Horse Drowns at Delta; Trainer: “What can you say?”

From Friday’s Paulick Report:

“A racemare walking back to her barn after schooling in the paddock Thursday night at Delta Downs got loose and drowned in a retention pond.”

That mare was 7-year-old Cajun Chu Chu. She was last raced in May, but was slated to be run in a cheap ($4,000) claiming race Friday night. In all, she was put to the whip 27 times. As for her death, trainer Karl Broberg had this to say: “It was as freak an accident as you’ll ever see. There’s definitely no fault to blame anywhere. If there’s a way to get hurt, they’re going to find it. What can you say?”

And reactions from Paulick readers:

“There is a fence around it…it is called the inside rail, which evidently didn’t work…not being rude…just that some horses cannot stand prosperity.”

“Anyone who has been around horses at all knows that they live by Murphy’s Law. The list of predicaments, incidents, and just plain odd accidents that they can get into is almost unending. The horse was the only causality, but as bad as that was, it could have been so much worse.”

“A seven year old schooling before a Thursday race at Delta Downs? She must have been a real problem.”

“I had a mare jump into Ruth Lake.She sank like a rock. When we finally found her body she had a front leg through the throat latch of her bridle.”

…no fault to blame anywhere

…if there’s a way to get hurt, they’re going to find it

…some horses cannot stand prosperity

…Murphy’s Law

…could have been so much worse

…she must have been a real problem

…what can you say?


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  1. Yeah, what can you say? Drowning? Any insurance policy involved? Or just a bunch of idiots running a barn? RIP Sweet One. Patrick, myself & so many others KNOW that horses racing are at the same risk of death, injury or slaughter. We won’t shut up until the barbarism stops. <3 Cajun Chu Chu

  2. ###
    The evidence is there that this mare fought to free herself. I’d be inerested in knowing what sort of person her groom is, what the expertie is. Or if there was the screaming, raucous atmosphere she didn’t want to go back to. The truth is not being told by the witnesses. I’ve also seen photos of a horse wearing draw reins or martingale – drown in a river. Horses swim!

    • What can you say about a groom taking charge of a $4,000- claimer, and at night? Again, I need to stress this! ALL grooms are NOT OK. You could ask Affirmed but he’s dead now. Bunch of drunks, most, sorry to say. How much is hidden in the racetrack, only few know.

      • Grooms = criminals, illegal, drugs, drunks, ne`er- do- wells. Although there are some wonderful grooms, they usually aren’t on the backside handling the claimers.

      • Ms. Curtis-Olivas, the troll (you) is back. Unbelievable! Now explain this to me, Ms. Know It All. How is it that many of the grooms at the tracks are undocumented. Just to bring you up to speed, NOT those employed by the tracks themselves, but those employed privately, you know, like Mr. Steve ASSmussen who employed illegals. Do they do background checks on illegals? You are quite the dumb ass. Hopefully, Patrick will go back to moderating comments and you will go back under your rock.

        Doing background checks proves NOTHING! I can’t tell you how many times I sat in the racing office and security was discussing the drunks/druggies on the backside. I bet they passed their background checks, right?

  3. Just read this after your schooling question. Agree w comments why are they schooling a seasoned racehorse???!! My guess is the horse started acting up in regular training or racing or in refusing to enter track because they survived by avoiding something that hurt them once. Self preservation memories hence the phrase “memory like a horse”. I’d guess the horse recalls pain when in normal training so started acting up not wanting to train and the idiots thought the horse needed to hi backwards to schooling. Some tracks do necropsies on all that die on grounds -would be a good thing to read to see what injuries it had, I betcha that’s the cause

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Maybe someone can tell Donna Armani Pineda about sending a horse to schooling in the gate? Her husband is dead, many years now. Once they’re on the card? Owners want them to run. Simple math $$$$ = MORE $$$$. A cheap, feisty horse has to go …… Where? They don’t care.

    • Agree, Jo Anne Normile – in my experience when I worked at the coalface, every day I would witness horses displaying behaviour that they just wanted to escape the environment that was harmful to them. Captured and enslaved………

  4. Schooling in the paddock means that’s where she was acting up which could easily get her scratched. Yet she knew the paddock meant she was going to race next, so sad. Smart mare. Loose horses usually try to get to their stalls the shortest way possible not normal route. Such good sense of direction they have. Trailriding miles from home my daughter and I used to like to turn our horses in circles, point them away from home and then give them the reins. We would laugh cause they always knew the way home on their own even if a different route thru a woods cause it was faster Sent from my iPhone


  5. No Limited info here Debraolivas78 > Tell me about backstretch work? Are you Franks newest wive or a daughter/ Let’s talk about horses. The serious issue here is the horses welfare. As for your quote? “since you are now in attendance , but sit far removed behind closed doors.” ? WOW

    • Something isn’t right with this story. Horses are excellent swimmers. In fact, swimming is used for therapy when rehabbing. I used to take my field hunter swimming years ago and he loved it as did I. Therefore, I am suspicious that this horse drowned unless there is more to the story than what has been published.

