Who in Racing Will Mourn This Claimer’s Death?

Bigreds Thrillshow’s first race back after being inactive for almost a year (reason unknown) was also his last, as the 5-year-old was killed at Golden Gate on September 6. In a “career” that spanned 24 races, Bigred never once ascended above the claiming level; prior to his death-race, he was “For Sale” at a relatively paltry $4,000. In other words, he was basically worthless. In other words, there will be no tears, prayers, and condolences on this one. In racing, mourning is reserved for the winners.

download (2)

Also from California, this from the most recent Los Alamitos Stewards Minutes: “Two equine deaths were reported this week [9/1-9/6] due to racing injuries.” Identities, however, undisclosed. This is horseracing.

Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


  1. Rest in peace, Bigred and the unknown two. Bigred’s story makes me wish I had money and facilities to save these guys. Even just a few.

  2. Speaking of Death and RACEHORSES


    Written by Ann M. Marini, Ph.D

    September 15, 2015

    A 5 year study by Drs Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau and Ann M. Marini has shown conclusively that horse meat, as produced by horses raised in the United States, is extremely harmful to humans. The reports were written in a peer reviewed journal, Food and Chemical Toxicology, and focused on the effects of phenylbutazone (Bute) in the horses meat and it’s effect on humans who consume it. In their study, they tracked 18 Thoroughbreds, which were all given Bute on raceday. The horses were sent to slaughter between 1 week and 48 months after being given Bute, all which still had residual of Bute in their system.

    The Food and Drug Administration has banned Bute from all animals that are slaughtered for human consumption, yet no check is in place to ensure contaminated horse meat is not sent over the border to be slaughtered for human consumption. Bute was used as a human drug in the 40’s, but within 3 years, with dangerous bone marrow supression leading to death and liver failure resulting in death from the use of Bute, it was banned as a human drug and banned from all animals intended to be slaughered for human consumption.

    There is no way to know how many horses receive Bute, one drug manufacture produces enough Bute for every horse in America to receive a dose of Bute every year. One can only assume, as there is no safety net in place to prevent contaminated meat from reaching the human market, that the majority of horse meat is contaminated with dangerous levels of Bute.

    ARTICLE IS FROM http://www.newsofthehorse.com


    Ann M.Marini, Ph.D., M.D.

    Original article published in Horseback Magazine

    Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D. Explains to Legislators Why Horsemeat is Deadly to Humans
    Dear Representative Spreng:

    I am contacting you because of the stealth legislation that James Viebrock added to legalize horse slaughter to the omnibus senate bill sponsored by Senator Mayer.

    I am the senior author on a paper that was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal entitled Food and Chemical Toxicology entitled: “Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk by Drs. Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau and Ann M. Marini.

    We show that 18 American Thoroughbred race horses were given race day phenylbutazone (bute) at various times (0.25-48 months) prior to being sent to slaughter for human consumption. As you may or may not know, racetracks around the country allow race day bute and the administration of bute is documented on the Equibase database that is available to the public. We also showed that 16 rescued thoroughbred race horses were given race day bute. If rescue groups did not outbid the kill buyers, more contaminated horsemeat would have been sent overseas for human consumption. Because we didn’t have access to veterinary records, it is quite possible that the horses sent to slaughter for human consumption were given additional bute. We could only trace the amount of bute given to horses within 24 hours of a race. One horse did have a positive bute level and one horse was documented bute administration by a licensed vet even though this horse did not receive race day bute. This result substantiates the fact that horses sent to slaughter for human consumption are given bute outside of the racetrack.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) bans phenylbutazone in any food producing animal, including horses (see bottom of page 3 of FDA order). Food-producing animals in the United States are required to have health certificates which ensures that the animals are not given banned substances. In contrast, horses are not food-producing animals in the United States and they are not required to have health certificates. Thus, there is no way to know whether a horse received a banned substance. Thus, there are no mechanisms to remove horses given banned substances from the slaughter pipeline. Our study indicates that 9,000 pounds of contaminated horsemeat (18 horses x 500 pounds of dressed horsemeat/horse) were sent overseas for human consumption over the five year study period.

    The actual number of horses given bute prior to being sent to slaughter for human consumption is unknown. Based on the annual sales of one pharmaceutical company that makes bute, every horse in the America (10 million) would have been given one dose of bute. This estimate does not include compounded bute which can be purchased over the internet and is not tracked by the FDA. This means that our estimate is likely grossly underestimated.

    Phenylbutazone was on the market for human use in the late 1940s as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. It was touted that it would eventually replace aspirin. Dangerous and deadly side effects began to appear within three years including bone marrow suppression that was fatal in many cases and a hypersensitivity liver syndrome that could culminate in liver failure and death. The National Toxicology Program found that phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, adding to its deadly nature. For these reasons, the FDA bans the drug in all food-producing animals. Thankfully, the drug is off the market for human use.

