Points Offthebench fatally injured
AN absolute pall was cast Saturday morning at Santa Anita when the star sprinter Points Offthebench suffered a catastrophic injury near the sixteenth-pole when going through what was supposed to be his final workout toward Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Mike Smith was aboard Points Offthebench, who was breezing just outside of a workmate, when the four-year-old gelding suddenly broke down in his right foreleg, creating an inordinately loud, sickening sound and throwing Smith to the dirt. The jockey was up within seconds and was the first to attend to the prone horse, who was euthanised about 15 minutes later.
Tim Yakteen, the gelding’s trainer, happened to be directly across from the scene of the accident when watching the workout from atop a flight of grandstand steps. He immediately ran down to the stricken horse.
“Anytime you lose one, it’s tough,” Yakteen said. “It’s very sad.”
The accident halted training for about 30 minutes.
With quite a few fans among those on site, two curtains eventually were used in shielding the ghastly sight from view.
Points Offthebench was going to be the morning-line favourite for the BC Sprint. He won six of eight starts for earnings of US$514,940. His status as the likely favourite stemmed largely from back-to-back victories in Grade One races in his two most recent starts, the July 28 Bing Crosby at Del Mar and the October 5 Santa Anita Sprint Championship.