Abused, Missing: Springbreaker, Leadin Rusher, Star Lookout

On July 5th, 3-year-old Springbreaker was “pulled up in distress” in a race at Prairie Meadows. 13 days later at that same track, he finished last of 10 – 40 lengths back. He has not been heard from since. Trainer, David McShane; owner/breeder, Don Frazier.

On July 6th, 3-year-old Leadin Rusher “had to be vanned off” after a race at Prairie Meadows. In late September, she “stopped abruptly and was eased to the wire” at Thistledown. Six weeks later in another claiming race at Thistledown, she finished last of 8. She has not been heard from since. Trainer, Jim Tracy; owner, Black Oak Farm.

On July 8th, 4-year-old Star Lookout “struck a fallen rival and fell” in a race at Parx. In October, he was put to the whip twice more: second-to-last, last, a combined 54+ back. He has not been heard from since. Trainer, Ronald Dandy; owner, R & L Racing.

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  1. People in the industry often say, “There are good people in this business that really cares for the racehorse.” I can dissect this is so many different ways. The nicest way is: very few are good to them when they own them, but what happens after that is anybody’s guess. The easiest way to dispose of a sore and/or lame racehorse that is not profitable is to dump it into the Claiming Ranks. As seen on the PETA Video of Scott Blasi (Assistant to Steve Asmussen) cheering when they dumped a lame horse that according to him was an asshole.I guess the horse who was running its fanny off while sore and lame is considered an asshole. There’s only one asshole and that is Scott Blasi, but the Kentucky Racing Commission praises him as a hero. This shows how upside down this industry is. Anyways, the definition of “good” is what is at stake here since most people who say they are “good” to the racehorse usually refers to stall bedding, oats, hay, and grooming. Most horse people know that this treatment is both morally, and legally mandatory for any horse. These people think they are so elite, but really they are doing what thousands of horse owners do every day, bed down, and feed their horse. The only difference is that the horse is not a pin cushion for an industry that exploits it for profit. The industry is self-regulated so horses going missing as seen in this articles is just another day at the office. Racehorses going lame, and dying is just another day at the office. Endless needles shoved into veins, muscles, and joints is just another day at the office. Cheaters, dopers, and alleged race fixers are all part of the horse racing industry. They have endless meetings, and talk about how they are going to fix it, but little gets done.It’s like they want the dopers, and cheaters to succeed. Reinstating Blasi’s license, and not doing anything to Steve Asmussen is a clear indication that this industry has done next to nothing for the racehorses who are voiceless slaves in this entire scenario.

  2. How is this acceptable ? they HAVE to be somewhere, in a hole, fed to a big cat somewhere, shipped on a hell ride to Mexico …somewhere. you can bet since they have no worth to their owner’s, they are not recovering under a veterinarian’s care, working toward a new life as an OTTT !

  3. The racehorse – a very disposable object (if only it was an object and not a living creature) and swiftly replaced. The horseracing breeding industry churns them out just like sausages are in a butcher’s shop.

  4. Just look at how high jockey (in pink/grey silks) raises his whip, look at the flexibility in it and it then comes down with great force and impact on the horse’s body causing pain and suffering both physically and psychologically upon this animal. Horse is busting its guts, highly likely carrying a pre-existing injury/condition and under a great deal of stress again both physically and psychologically.

    The looks on these horses’ faces says it all WHY?

    • Carolyn,

      I never saw a live horse race (except in the movies) until two weeks ago when I turned on HRTV.

      I was stunned at how many jockeys hit the horses over and over and over and none of the announcers say anything about the physical abuse.

      It is so hard to watch a race now that I know that these horses are being drugged and abused and forced to race
      even when hurt and that it is incredibly hard on their bodies. PLus, I do not remember them getting beat over and over in the movies I saw (Black Stallion and Secretariat)

      I saw a special on HRTV about a woman named Madge Everitt and she owned a series of racetracks including Hollywood Park and she used to buy off journalists in Southern California to make them keep quiet and only write in a positive way about Hollywood Park. She also convinced the owners of Seattle Slew to race that horse three weeks after he had won the Triple Crown and it created a lot of serious health issues for him. He was so exhausted that he did not even win the race. I think it took him a year to recover after that race.

