A Witness to the Wreckage

I received the following comment regarding the ugly Del Mar weekend. It speaks for itself:

Zack Mason:

“My wife and I were at Del Mar for Friday and Saturday races. Witnessed three of the four tragedies, however the most disturbing for my wife and I was the death of Lil Swiss Echo. Have been attending races at Del Mar for more than 10 years. Never saw anything like this before. This horse did not want to get into that Gate for whatever reason. Where was the Gate Vet?? But what was more troubling was the final seconds after she broke down and pulled up in front of the Grandstand for all to witness. The description I could give here is too painful for me to put into words.

We will never wager on horses again!! How can anyone call this a ‘Sport’?? Some how, some way this so called ‘Sport’ needs to end!”

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  1. yes, I have seen a horse go down at Del Mar and that was my last time at the
    races. Magnify it 10 times when you see it in person… the sport is about $ for the owners plain and simple.

  2. Thank you, Zack, for recounting what must have been a horrific and tragic scene. Having witnessed gruesome breakdowns, I now feel physically ill when I hear of another one. What is especially heartbreaking are your words; “But what was more troubling was the final seconds after she broke down and pulled up in front of the grandstand for all to witness.” That will be burned in your memory. Lil Swiss Echo – vulnerable and aware something was horribly wrong – was likely pleading for aid and protection. She found herself as most racehorses do at the end of their wretched lives…completely alone and defenseless.

    RIP, sweet mare. May your silent plea to the crowd that day become a roar of opposition towards the industry that destroyed you.

  3. And horrifically, there’s more to add. Eight horses have DIED in just nine days during the opening two weeks of racing season at Del Mar alone — a track purportedly highly ranked! Six died after racing injuries and two were lost during training and exercise. I believe there is no question that the NYT expose from 2012 vastly underestimated the number of horses that die each week racing at U.S. tracks — they arrived at 24. They never counted the numerous cheap tracks, bush tracks and fairs where death is expected because the next stop is the slaughterhouse and the horses go there injured with joints injected and on drugs, with insufficient drug testing and no hands on prerace examination so they can race to their death. It is accepted and these poor beings are not even considered worthy to be counted. Then there are states like Michigan that simply do not think it is important to participate in any type of count of dead or injured and I am referring to during a race. Horses dying in morning training? Horses dying in training at off track facilities? Forget it! At most tracks in this country, no one knows that they have lived, suffered and died in the dirt — intentionally uncounted while training to be a deck of cards or pair of dice for someone to wager on. People cannot demand change until they know what needs to change for these magnificient creatures. We must be their voice. Thank you, Patrick, Zack Mason and all who strive to stop the carnage.

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