Dead: Risk the Moon at Aqueduct, Leo the Lion Tamer at Delta

Two more dead racehorses:

In yesterday’s 5th at Aqueduct, 3-year-old Risk the Moon “broke down approaching the sixteenth pole and was euthanized.” Prior to dying, Risk the Moon had been put to the whip three other times – all at Aqueduct (beginning in Nov), all (as well as yesterday) under the steady guidance and careful care of jockey Samuel Jiminez and trainer Patrick Kelly. His finishes: 10th of 11, 8th of 10, last of 8 – a combined 54+ lengths back – results achieved “under urging” and “under coaxing.” It’s called abuse.

A few hours later in the 1st at Delta, another 3-year-old, Lloyd Holland-trained/owned Leo the Lion Tamer, “was pulled up in distress and euthanized.” After 17 starts and almost two years, Leo was still being whipped at the “maiden claiming” level; in fact, he never finished above 3rd; in fact, in his most recent race February 11, he finished last, 24+ back. A nothing in life, a nothing in death. This is horseracing.


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  1. Racehorses are being cruelly drugged with Cobalt. I found Kentucky Equine’s article interesting especially the last paragraph “interference with the proper function of the horse’s heart, circulatory system, nerves and thyroid gland” see this link.
    See more links below in case anyone is interested.

    This link below refers to Dr Scollay’s (who appears to be associated with the horseracing industry) findings/comments

    The research at this point in time appears to be somewhat inconclusive but it leaves me speechless that given Dr Scollay’s findings to date e.g. “horses sweating, muscle trembling, restless circling, dropping to their knees and brief periods of collapse” (she also says it was “pretty darn hard to watch”) they are not bad enough for the racing authorities to ban Cobalt NOW! These poor horses with other drugs in their bodies such as Lasix and a drug for the chronic ulcers in their stomachs and who knows what else, are suffering horrifically as it is and they are putting Cobalt into them as well. I cannot fathom why these trainers are doing this when the research is currently showing that there’s a big question mark as to whether it is in fact performance enhancing. No, their pathetic little minds just grab whatever is the latest and to hell with the health and suffering of the horse. UTTERLY SHAMEFUL!

    • Carolyn, thanks for sharing the links! I’ve included a link regarding this “punk” vet who administered cobalt to racehorses (among other things). I watched this “PUNK” under the tutelage of his “punk” father, owner/trainer Randy Russell. The younger Russell was in veterinary school when I watched him and his father destroy racehorses – including Cabriolass (his story is in Shedrow Secrets here on HW). Now the “PUNK” has been caught and the last I read, suspended for 20 years. We’ll see if that sticks. Even 20 years isn’t enough for the unknown number of horses he had a part in destroying.…/indiana-suspend...
      Oct 27, 2014 – Blood-Horse: Thoroughbred Horse Racing News. Register · Sign In ….. “Dr. Ross Russell is a veterinarian whose ethical compass is broken. He embodies the worst …

      • Joy, when I clicked on this link it said it might have been removed or temporarily unavailable. Dated just a few months ago so it wasn’t there for long. Perhaps was instructed to remove it. No doubt it was a damning article. This cur should’ve been charged under a mistreatment of an animal legislation, dragged before the people’s law of the land court and then it would’ve got much more publicity and exposure of just one of racing’s dark ugly secrets. Should’ve been thrown in gaol with Cobalt added to his daily intake of food seeing he was so fond of the stuff! Must’ve been hard watching this despicable duo. I will look up Cabriolass.

      • Carolyn…there are several Paulick Report pieces about Russell…here is the link to one of them, plus I included just a bit from the article. It will make your skin crawl. And some people don’t think we should be angry…

        “Rees also said Russell gave cobalt to horses. “Dr Russell administered cobalt through a jug, adding 3 mL of a product called 20 percent blood builder, or 50 mL of a product referred to as a red cell shot,” she told the commission. Russell instructed her not to write “cobalt” on day sheets that recorded any medication treatments, Rees said, to instead call them “Vitamin Plus Jug” and bill clients $100.

