State-By-State FOIA Recap

I have completed my FOIA requests and subsequent reports for 2014. Follows is a state-by-state recap.

These states would not (or said they could not) fill my request:

Arkansas – After the Commission said it “would not be involved in the death of a horse unless there was a suspected rule violation,” I sent a request to Oaklawn Park. Their reply: “Such a list [of dead horses] does not exist.”

California – Willing to give raw number, but not the horses’ names.

Delaware – Made it cost-prohibitive to secure the information.

Kentucky – “Regarding your request, the KHRC is not in possession of any documents that would be responsive to that portion of your request. You may want to contact the Jockey Club.”

Michigan – “MGCB denies your request for the reason that, after reasonable inquiry, to the best of the MGCB’s knowledge, information, and belief, MGCB does not possess [those] records.”

Minnesota – “We are prohibited from sending this information by Minnesota law. Minnesota Statute 156.082 states that veterinary records of a client that are maintained by a state agency, statewide system, or political subdivision are private data on individuals or nonpublic data as defined in section 13.02.”

Pennsylvania – “A list of racehorses which died or were euthanized at Pennsylvania racetracks is not maintained by the Racing Commission.”

These states, while honoring the request, omitted crucial information:

Arizona – Only submitted for one of its two tracks (Turf), leaving Rillito completely unrepresented.

Idaho – Training deaths were omitted.

Iowa – Training deaths were omitted.

Louisiana – Training deaths were omitted: “We do not track or maintain a list of deaths that occur during training hours as those are more often than not handled between the trainer and their private veterinarian.”

Nebraska – Training deaths were omitted.

Oregon – Training deaths were omitted.

West Virginia – Mountaineer’s training deaths were omitted.

While the following states provided the information that I asked for, none of them (nor any of the others) disclosed those horses who were euthanized (for racing or training injuries) at private farms, training centers, or rescue facilities. In short, our 2014 KIA list is far from complete.

Indiana (though names were redacted)
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York



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  1. How interesting arkansas would not get involved with the death of a horse unless a rule is broken I think death would sum that up how ignorant

  2. What rules are they talking about ? The rules in racing are connected to the money angle of the game. I’m not aware of any rules with the welfare of the horse in mind. Arkansas, like all the rest, cares about the money and to Hell with the horse. Don’t look for anything that might be against the “rules” is the rule in this game !!

  3. Patrick,

    Thank you so much for your tireless and relentless pursuit of the truth and exposure in honor of some God’s precious creatures, the horses!! I can’t tell you how much it means to me in the wake of what I witnessed when I saw Hugh Knew fall to his death at Santa Anita almost 2 weeks ago. Jockey, Gary Stevens. What I feel about him can’t be said on this site. Also, his history and recorded statements are too vile to share.

    Reading through this latest FOIA article, and the lack of transparency and cover-up behind the truth of these senseless tragic deaths of race horses from authorities infuriate me and make me want to fight even harder and stronger to expose the lies and cover-up.

    Keep up the good work and exposure!

    It is up to us to to bring the public into consciousness and outcry. Not just reform but ban.

    Please keep an eye on Molten Image. He has been vanned off twice in less than 2 mos at Santa Anita. Owner I believe to be the late (as in this week) actor by the last name of Van Patten. If I’m incorrect on the owner I apologize to him but I’m pretty sure it’s him. Another exploiter.

    Free the Horses!

  4. Speaking of Louisiana and race horses


    Story by Susan Salk June 15th 2015

    Nobody was looking for Barkinspider the day the shockingly thin colt was collected from a Louisiana roadside like a heap of discarded trash.

    Just another unwanted ex-racehorse of no particular value, the petite gray T’bred’s coat had fallen out in patches where the rain rot had gotten to it, and his eyes had dulled with a look of defeat.

    When horse-rescue personnel from the Lafayette Parish Animal Control led him onto a trailer to drive him to safety, he offered neither protest nor fight. It was as if the energy to hope for a better life had been drained away by that time, recalls Anne Marie P. Muller, an attorney and avid equestrian.

    “I drove back a week later with my trailer” on Sept. 21 “and I remember that after I opened the trailer, he walked right in, and he whinnied all the way back to the barn,” she says. “He seemed brighter immediately.”

    New name: Regarding Henry
    Barn name: Henry
    Sire: Mom’s Little Guy
    Dam: Star of Maurice
    Foal date: April 17, 2009

    • Kathleen, I’m sure you know that Ms. Susan Salk is a “mouthpiece” for the racing industry. She openly admitted to both me and Joy that she knows little about horses, but is a “huge” supporter of racing. I suppose that she, like so many others, gets caught up in the glamour of racing on Derby Day. Many clueless people do. When Patrick criticized racing on her OTTB blog, she blocked him. Joy and I aren’t permitted to post on her blog because we are anti-racing. I personally believe that posting her feel good story here is inappropriate but I also know that you like to copy and paste stories that you read on the internet. For every Barkinspider story, there are hundreds of other stories that don’t end nearly so well. We should all know that by now.

      • Joy,

        I did not know that Susan Salk is a “mouthpiece” for the racing industry. Thank you for letting me know.
        I j liked the story of a race horse getting a good home. that is all.

