Fly to Freedom Dead at Santa Anita

The CHRB has confirmed that 5-year-old Fly to Freedom was euthanized after fracturing a pair of sesamoids Friday at Santa Anita (race 3). The Peter Miller-trained mare was being raced for the second time in two weeks. But apparently, hands – Miller’s, the Barbers’, the track’s, the industry’s – are clean, for Equibase says Fly to Freedom “broke down on her own.” This is horseracing.

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  1. “Broke down on her own”? ! No , she had a little help from her “friends”.

    RIP Fly To Freedom. You are now free from the abuse of racing.

  2. “broke down on her own” oh really? Her life as a racehorse would not have been a factor?
    Such a pathetic public statement to make. Perhaps Equibase thought it was speaking to a group
    of very young children too innocent to be told the terrible truth.

  3. The owner and trainer should be banned from racing. Their callous attitudes show all that is wrong with the racing industry. Shame on them.

  4. Raced every month for 5 months, then 19 months off. Such a beautiful name…that in no way represents the cruel enslavement of horseracing.

    RIP sweet mare. We know you once shared this earth with us, Fly to Freedom.

      • HAHA, just keep thinking that, I know a whole lot more about the sport and thoroughbreds than you ever will. I grew up on the back side of Santa Anita, Hollywood Park, and Del Mar. I won’t try to convince anyone that there is nothing wrong with the sport of kings well if I did I would be lying. Frankly I can’t stand the sport. Unfortunately traveling at the speed that a thoroughbred does they can misstep 1 millimeter and break a leg so bad steps happen. I have 6 off the track thoroughbreds and I know if I were to leave them in a pasture and not ride them they would hurt themselves, because they are trying to make it interesting. Off the track thoroughbreds have work ethics like no other so even after their careers are done they do need a job. A very select few go to the breeding shed.

      • alesiag…your 6 OTTB’s would HURT THEMSELVES if not ridden but were left in a pasture? That’s odd…as long as I and all of my friends and acquaintances have had horses, I’ve known of only TWO horses that had hurt themselves in their paddocks – TWO, in nearly 25 years. Yet in the 9-plus years I was with CANTER, the injured horses we loaded onto our trailers numbered in the HUNDREDS.

        And as far as horses needing a job? That is one of the biggest sacks of BS that racing supporters like to exclaim. “Oh, that horse doesn’t want to be retired!…he’s so unhappy when we take him off the track!” (so run him until he dies?) What horse DOESN’T exhibit anxiety when he’s removed from the environment he has known and become accustomed to!…they are creatures of habit that crave routine! I never had a single racehorse come to my farm from the track that didn’t find out pretty quickly that hanging with a herd, grazing at their leisure, and napping in the sun was a damn good life…a life that was previously denied them. No, asserting horses want or need jobs is purely anthropomorphism, employed to make the human feel better about their “use” of the horse.

      • Alesiag, your comments are not indicative of an equine educated person and especially not of a racehorse equine educated person. I will not reiterate Joy’s response to your comments which were spot on.
        You state –
        “I have 6 off the track thoroughbreds and I know if I were to leave them in a pasture and not ride them they would hurt themselves, because they are trying to make it interesting. Off the track thoroughbreds have work ethics like no other so even after their careers are done they do need a job. A very select few go to the breeding shed.” Not only is this statement untrue, it is bizarre. Horses will hurt themselves if you don’t ride them and just leave them in a paddock? Accidents in a paddock or large expanse of land are uncommon but most of these accidents that take place in the racing industry are as a result of poor management of the horses’ welfare. Yes, a few famous horses have come to grief when spelling and when investigated found that management and staff were negligent in monitoring the welfare of the horse eg. not bothering to check horse each morning and each evening, not checking that fencing, etc. in the paddock was safe. Other scenarios are when unsuitable horses are placed together in the one paddock eg. a young playful colt put in a paddock with an 8 yr old gelding trying to recover from a leg injury before resuming racing, that one was a disaster. Horses suffering an agonisingly painful death when staff did not recognise horse had colic. One famous horse which had won $millions was struck by lightning because no one had taken his shoes off and he was put in a paddock with no walk in walk out stable for shelter. I could give you hundreds of examples.
        When these “accidents” occur the racing industry goes all out to keep it secret and tells the public “oh such a tragedy but it was just one of those freak accidents, we’re all very sad”. What a load of crap!

