“Complete Disarticulation of Fetlock, All Supporting Structures Destroyed” – Turf’s Dead Racehorses, 2015

Through a FOIA request to the Arizona Department of Racing, I have confirmed the following kills at Turf Paradise in 2015. (Unless otherwise noted, fatal injury was a leg fracture of one kind or another.)

11-year-old Tejano Trouble, January 6, Turf 4
“fractured neck”

3-year-old Volage, January 13, Turf 6

3-year-old Hidden Angel, January 20, Turf 3

3-year-old Time for a J, January 27, Turf 2

7-year-old Cowtown Star, February 10, Turf 4

3-year-old Zen Zai Sun, February 10, Turf 4
“fractured shoulder”

5-year-old Ms PK Blue, February 16, Turf 2

3-year-old Dylbug, February 22, Turf 5

4-year-old Aerial Dancer, February 23, Turf 4

3-year-old Noble Metal, March 10, Turf, training

3-year-old Mizzo’s Gold, March 21, Turf, training
“heart attack”

3-year-old Mo’s a Wine Snob, April 14, Turf 5

5-year-old Dirty Diamond Jim, April 20, Turf 3

2-year-old Carson City Zip, October 4, Turf, training

3-year-old Shadow Mountain, October 9, Turf, training
“head trauma, neurologic”

3-year-old Gone Forever, October 14, Turf, training (being prepped for first race)

8-year-old Royal Looker, November 7, Turf 2

4-year-old Shakahari, November 9, Turf, training

Super Yacht, November 18, Turf, training

3-year-old Cinderella Lady, December 5, Turf, training

3-year-old Lucky Larry, December 6, Turf 1

3-year-old Red Phone, December 27, Turf 8
“complete disarticulation of fetlock – all supporting structures destroyed”

photo credit: The Guardian

In addition, the following still-active racehorses died on track grounds from what the industry calls “non-racing” causes. Technically true, perhaps, but on a moral level, these horses are no less casualties of this vile business than the ones above.

9-year-old Start Time, February 2, Turf
“unknown – unable to rise” (was last raced one week prior)

3-year-old Canopus, March 26, Turf
“colic” (just raced two days prior)

2-year-old Yakima Wine, September 17, Turf
“suspected virus – high temp 105 & up for 2 days – resultant dehydration”

Sunday, September 25, Turf

4-year-old Kakini, December 20, Turf
“pneumonia” (just raced five days prior)

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  1. So horrific, so upsetting, so unacceptable, and very distressful.
    Shut down this death camp. Please shut it down.
    Every racehorse is special, but I will focus on Tejano Trouble on this long list for now.
    This racehorse made over $250,000 for his connections, and they literally ran him into the ground.
    When he could no longer compete in the upper ranks down he slipped into the lower ranks where his back class and big heart consistently picked up checks for these greedy idiots.
    Most likely sore, and probably constantly injected he kept running.
    Dope was probably the only relief from his athletic pain, needle in needle out most likely.
    Then when the dope and needles could no longer keep him going down he went – dead in the dirt.
    Tejano Trouble another dead slave for a disgusting slave ring they call a racetrack.
    I don’t know about you, but I just can’t take it anymore. This dude was 11 years old!
    He paid his dues, he made lots of money, and it still wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough!
    The industries retirement plan includes running until they drop to save them the trouble of vanning them to the kill auction. These despicable people who support such horrific cruelty.
    They are anything, but the “good” folks of horse racing. They are pure evil.

    • His owner and trainer ran him into his grave – owner Larry Cassaday and trainer Curt Ferguson. Proud of yourselves, fellas?

  2. Start Time. Start Time was a bay mare – a 2006 Kentucky-bred. She had a record of 12-17-15…she made 93K the hard way, via 74 starts. Her last owner, Susan Michelle Jesmer, and last trainer, Tony Klenakis, had her for sale for 3K in her last race. A 3K claiming race with a purse of $6800. Inflated purses – incentive to run unsound horses. So they ran her on January 26, a price tag on her head, and she earned them $666. Seven days later, Start Time couldn’t get to her feet. Anyone who knows horses knows what horrific condition an equine must be in to be unable to rise. It’s SURVIVAL to them – to be on their feet…and Start Time couldn’t do it. These people have no heart. None.

    RIP, Start Time…you were made to live a miserable life and die a miserable death. I wish you could have been mine. But now you’re free.

  3. Another thing, what people need to understand is that this is a profit factory. Any racehorse in any race generates profit for the wagering companies.
    Many Trainers participate in these demented demands to generate bets. At the time that I left, most Trainers who were successful were connected in some capacity with either the wagering companies or the racetrack CEO’s whose main motivation is profit not the welfare of the racehorse. The maiming and deaths are a testament to this comment.
    In fact, any Trainer (like myself) who refused to subscribe to this death plan was immediately denied access to most racetrack facilities or they made your life a living hell of ongoing battles.
    Heck, I even got charged and fined for scratching a sick horse. In other words, run your horse even if it’s sick. Well they can shove that where the sun don’t shine. My Wolfie wasn’t going to be a pawn in their profit scheme nor were any of my racehorses. So now I was crazy. Get what I’m saying?
    Everyday on racetracks throughout North America there are Trainers knowingly entering racehorses who are lame, sore, and mentally stressed. Most owners are well aware of this as well despite the fact that they plea innocence when their racehorse tests positive for dope or after it dies in the dirt.
    I must emphasize that even if the racehorse dies it still generates profits for the wagering companies. Moreover, anybody associated with that horse gets paid whether it dies or not. So it’s almost a prescription for death really.
    Out of this entire scenario it’s the racehorses that pay with their lives for bets. It’s just a simple as that. From the wagering outlets to the connections all involved subscribe to this death plan.