  6. And when CAJUN CHU CHU took off, why didn’t the groom/carer go after this mare and bring her back? “A freak accident” it most certainly was not. The people responsible for her are at fault here – they failed to ensure her safety and well being.

    The heartless and callous comments from the Paulick report is representative of many pro-racing people and many in the horseracing industry. Speaks for itself.

    • Lol Patrick , did I get too much truth in ? Too much common sense , that you deleted my comments . Keep your peeps in line , only show them warped propaganda .

      • debraolivas78,

        I know people on this list who have been rescuing race horses for over 50 years plus i know others on this list whose family was in racing long before you were even born that got out because of the horrific abuse they witnessed first hand. Every time you post you show your hatred and coldness and ignorance towards horses and the horse racing industry. You have a Tragic state of mind. It is because of arrogant and hard hearted people like you that this horrific abuse continues to horses.

  7. Oh Debraolivas78 – just what would you know about how many racehorses I’ve handled? This incident with CAJUN CHU CHU (a seven year old mare and still racing?) is just one example of mistreatment.
    Every day we read about the abuse of racehorses. We see footage of a groom viciously bashing a horse in a stable – I’ve witnessed it myself in stables but thanks to social media, more and more is being exposed and there’s nothing the racing industry can do about it.

    I’m up to speed with what’s going on on the tracks, when I can, i attend some trackwork and race meetings. It was only a week ago that I visited a trainer I used to work for and things have got worse on that track with certain notorious trainers moving into stables there. He cannot open his mouth about anything anymore, he walks around with his mouth zipped. If anyone speaks up about a horse being mistreated then you’re DONE!
    I spent an afternoon there and saw more than enough – the total disregard for the fact that these horses are living creatures made me feel physically ill.

    And btw Debraolivas78, you are wasting your time trying to defend the indefensible.

    • Speaking of abuse.

      This is from the Paulick Report 11/23/2015

      this man should be banned from racing forever for what he did to NEHRO and other horses under his care.

      Asmussen Fined $10,000; New York Commission Finds Four Violations From PETA Video

      Over a year and a half after the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals released a controversial video accusing top trainer Steve Asmussen and his employees of mistreating horses, the New York State Gaming Commission released a report on the incident on Monday afternoon.

      Of 14 alleged violations the animal rights group detailed in three letters to the commission dated between March and May of last year, the commission sustained four points, and fined Asmussen $10,000. The report determined that Asmussen had indeed administered synthetic thyroxine, a hormone produced by the thyroid gland, to horses in his care. The report further determined that the administration was not medically necessary, and that it had occurred within 48 hours of a race, resulting in the fine.

      According to the commission’s ruling, Asmussen will be ineligible to race if the fine is not paid by Dec. 8. If the trainer does not pony up by Dec. 23, he could incur interest or late charges, in addition to other collection charges.

      The fourth allegation the commission sustained as a result of the evidence gathered by PETA was that veterinarian Dr. Joseph F. Migliacci allowed partially-completed furosemide eligibility forms to be finished by third parties in his presence. This is not considered a commission violation.

      The remaining, more serious points were deemed “unfounded” by the commission. The commission noted that some of the accusations by PETA were not violations of any regulation.

      • A fine of $10,000 is chicken feed and this trainer has not been given a slap on the wrist – he’s been given a handshake, a nod and a wink. The public expects justice and in my view the New York State Gaming Commission has failed to serve out justice in this Asmussen case, which brings racing into even further disrepute.

      • Poor Steve ASSmussen! So what if he gave his horses thryoxine when it wasn’t medically necessary. No big deal especially when it can help the guy’s horses win a race. Isn’t that what is important?

        This travesty is indefensible but I would encourage the pro-racing folks to come on here and give it their best shot including Ms. Curtis-Olivas. Oh, and this is a quote from a racing supporter…”I have worked for the ones who use frog toxiin, snake venom, high block and run on anything they could get away with. I also realize that u must not be aware that many trainers do not wait for joint damage to inject joints. Watched many inject sound horses”. Wow, is all I can say to this self-incrimination by someone who supports horseracing. If this doesn’t sicken you, then you are truly delusional.

