One year after two horses died on Preakness Day, measures taken to prevent a repeat they say

BALTIMORE, Md. (Baltimore Sun, May 20, 2017) — A year after two horses died under different circumstances after going down at Pimlico on Preakness Day, procedures are in place to help ensure that kind of tragedy won’t be repeated during the races leading up to the 142nd running of the event — or in the featured race itself.

A spokesman for the Maryland Jockey Club said Friday that there was little to prevent what happened a year ago, but declined to talk about Saturday’s races.

“One horse had a heart attack and the other got [his] heels clipped and broke his leg,” the spokesman said.

Maryland-bred Homeboykris, a 9-year-old gelding who ran in the 2010 Kentucky Derby, collapsed after winning the first race and having his picture taken in the winner’s circle. A necropsy performed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Frederick showed that the horse suffered a heart attack.

The report examining the horse’s death also showed he was running with an elevated level of the anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone in his blood, but it was determined that it had nothing to do with the heart attack.

In the fourth race last year, a 4-year-old filly named Pramedya collapsed on the turn during the final turn with a fractured left front leg.

The filly, who was euthanized at the track, was owned by Roy and Gretchen Jackson, the couple who owned 2006 Kentucky Derby champion Barbaro, who shattered his leg in that year’s Preakness and was eventually euthanized.

The two deaths were among three dozen that occurred on Maryland tracks in 2016, according to a post on, which received its information through a Maryland Public Information Act request to the Maryland Racing Commission. There have been four deaths so far this year, according to a commission official.

Preventative Measures

The Maryland Jockey Club handed out a list of procedures that will be in place for Saturday’s race, including the fact that no veterinarians administering salix is allowed in any of the barns housing the horses after 6:15 p.m. Friday “unless they have approval from the state veterinarian and the stewards or it is a documented emergency.”

Also, “all salix shall be administered no later than three hours prior to post time for the horses by the veterinarian designated by the commission. Failure to do so will result in the horse being scratched. No exceptions.”

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Crime and Punishment

Regarding Homeboykris “[t]rainer Francis Campitelli was fined $500 for the medication violation and was also assigned a point in the state’s penalty system, which could lead to a harsher punishment in the future if he commits subsequent violations”. (Source: Baltimore Sun, July 12, 2016).

That’s sort of a punishment. Seems pretty flimsy to us.


Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid hormone (basically a steroid) — a potent anti-inflammatory commonly used in horses to treat allergic reactions such as respiratory allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (heaves), hives, itching and inflammatory diseases including osteoarthritis.

Very potent where overuse can cause serious problems in horses especially in combination with other drugs — pain-masking of course. (Source: Jane Allin, ref’g article by David W. Ramey, DVM.

Amazing isn’t it? They talk about the preventative measures they are taking this year after saying little could have prevented the deaths of those two horses last year. Look who’s involved too.  —Editor.

Race one winner Homeboykris (3) collapsed and died following the post race Winners Circle presentation while returning to the barn during the 141st running of the Preakness Stakes day at Pimlico Race Course. May 21, 2016. Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports.


Barbaro died 10 years ago today. What’s changed?

Barbaro breaks down in the Preakness at Plimico.
Source: Bryant Photos.

Barbaro died 10 years ago today.

Barbaro’s public breakdown, numerous treatments and eventual death should have galvanized horse racing to deal with its equine athletes in a more ethical and compassionate manner.

What’s changed? Nothing. As a matter of fact, racehorse breakdowns and deaths are arguably worse.

Cheating and drugging, fueled by greed and ego, are as rampant as ever.

Racehorses are breaking down and dying at every level, in training and on the racecourse. A particular gut wrenching trend is the destruction of young horses who are being killed at an all time high at the tender age of two.

Don’t take our word for it.

You can follow the trail of injury and death at the Horse Racing Wrongs website compiled by Patrick Battuello.

New York alone killed 119 rachorses in 2016. And those are the recorded ones. Always bear in mind that the reporting of racehorse deaths is not demanded by any racing authority. It is purely voluntary.

Barbaro Timeline

Oct. 4, 2005 – He wins his first race at Delaware Park. Barbaro went on to win four additional racing contests prior to being entered into the Kentucky Derby.

May 6, 2006 – Barbaro wins the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs by 61/2 lengths, becoming a favorite to win the Triple Crown.

May 20, 2006 – A freak accident at the Preakness Stakes, held at Pimlico Raceway near Baltimore, results in the severe fracturing of Barbaro’s right-hind leg into 23 pieces, bringing on a life-threatening condition.

May 21, 2006 – Barbaro undergoes surgery at the University of Pennsylvania’s New Bolton Center in East Marlborough. During the operation Dr. Dean Richardson, the chief surgeon, implants metal plates with 23 screws into the horse’s badly fractured leg with the aim of stabilizing it. Following surgery, Barbaro was lowered into a specialized, heated water tank with a sling. The tank, complete with a rubber raft, allowed the animal to come out of sedation without reinjuring the leg. Following surgery, Barbaro is given a 50-50 chance of survival.

July 13, 2006 – Barbaro develops a case of severe laminitis in his left-hind hoof, resulting from the horse’s having shifted his weight to that leg during recovery from surgery. The horse’s laminitic leg is placed into a special boot and Barbaro is given painkillers. During a procedure, called a hoof-wall resection, 80 percent of Barbaro’s left-rear hoof is removed.

Aug. 2, 2006 – Richardson announces that the fractured leg has fused to the point where the cast on the right-rear leg would have been replaced, had the left-rear leg not become injured. He says signs are encouraging.

Aug. 15, 2006 – Barbaro is reported to have gone outside to graze for the first time since the accident.

