BARBARO, the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner, answered the starting bell at the Preakness Stakes, moments before jockey Edgar Prado pulled him up with a broken hind leg. Eight months later, he would die of the complications from that injury.
Nothing has changed since the death of Barbaro and the tragic Eight Belles.
More horses are killed on racetracks around the US than ever. Two year olds break down in training. They die before ever running a race.
You can’t hold your breath forever, Santa Anita. While things have been quiet on the death front there, it was only a matter of time before the killing resumed. Today, Commander Coil, three years old and being prepped for his first race, “broke down” during morning training, and, says the Los Angeles Times, was euthanized. He becomes the 29th dead racehorse at Santa Anita since December 30.
Who will die today?
In memory of the dead and soon to die at the hands of American horse racing.
APRIL 17, 2017, a sunny morning in Ocala, Florida, marked the start of the largest sale of two-year-old thoroughbreds in the country.
Ace King, a bay colt then still unnamed and known only as hip number 200 from the sticker attached to his side, was one of 1,208 entered in the catalog.
The auction itself was still a week away, and first Ace King and the others had to breeze a short distance—an eighth of a mile or a quarter-mile—in front of onlookers at the Ocala Training Center.
His workout made headlines, and over the next week, interested buyers visited his barn not far from the sales ring.
At Ocala’s first of four full-day auction sessions, Ace King sold for $170,000 to K.O.I.D., a South Korea–based company that had become a familiar presence at Ocala and other big U.S. sales, where it handles logistics like shipping for the horses selected for purchase by Korean owners and trainers.
He and most of the other purchased horses arrived in Korea in early June. He joined a stable at Seoul Racecourse in the city’s southern suburbs, where expectations were high. But there on the other side of the world, Ace King just didn’t pan out.
That summer and fall, the best he could do in four races was a third-place finish. In early 2018, he finished second, a sign, perhaps, of his natural talent emerging.
But his veterinary log filled with entries for exercise-induced fatigue and arthritis, and in his next starts he was nothing but cannon fodder. Finally, in a race on January 27, 2019, he staggered to the finish line last of 12. Two other graduates from his auction finished eighth and ninth.
Within two weeks he was ferried south to the island of Jeju, a mountainous resort destination for millions of Koreans and Chinese, and the epicenter of South Korea’s livestock and horse-breeding industries.
There would be no return from the island.
On the morning of February 18, he was trucked to South Korea’s largest slaughterhouse. Its owner, an enormous conglomerate called Nonghyup, controls agricultural and livestock businesses along with banks and other financial services.
Ace King was the first of eight horses that day to be prodded down a narrow concrete-and-metal chute to his death. A bolt was fired into his brain before he was hoisted up and his throat was cut.
He was the 109th horse killed at that slaughterhouse since the start of the year.
His meat was then processed, packaged, and likely sent to one of the Nonghyup-owned grocery stores on the island.
Correction 1.25 pm: 7 deaths not 17. Hope this error does not turn out to some sort of dark omen.
SARATOGA, New York — Patrick Battuello of Horseracingwrongs.com reports:
In the final race of the afternoon yesterday at Saratoga, this for 4-year-old Brooklyn Major (Equibase):
“BROOKLYN MAJOR three wide at the half mile pole, was through after the half, then fatally collapsed after crossing the finish line.” Yes, another “fatal collapse” after the wire. But all is not lost: For finishing the race, Brooklyn’s connections took home $84.
To date, seven horses have died at Saratoga ’17, four in the last four days:
Lakalas, May 28, “collapsed and died after breezing”
Queen B, July 6, “fractured leg while breezing…ambulanced to clinic – euthanized”
Wanztbwicked, July 22, “suffered an injury while breezing – euthanized on the track”
Angels Seven, July 28, “pulled up, injury to LF leg – euthanized on the track”
Howard Beach, July 29, “suffered a fracture to RF leg breezing and was euthanized”
Positive Waves, July 29, “suffered a fracture to his RF leg breezing – euthanized”
Brooklyn Major, July 31, “collapsed and died after the finish of the race”
It makes you wonder how horseracing can brag that its casualties are down and they are doing better. Doing better than what? At what? All we can see them excelling at is abusing and killing horses. They are are marvelous at that. Many of their horses die at the track while training. These sad victims haven’t even made it into a race yet.
I suppose with (1) the threat of the return of horse slaughter to U.S. soil (horse racing will love that —murder and mayhem being a day-to-day part of this disgustingly cruel “sport” so called), and (2) the hotly lobbied for killing of 90,000+ American Mustangs needlessly robbed of their homes and freedom and placed into U.S. confinement camps to eke out the rest of their now tragic lives — who cares about a few dead racehorses, right?
Well we do. We care about all of them. What can we do? Protest.
The people at horseracingwrongs.com have been and continue to do so. More on that coming soon.
Protest on Twitter. Tweet reports like this one, but most importantly Patrick’s reports at @ABRLive. That America’s Best Racing’s handle that tweets endless drivel about this “great sport”. Let’s shake their audience up.
And to the gamblers who support suffering and death with their $2 bets, can’t you find something else to bet on? There are a myriad of sports played out across the world you can bet on with human athletes who choose it as a career and voluntarily take the risks associated with it.
Tweet reports like this one, especially Patrick’s to @lasvegasbetting and @vegasSB1 (for strictly sports betting). Use the phrase You Bet. They Die.
These are just a couple of ideas. Help these horses with your ideas. Email us or post them here in comments.
With U.S. horse racing we must put their feet to the fire and keep it there. No one else is going to do it. We have to, in memory of all the racehorses already maimed and destroyed by this dangerous, drug infested industry and its forthcoming victims.
What trainer was it that said this not so long ago? Can’t find it now, but it went something like this: I don’t care if they get rid of drugs in horse racing. I just hope I’m dead when they do it.