Racehorse Stall Accident

Necropsy results from horses killed in HBO series “Luck” may result in charges

Racehorse Stall Accident

Vickery Eckhoff, writing for Forbes, states:

HBO may be “heartbroken” about the demise of “Luck” but if Matthew Chew, Heidi Agnic, DVM, and David Milch are found to have violated any laws, they may have plenty more to cry about.

Necropsy reports and eyewitness accounts reveal that recently cancelled HBO series “Luck” ran old, unfit, drugged horses. Three Thoroughbreds are reported to have died during filming.

Eckhoff reports the following about the plight of two of the horses, who suffered fractured legs while simulating a race, and were put down.

Outlaw Yodeler had received a potent cocktail of muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory and painkilling drugs, including Butorphanol, which is administered to horses undergoing certain types of surgery. He also showed evidence of suffering from severe pain and inflammation and had raced only once in 2010, possibly due to injury or because he was physically unfit.

Marc’s Shadow was arthritic and out of shape according to multiple witnesses. These allegations are confirmed by his necropsy report, which describes “degenerative arthrosis to both the right carpus and the left carpus” and an injury in which his “leg exploded into more than 19 pieces, some of which were poking through his skin,” according to an equine veterinarian who reviewed the report for PETA.

Evidence was sent to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, and a full investigation called for. Charges may result for violation of Cal. Penal Code § 597.

It comes no surprise to us that one or more track veterinarians reportedly employed by HBO passed these horses fit, or had given them painkilling, injury masking drugs. From the many accounts we have received over the years, this is par for the course in horse racing, something they do day in and day out with what seems little or no conscience or interference from management or its myriad governing bodies.

This quote from Eckhoff’s article sums it up tragically but neatly in the case of the horses killed in the filming of “Luck”:

” . . .so the “safety protocol” boasted by HBO and the American Humane Association is showing itself to be the steaming pile of PR that it always was.”

Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/vickeryeckhoff/2012/03/16/luck-ran-old-unfit-drugged-horses-says-necropsy-report/

Killing racehorses is nothing new for the horse racing industry, whether it is during training, on the racecourse or in the slaughterhouse.

I wish horse racing would kill itself off more quickly than it is so more horses are spared this ongoing madness.

Speaking of madness:

The Jockey Club are trying to rebrand itself in order to draw new fans with the launch of its new website, America’s Best Racing (followhorseracing.com). I take it these fans they are after are people who have not yet heard horror stories like these, or Barbaro, Eight Belles, Ruffian; the list goes on.

To combat March Madness the Jockey Club are spreading the word about their new website on Twitter using the hashtag #TheOtherMadness. Forget #TheOtherMadness. We suggest #TheUtterMadness.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/horses/story/2012-03-12/horseracing-website-revamped/53520334/1

We keep hearing how much the people in horse racing love the horses, and it is a handful of rotten apples who commit the atrocities that plague this industry. To be blunt, where are your balls? Why don’t you take a stand and demand changes if you outnumber the evildoers to such a degree? Have you all been gelded?


Please note: The photograph used here is a random image, and not connected to the HBO series “Luck”.

55 thoughts on “Necropsy results from horses killed in HBO series “Luck” may result in charges”

  1. In all of this where was the American Humane Association? The organization that is supposed to be on monitoring animals during any movie making?? I wish I could live to be old enough to see such ego sports abolished forever.


    1. They have all been gelded. del Mar is a didgsce. Racing old, inkued druggrf hotsrd go money. Kindursnce mone if thr fie. Stop tje carnage!! You are tight! Bring in the Humans society the chevh esch horse for stsmins in runninh s race please do domething befor thevwhole imdudtru is destroyed!


  2. Seems like we all feel the same.. So many of you write it so well. What do we do now? Honestly sometimes I feel overwhelmed. And now, I am amazed by the attack on my sisters.. the women of the United States. Yep.. Overwhelmed at 65, I have never felt overwhelmed before.


