La Ranchera Crashes and Dies at Tampa Bay

4-year-old La Ranchera, a 37-race career claimer most recently trained by Marcial Navarro, is dead after crashing in the 6th at Tampa Bay yesterday. As if not enough, the fall brought down three others – Carol Ann, Juliebrowneyes, and the eventually vanned-off Bright Promise. The Daily Racing Form says La Ranchera died on the track.

Because each of the four involved jockeys took precautionary trips to the hospital (all, reportedly fine), we get comments like this from the dim and delusional (DRF site): “I watched this live and thank God it wasn’t as fatal as it appeared. These jocks have Big Hearts to bounce back from these types of events. There were four jockeys sprauled [sic] motionless on the track. It doesn’t get much worse than this.” Apparently, a dead 4-year-old mare qualifies as neither a fatal event nor a tragedy, which just further debunks the myth of jocks and horses as coequals in the arena.

For those who care to watch, the carnage can be seen below. Note that the track announcer utters not a single word on the deadly pileup. Thousands of pounds of equine flesh scattered in the dirt, and nothing. In fact, he seemed speechless. The video, however, does give us the “Winner’s Circle” shot. This is horseracing.

Tampa Bay Downs, February 6, race 6

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  1. The racing industry provides the public with one example after another…examples of their total disregard of the horses’ welfare and their very lives. On one hand they like to exclaim the “wonderful partnership” between their human athletes – the jockeys – and their equine “athletes”. So why is it one athlete receives all the concern, and the other “athlete” – the fallen horse – doesn’t even warrant a single word of acknowledgement? We all know the answer to that.

  2. Hello Patrick,

    This post is horrible, and horse racing, as well as dog racing needs to end! (And bull fighting, dog fighting, rodeo, etc. . . .)

    I posted the question below on the “€œplea to bettors”€ site, and I would really appreciate a response.

    I’ve seen various charitable organizations using Santa Anita as a fundraiser. What would be your best “€œsound bite” to open a dialog with those organizations?€

    Also, I would like to request that you add the cruelty of the Iditarod to your list of “wrongs”. This is a once-a-year race for about 70 mushers, each starting with 16 dogs, over an extreme, treacherous 1,000+ which lasts up to two weeks. Over 140 dogs have died that we know of, since the race began, and only about half the dogs make it to the finish line. They are “€œdropped” along the way due to exhaustion, injury, sickness, and just not wanting to run. It is the first weekend of March each year, and I can provide you with more information or go to

    Lucy Shelton

    • Lucy,

      Thank you so much for your post. I have always felt that forcing dogs to pull sleds was dangerous and cruel but I had no idea this was going on.

      • Mary,

        I know nothing about her except she lives in Alaska, she has done out door Alaska shows, she used to be the Governor and so she knows a lot of people, can go on local tv news outlets and she could help in a major way, has her own channel, and she goes on different TV channels and a lot of people listen to her. What I care most about right now is getting this subject out and these dogs getting help.

        It is very troubling to hear that she thinks that shooting wolves and bears from helicopters is okay. It is not okay. It is murder. It is wrong.

        Now she could create some good karma by helping the dogs. The HSUS and PETA should also be helping. this is horrific animal abuse that should be exposed immediately. My attitude is that Sarah can help. If she has made bad decisions in the past that is on her. IF she hears about these dogs and does nothing then she will be creating more bad karma.

        There are horse trainers that have left that world because they realized how badly the horses were being abused and they realized that they could not change the industry so Sarah can change as well and be on the side of the animal.

      • Kathleen, several animal rights organizations have gone after Palin, to no avail. However, I am not saying that she won’t listen to you and I wish you the best of luck in trying to change her belief system. When I think of the Iditarod, I think of Alaska. When I think of the Kentucky Derby, I think of horseracing. The two are intertwined, so to speak. To make these two “sports” go away (I use the word “sports” loosely), one must hurt them where it hurts the most…in their bank accounts. Tell the Alaskan Bureau of Tourism that you won’t visit that state until the Iditarod is stopped. Tell the sponsors of the race that you won’t buy their products until they stop supporting animal abuse. If enough people spoke through their wallets, I feel at least some of the exploitation would stop. Look at the situation with Sea World. The documentary, Blackfish, took the world by storm and SW has been financially hurt because they are losing their fan base. Revenue and profits are down because attendance is down. That is Business 101. I would be thrilled to see SW go belly up just as I would be thrilled to see horseracing do the same.

        Also, please remember that the racing industry doesn’t give a damn what I think about them. Why is that? Because I am NOT the customer they are seeking out. I don’t gamble and I would rather stick needles in my eyes than go to any track to watch a horse race. Yes, I would go to a track to help a horse but not to participate in an activity that puts billions of dollars into racing’s coffers every year. Therefore, racing won’t listen to me. Heck, they don’t even listen to those in racing who are considered to be the “hot shots”. In my opinion, the only way to bring racing to its knees is through lost revenue and, over time, turning people against an industry that destroys horses. The message is getting out there!

