Racing’s Broken Bodies, 6/22/15-6/28/15

The following horses were raceday casualties on American tracks last week:

Reported as died, euthanized, or “broke down” – racing-speak for dead
She Sings Along, Santa Anita
Oh So Proud, Charles Town
Willful, Parx
Matted in Gold, Canterbury
Face the Race, Monmouth

Reported as “vanned off” – left via ambulance, a better-than-even chance of dead
Barbada, Delaware (“pulled up in apparent distress”)
Gold Potion, Delaware (“pulled up in distress”)
One Vote, Mountaineer
Girls and Guns, Delaware (“bled”)
Trinni Heart, Parx
Big Man in Town, Oak Tree
Nickels Wild, Santa Anita (“bleeding from the nostrils”)
Ojos De Hielo, Arlington
Quieta Tiz, Evangeline
Majestic Holiday, Indiana
Directed Verdict, Penn (“lame”)
King’s Fortune, Arlington
Rockin the Fence, Canterbury
Benny’s Glory, Canterbury (“pulled up in distress” after winning)
Incisive, Canterbury (“stumbled badly and fell”)
Sir Riley, Emerald
Suyeta, Louisiana
Kriscraft, Oak Tree
Jessica’s Star, Prairie
Mr Hempens Feature, Canterbury (“bled”)
Clever Expansion, Canterbury
Meleager, Gulfstream
Havana Juile, Monmouth
Lunar Storm, Ruidoso

Martin Ray, Ruidoso, “bled”
On a Snowy Evening, Belmont, “stumbled badly falling to her face,” DNF
Attitude Miss, Indiana, “bled”
Shady Rules, Presque Isle, “walked off having visibly bled”
Barracuda Wayne, Penn, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Abounding Grace, Thistledown, “returned lame”
Sporting Holiday, Canterbury, “hit a fallen rival,” DNF
Maximus Royal Rose, Chippewa, “went through inside rail”

(source: Equibase)


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  1. Now that the HSUS is joining forces with Racing we can look forward to big improvements for the horses.
    I would like to know what the HSUS plan is in terms of what and how improvements will be accomplished.

    Is there a plan for a national racing commission with uniform rules governing all racing venues ?

    Will there be rules such as not starting horses more than every 3 weeks ?

    Will ALL race day medications and ALL joint injections be abolished ?

    Will there be mandatory turnout for all tracks ?

    Will there be serious consequences for ALL medication violations for ALL trainers and veterinarians.

    Will there be serious consequences for jockeys who violate rules ?

    Will the whip be abolished ?

    Will the claiming be abolished ?

    This is the short list of reforms that I’m sure Wayne Pacelle and racing will be working on, Right !!

    It is so obvious the only way humane treatment of the horse can be accomplished is to end the “sport”.

    Jockey: Larren Delorme
    Trainer: Mike Kirby
    Owner: Michael Kretzler, Jr.
    Breeder: Lisa Duoos

    A four year old mare having had only 3 starts: $22,370 ($7,457 per start)
    Her first start on 17 Dec 2014 saw her come home 3rd. Then she is turned out for 5 months before resuming. Perhaps she pulled up with an injury/condition in that first start because it is strange that she did not continue especially when she was going well. She wins her second start and then one month later she breaks down and is vanned off (likely dead).
    And again no disclosure as to the serious injury/condition suffered by this horse.

    If Matted In Gold is deceased then the relevant racing authority has both a moral and legal obligation to disclose. If she is not deceased then the injury/condition she suffered must be disclosed. This mare was on public display, she was seen to break down and was vanned off – might be end of story for the racing industry but most certainly not for concerned members of the public. Does the racing industry not realize that it invites the public to partake in this so called “sport” e.g. attend race meetings, place bets on horses, watch on tv, etc. and therefore it is incumbent upon the industry to be transparent and disclose the truth.

