Del Mar’s Shame: Chattering Gambler Becomes Latest Victim

Yesterday afternoon in the 3rd race at Del Mar, 3-year-old Chattering Gambler, four races into his “career,” collapsed and died prior to crossing the finish line. Before receiving confirmation, the DRF’s Jay Privman described it thus: “Chattering Gambler collapsed. Heart attack? Though hidden behind screens, being dragged prone into ambulance. Does not look good.” He would later add, “theory is cardiac event.”

The symmetry here is remarkable: Two of America’s elite tracks – Saratoga and Del Mar – each lost an equine child to probable “cardiac events” yesterday. (Coincidentally, both races started at 3:06 local time.) Heart attacks for pubescents. Imagine that. The trainers – Eric Guillot for Sir William Bruce, Thomas Bell for Chattering Gambler – should be made to answer for these dead “athletes.” But, this is horseracing – just sweep and move on.

Del Mar has recorded 10 kills since the current meet began on July 17th. Here are the 9 who have been identified:

Kokaltash, July 17th, 5th race
Mont Saint Michel, July 24th, found dead in stall
Dance With Fate, July 24th, training
Yes She’s Unusual, July 25th, 6th race
Longview Drive, July 25th, 7th race
Lil Swiss Echo, July 26th, 5th race
J Kat, July 26th, 9th race
Chilled Mousse, July 27th, training
Chattering Gambler, August 2nd, 3rd race


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  1. I have been at the Del Mar Races twice this year and have seen 3 of these deaths. Nothing is said during or after the “incidents” happen. Unfortunately most people carry on as if nothing has taken place. I don’t see this as a “enjoyable after noon sport” any more. The horses need to be protected.

  2. One word, disgraceful !!!

    PS What is this nonsense about all these “heart attacks” or cardiac events… total rubbish !!!
    Some vet. of integrity needs to step up and debunk this. Is there one in the house ???

  3. PPS While a cardiac event may have ended the life of the horse the REAL culprit and cause of the cardiac arrest goes unidentified and swept under the rug.

  4. I owned chattering gambler…..Ray Bell.has nothing to answer for…He treated this horse with kid gloves…I know

      • The horse breezed last Monday 3F….He breezed last week 5f with no problems.
        His time over 5f in the race was slower than his breeze times meaning less effort…we had not raced him in 7 weeks….what is it your implying

        • With respect, it is you sir (or Thomas Bell, or Halo Farms/Martin Mueller) who needs to answer: Why did this 3-year-old racehorse – a child, really – drop dead of a heart attack? Deny, deflect, distract – the racing way.

  5. You will not get an answer to that question, Patrick !

    PS “Kid gloves” were not enough for this poor horse.

  6. I was there and saw the #5 horse (Chattering Gambler) go down. The jockey had starting standing just prior to this, so he must have sensed something, then helped him lay down. He was not moving and it did not look good. The thing is, these horses are worth a lot of money. The LAST THING the owners/trainers want is for them to die. If you truly believe that these guys are all just greedy and in it for the money then wouldn’t it also make sense that they treat these animals with “kid gloves”? Totally. I do believe that. My thought is that it was super humid that day and, perhaps, that is the reason for the heart attack. That said, I think horseracing is becoming like what we see with our human athletes. One person starts taking performance enhancing drugs which gets others to do it in order to compete. If THAT is what is actually going on here, then we are in for a lot more of these–not just with our animal athletes. but the human ones as well. Seeing that horse die was one of the saddest things one can ever see,…

    • If it’s sad, don’t go. Racing is a business, meaning it needs customers to sustain it. Gamble on inanimate objects; leave the horses out of it. They’ve suffered enough.

    • Yes you are correct Felicia…He was a terrific great natured horse and the last thing I wanted to here Saturday was he had lost his life ….hes the 1st horse I’ve owned..He was never raced as a 2 year old..and this was only his 4th race lifetime..we will see what the autopsy shows…

      • Lucky for you, Mr. Watson, a necropsy will not reveal a fatal arrhythmia…an arrhythmia induced by a depletion of potassium…the depletion of potassium, a side effect of Lasix. Then throw in some Clenbuterol and your horse – oh, the equivalent of a 10-year-old child – is a sitting duck for a lethal cardiac event. And none of that will be evident when his body is incised and splayed. Chattering Gambler never consented to your choice of entertainment, but he certainly paid for it.

