Racing Killed This Stud-Horse

There is, of course, practically zero accountability in the racing world: A horse who shatters his leg while heading for home is said to have “taken a bad step”; a horse who snaps his neck after colliding with another is called the victim of an unfortunate accident (though sometimes, “the cause of his own trouble”); the collapse and sudden death of a horse shortly after the wire gets quickly buried in the never-to-be-explained “cardiac event” file; a tortuous colic-death is easily dismissed as nature’s cold caprice. Flukes, all – “could happen anywhere.”


So with this as a backdrop, it is hardly surprising that no one within, and few outside of, the industry accepts/assigns blame for the death of an active stud-horse. But we will here. Tuesday, Blood-Horse reported that “well-bred California stallion Sought After, the sire of grade I winner Masochistic, was euthanized…after developing laminitis in both front feet.” (This being Blood-Horse, the article focused on the relative financial successes of his “crops.”) Sought After was 15, which while sounding advanced, is actually about middle-aged in a natural life cycle.

Let’s be clear on this: To Racing, Sought After was but a tool, a means of production. They created him so that he in turn could create others (some of whom undoubtedly shattered legs and snapped necks). They enslaved him. They used him. They killed him. And they did so without once putting him on a racetrack.


  1. You are absolutely right! No one is responsible, it’s just fate or whatever pathetic excuse they can come up with. The life of a stud is not a great one either. And laminitis is totally preventable – it is a diet problem. And I sometimes wonder if horses are not deliberately fed to cause laminitis so that an unprofitable stallion can be euthanized and insurance money collected.

    • Maureen…your last sentence chilled me to the core because I know of a gelding this was deliberately done to. Although this particular incident was not in the racing industry but in another equine discipline that uses then discards washed-up horses like worn-out tools, I have no doubt this takes place in the racing industry, as well. Warped and calloused minds secretly work in all animal-use-for-entertainment industries…exactly WHY not one should be in existence.

  2. With all due respect, the male of the equine is a stallion. This individual lived his life standing in a stall, just like Secretariat, did looking over the door or just standing in a good energy spot. Laminitis does not happen unless there is concussion or a diet too rich for his digestive and energy system. Like Secretariat, this stallion was more than lilely a victim of this disability for years until his feet were so infected and falling apart that no amount of cement, wrappings or pain medication could ease his extraordinary pain. If anyone has ever suffered gout, you willl have an intimate knowledge of the level of pain. The horse has no relief but to rock onto the feet not affected or to lay down. .

    The horse is created to be walking 50-75 mile in their grazing and watering range. Breaks our heart to hear of these deaths knowing the signs were easily detected – a little soreness and a little heat in his feet long ago. But his needs, other than a fallacy of thinking food enough to facilitate multiple breedings a day throughout the breeding “season” were not properly assessed or addressed. He should have lived in an expansive pasture with geldings near or in with him. But his handlers were worried abut energy and injuries. I’ve seen so many extremely high TB stallions with two handlers going into the breeding barns, it is frightening. Stallions are so kind to their foals in the wild, social and do also use much energy fighting for the right to breed and protecting his mares and foals. But it is their love of life, their drive to protect and carry on that keeps them strong and alert even into their 3rd decades (20’s). Not concentrated grains.
    These are not horsemen – you are right, they are businessmen working a trade in flesh and misery.

    By the way, there is hope for horses that develop laminitis. In NV, a veterinarian specializes in care and recovery and is called “The Founder Warrior.”. I’m sure there are others.

    • janwindsong I have always thought that Secretariat was mismanaged in his entire lifetime. He raced sometimes while not feeling his best. Mr. Riddle took such good care of Man O’War. He remained with Riddle his entire life, he was handled by the same Groom his entire life, he was taken for a ride daily and I am sure the list can go on. Riddle was ridiculed because he bred Man O’War to substandard mares, why he did is unknown, but he remained with Riddle during his stud career. Secretariat was just a cash cow.

      • I have a photo on the wall above my computer of Man O’War and his groom strolling through his pasture, both old men – the lead is on a clip to the leather halter. No ring, no chains. Man O’War is at a flat walk. The lead is folded in the left hand. Man O’War’s owner, bred him to improve the breed. Not fine tune it. Man O’War was the best. How can you mess with that? Those old horsemen and the horses in their lives is where we saw real greatness, humble and awed.

