16 Dead Horses at Del Mar: Just a “Strange, Weird Thing”

In a recent U-T San Diego article, the president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California called the Del Mar summer a “Murphy’s Law meet.” And Joe Harper of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club described it as “a strange thing, weird.” They were, of course, referring primarily to a stack of dead horses. (By the way, it’s likely the deaths slowed because of amped-up diligence after the initial rash. Harper: “I also think that more people are aware of the damage that the publicity [from horse deaths] can do to you. I think more people are being more cautious on sending horses out.” Which begs the question: Why wasn’t extra care taken in the first place?)

4-year-old Corlett Drive, July 13, training
4-year-old Kokaltash, July 17, race 5
2-year-old Mont Saint Michel, July 24th, found dead in stall
3-year-old Dance With Fate, July 24, training
4-year-old Yes She’s Unusual, July 25, race 6
5-year-old Longview Drive, July 25, race 7
5-year-old Lil Swiss Echo, July 26, race 5
3-year-old J Kat, July 26, race 9
2-year-old Chilled Mousse, July 27, training
3-year-old Chattering Gambler, August 2, race 3
3-year-old Steppingood, August 13, race 8
4-year-old Serious, August 14, from July 31 race 7
3-year-old Bayview Drive, August 16, race 10
2-year-old Little Tower, August 22, race 3
7-year-old Magic Beam, August 24, training
3-year-old Cause Im a Bigshot, August 28, training

“Murphy’s Law.” “A strange thing, weird.” How so very casual. How utterly revolting.

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  1. Mr. Harper has shown his true colors. Like so many in racing, he is concerned about the bad publicity as horses die in the dirt at Del Mar. To repeat, he is concerned with the public’s perception of racing, not the horses. Just another reason why racing disgusts me.

  2. Thanks, Patrick, for drawing attention to the deplorable comments of “leaders” at the Del Mar Track. You have it exactly right. To describe the deaths of 16 horses in one meet at Del Mar as Murphy’s Law (“If anything can go wrong, it will”) is pure spin to evade responsibility for the care of and for the harm caused to the horses. The “glamour” of Del Mar by the sea is permanently tarnished.

  3. If i’ve got it right 16 horses died in seven (7) weeks at this particular track.
    Then surely this is grounds for a Government Inquiry.
    If my memory serves me right, the plight of the long suffering Tennessee walkers
    was brought to the Government’s attention and some legislation was passed but
    i’m not up to date on how successful it was.

  4. When I read that, I thought, what a bunch of stupid idiots, “murphy’s law”, is the best they can come up with to explain the unnecessary deaths! It’s an insult to the public for them to attempt to “make fools of us” with that statement. About the Tennessee Walkers still being abused by soring and other barbaric methods, I read that, too. I also read that some owners are still using those illegal methods. One owner claimed that TW has a high step with their gait and he doesn’t need to use soring. What? They are not born with this type of “high step”. I watched a video and immediately knew that their “high step” was unnatural. Another barbaric and cruel treatment of horses just for the glory of winning. Greed. Another “so called” sport I learned about is WAG cross-country. OMG. These “so called” sports involving horses are not even close to a “sport”. Unless, you want to call killing horses a sport in public for entertainment. All of this makes me ashamed of Amerca and other countries that support these horrific events that kill horses everyday. Sickening.

  5. Don’t kid yourself. Del Mar has had this kind of carnage in the past, they just aren’t willing to admit it. One of the most successful tracks in the country, yet so many dead horses. Why didn’t the California Horse Racing Board do anything about this carnage this past summer?

  6. The industry is revolting, in general. I was at Hat Day yesterday for a fundraiser, and a horse went down in the last race…no body even knew it. The announcer said, “# (whatever) just took a bad step”… and, that was all… Everyone was focused on the horses crossing the finish line, and excited about their wins or losses. No one but myself, and my mom were even aware that a young healthy race horse was across the track being euthanized and hauled off in a box truck. I feel so dirty and sickened for even being there :(

  7. When I was a CHRB Steward in 2006, the same carnage was going on then as now.
    I distinctly recall Harper’s reaction then as it is now “we must be cursed by ghosts.”
    No kidding.
    So nonchalant about racehorses DYING kind of like filing his nails over the dead bodies appearing somewhat concerned.
    Back then, internal memos clearly showed grave concern with the track surface.
    So it was changed, and then changed again, but throughout it all, racehorses were DYING and still are.
    Now, if anybody had a hoot about these racehorses the meet should have been SHUT down YEARS AGO because that track is affected by the ocean tides, and they know it.
    Then, throw into the mix doping cocktails combined with excessive shock wave therapy being ordered and supervised by multiple drug violating Trainers who have a rap sheet of racehorses DYING under their care.
    Not finished yet – then the legitimization of beating, and DYING by the CHRB.
    Of course the patrons with their fancy hats, Chardonnay, and party while they watch horses DIE, and don’t do anything about it.
    A complete picture of abuse, and cruelty with heartless people permitting this to go on.
    This is the dirty world of horse racing. It needs to be shut down one racetrack at a time until it’s finally DEAD like the racehorses it kills.

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