Another – Mulheb at Belmont – Vanned Off to His Death

NY is the only state to publicly identify its dead racehorses. Theoretically, all horses who die at NYS tracks – whether racing, training, or “non-racing” – are disclosed to the Gaming Commission, who then posts on its site. Hence, (generally) we are not forced into assumptions on the “vanned off.” In Wednesday’s 1st race at Belmont, 5-year-old Mulheb was said, per Equibase, to have “faltered…then was vanned off after the finish.” Today, the Commission concludes the story: “carpal slab fracture,” dead.

On June 1st at Belmont, Mulheb finished last in the 5th race – 28 1/4 lengths back. On June 8th at Belmont, Mulheb finished second-to-last in the 5th race – 24 3/4 lengths back. On August 20th at Saratoga, Mulheb finished second-to-last in the 10th race – 18 1/4 lengths back. All – including his fatal run – under the watchful eye of trainer John Toscano. This is horseracing.

Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


    • Susan, the question should be “What is racing doing to protect ALL horses”? The answer is actually quite simple…very little, if anything is being done to protect ALL the horses exploited by an industry that is brutal towards the animals that generate the revenue. Disgusting!

      I know you were immersed in this sinister and corrupt industry in the past. I’m also sure that you have heard, from those that support racing, that racing needs to change for the better. How many years should we continue to wait, Susan? Five years? What about ten or twenty years? I am a business woman and I am smart enough to know that, if racing wanted to change, it could have done so by now. Racing likes the status quo. Those that support it like the fact that money is king and the horses are the pawns. Racing embraces a culture of drugs, breakdowns and slaughter. If the industry was repulsed by those issues, then it would CHANGE! Seems simple to me…

      I did a story for Patrick’s Shedrow Secrets earlier this year. The story was about Marsella Delight, a 6 year old mare who was destroyed by racing. She was racing bone on bone. I demanded that the Ohio Racing Commission do an investigation into her destruction. The “investigation”, by Greg Veit, took almost four months and I was sent a report that was three sentences long. The last sentence was “Have a good weekend”. I was infuriated that the “hot shots”, who make their living from these horses, would be so dismissive, but Mr. Veit’s attitude is common in racing. I then went over Mr. Veit’s head and reached out to his “boss” per the suggestion of a racing official here in Ohio who is a good friend of mine. I plan on doing a follow up story on Marsella Delight in the future.

      Again, racing doesn’t want to change or it would change. The only way to force change is by hurting the industry where it hurts the most – in the wallet. For those that continue to support it, then it is their responsibility to pick up the broken bodies of those horses that make it out of racing alive. Years ago, I had a conversation with Anna Ford, who is the Program Director of New Vocations, and I stated that I would guess that 60% of the horses running at Beulah Park were running with PRE-EXISTING injuries. Ms. Ford contradicted me and said that she thought it was closer to 80%. Either way, the percentage is tremendously high and I would venture to guess it is closer to 90%, but who cares when there is a buck to be made! By the way, Ford’s mother, Ms. Dot Morgan, stated that she injected her horses “all the time to keep them going”. No surprise there because this is the sorry state of horseracing. Morgan then attempted what all in racing attempt to do – she went into the “deflect” mode. Her next statement was one I’ve heard many times. Human athletes are injected with steroids, too! Morgan is absolutely correct, but the difference is that humans CHOOSE to inject themselves where horses do not. She then promptly stated, “Knock on wood, we have never had a chip”, so, in her mind, it was okay to inject the joints of the horses that race for her family. That is how those, immersed in racing, think. Of course, anyone with minimal intelligence knows that corticosteroids destroy joints when given over time, but who cares when there is a buck to be made! How anyone, who truly is a horse advocate, can support this industry will never cease to amaze me.

  1. And the carnage continues….unabated. Those that support horseracing, including those who bet, continue to turn a blind eye to the atrocities committed in this gambling industry. Racing is loaded with people who talk out of both sides of their mouths, including those that bash racing privately but support it publicly. There is a name for people who play both sides of the fence – hypocrites – and they are NOT in this for the horses. i continue to applaud racing’s precipitous decline. It can’t go away soon enough for me.

  2. And as racing would have us believe: Also under the “watchful eye” of a veterinarian who before each race gave this horse a “thorough” lameness exam and approved it to race knowing that unlimited steroid joint injections into fractured joints are legal and the veterinarian is easily able to check on a horse’s previous poor performances and put the horse first– yet each time a veterinarian approved this poor horse to race and be whipped until he finally raced to his death. Who was this veterinarian we should ask of NY racing?

    Also under the “watchful eye” of the racing stewards who also have the ability to scratch a horse and stewards become quite familiar with the horses on the track and their past performances. Perhaps there is a reason that those IN racing refer to the racing stewards as “The Three Blind Mice”? Who were these three stewards that did not see the huge red flags that would have stopped this horse from being raced and whipped again and again?

    Also under the “watchful eye” of the track’s racing secretary whose job it is to fill races with horses that are competitive. Clearly, Mulheb quite being competitive long ago and racing secretaries are very much aware of a horse’s past performance. Time and again at tracks across the country we see the racing secretaries’ allegiance is to filling races with ANY horses that a trainer wants to enter. Afterall, the more horses that race, the more money wagered and all in racing profit from those wagers– even wagers on a horse that races to its death. Who was the racing secretary that looked at this horse’s past performance and thought it was sound and competitive?

    Also under the “watchful eye” of NY pretending they have a system to protect its horses reduce deaths and injuries. How’s that working out?

    There is so much blame to go around in every single one of these deaths and injuries— for shame, for shame, for shame.

    Thank you, Patrick, for making it known that “vanned off” most likely means suffering for these horses with serious injuries while waiting for an ambulance that is a fancy name for horse trailer, then loaded onto that trailer for a bumpy ride and then painfully unloaded at the designated area to be killed — far away from the public eye.

    RIP Mulheb.

Comments are closed.