As oft repeated here, it is a bad sign when a horse cannot leave the track under his own power. In fact, through conversations with industry experts and my own research, I have concluded that most (easily) of the “vanned off” end up dead. Just another Racing euphemism meant to confuse, distract, deceive.
In Thursday’s 3rd race at Aqueduct, 3-year-old Warrior’s Hero was pulled up toward the end and vanned off. No further details. For all we knew at the time, he merely tweaked a muscle. But according to his trainer, Michael Wilson, WH’s knee was “shattered” and he was euthanized. Wilson’s Facebook drivel reads:
“Yesterday was one of the worst days of my life. Something I hoped would never happen during my training career. During the 3rd race at Aqueduct, Warrior’s Hero had just circled the field, looked like he was going to draw clear, and then all of a sudden was pulled up. By the time I had run down to the ambulance I heard the worst news possible, his knee was shattered. After speaking with the jockey, he said the horse was moving great and then felt like he stepped in a hole.
This horse belonged to my future father in law and was a devastating day for my fiancé and I. We brought him back to the barn made him comfortable and took radiographs. The images showed three out of the six carpal bones were in pieces. Nothing could be done. All of the staff said their goodbyes, as Warrior’s Hero was the barn favorite and supposed to become another stable pony upon retirement. I held him in my hands as my fiancé euthanized him. It is something I would never wish upon anybody.
There is no closure for something like this but I am committed now more than ever to do what is right for every horse under my care. R.I.P Warrior’s Hero. You are still loved and terribly missed by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting you.”
Well, Mr. Wilson, if this truly was “one of the worst days of [your] life,” “something [you] would never wish upon anybody,” then cease and desist and work to end the cruel exploitation of a defenseless, weaker species.
A postscript: Aqueduct has at least four kills on the week: Princes On Thelake, Warrior’s Hero, Quick Money, Half Nelson. And a fifth, Cherokee Artist, was killed last Friday. This is horseracing.