The Final 15 Deaths at Suffolk Downs

Suffolk Downs may have closed for good in 2014, but it left one last trail of blood. Through a “Public Records Act” request, I have confirmed the following 15 deaths:

5-year-old Rhythm of the Moon, May 14, Suffolk 4

6-year-old King Hall, May 17, pleuropneumonia

4-year-old Brass Rail, June 2, training

4-year-old Iwillneversaynever, June 6, “spooked during bath, fractured skull”

5-year-old Olivia Twist, June 11, training

5-year-old Ethan John, June 18, Suffolk 1, “collapsed after race-died”
chart said “fell at the wire”

3-year-old Gem’s Pride, June 21, training

4-year-old Shell It Back, July 17, laminitis

5-year-old Double Dancer, July 25, colic

5-year-old Ambarona, August 9, Suffolk 3 (euthanized August 11)
chart said “bad step, vanned off”

3-year-old Sombra de La Luna, August 20, Suffolk 9 (euthanized August 23)
chart said “gave way, eased”

6-year-old Washington’s Rules, August 30, Suffolk 6
chart said “displayed bad action, vanned off”

3-year-old Indian Lark, September 17, Suffolk 7 (euthanized September 29)
chart said finished fine

3-year-old The Dark Lion, September 24, Suffolk 5 (euthanized September 29)
chart said finished fine

8-year-old Funky Country, October 4, Suffolk 6
chart said “pulled up, vanned off”

And another – Acrylic Hanover – at the Plainridge harness track on June 17th (colic).

This is (hopefully, was) Massachusetts horseracing.


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  1. Hopefully gone forever. One killing field at a time this horrific industry will crumble under its own immoral weight.

    • Couldn’t have said it better, raysaputelli, just wish it was going much faster. How many more will Patrick post have died before we quit whipping animals that are suffering injuries, have joints injected and are full of drugs both legal and illegal so if they don’t suffer a catastrophic injury in training or racing, the drugs destroy their liver, they die of colic or drop dead from heart attacks? I ache for the suffering I know is happening this very minute.

      • Jo Ann,

        These tracks (cemeteries) really, are not closing as fast as any of us would like, but Suffolk Downs closing is a small victory. I too feel that progress in this area is very slow, but the racing industry is hurting, and I know for a fact that Meadowlands in New Jersey is losing money. I hope it is next on the chopping block.

        Aid cannot come fast enough for the throughbred’s who continue to suffer and die unnecessarily, and it is heartbreaking to see list after list of fatalities. My heart breaks every time for these defenseless babies taken way to soon. The government needs to step in and regulate this sickening industry. It is the best that we can hope for, before we see any improvement in the misery of daily life for the throughbred. I pray this Industry dies soon. Marlene Thornley

  2. I thought I read something somewhere about officials trying to organize race dates for 2015. DRF reports:

    “Representatives of Massachusetts horsemen plan to meet with officials from Suffolk Downs over the next several weeks to hammer out a plan for live racing this year after the state legislature passed a bill on Tuesday protecting the track’s racing license and simulcasting operations through 2016.” Read more

    So the tragic treatment and killing may not be over there.

  3. Kathleen, I’ve been away and now see that you had already posted about this subject on another Horseracing Wrongs notice – apologies. Yes, well as Rose pointed out it’s not just the vets that are accountable and I couldn’t agree more that the trainers are just as guilty. To answer your question, I do not know what is happening with the relevant trainers and I guess you could enquire at the Pennsylvania Racing Commission.

    A trainer in my State was found guilty of a violation of a drug rule. He is the top trainer here. His defence was that anyone could’ve got to his horses and he had no knowledge of the matter. They get the best legal representatives that money can buy at these racing authorities’ hearings and in my view get off lightly with a nod nod and a wink wink. The trainer admitted that the buck stops with him and at the end of the day he is responsible for whatever occurs in his stables. They fined him $30,000 which is nothing to him. He stated that he would look into implementing greater security policy for his stables!
    He wiped his hands of any knowledge of the drug violation and implied that someone had got to his horses. No suspension of his licence, no way not for this “top” trainer.
    This is a classic example of the corruption which takes place in an industry that is self-regulated, virtually a law unto themselves and they don’t like to step on anyone’s toes because the show must go on!

    • Carolyn,

      That makes no logical sense to me.

