Spanish Luck, Once For Sale, Now Dead

On August 12th, while practicing for a 33rd career start, a seven-year-old mare named Spanish Luck fractured her right knee at Finger Lakes Racetrack. She was subsequently “put down.” That, then, would appear to be the end of her story – just another nondescript, bottom-tier Thoroughbred felled at one of NY’s nine racino tracks. But then I came upon this “For Sale” ad from Spanish Luck’s trainer, Tim Murphy:

“Spanish Luck, 7 year old, 16h chestnut mare: Broodmare prospect! This beautiful girl has been a very good race horse, winning almost $180,000 in 32 races. Her knees are showing arthritic wear and tear from racing, so her trainer wants to retire her to a great new home. He thinks that with her race record and her good balanced solid bodied conformation that she would make an excellent broodmare. He says she is a sweetheart of a horse, nice to handle, intelligent and classy. She is a daughter of Trust N Luck, from the Buckpasser sire line, so sport horses breeders should give her a serious look as well as those who want to breed for racing. Price: $3,500 negotiable…Contact: Tim Murphy”


So even after fully conceding that his “beautiful girl” was arthritic and had reached “retirement” stage, Murphy still felt justified in prepping “the sweetheart of a horse” for one last (perhaps more) run at cash. How do you reconcile that? More to the point, how do you, Mr. Murphy, and every other trainer who sends broken, weary, and worn-out racehorses to the gate sleep at night?

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  1. You do realize that horses get injured in places other than the race track? A number of examples you listed have nothing to do with racing mishaps. Are you against people owning horses at all?

  2. Fires – for one. Fires occur in barns owned by all types of horse owners – not just race track horses. Equating horse auctions to a slave auctions is way too much emotionalism in attempting to prove a point. Citing illnesses and diseases in Florida horses – these type things occur in all horses. I know I’m spitting into the wind because you obviously are anti horse racing -perhaps even horse (maybe even any animal) ownership. Go after the real offenders – trainers who race unsound animals, owners who sell their unwanted horses to kill buyers, race tracks that allow or look the other way at such practices. It’s wrong to paint the entire sport with the broad negative brush that you are using.

  3. I don’t believe it a great idea to run a horse to death. Yesterday Sunday I heard one of the announcers on TVG say that one of the horses in the race had a very good record. he was 12-6-6 in 58 races. I’m sorry but that seems excessive to me.It won’t be long and he will break down and that will be the end of him.

  4. It is all about the money. And in this case, the trainer rolled the dice. In trying to wring another race out of the mare, he wound up having to pay for a euth and removal, instead of selling the mare. Thoroughbreds are making a comeback as sport horses, and non-performers can command good money but they have to be SOUND. Oh, and alive.

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