Nothing Natural About This Life – or Death

Totally Discreet was born on April 26, 2013. After being “trained,” in all probability, prior to his second birthday, he was raced for the first time this summer at Saratoga. And now he is dead – euthanized Tuesday, says the Gaming Commission, for “laminitis [in] both front feet.”

To be sure, neither NYRA nor the industry at-large will accept any responsibility for this child’s death. (Indeed, it has already been “filed” in the “non-racing” bin.) Simple misfortune, they’ll say – fickle nature. Well…while I could use many adjectives to describe what happened here, “natural” surely is not among them. After being created – unnaturally, and confined – unnaturally, and exploited – unnaturally, Totally Discreet died – unnaturally. No, nothing natural about his short, mean stay on this planet at all. Man made him; man killed him. And that’s that.


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  1. Every day it just gets worse. A 2 year old baby with laminitis in both feet; it is criminal what they are doing to these beautiful babies. Racing crippled this baby and then took his life. RIP Totally Discreet, we will remember your short life, and are so sorry you had to suffer in pain. Run free baby….

    Stop betting people, all you are doing is contributing to the suffering, pain, misery, and death, of innocent creatures. They have every right to live just as you do. Stop killing them with your bets.

    Marlene Thornley

  2. My horses were not race horses but I would not even green break my baby till he was almost three years old. I was never going to let that happen to him.

  3. TOTALLY DISCREET a 2 year old colt didn’t have much fun in his first race start on July 25 when he came home last and won $1,660 for his owner –

    Then in his second and final race start on August 15, he refused to go into the gates, his only way of communicating that he wasn’t up to it but he was forced to race. He placed 3rd and won $5,400 for his owner and at the same time he was up for claiming for $65,000.

    Laminitis in both his two front feet would’ve been extremely painful for him. And the industry has the audacity to regard his death as “non-racing” when it was his life as a racehorse (with the stress of being confined in a box for about 23 hrs a day suffering lack of movement which is vital for his health, darkness, stale air and then being forced to gallop at fast speed whilst being beaten with a whip) that destroyed this young immature horse.

    According to connections as of his last start –
    Jockey: Eric Cancel
    Trainer: Nicholas P Zito
    Owner: Southwest Capital Racing
    Breeder: Sally Thomas

  4. IMMENSE suffering, laminitis. This brief note about this little dark bay colt’s brief life was difficult to read and ponder. Totally Discreet certainly seemed to be resisting having to race – made contact with the gate and rank in his first race, and hard to load in his second and last. Racing at two years old – unnatural physical demands on an immature body AND the psychological stressors wreak havoc on these babies.

    Totally Discreet’s short life and painful death remind me of another dark bay youngster…Flashofcash. This near-black colt had only three lifetime starts, all within just over a month. About 8 weeks after his last race, he came into CANTER-MI with “severe founder”, his coffin bone having punched through the sole of his foot. Etiology? – most likely an ill-placed injection.

    • What does that mean, Joy. Some injection was in the wrong tissue? I’ve heard of cattle whose hooves have sloughed at the feed lots due to the clendropin (sp?) fed to them as a growth muscle producing injection. Could this possibly be being used on the horses?

      • janwindsong, the equine orthopedic surgeon who evaluated the racehorses we took off the track believed Flashofcash had been given corticosteroid injections into his fetlocks. But the injection(s) missed the “target”. He was absolutely gorgeous, very kind and quiet, as well. And EXTREMELY lame. Of course. I can see him still.

    • I’ve had horses all my life debraolive78. I ant to know why a heathy 2 year old horses is euthanized for laminitis! Laminitis is the end stage of founder. Does not occur overnight. Can you even imagine the pain that horse was in? And what state of mind the handlers of this horse maintained to persist in forcing him to RUN! Stop interferring with a correct prospective of outrage!

      • That is sort of ridiculous. “Top trainers” doesn’t really mean anything if they lose a baby after racing him on extreme painful, excruciatingly painful laminitic feet. That baby had to have been drugged with very potent painkillers. You shouldn’t try to bluff so much. The lack of integrity is what is abusing the horses.


    There is a really good article on horses that is a history lesson on how little our government does to protect our horses.

    Sheldon, Revisiting an American Tragedy (Part 1)
    By Laura Leigh on September 28, 2015

    “This one isn’t just any old horse. There’s a nobility in his eye, a regal serenity about him. Does he not personify all that men try to be and never can be? I tell you, my friend, there’s divinity in a horse, and specially in a horse like this. God got it right the day he created them. And to find a horse like this in the middle of this filthy abomination of a war, is for me like finding a butterfly on a dung heap. We don’t belong in the same universe as a creature like this.” ― Michael Morpurgo, War Horse

    • Thanks Kathleen – such a very sad state of affairs for these magnificent noble wild horses. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for Laura.

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