  3. There is a horse from our boarding barn now down in FL. He is due for his first race soon. The owners are excited and can’t wait to go and watch him run. The wife says “just once in my life I would like to have a picture of me in the winners circle.” Hmmm…How many times have we heard that? Tthey are not bad people, they raised this horse from a baby..born on the farm there. They don’t have a lot of money…but they just can’t get past this dream. I don’t say anything…I can’t and it wouldn’t do a damn thing…they know how I feel about racing but I am just a no one to them…but I hope he loses and loses big time. I hope he keeps losing so he can come back home, be gelded and just be a horse again. I hope he doesn’t get hurt…I hate this sport. I wish there were a way to put an end to it…


    1. Back Yard breeders should not be allowed to race. That is how a lot of these horses get there. These folks now nothing about genetics, which is extremely important, and ‘pedigree’ means nothing. Case in point, I have a horse and she is a great granddaughter of Secretariat. I have had her for a while now and she is going to be a ‘Lifer’ with me. Her ‘fancy’ pedigree is just inbred on top of inbred. She is a Floridian bred horse and she raced twice in that state and suffered a stifle injury which was not treated. After her second race she ended up at New Holland.

      That type of breeder is not a real breeder, they are having fun and have dollar signs in their eyes.



      1. How foolish of you to actually believe that “backyard breeders” don’t understand genetics or know anything about them!! I suppose they can’t read or understand pedigrees, LOL what a spoiled fool you are. Makes me wonder what a REAL breeder is to you, must be that big ol’ MONEY thing huh !!


        1. My father might have been what some people would call a backyard breeder. In other words, we did not have a fancy farm, pay out big stud fees, or any of the rest. My dad produced some lovely horses. But there are plenty of folks, also called backyard breeders, who don’t have a clue and keep breeding horses to see “what they get”, then dump them when they are disappointed.


          1. Your Father was a brilliant man as I recall and he had a strong background in science. He understood genetics and you do not get that from looking at the Pedigrees. Today the pedigrees mean nothing. There are TWO lines left and it is nothing but inbred on top of inbred. Why has there not been a Triple Crown Winner since 1978? People are breeding to horses that have diluted gene pools!

            I have always disapproved of so called ‘back yard breeders’ of the past 30 years. Genetics is a science and one must have a PHD in order truly have even a partial understanding of genetics. We are still mapping the Human genomes let alone horses!

            ‘Ruffian’ lost her life due to her bloodlines, Native Dancer has hopefully been bred out as that is what caused her to have poor bone. ‘Impressive’ a champion Quarterhorse has been largely bred out as he threw the HYPP gene. I have one of the last of his sons. As soon as I saw who my horse’s sire was, I immediately clipped some mane and tail and sent it to UCDavis to be analyzed. The results were double negative and I was more relieved than you can imagine.

            Today with so few healthy horses, nobody should be breeding anything.



      2. The backyard breeders aren’t the problem. You got it backwards. The big breeders have always been the problem ever since these horses have been bringing in millions of dollars at yearling sales. They don’t care about if the horse goes on to race. They breed unsound horses to unsound mares, end up with shit, fix them up and send them to market. This started back in the late 90’s. But people want to blame everything and everybody else for the problem with these horses dying. Nobody’s ever opened their mouth about these breeders, but people like me who are in on the know and used to work that industry know all about this crap. How do you think Little Farms like TaylorMade ended up being huge farms. It’s not what you know it’s who you know and how much your b******* can go.


  4. I was but a child in the 50’s and the Sport of Kings captured the imagination and all the romantic farms in Kentucky provided the bravado for racing. Little did I know as a child what was really going on behind the scenes and that reality grew as the decades passed. Why in hell would any horseman start a youngster at 2 years of age? Why are they racing at this age? Well, could it be money? The fact that if they waited until they were more mature, they would have spent many thousands to glean possibly
    little? This is a blood lust sport…2 year old trial races for speed and so many youngsters breaking down and being destroyed or sent off to unspeakable places. And the few who make it, make it to where? A Secretariat is a rare find…and a rare survivior. How many Secretariat’s never get to 3 years of age and for those who do, how many end up at Kill Buyer Auctions and Slaughter. They serve our egos and our pocketbooks and then if they don’t make it to the breeding barn, they silently go to places of horror and maiming and death while still alive. This whole sport sickens me and for those poor creatures used on the show “Luck” well someone(s) should be held accountable for furthering the horror of America’s horses. Those beautiful, graceful and forgiving equines who give their lives over and over again to please Mankind in all his industries and in all his ego centered desires.


