It is, sadly, a horseracing truth that the equine obituary roll is never stagnant. Witness Finger Lakes Casino and Racetrack, or more accurately, Finger Lakes Deathtrack. Having just posted on the unfortunate case of Spanish Luck, a pending retiree who broke down while still being trained, word comes of three more deaths (in two days – 8/16, 8/17) at Finger Lakes, bringing the 2013 Death Toll at this Thoroughbred graveyard to 23.
Inger Management, “pulled up-fx RF leg-euthanized on track”
My Darling Deb, “blind both eyes-euthanized”
Legal Lady, “horse reared and flipped striking head-apparent skull fracture”
Inger Management, who was also still racing while on the adoption block, shared the same trainer as Spanish Luck, Timothy Murphy. It appears that Mr. Murphy and seven-year-old claimers ready for “retirement” are not a good match.
My Darling Deb (pictured above) suffered the following mishap on May 3rd while under the care of multiple stakes-winning (over $8 million career purses) trainer Jeremiah Englehart – who, by the way, has been fined five times in NY, including once for using the sedative acepromazine: “stumbled unseating rider-ran through rail- into car – lacerations to chest and legs–rider treated and released-horse doing well-given several months off.” And now she turns up blind and is euthanized. How did this happen? More to the point, will the NYS Gaming Commission investigate? With the dead horse being a five-year-old claimer with one 2013 start, any scrutiny is likely to be superficial at best. This is horseracing.
So disturbing!! It is incredible that oversight and enforcement is so nonexistent. These tracks need to be shut down!
Why does this have to be horseracing ? It can only continue because it is tolerated and people do nothing. There needs to be more publicity re such abuse. For starters there could be some picketing around the big racing events. These big money making events should not get a free pass, as it were. Raising public awareness is important.
Also, the establishment of a national racing commission with uniform rules for all racing would be a big step in the right direction. For instance the “claiming game” is in need of change and a rule for mandatory time between races needs to be established. this “sport” is unable or, more likely, unwilling to police itself . Meanwhile the lives of jockeys and horses are deliberately put at risk. This has to change.
Inger Management…My Darling Deb…Legal Lady…
The number of racehorse deaths keeps climbing, all the while, the parties and hats and celebrations of the elite Saratoga meet goes on. I see photos now and then of the well-dressed patrons there, all smiles, with their drinks saluting the photographer. Such an extreme contrast in current New York horse racing…the beaming faces of the elegant race-goers and the damaged, dead bodies of the 1000-pound Thoroughbreds. The visual makes me sick.
To Inger Management, My Darling Deb, and Legal Lady, I mourn your deaths. You deserved so very much more.
Although every comment that the author of this blog is true in regards to myself, I do believe the injuries sustained by my darling deb weren’t as barbaric as explained. I was never contacted or asked for a statement. My Darling Deb was a filly that I thought would have a happy ending to her career. She had startled from a noise while training in the morning, and unseated the rider. She then ran around the track the wrong way wanting to get back to the barn, where she ran through the outside fence. Gathered herself and picked up pace again toward the barn and ran right into the rear end of a parked car. I grabbed her myself and thought to myself oh my god I’m going to have to put her down!!! My vet quickly arrived and looked her over and said I think we can staple her up and save her. I told him to do whatever he had to do and he did. After three to four months of aftercare (which the board and care was paid for by myself) her wounds heeled and she was ready for adoption. The finger lakes thoroughbred adoption center had a stall available and wanted to adopt her. After a month there I received a phone call from one of the attendants there telling me she thought that Deb was blind. We had the vet go and check her out and to our surprise she was completely blind. We think the one eye was blind for a year or so now. Having a partially blind horse isn’t uncommon, but having a completely blind horse is. After examining the other eye the vet determined she lost eyesight in the 2nd eye from the accident she had on the track. Which now made sense, I’ve never seen a horse just run through a rail without attempting to jump it, and I’ve never seen a horse just run into a parked car. I figured she had to have been partially blind when accident occurred. She was a sweetheart of an animal and would have made someone a nice pleasure horse. In hearing how she was completely blind the decision was made to have her put to sleep. Everyone thought she would be a danger if she ever spooked from something and ran around at full speed without having sight. She could further damage herself, or seriously hurt someone. I do my best trying to place horses. Deb would have been another success story. I’m not saying there aren’t any problems with our sport, but I truly believe its headed in the right direction.
Jeremiah, not only do I appreciate the additional information/explanation on My Darling Deb, but also the professional, respectful tone. Although I take issue with your characterization of horseracing as sport, there is no reason the conversation cannot remain civil. Thank you for the comment.
As always there are two sides to a story! Glad that Mr. Englehart responded in a very honest manner. Could you not have known that the horse was losing eyesight? It appears that someone was not doing there job! The horse is what makes this industry and money for everyone involved, do they not deserve kindness and respect from there owners and trainers and all the people they support! These are God’s Creatures and deserve so much more! I have noticed that ever time a horse is put down, they say he took a bad step! I am so sick and tried of hearing that Lie!! Tell the truth and Remember God will judge you one day!! Of this you can be sure as he will judge us all!!!