    Well what does this tell us?
    It reveals that the horses did not have an enjoyable time, that’s for sure.
    Yet, the racing industry constantly tells us how much their horses just LOVE TO RACE!
    No, they do not love to race.
    More likely these horses were not up to the task of racing for a variety of reasons such as being sore; musculoskeletal problems; carrying pre-existing injuries; afflicted with arthritis; dysfunctional feet (NEHRO is an example); bleeding in the lungs; being overraced with insufficient respite; pumped with both legal and illegal drugs e.g. Cobalt; improperly trained/managed leading up to the race; blinkers restricting their vision resulting in the horse in fear of its safety; and last but not least, being beaten with a whip by a cur on its back whilst seriously fatigued and forced to run beyond its limits!

    Some people in the racing industry state that these horses know when they’ve won…….?
    And they say some even prick up their ears when they go past the finish line first because they know they’ve won….?

    The rubbish they come out with is simply unbelieveable and they think people will swallow it.

    Equine scientists on behaviour will tell you that when a horse pricks up its ears it does not mean that the horse is happy which some people like to think. It means that the horse is focusing on something that has caught his attention and that can be positive (racing on a home track sights the safety of his stable – I’ve seen this many a time) or it can be negative (movement behind some bushes/trees, is it a predator).

    Well, here’s an example of a horse (Benny’s Glory) pulling up DISTRESSED after winning. He had such a lovely time racing and winning, that he pulled up distressed!

    No doubt Benny’s Glory’s connections were jumping for joy when he won – to hell with what the horse suffered!

  4. Carolyn , Once again you guys are just making crap up as you go along . You Assume to know the whole life story of a horse by a sentence or two on a chart on equibase ! Well im going to give the Real FACTS about Mattie !!! Her owner happens to be a very dear friend of mine and he is absolutely heartbroken over her loss as are the rest of us that had the privilege of being part of her life. Yes Mattie had her first start Dec 17 ,2014 at Hawthorne , After that she was brought back home for a very well deserved rest.. ( NO SHE WAS NOT INJURED ) She went back into training in March at Fonner Park . No she did not start at Fonner simply because ,the owner Mr Kreztler was taking his time with her and wanted to wait for Canterbury simply because she was a Minnesota Bred !!! Mattie was very much loved and very well taken care of by all of her connections ! I know this to be true because i too was also personally involved with Mattie . I was her pony person off and on since she first stepped foot on a racetrack back in Jan 2014 !
    What you people need to realize Is that all the people on the racetrack are not the monsters you make us out to be ! When we lose one of our horses its is very very real for us and very painful !!! We put our hearts and souls into these Horses !!!

    • No Laura Mohr…”YOU people” need to realize how moronic YOU look in your exclamations of being “heartbroken” over the killing of your horses…the killing that “YOU people” are responsible for. You sound like a broken record. And the song has been played too many times.

    • Laura – I stated the facts (source: Equibase)
      Where in my comment did I state or assume that I knew her whole life story?

      Her first start (she placed 3rd) and then 5 MONTHS AND 2 WEEKS OFF? After a single solitary start (no numerous starts here)?
      2-3 weeks recovery/rest/respite after a start is the norm.
      You state she went back into training in March some 3 months later but did not start? The reason
      you gave unfortunately was not in her best interests. The best trained/managed horses have short preps and 3 months out – and that is when they’ve had a number of starts in their preps. This particular horse did not require being put out for such a long period. In fact it was detrimental for her because starting a horse after such a long period out is a high risk factor, there has been a study on this – Christopher Riggs, BVSc, PhD, DEO, Dipl. ECVS, MRCVS, head of Veterinary Clinical Services at the Hong Kong Jockey Club stated “Horses resuming high-speed work after a period of rest”. Just because she won doesn’t mean all was well with her. My study has found that many deaths occur when the horse has been recently winning/2nd 3rd.

