As he trained for his first race, at Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, the
3-year-old thoroughbred Wes Vegas galloped on the track most mornings
and had two timed workouts. But his handlers also prepared him in
another way: In the month before the race, records show, he received 10
intravenous injections of potent drugs for pain, one the day before he
ran; two injections of a drug for joint disease; corticosteroid
injections in his two front ankles; a sedative; and an ulcer drug.
For all the preparation, that first race, on March 3, turned out to be his last.
As he approached the first turn, Wes Vegas broke a leg and had to be euthanized.
A week earlier, another horse, the 4-year-old Coronado Heights, who
records show had “early degenerative joint disease,” suffered a fatal
breakdown at Aqueduct after receiving 13 injections for pain and
cartilage damage in the month before his race.