Dead at Golden Gate: Seaward Cottage, Halo Dancer

The California Horse Racing Board has disclosed two killed at Golden Gate Fields, both while “working” (training):

3-year-old Seaward Cottage, December 26 – “fractured left front ankle, knee and shoulder.” Again, that’s ankle, knee, and shoulder. Imagine that.

4-year-old Halo Dancer, January 3 – “disarticulated left foreleg,” after, that is, having taken a “bad step.”


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  1. SEAWARD COTTAGE in July 2015 in her very first start came home last – not unusual. However, she came home last by forty-five (45) lengths which appears to indicate that she had a health issue and/or a training/management issue. She was a 3 year old filly and raced for only five (5) months starting 7 times. Then on Jan 3, 2016, when in training, she suffered multiple fractures in her left foreleg.

    Her fetlock (ankle) BROKE, her carpus (knee) BROKE and her humerus (shoulder) BROKE – oh what a sickening sight it must have been. And as for her horrific pain and suffering – for how long? In my experience there is not a vet on duty when training is taking place (unlike raceday) and I have witnessed a horse break down in training when there was no vet around and we had to wait so long for the vet to get there – it was unbearable.

    One can only come to the conclusion that she had a serious bone issue. Some simple veterinary tests would’ve detected a bone problem before she began her racing career and it appears that this was not done. But then again she was just a commodity and was bred to race despite the fact that she might die in a race, in training or end up in the slaughterhouse.

    During her “career” of only 5 months, SW passed through the hands of 3 trainers and 4 sets of owners.
    First start was under trainer Robert Hess Jr.
    Second start under Hess and she was claimed for $50,000.
    New trainer is Doug O’Neill (need one say anymore)
    Doug O’Neill and Dave Kenney are her new owners.
    Third start came 6th and earned $250
    O’Neill still her trainer but he pulls out of ownership selling his one-half share (wonder why?)
    Joseph Besecker, Dan Kenney and Slam Dunk Racing are her new owners
    Next race she wins with same trainer and owners – earned $10,200
    Next start she comes home second – same trainer and owners – earned $3,600
    And she’s claimed for $16,000.
    New trainer is Tim McCanna and owners are Grant Alvernaz and Steve Ribeiro but they only have her for one race.

    You can’t tell me that not one of her numerous trainers and owners detected that she had a health issue. Why was she passed on so swiftly especially over such a very short time frame of 5 months? Doug O’Neill didn’t notice a problem with her? – sells his share quick smart but continues to train her……… $$$.

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