The Ugly Truth of Sunland Park

Through a “New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act,” I have confirmed the following 32 deaths at Sunland Park in 2014:

2-year-old Chicks Luv Roses, January 4, Sunland 2
“shattered both [illegible] – put down on track” (chart merely said “fell, vanned”)

3-year-old Bo Bandera, January 4
“small intestinal obstruction/colic”

2-year-old Reality Cat, January 11, Sunland 6
“flipped in saddling paddock, hit head, massive hemorrhage”

3-year-old Bye Bye Jack, January 12, Sunland 4
“slab fracture” (chart said nothing)

4-year-old Cute N Famous, January 12, Sunland 5
“fracture fetlock, complete luxation” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

3-year-old Coolshot, January 14, training
“left shoulder injury”

1-year-old Kruzin Corona Br, January 19, training
“compound fracture cannon bone”

5-year-old Flame to Fame, January 19, Sunland 11
“sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “pulled up, vanned off”)

5-year-old One Foxy Private, January 21, Sunland 9
“compound fracture” (chart merely said “taken up, vanned off”)

4-year-old Vanessa Flag, January 21, Sunland 9 (yes, that’s 2 in one race)
“fracture fetlock”

2-year-old Tormentada, February 8, Sunland 7
“sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “eased, vanned off”)

4-year-old Malibu Affair, February 8, Sunland 9
“compound fracture cannon” (chart merely said “fell, lost rider”)

4-year-old Borderland Blues, February 9, Sunland 7
“slab fracture” (chart merely said “clipped heels, vanned off”)

3-year-old Blazin Mean, February 17, training
“fracture tibia”

3-year-old Pressing On, February 18, Sunland 11
“sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

2-year-old F M Forty One, February 22, Sunland 9
“fractured sesamoid and luxation of fetlock” (chart merely said “went wrong”)

3-year-old Mighty Grizzly Water, February 25, Sunland 1
“died” after race – not euthanized (chart said nothing)

3-year-old Anotherprettygirl, February 27, training
“broken shoulder”

4-year-old Decoy, March 2, Sunland 9
“lateral and medial forelimb” (chart merely said “went wrong”)

5-year-old Giga Man, March 4, training
“catastrophic collision, likely neck fracture”

2-year-old Intoxication, March 4, training
“busted front left leg”

2-year-old Aquilo, March 4
“dead on arrival”
“Reported By: Maintenance”

4-year-old Dats Dee, March 8, Sunland 10
“carpus” (chart merely said “went wrong”)

2-year-old Playingintherain, March 9, training

6-year-old With a Miracle, March 23, Sunland 7
“sesamoid – complete luxation and fracture” (chart merely said “fell, vanned off”)

4-year-old Shop Keeper, March 25, Sunland 7
“complete fracture and luxation of fetlock” (chart merely said “fell, vanned off”)

3-year-old Travis Weaver, April 4, Sunland 9
“bilateral sesamoids” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

3-year-old Rabbit Steppin, April 11
“colic – Died” not euthanized

6-year-old Im the Preacher, April 13
“colic” not euthanized

3-year-old Call Me Louie, April 15, Sunland 5
“fractured sesamoids and luxation” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

3-year-old Chili Con Queso, April 15, Sunland 8
“bilateral sesamoid fracture” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

5-year-old War Politics, April 15, Sunland 11
“pastern” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

During this relatively short meet, multiple horses died on the same day seven times; on a single card in mid-April, three were killed. And, as was the case with Ruidoso, a pair of horses died of colic – without euthanasia. This is New Mexico horseracing.

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  1. Absolutely disgusting. 7 – 2 year old babies, dead in the dirt with excruciating fatal injuries. Their lives just beginning. 2 year old “Reality Cat” – flipped in paddock, hit head, MASSIVE HEMORRAGE. Is there anyone with a brain holding, and watching these horses? If this was your 2 year old baby, is this the way you would watch him? No accountability!!! R.I. P.

    2 year old Tormentada – Sesamoid fracture. This is not a fatal injury. A horse can be saved and retired with this type of injury. But of course, the owner obviously didn’t want to spend the money. What a crying shame. R.I.P.

    1 YEAR OLD – TRAINING DEATH – CANNON BONE FRACTURE “Kruzin Corona” – What in the world is a 1 year old baby doing on a training track? It’s bones still soft and weak, and not fully formed. What in God’s name could you be thinking. This is outright murder. What did you think was going to happen. NO COMMON SENSE, NO BRAIN, TOTAL IRRESPONSIBILITY. Rest in peace my sweet baby……..

    2 year old “Aquilo” – DEAD ON ARRIVAL – What did they do to this poor baby, that he was dead on arrival? Was he totally stressed out, given drug cocktails, dehydrated? We will never know the truth of his death, but we do know he was just a baby. We will remember you baby, rest in peace…

    You racing loyalists, what a business you are in. Your lack of accountability, responsibility, and basic common sense, played a role in these deaths. We all know on this site that you have no heart and soul, but we can add to that list “if you only had a brain”…..

    Marlene Thornley

    • It’s almost just too terrible for words Marlene. This list is utterly shameful.

  2. 3-year-old Bo Bandera, January 4
    “small intestinal obstruction/colic”
    Are these people for real – once again another horse unnecessarily dies from colic.
    No mention of euthanasia.