    1. Hi Susi,

      I too was a horse crazy kid. I grew up in Bedminster, NJ and the Lana Lobell Standardbred stud was there. My late father went to High School with horse trainer LeRoy Jolley. I was in his box the day of the ill fated ‘Match Race’ between ‘Ruffian’ and ‘Foolish Pleasure.’ I cried for days over that gorgeous filly and to this day I have never been able to watch a ‘live’horse race; I watch the replays, if, and only if, nobody dies.

      When I rescue an off track Thoroughbred, I don’t even bother to meet the horse. I just have the horse brought directly to me as I know already what I am going to get.

      There is zero respect for these amazing athletes that become truly air borne at the gallop as Leland Standford proved via the use of time stop photography by a British man named Edweard Muybridge. Stanford always insisted that when the horse gallops all four hooves are off the ground for a split second. They are amazing animals and my heart bleeds for all of them, and I have a vicious temper when people flatly deny that these horses are half gone at the age of two!

      I don’t back down easily and I will find a way to conserve this breed. Jockey Club be damned. Owners, Breeders, and trainers be damned. They all can smooch my big, broad Quarterhorse’s butt.



  5. I second you Lisa! I will take any horse of any breed if I have the space and the funds to support it 100%. Turns out I have rescued more off track Thoroughbreds than any other breed. I have rescued Quarterhorses, a Paint and an Arabian. All of these horses were easy comparatively speaking.



  6. Not to be indelicate, but who the Hell was supposedly watching over these horses? ‘Track vets’, my large and unfirm backside!!

    Does anybody – other than those of us forced to question this crap after – give a damn about these animals?!

    Three crippled horses; it stuns the senses. I’m reminded of a bit of ‘advice’ handed me when I acquired my man, Shane’s Lad, as a gift: “He’s nothing special, really. Thoroughbreds are a dime a dozen.”

    I never forgot nor did I forgive that. It never mattered to me where he came from, his roots, his bloodlines. All that mattered was the Man Himself. Which, I suppose in the overall pragmatic scheme of things, makes me a fool, but by God, I’m a happy one. How can anyone supposedly charged with the care and welfare of these horses dismiss them out of hand so casually, they can dope them into performing at not simply the risk of their health but their very lives?

    Geld ALL the track vets; what a racket.


    1. I can’t speak for the other animals monitored, but the American Humane Association are totally useless when it comes to horses. Someone who used to work for them and still has friends there said that they were “at the mercy” of a racetrack veterinarian on Luck.

      I don’t expect someone who knows as little about horses as these people do to recognize a horse about to break down. But anyone who follows horse racing knows racehorses break down and die at a high rate because of the very thing done to the horses used for Luck: giving them painkillers to mask injuries, time and time again till it can’t be done any longer. And that is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the drugging that goes on.

      I suppose the only reason movies such as Seabiscuit and Secretariat did not have racehorse deaths is because they actually had professional people who knew what they were doing, and searched for fit healthy horses to simulate the racing.

      I know this is rude, but it appears to me you could stick a dummy with the label AHA on it somewhere on the set, and if nothing bad happened — or something bad happened and it didn’t get outed by someone else — they could put their “No Animals Were Harmed” tag on it.

      I’ve heard many times that the AHA entertainment unit is funded by Hollywood, but never have verified that.


      1. Vivian, AHA has had the stronghold on Hollywood for years. Perhaps it is time to Petition the so called ‘Academy’ to have them replaced. That is a contract, and AHA is definitely in breech.



