The Melbourne Cup is one of the world’s richest and most prestigious horseraces – Australia’s Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont rolled into one. So you can imagine the handwringing today after yesterday’s 2014 edition saw two of its superstar entrants die in the arena:

Pre-race favorite Admire Rakti collapsed just minutes after “staggering to the line” (the jockey said his mount “shuddered”). Initial report: “acute heart failure.” The other – Araldo – was euthanized for a broken leg. According to The Age, “…as [Araldo] made his way back to the enclosure…he was apparently spooked by a woman waving an Australian flag. He kicked a steel running rail and fractured a cannon bone as he thrashed out in fright. Subsequent scans revealed he had suffered seven fractures. The surgeon said the injured area looked like a ‘bag of ice’.” A “bag of ice.”

While the industry quickly dismissed the kills as anomalies – freak occurences – The Coalition For The Protection Of Racehorses reminds that in the past year about 125 horses have died during or shortly after Australian races/training sessions.

Watch as Admire Rakti begins his slow fade, just minutes from death:

http://youtu.be/LnzlLHKyw1Q