        “Dr. Russell told me cobalt ‘makes them run like beasts, but you only get two or three good races out of them, and then they’re done,” Rees told the commission, admitting that she administered cobalt at Russell’s instruction.

        “At the instruction of Dr. Russell, I administered a jug that contained a red cell shot, to a horse named (redacted). While (redacted) was receiving the red cell shot, she had an adverse reaction. (Redacted)’s heart rate increased significantly. (Redacted) struggled for breath, as indicated by her flaring nostrils and respiration rate. (Redacted)’s rate of respiration increased to about 35 breaths per minute. A horse’s normal respiration rate should be about eight to 12 breaths per minute. (Redacted)’s entire body sweated profusely.

        “As I observed (redacted)’s adverse reaction to the jug, I was very alarmed and concerned that the horse would die,” Rees continued. “(Redacted)’s reaction lasted about three to five minutes. Every horse that I have observed receiving a jug containing a cobalt product, has had a similar reaction, but sometimes to a lesser degree.

        “I discontinued using Vitamin Plus Jugs after observing (redacted)’s adverse reaction to the substance.””

        SICK, SICK people in this industry. Veterinarians included.

      • Poor Cabriolass – Joy, you did a wonderful thing for him, his euthanasia was the kindest thing to do, his final gift from you. As for the indisputable evidence of Michigan University given to the racing authority and its so called veterinarians not being acted on just leaves me speechless. They are weak, pathetic, gutless cowards!
        They have a duty of care and given their negligence should be brought before the courts. I then went on to read about Hestosmartforyou, Marsella Delight (by Mary) and Celtic Trick – it was very difficult (especially that low-life groom kicking a horse when it was down with colic). Don’t know how you, Mary and your friends coped with it all. I would’ve lost it completely. You know, nobody should have to go through experiences like this which causes so much distress and it is something you cannot forget but of course there is comfort in saving a few of these abused noble horses. When I think about it, I feel that the racing industry has no right whatsoever to shove this abhorrent cruelty into our faces into our homes on tv. Watching horses being flogged, suffering injury, breaking down and dying. Unfortunately, many of the unsuspecting public when watching racing do not see what we see because we know too much. However, we will continue on and educate the public as much as we possibly can.

      • Thank you Joy for this information. Not only did my skin crawl but I felt really sick when I read about Redacted’s breathing rate being 35 breaths per minute when the norm is 8-12 breaths and she was struggling to breathe! Her heart rate increased significantly and her ENTIRE body was sweating profusely. This poor horse what must’ve gone through her mind. Russell says “makes them run like beasts, but you only get two or three races out of them, and then they’re done”.
        And then they’re done eh? So ROSS RUSSELL you knowingly administered a dangerous drug to Redacted, and no doubt numerous other horses, when you were aware that it would do them in.

        You are the beast ROSS RUSSELL – oops I forgot to put Dr before your name…….
        Dr of what, oh yes you have studied veterinary science at Michigan University but you are also another Dr, you are a DR OF DEATH! Proud of yourself for cruelly TORTURING AND DESTROYING DEFENCELESS HORSES WITH COBALT. Michigan University should request you to show cause why you should be allowed to retain your doctorship of veterinary science when you have done these terrible things. You have broken the code of ethics of a veterinarian in an unacceptable manner. In my view, you have broken several laws, to name just a few: mistreatment of an animal; aggravated cruelty upon an animal; causing unnecessary harm to an animal; causing unnecessary pain to an animal; administering a drug to an animal in the full knowledge that it could possibly die; altering veterinary records; etc. The above post is just my opinion only.

    • Thank you Carolyn for doing this research.

      Anyone who loves horses should be interested in this research you have done.

      The more research we can get out to the public, the more people will realize how dangerous it is for horses to be forced to race.

