Greed Kills Intense Holiday

3-year-old Graded Stakes winner and 2014 Kentucky Derby entrant Intense Holiday is dead (Thursday) from post-operative laminitis. Apparently, the colt fractured his right foreleg while training for the Belmont on May 25th and underwent surgery two days later. Although he was then retired, his owners were hoping to make him a stallion. The attending vet, Patty Hogan, had this to say (Blood-Horse):

“To lose such a strong and vibrant athlete like Intense Holiday (below) just underscores the insidious, nondiscriminatory nature of acute laminitis. No horse is immune to this disease and it can strike at any time and with little warning. Intense Holiday was an incredibly stoic patient and his toughness humbled those of us caring for him. …It is a tragedy to lose him.”

Adds co-owner Jack Wolf: “It’s a tough day for me, our partners and our team. This horse was a fighter and he fought for his life in the same way he battled on the track—with tenacity. It’s a terrible loss for all of us.”

First, although I’m not a vet, I’d be willing to wager that upwards of 90% of the current racehorse crop would have been euthanized same-day with this type of injury. In other words, the vast majority become virtually worthless when broken. So to be clear, these were not heroic, noble efforts to preserve a life for that life’s sake. It is a “tough day” and a “terrible loss” for Mr. Wolf and his partners because profits were lost.

As for Dr. Hogan, shame for narrowly focusing on “the insidious, nondiscriminatory nature of acute laminitis” rather than the ultimate cause – horseracing. In the end, this “stoic patient” with “humbling toughness” was made to suffer longer than he should have, just like St Nicholas Abbey before him. The tragedy, Dr. Hogan, is this vile business itself.


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  1. RIP Intense Holiday. I’m sure your connections are so sad that you will now be unable to produce revenue in the breeding shed.

  2. Well, another innocent race horse dies. This laminitis disease is deadly. And very painful. I expect the intense training was no help in preserving his life. You are free from cruel human hands. RIP young Intense Holiday.

  3. Wow !!! You people are cruel ! pick up a veterinary manual and do some research for Christs sake !! Laminitis is NOT just in racehorses Get your facts straight !! these people just lost there horse and you attack them , you condem a highly respected vet for trying to save his life . And you people have the nerve to call us barbaric and cruel ??!!! where in the heck is your compassion ??!!

    • Laura, I agree with Joy Aten. Intense Holiday wasn’t standing in his stall one day and developing laminitis the next day. The laminitis was brought on by a traumatic injury caused by – you guessed it – racing! Then you state the “we” are “so cruel”. “We” are the people who pick up the broken bodies of YOUR industry, yet we are the “cruel” ones. As Joy and I have discussed, it is really a waste of time to “engage” you by responding to your posts. You either just don’t get it or you get it but are in denial. Finally,I am going to continue to call racing “barbaric and cruel” because that is EXACTLY what it is. Where is your compassion, Laura?

  4. Laura, I do know laminitis strikes other horses, not just racehorses…I believe the other folks commenting know that as well. That is not the issue here. When Dr. Hogan “blames” the laminitis for killing Intense Holiday, she is speaking half-truths. But let’s look at this…why did this 3 y/o develop laminitis? Laminitis, as I’m certain you know Laura, is triggered by various causes. Recent studies indicate over 85% of horses that develop laminitis had Cushing’s or Equine Metabolic Syndrome. That was not Intense Holiday’s problem. Here, a quote from Ric Redden, DVM (Redden is a veterinarian specializing in laminitis – its causes and treatment modalities): “I have never seen a case in which laminitis is the primary disease. It has always been secondary to another disease process or trauma”. In addition, he states: “[Laminitis] is brought about when a horse suffers a severe injury in one leg or foot and places excess weight on the opposite limb”. THAT was Intense Holiday’s problem.

    Intense Holiday broke his leg running for the entertainment of the betting public. He underwent surgery to save his life for the purpose of continuing his “use” in this industry as a breeding stallion. He then developed laminitis secondary to the trauma – the fracture and subsequent surgery to repair it – to his forelimb. Intense Holiday suffered excruciating pain and was eventually killed. For Dr. Hogan to depict the laminitis as Intense Holiday’s killer, a killer that strikes with “little warning”, was misleading. Dr. Hogan and all involved had sufficient indication the chances Intense Holiday would develop laminitis were great….like St Nicholas Abbey and Barbaro before him. The entire truth is that putting Intense Holiday on the track placed him at great risk for injury and death. Racing is what killed him.

    I have a great deal of compassion, Laura…for the horses that suffer and die in the name of sport. Unlike their owners, they weren’t given the choice to participate in this industry.

  5. There was probably not much money lost because the horse was covered by mortality insurance. What about all of the horses that were crippled and died during the settling of the western United States? There’s photos of corpses of horses, mules and humans lining the trail of the Yukon Gold Rush. Weren’t those people risking it all for the chance to get rich? Ranchers have always turned their used-up horses in to slaughter houses when they were no longer useful. That money was then used as income for the ranch. I have a horse and love him dearly. He is a racehorse. He will be treated well until he is through racing at which time he will be turned out to pasture. Scenario: During the last eighteen months of my working career I received steroid injections in my shoulder knee and neck so that I could make a living. It didn’t matter to the corporation that I worked for. My choice was to get the injections, suffer in pain or quit and lose all that I have worked for. How is that any different than the way some racehorses are treated?

    • William,

      You chose to get injections. Your horse had no choice in the matter. there is a huge difference there.

      In addition to what Patrick said in the very comprehensive article he directed you to, I would like to add the following:

      I have never owned a race horse or been to a racetrack. I just learned from two individuals who were race horse owners on this list (Gina and Carolyn) that racehorses are passed from owner to owner in claiming races with no medical records and many are injected with all kinds of drugs to keep them going no matter what their physical condition. THat is wrong. That is blatant abuse.

      To take a horse that has worked so hard on a ranch or at the racetrack and sell them to a slaughterhouse where they are terrorized and then brutally and inhumanely slaughtered while still full alive for anywhere from 10.00 to 150.00 is just Pure Evil.

      I have talked to ranchers who love their horses and when it is time to die, they willingly pay the 150.00 to have them humanely euthanized.

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