News flashes: Medina Spirit’s sudden death, T O Keynes earns Saudi ticket, Pakistan Star banned and more …

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Medina Spirit: collapsed and died of a heart attack at the end of a workout at Santa Anita. Photo: Benoit

USA Medina Spirit dies of heart attack

The US racing community was in a state of shock on Monday [Dec 6] when controversial Kentucky Derby ‘winner’ Medina Spirit collapsed and died of an apparent heart attack during a routine training exercise at Santa Anita.

Medina Spirit’s sudden death came just days after his team were claiming a key victory in their attempt to have him confirmed the Kentucky Derby winner after tests indicated that the banned substance found in his system at Churchill Downs was contained in a skin ointment and had not been given in an injectable form. 

The California Horse Racing Board said the three-year-old would undergo a necropsy and toxicology tests to establish the cause of death.

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Japan T O Keynes earns Saudi Cup ticket

T O Keynes secured a start in the world’s richest horse race, the $20 million Saudi Cup, with an impressive win in the G1 Champions Cup (former Japan Cup Dirt) at Chukyo. The four-year-old colt defeated last year’s winner Chuwa Wizard by six lengths in a race in which dirt debutante Sodashi finished 12th after making the running until the final 400 metres.

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UAE Pakistan Star banned from racing after another stop

Idiosyncratic equine cult hero Pakistan Star has been banned from running in the UAE after he returned to the behaviour that led to his exclusion in Hong Kong by refusing to start in a race in Abu Dhabi.

On his first appearance for a year, he put on the brakes on as soon as the stalls opened for the Listed National Day Cup, after which stewards told trainer Doug Watson it would no longer accept entries or declarations for the eight-year-old due to “a prolonged history of unsuitable racing manners”. 

Dual G1 winner Pakistan Star gained notoriety for pulling up in his races in Hong Kong, for which he was nicknamed ‘Pakistan Stop’.

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USA 2021 over for Irad Ortiz and Joel Rosario

Leading US jockeys Irad Ortiz and Joel Rosario have both been ruled out of action for the rest of the year.

Ortiz, the leading jockey by wins, was banned for 30 days for careless riding offences at Aqueduct while Rosario, who heads the rankings by earnings, is taking time out to recover from a rib fracture.

Rosario, who has won more nearly $33m in prize-money, was aiming to beat Ortiz’s single-year record of $34,109,019 set in 2019. He is also seven stakes wins short of Garret Gomez’s record of 76 and needs six graded-stakes wins to match Jerry Bailey’s mark of 55 set in 2003.

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Australia Incentivise sidelined indefinitely

Caulfield Cup winner Incentivise is facing a long spell out of action after scans revealed he damaged his fetlocks in finishing second in the Melbourne Cup. He wlll be re-examined in February.

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GB Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya retired

Audarya, winner of the 2020 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland, has been retired. The two-time G1 winner finished fifth behind Loves Only You when attempting to defend her title at Del Mar.

Australia Chris Caserta’s body recovered

The body of Chris Caserta, the jockey who went missing during a late-night swim off Surfers Paradise beach in Queensland has been recovered 34 hours after the alarm was raised.

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Hong Kong Silvestre de Sousa returning to Hong Kong

Silvestre De Sousa, the three-time champion jockey in Britain, will spend half of 2022 riding in Hong Kong after being granted a licence to ride from February through to the end of the season in July.

• Read more at the Racing Post

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