Santa Anita’s racehorse dozen of the dead

Santa Anita Entry Gate. By David McNew. Getty Images.

As of this writing, a dozen horses who raced at Santa Anita are among the U.S. racing dead.


Golden Birthday

4-year-old Golden Birthday, died after being injured during a January 1 race, becoming the first horse to die at the Santa Anita racetrack in 2020. CNN »


Buckstopper Kit

Buckstopper Kit found dead in his stall. HW »



The latest spate of fatalities at the track began on Friday, when a 6-year-old gelding named Harliss broke an ankle in a turf race and was euthanized, according to racing officials.



On Saturday, a 5-year-old gelding named Uncontainable also broke an ankle in a claiming race on turf and was euthanized. NYT »


Tikkun Olam

The third death came on Sunday when Tikkun Olam, a 4-year-old gelding who had won $40,743 in nine races, collided with another horse while training on dirt. The nature of the horse’s injuries was not immediately clear. NYT »


Double Touch

5 year old Double Touch suffered “sudden death” while training. HW »


Miss Romania

2 year old Miss Romania, dead, following a “fractured shoulder”. It was the first death on the main track, where the majority of the deaths in 2019 occurred, according to the park via ABC News. HW » ABC NEWS »



A 4-year-old horse was euthanized Thursday at California’s Santa Anita Park after suffering a fracture in training, becoming at least the seventh horse to die at the famed complex in 2020. The horse, Unveiled, fractured his right humerus while galloping in morning training, the facility said. CNN »

FEBRUARY 29, 2020

Chosen Vessel

Chosen Vessel, a 5-year-old gelding, suffered a fracture of the left front ankle while on the turf course, a park report says. X-rays showed the horse could not recover, and the attending veterinarian recommended to put the animal down, the report said. CNN »

Santa Anita was closed for racing beginning March 27, following a directive from the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, citing the coronavirus. The facility was permitted to remain open for training, weather permitting.

APRIL 2, 2020

Smiling Ali

According to the California Horse Racing Board website, a 2-year-old filly named Smiling Ali died. She had yet to race and was trained by Jeff Bonde.

Smiling Ali had just completed a two-furlong timed workout in 25 seconds when she died on the main dirt track. The cause was not immediately determined, although it was believed to be a probable heart attack. A required necropsy will be conducted. ESPN »


M C Hamster

M C Hamster, a 4-year-old filly, suffered a fractured left front ankle after a three-furlong workout on the main dirt track Wednesday. It was just the second day training has been allowed since April 6 because of rain.

Trained by Ryan Hanson, M C Hamster finished fifth in her final race on Feb. 24 at Turf Paradise in Phoenix. She moved to Santa Anita, where she worked out on March 30 and again Wednesday. M C Hamster had three wins in eight career starts and earnings of $36,730.

M C Hamster is the fourth horse to die on the main track since Dec. 26. Four others died on the turf course and three on the training track. ESPN »


Last Renegade

Last Renegade, a 2 yr old colt who had yet to make his racing debut, died Friday, according to information posted on the California Horse Racing Board website.

Mike Marten, public information officer for the board, told City News Service on Saturday that Last Renegade “threw his rider, ran loose, and went over the inside rail. He was ambulanced back to his barn where he was attended by his private veterinarian, but died shortly thereafter.”

Last Renegade was trained by Peter Eurton, who has earned $32.8 million during his 30 years as a trainer. NBC Los Angeles »

SIDE NOTE: “Horses are not fully mature until between the ages of five and seven years old. A horse is a horse — and they all mature at approximately the same rate.” See When are horses mature?, Isabella Edwards, Equine Wellness Magazine.

Sources: Media reports and (see all kills at HW).

Fund for Horses Logo

Featured Image: Santa Anita Entry Gate. By David McNew. Getty Images.

WashPo OpEd: Horse racing has outlived its time

Galloping hooves on a racetrack. Photographer Unknown.

On March 13, 2020, The Washington Post published an OpEd entitled, “Horse racing has outlived its time”.

We do not know if it has outlived its time, but US horse racing including all breeding operations (which always seems to be left out of racehorse cruelty conversations) needs to be brought to a complete end.

The short view is this. Even with the passage of the US Horse Racing Integrity Act, which would establish an anti doping oversight of sorts, the doping would likely go on but only at a reduced rate. For awhile anyway, until US horse racing managed to take over the reins again itself, then we would back to business as usual. That’s the long view.

“No other accepted sport exploits defenseless animals as gambling chips.”

