Eastcoast Lights Dies of “Severe Colic” at Belmont

The NYS Gaming Commission has disclosed the death of 4-year-old Eastcoast Lights at Belmont on March 29th. Apparently, the Eugene Reiff-trained horse was euthanized “after a bout of severe colic.” It’s worth noting that the gelding was a “pulled up” DNF in his last start, December 15th at Aqueduct. In fact, in an 11-race “career” that never rose above the maiden claiming level, Eastcoast Lights was a DNF a total of three times. In fact, he never once finished above 5th. Reiff, by the way, was the handler from miserable beginning to bitter end. This is horseracing.


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  1. Eastcoast Lights – obviously – never stood a chance.
    He was stuck – with not only a heartless trainer –
    but one who might as well have gotten his licence out of a cereal box.

    • Exactly Jo-Anne. This horse’s life was pure suffering…Patrick’s post about Eastcoast Lights was difficult to read and heartbreaking to imagine.

      I wonder what was done to this horse, what concoction of drugs he received…to have three DNF’s – and one of those in his final race before his “severe colic” and death – certainly makes one wonder what injuries he might have endured and how long he waited for help.

      Eastcoast Lights was a living, feeling creature, racing apologists!…take a look at one of your OWN horses and imagine him/her enduring what Eastcoast Lights endured…he’s not just a name, now known to the readers here…put your horse in his place and ask yourself if “it’s just one of those things in this industry”.

  2. Yes, Joy, this poor horse must have gone through hell at the hands of his torturer. These low lives can get away with this simply because EVERYONE in this business condones it and that includes all the ” good people” Silence gives consent.
    And as someone said, awards are handed. out to the elite abusers. Let’s not forget the Life at Ten debaucle and the fact that the trainer’s name was hardly mentioned. Around that time someone( called the trainer “Teflon Todd ” !
    All horses are abused in this game it is just some of the abuse is totally beyond the pale. However, I’m afraid we just hear about a small percentage of the cruelty and so much more goes on behind the scene.

  3. I wonder how long East Coast Lights suffered with severe colic before he was tended to. Another MINDLESS, BOTTOM FEEDER TRAINER with no soul, which come a plenty in this industry. Colic is one of the cruelest deaths, and I hope he was tended to early and didn’t labor suffering, but I have my doubts. R.I.P. East Coast Lights, you mattered to us. Marlene Thornley

  4. NEHRO died from colic. He was under the care of Steve Asmussen and was in chronic pain from being trained with really bad feet.

    My understanding is that horses canget colic from being in chronic pain and my understanding is that horses can get colic from excessive drugs

    Colic is the number one medical cause of death in horses. Technically, colic refers to pain in a horse’s abdomen, although colic episodes typically reflect conditions of the horse’s colon. While colic can include a simple blockage, a spasm in the colon/gas buildup, or torsions in the digestive tract of a horse, the vast majority of colic episodes are idiopathic, or “of unknown origin.” In other words, we don’t know exactly what causes a horse to colic in most cases.

    In reality, colic is often a direct result of diet, and is often preventable.


  5. Colic is an Induced Condition


    Half a century ago, the care and feeding of horses looked very different than it does today. And half a century ago, colic wasn’t the death sentence for horses that it is now.

    Horses lived out most of the time. They had a constant supply of grass or hay, and they ate very little processed feed. And it worked, because that lifestyle supports how the equine digestive tract is designed to function.

    Today, how we care for horses is largely about convenience. Whether that routine is set by your barn manager, training and competition schedule, or limited land and resources, it’s all about maximizing time and efficiency. Unfortunately, what’s convenient for us isn’t always what’s best for our horses.

    Horse Care Practices Hard on the Gut

    We keep our horses stalled much of the time – where they can’t move and they can’t graze around the clock. Both of these are key to healthy gut function.

    Time and money constraints mean that you or the barn help feeds something along the lines of two scoops of grain and two flakes of hay twice a day. These large, high-starch meals interfere with the healthy balance of microflora in the hindgut in particular.

    Demands of training and competition require greater amounts of energy so we feed concentrates that are heavy on sugar and starches – which horses can’t easily digest.

    All of this inhibits the healthy working of the GI tract, making it susceptible to all kinds of problems. Uncomfortable but treatable conditions like hindgut acidosis or ulcers may result. At worst, it can lead to a deadly case of colic induced by these less than ideal feed and management programs.

    Induced Causes of Equine Colic

    Parasites were traditionally thought to be the underlying cause of colic, but with today’s highly-effective de-worming programs that is no longer the case. Other common factors that contribute to induced colic include:

    Undigested starch reaching the hindgut
    Spoiled food
    Poor water intake
    Feed changes made quickly

    These have a serious effect on the horse’s hindgut in particular, which is a key component of where colic starts.

    The good news is that the causes of colic are all related to practices that can be changed. Learn how you can help your horse avoid a case of induced colic.

  6. I am trying to chronicle every time I see an article about corruption and investigations. At some point, the racing industry needs to be challenged legally for not having tougher laws..

    With TVG taking over HRTV. I am told that betting is now possible at different tracks on horses that lose as well as horses that win and this will lead to more corruption and more abuse.

    I do not know all the details.


    NYRA official, two jockeys’ agents barred from NYRA tracks

    OZONE PARK, N.Y. – An official at the New York Racing Association and two jockey agents were escorted off the Aqueduct grounds by track security officials and are being investigated by the Queens District Attorney’s office for multiple alleged violations – including possibly tampering with a sports event, according to sources.

    According to sources, part of the investigation centers on whether Foster shared with the agents his password to the InCompass computer system that has access to all kinds of pertinent information such as entries, veterinarian lists, and workouts. Having access to that information could be deemed a competitive advantage for a jockey agent seeking mounts for his client.

  7. I think this jockey should be banned for life for abusing this horse.
    Not five years.

    From Paulick Report

    Double Trouble: Report Says Chapa Charged With Toting Buzzer On Same Horse In 2014


    Jockey Roman Chapa, already in hot water for allegedly carrying an electrical device aboard Quiet Acceleration in the 2015 Richard King Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park, has been accused by the Texas Racing Commission of carrying a device in the 2014 edition of the race, when he rode Quiet Acceleration to victory. Houston Press first reported the latest charge against the 43-year-old jockey.

    The commission issued a notice of alleged violation of several rules Wednesday afternoon, including unlawful influence on racing, inhumane treatment and contraband. The development piles onto a five-year suspension and $100,000 fine handed down from the commission, as well as felony charges for trying to influence a horse race and lying to investigators related to the 2015 Richard King Stakes.

    Texas Racing Commission spokesman Robert Elrod declined to provide comment to the Houston Press about the notice of violation or to elaborate on the commission’s evidence as to buzzer use in the 2014 race.

    A hearing is set for April 16 at 10 a.m. at Sam Houston Race Park, unless Chapa waives his right to the hearing or asks it be scheduled sooner.

  8. This industry is cruel. The selfish human messes up and in the end the horse pays for it with his life. Rest in peace Eastcoast Lights.

  9. Yes, Joy, we can’t imagine the suffering of this horse at the hands of his abuser. This outrageous cruelty goes on because it is accepted by this industry.

    The whole business is based on horse abuse such as 23 hours a day confined to a stall; fed a high octane diet; drugged at the hands of vets and others that don’t have a clue; joints injected; pushed and prodded into the starting gate; made to run even when they are not able to; whipped when they are tiring or slowing because of pain; going from barn to barn with unfamiliar handlers as they are claimed over and over and then death in the dirt or at the slaughterhouse. But before all this there is the breeding and the prepping for the sales. The abuse starts early and just gets worse until the end.

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