The following horses were raceday casualties on American tracks last week:
Reported as died, euthanized, or “broke down” – racing-speak for dead
Elite Corona, Les Bois
Reported as “vanned off” – left via ambulance, a better-than-even chance of dead
Sunshine Bliss, Finger Lakes
Midnight Wind, Parx
Starlits Touch, Mountaineer
Profit Motive, Golden Gate
Trenton Street, Belterra
Doug Hill Express, Delta
Lookout Cat, Indiana
Peanut Jr, Lone Star
Impressive Image, Louisiana
Ivory Delight, Ruidoso
Rock Me Momma, Ruidoso
RV Roulette, Arapahoe
Speak the Word, Belterra
Tauphine Pass, Evangeline
Silky Saint, Mountaineer
You Tellem Girl, Ruidoso
Twenty Gauge, Churchill
Millennium Lakes, Parx
Mister Payroll, Ruidoso
Valiant Flame, Ruidoso
Fast Down the Track, Ruidoso
Urban Hunter, Santa Anita
Goldland, Delaware, “fell,” DNF
Image Ofa Ponche, Parx, “stopped badly,” DNF
High Heeled Hooves, Parx, “ridden back while appearing sore”
Wild Swava, Indiana, “bled”
Sweeping Tale, Mountaineer, “bled”
Freddie G, Belmont, “bumped hard at the start,” DNF
Debutante Ball, Charles Town, “sore”
Sandy River, Canterbury, “stopped badly”
Redhot Fillypepper, Mountaineer, “fell,” DNF
Denyit, Canterbury, “bleeding from the nostrils,” DNF
Crown Ready, Gulfstream, “under visible distress,” DNF
Denn Piper, Parx, “returned bleeding”
Nogales, Pimlico, “galloped out sore”
About three weeks ago, an Ohio racing official, based at Belterra, reached out to me about a horse named Speak The Word. Speak is a seven year old bay gelding who last raced in May of this year when he was a DNF and was vanned off the track. I personally know the owner/trainer of Speak and I have helped him with horses in the past including one horse that I currently own, Wakiwickedwarrior. Of course, this trainer, being low level (aren’t most of them low level?), needed a place for his horse to go “right away” or, to put it in racing terms, he needed to “get rid of him”. I immediately reached out to a friend of mine in Cincinnati and we came up with a plan. She picked him up a week ago and is fostering him at her farm. Speak The Word is safe and, yes, he is alive!
Speak The Word is only seven yet has been damaged by the racing industry. His legs exhibit wear and tear and one of them actually looks deformed plus he is very thin. I have not seen the horse personally but from the photos that I have seen, I would venture to guess that he will ONLY be suitable for low level work…pleasure riding and trails. He is awaiting a vet evaluation and will receive one when he gets into a rescue here in Ohio that has agreed to take him IF funds can be raised to cover the first three months of his board. This horse received NO medical care at the track by his previous owner/trainer because the guy had NO money. If you don’t have money to properly care for your horse, then don’t have a horse, right? Although Speak The Word has not been seen by a vet at this time, I can guarantee that this horse will have issues later on since his legs have been so damaged by racing yet he is only seven years old. The gal who is fostering him says that he is the sweetest, kindest horse and is very easy to work with and the rescue that agreed to take him into their program has an excellent record of helping injured horses.
We often hear about all the “good” people in racing and I’m sure there will be some who state that this owner/trainer did the “right” thing for this horse. Really? Although I don’t have a diagnosis from a vet as to what this horse’s injuries are, I can tell you that a horse’s legs, no matter how old they are, shouldn’t look like the legs of this horse plus this horse is going to require months of rehab and good care BEFORE he can be adopted out into a good home. Where was the racing industry when this horse needed help? Why did the racing industry almost destroy this horse? Because they needed to generate revenue and fill the cards and the horse’s welfare was second to the needs of the greedy bastards immersed in this sinister and corrupt industry of horseracing. I despise it more with each passing day.
