The Dead or Missing, July 2014

An update on the July 2014 U.S. horseracing casualties.

108 horses were “vanned off”; 11 of whom were later confirmed dead:
My Belle Etoile, Ellis
Guidopanzini, Oak Tree
War Prince, Emerald
Ruler of the Tribe, Emerald
Kokaltash, Del Mar
Indomitable Woman, Finger Lakes
Gryphon Gold, Sacramento
J Kat, Del Mar
Chichita, Finger Lakes
Gimmeanotherwink, Finger Lakes
Quorum, Finger Lakes

Of the rest, 73 have not been heard from since:
Mommy’s Dearest, Finger Lakes
Snowy Vengeance, Indiana
Joe Alan, Mountaineer
Windsor’s Knockout, Charles Town
Royal Dash Special, Delta
All That Glimmers, Charles Town
Kimbell Has Bling, Lone Star
Jaxtens First Wagon, Ruidoso
Queen Myrina, Parx
Hocuspocuss, Ruidoso
Big City Guy, Charles Town
Callide Valley, Mountaineer
Lacy Vaz, Oak Tree
Dashing, Oak Tree
Karamojo, Penn
Coronas Sportiness, Ruidoso
Taty’s Gold, Arlington
Kinzig, Belterra
Sarah’s Swingtown, Prairie
Attila’s Parting, Ruidoso
Primmensity, Mountaineer
Miss Aisle Band, Penn
Grand Pro, Belterra
Taps Lady, Charles Town
Dark Timbers, Los Alamitos
Apollyon, Belterra
Storm Off, Ellis
Equal Parts, Indiana
Call Me Big E, Louisiana
Chief Barker, Arlington
Shug’s Spirit, Ruidoso
Ivalreadygone, Los Alamitos
Best Ransom, Los Alamitos
Blazin Flyer, Ruidoso
Costly, Mountaineer
Dangerously Royal, Suffolk
Aftermarketslam, Del Mar
Maid for War, Evangeline
My Son Darren, Indiana
Suddenly Perfect, Belterra
Lucy Wears Prada, Canterbury
Smooth Willow, Charles Town
Ivory On the Up, Ruidoso
Old Happy Cowboy, Ruidoso
Barela K, Thistledown
Boogie Woogie Flu, Evangeline
Tri Polar, Gulfstream
Ifihadalady, Mountaineer
Flying Circus, Parx
Villere, Gulfstream
Red Force, Mountaineer
Top Hawker, Mountaineer
Taiban, Ruidoso
Awesome Gift, Les Bois
Possy Beach, Les Bois
Along Came Kitten, Belterra
Can’tbeattheheat, Delaware
Artic Eagle, Fair Meadows
Surviving the Odds, Arapahoe
Clever Peaks, Canterbury
Dashin Aint Easy, Fair Meadows
Laser Cat, Indiana
Hill of Tara, Los Alamitos
Princess Nayiri, Belterra
World Tour, Louisiana
Mantastically, Ruidoso
Ampersand, Saratoga
Unusual Heatwave, Del Mar
Curly Queen, Gulfstream
Fan the Fire, Louisiana
Smarty Slewy, Thistledown
Noma, Evangeline
Ann Accolade, Arlington

78% of the vanned off were either later confirmed dead or have simply disappeared.

Although not reported as vanned, these 12, too, have not resurfaced:
Briteburg, Fairmount, bled
Absolum, Parx, fell, DNF
Jet Airplane, Delta, bled
Song for Krismike, Charles Town, “collapsed just past the wire”
Cuzs Painted Success, Fair Meadows, “injured,” DNF
Airdrop, Penn, fell, DNF
Cool Cat Tale, Belmont, “hit the near side stall at the start tossing his head,” DNF
Go Giovanni Go, Thistledown, bled
Pay Any Price, Gulfstream, bled
Dixico, Les Bois, bled
Just a Sheikh, Charles Town, “pulled up lame,” DNF
Party Boy Floyd, Gulfstream, fell, DNF

Equibase reported 3 as died or “euthanized”:
This Guy Is Blue, Belmont
Movin’ On Up, Louisiana
Cool Under Fire, Parx

