6-Year-Old Dead From “Cardiac Incident” at Saratoga

6-year-old mare Darling Bridezilla’s “career” defines mediocrity: In 33 starts, she only briefly escaped the claiming ranks, earning, along the way, a modest sum for her “connections.” Her last start was at Saratoga on August 3 – a $12,500 claiming race worth $25,000 (a pittance at this upper-crust track). So it is of little surprise that her death Tuesday garnered practically zero coverage from the racing press. In this world, Darling Bridezilla was a relative nobody.

As for the death itself, according to the NYS Gaming Commission, she was felled, presumably in her Saratoga stall, by a “cardiac incident.” Yes, the infamous “cardiac incident” – failed heart. (These not uncommon deaths – among, I remind, supposedly supremely conditioned, in-their-prime equine “athletes” – almost invariably remain unexplained.) The Commission, of course, wasted no time in relegating this to the “non-racing” bin, implying that its (Racing’s) hands are clean. Well, they’re not. Racing made this horse. Racing exploited this horse. Racing killed this horse. Period.

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  1. R.I.P. Darling Bridezilla, your days of suffering and anguish are over. Another cardiac incident, always makes me wonder just what did they do to her to cause her heart to fail. Over raced her – perhaps, over-drugged her perhaps, stressed her out – most definitely. Patrick is absolutely right, racing killed her, make no mistake.

    Another beautiful baby dead at the glorious Saratoga. Don’t let the pretty packaging fool you, it is a death mill, just like all the other racetracks. How can anyone see the death of these magnificent creatures as entertainment is beyond me. If you want to bet on something go to the crap table or play a scratch off, where no one gets hurt. They have suffered enough, and deserve a life away from the throws of the track.

    Marlene Thornley

  2. I have heard so many of the apologists say that “the owner’s love their horses”. On Saturday “American Pharoah” will run in the Travers. His owner’s the Zayat’s have said how they plan to continue to race him, and they have; totally ignoring the ever present danger of him sustaining a debilitating injury, or even worse, risking a fatal injury. Is this love?

    Quit while your ahead, you don’t need the money. No one ever dreamed that Barbaro would break down, or Eight Belles, or Ruffian. Big races are not immune to catastrophe. This horse has nothing left to prove, let him be before something tragic happens to him. If you truly love your horse stop risking his life.

    Marlene Thornley

  3. I’m from Saratoga born and raised, and I’ve been wageing this war since I was in junior high, I’m 34, 20 years spent working into the underground world to expose the mass graves, what really happens in the fabeled back barns at Saratoga the drugs, the abuse, blood running out their flared nostrils as their lungs fill with blood courtesy of Lasix. The screams when one of these babies breaks down and as they push American Pharoah Baffert running him in 4 workouts, one at race speed, he is booked for another Saturday morning at 8:45 for public spectacle. He will not survive this race. Remember lil Funny Cide? Yea well a group of local bar boys picked him up at the yearling sale for a couple grand and then the sweet small quirky little gelding went and took the Derby and Preakness. The sweet lil colt I knew is now ten years old flew in on the same flight as Pharoah and he will be run to his grave because his owners have a gelding and won’t surrender the spotlight, I fear for them both and I can promise you this, horses will die Saturday, both on the track and in the back barns. There will be more than one, in more than one race. What people watch is blatent animal abuse, torture and wanton loss of young lives snuffed out just as they begin. All of this masquerading as a “sport”. My heart carries the scars of every life I couldn’t save. I play Barbaro’s breakdown over and over in my head and I fear for Pharoah you will never find me in line crossing the gates, if you catch me it will be in the back barns with a camera.

    • I think you’re being over dramatic. Funny Cide is not going to race. He has been retired at the Kentucky Horse Park for years. As for American Pharoah, if you had watched his races, he wins easily, with his ears up. If you know horses, am not sure you actually do, ears up means the horse is not working hard and is relaxed and pretty happy. You should not even say things like a horse will die. I am superstitious to that extent. Do not invite bad things to happen.

      • With all due respect horses flown on a plane are snowed, Pharoah’s ears are up because he’s extremely noise shy and the 21 year old Zyatt son crafted him custom earplugs. And I say this with the up most respect but Funny Cide flew in on the same flight as Pharoah, he’s pushing ten, I saw him, he’s a gelding so his bar boy owners will run him to his grave. I believe you may be mistaking Funny whom I helped birth, with lil Smarty Jones, retired at 8 due to injury. I’m a local, a townie, a board certified medical professional specializing in field trauma, ortho trauma, and Sports med, and I founded a rehabilitative horse based program with a few friends and several rescue horses as equine mechanics mimic human locomotion in a pure form with the right animal, right client. This is my profession. But as I have proudly stated I am also a blue collar kid born and raised here and in my summers off I show up as the massive farms under a first name alias to make a difference. I am thirty four, I’ve been working my way into the underground for over 20 years and with much respect, as tone tends not to translate well in these types of forums, when I tell you I will never cross those blood stained gates of the mighty Saratoga, but you will catch me in the back barns with a camera if you catch me at all. Pharoah is lame, drugged and has been doped up well by Baffert by now and right now over 50,000 people from all over the world in stupid hats and lots of money are drowning our beloved town. Pharoah has now been worked out 4 times, one at full race speed and tomorrow on race day at 8:45 am they’re going to open those gates and run him again for public spectacle. Please say a prayer for all the horses, especially my boys Pharoah and poor Funny. I can’t watch another Barbaro breakdown right now. With respect.

