Horse collapses twice at Saratoga from heat exhaustion

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Testament collapsed twice but appeared to be unharmed after apparently succumbing to heat exhaustion near the winners' circle at Saratoga Race Course following Sunday's first race.

"Sometimes when it's cooler like it has been for the past few days and then you get a hotter or more humid day, it hits them hard," said Dr. Mark Piecoro, an examining veterinarian with the New York Racing Association. "I've seen it before several times, the horses usually come out of it fine."

The 4-year-old gelding, trained by Daniel Conway, Jr., finished fifth in a field of seven. Testament returned to the area in front of the clubhouse, and had been unsaddled when he fell.

Grooms and track veterinarians worked for several minutes, pouring water and alcohol over the horse, who made it to his feet but collapsed a second time. A fast-acting Cortico steroid was administered, as well as a tranquilizer.

After workers brought the horse to his feet again, he remained on the track until he was stable enough to be loaded onto the equine ambulance, about 15 minutes before the start of the second race.

Early Sunday afternoon, the temperature in Saratoga Springs was 82 degrees, with the humidity at 49 percent.