Vitamin Eyed In Mass Death Of Polo Ponies

One of the 21 Venezuelan polo ponies who died in West Palm Beach KVOR-TV

CBS4's Gwen Belton has the latest on the mysterious death of 21 Venezuelan polo ponies who died on the eve of a polo championship in Florida.

A Venezuelan team official reported on Wednesday that all 21 of its polo ponies set to compete at the U.S. Open Polo Championship were injected before the game with a vitamin supplement called Biodyl.

The team contends a tainted dose may have caused their deaths. Florida state officials have since opened an investigation to determine the cause of death.

This information comes on a day when the Venezuelans were scheduled to play at the Stanford Financial US Open International Polo Club in Palm Beach before tragedy struck the animals.

The team captain of the Lechuza Caracas polo team told a newspaper in Buenos Aires, according to CBS4 news partners The Miami Herald, that all the horses received Biodyl injections before the game.

"There were five horses that weren't given the vitamin and they are the only ones that are fine," the captain went on to say. He added, "They're common vitamins that aren't given to improve performance but rather to help them recover from exhaustion."

It was on Sunday, when 14 horses died just hours before they were scheduled to play at the U.S. Open Polo Championship in Wellington in West Palm Beach. Another seven died Sunday night.

All of the horses belonged to the Venezuela-based Lechuza Caracas team owned by Venezuelan multimillionaire Victor Vargas.

The polo ponies, all between 10 and 11 years old, are valued at up to $200,000.

Here's the story and video:

Local Video from CBS4 in Miami



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