    4-year-old Borderland Blues, February 9, Sunland 7
    “slab fracture” (chart merely said “clipped heels, vanned off”)
    And another “slab” fracture? Clipped heels, yes, as a result of
    abusive riding and likely racing too tight.

    3-year-old Mighty Grizzly Water, February 25, Sunland 1
    “died” after race – not euthanized (chart said nothing)
    What did this 3 year old die from?
    Not euthanased which causes concern.

    5-year-old Giga Man, March 4, training
    “catastrophic collision, likely neck fracture”
    A collision with another horse? or a collision with a structure?

    2-year-old Intoxication, March 4, training
    “busted front left leg”
    “busted” yep that’ll do!

    3-year-old Rabbit Steppin, April 11
    “colic – Died” not euthanized
    6-year-old Im the Preacher, April 13
    “colic” not euthanized
    Another two colic deaths and not euthanased, these helpless horses suffered excruciating painful deaths.

    The notorious Steve Blasi (trainer with Asmussen) stated to doomed horse, NEHRO: “Quit being such an asshole. Aggravating son of a bitch.”

    After NEHRO died of colic: “I have seen a lot of shit. THAT IS THE MOST VIOLENT FUCKING DEATH I HAVE EVER SEEN.”

  3. I live in New Mexico & have since 1987. But grew up in Oklahoma and had a horse a as kid freeing up and was around the HorsevRacing Industry as an adult. Now I’m reading the problems of the Hitse Racing Industry in New Mexico. What has happened to this Industry. Do Owners/Trainers/Jockeys not care about the Horses that are on the race track. For they are no different then an athlete competing in any sport Industry. Just because they are a horse rather then. a human being shouldn’t make any difference. I was an athlete from grade school through high school. And if I had a serious injury I wouldn’t have been allowed on the court/field/track… I will admit that there were several times that I played with an ankle, wrist or back wrapped up and played without any medication other then an aspirin. But it was my choice to continue to play. If I had been in any serious pain I would have been on the bench.
    Just because the topic is Horses shouldn’t make any difference. They are being trained to run and in my book that means it’s an Athlete.
    There must be something seriously wrong with Sunland track. Is the field not in good condition for a horse to be running on. Is it to hard and therefore causing serious damage to the horses legs and/or joints. Especially when you are talking about 2 yr olds. Their bones and joints are still developing. So as an owner and or trainer much care needs to be taken regarding their physical health if you want a sound horse running and having any significant career on the track.
    This only helps me confirm that before any Horse is allowed to run on any track it must be checked out by a Vet from head to hoof regarding its sound ability to run. And the owner/trainer must submit that certification to the track authorizing its ability to run to the track officials before it’s allowed on the track.
    I don’t really know if that is the answer to protect the horse or not. Just that I know that something must be done. There is no reason for a 2 yr old to breakdown or die on the track for any reason. Anymore then there is no reason for a 2 yr old child to die if he/she is in good health when they are playing with other kids. Maybe this is a very simplistic way to look at the problem.
    But I’m thinking it’s no different that when my husband and me adopted a 1 yr old dog and brought him home with us. I told my husband that we now have a 2 yr old for the rest of his life. He just looked at me funny and asked what I meant. My answer was Simple that the little dog we welcomed into our home will be looking at us for all it’s care and needs. That means that he has food and water every day. See a Vet on a regular basis for routine checkups, gets his teeth cleans every couple of months, yearly shots, gets his daily exercise from us. Meaning we walk him or play with him everyday….etc.etc….And by doing so we will have a healthy, loving, happy little guy for the rest of his life. Well he lived to be 17 yrs old before he died on Jan. 24, 2016.
    Now you tell me how is owning and caring for a Horse any different other then in this case he/she was purchased as an investment to preform on a Race Track. Now if you want to recoup some of the expense for the up keep of such Horse. Then doesn’t it make sense that you must give it the care required in order to meet your expectations regarding its ability to preform on the Race Track…
    I would think that this is a very common sense approach to obtaining the owner/trainer’s objective wouldn’t you….

    So know can someone tell me what needs to be done to ensure the care and health of the horse? Or have I stated it too simplistically. After all the jockey ride the horse must do the same things if he/she expects to be successful in their career as a jockey and making any serious money..

    So can’t we use this same analysis for any Race Track. In order for owners/trainers to want to bring their horses to your track. Shouldn’t the track be able to ensure that the conditions of the track are pristine enough that it won’t be the cause of injuring any horse running on it thereby ensuring the owner/trainer that their track is safe for their horse etc. etc. etc…. Or again am I making this to simplistic- thereby making it a win win for everyone and the rest is up to skill and or luck who wins the race.. Because everyone has done their job to make the conditions a level playing field for everyone….

    OH I left out One Major Problem to this situation. All the crocks out their that only care about making a fast buck…

    Well not really, because that’s were the Officals, Commsionaries, Vets and State and County officials come in and look over everyone’s should to ensure that everything is as it should be..
    This is where the problem is in a nutshell.

    I know that everyone reading this thinks I’m crazy to think that it could be so simplistic.. But then maybe I am.. But then I think of myself as an honest, caring person and would love to believe that it could be just this simple…

    The biggest problem is that it is the Horse that pays the price for everyone else’s greed and looking at making a fast buck and to hell to the Horse.. And this is what breaks my heart. For people not to care what happens to one of the most beautiful animals the Lord created to be treated so thoughtlessly.

    Welll I’ve given my opinion and said my peace and just maybe it will make a difference. I can only pray that it will.

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