As the filly surged forward to hold off the challenger from behind, the jockey noticed she started making a funny noise, like she was choking, then she just "ran out of steam." She dropped from first place to fourth place in two strides.

Flaring Nostrils

Horses with dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) characteristically make a "choking" noise as they slow down from the resulting partial airway obstruction, hence the term "choking down" to describe them.

The above description is typical of a horse which has displaced her soft palate during a race. Right when the horse needs a last burst of energy, it appears as if someone turned off a switch. Horses with dorsal displacement of the soft palate (DDSP) characteristically make a "choking" noise as they slow down from the resulting partial airway obstruction, hence the term "choking down" to describe them.

Dorsal displacement of the soft palate is a disorder of the upper airway in horses. It is one of the most common upper airway obstructions, and it causes poor performance and abnormal noise while exercising. It's usually a disease of racehorses, for which it is often a performance-limiting problem. Over the years, a number of treatments have been developed for this condition; however, none are universally successful, mostly because we do not as yet fully understand the exact cause(s) of this disorder. But before we can further dis