By industry standards, Green Gratto was a very successful racehorse: over $1 million in “earnings.” In April 2018, the then-7-year-old was raced at Aqueduct. Finishing 3rd that day, he “won” $8,500 for his trainer/owner Gaston Grant. As the weeks then months went on, it appeared that Green, after five years of toil and 65 races, had been “retired” (of course, “retired” in racing is, most of the time, not a good thing).

Flash forward to yesterday at Monmouth in New Jersey. Having vanished for two years, Green Gratto, now ten, resurfaced in the 2nd race. In that race – which was of the “claiming” variety, meaning he was “For Sale” prior to – Green Gratto finished dead-last, 41 lengths back. The culpable include: trainer Kathleen O’Connell, owner Oakleaf Farm, the racing secretary, the stewards, the private vet, the track vets, the NJ Racing Commission – indeed, this entire disgusting industry itself.

Last week on U.S. flat (Thoroughbred/Quarterhorse) tracks:

Audrey’s Attitude “vanned off” at Canterbury
Vaporman “vanned off” at Lone Star
Fearless Prince “vanned off” at Lone Star
West Coast Temple “vanned off” at Mountaineer
Grams Revenge “pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Belterra
Wildwoodsummertime “vanned off” at Fairmount
Bird Call “fell, vanned off” at Mountaineer
Moonshine Mildred “vanned off” at Arapahoe
Alaapatique “lame, vanned off” at Colonial
Borodino “vanned off” at Evangeline
Sunny Hill Bobbie “pulled up lame, vanned off” at Penn
Miss Emma’s Song “vanned off” at Belterra
Cool Individual “vanned off” at Evangeline
Paint Your Chick “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Pacific Ocean “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Woodlittlecorona “vanned off” at Albuquerque
Girther “vanned off” at Del Mar
Endowment “went wrong, vanned off” at Ellis
Siete Dos Cartel “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Ghostly Two Step “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Free Spirit “hit fence, vanned off” at Saratoga
Steppin’ Hawk “vanned off” at Saratoga
Crupi’s Pizza Dom “vanned off” at Colonial
No Name Fred “bled” at Del Mar
Strokeofbrilliance “vanned off” at Gillespie
Catharsis “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Beau Gosse “vanned off” at Lone Star
Nola Win “vanned off” at Lone Star
Trumpets Calling “vanned off” at Ruidoso

“Vanned Off”: Horse required the “equine ambulance” to get off the track. While not all of these horses end up dead, most do, as borne out by my year-end FOIA reports.

“Bled/Returned Bleeding From Nostrils”: Typically indicates pulmonary hemorrhage.

(source: Equibase)

The 4th at Ellis today, according to the Equibase writer: “Libertyrun went wrong late in the stretch, fell and was vanned off.” In fact, the 2-year-old is dead. This from owner James McIngvale’s Twitter page: “We are gutted to inform everyone that LibertyRun [sic] has been humanely euthanized. We are beyond upset over this and we will always love him for everything he gave us on and off the track.”


The 2nd at Laurel yesterday afternoon, as relayed by Equibase: “My Lila…sustain[ed] a catastrophic injury near the three sixteenths and was euthanized on the track.” My Lila was three; ’twas her 15th time under the whip. In its account, The Racing Biz wrote: “My Lila avoided other horses but catapulted her rider [Tais Lyapustina] over the inner rail.” “Catapulted her rider,” as, that is, she was in the process of breaking down; and breaking down, of course, because Ms. Lyapustina was whip-forcing her to run at a breakneck speed. Can the racing press be any more despicable?

As usual, the official MarylandRacing YouTube channel edited-out the ugliness:
(around 1:00 mark)

By the way, the indomitable Jennifer Sully led a HW-sponsored protest at Laurel yesterday. What was transpiring inside those gates served as a timely reminder as to why Jennifer and so many other great activists feel compelled to brave these trying times and advocate for the suffering voiceless. Thank you, all.

In the 10th race at Parx July 27, jockey Hector Caballero raised his right arm high and proceeded to give his mount, Belongs to Babe, a loud crack (with his whip) on the neck – after the finish. (I reported on it at the time but unfortunately the short video documenting the abuse was subsequently deleted from Twitter.) We now learn that the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission held a hearing on July 30 and rendered the following verdict: a 10-day suspension (which he is currently serving). 10 days – for public, blatant animal abuse. And that, folks, is horseracing.