      A veterinarian is not going to give a horse drugs unless the trainer tells him to because the veterinarian needs to be paid by someone.

    • Just wondering why you too seem to be giving this trainer a break. Why have you not named him? I would be spelling it out loud and clear. Those of any other trainers as well.

  4. Kathleen, the trainers and vets are in collusion. Officially, the trainer is responsible (not the vet) if his horse is found with a drug violation but the trainer in my State (like many other trainers) uses the legal loophole that anyone could’ve got to his horse – pathetic! The other factor is that some drugs can be mixed with the horse’s feed e.g. Cobalt. In other words this particular trainer was implying that someone unknown to him put the drug in his horse’s feed. A corrupt stablehand can be paid $$$ by whoever to “get back” at a trainer for whatever reason. This has happened in the past but it is very rare these days and not for one minute do I believe that this was the case here. The trainer instructs his stable vet to inject his horse/s with excess (a violation) of certain legal drugs as well as injecting illegal drugs banned in racing. Owners are also accountable because the great majority of them know their horses are being illegally drugged – any owner who is unaware of this fact would be pretty dumb.

    In the case of the Pennsylvania vets it appears that the offences were so serious that the Racing Commission dealt with them by revoking their licences. As I said I do not know what is happening with the relevant trainers in Pennsylvania but it is likely they’ll get away with a slap on the wrist and/or a fine that’s chicken feed to them and/or a short suspension. These trainers should be banned for life. What I like about this case is that the law of the land (which has always been my argument) has come into play with these 4 veterinarians. It appears that there is currently no law of the land in place to charge the trainers. Remember that the Racing Commissions do not like to tread on the toes of most trainers especially the high profile ones such as that cur Steve Assmussen when he was found “innocent”, despite the indisputable PETA evidence, in the abhorrent torturous cruelty inflicted on NEHRO who DIED AS A DIRECT RESULT OF SUCH CRUELTY. These seriously negligent, corrupt, appallingly incompetent and disgraceful Racing Commissions have blood on their hands.
    The above is just my opinion only.

  5. Horse racing is a corruption cesspool, cruelty ring, and death camp based on my years of experience as a Trainer.
    The racehorses are nothing more than profit slaves, and pawns in this game of corruption.
    This is a multibillion dollar industry.
    Yet, with all the advanced technology, Trainers and racetracks REFUSE to strategically place Closed Circuit Cameras in the stable areas of the tracks.
    A complete closed circuit camera system would cost a PITTANCE compared to the millions they bring into the wagering windows.
    Yet, they refuse to put them in. It would put an end to these ridiculous defenses by Trainers because the camera can be used as solid evidence in court.
    It’s so obvious that the alleged race fixing must continue, and they ensure that it does.
    The doping, and shock wave therapy continues unabated as racehorses die.
    It should be mandatory for all racetracks to install CCC”S throughout the stable area, and in the stalls.
    There are solutions, but the industry continues to uphold the ongoing doping which is a huge contributing factor to race fixing, and racehorses dying.
    STRADIVARI yet another victim of Todd Pletcher. This 3 year old colt broke down during Training yesterday. Here’s his comment: “Early x-rays indicated that his sesamoids were intact, but later x-rays taken at Rood and Riddle showed an axial sesamoid fracture.”
    Oh – how nice. Just an axial sesamoid fracture – just another day in the life of a racehorse under Todd Pletcher’s care.
    These top Trainers like Pletcher, Baffert, Asmussen have racehorses die under their care all the time. Over the years, it’s probably hundreds that have either career-ending injuries or catastrophic breakdowns, and the beat goes on.
    When you closely analyze these Trainer’s and their killed in action list it’s the definition of a serial killer only in this case it’s racehorses.
    “A serial killer is a person who murders three or more people (racehorses), usually in service of abnormal psychological gratification, with the murders taking place over more than a month and including a significant break (a “cooling off period”) between them.”
    These Trainers are the classic definition of a serial killer only the victims are racehorses.
    Nobody can tell me differently, and the only way they get away with it is because the racehorses is considered a “chattel” “property,” as defined in the law.
    Another reason why they get away with it is because racehorses have no voice.
    The most disgusting part of this entire equation is that the people who have voices choose to participate, and support this serial killer behavior by sending their racehorses into their barns knowing full well that they might not make it out alive, they also wager further financially supporting this mayhem.

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