      Walter Farley said that Seattle Slew was what he envisioned the BLack Stallion to really be like. Sadly, Walter Farley did a tremendous disservice to the horse by promoting racing in his books. He glamorized racing and many who attend racing events think that horses love to run because of his books.

      Seattle Slew died at aprox. 26 after having two surgeries for neurological problems. After his second surgery, he died within 39 days.

    • Carolyn, Joy, Mary or Gina or anyone else that might know the answer:

      I now have the races on Saturday and Sunday on playing in the background and I say a prayer for them that none of the horses will get hurt in the races.

      There is a horse named Advection
      race horse
      4 years old maiden special weight
      Trainer is B.Abrams.
      Santa Anita Race 6 feb 15th

      Came in last. Is not winning any races.

      Track announce spoke with one of his team members who said the following:

      Advection was in the paddock constantly tossing head left and right repeatedly and rearing up and shaking her head up and down. They asked the owner about this condition and here is what they came back with.

      Announcer said ” If you see it, don’t be bothered by it that is just the way she is. don’t worry about it.

      Question: that to me sounds like a serious problem. What could it mean. Psychological trauma ?

      Elephants do that when they are highly stressed and psychologically traumatized.

      • I do not know Kathleen. If she was confined in a stable then her living conditions could be a factor. A positive for her is that she sounds as though she’s paddock trained, not confined and being out in the fresh air. Likely she is not alone and has other horses nearby. Honestly Kathleen it could be anything, perhaps a problem in her head, her teeth or some other health issue. Also, if she has been doing this over a long period e.g. months then I sort of think it may not be serious. It could be a behavioural thing unique to her. She’s not going well in racing (she might just be a slow horse) but she may well have a sub-clinical issue that has not been picked up and making her life more hellish. It could be psychological. If she was mine I’d be having the vet do a thorough examination. This is what bothers me a great deal with the racehorses – trainers/owners often do not bother to call a vet in ($$$) when they should to make sure there is nothing untoward going on with the animal. Joy, Mary, Gina or Rose might have the answer for you.

    • Joy, there was an article in EQUUS a couple of months ago on head shaking. Unfortunately, I can’t find the issue, but will keep trying. Obviously, there is something going on with this horse and somebody needs to take the headshaking sign/symptom seriously instead of saying” that’s just the way she is” How stupid and uncaring can these people be?

      • Rose…do you remember if the issue with the head shaking was related to eye problems?…because I have read that. There are many possibilities with the horse’s behavior that Kathleen described…but I imagine we all agree this is a troubled horse. And yes, no one cares.

      • PS I found the article in the December 2014 issue of Equus. The owner worked hard and did not give up on her horse. It finally was decided the symptom/sign was caused by Lime disease. Her horse recovered with treatment. But the people in racing say “that’s just the way she is”.
        Well, unfortunately, that is just the way it is for the racehorse unless, of course the horse is a big money maker and sometimes even then it depends on many factors….

    • Joy,

      Advections father is Unusual Heat.. They are obviously hoping they are training another “winner”

      Unusual Heat -bought by Barry Abrams in 1996

      Unusual Heat has 19 wins by his offspring in 2015 by 17 different winning horses.

      I am going to call Barry Abrams (owner, trainer, breeder) and ask him directly why he is not concerned about this condition with his horse and I will let him know that there are a group of people who love horses with a background in owning and training race horses that are concerned as well. Maybe that will get his attention..

      • Joy, Carolyn, Rose and Mary and everyone else on this list that loves horses.

        I think Advection has serious problems and I also think that the owner trainer is so preoccupied with all the other horses he is training, breeding and selling, he is not taking the time to discover what is wrong with this horse.

        I wonder how many of Unusual Heats children have been hurt or have died on the battlefield of racing and training.

        From the website. Scroll down and see the list.


        “Who is Unusual Heat? He is a big, beautiful, black 23 year old stallion who stands at Harris Farms in Coalinga, California. He was a fine racehorse who now ranks as one of the greatest sires in California history with an amazing 5 consecutive earnings championships and the All Time Turf Sire record.”