    I have attached my letter, our paper that was published in Food and Chemical Toxicology, the FDA order and a letter sent to us under the Freedom of Information Act. You can see in the letter that the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the regulatory arm of the USDA, found 8.3% of the horse carcasses violative for bute over a two-year study period. It is unclear why FSIS did not expand the exploratory program to determine the exact percentage of bute-positive horse carcasses. However, these results validate the results in our study. Moreover, there are other drugs that are banned in horses sent to slaughter for human consumption including the dewormer Ivermectin, acepromazine and clenbuterol. In the absence of a mechanism to remove horses given bute from the slaughter pipeline, which would likely be close to 100% of them, our results indicate that Missouri will be sending contaminated horsemeat for human consumption. To avoid this problem, the state will have to implement a program through the Department of Agriculture to require health certificates for horses that owners want to send to slaughter for human consumption. This would be similar to the horse passport system in the United Kingdom (UK). This would be a huge undertaking for the state and taxes may have to be raised to accomodate the small percentage of horse owners who wish to send their horses to slaughter for human consumption. I should also add that bute is banned in horses sent to slaughter for human consumption in Canada, the UK and the European Union (EU). In fact, the EU has come out with new requirements for third countries like the US that supply horsemeat to EU markets.

    You should also know that horses have 1.76 times the blood that a cow which by definition will increase the number of and the amount of bute residue in contaminated horse carcasses (see our paper).

    Please feel free to share these documents with your colleagues. Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

    Best regards,
    Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D

  4. RIP Bigred and 2 unnamed babies. We cared that you gave your life for this sick game, and morn your tragic deaths.

    Does anyone have any information regarding a 4 year old filly, Florida bred, named “Bright Promise”. This horse has disappeared. She was involved in a 4 horse spill at Tampa Bay on 2/6/15, where she sideswiped La Ranchera, as she struggled to regain her footing. I have checked all the FOIA lists of deaths, and cannot find an entry. Horseracing Nation lists her as “active”, yet she hasn’t raced since 2/6/15, according to equibase. She has simply disappeared into thin air. I truly hope that she is still alive. Please let me know if you have any information regarding this filly, it is appreciated.

    Marlene Thornley

    • hey Marlene…regarding Bright Promise, a contact of mine informed me back in February (after this incident that involved four horses) that she was injured – likely a broken shoulder. But he also stated that 3 of those 4 horses were dead and that the only survivor was Bright Promise. Well we later discovered that was NOT the case because one of the horses that he thought was euthanized – Juliebrowneyes – was indeed still alive and was entered to race. So when he questioned the trainers of the four horses, in order to confirm if they were alive or dead, they became “irritated” with him. Yea, I bet they did…they would just as soon keep the news of their dead horses quiet. So it is highly likely that Bright Promise was one of three dead horses, and Juliebrowneyes was the only survivor.

      In any case, he is going to ask again about Bright Promise.

      • Joy,

        Thank you so much for the information on Bright Promise. My gut feeling tells me that she is gone, but I have hope that she is still alive. She was such a beautiful little filly, she had a special place in my heart, when she went down my heart sank. I have prayed for her every night, that by some miracle she is still alive.

        I hate racing more with each passing day. Every day they claim another life that was so full of promise and life. Let me know if you find anything more about her. This all has to end. Please people, I beg you stop betting, these TB’s have suffered enough, give them instead a chance at life.

        Joy you are the best!!!

        Marlene Thornley

  5. On the subject of the “irritated” trainers, who seemingly didn’t like being asked if one of their “athletes” was killed, I just recently had a conversation with a racing apologist about something similar. She suggested that those of us who acknowledge horse racing as abusive and voice our concerns about it are frequently viewed as individuals who are interfering with those who find their employment in the racing industry. “It’s legal, it’s a business where many people are employed, and if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.” To this racing supporter – who happens to actively expose the horrors of equine slaughter -I had to reply, “I guess that’s what the horse dealers, kill buyers, and if given the opportunity, slaughterhouse workers would say to you. It’s a business…and not yours…so stay out of it.”

    • Just because it is “legal” doesn’t mean that it is morally right and if something is not morally right then its legality becomes questionable. Something which was once in the past legal becomes illegal as a result of the community’s expectations/standards. With regard to any horseracing industry legislation, if it does not make adequate provisions for the protection of the horses, then I cannot see that such legislation is valid and therefore I cannot see how horseracing is “legal”. Could anyone argue that the horses are not the main participants in this industry?

      “DON’T WATCH IT” ???

      The racing industry invites and encourages the public to attend its meetings, watch on tv and bet on the horses, without the public it would not survive. Therefore, if the public witnesses horses suffering injuries or dying when they’ve been invited to watch and find it repulsive and totally unacceptable, then the public has the right to question what they’ve been invited to watch.