        Oh, and by the way, Curtis-Olivas, I don’t hate you. That is just another one of your many lies. I do hate the industry you support…love the horses, hate the industry. Not too difficult to comprehend, even for you, right? We do go back a couple of years to the time when Ms. Price and Mr. Wedig sent Cactus Café and Canuki to slaughter. You, and your sidekick here in central Ohio, were unhappy with the way that played out. She came after all of us that were trying to “save” the horses and seemed mighty upset that she wasn’t involved after SHE left the group. You two didn’t give a damn about the horses but decided to make it about your own agendas. Both of you sickened me then and you both sicken me now and, yes, I blocked both of you on FB. Who needs two troublemakers who were trying to tear down our attempts to “save” two horses? No one….let me repeat…no one.

        Coming on this blog is a game for you and you are nothing but a troublemaker which you relish. You lie in wait for an opportunity when Patrick isn’t moderating the comments. Why he puts up with your antics is a mystery to me.

  8. Oh dear, Debraolivas78, your capabilities of comprehending what you read appear to be a problem for you. You also appear to assume a lot – how do you know that nothing has been reported? As in the past when you have posted comments here, you seem to be very selective about what you take on board and for some reason you have to resort to putting a TWIST on just about everything.

  9. Oh geez…Olivas slipped in a comment? Seriously folks, she must do nothing other than read this blog religiously!…and try incessantly to comment! The daily truths here must just drive her crazy….ah, crazier. She doesn’t even recognize she says nothing new, nothing enlightening…rather, just the same ole apogist crap…an individual who has some kind of connection to the industry at a very low-level and needs it to continue for her existence. Nothing special there.

  10. The preposterous things racing industry members and their supporters say…just yesterday, I read another article where statements and claims left me shaking my head in utter astonishment. So here, just another example of the dishonesty and self-incrimination within the racing industry…

    The 2011 dark bay gelding, “Seal Team Six”, was found earlier this month at a New Jersey feedlot awaiting auction. Seal Team Six was a 240K purchase for Wounded Warrior Stables (what an appropriate name for a racing stable!) in 2013. He only raced 6 times before he suffered a career-ending injury. For all six races, he was owned by WWS and trained by Gary Contessa. Here are those six races;

    -Nov 16, 2013, his first race, a MSW

    -July 11, 2014, 40K maiden claiming

    -August 31, 30K maiden claiming

    -September 21, 30K maiden claiming

    -November 5, 20K maiden claiming

    (see where this is going?)

    -November 27, 12.5K maiden claiming

    Now onto the article and several quotes (including some from Contessa);

    Contessa: “The problem with every one of these organizations (equine rescue groups) is that we don’t have enough funds. We are on life support every month after we pay bills.”

    To the racing apologists who claim there are many amply racing-funded organizations set up to intake the discarded equine “athletes” of the “Sport of Kings”, one of your OWN – Mr. Contessa – says otherwise! Once again, where are all of these supposed good people of racing? How is it that MILLIONS of dollars are dropped on yearling purchases yet when it comes to the retirement of horses that made money for everyone but themselves, there isn’t enough money?

    And again from Contessa: “We always have places to put them (used-up racehorses) once we get them.” So pray tell, Mr. Contessa, after your failure to unload Seal Team Six via the cheaper and cheaper claiming races you put him in, not to mention after the 3-year-old gelding suffered his career-ending knee injury, why didn’t YOU just put him in one of those nice places you claim to “always have”?

    The article’s author goes on to say; “Horse slaughter is prohibited in the U.S., but…many horses wind up there after finishing their careers at American race tracks.” Oh apologists, don’t you just CRINGE when you hear AGAIN what you constantly try to dispute?

    And finally, Contessa once more: “I have 7,000 followers on Twitter and 5,000 FB followers…if everyone gave one dollar that would be $12,000. It’s all about raising the level of awareness to save these horses.” Mr. Contessa, you need to know that racing supporters don’t believe your industry has this problem! According to them, there are just a few bad apples who discard their horses AND there are those racing-funded organizations all set to take them in!

    FYI…Contessa is the hero in this story, of course…someone told him about Seal Team Six at the feedlot so he coughed up $500. HE didn’t put him in one of those places he “always has”. HE hadn’t followed up on the gelding. But Contessa – with 4.3 million in earnings in 2014 and 2.9 million thus far in 2015 – wrote the check for $500. And why shouldn’t have he.

  11. And there is another horse in the downward spiral of the claiming ranks. His name is Arc Above a beautiful dark bay gelding now being raced by Gary Contessa for $7,500. I wonder if he will be “found” at a feedlot before too long.

    • Thank you, Rose, for telling us about Arc Above. We never have to look far or dig deep for racehorses in decline. This industry sets horses up for bad endings.

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