        When a racehorse dies on the track the industry uses the tired old argument that it happens in paddocks too – this does not wash with the public anymore.

        “A very select few go to the breeding shed”?
        The racing industry breeds its horses like rabbits because it needs a great number to keep racing going.
        It also breeds indiscriminately. And doesn’t give a damn about the wastage when foals are born but don’t “measure up”.

        “Frankly i can’t stand the sport” why Alesiag?

      • I dare any one of you guys to come handle my horses after they have come off a layoff. They act quite dangerously not only in a way that could hurt themselves but, humans and other horses. I am not saying that we should continue racing horses. I am saying that they can be retrained to do other jobs.

    • Sigh. Another anonymous poster apparently unaware that the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission’s latest report as published by The Horse (pro racing magazine) “Disproves the Bad Step Myth”.

      It’s very clear why pro-racing comments are nearly all anonymous. One: They do not want anyone looking up their records of horses bred, owned or trained, what happened to them and have to account for where they are now. They don’t want people looking to see if they support a ban on drugs on race day by signing on the WHOA website. Two: They know that they must hide racing’s secrets or they will be ostracized by all those “good people” in racing which includes having trouble getting stalls and getting races written by the racing secretary.

      Even those in racehorse rescue are muzzled. The industry that claims it is “putting the horse first” yet has criteria in the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance that states that anyone that receives any funds to save the industry’s horses, must always promote racing in a good light! That’s like saying if you don’t support dog fighting or greyhound racing, some foundation is not going to give you money to help them!

      • Why am I anonymous? because I didn’t put my full name? I don’t know who you are. I don’t know if any of you are murders looking for your next victim. So excuse me if I didn’t put my full name.

      • Ms.Normile, You do not know how glad I am to see you make a comment without trying to sell your book. However you do like to throw out “WHOA” like they are they saviors of horse racing. You wish trainers/owners to sign up. Have you ever thought that most people do not wish to be associated with the likes of those people?? Your “elitist”, that I have read your comments about as if they are royalty. “The Hancocks, Barry Irwin, G. Strawbridge, and yes everyone should know the Jacksons”. All of your elitist list race their horses presently on same day drugs. Look it up. You idolize active race horse owners that condemn drugging horses yet use race day drugs , but they have millions if not billions in the bank so they are exempt from any scrutiny. You know “The Better People” like you classify yourself.

        The alias?? You say so we can not be found out as owners??? Yet your name shows up nowhere on equibase even though you claim to have been in horse racing for all those years. If you have nothing to hide give your stable name…

        Vanity can easily overtake wisdom. It usually overtakes common sense…Julian Casablancas

      • AC2…I knew you’d be back the minute you saw a comment by Ms. Normile. Your issue with her (a personal one, it seems…I’ve often wondered if you were/are involved with the MI racing industry) raises its ugly head nearly every time she visits HW.

  5. Thank you for the link/
    Also a vet. with the CHRB said necropsies showed pre existing pathology at the site of the fatal injury in 80 to 90% of horses.
    I wonder what will replace the “bad step” excuse since it has been pretty soundly debunked !!

    • I’m not surprised at all most trainers are not honest about what is going on. Vets cannot take all the blame. Trainers need to be honest about the horses state of being, jockeys need to be telling vets if they feel like the horse is even the slightest bit lame, the stewards need to be more observant about the rules and the vets need to actually do their job which does not always happen.

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