      • I can access the back barns the groom’s, can you? Horses drop at the mighty Saratoga every single day and then there’s those sold for slaughter, last weekend 3 horses died during morning workout, open your eyes please my content can be verified by this website if you have the heart to watch. Horses will die tomorrow, that’s a fact, more than one and in more than one race. Do you know how many died the day Pharoah took Belmont? 4, including a 4 year old female from France in the stakes races before him running on Lasix for the first time she suffered a lethal fracture of her right front cannon bone, that’s her shin, and her damned jockey threw his helmet crop and stormed away leaving her in the mud on her back screaming in agony. Ever hear a horse scream, 90,000 people in that park that day heard her, watched her, and slow with a battered black tarp as her final moments were filled with fear and agony they simply drowned her out by blasting promos for Pharoah on the big screen.

    • Aimee…I appreciate where you are coming from, your experiences and how they’ve shaped your views today. I understand…I do.

      I do believe American Pharoah is at an increased risk of injury just by the fact that he’s having to race…not any more of an increased risk than any other horse just like him, and not any less of an increased risk than any other horse just like him. 1), by increased risk I mean this…his risk of injury is greater due to his having to race (the dangers inherent with a flight animal in the confines of the starting gate, the close proximity to other horses in the race while being asked to run at “top speed” and possibly asked to split horses, his young age and therefore, immature skeletal system, the effects of Lasix, being asked for run while nearing the end of the race when metabolically his body is screaming for him to slow down) AS COMPARED TO my own horses, for instance, running around in their pasture. When apologists say, “horses get hurt running in their own pastures!”, attempting to defend racing, it’s a ridiculous comparison because there simply IS no comparison to how a horse chooses to run of his own accord and how they are made to run in a race. No comparison. So that’s what I mean by AP being at an increased risk…he’s at an increased risk having to race compared to horses running of their own accord.

      That being said, I don’t believe AP is at any MORE of a risk than that inherent risk I just tried to explain. In fact, he’s more likely to get home safe than the majority of the racehorses entered to run tomorrow at tracks across the country. There is no way Baffert and Zayat would take the chance of running him on a national stage with an even GREATER risk of a breakdown if this colt was not sound and fit. There’s been too much scrutiny of late – Baffert’s horses that dropped dead over an 18-month period, 7 of them I believe – and Zayat’s shame of his poor Nehro…they’re smart enough to know that running the TC winner if he even has a pimple on him – increasing that breakdown risk even more – would cause a national uproar if anything happened to AP! Goodness, I could see the extreme anxiety and look of “I’m so glad that race is over!” on Jill Baffert’s face after the KD when she was asked how she felt and her response – eyes like a deer in headlights, tears welling, lips quivering – was simply “Relief”! Strange, right?…what are you RELIEVED about? Isn’t this something they love?…and isn’t this your “family member”?…surely you wouldn’t put your FAMILY MEMBER in danger, right? Once again, they incriminate themselves…

      So Aimee, I think AP will be OK. Guaranteed?…of course not. Worth the risk?…of course not. Unnecessary?…of course. Not only will I say a prayer for AP’s safety and every other horse running in the Travers tomorrow, I will say prayers for the countless racehorses running tomorrow, as well, whose names we don’t know nor the circumstances they currently exist in. They all just want to live.

      • Joy,

        I have heard reports that Mr. Zayat is considering retiring Pharoah, after his loss today. If this is true, I thank God that he has come to his senses, and made such a crucial decision to protect his horse, and keep him sound. The racing schedule this poor horse has had to endure, along with the cross-country flights, has taken its toll on him. If you love your horse Mr. Zayat, protecting him is the right thing to do.

        Marlene Thornley

      • Joy,

        It makes NO sense to me that they are continuing to Race AMERICAN PHAROAH. To me it is Pure Greed. They do not really care about American Pharaoh. Every time he runs, he runs the risk of dying. His body is getting beat up and worn down every time he leaves the gate. He deserves so much better. they all deserve better.

        Here is the report from today. They are putting this horse in danger every time they race him. They should retire him IMMEDIATELY.


        PAULICK REPORT august 28th, 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 Saturday¹s 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. This was the first stakes victory for the Donegal Racing-owned colt

      • I hope AP is retired, Marlene…sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, he will then just move into another form of exploitation. A lifetime of enslavement.