Just a quick comment concerning mr. Englehart, you mentioned him being fined 5 times in New Yorrk, I see that his horse tested positive and he is serving another suspension. This time he is off 30 days. Maybe if he paid more attention to his horses and less time looking for an easy cheat his horses might get better care. Just saying
Me. McDowell I would love to have you look into those finds and see what they pertain to. Finger lakes stewards are known for their rediculous fines. Nyra issues far fewer fines then finger lakes. The last suspension is 15 days not 30. I don’t justify my suspensions sir, but both of them were for permitted medications on the backside. With that being said, the horses tested positive within the legal amount of days w/d. They were mistakes that happend under my Shedrow and I accept the penalty. The latest for clembeuterol was on a filly by the name of gabrilicious, who tested positive on July 27th. The last day we have her logged as receiving the medication is may 30th which we log every medication given. I couldn’t rule out human error so I had no reason to appeal these allegations. I’m not a cheater sir. I can live with criticism, I can accept punishment for my mistakes, but I’m not a cheat sir!!! I am looking into bettering our overall stable so things like this don’t happen again.
Three horses of Timothy Murphy, trainer of the dead Spanish Luck and Inger Management (from this post), were found in a Minnesota kill pen according to a FB post by Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds, Inc….
“On August 9, three horses from the barn of trainer Tim Murphy at Finger Lakes Race Track were dropped off at a kill pen in Minnesota, with slaughter tags on their shoulders, and racing plates still on some of their feet. These horses had been on the racetrack only a few days before their arrival — one of them, Up Above, had raced as recently as July 29, 2017,and the other two, Lehigh Lass, and Raffie’s Factor, had raced in July and late June.” [Murphy was trainer for all three and owner, also, for Up Above and Lehigh Lass]
The post continued; “With time running out and the horses scheduled to get on a slaughter bound load, and neither the trainer [Murphy] nor owner [Murphy as previously mentioned and Kimberly Siculietano, owner of Raffie’s Factor] coming through with bail, an FLF volunteer decided to save them, and loaned the money to bail them out.”
Up Above, a NY-bred 2008 bay gelding with 88 starts. Slaughter tag intact. O/T Tim Murphy.
Lehigh Lass, a NY-bred 2010 chestnut mare with 43 starts. Slaughter tag intact. O/T Tim Murphy.
Raffie’s Factor, a NY-bred dark bay gelding with 28 starts. Slaughter tag intact. T-Tim Murphy and O-Kimberly Siculietano.
Those are three very lucky horses – no thanks to Murphy and Siculietano.
Thanks for this information Joy.
I want anybody out there reading this Blog to know that the exploitation, and subsequent dumping of racehorses whom they supposedly “love” is COMMON OPERATING PROCEDURES in this deplorable business.
Some of the traits required of you? – heartless, abusive, sadistic, irresponsible, even wiling to KILL your horse in order to stay active in this business!
This is the ugly world of horse racing, and it’s happening out there on a daily basis.
The response from this multi-billion dollar business is little to nothing or some lip service that has been going on for years because everybody in this business from the low to top level partakes in DUMPING the living being that they exploited.
The dumping comes in all forms, but it’s the claiming ranks, the kill auctions, and subsequently the slaughterhouse floor that is their main disposal system.
While this industry brags about the BILLIONS they are making at the sales auction houses, and at the wagering windows they full well know that hundreds of racehorses are dying on slaughterhouse floors and they rarely give ONE DIME to those of us who contact them for about $200 to get the horse out of harms way.
Furthermore, the industry and their never ending lip service/empty talk announced that they would suspend Trainers from tracks who were caught sending their horses to kill auctions – empty talk because nothing ever came of it like most things in this business of exploiting their profit slaves.
Then they make a big deal out of a few aftercare programs they financially support which is a PITTANCE in relation to the billions in profit they make.
There will NEVER be enough homes for the dumping because like the dying it’s inherent in this business.
From the startling gate to the finish line, and everything in between this is a dirty rotten business to the core.
I agree that horse racing is an all out dirty business, with horses and jockeys paying the price all to often. A jockey can choose not to be a jockey, but a horse has no such option. A horse can’t work in a factory for GM, after all. But one thing I keep noticing in the entries on many of the horses available for adoption, is that they are not done growing. Stands to reason, bones aren’t at adult strength, tendons and ligaments aren’t either. My nephew, at 16, broke his hip playing high school lacrosse-who says what amounts to a teen aged horse can’t break a leg simply because he or she took a bad step that an older horse wouldn’t bat an eye at?
Why do people insist on racing animals that aren’t fully grown yet? I realize that to be an owner is an expensive business, and that you want these horses to hopefully start paying for their keep ASAP, but I think its cruel to force a colt or filly who hasn’t attained his or her adult growth to race, is just plain stupid. If our society must have horse racing, I think owners and trainers and vets are going to have to be forced to wait til a horse is certified as full grown, before it is raced. If not, we are going to continue to see that horrible tarp held up on a track as a vet injects a lethal dose of tranquilizer into a downed horse, we are going to continue to hear of a horse who gets pulled up on the track, euthanized in the barn.
Karen, the industry will never wait till a horse is fully mature – around six – to begin training/racing; it’s economically prohibitive. I cover this and other factors in “The Inevitability of Dead Racehorses.” Please read. And – our society does not have to have horse racing. It must – and will – go.
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