3-Year-Old “Flips” in Paddock at Golden Gate, Killed

Yesterday at Golden Gate Fields, 3-year-old Steady Azshegoes was a vet-scratch prior to what was to be her very first race. And that – a floating question mark, just the way Racing likes to keep it – would have been that if not for this from track announcer Michael Wrona’s Twitter feed:

Awful start to the day – debuting 3yo filly, Steady Azshegoes, flipped in the saddling paddock and sustained a back injury.

Steady Azshegoes was down in the paddock for an extended period, surrounded by the dreaded screen, but is miraculously up again.

Considerable delay – Steady Azshegoes up but frozen; obviously very shaken and can’t be coaxed into the van.

The “van plan” was aborted, and R1 ran 14 minutes late. Van now returning for another try to transport Steady Azshegoes.

Steady Azshegoes is in the van – 40 minutes after flipping.

Sad news from the Receiving Barn that Steady Azshegoes was euthanized due to the seriousness and poor prognosis of a head (not back) injury.

Flipped…down for an extended period…surrounded by the dreaded screen…up but frozen…very shaken…can’t be coaxed into the van…in the van – 40 minutes after flipping…[finally] euthanized.

How terribly sad.

To be sure, neither California nor the industry as a whole will count this as a racing death. No doubt, it’ll be dismissed as a fluke, simple misfortune, “something that could have happened anywhere.” But let’s set the record straight: Racing created this horse; Racing (utterly) controlled this horse; Racing put this horse at that track, in that paddock for the express purpose of exploiting her.

Racing killed this horse. Period.


Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


  1. It is really sad , you resort to reaching for your blood in this manner, yes that could and does happen to all breeds , to make about racing is a new low even for you Patrick. I am really beginning to see just how disperate you really are .

    • Debra. An ottb I own flipped in paddock pre-race and will stay with me as sole owner for rest of life.
      You just keep sticking up for wrongs in the race industry while some of us try and do right.
      In my view your looking desperate. Not “disperate”

    • I think that Patrick does a great service to all of us, especially our four legged athletes. There’s no excuse for anyone to treat these lovely creatures in such a demeaning, disgraceful manner, and it has to stop. Denying that the abuse exists and the deaths occur because of the abuse is like sticking your head in the sand and waiting until it all blows over.

      • I agree. And Debra, to say this happens to all breeds doesn’t make it right. Humans use animals for their pleasure, ego, money, etc. if dogs were dying every day, people would get upset, but for some reason it is different with horses and other “livestock”. I do like horse racing – not as it is now, but as it could be if it were truly a sport. Horses do like to race and many are competitive – not nearly as many as are racing today, of course. But horses with whom people have honest and true bonds. I rode a horse when I was a trail guide. He was a Paint but he wanted to win. When it was just the guides and we cantered or galloped, he would try with everything he had, to be in front. I felt bad that he had too much knee action and wasn’t very fast – but if I had a Thoroughbred with his attitude I would have a champion. So horses and people can enjoy things together, but not when one is a slave and a mere object and when there is no respect for what the horse wants or feels, or for its health and physical well being..

  2. Very true. And the poor education racehorses get, along with a totally unnatural lifestyle, is what leads to these disasters, as horses are anxious and fearful. Happy, relaxed horses do not flip themselves over – horses truly hate to fall, it is a last ditch fight to escape what scares them. Trainers should be ashamed as they are far from being any kind of true horsemen.

  3. NAUSEATING! This young horse was about to have her first race start and she DIES!
    She was 3 and a half years of age from her foaling date. Why didn’t she start as a 2 year old?
    It is possible she had issues and perhaps they thought that by holding her back the situation might improve. There is absolutely no getting away from the fact that STEADY AZSHEGOES is yet another DEATH STATISTIC for the racing industry.
    This is interesting, according to equibase.com, her profile reveals –
    Trainer: N/A
    Owner: N/A

    No trainer there to saddle her up? She was going to do it all on her own?

    This filly was produced by the racing industry purely as a commodity, purely for people to make money and purely to race her until she was no longer viable after racing had damaged her body and mind and the last drop of energy/blood had been ruthlessly squeezed out of her. She escaped the miserable life of a racehorse and I’m glad about that because as sickening as her untimely death was, it was better than ending up in the slaughterhouse.
    Imagine if she had not flipped (and I really query what was going on with her for her to do that – if she had’ve been comfortable with her environment she would not have flipped) and had gone on to win the race! Trainer’s name and owner’s name would be up in her profile. This filly was registered as a racehorse by the industry and yet her trainer and owner names are Not Applicable? The fact that she did not race is irrelevant. This filly’s story is not unusual – in my experience incidents like this are kept quiet – the hidden deaths category.

Comments are closed.