    • Carolyn,

      There is a website where you can create petitions.
      Starting a petition to ban cobalt would be a good petition to start raising peoples awareness.

      From the website is the world’s largest petition platform, empowering people everywhere to create the change they want to see.

      There are more than 85 million users in 196 countries, and every day people use our tools to transform their communities – locally, nationally and globally. Whether it’s a mother fighting bullying in her daughter’s school, customers pressing banks to drop unfair fees, or citizens holding corrupt officials to account, thousands of campaigns started by people like you have won on – and more are winning every week.

      We live in an amazing time, when the opportunity to make a difference is greater than ever before. Gathering people behind a cause used to be difficult, requiring lots of time, money, and a complex infrastructure. But technology has made us more connected than ever.

      It’s now possible for anyone to start a campaign and immediately mobilize hundreds of others locally or hundreds of thousands around the world, making governments and companies more responsive and accountable.

      We want to accelerate this dramatic shift – by making it easier to make a difference, and by inspiring everyone to discover what’s possible when they stand up and speak out.

      We’re working for a world where no one is powerless, and where creating change is a part of everyday life. We’re just getting started, and we hope you’ll join us.

      • Just to let you know Kathleen that your information on Acclamation (Buddy Johnston) was sent to the person (world renowned in his field in the equine) to whom I’ve recently handed over all of my research for analyses. He was very interested in Acclamation’s story. You are a gem!

        As for a petition I just simply am not in a position to do it. I sign petitions every day and I couldn’t agree with you more when you say We live in an amazing time, when the opportunity to make a difference is greater than ever before. Gathering people behind a cause used to be difficult, requiring lots of time, money, and a complex infrastructure. But technology has made us more connected than ever.

        With Patrick’s incredible work and the contributions we are all making we will get there and we will continue to expose more to the public.

    • Carolyn,

      Speaking of horse abuse.

      I watched the Tragic story last night on Swale. (HRTV on “Inside Information”)

      8 days after he won the Belmont in sweltering heat, he reared up, fell backwards and died.

      Swale ran as a two year old.
      Swale made his three-year-old debut in early March of 1984.
      Swale died on June 17, 1984

      Swale only lived for three years- He died just eight days after his Belmont triumph.

      I believe that racing killed him.

      When will these people wake up and realize what they are doing !


      Saturday, June 2, 2012

      The Tragedy of Swale (excerpts)

      Swale – quite reminiscent of his sire down the stretch – won with overwhelming ease, capturing the Kentucky Derby by an effortless 3 ¼ lengths.

      Swale proceeded to Belmont for the grueling twelve-furlong Belmont Stakes (GI), the race in which his sire had claimed the Triple Crown. This time, no Triple Crown was on the line – only the confirmation of Swale’s greatness. A win in the race that had been labeled the “Test of the Champion” would prove that Swale was the best of his generation, and among the greatest of any Claiborne homebred in history.

      Swale readily galloped towards the wire, striding away to an effortless 4-length victory in what was, at the time, the fourth-fastest final clocking of the Belmont: 2:27.20. Swale had completed the race 2.40 seconds faster than his sire despite the suffocating heat. As his almost-black flame flashed under the finish line, Swale sanctioned his greatness, broadened his farm’s and fans’ love for him, and stamped himself as the champion of his division, though that honor would not be awarded for months. Most of all, Swale had further demonstrated his tremendous will to win.

      He remained in training after the Belmont, and within just a few days after his victory in the great race, the colt returned to light, routine gallops in the morning. One of those gallops came on the morning of June 17, 1984 – just eight days after his Belmont triumph.

      Following the gallop, Swale returned to Woody Stephens’ barn, still on routine. Like all other racehorses, Swale was cooled off and given a bath. Everything was normal. Then, out of the blue, the normally laid-back colt reared and fell to the ground.

      The fight for his life was a short one – the brilliant colt was dead in moments. The horse that had made Claiborne Farm’s dreams come true was gone. America’s beloved racehorse was to never race again, to never produce offspring, to never breathe another breath. Swale was gone forever.