      Have another look at my comment – I said “Perhaps” and you should therefore realize that I did
      not categorically state that Matted In Gold definitely suffered an injury/condition. Any reasonable thinking person on reading her racing career would immediately think well why when she was successful in her first start did they put her out for almost half a year? Quite simply it just doesn’t add up. Why didn’t she start as a 2 year old for which the racing industry is notorious. If it was because her connections wanted her to grow a bit and follow the advice of the world renowned equine scientists, then that doesn’t add up either because if that advice had been heeded she would not have started until 6-7 years of age.
      In my experience the reason for a late starter is often because the horse has an issue in relation to its health, conformation, etc. which is often detrimental for a horse embarking on a racing career.

      Mattie’s death distressed me (every racehorse death distresses me) and of course her owner, yourself and others were very distressed with her death. What puzzles me is that you don’t take a step back and think about what racing does to these horses. Heaps of sadness and grief after a death and then before one can blink people like yourselves in the industry are back into it with the next horse/s in the stable with the full knowledge that they also could suffer death.

      Laura you’ve posted before on this site and it tells me that you accept the abuse, mistreatment and cruelty that racing unashamedly condones and ignores.

      You do not know me from a bar of soap, you do not know my background and experience and yet you claim I’m making up crap as I go along. No I am not. I have recently completed my research/data study on 5 years of deaths and I cannot begin to tell you of the unspeakable sufferings these horses endured. I investigated almost two hundred deaths for this study which included necropsy reports, racing history, and, coming from a racing family I was fortunate to be in a position to interview some trainers, jockeys, racing vets, stable vets, trackwork riders, owners, strappers on some of these deaths. I witnessed some of these deaths when I was physically on the track, some just metres from me.

      You will also notice that I did not categorically state that MIG died. You have not disclosed the cause of Mattie’s death – I would be interested to know.

      And lastly, if you genuinely loved Mattie why did you watch and accept her being beaten with a whip?

      • Carolyn, I’ll admit i have no idea how people in Australia train their young horses. Here in the US we make sure the horse is mentally and physically ready . Seeing how this concept seems to be confusing to you i will explain using Mattie as an example. Now Mattie was broke to ride late in her 2 yr old year and after approximately 60 days of being taught how to carry a rider , taught to steer , taught to pick up her leads Etc..She was brought to the racetrack for the first time in mid-jan 2014 . She started her Schooling to becoming a racehorse by learning what the racetrack is all about , by this i mean she started day 1 by walking 1 time around the training track with the pony for company just to see everything . Day 2 she jogged with pony 1 round . This routine continues for the next 30days or so, slowly increasing to a slow gallop and increasing in distance, until she was confident enough to go without the pony for company . After she became comfortable with this she was paired with another young horse to start galloping in company . This continues ( aprox 60 days ) until she was both physically and mentally ready for the first breeze ( 1 Furlong ). Now about every 2 weeks the works increase in distance. after all this the gate schooling begins . Carolyn , coming from a racing family you should know how all this is done . You should also know that a first time starter should have at least 120 days of training before they ever run their first race .
        Mattie run her first race in Dec ,Hawthorne’s race meet ended shortly after and she was shipped home for a much deserved break and to await the start of Fonner at the end of February. As i stated before she did not return to training until march . Now with all you experience , you should know that a horse coming off a lay off should, at the very least have 60 if not 90 days of conditioning before they run.
        As far as running Mattie as a 2 yr old , I do not have an answer to that question. Common reason would be , her knees were not closed yet , they wanted her to grow more , she was not mentally mature or physically mature enough or maybe they just did not want to. Where i live we do not run alot of 2yr olds , you are not even allowed to have a 2 yr old on the grounds until the end of may and they do not even write any 2yr old races til Aug.
        Now Im not sure what equine studies or “experts” you are referring to But there are more equine vets that will agree with introducing a horse to exercise as a 2yr old increases bone density. The following is a quote from just one of many studies :