…and 23 as “broke down” – racing-speak for dead:
Finns Huckleberry, Ruidoso
Streaterville, Mountaineer
Back Talking, Mountaineer
Our Deputy Express, Delaware
Lone Star Sizzler, Evangeline
Music Maid, Belmont
Finally Together, Mountaineer
Could Be a Rumor, Charles Town
Generator, Evangeline
Piskacha, Belterra
Washington Dacat, Canterbury
Ithink I Can Dance, Mountaineer
Mr Percussionist, Parx
Rue the Day, Charles Town
Yes She’s Unusual, Del Mar
Longview Drive, Del Mar
Elusive Cowgirl, Monmouth
Lil Swiss Echo, Del Mar
Rocabar, Santa Rosa
Father Johns Pride, Saratoga
Intimate Storm, Charles Town
Patinka, Presque Isle
Serious, Del Mar

Allowing for a handful of “retirements”/rescues, I think it likely that some 115 horses from our July lists are dead. But remember, that’s flat-track, in-competition only – this report does not include harness and training deaths. For context on the latter, though: 43% of NY’s on-track deaths in 2013 came in morning practice. In addition, there were surely other euthanasias not reflected here (“pulled up,” “eased,” “stopped badly,” etc.). In short, I think it reasonable to assert that the NY Times figure of 24 dead a week should be doubled, leaving us with well over 2,000 track-kills annually.

(If you know the whereabouts of any of the above, please disclose and I will publish.)

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  1. Patrick…I fully agree the number of dead racehorses is much greater than any reports by the Times and most certainly, by the industry! In the nearly ten years I spent with CANTER-MI, two-thirds of the trainers we took in horses for had been running those horses with pre-existing injuries. TWO-THIRDS. To add insult to injury, NOT in that 66% were owners/trainers like Jaroslav Gold – the Midwest’s largest supplier of horses to one of the Canadian slaughterhouses – and Reid Gross who would look right at you and state “I would rather send my horse to slaughter than to give it to CANTER”. Gold, Gross and a number of others never gave their horses a chance by listing them or donating them…those poor horses were sold in package deals and/or simply disappeared. The hundreds of horses we took in that had to be euthanized were never recorded as racing casualties…but they were. Racing killed them, too.

    • Joy,

      You stated the following:

      Reid Gross who would look right at you and state “I would rather send my horse to slaughter than to give it to CANTER”. Gold, Gross and a number of others never gave their horses a chance by listing them or donating them…

      My understanding is that many of these trainers are drugging their horses with dangerous drugs and they do not want the public to know what they are doing so they would rather kill the horses then risk the truth coming out.

      I call that Pure Evil.

    • Yes, Joy, I remember Reid Gross very well. His horses were always stabled in the Round Barn on the north side of the track at Beulah. When I volunteered for Canter-Ohio, I remember him saying that he would rather send a horse to slaughter than work with a rescue. In all the years I spent on the backside of Beulah, I only remember Gross allowing us to “save” one of his horses and we paid him a few hundred dollars for that horse. The rest just disappeared. I would always play “nice” with the hope that he would have some compassion toward the horses that put money in his pocket but to no avail. I even had his grey cat, by the name of General, neutered at no cost to him thinking that his heart would soften and he would work with the volunteers but it never happened. Of course, the racing officials knew that he sent his horses to slaughter but he filled the cards so everyone just looked the other way. I always thought his last name was fitting because that is what he was…Gross.

    • Joy, I’ve been thinking about the story posted on Equine Advocates’ blog concerning the rescue of a mare almost trampled to death on a truck headed to the slaughterhouse. Thank you for providing the link.

      I wish there could be a series of “personalized” stories like that in The New York Times as well the more generalized articles about racing abuses. Sometimes such stories grab more attention. There is no shortage of material as you, Mary and others well know.

      • Rose,

        I could not find the link you and Joy are talking about on the Equine Advocates Blog about the mare that was rescued. Can you please post it here.

  2. Mary, there are some people incapable of compassion. Unfortunately, racing attracts too many whose brains are hardwired in this way. I think of it as an aberration of what it means to be human.

    PS You have my admiration for trying so hard for the sake of the horses. I would have felt like slapping the guy over the side of the head !! Then of course, I would be the one in trouble with the law…

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