Our favourite part of WashPo Editorial Board article comes at the very beginning:

IN THE AFTERMATH of federal indictments that charged more than two dozen people in or associated with horse racing in “a widespread, corrupt” doping scheme, the industry rushed to put on a good face. The arrests, said the head of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, show that the system works, and that will have “a cleansing effect” on racing. “Let’s face it. It’s like any sport,” said one leading horse trainer. “We’re no different.”

Let’s be charitable and chalk up such comments to self-delusion, because anyone who thinks horse racing is like any other major sport is lying, ignorant or kidding themselves. No other accepted sport exploits defenseless animals as gambling chips. No other accepted sport tolerates the cruelties that routinely result in the injury and death of these magnificent animals. The rot in horse racing goes deep. It is a sport that has outlived its time.

US horse racing is rotten to the core, and that rot goes deep indeed — and throughout every aspect of it — from the racehorse’s birth to death.


Fund for Horses Logo

Recommended Reading

“Breeding by the Numbers” by Jane Allin. PDF, 9 pp »

“Breeding for Trouble by Jane Allin. PDF, 12 pp »

“Forgotten Side of the Salix Debate: The Calcium Connection”
by Jane Allin. PDF, 9 pp »

“Horse Racing in America: A Spectacle of Cheaters, Liars and Dopers”
by Jane Allin. PDF, 16 pp »

See all Fund for Horses’ Special Reports at our website.

Take action for California racehorses

California Governor Gavin Newsom

Racehorse killings continue at California racetracks. California Governor Gavin Newsom who was very vocal during Santa Anita’s final season of death has gone quiet.

Three racehorses have already been killed at Del Mar. What is he waiting for? How many killings does it take? Yes, we know that the State is still recovering from the wildfires. As sorry as we are, we can’t help that.


Calling all Californians. Contact Governor Newsom to suspend all California horse racing indefinitely until they get to the bottom of all of these racehorse deaths.

Not a Californian? We should all take part, from wherever you are. It will demonstrate that this issue is still under intense public scrutiny. This issue is far from over. This issue is not going away.

The current race meeting at Del Mar runs to Sunday, December 1, 2019. To date three horses have been killed.

Ghost Street (while racing) 11/10
Prayer Warrior (while racing) 11/10
Slewgoodtobetrue (while training) 11/17


The most effective social media platform for this is Twitter. Please tweet your message to @CAgovernor.

Use hashtags #california #horseracing. Do you think we should use something much stronger like #killracingnothorses? Maybe not.

Thank you giving racehorses your voice.

Hollendorfer wins his lawsuit to return to racing

Jerry Hollendorfer racehorse trainer, killer and doper. Racing Post image.

Sometimes there seems little justice in life, but was trainer Jerry Hollendorfer made the poster boy for the rash of racecourse deaths in the killing fields of California racing? He was asked to take his horses and move out of Santa Anita following the reported 30 deaths that caught national headlines, and some of which he was responsible for.

In the hot glare of the negative publicity swirling around those racehorse killings, horse racing desperately needed to look like they were doing something, and banishing Hollendorfer seemed like that something.

Hollendorfer tried other racetracks who said, yes, okay, we’ll let you in, only to change their minds. When he applied at Del Mar and they said no dice, he sued them.

ESPN reports:

Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Hollendorfer is now allowed to train and race horses at Del Mar following a ruling Friday in a San Diego courtroom.

Hollendorfer had sued Del Mar earlier this month after the Southern California racetrack refused to allow him to enter races during the track’s meet or keep his horses in the track’s stalls. He sought an injunction to allow him to race at the track, and San Diego County Superior Court Judge Ronald Frazier granted that request.

The suit was filed after the track declined to give him stalls due to “[public-relations] risks and considerations,” according to court filings. Hollendorfer had previously been banned at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Park, two tracks owned by The Stronach Group, after four of his horses died during the Santa Anita meet, completed last month, where 30 horses were euthanized.

The response to the lawsuit by Del Mar attorneys alleges that during the meeting June 28 where they told Hollendorfer he wouldn’t be allowed to participate, his attorney said, “We get it. Jerry’s radioactive. We get it.”

Horse racing is radioactive. A toxic killer of horses.

And we strongly object to the use of the more pleasant sounding term “euthanized” when these racehorses catastrophically and painfully broke down and had to be killed to put them out of their misery. Insured too, no doubt.

In the meantime, “according to Equibase, Hollendorfer horses have won 7,623 races in his training career and have collected purses of $199,932,748,” reports the same ESPN article.

Who writes this stuff? The horses have collected purses of . . . ? Yes, we know what they mean. Still.

Blood money.

Racing Post image. Not filed with ESPN story.

See also “The Slow and Merciless Death of American Horse Racing“, Tuesday’s Horse, May 28, 2019