THE BREEDERS' CUP has been rocked by a second horse death after Geaux Rocket Ride was sadly put to sleep.
The three-year-old colt, who had been among the favourites for the Classic on Saturday, was unable to stand after surgery.
A 'very rare' reaction to the op meant that despite their best efforts, vets had little choice but to take the most heartbreaking action.
A statement posted by owners Pin Oak Stud read: "It is with heavy hearts that we report that, at the recommendation of the medical team, Geaux Rocket Ride has finally reached peace.
"His mind and his spirit never quit, but his body never recovered from surgery.
"He had a very rare response post-op and he wasn't able to stand up again.
"He fought hard and our team of vets tried everything they could.
"We made sure he knew how loved he was.
"Geaux Rocket Ride was the first member of our Pin Oak family and he will never be forgotten.
"We will miss you forever, Rocket."
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His death comes after the loss of Practical Move.
Among the big chances in the Dirt Mile, Practical Move suffered a heart attack during trackwork on Tuesday.
"His rider was uninjured, and the horse was immediately tended to by veterinarians from the California Horse Racing Board, 1/ST Racing, and Breeders’ Cup.
"Every year, Breeders’ Cup works closely with its host track, state racing commission, and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) in the lead-up to the World Championships to implement stringent safety and integrity protocols.
"These processes are in place to protect the wellbeing of our human and equine athletes, and Breeders’ Cup is committed to continuously improving the ecosystem of care surrounding every horse."
There is increased scrutiny and pressure on Breeders' Cup and racing chiefs in California to tackle and bring down injury rates and fatalities.
Arcangelo, favourite for the Classic, was also scratched and immediately retired after pulling off a hind shoe in the build-up to the big race.
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