I have the details on the death of Mountain Bear at Turfway February 5, courtesy of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission:

RH limb: Multiple fractures in P1, MTIII lateral condylar fracture; severe soft tissue damage, including tearing of the deep and superficial flexor tendons, palmar annular ligaments, and sesamoidian ligaments; fetlock joint was luxated. Stomach: Severe chronic ulceration. Liver: Suppurative hepatitis. Lungs: Mild to moderate edema.”

All that to a 2-year-old baby. Vile. Horseracing.

A barn fire at Belmont Park last night has resulted in the deaths of two racehorses; the New York Racing Association has yet to release identifying information other than to say they were trained by Wayne Potts.

By now, you should know our position on this. While the racing people are busy consoling and congratulating themselves with talk of “tragedy” and “heroism” (for getting the other horses out), they utterly ignore the core, uncomfortable, inconvenient fact: Like the civil war soldiers who were felled by dysentery but still recorded (unequivocally) as casualties, so too are racehorses who die in their stalls industry kills – no matter the immediate cause. Yes, fires can and do happen anywhere, but if not for racing, those poor, terrified horses would not have been in that place, at that time. And lest we forget, as domesticated (read: enslaved) animals, their natural autonomy had long since been stripped. They were trapped – figuratively and literally – inside a system, inside a stall, wholly dependent on human beings for everything, including their lives. And that is a cruelty in and of itself. So, yes, this is a tragedy, but the larger tragedy is the industry that made it possible.

In the most recent Stewards Minutes from California…

At Golden Gate Apr 1-Apr 4:
14 horses were “scratched” for being sick
1 for being unsound

In addition, one “claim” (sale) was voided because the horse, Rock This Bar, was “unsound.” Rock This Bar, incidentally, had “won” the race – while “unsound.” And, of course, the stewards reported Velocemente’s death: “During the running of the tenth race #5 Velocemente fell near the 5/16 pole while trailing the field. Jockey Assael Espinoza was thrown clear and escaped with only a bruised thumb. Unfortunately, Velocemente suffered multiple fractures and was euthanized by the track vet.”

At Los Alamitos Apr 2-Apr 3:
3 horses were scratched for being injured
2 for being sick
1 for “flipping” in the paddock

At Santa Anita Apr 2-Apr 4:
2 horses were scratched for being injured
2 for being sick
1 for being unsound
2 for flipping

At Cal Expo Apr 3-Apr 4:
1 horse was scratched for being injured
2 for being sick

This, too, is horseracing.

The 1st at Oaklawn Saturday was Downtown Boy’s first time under the whip – it was also his last. According to the chart, the 2-year-old was “pulled up in distress [and] vanned off.” In fact, he is dead. In fact, he was euthanized right there on the track. So, the only thing the “van” was toting was a thousand pounds of dead horse.