      • Rose, i see that Jill’s Reflection is racing at Gulfstream on 20 Sept. This poor mare!

    • Joy,

      These people who make their living on the sweat, blood, misery, and suffering of innocent creatures, need to find a new living. Racing is dying, slowly, but still dying. Their handles are way down, despite all of the hype of a triple crown winner, AP.

      The ignorant are slowly becoming aware of the atrocities, and cruelty, that goes on at the backside of the track. People ARE walking away. During the week the stands at the track are empty, and only sparsely filled on the weekends. These are all good signs that point to the fact that racing’s days are numbered. Liberation for the TB will come to fruition, and how I long to see that day!!!

      Marlene Thornley

  6. How many unethical, cruel, vicious, wicked actions, including outright atrocities, are permitted to continue under the “but it will create/save jobs” mantra? We all know the names, some of them quite famous ones, of people who should, by law, not be allowed withing spitting distance of a Thoroughbred, let alone permitted/encouraged to make their living in horseracing.
    Both sides of the political aisle are guilty of using this “jobs mantra” and the power of donor money is so corrosive and corrupting that, even were they inclined to do so, officeholders and officeseekers look the other way.
    Case in point–There will NEVER be a nationwide standard for the ethical/humane treatment/management of domestic animals consumed for food as long as Iowa retains its first-in-the-nation primary status. And as long as wealthy and influential donors can line the pockets of our politicians, eliminating horseracing and other “commercial” activities involving animals will be very difficult. This is why advocating for cutting off money at the racino/gambling end is one of the few avenues for ending horseracing those of us on the outside can engage in.

  7. Carolyn, I see that along with it being the 53rd start for this 4 yr. old filly she has been dropped to $6, 250 claim. It is an absolute disgrace how these poor “claimers” are overworked and broken down. And the answer from the state steward, Kevin Scheen, was that the” number of races was more than average but not unusual”. I wonder what number of starts would be considered unusual !

    Also, I pointed this situation out to Mr. Pacelle of the HSUS as an example of how horses are overworked and the fact that no rules exist to prevent this form of abuse. The HSUS has supposedly “partnered” with racing to improve conditions for the horse !! I don’t believe for one minute there will be any meaningful change. I believe it is nothing but a sham.

    • Yes I saw that Rose, absolutely despicable what they’re doing to her. JILL’S REFLECTION is up to 53 starts tomorrow, began racing as a 2 year old filly and has been racing for 2 years without a proper layoff. JR has not been a great money earner – it appears they’ll race her until she drops. As you say, there is absolutely nothing in place as to the number of starts over a certain period of time for these horses and that is CRIMINAL. What number of starts would be considered unusual? Good question – shame on them. Where I am, a horse can race on two consecutive days! and it happens every now and then. I asked a jockey friend about this and he said that in his experience some of them cope, many don’t. A horse broke down/euthanased when it was forced to race twice in 3 days. Did badly in first race, trainer/owner not happy. He’d been nominated/accepted for both starts and if he had’ve done well in the first it might’ve saved him. I’ve got one horse where he had 3 starts in 5 days, 2 starts in 5 days, I had been lodging complaints about this poor horse and when he was about to have his 4th start in 14 days being his 11th start in 11 weeks! I took action. The stewards and vet scratched him on the grounds that he was light in body condition and not suitable to race (his unacceptable number of starts wouldn’t have had anything to do with it??? – no they wouldn’t go there because there are no appropriate rules in place) and an embargo was placed on him preventing him from racing for 1 month… pff! Each time an embargo was placed on this horse the trainer/owner would race him the very day he could start him again, he was coming home distanced lasts and on the last occasion the stewards deemed him uncompetitive and the trainer said he would “retire” him. A 4 yr old gelding and I know where he went. This sounds terrible but I wish he had’ve had a catastrophic injury in a race and euthanased. What a cruel miserable life this horse had. 28 starts 0-0-0 for $5,350 (appearance money) in just over a year. How sick was this, the horse was not suitable to race in the first place, he always looked unwell to me and it was hard to watch. And he was whipped when out of contention which is against the rules and the jockey gets a little slap on the wrist!

      A horse like JILL’S REFLECTION is just an example of many horses racing every day. SHAME on JR’s owners, trainer and the racing industry. One cannot justify the unjustifiable.

  8. Joy, I posted on the HSUS blog on 23 July and addressed Mr. Pacelle regarding the common practice of overworking horses because he never mentioned the abuse of frequent starts. Also, I followed up the next day by giving details of what was happening to Jill’s Reflection and reiterated the fact that no rules exist to prevent this abuse. There has been no response from the HSUS.

Comments are closed.