Hit-and-run death of Triple Crown descendant leaves family heartbroken

A hit-and-run Friday evening has left a Mendon, New York family heartbroken as they mourn the loss of Ed — a retired racehorse and descendant of the 1978 Triple Crown winner. 

Ed, whose papered name was "Fairly Exceptional," is a grandson of Affirmed, who won the Triple Crown races — the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes — in 1978. But Ed was more than a retired racehorse for the Calvaccas. He was family. 

"You could talk to him and you swore he understood what you meant," Lisa Calvacca said. "We just keep looking out the window looking for him."

Three days later, there have been no arrests and the Monroe County (New York) Sheriff's Office is still investigating the incident.

Officers believe the vehicle involved may be a 2010 to 2013 silver or gray Toyota Corolla, Sgt. Christopher Rahn said in a news release Sunday. The vehicle would have significant front-end damage and may be missing a side mirror, Rahn said. Anyone with information is asked to call 911. 

'I keep hoping I'm going to wake up'

Ed's death is still a shock to the Calvaccas. 

Around 5:30 p.m. Friday, Lisa Calvacca and her husband, Paul, were both outside. Lisa had opened a gate on their 10-acre property to feed another one of their horses. Ed, who was 21 years old, came galloping over and the other horse stepped aside to make room for him. He sprinted out of the open gate, Lisa said. 

"He's the leader of the herd, and everybody moves out of his way," she said. 

It's a bit of a blur between Ed's quick escape and the loud noise Paul Calvacca heard moments later. Ed ran into another fenced pasture, where Lisa thought he was safe, but he escaped from there, too. He headed toward the road — skid marks from his hooves in the driveway show where he tried to stop before he reached it. 

Paul Calvacca quickly hopped into a utility vehicle and drove from the back of their property toward the road. 

"When I pulled out my driveway and onto the road and saw him — at that point there was no vehicle, and he was just laying in the road," he said. Ed had survived the impact, but wasn't whole. He made an attempt to get up, and Paul Calvacca had to keep him down. 

"He was trying to get up to come home," he said. 

The couple's 19-year-old daughter, Molly, had also come home from work not long after the accident to find Ed still in the road, clinging to life. She said she's thankful she was able to be there with him. 

It's a scene the Calvaccas can't get out of their heads. 

"This is horrific. Devastating, horrific," Paul Calvacca said. "Nobody should ever experience this. I keep hoping I'm going to wake up."

'There was something exceptional about him'

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