Horse racing in the United States regularly kills its horses. This is not news to horse advocates. We know how and we know why.
We have covered horse racing extensively over the years. We have been able to excel at this with the contributions of Jane Allin’s well detailed and documented reports. Major newspapers have picked up leads for major articles from posts here on Tuesday’s Horse.
Insofar as the deaths of racehorses, we have reported annual statistics and isolated cases. We have also followed (and contributed information on occasion to) Racehorse Memorial Wall Worldwide since its inception in 2005. We have not documented racehorse deaths ourselves.
Enter Horseracing Wrongs (http://horseracingwrongs.com/).
Through public information requests, Patrick Battuello documents the number of reported racehorse deaths at venues around the U.S.
It will shock you. It will disgust you. It will break your heart.
Here is a sample from today.
SUNLAND PARK, NEW MEXICO
Through a “New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act,” I have confirmed the following 32 deaths at Sunland Park in 2014:
2-year-old Chicks Luv Roses, January 4, Sunland 2
“shattered both [illegible] – put down on track” (chart merely said “fell, vanned”)
3-year-old Bo Bandera, January 4
“small intestinal obstruction/colic”
2-year-old Reality Cat, January 11, Sunland 6
“flipped in saddling paddock, hit head, massive hemorrhage”
3-year-old Bye Bye Jack, January 12, Sunland 4
“slab fracture” (chart said nothing)
4-year-old Cute N Famous, January 12, Sunland 5
“fracture fetlock, complete luxation” (chart merely said “vanned off”)
3-year-old Coolshot, January 14, training
“left shoulder injury”
1-year-old Kruzin Corona Br, January 19, training
“compound fracture cannon bone”
5-year-old Flame to Fame, January 19, Sunland 11
“sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “pulled up, vanned off”)
5-year-old One Foxy Private, January 21, Sunland 9
“compound fracture” (chart merely said “taken up, vanned off”)
4-year-old Vanessa Flag, January 21, Sunland 9 (yes, that’s 2 in one race)
2-year-old Tormentada, February 8, Sunland 7
“sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “eased, vanned off”)
4-year-old Malibu Affair, February 8, Sunland 9
“compound fracture cannon” (chart merely said “fell, lost rider”)
4-year-old Borderland Blues, February 9, Sunland 7
“slab fracture” (chart merely said “clipped heels, vanned off”)
3-year-old Blazin Mean, February 17, training
3-year-old Pressing On, February 18, Sunland 11
“sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “vanned off”)
2-year-old F M Forty One, February 22, Sunland 9
“fractured sesamoid and luxation of fetlock” (chart merely said “went wrong”)
3-year-old Mighty Grizzly Water, February 25, Sunland 1
“died” after race – not euthanized (chart said nothing)
3-year-old Anotherprettygirl, February 27, training
4-year-old Decoy, March 2, Sunland 9
“lateral and medial forelimb” (chart merely said “went wrong”)
5-year-old Giga Man, March 4, training
“catastrophic collision, likely neck fracture”
2-year-old Intoxication, March 4, training
“busted front left leg”
2-year-old Aquilo, March 4
“dead on arrival”
“Reported By: Maintenance”
4-year-old Dats Dee, March 8, Sunland 10
“carpus” (chart merely said “went wrong”)
2-year-old Playingintherain, March 9, training
6-year-old With a Miracle, March 23, Sunland 7
“sesamoid – complete luxation and fracture” (chart merely said “fell, vanned off”)
4-year-old Shop Keeper, March 25, Sunland 7
“complete fracture and luxation of fetlock” (chart merely said “fell, vanned off”)
3-year-old Travis Weaver, April 4, Sunland 9
“bilateral sesamoids” (chart merely said “vanned off”)
3-year-old Rabbit Steppin, April 11
“colic – Died” not euthanized
6-year-old Im the Preacher, April 13
“colic” not euthanized
3-year-old Call Me Louie, April 15, Sunland 5
“fractured sesamoids and luxation” (chart merely said “vanned off”)
3-year-old Chili Con Queso, April 15, Sunland 8
“bilateral sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “vanned off”)
5-year-old War Politics, April 15, Sunland 11
“pastern” (chart merely said “vanned off”)
Died from colic, not euthanized? Can you imagine the agonies these horses suffered? And the number of fractures is shockingly higher than I thought.
Bear in the mind, these are the reported deaths which is still done on a voluntary basis.
When I asked a horse racing industry leader when last in Lexington why they do not make reporting of injuries and deaths mandatory, he said it’s not something they like to do but feel forced to, and felt they would get more cooperation if they left it on a voluntary basis. Besides he added, it would be time consuming and expensive “to patrol” the tracks to see if they were conforming.
How about Sunland Park? I took a quick peek at their website (http://www.sunland-park.com/) and see they are a “racino” track which means there is a casino operating there too. In some instances, this has proven lethal to racehorses where contributions from casino earnings have boosted the prize money for the horse races.
At the very bottom of Sunland Park’s website are links to the Equine Protection Fund and the Equine Encore Foundation, noble enterprises no doubt. I expect however in the minds of those running Sunland Park they think it gives them some sort of credibility in the “caring” stakes.
Battuello provides many insights besides reports like the one above. Please support Horseracing Wrongs and raise public awareness concerning the death of racehorses by following and commenting on his site at http://horseracingwrongs.com/.
Horse Racing at Sunland Park, New Mexico. Photo Credit: Duane Fish.