        ” Though the training surface obviously plays a role in strengthening bone and can have a profound effect on the soundness and well being of horses exercising on it, other factors may play a larger role. A new school of thought based on the results of recent scientific studies has shown that specific training regimes, combined with precise nutritional programs can greatly enhance bone strength and density, particularly in young horses just entering training. It should be mentioned here that fear of training and racing two year olds is unjustified if the correct nutrition and training techniques are used to build optimum bone. Studies with humans have shown how influential exercise during growth can be. A 10-year study with women showed no influence of calcium intake on bone density during that period but those that exercised during adolescence had significantly increased bone mineral density and bone bending strength (determined by sports exercise questionnaire). ”

        Carolyn , you are right about one thing ” i dont know you from a bar of soap ” as you put it , but the same can be said for me you dont me or the people i associate with .

    • Laura, I am not confused at all. It seems you have chosen to ignore what I said about MIG having almost half a year out and then went back into high stress exercise in racing. I pointed out that this is a high risk factor and quoted Dr Christoher Riggs.
      You don’t have to lecture me about racehorse training with which I’m very familiar, nor do you need to tell me what I should know. Obviously I have to say this again – MIG had ONE solitary start, she most certainly did not require any more than 2-3 weeks off (unless she had a health issue which you deny) and then for her not to race again for almost half a year was not doing the right thing by her. You state that you condition a horse for 60-90 days before it runs again? Are you kidding me? One puts a horse back into training in the last 3-4 weeks of its lay-off in readiness to run. If that’s the way you train over there then it’s no wonder you have an outrageously unacceptable sickening number of deaths.

      “until she was confident enough to go without the pony for company”

      OMG a racehorse should never ever do trackwork without a mate – it is a herd animal. The majority of trainers will ensure that their horses do not go out there solitary and when a trainer has just one horse to work he arranges with another trainer that their two horses go out together. So you are very wrong to think that a horse (no matter what age) has the confidence to go alone despite the fact that he will submit. In the past few months in one State alone we’ve had two beautiful young girls riding trackwork lose their lives! One girl was from Germany, it’s being kept under wraps at the moment as to what happened. The other girl was from England and in her incident a young female Australian jockey also suffered serious injuries and the media referred to it as “mysterious” because the racing authorities refuse to disclose what really happened. I would not be in the least bit surprised if the horses involved in both incidents had an issue. We will never get the truth despite the fact that the Police are now involved. Another example of the racing industry hiding its dark ugly secrets.

      Yes I read that study you referred to (believed to be partly funded by the racing industry). Say no more. To compare humans with equines in this particular study was laughable. It is common knowledge that exercise is vitally important for bones. There is A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE between young horses running with the herd, exercising and strengthening their bones naturally than racehorse trainers placing unnecessary stress on these young horses –
      I’ve seen top trainer’s yearlings being broken in and then into training literally shaking in fear with the typical horseracing “method” of training them up for a racing career. And then after the “exercise” confined to a box where it cannot move – it is INSANE!

      On the subject of 2 year old studies, one was suddenly released just before our multi-million dollar Golden Slipper for 2 year olds. Why? Because 2 year old racing is unacceptable and people are speaking out about it big time. I’m pleased to hear that you don’t have much 2 year old racing where you are. A couple of top trainers here now refuse to race 2 year olds. This particular study was written by an inexperienced young woman with a veterinary science degree and interestingly works for the racing industry. It was one of the worst studies I’ve read, obviously biased and appeared to be done in a rush – once again the racing industry was in damage control and once again made fools of themselves.

      At this point in time Dr Christopher Riggs of the Hong Kong Jockey Club is the only expert employed by the racing industry, that i know, that i have any time for. We do have one particular expert funded by the racing industry and he released a study not unlike Riggs’ and it was refreshing to read. But surprise surprise his next release was to the contrary and all for racing. Any study conducted by a person involved with or funded by the racing industry is highly questionable. I should mention here that I have regard for Dr Mary Scollay (who works for the USA industry) as she appeared to be very upfront and honest with her research on COBALT.

      In response to your last para –
      I made a comment about MIG’s death based on FACT. It seemed to me that you did not like to read such FACT and responded by attacking me. Hence my reference to you not knowing me.

