Three Weeks After Being Vanned Off at Monmouth, Au Moon Dead

According to multiple sources, Au Moon (photo here), who was a “vanned off” August 8 at Monmouth, is dead, unable to survive a post-injury surgery. The gelding had just returned to the whip after being raced just once (Sep ’14) over the previous two years, his people trying to squeeze just a few more dollars out of his 9-year-old body. In a Saratogian article three days after the injury, trainer David Carroll said:

“Just like what happens every day in the race, he just took a bad step. I’m not down-playing this by any stretch of the imagination, but it just happens. Unfortunately it happens all the time in racing. He was pushing his way out of gap and got between horses and just unfortunately took a bad step.”

Yes, of course – the proverbial “bad step.” Shameful.

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  1. Fans of this sweet gelding looked daily for updates. I worried and worried, and eventually felt the worst had happened. We were lied to and mislead from the beginning. Carroll reported it to only be a soft tissue injury with no breaks. The sesamoid was broken in not one, but 4 places. Au Moon’s connections knew there would be a backlash for running the 9 year old out of condition gelding, so the graveness of his injury was concealed. So, Au Moon died under a blanket of deceit and lies, leaving his fans wondering his fate. I’m sickened over his needless suffering and ultimate death. My heart is broken. Shame on the sport, Au Moon was not just livestock. His life mattered.

    • Karen…these liars sicken me. I didn’t know Au Moon suffered fractures until reading your post. But I was suspicious of it when I read the article where Carroll stated “I promise he had no fractures”. Promise? Why are you trying so hard to convince, Mr. Carroll? What SHAMELESS liars.

  2. According to, connections as of last start for AU MOON were
    JOCKEY: Paco Lopez
    TRAINER: David M Carroll
    OWNER: Tim Brown
    BREEDER: Patrick Heraty, William Duignan & Rock River Enterprises Limited
    30 starts: 6-3-7 for $189,622 (averaging $6,321per start)

    WinStar Farm and Dallas Stewart appear as his first owner and trainer, respectively.
    As at his second start it appears that Tim Brown & anor. and David Carroll were his new owner and trainer.

    AU MOON began racing on 10/15/08 as a 2 year old. It appears he was up for claiming a number of times so owner happy to part company. We do not know why he was not raced for almost 2 years (Jan 2011 to Nov 2012). From 7/27/13 until 9/7/14 he was not raced for just over 1 year. In his second last race on 9/7/14 he was up for grabs for $5,000, was not claimed yet he won his race but he was over 8 years of age. Then he has almost another year of not racing (9/7/14 to 8/8/15). Given the trainer had this horse for 29 of his 30 starts he would, I’m assuming, be well aware of any issues this horse might’ve had. AU MOON was in the high risk category. His age, began racing at 2, had done 30 starts and the fact that he had only very recently resumed racing after having nearly a year off, immediately puts this horse at high risk.

    Dr Chris Riggs, BVSc, PhD, DEO, Dipl. ECVS, MRCVS, head of Veterinary Clinical Services at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

  3. “took a bad step” the same tired old excuse blaming the horse for his serious injury and deceiving the public. Oh but his trainer says “I’m not down-playing this”. Well this begs the question what is he saying then? It is quite clear that this trainer was saying that the reason the horse suffered this injury (which ultimately resulted in his death) was because AU MOON took a bad step!

    Let’s be real here… there’s no such thing as a bad step. “He (Au Moon) was pushing his way out of gap and got between horses”. It was the jockey that was pushing this horse between horses and it would not surprise me if he didn’t check to make sure it was SAFE to make the move that he did.

    Au Moon would not have chosen to risk himself by making such a move but sadly for the racehorse he’s at the mercy of the rider on his back and horseracing.

  4. Au Moon was owned by Tim Brown and trained by David Carroll from his first race to his last. The bay gelding had some very lengthy breaks for Brown and Carroll. One break – January of 2011 to November of 2012 – was nearly 2 years! A second long break was from his race in July of 2013 (an OC in which he ran against the now-dead Caixa Elctronica to September of 2014 when he was put into a claiming race for a tag of 5K…this GSP-gelding, for sale for 5K. Brown and Carroll didn’t run him again until this year, on August 8 where he “bid between foes in the upper stretch, weakened, then was pulled up and vanned off”. Why the long breaks?

    From the article that Patrick provided the link to, Carroll states: “He has had surgery…If the Brown family weren’t those kind of people, he wouldn’t be at the New Bolton Center. He wouldn’t be getting this opportunity.” Opportunity? OPPORTUNITY?? Mr. Carroll, YOU and Mr. Brown raced Au Moon 30 times, he made nearly 200K for you, but you think the Browns are “some kinda folks” because they’re simply doing what ANY responsible horse owners should do? – never mind a horse that padded their pockets! – giving the injured gelding an opportunity to LIVE? That’s so special of them? You couldn’t get rid of him when you put that 5K tag on his head – who was going to claim an 8-year-old gelding that needed as much time off as Au Moon did? – so you run him again and completely destroy him. But the Browns were giving him such an OPPORTUNITY…damn that was big of them.

    Readers, please be certain to click on this link to see a photo of Au Moon. Carroll and the Browns didn’t deserve such a noble being.

    • Joy,

      I believe that at 8 years old this beautiful bay should have been retired. These owners never know when to quit. These are not machines, and all the years of stress and punishment & injuries they endure, weakens them after all those races. It’s the same old story, careless owners who don’t do right by the horse, and end up breaking the horse down. These owners all share the same traits; no common sense, poor judgment, greed and selfishness, and no humanity for the horse.

      Secondly, years ago TB’s were bred for stamina, endurance, and durability, but now the focus is on speed. Years ago they were bred to race for a longer period of time, but by being bred for speed, the period of time they can race is much less, and I believe the number of breakdowns has quadrupled from years ago.

      It just keeps getting worse for the TB. It is time for this sport to come to an end. It is barbaric, and in this day and age of awareness and animal rights, the TB needs to get his due, and be set free.

      R.I.P. Au Moon, one day your species will be free, I wish it had come in time for you…

      Marlene Thornley

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