to reduce the number of equine casualties. Every outriding horse finished Friday night's races without issue.

"With all the different measures we've taken over the past year to increase animal safety, we are greatly saddened by what happened.

"We'll review all the circumstances to see if there's anything that could have been done differently and to see if we can learn from it."

Six horses dies during last year's Stampede.


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