Horses jump out the gate at Del Mar racetrack in California. Unattributed Google search result.

A first day racing kill for Del Mar and a training kill for Saratoga

Patrick Battuello of Horse Racing Wrongs reports the following on Del Mar’s first day kill:

Caslon Quote Left Black

Yesterday [July 15] was opening day at the famed and celebrated Del Mar Racetrack – “Where the Turf Meets the Surf.” Great food, summery libations, wacky hats, hobnobbing, glass-tipping, shoulder-rubbing. . . and death?

In the 6th race yesterday afternoon (yes, they put on horse races too), a 3-year-old filly named Presidential Air “broke down” – to be more specific, snapped a leg – and was euthanized. Dead.

Which leaves me wondering: How many of those 42,000-odd revelers were/are aware that part of the day’s entertainment was killed? More important, how many care?
Black Line

Well the answer to that seems to be — no one.

John Cherwa reporting for the LA Times writes:

Caslon Quote Left Black

The upbeat tenor of such a day can be undone in a moment, as was what happened in the sixth race when Presidential Air broke down at the top of the stretch in front of a sizable part of the crowd.

The sometimes horrifying realities of the sport were in full view as the 3-year-old filly rose to her feet and staggered with only three working legs. She went back to the ground as two men came running with the green tarp that tracks use to shield the crowd from the horse’s impending death and subsequent loading onto a van.

After that race the crowd thinned only slightly and the buzz quieted only a bit. By the time the eighth race, the featured Oceanside Stakes won by Monster Bea with Gary Stevens aboard, it was as if the tragedy of two races earlier [was] forgotten.
Black Line

Gary “The Buzzer” Stevens. Shocked any horses lately?

Jane Allin (who is on a well-deserved vacation) compiled a list of Del Mar’s kill figures over the past 15 years. Here’s what she found.

Year Racing Memorial Wall Worldwide Article: Sword Hanging Over Del Mar [1] Jockey Club Horse Racing Wrongs (PB) [2] ALL SOURCES
Highest Count
2016 7* 7*
2015 7 10 17 17
2014 15 9 23 23
2013 4 2   4
2012 12 7   12
2011 11 12 5   12
2010 7 7 5   7
2009 15 9 5   15
2008 10 14   14
2007 12 12   12
2006 16 13   16
2005 5 23   23
2004 4 26   26
2003 5 17   17
2002 1 22   22
2001 0 13   13

* As of July 15, 2016. By Jane Allin.
[1] See The Del Mar Conundrum; Bill Shanklin;; September 14, 2012. Note: Shanklin got his numbers from the California Horse Racing Board.
[2] PB — Patrick Battuello,

Listen to this.

In the same year Mr. Shanklin wrote his article — 2012 — Alan Zarembo reporting for the LA Times wrote this in an article entitled Santa Anita leads California tracks in horse racing deaths.

Caslon Quote Left Black

Horses died while racing at Santa Anita Park at more than double the rate of horses at the state’s other three major thoroughbred tracks over the last fiscal year, according to state statistics.

The fatality rate at Santa Anita, in Arcadia, rose significantly after a return to a dirt running surface in 2010 after three years of using a synthetic track, the data show.

The deaths of three horses during the production of the television horse racing drama “Luck” — which happened to be made at Santa Anita — has drawn recent attention to the issue. HBO canceled the series this month after the third incident in which a horse on the set suffered injuries and had to be euthanized.
Black Line

Meanwhile on the East Coast Saratoga had its first kill before its meeting has even begun. Again, let’s listen to what Mr. Battuello had to say today on that front:

Caslon Quote Left Black

With the season opener still a week away, Saratoga ’16 has already recorded its first kill. 2-year-old Squire Creek broke while training yesterday morning and, according to the Gaming Commission, was euthanized on the track. The equine child was being prepped for his first race. For trainer Todd Pletcher, this makes 16 dead racehorses since 2010 – in NY alone.
Black Line

It is revolting the rate they kill these horses. And the ages. 2 year olds and 3 year olds.

Why do these people not see they have a very serious problem?

This is horse racing.


Horseracingwrongs. com.
Racing Memorial Wall Worldwide.
Jockey Club Injury Database

Horses jump out the starting gate at Del Mar racetrack California. Unattributed Google search result.

July 18, 2016

Presidential Air’s death sparked back to back protests on Saturday and Sunday outside of the park. “This weekend starts the summer season of abusing and killing horses for profit and entertainment. It is beyond me to even think that in the year 2016 this is even legal,” said Ellen Ericksen, the protest organizer. (via NewsoftheHorse)

8 thoughts on “A first day racing kill for Del Mar and a training kill for Saratoga”

    1. That’s what I thought too at first Kelly. Then this question came to mind.

      How is it when their bones are not fully calcified yet at that age is it that all these 2 and 3 year old racehorses are snapping their legs, some in training, and being put down?

      This is a prime example of one of many horrible abuses of the horse racing industry in the US. It should be outlawed. Tracks are starting to close around the country. People are getting the message.


    1. There are a couple of pretty common reasons. Most often though people will say so they don’t “gargle” their tongues when they exert themselves. Or another so they don’t “swallow” their tongues. We never did that with our horses. Sometimes they would be running along with their tongues hanging way out flapping away. Never seem to bother them any. Horses have long tongues!


  1. Horse racing doesn’t qualify as a sport.
    It does, however, qualify as a cruelty circus, and death camp.
    Stop supporting this mayhem.
    This antiquated business model, like Greyhound racing, has got to go.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s