      • Joy,

        You are so right, AP will just move into another form of exploitation – a lifetime of slavery. I will be relieved if he is retired soon, at least he will be safe.

        Marlene Thornley

    • Aimee get your facts straight if you want people to listen to you. Funny Cide is in town for a fundraiser at Old Friends Cabin Creek. A great place that takes care of retired horses but I’m sure you know that since you’re so concerned about these horses.

      • I greatly appreciate your post, you have stated eloquently and accurately the point of all of this this beautiful emotive beings are made of glass. Case in point Barbaro’s breakdown was catastrophic, he should have been scratched after the balk in the gate but that horrific injury didn’t steal his life, ultimately, laminitis did. I’m sure you, as I have spent many an hour picking pebbles out of paddocks to protect your own but with I will reiterate that Pharoah is at increased risk, he is lame, his stud fee shot to 15 million dollars the second he took the Belmont. How much is enough. You want to see a horse happy and free, check out Rosmary Farms, a rescue organization for these bloodied battered souls and if you have never watched as a colt or filly is bulldozed into a mass grave alive, screaming that fill the farms around my town unable to stop it without blowing your cover then please don’t lecture me on the nature of the industry. It is out of control. And my facts are far straighter than you will ever know as I also hold degrees in ex physically, and applied biomechanics.

    • Aimee,

      I just read your post on AMERICAN PHAROAH.

      I am deeply troubled by the way they are racing him. He could easily end up dead. I think Baffert is terrible in the way he is running this horse into the ground.

      They should retire him IMMEDIATELY.

  4. http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/horseracing/2015/08/29/owner-american-pharoah-might-retire-after-travers-loss/71402516/

    Competing and winning the three Triple Crown races, not surprisingly, appears to have taken its toll on AMERICAN PHAROAH (he was the only horse to compete in all three races). Only ten horses were able to compete in two of the TC races and DANZIG MOON was one of them and he died on June 14 in a race and it was his first start after the Preakness. The Travers was AP’s second start after winning the Triple Crown.

    Who was it that said something about “rolling the dice”?

  5. All of you on this forum, I just found this, I am horrible at social media, just learning, my Kindle scares me. When I said Pharoah was Lame I meant it, right rear thing hock, ankle. When I said he would lose the Traverse if he survived it I meant it. What they are asking of this 3 year old colt in terms of human effort would be asking you or I as a toddler, immature bones to run the Boston Marathon on Monday, an Ultra marathon on Tuesday then The Spartan games on Wednesday in Europe. They are going to kill this sweet boy, and he is sweet, he’s affectionate, loves to play soccer, and if you know horse behavior he should have been scratched from that race, he doesn’t pinned his ears because he wears custom crafted earplugs. He was dead as they loaded him, head hung, lame, slathered in foaming sweat, he barely made it to that line alive. Please I humbly impress upon you I do know horses, I do know him, I do have access. I am honored that this forum has chosen to post my content as I am a nobody. Please I explore your all, they are going to kill this horse, and when Baffert said “I feel bad for the horse getting beat like that, he didn’t bring his A game today” That tells you what kind of butthole he is, Are you kidding me? He’s never felt bad for a horse in his life, only himself, and he will kill this colt along with Zyatt and all the other human leeches around this struggling sweet horse who refuse to surrender the spotlight, the greed, the fame. Please I can not be more clear this horse will not survive another run. RETIRE HIM NOW HE DID HID GOD DAMN JOB FOR ALL THE HUMAN LEECHES RETIRE HIM, LET HIM REST, OR HE WILL NOT SURVIVE.

  6. AMERICAN PHAROAH’s connections are, in my opinion, taking a huge risk if they continue to race him and I base this on the following:

    this colt is a 3 year old and his skeleton although formed has not yet matured http://www.equinestudies.org/ranger_2008/ranger_piece_2008_pdf1.pdf

    this colt was the only 3 year old that competed in all of the 3 Triple Crown races and his body (and mind) has been under far too much stress

    this colt was mercilessly beaten 32 times in about 35 seconds in the Derby

    this colt has done far too much travelling in a short period of time

    this colt appeared to lose a lot of weight (think it was the Derby) and that is indicative that the race gutted him in more ways than one (physical and psychological)

    this colt has now had 10 starts within a 12 months’ period. On paper that does not cause a query, however, it’s the type of racing/travelling that he’s done (Triple Crown) that is of concern

    this colt had about a 6 months’ lay-off and that is good for his young growing body and I sincerely hope that this was the reason for his lengthy lay-off. If it was because he had an injury then that is cause for concern

    this colt began racing as a 2 year old – we know how very wrong that is!

    I hope that Mr Zayat makes a decision based on the welfare of this beautiful young colt. AP is showing all the signs, sweating up before the race, I see it in his eyes and his mouth. He did not have a “gallant” race he was being pushed beyond his limits and struggled and that was so sad to watch. As Gina says “they’re racing for their lives” never a truer word spoken!

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