As has been oft-repeated here, Racing’s propaganda arm – aka the Paulick Report, the Daily Racing Form, Blood-Horse – eschews talk of casualties. Common sense, really, as their fortunes are inextricably tied to the larger industry’s, and dead horses are bad for fortunes. Generally, a death only merits coverage if the race was rich and/or the horse was valuable and/or the jockey was hurt.
Thursday at cheap Charles Town, a nondescript horse named Charitable Star broke down and was euthanized. Nothing – except here. Yesterday at hallowed Keeneland, two stakes-winning horses were killed in separate races: 5-year-old Shore Runner in the $150,000 Woodford, 6-year-old Skyring in the $1 million Shadwell. Both, of course, covered by the aforementioned hacks.
Here, for those who can stomach it, is the fall that ended Shore Runner’s life (“Replays,” Sat the 3rd, race 5 – around 1:00 mark):
This is horseracing.
Shore Runner was a “claimer” on and off in his “career”. In 18 starts he was claimed 5 times. Then he met with trainer Joe Sharp, The horse quickly became a winner and a stakes horse. He was a money maker for Sharp and the Keeneland race was a “win and you’re in”. That meant, had Shore Runner” survived and won, he would be in the Breeders Cup. Shore Runner barely reached maturity before he was raced to his death.
Every horse has a story but very, very few have a happy ending in this game. The majority are dead, either on the track, in the barn or in the slaughterhouse before they reach maturity.
Charitable Star, your misery and exploitation at the “bull ring” has ended. R.I.P.
Thank you, Rose. Your comments always ring with truth. The heart breaking truth.
If you want to feel sick to your stomach, look at Skyring’s PPs. He tried time and time again to show his connections he didn’t want to run. His last 9 comment lines are some form of “weakened” or “stopped” or “tired”. By any measure, his days as a stakes horse were done. He was good once and now he no longer was. Not an especially unique situation.
How does “Hall of Fame Trainer” D Wayne Lukas respond? By entering him in a hopeless spot in a Grade 1 Million Dollar race with horses miles faster than him. He goes off at 70-1. He dies. Horse racing.
Danny, how will Lukas respond? He won’t because what can he say? Horseracing is a sick, sick industry and those that participate must know the risks they take and the damage they cause. My heart breaks for Skyring. Racing killed him and racing will keep killing as long as the betting continues.
I had looked at his PP’s, Danny, and agree with you. Why wasn’t HIS owner/trainer listening to him because supposedly these wonderful folks LISTEN to their horses? Oh maybe Skyring was just having a “rough run” and still loved racing – and risking his life.
Now I’ve been told some pro-racing group is likening these three deaths at Keeneland in just one day to the mass murders of children by deranged shooters in schools. I’m serious! The murder of many school children = the deaths of racehorses on the track!…that’s from a pro-racing group, all!
Wow…with minds like that in the racing business, is it any wonder this industry is in such trouble?
To the person writing these blogs,
I never liked horse racing. Though I knew little of the sport, it just sat wrong that a sport existed where the participants weren’t willing participants. Then I moved to Lexington and met a co-worker who loves horses and loves racing. I listened to them go on-and-on about horses. She even referenced how many horses are poorly treated after their racing career is over. The paradox of her love of racing and these statements was not lost on me. Then she offered for me and my family to go to Keeneland.
I watched, in horror, as Shore Runner collided with other horses and was subsequently euthanized. I sat stunned as things were quiet throughout Keeneland for about 30 minutes as they cleaned up. Then straight back to racing with only an announced update on the jockies.
Not one mention of the horses. Ever. Beyond this blog I can’t find a mention of Shore Runner’s death.
I’m ashamed I ever went against my initial instincts. This “sport” hi-lights the worst of how humanity treats animals.
I will never forget my first and last trip to Keeneland and I’m saddened to know there is far too much money tied into racing for any hope of ever abolishing this sick practice.
Thank you for sharing. Tragically, what you’ve described is something that plays out – often, several times over – on American racetracks each and every day. As the dead are thrown into the “horse pit,” the show goes on. Now that your eyes are wide open, please help spread the word.
Thank you so much for your poignant comment, anygivenwednesday13. What you witnessed was horrific. What happened to Shore Runner is inexcusable. What happens to racehorses every single day – breakdowns, suffering, death – IS horse racing. And what must continue to happen is this exposure of equine abuse in the name of “sport”. Please be a voice for the horses…you’ve got something many don’t have, and that’s personal experience. It’s powerful. Use it! Thank you!
Does anyone on this site happen to know if post-mortems or post-accident reports are required to be filed on these incidents, and if so, where they might be filed – if they’re available to the public, etc. etc.?
Greg, each racing jurisdiction has their own set of rules…their own policies and procedures, if you will. Most do NOT mandate a necropsy following death/euthanasia due to a racing or training injury. I do not know about the KY tracks but I will ask an acquaintance for you. I actually think the KY tracks do (I remember reading the necropsy report of Eight Belles vividly), but finding the report might be another matter. I’ll let you know as soon as I receive an answer.
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