  7. The problem is not racing 2 years old or older horses.the problem is these horses are not fit,they hardly are trained at all,pumped full of drugs and the vets and stewards are a bunch of “gansters” and incompetent morons.They all gang together against “newcomers” or anyone doing different and will force someone to run a horse even if he is deemed unfit by the trainer by threatening him with loosing his stalls or license…and scratch a good horse if not a friend and competitive but not scratch an obvious cripple if a friend owner or trainer.And you walk the backstrech of some tracks horses are in such sorry state,it is a joke,nobody does anything about it…If you go to the “autorities” the stewards at the track or the official vet you are in trouble….Mafia I tell you


    1. The powers that be certainly run the industry in a mafia like way. What I have never understood is with all the gambling affiliated with it, it is out and out fraud to send horses out to race who are ready to breakdown for the public to bet on without having any idea what shape the horse is really in. Why does the FBI not investigate this and start making arrests? I thought they took gambling fraud seriously. Obviously not. They need to do a huge sting operation, track by track, and make 100s of arrests. That would start getting rid of some of the criminality.


    2. Your comment is both valid and invalid. Two years is too young as these animals are not fully formed physically until they are Four years old. Open any Veterinary Manual and read about the anatomy of a Thoroughbred race horse. Your valid point is that these horses are subjected to each and every rancid thing you have listed. Yes, there is some Mob activity, but it does not go throughout the so called ‘Sport of Kings’. This is an example of incredibly lax ‘regulation’ as in 12 Months there are thousands more that are dropped all with the birthday of January 1st! All of horse racing should be investigated under the RICO Act.

      American Humane is being exposed for the crap organization it is. They should be banned from monitoring anything that has to do with any type of animal. ‘Luck’ could actually bring us some luck, people are becoming aware of the brutality and Actor Dustin Hoffman is extremely upset over these deaths. Some celebrities support various humanitarian causes however, they are largely ignored. Someone like Dustin Hoffman could testify before Congress and call for an investigation in the entire fetid so called ‘sport.’ Hoffman is intelligent, well spoken, and a brilliant actor (someone still at the top of his field) and the older members of Congress definitely know his name unlike the younger celebrities like Ben Affleck, etc.

      The only way this will stop is if the racing organizations are investigated under the RICO Act, a Moratorium on racing is imposed, breeders can only breed if they meet certain criteria and there must be a ‘cap’ as to the number of foals of any breed can be produced in a given year.

      That starts the reform of the sickening sport and then we can get down to business of actually conserving the breed. If Zenyatta’s owners would allow her to be bred to an Arabian stud, careful genetic planning would bring us back to the horse we started with. Strong (Arabian blood) fast (Thoroughbred blood and Arabian blood) and good bone that would come from both the proper dam and sire.

      We would no longer have horses that have toothpicks for legs. I rescue Thoroughbreds off the track and each and every one has been a disaster upon arrival despite their ‘famous bloodlines.’ These horses sometimes take years to gain the appropriate weight due to ulcers, anxiety, and just plain inbreeding.

      We created the breed and it is our responsibility to save this breed that we are literally killing.



  8. The Jockey Club must be investigated by the US Attorney General and charges filed and enforced under the RICO Act. Nothing less will do. To all the neighsayers that two years old is just fine to start racing, you must be stubborn beyond belief, have dollar signs in your eyes, or, just plain ill informed. I call it ‘The Cripple Crown’ for a terribly obvious reason.



  9. Great comment polopaula. I concur. When horse racing bites the dust, which it most certainly will at this rate, yes there will be a lot of homeless horses for awhile. But we will just have to handle that as and when.


  10. Wow! I wrote yesterday in response to the Blog on racing suggested that 2 yr olds be forbidden from racing, and 3 yr old major races be moved to 4 yr olds… I’m very sorry. Horse Racing needs to be euthanized now. People who “love” horses only get so many chances to prove it. Horse Racing is out of chances. There is a book called Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley that I loved. Now I know it was a FAIRY TALE. We will be overburdened by the horses left over when the tracks are permanently closed. TBs, QHs, Arabians etc. But maybe the long run is worth it when breeding is curtailed. No longer will 1000’s of foals be born each year to break down, be too slow, and die before they ever get to the track. The money incentive, the ego incentive will be gone, and people who truly love horses will be able to afford a wonderful companion and partner.


    1. Very well stated. When the racing ends in this country, we can get back to true horsemanship. We need a balance of our horses…the overbreeding must stop of domestic horses and the BLM needs to cease the culling of our wild horses. I love my 2 rescued mares and will make sure they are safe, loved and well taken care of until they leave here due to natural causes.


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