      The necropsy disclosed that despite the fact that he appeared to have died from cardiac arrest, Swale’s cause of death was unknown.

      His organs were just fine. After several studies, the reason why the great horse had died was still a mystery. But eventually, it was discovered that Swale had died because of a heart abnormality.

      • Subject of Swale’s death

        Part 2

        One point I forgot to make. He raced in “suffocating heat”

        I think it was the suffocating heat that killed him

        He knew that he was expected to win and he gave his all for that race and it caused damage to his heart and 8 days later he was dead.

        From article

        Swale had completed the race 2.40 seconds faster than his sire despite the suffocating heat.

        The necropsy disclosed that despite the fact that he appeared to have died from cardiac arrest, Swale’s cause of death was unknown.

        His organs were just fine. After several studies, the reason why the great horse had died was still a mystery. But eventually, it was discovered that Swale had died because of a heart abnormality.

      • Kathleen, such a sad story for Swale. Horses should not be racing in very hot weather conditions despite the fact that most of them survive. Swale is an example of a horse that did not survive such a race. Yes, he won and lived for 8 days afterwards but the stress on his body (and mind) took its toll albeit several days later. Some horses are flattened after such a race and need time to rest and recover even though they look and behave normally. For him to go back into training so soon is madness in my view. I suspect that they had his next race in mind, however, I do not know what his future racing program was at the time of his final race.
        Swale did not know that he was expected to win, he did not know that he was a champion horse, he did not know that he was earning big money, he did not know that he was headed for breeding and would continue to be a big money earner there. It was his trainer, breeder owners and jockey that knew all this and they were the ones that forced him to give more than his all, pushed his young body beyond its limits to win that race in sweltering heat. He was just a baby at 3 years of age. From my calculations (based on his foaling date) he had 11 starts as a 2 year old which is far too many in my view and 3 starts as a 3 year old. 9 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds and had earned $1,583,660 in prizemoney for his 14 starts. Yes, when will these people wake up. Destroying these defenceless horses all for the almighty dollar and their big egos.

        If this horse was eventually diagnosed with a heart abnormality, then why hadn’t this fact been picked up much earlier? He was a very well bred and valuable colt and highly likely would become a serving stallion whose service fees would’ve been very expensive. With a horse like Swale all sorts of tests are carried out and heart monitoring is the norm. I’ve seen horses like him being immediately retired to stud as soon as a test reveals a problem because the connections will not risk the horse breaking down in a race or in training due to the millions of dollars to be earned in the breeding barn. In a way I’m glad Swale went in the way he did, it was quick – he did not go through the agony of breaking down in a race.

      • Carolyn and Kathleen…this piece about Swale was written by a racing enthusiast. That being said, I would not take her words that “Swale had died because of a heart abnormality” as gospel. Even assuming she found that information elsewhere and didn’t come up with it herself (which I tend to believe is the case), it’s highly likely this report of a heart “abnormality” came from an industry insider/industry-related veterinarian. Do we really think the industry would want the public to know that Swale had been pushed beyond his limits?…oh how much better to calm the fans with “it couldn’t be helped”…”it was inevitable because Swale had an abnormality”. Carolyn makes the excellent point that if Swale did in fact have a cardiac abnormality, it would have been diagnosed much earlier.

        Do horses die of cardiac arrest?…sure…but not because of congenital anomalies, or cardiovascular disease, etc. The cardiac events that kill racehorses are brought on by arrhythmias induced by electrolyte imbalances…imbalances that occur due to the actions of the many drugs they receive. Lasix. Thyroid meds. Clenbuterol. “Milkshakes”. Etc, etc…

        And all for the entertainment of some. Just sickening.