Thank you Mary…once again, it is the non-race public that comes to the aid of a damaged and discarded racehorse. In the minds of racing supporters, this would be a “feel good” story. Never mind that Speak The Word is clearly unfit for racing due to the condition of his limb(s)…I’ve seen the close-up photos and they are ugly. These types of “feel good” stories are the great majority of the industry’s own “saves”. How many times have we read where an industry member “does the right thing” in acquiring a former racehorse or retiring him, yet the “good story” then reveals the horse has chips in multiple joints or has legs so compromised that he/she can do nothing more than light trail or has the typical outcome, life as a pasture ornament. Yea, a crippled-for-life young horse is a great story. But that’s all they’ve got.
Speak The Word is one lucky horse, thanks to the efforts of Mary Johnson. It “feels good” that he is finally free of the industry that damaged him. It “feels great” that he is safe from racing’s retirement plan – slaughter. But a “feel good story”?….not when this young gelding had his body damaged and his remaining life forever negatively altered so someone, somewhere, could be entertained. This simply does not need to happen.
Yes, Joy, a “feel good” story because the horse survived the horrors of racing. A seven year old who has four legs damaged by racing, but who cares when there is a bet to be placed? Oh, and leave it to me and a rescue to pick up the pieces since the pro-racing supporters are nowhere to be found.
UPDATE ON SPEAK THE WORD…
I find the phrase “casualties of gambling” a bit intriguing. Does the word “casualty” mean that a horse lost its life on the track or does it mean that a horse is seriously maimed by an industry that professes to love its athletes? Just to clear up any confusion, the word “casualty” can be used to describe both scenarios. As we know, Patrick puts together list after list of racing’s deceased athletes, but we must never forget the other “casualties”…the ones the limp back to their stalls only to later be euthanized or those that will be relegated to being pasture pets due to the severity of their injuries. Such is the case of Speak The Word. Just to reiterate…in early August, I received a call from a racing official based at Belterra and he informed me of a horse that the trainer needed to “get rid of”. That horse was Speak The Word who last raced in May of this year and was a DNF. For three months…yes, for THREE months…Speak stood in his stall at the track with NO medical care. Again, THREE months with NO medical care. Is this an unusual situation? No, it isn’t and I have personally witnessed this type of neglect/abuse many times over the years.
A friend of mine picked Speak up at the track in mid-August and sent me photos of all four of Speak’s legs. His legs looked like they had been through a meat grinder. In fact, I was horrified by what I saw. Speak entered an Ohio based rescue toward the end of August, and, last Friday, Speak was examined by Dr. Genovese at Cleveland Equine and the diagnosis was a “severe ankle fracture”. Genovese then recommended euthanasia since the horse would, most likely, never be able to be ridden. However, Genovese did say there was another option…six months of stall rest with small paddock (15 by 20) turnout and then two months of normal turnout. If Speak stays sound, then he MAY be adoptable as a pasture pet. Only time will tell…
Make no mistake…Speak The Word is a casualty of the racing industry. He is only seven but his future is questionable, at best. Thank goodness the “non-racing” folks were there to pick up his broken body because the racing enthusiasts were nowhere to be found. No surprise there. For now, Speak is safe and loved and is in a rescue that I totally trust. The costs to rehab Speak (if it can be done) will be significant but he is just as valuable as the big names in racing. I love you, Speak The Word, and I am so sorry that your former connections failed you just as they have failed so many others. I continue to applaud the precipitous decline of racing. It can’t go away soon enough for me.
Finally, I would like to thank all those who donated to help Speak The Word get to safety. Your support is very much appreciated.
Mary, thank you for the update on Speak the Word. That poor horse suffered standing in that stall for months .while many looked away..Where were the “good people”in racing ?
I hope Speak can make it and experience kindness at the hands of humans instead of abuse and indifference..
The heartbreaking part is that Speak’s story is repeated over and over. However, most of the stories end in the slaughter house and not a rescue.
Thank you for helping this horse. Mary.
Thank You for All your hard work rescuing these forgotten abused race horses over the years.
I wish People that support racing could see what you have seen and then perhaps they would understand why horse Racing should end FOREVER.
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