Italian tradition won by Mississippi

BY foxsports • July 2, 2011

A horse named Mississippi has won the famed Palio bareback horse race around Siena's main piazza amid calls for an end to the dangerous sport after a horse died during a warm-up race.

Representing Siena's L'Oca neighborhood, Mississippi took the lead about halfway through the nine-horse contest Saturday. Three riders were thrown and at least one horse fell negotiating the piazza's tight turns.

The Palio was held despite calls for an end to the dangerous tradition after Messi, a 6-year-old bay, smashed into a barrier during a warm-up race Friday night and died.

Italy's tourism minister Michela Brambilla said the race was ''anachronistic'' and should be reconsidered.

Around 50 horses have died since 1970.