Starlight Racing to Help Fund Laminitis Research

Starlight Racing to Help Fund Laminitis Research

Intense Holiday was euthanized June 12 after developing laminitis in both forelimbs following surgery to repair a condylar fracture.

Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse

Starlight Racing partners has announced it will donate large sums to two organizations for the purpose of funding research into laminitis in memory of Intense Holiday, who recently succumbed to the disease.

Starlight announced it will offer a matching-funds donation of up to $100,000 to be divided between the Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation (earmarked strictly for laminitis research) and the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation Laminitis Research Project. Both Grayson-Jockey Club and the AAEP Foundation are challenged with raising matching funds for their research projects.

Intense Holiday, who ran 12th in this year's Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands, was euthanized June 12 after developing laminitis in both forelimbs following surgery May 27 at the Hogan Equine Veterinary Clinic in New Jersey. The colt had undergone surgery for a condylar fracture sustained when he was working toward a possible start in the Belmont Stakes.

"Intense Holiday illustrated one of the most frustrating and tragic aspects of laminitis," said Jack Wolf, founder of Starlight Racing, in a statement. "That is when an injury seems to be treatable, even to the point where a horse appears to be out of the woods, but then laminitis develops and the horse is lost. Intense Holiday had a condylar fracture, which we were confident could be dealt with, but laminitis developed and he lost a hard-fought battle to the disease.

"Our impetus to donate and raise money for this research really arose, not just from our loss, but from the overwhelming outpouring of support from the racing community," he continued. "We heard hundreds of stories from people who, like us, lost horses prematurely. While most people know about Secretariat, Barbaro, and St Nicholas Abbey losing their lives to laminitis, there are many lesser known horses as well, including Glen Hill Farms' Banned and so many other horses I've learned about over the last two weeks. The overarching theme I've heard has been enormous frustration with regard to laminitis."

Edward L. Bowen, president of Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, said, "We are very sorry for Starlight's loss, but admire that their response is to help other horses. Laminitis has always been a high priority for our foundation, and although it remains an arch enemy, progress has been made.

"For example, recently developed knowledge on cryotherapy (digital hypothermia, or icing affected horses' feet and lower limbs) was utilized in saving Paynter, but every case is different. Even though the team treating Intense Holiday implemented a form of cryotherapy, in his case, with laminitis in both front feet, it could not save him."

Jeff Berk, VMD, chairman of the AAEP Foundation, added, "We are saddened at the loss of Intense Holiday and the many other horses that have succumbed to this devastating disease. We salute and thank Starlight Racing for its dedication to helping us try to solve the mysteries of laminitis. Based on multiple surveys with AAEP members over the past decade, laminitis remains the number one disease equine veterinarians seek answers to. It is based on this member input the AAEP Foundation started its Laminitis Research Project and is the only research area the Foundation is directly funding."

Donations for Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation, with a memo designating the donation is for laminitis research in connection with matching the Starlight donation, can be made online or sent to:

Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation
821 Corporate Drive
Lexington, KY 40503

Donations for the AAEP's Laminitis Research Project, with a memo designating your donation for laminitis research in connection with matching the Starlight donation, can also be made online or sent to:

American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation
4075 Iron Works Parkway
Lexington, KY 40511

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