Doc’s Rocket in the 6th at Delta last night, as relayed by Equibase: “forced the early pace outside, stopped entering the turn in distress was pulled up and euthanized.”

“…stopped entering the turn in distress was pulled up and euthanized.”

Just another cheap – she was “For Sale” at a pittance ($4,000) prior to dying – throwaway, an ever-so-easily-replaced cog in the grinder. It is vile. It is disgusting. It is morally indefensible. It is horseracing.

Doc’s Rocket “pulling up,” mortally injured – and yet, “congratulations” to the “winner”

On his HorseRaceInsider site, John Pricci recently shared an email he received from a racing-related friend in Saratoga Springs, home, of course, to Saratoga Race Course:

“Horses are dying. We all should be uncomfortable about that. Thoroughbred racing is worth saving and the game that you and I grew up loving was noble. But if we don’t face this thing down… So far, those I have talked to seem not to be willing to face this.

“This past Derby Day, approximately 50 protestors [that was Horseracing Wrongs, by the way] were on hand at the Oklahoma Training Track, just down from the East Avenue entrance. They later moved to the front of the National Museum of Racing. The number of protesters at the gate, and at the Museum, grows annually.

“I have been struck in recent months about when I am stopped by someone when it comes to racing and this issue. It is in church, the supermarket check-out line, or the deli newsroom where I get my papers each morning. My spouse is president of a charity at a Roman Catholic Church and is the youngest member of this organization of caring older people. After two recent monthly meetings the question asked of me was ‘what about those horse deaths at Saratoga [this year]?’ These people barely know where Saratoga Race Course is located. Okay? But they are getting the message and forming an opinion.

“This game has got to step back and take a deep breath and make some truly hard decisions about where it wants to go. Because if government makes that decision as a result of popular pressure [animal abuse is an automatic vote-getter], it is not going to be pretty.

“Hallowed Saratoga is NOT immune to this and most of our civic leaders don’t get that. For a far less harmful situation than horse deaths — opposition to gambling — New York outlawed thoroughbred racing in 1911 and 1912.

“I truly love [the game] and have first-hand knowledge of what it can be. I honestly think we are in crisis and are unwilling to confront that. I hope I am wrong.”

Pricci concludes: “Can stakeholders doubt there’s a crisis when residents of the town that is home to one of ‘America’s Top 10 Sporting Venues – where horse racing has been part of the fabric for over a century and a half – begins to question why so many horses are dying?”

Running scared – even in sacred Saratoga. Which brings to mind one of my favorite historical lines. It comes from an ever-so-brief note from President Lincoln to General Grant in the waning days of the Civil War: “General Sheridan says ‘If the thing is pressed I think that Lee will surrender.’ Let the thing be pressed.”

Indeed, activists and all caring people nationwide, let the thing be pressed.

Santa Anita Petition
New York Petition
California Petition
Contact Your Elected Officials
Get Involved – Protests and Events

To the uninitiated, the Racing marketing department can be awfully convincing. Especially when faced with crisis – coverage of what is perceived to be an inordinate amount of dead horses – the polished industry pros are quite adept in the art of reassurance. We’ve got this; no stone will be left unturned. More vets, tighter prerace exams, stricter drug regulations, transparent medical records, “continuing ed” for trainers, and my personal favorite – super-diligent surface testing (“cushion depth,” “moisture content,” “ground-penetrating radar”). And yet.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) – covering Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga – does the above, including massaging the numbers, with the best of them, and they’ve been doing it for years. “Demonstrably Safer Racing,” they’re fond of saying. Sunday, according to the Gaming Commission, a young filly christened Darken a Day “sustained [an] injury on [the] Belmont training track requiring euthanasia.” In the process, she became the 34th dead horse at Belmont alone this year – and 54th at the three NYRA tracks combined. How’s that for a “commitment to equine safety”?

Incidentally, Darken a Day was trained by Gary Contessa, who, you may recall, referred to his horses as “children.” Well, Mr. Contessa can now boast 10 dead children (in just NY) over the past four years. Vile.

The Belmont ’19 Carnage:

Doyouknowsomething, Jan 8, stall – “sustained left elbow injury in stall”
Speke, Jan 19, training – “suffered a fracture to his right shoulder”
Catpsalm, Jan 29, stall – “protozoal myeloencephalitis”
Miss Marion, Feb 3, training – “fractured cannon bone…euthanized on track”
Chronos, Feb 3, training (euthanized Feb 4) – “fractured right front leg”
For Pops, Feb 26, training – “collapsed and died” (four years old)
Queen Bode, Mar 3, training – “euthanized at hospital”
Mighty Zealous, Mar 10, stall – “severe respiratory distress…euthanized”
Miss Marilyn, Mar 23, training – “leg injury…euthanasia on the track”
Miss Mimosa, Mar 28, training – “cardiovascular collapse” (three years old)
Pretty Enuff, Apr 1, training – “suffered a leg fracture…euthanized”
Luz Mimi, Apr 4, training – “suffered a leg fracture…euthanized”
La Manche, Apr 11, training – “suffered a fracture…and was euthanized”
Noble Cause, May 11, racing – “injuries necessitating euthanasia”
Anne’s Song, May 24, racing – “ambulanced off, euthanized due to poor prognosis”
Successful Mission, Jun 9, training – “sustained fractures while breezing”
Inflection, Jun 9, racing – “euthanized due to poor prognosis”
Ro Bear, Jun 16, stall – “died in the barn from an apparent impaction colic”
With Caution, Jun 28, training – “P1 fracture…died complications from anesthesia”
Fancy Persuasion, Jun 30, racing – “cardiovascular collapse” (two years old)
yet-to-be-named, Jul 11, training – “fractured sesamoids…euthanized”
La Fuerza, Jul 27, training – “fractured humeral, ambulanced to barn, euthanized”
Royal Inheritance, Sep 6, training – “collapsed and died” (five years old)
Passporttovictory, Sep 6, racing – “bad steps”
Mo Moxie, Sep 7, training – “sustained a fracture and was euthanized on track”
Deft, Sep 12, racing – “broke front leg and was euthanized on the track”
Rhode Island, Sep 14, racing – “was vanned off…subsequently euthanized”
Coffee Crush, Sep 19, training – “cardiovascular collapse”
Have Another, Sep 20, stall – “severe laminitis”
Meet Me in L A, Sep 21, racing – “went wrong…euthanized”
E Z for You to Say, Oct 10, stall – “severe laminitis [both front] feet” (two years old)
Mo Fun, Oct 14, training – “suffered a cardiovascular collapse” (three years old)
Kid Robin Hood, Nov 2, training – “sustained a fracture at the 5/16 pole”
Darken a Day, Nov 10, training – “sustained injury to leg requiring euthanasia on track”

In the most recent Stewards’ Report from Turf Paradise, it was revealed that Saltarin broke a fetlock in the 7th October 28 and was euthanized. All was not lost, however, as the 3-year-old “won” the race, bringing home $4800 for his exploiters. One last act of giving before dying. This is horseracing.