Aug. 17, 2006 – Richardson announces Barbaro is supporting his own weight and use of the support sling has been discontinued.

Aug. 18, 2006 – Radiographs show that Barbaro’s fractured leg has completely fused.

Sept. 26, 2006 – It is announced that Barbaro’s cast would not be replaced as long as he was comfortable in it and the left-rear hoof had regrown by 18 millimeters and the support shoe had been replaced with a bandage. Richardson says, at this point, the hoof still needed to grow three times that length, which he estimated could take six months.

Oct. 10, 2006 – Richardson says Barbaro’s cast and protective shoe were changed and that the injured hoof is showing recovery from laminitis.

Nov. 6, 2006 – Six months after his Kentucky Derby victory, Barbaro’s cast is permanently removed and replaced with a splinted bandage. No new problems are reported with Barbaro’s injured hoof.

Dec. 12, 2006 – The splinted bandage on Barbaro’s right-hind leg is removed.

Jan. 3, 2007 – A cast is placed on Barbaro’s laminitic left-hind leg.

Jan. 10, 2007 – Richardson announces another section of Barbaro’s left-hind hoof has been removed.

Jan. 27, 2007 – Barbaro undergoes additional surgery to insert two additional steel pins into the healed bones of his right-hind leg that theoretically would allow the horse to bear more weight. The procedure involved the risk of refracturing Barbaro’s leg.

Jan. 29, 2007 – Barbaro is euthanized at the request of owners Roy and Gretchen Jackson of West Grove.

14 Racehorses “Vanned Off” in New Mexico Over Past Three Days

Cross-posted from Horse Racing Wrongs

JULY 11, 2016

Sunday . . .

• Oh If I Catch You, Albuquerque, “bled, vanned off”

• Running Fauzett, Albuquerque, “bled, vanned off”

• Diamond Street, Belmont, “reported after the race to have bled”

• Templer Glory, Gulfstream, “vanned off”

• Gentlmens Agrement, Gulfstream, “vanned off” after winning “under steady urging”

• Sovereign Knight, Mountaineer, “vanned off”

• Barnstorming, Parx, “vanned off”

• Miles of Magic, Prairie, “vanned off”

• Streakinjess for Lmg, Ruidoso, “vanned”

• Memphis D Nasty, Ruidoso, “vanned”

The state of New Mexico can be particularly proud: Between its two currently active tracks (Albuquerque and Ruidoso), 14 different horses were ambulanced off over the past three days. It’s likely that many – a majority? – of those are dead.

Source: A racehorse stretches out as he is urged toward the line at a racetrack in New Mexico. Photographer not cited.

(source: Equibase)


The Inevitability of Dead Racehorses »
A Plea to Bettors »

BLM responsible for the death of four wild horses in Utah roundup

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) reported the deaths of four wild horses connected with the roundup and removal in the Conger/Frisco Herd Management Areas of Utah:

July 1: A 2-year old stud died instantly after hitting a panel sustaining and acute neck injury while entering the trap site.

July 2: A 3-year old bay and white pinto mare died instantly after hitting a panel sustaining an acute neck injury while entering the trap site.

July 3: A sorrel stud colt was euthanized due to injuries sustained at the trap site holding pen. The foal was kicked in the mouth, fracturing its pallet.

July 4: A 10-year old dun mare died instantly after hitting a panel, sustaining an acute neck injury while being sorted out at the trap site. [1]

How long with these hideous roundups continue? Until no wild horses or burros are living on public lands is my guess. There appears to be at least a partial solution, and that is birth control. Here’s the argument for.

The Animal Fertility Control Information Center states:

“This isn’t atypical. Injuries and deaths among terrorized animals being chased down by helicopter are all too common.

“These roundups are both cruel and costly.

“The BLM said itself recently that the number of wild horses and burros on public land grew by 15 percent last year and the cost of caring for the 46,000 wild horses and burros that have been captured and placed in corrals and pastures will be about $1 billion over their lifetimes.

“Not only that, but BLM spends 70 percent of its $80 million Wild Horse and Burro Program budget on roundups and removals, which do nothing to slow population growth of animals on the range. In fact, the National Academy of Sciences has stated “removals are likely to keep the population at a size that maximizes population growth rates, which in turn maximizes the number of animals that must be removed through holding facilities.”

“So the roundups continue and populations grow in an endless cycle that costs both wild horses and taxpayers far too much.

“What’s even sadder is that BLM has an off-the-shelf solution that could help reduce the need for roundups and which has, indeed, ended roundups in some locations: humane, safe and effective fertility control vaccine. Yet the agency spends less than 1 percent of its wild horse and burro budget on this approach.

“Three dozen wild horse advocacy organizations support using fertility control a way to reduce roundups.”* [2]

*We are not on that list.


Birth control gives the appearance of being a solution and it has eliminated some roundups. But roundups will continue with or without birth control because of special interest groups who push our wild equines off of the US’s public lands specifically designated for them. Cattle ranchers still remain at the top of that list but a host of others are hot on their heels.

It appears that birth control can help to a degree. But are we any closer to understanding how these birth control measures impact the mares over the long term and herd numbers?

The use of chemical birth control methods is certainly mild compared to the obvious horrors of spaying in the field.

Remember this. There are more deaths associated with roundups than what you have read here today.

Wild horses are still being dumped into the slaughter pipeline. We will likely never know the true figures relating to these killings especially since we will never likely know how many are indeed being held captive.

The chances of wild horses and burros already rounded up and getting out of BLM long-term holding or surviving it is heartbreakingly low.

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Photo Credit: Wild Horses: Randy Harris Photo at