        Another child of Unusual Heat. He is 7. THank God he made it out of there still alive.


  5. Kathleen, Joy and Rose. The following links are very informative, didn’t have time to read them all but they refer to dental, ear, exposure to sunglight, neurological, allergies, etc. etc.

    “Headshaking is a ‘presenting sign’ (a symptom) of over 60 diseases in the horse, including ear, respiratory and neurological disorders. Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, no other sign of disease can be found that would explain the behaviour and the horse is labelled an ‘idiopathic headshaker’- of unknown cause.”
    The above is an excerpt from the equiworld.net link

    • Thank you Carolyn.

      After I talk to the Breeder/trainer/owner, I will ask him for his email and send him your links since he is telling people that his horse is fine and that is what HRTV announcers are telling the world just in case anyone else sees the horse shaking his head up and down constantly at the racetrack. Clearly, they want no bad press about this filly born out of Unusual Heat.

      I think the trainer/owner/breeder needs a second opinion from someone other than whoever is telling him his horse is fine.

      May trainers / owners say their horses are fine, enter them into a race, and they die on the track or in training
      so I no longer believe any trainer that subjects his horse to horse racing as really understanding the condition their horse is in. if they truly understood and truly loved their horses and what they were doing to these horses, they would get out of racing..

    • Carolyn, thank you for the informative links.
      My point re the Equus article is the contrast between a horse that is cared about for his sake and a racehorse that is just exploited.

      • Rose,

        IS there a link to the Equus article ?

        I did hear back from one of the owners of Advection last night and I did send him an email recommending that he take his horse to a specialist and i did send him the links that Carolyn posted and told him that a number of people that had owned racehorses and trained race horses were very troubled by what they had heard about his horse and that I hoped he would take her to a specialist.

        I quoted from the emails sent to me and included the following information from Carolyn:

        I saw that Advection did not do well in the race on Saturday and it could be because she has a sub-clinical issue that has not been diagnosed yet and that could be making her life very difficult. If she was my horse, I would have a Specialist vet do a very thorough examination. If you have already had that done, I would get a second opinion from a Vet who is a Specialist and then a third opinion if they cannot figure it out. Everyone I have talked to about this connected to the racing industry say that this is not a normal condition for a race horse.

      • Kathleen, I could not find a link for the article re head shaking on the Equus magazine site . I finally found the December 2014 issue with the article. Perhaps you could search under “Case Report” for that issue..

        PS You asked about a link to the mare’s story on the Equine Advocates’ blog. Joy provided that link.

        Patrick , please excuse being a little off topic.

      • THank you Rose.

        I think helping this horse is on topic. Saving horses and stopping them from racing and ultimately stopping racing altogether is the reason so many of us are here. We want to help each and every horse we can and end this insanity called racing.

        If we could inspire this co-owner to help his horse we could help save her life. Maybe he would retire her when he realized she had a serious condition. Maybe he will seek help even thought he is not telling me he will because now he knows others are aware of the horses condition and are not accepting the lie they are telling to the HRTV staff who were also concerned about this horse. Concerned enough to ask questions and talk about it before the race. He may not even know they were discussing this on television. I certainly did not tell him that.

        JUst having a two year old horse racing is a serious condition and potentially fatal for the horse as Patrick points out on this list on a constant basis.

        I think that there are a lot of horses at the race track that have serious conditions that the trainers are ignoring like the condition with Advection.

        I really thought the co-owner would thank me for the information I gave him and for caring about his horse. I realize i have a lot to learn about owners/trainers. I was trying to give this one the benefit of the doubt.

        He must have responded to my inquiry about Advection because he thought i wanted to buy the horse.
        I would love to buy that horse and take her away from the nightmare she is living.

        Next I am going to call Harris Farm where Advection’s father is and possibly where she is and leave them a message for the other owner/trainer/breeder so they both will get the message that their secret is not a secret and their lie is not being accepted by those of us that care.

        I am concerned this horse will end up dead on the track or shipped to slaughter if she continues to run last in races as she did on Saturday way behind the rest of the horses in her first race.