        I thought it made a good point of how race horses are used and abused and then discarded. That was my point for sharing.

      • Ms. Curtis-Olivas, why would you bad mouth all of us that are against horseracing? Also, why does Salk block those who criticize racing yet Patrick allows you to continue to come on this blog and bash and trash us? Perhaps Salk doesn’t want the truth out there because it might cause her to leave the enchanted forest.

      • Mary , You know why , I am not against HorseRacing . You on the other hand , I thought was for saving horses , OTTB is about second careers and homes after racing . Don’t tell me that you are like Patrick and follow PETA. That would disappoint me , because beyond our differences , I really thought you were for the horses.

      • Debra Curtis-Olivas

        As we know the great majority (about 90%) of ex racehorses end up in the slaughterhouse. The number of ex racehorses that go on to another career are just a drop in the ocean compared to the total number of ex racehorses. The homes that many famous racehorses go to are supported by the racing industry for obvious reasons – it is a public relations exercise. Pro-racing people like yourself just love stories like Barkinspider because it gives the impression to the unsuspecting public that these ex racehorses go on to another career. The racing industry also spins out these stories in the media, etc., however, there is no transparency or disclosure as to the extremely embarrassingly low number of horses like Barkinspider.

        NO….. the industry would never go there preferring to do its utmost to keep this dark ugly truth under wraps.

      • Ms. Curtis-Olivas, I think you are, once again, horribly confused. I am NOT against the FB page titled OTTB CONNECT administered by Ms. Laura Holmes. If you have proof otherwise, please provide it here. What I did say is that Ms. Susan Salk, who knows little about horses but saw an opportunity to get her name “out there”, writes a blog called “Off-Track Thoroughbreds” and that blog is supported by the TRF. Therefore, Salk is a “mouthpiece” for the TB racing industry.

        I am going to tell you that I DO support PETA and they are in my will. What you think about me is totally irrelevant. I couldn’t care less if I “disappoint” you. I don’t feel that I have to provide you with documentation that I am in this for the horses since my track record speaks for itself. You, on the other hand, support an industry where approximately 80% of the foal crop will eventually die in a slaughterhouse, die in the dirt while racing/training or limp back to their stalls only to later be euthanized. Therefore, I have made it clear, in very simplistic terms, why I am against horseracing.

  5. The refusal by the abovenamed State Racing Commissions in not giving all of the requested information under the Freedom Of Information Act calls for a Government Inquiry. These horses are put on public display, in an industry which is sustained by the public and the public has a right to know. Any industry, let alone a public industry, that has a policy of non-transparency and non-disclosure and going to great lengths to hide its wrongdoings is skating on thin ice. It seems to me that if some State Racing Commissions are forthcoming with their disclosures when the majority of the State Racing Commissions refuse to disclose, then realistically this is a serious problem for the racing industry.

  6. Patrick,

    Heather just wrote an excellent blog post with your stats.

    Writing and Data Wrangling by: Heather Clemenceau

    Most of the followers of this blog are familiar with Patrick Battuello and his meticulous collection of stats on the deaths and injuries of racehorses across the United States via his blog HorseracingWrongs. I was recently sent his 2014 compilation of information on racing deaths for 2014, and immediately I knew that, as a visual person, I wanted to see it represented in pictures and graphs. So I took Patrick’s data line by line, recorded each horse’s age at death, the track info, plugged it all in an Excel spreadsheet, added state, city, and zip codes for each of the tracks, scrubbed and sorted the data, and then imported it all into Tableau for visualization. It’s so disturbing to see the number of deaths of 1 year-olds in training at various tracks, as well as horses of the “advanced” age of 10. The average age of nearly 1,000 dead race horses was only 3.9 years.

    There are certainly more deaths than what is represented here. Patrick was limited in what he was given via FOIA requests, while other tracks maintained that they didn’t keep lists, didn’t recognize training deaths, didn’t provide complete information, claimed that they were prohibited by law from providing information, or simply denied requests. The information obtained does not even include deaths that occurred at private farms, training centers, or rescue facilities, nor does it include “non-racing” fatalities such as colic or laminitis. In turn, I was somewhat limited in my ability to determine whether tracks had been sold and changed names with or without the complication of bankruptcy, and where they were located in states/cities.The data certainly tells a story. But even if we estimate that the deaths are double the numbers captured, visualizations on graphs do not include all the other horses slaughtered in Canadian or Mexican plants last year, which is where many of them go when they lose one too many a race.

    Raw Data below:

  7. Did you request this data from any other equine organization? Rodeos, Chuck wagon races, gaited shows, AQHA, eventing, endurance, etc? If so, did they comply?

    • Cindi, I’m sure you appreciate all the work that Patrick does in order to get the facts out there when it comes to the deaths in horseracing, right? Anyone who truly loves these horses would be supportive when it comes to reporting the hundreds of horses that die in the dirt on a yearly basis. Oh, and I’ve been around racehorses since the 1960’s and I can assure you that the industry doesn’t want you to see the deaths nor do they want you to read about the deaths. Why is that, Cindi, why is that?

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