      • Thanks for this information Joy. I had a gut feeling that this was just another whitewash to fool the public once again. I come across numerous post race vetting results of “cardiac arrhythmia” and then usually the stewards will place an embargo on the horse that it is not permitted to race again until they receive a satisfactory result of an ECG test, etc. from the stable vet. Funny that they usually always come back with a satisfactory result or trainer advises horse has been “retired”.
        Of all the participants involved in horseracing, it is the VETERINARIANS that revolt me the most. They are highly educated in the equine through their university schooling and experience, they know so much about the animal and yet they just turn a huge blind eye with these horses every single day. Whether it be a stable vet or a racing authority vet they are the most accountable for the suffering of these horses because they have the power to take such action with the racing authorities, trainers and owners to prevent the horse from harm. No – they just go along with it and all they have in front of their eyes is the $$$ sign when what they should have in their mind is I will do no harm to this animal and do everything possible to relieve it of its suffering with its welfare of the highest priority.
        Racing veterinarians DISGUST me. It has been recently reported in the media that an Australian racehorse stable veterinarian might lose his veterinarian licence due to his seriously huge involvement with supplying trainers with COBALT. And yes Joy we have every right to be angry!

  2. To Risk the Moon and Leo the Lion Tamer, we who recognize and acknowledge what this industry does to countless horses CARE that you suffered and died. We CARE that your bodies and very lives were taken from you so humans could be entertained. And what these two youngsters endured is being done to innumerable racehorses at every single track across this country.

    Racing apologists, please remind those of us who speak for the horses…WHAT BENEFITS THE HORSES ENSLAVED IN THIS GAMBLING INDUSTRY? Why should one more racehorse suffer for YOUR entertainment?

    • Joy and Carolyn,

      Question: is it common for horses to be forced to race even when they have small pins inserted in their knees ??

      Speaking of horse abuse.

      This horse should be retired.

      She won four races so all they care about is getting her back into racing so they can make more money.

      there is a filly named “Take charge brandi” – has bone chip in right knee.
      is going to be Sent to dr. Bramlage in Kentucky for surgery.. will have Small pin inserted. Will return to racing in fall

      This to me is an example of the abuse that causes these horses to have accidents and die.

      • Kathleen, I can only comment based on my experience/observations (someone else on this site might know more on this subject). It is not uncommon for horses to have an operation for a bone chip problem. Also, it is not uncommon for horses to have an operation for a breathing problem. However, I hasten to add that the horses that do have surgery are usually valuable and insured and there’s plenty of money to cover all expenses for the surgery, after care, etc.

    • Bone chips in these young horses are common simply because they are being pushed beyond the limits of their state of development but Take Charge Brandi is a winner and she will be raced again. Money matters lives of horses do not.

  3. Speaking of a dead racehorse.

    I just watched a story on HRTV about Ferdinand for the third time. It is on a show called “Inside Information”
    Every time I watch this story, I cry. Again.

    From the website dedicated to Ferdinand and dedicated to finding homes to other racehorses

    “Ferdinand won both the 1986 Kentucky Derby and the 1987 Breeder’s Cup and was named Horse of the Year in 1987. Ferdinand’s road to the Derby, and his remarkable, come from behind win, rekindled the world’s fascination with horseracing and gave a depressed country an unlikely hero to believe in. During his race career, Ferdinand earned four million dollars and was retired to stud in 1989. Not long after, Ferdinand was exported to Japan and ultimately was led to slaughter.”

    “Friends of Ferdinand, Inc. is an Indiana-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible racehorse retirement by providing racehorses with alternatives at the end of their careers. At this time, we are focusing on thoroughbred racehorses. Our programs include an internet track-listing assistance service for racehorse owners, a thoroughbred donation/ re-training/ adoption program, and educational efforts targeting racehorse owners, breeders and trainers, as well as the horse community and the general public.”

    During PETA investigation in Japan, PETA also discovered that Derby and Preakness winners Charismatic and War Emblem are at breeding farms in Japan right now.

    On the subject of Charismatic and War Emblem. Michael Blowen says that they are now protected under the “Ferdinand Clause”

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