        It is very painful to watch these horse races. i have them on in the background as I work and I listen to the stories and then pray that no one will be killed during the race.

        Watching Advection was especially hard because I knew something was wrong with her. (they were talking about her condition before the race started) Watching her struggle to try to catch up to the other horses was especially hard to watch.

  6. ADVECTION should have an embargo placed on her e.g. barred from racing until her trainer/owner presents tangible evidence that a veterinarian as well as an equine neurological expert have thoroughly examined her and found that she is fit to race, which I think would be highly unlikely because they will find something like an ear, tooth or a neurological problem. The racing industry has the audacity to claim it “cares” about its horses, so let’s see what they do with Advection (it has been made public as Kathleen reported). I am not in a position to lodge a formal complaint to the appropriate racing authority about Advection. However, if I was I would be writing a letter pointing out that the behaviour displayed by this mare is a concern and must be addressed without delay.

    • the on site interviewer was discussing it with the two main announcers sitting in the booth for HRTV.
      the interviewer was concerned about the horses behavior but was told it was “nothing to be concerned about”

      i have written back to one of the owners and i have heard Nothing back from him which tells me he does not want to talk about it.

      that horse has been training at Santa Anita so that is where different people saw this behavior. at the track and before the race.

  7. Carolyn, Joy, Rose and Mary,

    Thank you so much for your posts.

    The woman at the track that was doing the interview saw the horse at the track and felt it was troubling enough to ask the owner or trainer about it and they were they ones that told her ” If you see it, don’t be bothered by it that is just the way she is. don’t worry about it.”

    I think that is very trouble that this horse who was at the racetrack getting ready to run was observed “constantly tossing head left and right repeatedly and rearing up and shaking her head up and down.” This was happening at the race track before the race so it could be the case that this horse is cooped up 23 hours a day or that the horse is on some kind of medication that is causing this or as you said above

    “Headshaking is a ‘presenting sign’ (a symptom) of over 60 diseases in the horse, including ear, respiratory and neurological disorders.

    Advection is the name of the horse and the owner/trainer said the horse had a lot of “energy”
    the horse is out of Unusual Heat and Lethal Hunter

    Then the horse lost the race and came in last place. Horse is four and according to what I read has never won a race.

    BArry Abrams is the trainer and owner and breeder if I am reading this correctly it looks like he had 11 horses racing on feb. 15th

    Advection was given bute and lasix day of race.


    the whole situation of these trainers and how they take care of horses is very troubling .

    It says career starts 1 and earnings $250.00
    7 workouts since 12/29/2014

    • Kathleen

      I agree that Advection is on the topic mainly because it was made public and in my experience that is always a good opportunity to take action. The appropriate racing authority and the chief veterinarian of that authority should be informed in writing (email) because then it is on the record. They then cannot deny that they were put on notice by a member of the public and this horse is put on public display in a public industry. When a racing authority and its veterinarians pass a horse fit to start in a race then the responsibility lies with them.

      I didn’t realize that it was Advection’s first race start so if she came home last that is not unusual. There are also some other reasons as to why she might’ve come home last and just to mention a few:

      she has a sub-clinical issue/health problem (it looks as though she does)
      she was not race fit
      she just didn’t like the experience being her first time
      she may not have good conformation which can cause a horse problems when racing
      and of course the drugs! when she must’ve felt not right in herself and it must be so confusing

      What always saddens me is when I see a horse struggling to keep up with the field.
      Horses like to keep up with the others because they feel safe in the herd, even when a horse suffers an injury he will do his utmost to keep going to stay with his mates.

      There was a horse that Patrick mentioned recently that had come home distanced 5 times consecutively (I just cannot find it). Now that is animal abuse and cruel and the racing authorities and the raceday vets on duty should’ve at the very least queried it and placed an embargo on the horse.

      Advection may have good breeding but that does not mean much. A significant number of the progeny of many top sires/dams fail in racing. From my observations when it’s a mare they pull her out of racing early and send her to the breeding barn.

      Lasix is banned here. I cannot understand why she was given bute when it was her first start. One can only speculate that something was amiss with her for them to give her bute.

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