A 4-year-old Thoroughbred named Points Offthebench broke his right front fetlock Saturday at Santa Anita. He is now dead. This one, however, was not difficult to find, no scouring of the charts required. For you see, Points Offthebench, having won back-to-back Grade 1s (and 6 wins, 1 place, and 1 show in 8 career starts), was a serious BC Sprint contender. Big news, I guess: ESPN, LA Daily News, LA Times, U-T San Diego, Bloodhorse, Paulick Report, etc., etc. Amazing how “tragedy” is such a relative word.
LA Daily News (10/26/13): “The horse racing community can be an ugly mess at times. …But when tragedy strikes, like it did Saturday morning at Santa Anita Park when 4-year-old gelding Points Offthebench suffered a fatal injury while preparing for next Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, the industry pulls together as one.”
Trainer Doug O’Neill: “Our thoughts are with Tim Yakteen and the connections…. We are saddened by the loss of a great horse.”
The horse’s owner, Charles Martin (Bloodhorse, 10/26/13): “He’s been a tremendous horse. He was the nicest horse you would ever find. He had an affinity for Tim’s youngest son. You could just walk up and he’d let you pet him for 15 minutes. He was as much a pet as an awesome racehorse. He brought so much fun to all of us.”
Owner and handicapper Bob Ike (U-T San Diego, 10/26/13): “I’ve loved this sport since I was a little kid and I have been involved professionally for 28 years. This is one of the saddest things I’ve seen.”
Horse Racing Nation’s Ashley Tamulonis: “What an awful, awful month. First Dullahan and now Points Offthebench.”
All of which leaves me wondering: Why doesn’t the industry “pull together” to end the annual slaughter of thousands of “retired” racehorses? Are thoughts and prayers reserved for those who’ve lost million-dollar horses? How many of 2013’s 91 dead in NY were considered “pets”? “One of the saddest things [you’ve] seen”? Why aren’t the three pedestrian Belmont horses who died the same day as Points not a part of the “awful, awful month”?
This industry is revolting.