Dead Horses at Del Mar – Cool as Ever

6-year-old Pure Tactics is dead after breaking down at Del Mar yesterday (race 8). That’s at least 13 carcasses at Bing’s old haunt since the meet began. Cool as ever…

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  1. The glamour, the fashions, the partying, celebrating and lots of fun whilst at the same time witnessing racehorses suffering serious injuries and dying….? I will never forget being in a members’ lounge when a horse broke down right in front of the winning post and grandstand. It was a big prizemoney meeting and as usual the racing industry had invited popular celebrities, politicians, CEOs of big companies and they really lay it on for them – excellent food, wines, beers, etc. Near me was a successful businessman with his lovely wife who became distressed watching this horse struggling to get up with what looked like a broken pelvis – green screen was slow to arrive, officials running around panicking. Come on darling, I want to go over and speak to… I could not understand why a perfectly decent man completely ignored what was going on with this horse especially when his wife was visibly upset.
    I now think it was a case of “I just can’t cope with this”.

    • Agreed. But I think it’s because the majority of people are sheep. They avoid confrontation, don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to be seen as different or weak. And frankly, live in fear of getting involved and standing out.

    • The majority of people celebrate public animal abuse, execution and if one goes down damn I lost my triple double. Well I ain’t built that way here in dear old royal Saratoga and most us locals were raised to fight the fame that floods the streets every summer. Pharoah and poor Funny Cide Baffert is pushing Pharoah, running him at race speed Wednesday. How much is enough? The second he took the Belmont he was sold to the notorious international Stud corporation whom I will not name, when he crossed the wire at Belmont his stud fee shot to 15 million, that’s not enough, and poor Funny he’s ten a gelding who will be run into his grave without an honorable mention. Pharoah is lame he’s exhausted, please throw up a prayer to whoever has been guarding this horse and for Funny, sweet boy living the pain of a decade of hell and for all of them, horses will die tomorrow, more than one, in more than one race and so the sheep will laugh and get another cocktail and stupid hat. And for us townies, we are many and well enter the back barns with cameras and so the war rages on.

      • Thank you Aimee for sharing and so eloquently saying it as it is. We will continue to fight the fight for these voiceless noble horses.

  2. According to, connections of PURE TACTICS as at last start
    JOCKEY: Mike E Smith
    TRAINER: Doug F O’Neill
    OWNER: Nita Winner LLC
    BREEDER: Donald Eberts
    Starts 26: 10-2-4 earning $431,356

    This six year old entire began racing as a 2 year old in 2011. He won his very first start with Morris Nicks as trainer and Donald Eberts his owner.
    As at 5 July 2013 Morris Nicks appears as trainer and sole owner.
    As at 23 Feb 2014 Doug O’Neill and Nita Winner LLC appear as his trainer and owner.

    His reward for his services? The indignity of being sent out there yet once again with the risk of him coming to grief when he had already well and truly done his job.
    PT was a Multiple Stakes Winner and it is likely that because this horse did very well (averaging $16,591 per start) there were plans for him to go to stud. Well that’s not going to happen because the temptation to increase his prizemoney stakes (thus increasing his sale price to a stud which in turn charges lucrative service fees) killed him, in my opinion.
    Another racehorse SACRIFICED for the almighty dollar.
    According to the chart, he “took an awkward step nearing the second turn”.
    Let’s be clear about this, Pure Tactics DID NOT take an awkward step, he was trying to negotiate a turn which put great stress on him. Usually jockeys whip horses near or on a turn – now how stupid (and cruel) is that when the horse is desperately trying to keep itself balanced!!!

    Sending horses out to gallop at high speed when the biomechanics of the gallop and the physical forces associated with racing/training around a turning track, continuously in an anti-clockwise/clockwise direction, are incompatible.

    And of course no transparency or disclosure from the relevant racing commission or racetrack as to the nature of the lethal injury suffered by PURE TACTICS.

    • I am so sick of the “bad step” defense, and the subsequent comments about how much the poor horse “died doing what he loved.” Necropsies have proven there is no bad step – instead there are already existing conditions, which trainers very well know. They do not care that the horse may die, because it is just a horse and there are plenty more where that one came from. Most trainers have no empathy and only love the winning horses. As soon as a horse is running poorly, it is called all kinds of names. And the horse is trying its very hardest. This is what needs to change in racing. The brutality, the greed, the drugs, and the lack of empathy for a fellow being. Horses are beings, not objects!

  3. One thing I wish American racing would learn is that by breaking on the right lead and changing to the left causes injury because the horse is not balanced. If the horse were to break on the left and change to the right in the stretch then the horse would be balanced because it doesn’t matter what lead they are on in the straight aways. If they just changed that it would cut down the amount of breakdowns on the turns were most of them happen. This is not saying I’m for or against racing. It is just common horse knowledge.

  4. From Fabeled Saratoga born and raised, well said, sadly they also run them at around 18 months no where near skeletal maturity and then there’s the drugs, abuse, greed, I play Barbaro’s breakdown over and over like a nightmare I’m having while awake. They should have scratched him after he balked in the gate. A few strides out and that grotesque fracture dislocation which he ran on until his jockey jumped off and physically stoped him, held up his leg.

    • Barbaro’s sickening breakdown and death will NEVER EVER be forgotten Aimee but his suffering is over.


    They should retire this horse IMMEDIATELY before he ends up dead.

    this is from the Paulick report aug. 29th, 2015

    Front-running American Pharoah ran admirably but could not hold off a strong late run by Keen Ice, who upset the Triple Crown winner to take Saturday’s Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga.

    It was the first loss for American Pharoah since the colt finished fifth in his debut last summer. Pressed by Frosted down the backstretch, he shook off that rival but fell short to Keen Ice in the shadow of the wire.

    Trained by Dale Romans, Keen Ice finished a well-beaten second to American Pharoah last out in the Haskell.





    Sept. 3rd 2015 from Paulick Report

    Owner Ahmed Zayat confirmed Thursday that Triple Crown winner American Pharoah will remain in training for the rest of the year, with his year-end goal being the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic.

    According several reports, Zayat said he had lengthy discussions with trainer Bob Baffert, his son Justin Zayat, assistant trainer Jim Barnes, and jockey Victor Espinoza over the past several days regarding the colt.

    “I have discussed all aspects of American Pharoah’s race last Saturday in the Travers – and his condition since the race – with our whole team and have decided American Pharoah deserves another chance, so we are pointing to the Breeders’ Cup Classic,” Zayat told the Daily Racing Form.

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