      • I very much agree. Man O’War was loved his entire life, once Mr. Riddle purchased him. He was also buried whole, not just the head and heart, and a funeral was held and a special coffin made to hold him. Also, Penny Chenery admits that her favorite was Riva Ridge.

    • I agree with what you say. I love stallions and learned to ride on a 6 year old son of Summer Tan. Stallions are very smart and if you treat them fairly they are kind and generous. I would not wish a life as a TB stud on any horse. As for laminitis, first it is avoidable, second, it is easily cured. And though not as simple as curing laminitis, even founder with rotation takes only about 6 months to completely reverse. As professional trimmer I have cured many founder cases. It is extremely frustrating that veterinary science is so far off when it comes to both issues.

  3. Well Mr. Zayat has made the decision to race American Pharoah again, in the Breeder’s Cup, that being his last race before entering stud duty, trading one rotten life for another.

    These owners never know when to quit, so he will risk his life and limb one more time. This horse has been through too many grueling races, flown across the country numerous times, paraded around the crowds, this horse needs to be rested, he is not a machine. This horse is not Pegasus with wings, he has shown in the last race that he is tired. Owner’s and trainer’s are all very good at ruining young horses, that is something you can count on.

    I can think of so many young horses that they ruined, the one that pops into my mind first is “Sweet Reason”, an extremely talented 4 year old, and run into the ground with a tendon injury and retired. I’m sure Patrick could come up with a very long list. Another horse that comes to mind is “Strapping Groom”, although I don’t know how old he was, but David Jacobson is another notorious trainer who runs them into the ground until they drop. He loves to run them into the ground whether they are old, or young; another of his casualties was Saginaw. The horse made him tons of money, but he was quick to put him down, instead of trying to save him. Cherokee Artist, another casualty of Jacobson’s.

    The owners are just as greedy and lack common sense as well as the trainers. If the horse is showing you he is tired, use your brain and give him the rest he requires. You can be sure Mr. Zayat will say he ” LOVES HIS HORSE”, well Mr. Zayat actions speak louder than words….

    I pray that no harm comes to him, and I pray for every TB who runs for his life in this sick game.

    Marlene Thornley



    National Public Radio (NPR) just aired a segment on its Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me! show praising deadly horse racing as the “sport of kings,” joking about dog racing and hare coursing (in which live rabbits are torn apart by dogs), and even guffawing it up with a guest chef who talked about cruel frog gigging and admitted, “I just naturally gravitate towards, you know, killing small animals.”

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    More than 24 horses die on racetracks every week in the U.S., and greyhounds used for racing are often kept confined to their cages for 20 or more hours per day and then cruelly killed, sold for laboratory experiments, or abandoned when they do not perform well. Horses used in racing are commonly drugged to mask injuries and push them past their natural capabilities, and thousands end up in slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada when they fail to win. A total of 12,189 greyhound injuries were documented on U.S. racetracks from January 2008 through May 2015, and nearly 1,000 horses died on U.S. racetracks in 2014.

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  5. Really I have had horses die at 38 years of age and at one. Neither raced and had appropriate feed and care all their lives. If they were destined for the race track as some of my studs were and one set a track record you would blame racing although they lived into their late twenties, Explain that. I used them for working cattle and ponying colts, Do you have a problem with that? My son rode one at the age of four (my son) while I rode his colts. Having set a track record, sired many foals, chasing loose cattle. roped off of and you have aproblem with this. He seemed pretty happy to me!

  6. If Secretariat was put down because of Laminitis why is there a video in which nothing is said about any painful walk and his groom told his visitors, “Laminitis kills a lot of horses but we think we have it under control”. Three days before.the euthanasia! And it was well know that his foals had been declining in value for a long time. .. hmmm.

  7. Two more breeding stallions of the racing industry died while or after covering mares – both 11-year-old Fame and Glory and 16-year-old Lucky Pulpit died February 13.

    Regarding Lucky Pulpit (sire of California Chrome), Dan Kiser (racing manager for Lucky Pulpit’s owners, Larry and Marianne Williams) stated this; “We have the sire of the highest money-winning Thoroughbred. Hopefully, we’ll get a spike out of this; closer to 80 [mares for Lucky Pulpit to cover] would be great. I think we’re on the path for that.” (the stallion was bred to 63 mares the previous year)

    Concerning the potential spike in the number of mares Lucky Pulpit would be made to cover, Harris Farms’ [where Lucky Pulpit stood] racing manager Dave McGlothlin stated; “He can stand the pressure.” Obviously, Mr. McGlothlin, he couldn’t.

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