The news that California Chrome is being sent to Japan sends chills up and down our collective spines.
In 2002 Kentucky Derby winner (1986) and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner (1987) Ferdinand was killed in a slaughterhouse in Japan. When he began to fail at stud, that’s how they disposed of him. No shipping him back home.
The news did not reach the U.S. until 2003 when the New York Times broke the story before the Blood-Horse magazine, the story’s original source, could get it distributed. “It is believed that his carcass was used to make pet food,” wrote the Times.
California Chrome was named the 2014 and 2016 American Horse of the Year. He won the 2014 Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the 2016 Dubai World Cup. In 2016, he surpassed Curlin as the all-time leading North American horse in earnings, a whopping $14,752,650.
We are not doing any finger pointing here about sending racehorses to slaughter. American horse racing send thousands upon thousands of Thoroughbred racehorses to a grisly and terrifying death in a slaughterhouse to satisfy foreign appetites for horse meat. None of them are big stars like California Chrome though, right? We wouldn’t bet on it.
If you are interested in learning more, there is a documentary about the rise of Thoroughbred horse racing in Japan. The description states in part:
“It is the story of a nation’s determination to dominate racing at the highest level, of a family’s bold ambition to revolutionise breeding and a single stallion’s reshaping of an entire industry.”
The tweet below is how we feel about California Chrome going to Japan too with one exception; it would never be the right time for us.
Farewell. Or should we say, sayonara?
Updated 7.57 pm 11.22.19