Maltese Artist, a winner of $2.3 million lifetime, was euthanized after suffering a catastrophic leg injury last night at Western Fair Raceway in the first $25,000 Molson Pace elimination.
The eight-year-old gelding stumbled at the three-quarter pole in his elimination and Jody Jamieson pulled him up. It was originally believed the horse could be shipped to the nearby Ilderton Vet Clinic but with a broken pastern and ankle and in distress, it was the attending veterinarian's opinion that he needed to be euthanized.
Maltese Artist, who sold for $47,000 at the 2002 New Jersey Classic Sale, was developed and raced by Linda Toscano as a two- and three-year old. He broke his maiden at Mohawk on October 27, 2003, and then resurfaced in series action at the Meadowlands as a three-year old.
Maltese Artist at Mohawk in 2003. (New Image Media photo)
In the summer of 2004, Maltese Artist broke through in the New Jersey Sire Stakes, winning a leg of the event and the $150,000 final for driver Pat Lachance at the Meadowlands. Maltese Artist would then venture out on the Grand Circuit, winning a division of the Reynolds at Pocono, finishing second in a heat of the Little Brown Jug, and taking fourth in the Messenger.
Maltese Artist was sold at the 2004 Harrisburg Mixed Sale, going to new owner George Leon and new trainer Mickey Burke for $146,000. Under Burke's tutelage, Maltese Artist became a top four-year old, setting a world record of 1:48.3 at Dover Downs in a leg of the Classic Series and scoring victories in the Dan Patch and the Four Leaf Clover Series final.
After a two-win campaign in 2006, Maltese Artist exploded with a 13-win and million dollar year in 2007. Among those 13 victories were the $475,000 George Morton Levy final at Yonkers, the $345,500 Quillen Memorial at Harrington, the $205,000 American-National at Balmoral Park, and the $125,000 Battle of Lake Erie at Northfield.
Maltese Artist won six more times and banked over $280,000 last year, and had won five races and more than $124,000 in 2009. He had recently won three straight editions of the invitational pace at the Meadowlands, including a 1:48.4 victory on April 18.
All told, the eight-year old son of Artiscape-Hula Dancer, won 39 times from 151 starts and earned $2,340,872. At the time of his passing, he was trained by Ron Burke for owners Burke Racing Stable LLC. of Fredericktown, Pennsylvania, and James Koran of Macedonia, Ohio.