Necropsy Shows Racehorse Died of Colitis Complications

The initial necropsy report on Team Valor's Sailor's Cap, who died suddenly in his stall three days after winning the June 14 Poker Stakes, showed that he died of probable cardiac arrest caused by colitis-X.

The Merck Veterinary Manual explains colitis-X as a peracute, fatal disease of horses that is "characterized by sudden onset of profuse watery diarrhea and development of hypovolemic shock (a condition where there are abnormally low levels of blood plasma in the body, such that the body is unable to properly maintain blood pressure, cardiac output of blood, and normal amounts of fluid in the tissues). Many affected horses have a history of stress. The cause of colitis-X is unknown, although multiple causes have been proposed, including peracute salmonellosis, clostridial enterocolitis, and endotoxemia."

The necropsy was performed at the New Bolton Research Center in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania.

Bred by a Team Valor partnership and raced by the Kentucky-based stable, Sailor's Cap was a lightly raced 4-year-old that just seemed to be coming into his own under the careful stewardship of trainer Jimmy Toner.

In 10 career outings, the homebred son of Distant View won four times and earned more than $616,000.

(Originally published at  

About the Author

Dan Liebman

Dan Liebman is a former Editor-in-Chief of The Blood-Horse as well as a past President of Blood-Horse Publications.

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