  4. Once again, the pro-racing Paulick Report provides another dose of racing industry self-incrimination. Its weekly “Cosequin Presents Aftercare Spotlight” did it once more…another “feel good” story that couldn’t hide what the industry really does to its “athletes” despite the obvious attempts to do so by the author.

    The article titled “A Safe Haven in the Desert” highlighted an Arizona-based racehorse rescue founded and managed by former Thoroughbred racehorse breeder/owner/trainer, Patti Shirley. Shirley cares for 75 ex-racehorses – 73 Thoroughbreds and 2 Quarter Horses. I know Shirley a bit, having had communication with her concerning a couple of at-risk racing TB’s and I can attest to her passion in helping racing’s injured and unwanted horses. But that’s about where the “feel good” part ends.

    Shirley states; “I was training horses…and was realizing more every day how much at risk Thoroughbreds were once they couldn’t perform at the track.” She continued; “…they [the horses she takes in] are not sound enough to pursue another career” and many are referred to as “lifers”, meaning they are not sound enough to adopt out as riding horses.

    From the article…“Patti explained that many of the horses…have injuries that could possibly have been prevented simply by giving the horse a break or retiring them sooner.” But then Shirley goes on to say; “These horses are pampered like any fine athlete.” WHAT? Now I know full well what Shirley is attempting to do here and it’s almost painful to watch her trying to put these owners in a good light – but “pampered” horses are NOT horses that due to racing have become too unsound to be ridden.

    And also from the author; “[the owners] care about the horse and want to insure its future is secure, but [they] don’t have the resources, whether they be monetary, facilities, flexibility of schedule or otherwise, to care for them [themselves] for the rest of their life.” So let’s get this straight…are these owners that “care” so much the SAME owners that ran their horses to the point of life-long unsoundness? Or as Shirley put it, they “squeezed the lemon dry”? In addition, the author’s own words bring up another inherent element of the industry that clearly sets racehorses up for bad endings – the owners DON’T HAVE THE RESOURCES to provide life-long care for the horses THEY used and THEY profited from. So where are they all to go? Who WILL take care of them?…you know, those “pampered” “family members”?

    I hope the owners of the 75 ex-racehorses Shirley has opened her heart and home to appreciate what she’s done and continues to do. They should be covering her operating expenses and her rescued horses’ vet bills – every last dime of what it takes to care for those broken-down racehorses should come from the wallets of those who broke them down. But that’s not the case…and there’s nothing that feels good about that.


  5. Joy I read this same article n felt the same way I do find it a bit confusing that some of these horses have earnedhundreds of thousands of dollars for there owners at the track. But somehow these same exact owners don’t have the “resources” to obtain there horse for the rest of their life n being that the article stated it takes roughly estimated 2000 dollars a year to care for that horse (im sure these cost more due to unsoundness n their former career) but due some simple math say a horse makes 200,000 on the track you don’t have the resources for that animal please such a shameful joke maybe a new hobby or career

  6. Anybody who has ever rescued the disposable profit slaves (racehorses) from this despicable industry knows 3 things: 1. Most racehorses are dumped when no longer profitable. 2. The dumping occurs at all levels. It’s not just cheap claimers it can be very accomplished racehorses that have made lots of money that get dumped. There is no racehorse safe from the dumping syndrome that this industry does little about. 3. Most Owners, rich or poor, contribute little or nothing to their racehorses aftercare. They are NOWHERE to be found when rescue people are begging for about $200 to get the horse out of the kill auction before it’s loaded onto the slaughterhouse.
    Here’s a link to a story that supports what I’ve stated here. Sadly, this story is common:


    Recently, a major TB aftercare organization in California was downsized directly due to lack of funding. She was interviewed on the Paulick Report. Here’s the link:


    This is so typical of the people in this industry.
    I directly witnessed well-financed Owners dump their horses, and then one week later I see them at Keeneland spending hundreds of thousands. It’s pathetic.

    Just think about this: a racehorse has an average lifespan of 20 years old. This industry breeds them for, on average, a 3 year commitment. After that, they are on a wing and a prayer because it’s about this age that the dumping begins. After 3, they know that the horse is not a Derby horse, stake horse, or even an allowance horse. Most are physically and/or mentally done due to this industry.
    Now, the dumping begins.
    So they are breeding (on average) 20,000 to 30,000 horses per year only to take care of them for (on average) 3 years.
    This is irresponsible breeding, and unacceptable.
    In Australia, the government may enact an Regulatory Bill on the breeding of racehorses due to public outcry. I hope it goes through.
    It should be enacted here as well. Many of these racehorses end up at slaughterhouses which are en environmental disaster.
    From start to finish this industry is a negative. I hope it shuts down in my lifetime.

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