(Edited press release)
Lethal Grande, a multiple champion in Oregon, was euthanized Nov. 5 after fracturing both sesamoids in his left front leg.
The multiple record-holding 8-year-old was sitting just off the leader in the one-mile Invitational Handicap at Portland Meadows when, at the 5/16th pole, jockey Joe Crispin felt something go wrong.
"We were sitting pretty, and I had a ton of horse under me ready to go," Crispin said. "When we hit around the 5/16th pole, he felt off and immediately I knew to pull him up."
Crispin had Lethal Grande pulled up and was off his back by the three-sixteenths marker, where the horse ambulance took Lethal Grande back to his barn and the decision to euthanize him was made.
"It's very sad," said trainer Tom Longstaff. "He was one of the two best horses I have ever trained. He was class, all class."
Lethal Grande was a favorite among all horsemen and racing fans in Oregon. A winner of 26 races in his career, he posted 10 of them at Portland Meadows.
He was bred by Pat Sonnen and was campaigned by eight different owners over the course of his six-year career. The dark bay Corslew gelding won at four tracks, including Bay Meadows and Golden Gate. He won the majority of his races, 12, at Hastings in Vancouver, Canada.
Lethal Grande posted a 26-18-13 record from 80 career starts and earned $409,788, making him the single highest earning Oregon-bred ever.
Included in Lethal Grande's seasoned resume were victories in the 2001 OTOBA Sales Stakes and Bill Wineberg Stakes; the 2003 Governor's Speed Stakes and Inaugural Handicap; the 2004 Portland Meadows Mile Handicap; and the 2006 Oregon Sprint Championship Stakes.
In 2003, he set a new track record at Portland Meadows when he covered six furlongs in 1:09.06.
"He loved this track for sure," said Longstaff. "He had heart, and he gave us everything he had every time he stepped on the racetrack. To have been fortunate enough to have trained him and to have been a part of his success has been my pleasure."