    • Yes, Lucy, you are absolutely correct about the Iditarod. The link has been added. As for Santa Anita, I would simply say: Each year, thousands of racehorses are maimed and killed on American tracks, Santa Anita included. Please consider a cruelty-free venue for your fundraiser. If they need more info, direct them here. Thank you.

    • Lucy,

      WHere is PETA and the HSUS on this subject. have you reached out to them and filed complaints ?
      I will be happy to join you in calling them and it would be great if others on this list would call them too.

      People called PETA over and over about complaints at the racetrack and that is why PETA Launched the underground investigation on horse racing and drugs and abuse. they got so many calls they just could not keep ignoring the subject.

      Sarah Palin lives in ALaska. She also has her own channel.She is for saving the unborn child as am I. It would be good if she would be willing to fight for these sled dogs that are being so badly abused. I found out this past year that many of these politicians are for saving the unborn but they refuse to stand up and help the horses that are being abused and slaughtered (which is Totally hypocritical) so I am not sure where she stands on this issue but you should contact her and see if she will help.

      I will contact her also. Lets see if she will help the dogs in Alaska where she lives.

      Here is what she says on her “ website.

      “Connect with me every day here in my home in Alaska and on the road in our great country! Ask me anything. Every week I answer your questions. Plus, be the first to see my ideas for America and my take on the big issues of our time. “

      • Kathleen, please do further research on Palin. In my opinion, she is an animal exploiter/abuser. She, and her family, have no trouble being photographed wrapped in furs. Remember, fur always looks best on its original owner…the animal! Also, it is well documented that she supports shooting bears and wolves from helicopters. I have zero respect for her.

      • Mary,

        You are correct abut Sarah Palin. Tragically, She and her husband are promoters of the sled dog race.

        Sarah said she is Pro LIfe for the unborn child. IF someone is Pro LIfe they need to be Pro LIfe for All of life.

        Since she is not, I think that is hypocritical. All the Republicans that say they are pro life but will not stop horse slaughter and horse abuse are hypocritical as well.

    • Lucy,

      Unfortunately, The dog sled race is going on right now in Alaska.

      I have been in constant contact with the woman who created the website for the sled dogs in Alaska trying to get more coverage for these dogs. A huge problem is that Alaska media will not cover the abuse..
      Alaska’s anti cruelty laws that apply for dogs in all the other states do not apply in Alaska.

      If you want details about what I have found out, please ask Patrick for my personal email address and I can share those details with you

      I have tried to get my PETA connections to speak out about this before the race but they have said it is not a priority and what I have found out through my research is that certain subjects get more attention than others because certain donors go after specific causes and then PETA will their put money towards specific causes Or such in the case of Bob Barker and Sam SImon they will help Ingrid with specific causes that she wants to focus on.

      Ingrid asked Bob Simon to rescue a race horse that had been abused by Asmussen and had been sold in a claiming race .

      A Hollywood producer who’s giving away his fortune before he dies of cancer secretly funded the “rescue” of a racehorse that animal advocates say was on the verge of being raced again despite the risk of “catastrophic” injury.

      Sam Simon, producer of “The Simpsons,” “Cheers,” and “The Drew Carey Show,” among other series, says he ponied up the cash for two reasons. “One is an animal is no longer being abused and two, people are finding out what horse racing really is.”

      The horse, Valediction, had been trained by two different top trainers who’ve been disciplined by authorities for allegedly over-medicating horses. One of the trainers, Steve Asmussen, has won more than 6,700 races and $200 million in his career. Valediction was being prepped to return to the track in February despite an injured leg when Simon — through a front man supplied by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] — stepped in and bought him for $60,000.

      New owner Gurdon told NBC News that Rodriquez tried to avoid paying the claim and taking the horse, but the racetrack stewards wouldn’t allow it.

      Eight days after the race, Valediction had surgery on his left front leg for injuries apparently sustained during or after the race. The surgeon removed bone fragments but left a hairline fracture to heal. According to PETA’s investigator, many months prior to the race, while Valediction was in Asmussen’s care, the horse already had burns on his front legs indicating that at some point in the horse’s life, someone had used “freeze firing” – the application of liquid nitrogen – to speed healing.

      Halay said Morrisville had rehabbed Valediction to the point where a vet was about to take X-rays to see if he could race again, when a call came from a man in Virginia who wanted to buy the horse.

      In reality, the buyer was a front man for Sam Simon.

      Simon is a long-time, prolific backer of animal rights causes and other non-profits. In 2011, he self-funded a mobile food bank that feeds the families of unemployed workers. He started a foundation to rescue shelter dogs and train them as certified assistance dogs. In 2012, he bought a ship for the Sea Shepherd Society, which sends vessels to block whaling around the world. He is a PETA board member, and has contributed so much money to the group that it named its Virginia headquarters after him.

      The decision to buy Valediction came quickly. “I got a phone call from Ingrid [about] an abused thoroughbred,” he said. “I say yes to everything she asks me.”