    • Correct Felicia, a horse’s connections do not want their hopeful money-maker – their racehorse – to die. Unless, of course, their horse is a washed-up, worn-out claimer that cannot even earn the price of its own feed. Then they have “choices”…continue to race the weary and likely injured horse, dump it onto an already over-loaded rescue, drop it off at a seedy auction, or quietly slip it to the local kill buyer. Horseracing is a business, Felicia, so of course they are in it for the money. And of course they are going to “treat them with kid gloves”…and by that I mean they will feed and house and bathe and shoe and inject and drug. Outside of that, there is NO “treating with kid gloves”…the horse is merely an object that is to be maintained – no different than a race car – in order to race and win.

      If watching Chattering Gambler die was one of the saddest things one will ever see, multiply that by THOUSANDS. That is horseracing’s reality.

  7. Ian — and what did the necropies on Baffert’s horses that dropped dead show? If you owned this horse, treated it with kid gloves, why don’t you furnish here a complete list of every medication or injection this horse received from the moment it began race training?

    Felicia: Where have you been??? You think drugs in racing is just NOW a problem? NO! It is just now becoming KNOWN to the public. Insiders were aware of it for decades. Just ask Arthur Hancock who has been trying to ban ALL drugs in racing for 30 years. Do either of you care enough to belong to the Water Hay Oats Alliance or do you like injecting fractured joints and blown tendons and being able to “stack” drugs, use horseshoes with toe grabs (not allowed in other countries due to the increase in catastrophic injuries), have horses racing that have been heel nerved so a portion of their foot does not feel pain (and no one then knows when it is worsening) and bettors are not even told this procedure has been done???

    • If Arthur Hancock “has been trying to ban ALL drugs in racing for 30 years”, why do his horses run with them?? He must be in the “Hay Water Oats Lasix Alliance”…

      • Mr. AC2, great point. Your statement shows just how horrific the racing industry truly is. Thank you for posting! Arthur Hancock, who openly states that drugs are out of control in racing, has been trying to ban drugs for 30 years! Wow! Do the “hot shots” in racing listen to him? Hell, no! Why should they? They like things exactly as they are…the drugs, racing horses with injuries, maiming them, and handing them off for slaughter. Why change as long as the bets keep on coming? The industry is loaded with hypocrites. Perhaps Hancock is one of them and that doesn’t surprise me at all. The point is that racing will not change unless forced to change, either by the higher ups or by the betters. Fewer bets means less money in the coffers of racing. I continue to applaud racing’s precipitous decline.

    • As usual, Jo Anne, well said. Thank you for speaking up for the horses and against this sinister industry – horseracing!

  8. CHATTERING GAMBLER what a horse gallant and dignified to the end. My sincere condolences to your first foray into the ‘Sport of Kings’. Quiet frankly, Ian, you really do not have to justify yourself, and co-owners to these ignorant, buffons. Those that have never owned, trained or even been to the track, show a complete ignorance that can only benefit their own meaningless lives.
    I take great umbridge at these pathetic worthless statements berating yourself and my parents. If any of these boneheaded bigots have any proof of any skullduggery, concerning mis-treatment of CG then at least have the gonads to publicise them.
    Alas their inuendos are knackered.

  9. As stated before our trainer has lost 2 horses now this way in 35 years…..I think that’s testament to the care he gives them….where is your argument with this tremendous record….

  10. The horse did not have a “heart attack”. Look up what a heart attack is and how and why it occurs. Since horses do not suffer from coronary artery disease, to say the horse had a “heart attack” is incorrect.
    Sudden death is most likely caused by a toxin or drug induced disruption of the heart’s electrical system resulting in a lethal arrhythmia…
    If the heart is normal on necropsy without any sign of cardiac muscle disease the lethal arrhythmia is the most likely culprit…

  11. Are the horses insured? Then at some point the horse is worth more dead than alive? Is that why owner/trainers refuse to sell the horse even when its obvious he is about to breakdown?

    • 99 out of 100 are not insured. So far breakdowns have only been deemed “Obvious” after the fact. They have started making predictions in here and plan to move offshore so they can start taking wagers…

    • Carolyn, most racing occurs at low level tracks and most horses, racing today, are low level horses. Those horses aren’t insured. My experience has been at a low level track and some of those folks can barely afford to feed themselves and their horses so, of course, those horses wouldn’t be insured.

  12. Carolyn, as Mary mentioned, the majority of horses laboring in horseracing are lower-level claimers – they are what those in the industry refer to as the “backbone of racing”. At these levels, the horses don’t have much monetary value anymore. So it’s run them, even with known injuries, and take a chance they’ll get a check, or sell them to the meat man. It’s a gamble, but only with the horse’s life. Common practice. And horrific if one values the life of these sentient creatures.

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