Eyewitness to a Breakdown Will Never Return to the Track

Recently, I received an email from an eyewitness to Mariano Intheninth’s breakdown at Churchill Downs. The words are so poignant that I asked permission to publish them as a post. On a personal note, and to which so many of you can relate, advocating for animals is no easy calling. The cruelty and suffering that surrounds us can be overwhelming – soul-crushing, at times. But then along comes a note like this to lift the spirits, give us hope.

From Meghan in Kentucky:

“I am writing you because I saw what you posted about Mariano Intheninth. My family and I live in Louisville. I have never been a huge fan of horse racing but my family got free tickets to the track that day and were taking my 85 year old grandma for a day out. I was there when Mariano Intheninth broke his leg…about 30 feet away from me. I will NEVER forget it. Everyone was worried about the Jockey while I was concerned about the poor horse who was obviously afraid and in pain. I have not stopped thinking about it since.

I just wanted to thank you for acknowledging his existence and short life as well as the hundreds of others who have pointlessly lost their lives. I for one will NEVER return to Churchill Downs or any other track ever again, and this experience has only further opened my eyes to this disgusting ‘sport.’ I wish everyone knew the truth. Thank you again Patrick.”

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  1. Meghan…
    I hope you see my brief note of thanks to you. Thank you for acknowledging that two lives were involved in that incident – the jockey’s and Mariano Intheninth’s. The non-consenting horses are more often than not just an inconvenient afterthought. But yet, this industry would not even exist if it were not for them. They way they are treated in life and in death is incredibly callous, disrespectful, and downright insulting.

    THANK YOU for taking the time to send an email to Patrick. Thank you for your promise to never return to the track. Thank you for choosing to not support this industry. Thank you for honoring Mariano Intheninth. YOU helped to make certain his death did not go unnoticed. Thank you.

  2. Thank you Patrick for sharing this and thank you Meghan for allowing your feelings to be shared as well! It is important that word gets out on the atrocities of horseracing! For someone who meant this to be just a family outing, to be a witness to and be totally affected by the poor horse’s tragedy, shows that there is hope for those others out there that watch these races and support the “sport”. I too used to watch them and root for a horse, years ago, but on seeing what transpires all throughout the years, from something that I saw when I was 6, and was ingrained into my mind and resurfaced later on, and after I adopted a horse right off the track that at only 4, had 21 starts in his life, and is arthritic but still totally loved by me and all that know him as we speak — well, let’s just say that I know as do many around that this all needs to end, and the more that can be reached, the better that chance can be!

  3. Joy,
    Thank you for your kind comment. I only wish I could do more. I am a HUGE animal lover and it makes me sick to see any animal taken advantage of. This experience has really opened my eyes and has caused me to do a lot of online research (which is how I came across Patrick’s site). Unfortunately, horseracing is a big part of Louisville KY and most people just don’t get how terrible it is. It is part of the culture here. I am just thankful that I am not the only person who cares about these beautiful horses. I hope Mariano Intheninth is at peace now.

  4. Thank you for sharing. Much like my personal eyewitness to Hugh Knew’s break down on Saturday at Santa Anita racetrack, I praise your stand and commentary!

    I can’t sit back. I may not have the power to end racing but I have the power and freedom to advocate for regulations and exposure…true media exposure! All of it counts. I’ve already started…Save the Horses. Stop the Kill!

  5. Meghan,

    Thank you for standing with us, against this cruel industry, where thousands of TB’s have become innocent victims in one way, or another, through their exploitation.

    I too came across this site, after witnessing the tragic breakdown of several horses in a spill. It was heartbreaking, and spurred me on to research this sick industry, and I discovered the horrible abuse, cruelty and mistreatment, being inflicted on these beautiful, magnificent, creatures, who never asked to be bred to die in the dirt, for the purposes of gambling.

    As a true animal lover, I know how much it hurts to see them suffer. Mariano in the ninth is at peace now Meghan, and free from his pain, and we all hope on this site, that one day they will all be free to live the life that they were meant to live, far away from the racing industry. I am proud of you for standing up for what is right, and for your courage, and we all mourn the loss of another beautiful, innocent, baby.

    Marlene Thornley

  6. Thank you Meghan for taking the time to write to Patrick and giving him permission to post your comment. I join Joy, Sandra, April, Marlene with their thoughts so eloquently expressed. As to your point about everyone worrying about the jockey and your concern for Mariano, I am so with you having witnessed too many breakdowns. All the medical expertise and comfort is always at hand for the jockey but the horse being a prey animal is not able to display his shock, pain and suffering and his mates “the herd” have continued to gallop on ahead and he so wishes to be with them for some comfort. He is so ALONE – heartbreaking.

    • Carolyn…EXACTLY! When we hear from the supporters how the horses just “love to run” – I’m assuming they claim that because they RUN in the race – I think to myself, how can they be so ignorant?!? It IS heartbreaking to see the injured horse left behind by his/her “herd” as they run on ahead, leaving him/her alone and vulnerable. I’ve mentioned a particular little colt before, but he deserves mention again in light of your fabulous comment…I saw him break a front leg during a race, and after dumping his jockey when he fell, he tried to run on chasing the safety of his “herd”. He couldn’t catch them, so he came up to where the ponies were…his leg dangling and eyes wide with fear, shock, and just beseeching protection.

      • That is so sad :( Mariano’s poor little leg was dangling as well. Made me sick. I wish I could have helped the poor guy <3 I just don't understand how people can just keep on going after that. Keep on gambling, drinking, eating and laughing after seeing that. I had to leave immediately after he was vanned off… and I will obviously never return.

      • Joy – that poor young colt, it must’ve been gut wrenching for you to witness this sickening incident. Yes, the terrible fear they must experience. What must these equine animals think of us human animals? They are far superior living creatures than the great majority of us, that is for sure. The horseracing industry should be ashamed of itself for declaring racing is a “sport”. IT IS A BLOOD SPORT!

    • Meghan,

      THank you for posting this. Often times, these posts are taken down because the racing world does NOT want the gambling public to see horses die at the track.

      I am looking forward to the day when the entire industry of horse racing dies. FOREVER.

  7. Thank you Meghan for putting this link up. Not pleasant to see the suffering of this noble horse but it is important that the public is informed as to the true meaning of what happens to a horse when he/she “breaks down”. Looked to me as though it was his off (right) fore leg and a very bad break because usually a horse cannot stop his momentum as quickly as he did and he would’ve been wanting to keep up with his mates/herd. Most of the time limb fractures result in the dangling of that limb which is sickening for the public to see. The racing industry cannot hide incidents such as MARIANO INTHENINTH, he was leading and close to the line and that’s when it gets uncomfortable for them, not good for the image of racing. However, when a breakdown does not occur in the final part of the race for all to see, they are very quick to get the horse vanned off. Yep, plenty of dangling legs have been put into a vehicle and “vanned off”. This racing industry policy is abhorrently cruel because the horses suffer excruciating pain with these injuries. We know why they do this, they want to hide from the public the sickening suffering of their “much loved” horses in lieu of euthanasing them on track relieving them of their agonizing pain.


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