      Four days after the official purchase date, PETA got the results of a pre-purchase veterinary exam from Leatherstocking Veterinary Services. It said he was partially lame in his left leg “with significant arthritis,” inflammation, and evidence of a past fracture.

      “The future soundness of this horse given his X-rays and lameness … is questionable. I would recommend he be retired as future soundness, even for trail riding, is questionable.”

      The next day PETA’s buyer took Valediction to a farm in Loudoun County, Va., an hour west of Washington, D.C. , where he’s living today. No one is allowed to ride him.

      “Valediction was in pain, arthritic and had suffered a fracture, and yet he was being prepared to race again, to wring every last dollar out of him,” said Newkirk, the PETA president. “If Sam Simon hadn’t stepped in to rescue him, I think it’s a safe bet Valediction would’ve had a catastrophic breakdown, that his next race would have been his last, and then, like most spent racehorses, he could’ve become hamburger.”

      Full Story

      • Correction on Iditarod dog sled race.

        March 1st and the start of the Junior Iditarod
        The 39th season. this means they are promoting this cruel race to children

        The Ceremonial Start of Iditarod XLII will be held in Anchorage on March 7th

        The traditional Anchorage Start will take place on Saturday, March 7, beginning at 10:00 a.m. The Restart will now take place in Fairbanks on Monday, March 9, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

        The Board of Directors of the Iditarod Trail Committee held a special meeting on February 10 to hear a final report from a four person trail committee which spent the day with race staff flying over various portions of the trail via helicopter. The Board was unanimous in making the decision to move the Race Restart to Fairbanks as it was determined that the conditions were worse in critical areas than in 2014 and therefore not safe enough for the upcoming Race.

        This marks the second time in the history of the Race that the Restart has been moved to Fairbanks because of poor conditions in the Alaska Range. The first was in 2003, when Robert Sorlie of Norway, won his first Iditarod.

        Seventy-nine (79) teams, the sixth largest field in the history of the Race, are busy training and preparing for the 43rd running of the Iditarod.

  3. What a sad life this poor mare had. La Ranchera never had a break from the hellish life of a “claimer”. She was started 7 times in 4 months. as a 2yr old, the beginning of her claiming “career”. She was , literally, run into the dirt, 30 claiming races later, when she died on the track. Three horses fell over her, what a horrendous spectacle that was. And following a Steward’s inquiry, the race was declared official !!

    RIP La Ranchera. You are out of the clutches of evil.

  4. I could scarcely believe “Blood-Horse” mentioned the dead horse before the injured jockeys in its online article. Although not in the headline, of course.

    I live in Southern California, and before the advent of mass intrastate gambling and TVG/HRTV I recall that racetrack announcers would note, with some detail, events such as falls, eased, pulled up, etc. And there would be follow-up commentary on the status, as it became known, on the horse’s condition. No longer. Now there is only a quick comment, just enough to let the bettor know his money is gone. I have to believe that “negative” comments are prohibited by contract with announcers, today. Why else would a formerly sensitive race caller like Trevor Denman clam up after one quick “horse X is out of the race” comment? TVG comenters can’t stop gushing if a horse falls and gets up (seemingly) uninjured but should the horse have broken down their lips are zipped.

    • Kari,

      I have been watching HRTV the past few weekends as there are a number of horses i have been deeply concerned about.

      Plus, I say a prayer before each race that the horses will not be killed during the race.

      I have been listening to the obnoxious and completely cavalier announcers and some of them have been talking about “this horse is being given Lasix for the first time” proudly like there is nothing wrong with Lasix. Very troubling as Lasix is a dangerous drug.

      The other thing i noticed is that when they have trouble with horses at the gate they often switch the camera away so you cannot see what is going on.

  5. Patrick,

    Thank you for all the work you put into finding these horrific stories.
    I wonder how the other horses that fell are doing. (Juliebrowneyes ,Carol Ann, and Bright Promise)

    From the article. The cold reporting from Doug McCoy. He gave details about the jockeys but none about the horses who risk their lives every time they enter a race.

    “La Ranchera died on the track. The other three runners were taken back to their respective barns.”

  6. This was a tragic accident. La Ranchera’s life was abused until the end, hope all the other horses involved are okay.

  7. PS It looks like 4 other horses were impacted by the incident, including the” favorite”. According to the Equiase Chart, the 4 horses were either checked or forced wide. Yet the result was declared official by these geniuses. This is a sorry business at every level.

  8. I’ve been told that three of the four horses involved have been euthanized (so another two horses in addition to La Ranchera). I have asked this source to confirm this if possible, and I will comment an update if/when I receive one.

    • Joy, I heard that as well, but I, too, am unable to confirm. However, what I can say, with 100% certainty, is that February 6th was an extremely sad day in racing. Of course, all days in racing are sad days for those of us who are against animal exploitation,

  9. TB racing has more crash and burn incidents then any other sport I know of. The no response by the announcer is just another slap in the face to the racing racket. It’s like being a journalist witnessing a murder and watching it in silence. I’ve had enough, used to be a fan, not any more. I still think the TB is one of the bravest, brilliant breeds out there but enough running them to death!

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