A New York horse has collapsed after a prestigious race on Saturday. The horse finished in first place in the race before collapsing and then died on the track in front of horrified race-goers.
Arcadius, a New York local, finished first place during the Iroquois Steeplechase before falling ill and collapsing on the track.
The Steeplechase horse race takes place in Nashville, Tennessee and is considered a prestigious event, which often draws over 25,000 spectators. This year marks the event's 71st annual race; the race has run consistently since 1941 only missing one year during World War II.
Arcadius, an 8 year-old Gelding, held strong during the entirety of the race setting pace with Tax Ruling, two time defending champion of the race, before taking the lead according to CBS news. On the final stretch Arcadius picked up with Divine Fortune and battled out the final stretch before winning a close first place.
"The horse ran a beautiful race," Dr. Marty McInturff, one of five veterinarians on site said. McInturff examined the horse just after his collapses following the 3-mile race and decided that the horse had suffered a possible heart attack or aneurism.
"When he went down, we got to him very quickly and administered medications and an IV. But, his blood pressure dropped very rapidly and we couldn't save him," McInturff reported to CBS.
The horse was racing for the Hudson River Farm of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., real estate executive Edward Swyer and Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard. The cause of the horse's condition remained unknown although a necropsy examination will provide further information later this week. The owner suggested that outside conditions did not play a factor.
"The temperature was 67 degrees on the thermometer in my car, and it was drizzling a little bit," Sheppard said. "The course was firm but in excellent condition."
Sheppard also argued that it didn't appear as though the horse had been pushed beyond his limit.
"The horse ran a valiant race," Sheppard said. "And, it's not like he was struggling during the race. The rider wasn't aggressive with his whip. After he crossed the finish line, I was talking to the riders of other horses that I had in the race. I looked over and saw that he was down."
The horse won the grand prize of $150,000 before his death.