      You have not told me the injury suffered by MIG which resulted in her death.

      Also you seem to have difficulty in answering my question –

      If you genuinely loved Mattie why did you watch and accept her being beaten with a whip?

      • Thank you Carolyn.

        Excellent Post. Horse bodies do not mature until they are 6 is what I have read in the studies that I have seen. In fact, you posted one of the studies. If you remember where it is, please repost

        Thank you !

      • Carolyn…I never miss even one of your comments. LOVE them. Your expertise, knowledge, wisdom – and your impeccable writing style just BLOWS the apologists out of the water!…again and again and again. They look like fools. Thank you for speaking the truth and for acknowledging the abuse we all know exists.

  5. No Joy You are Wrong !!!! Very Wrong !!! And You do not have the right to tell me how i feel or anyone else for that matter .

    • Well if it’s so damn “heartbreaking”, Laura, why don’t you get the hell out and save yourself the heartache and the horses their lives! Your comments would be funny if this killing of horses for entertainment of fans and the buttering of your bread wasn’t so disgustingly tragic.

  6. On the subject of HARNESS RACING and FORMER TRAINER

    Grand Jury Indicts Monica Thors for Animal Cruelty in Horses’ Deaths

    JUNE 29th

    A story you will see first on Rate My Horse PRO. A Gloucester County Grand Jury indicted a New Jersey horse rescuer on nine felony counts of animal cruelty. Monica Thors, of Mullica Hill, is accused of knowingly causing serious bodily injury to her horses, which led to some of their deaths.

    Thors is charged with four third-degree counts and five fourth-degree counts of animal cruelty. The charges stem from her alleged failure to follow veterinarian recommendations between September 2013 and December 2014 to address her horses’ multiple health issues.

    Thors allegedly failed to make modifications to her overweight horses’ food intake so they could lose weight. The horses also suffered from chronic laminitis. Four of the horses died or were euthanized. The deceased horses included: 13-year-old mare Princess Grey; 7-year-old mare Aspiration; 14-year-old stallion According to Hoyle; and a 7-year-old stallion According to Prince.

    Thors is a former harness racing trainer that was operating the 501(c)(3) organization Monica Thors Animal Rescue, Inc when she was under investigation. The New Jersey Society for the Prevention of
    Cruelty to Animals (NJ SPCA) said it began investigating Thors in August 2013. No action was taken until the abuse allegations against Thors were made public on social media. Disturbing photos posted appear to show horses’ hooves being drilled and bleeding. Others have their feet and legs wrapped and are lying down as Thors smiles nearby.

    n December 2014, Thors’ seven horses and goat were seized. Two horses were euthanized based on the recommendation of the treating veterinarian.

    Soon after, Thors was cited with inflicting unnecessary cruelty upon a living creature and one count of failure to provide necessary care. Both are disorderly persons charges.

    Additional criminal complaints were filed, as we reported in February 2015. The prosecutor reviewed the case and took it before the grand jury last week.

    Thors will enter a plea when she is arraigned, as the criminal case gets underway.

    If convicted, Thors faces a maximum of five-years in prison for a single third-degree crime. Fourth-degree crimes have a prison sentence of up to 18 months.

    • Thanks for this Kathleen. This is just so awful and yet it took social media for the authorities to finally take action! At least the could not be saved horses were finally put out of their misery and the remaining received veterinary treatment and hopefully go to a good home. There are genuine horse rescuers and then there are evil despicable creatures like MONICA THORS!

  7. Thanks Joy – it is a privilege to be amongst such a great bunch of women with so much experience, knowledge, expertise and wisdom. A friend alerted me to Patrick’s site saying what amazing stuff these women were writing. You are all seriously BRILLIANT and thanks for having me on board. Happy 4th July!

  8. THank You Carolyn.

    Excellent Article !

    Every time someone comes on this website and tries to waste our time by telling us how much horses LOVE to run we should repost this link.

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