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Investigations into horses' deaths ongoing

Investigations into horses' deaths ongoing
A hot walker moves down a muddy track with Homeboykris before the first horse race ahead of the 141st Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course, Saturday, May 21, 2016, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart) (Mike Stewart / AP)

The investigations into the deaths of two horses Saturday at Pimlico Race Course will be complete in a "couple of weeks," the head of the commission that oversees and regulates Maryland's horse racing industry said Monday.

Maryland Racing Commission executive director Mike Hopkins said the agency is gathering information on Homeboykris and Pramedya, who both died within two hours early on Preakness Day.

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Homeboykris, a Maryland-bred 9-year-old gelding, collapsed minutes after winning the first race. Track officials believe he had a heart problem; his trainer, Francis Campitelli, said he had no health issues.

Pramedya, a 4-year-old filly, fractured her left front leg in the fourth race and was euthanized on the track.

The MRC will interview the veterinarians who attended to both horses Saturday, Hopkins said, and review the horses' veterinary records before compiling a report.

Homeboykris was sent to the Maryland Department of Agriculture's Frederick Animal Health Laboratory for a necropsy today. (Pimlico officials previously said the colt would be taken to New Bolton Center Hospital in Pennsylvania.) Because Pramedya had blood drawn a couple of weeks before Saturday's race, Maryland Jockey Club president and general manager Sal Sinatra said Monday, Hopkins expects lab results will be available in about a week and a half.

An MRC veterinarian will compile the report, which the commission will review.

"If we see something there that's something we can improve on, we'll certainly do that," Hopkins said. "We feel very comfortable that the priority we set on the welfare of these animals … is a priority of ours and everyone else's."

Sinatra said the MJC employs extra veterinarians to examine more horses' health "every year." The organization also uses software to analyze the time in between horses' races to try to detect "red alerts" before injuries arise.

"As much as you try and do, it seems it does happen, unfortunately," Sinatra said.

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