Desert Trial Makes it 14 Dead at Saratoga

Desert Trial, a 2-year-old colt, is dead from a “suspected cardiovascular collapse” (Gaming Commission) while training at Saratoga yesterday morning. Again, two – on the maturation chart, the rough equivalent of a first-grader. “Cardiovascular collapse.”

Desert Trial was raced once, a month ago at that same track. His line (Equibase): “DESERT TRIAL…moved out in upper stretch then came under a right-handed whip, switched to a left-handed whip…and finished with good courage for the last spot in the superfecta.” Whipped with both hands – “finished with good courage.”

How profoundly sad.

The Saratoga ’16 Dead

Hadeed Fi Hadeed, May 30, training
Squire Creek, July 16, training
Zamjara, July 23, race 1
Rootformejustin, July 23, race 5
Indian Nobility, July 27, race 3
Domestic Warrior, August 1, race 4
Lebowski, August 2, “found dead outside stall”
Jonrah, August 3, training
Midnight Visitor, August 4, prior to race 4
Prince Corredor, August 20, training
Elusive Neko, August 24, training
Bob Le Beau, August 25, race 1
Ring of Truth, August 25, race 10
Desert Trial, August 28, training



  1. DESERT TRIAL so sorry for you as you join the long list of victims here on horseracingwrongs.
    There is no doubt in my mind that you were sore in the last race which is precisely why they had to beat the crap out of you to run on your soreness.
    We can thank the Hall of Fame jockey, and regular rider for Todd Pletcher – John Velazquez.
    When John accepted his Hall of Fame reward he (paraphrase) praised multiple drug violating Trainer Todd Pletcher that had multiple racehorses either die or breakdown sending John Velazquez to the hospital on several occasions, but it was the spill on another Hall of Fame Trainer Bob Baffert SECRET COMPASS where he almost died. His spleen later removed.
    “At full speed, in tight quarters, Secret Compass fractured a bone in her front leg and collapsed. Velazquez was flung to the ground and immediately trampled by at least one of the trailing fillies.”
    Secret Compass yet another victim of Bob Baffert, but this industry praises him
    “Another one bites the dust,” should be Baffert’s theme song.
    “The doctors, the nurses. Bob and Jill Baffert were at the hospital and trying to get me to stay at their house when I was discharged from the hospital. I didn’t do that because I didn’t want to put them through that, and you kind of want your own privacy when you are hurt like that.” John Velazquez.
    It didn’t surprise me when John was indicted into the racing Hall of Fame because he keeps his mouth shut, and perpetrates animal cruelty, and abuse on the racehorses he rides.
    This is a mandatory requirement in this industry.
    He never launched a lawsuit against any of these Trainers, even praising Bob & Jill Baffert because he didn’t want to burden them – how nice.
    His loyalty rewarded with a trophy.
    His mounts have made 300 million so his guaranteed 10% is 30 million.
    Folks, this industry is SYSTEMIC CRUELTY & ABUSE on racehorses that is rewarded, and praised.
    It’s blatant animal cruelty, and it must stop.
    Desert Trail was being beaten/whipped, and abused by John Velazquez. This is animal cruelty, this is inhumane, and we must stop this.

  2. Everything you said is TRUE Gina, how we wish these facts would get known more by the betting public and thereby get them to quit wagering in this crummy cruel business.After seeing/ experiencing this sordid business first hand from almost all facets, tracks, private training centers, breeding farms we QUIT in July 2005 and will never go back to any track or training center. We also wish all of the state gamboling website tax generated monies in our state would disappear that are used to register all thoroughbreds for FREE here. We have lead contaminated water drinking facilities in our schools, over crowded, basicly non- functioning interstate highways with completely obsolete bridges that need the monies more than this crummy inhumane rich persons hobby industry. We left because we were threatened physically when we attempted to speak out of the illegal practices we saw and refused to participate in. We have been told by industry participants that things have improved at our local tracks since 2005, but how can that be when so many horses broke down last fall/ winter at our main commercial racing facility.We so appreciate your inviting us and informing us of Patrick`s site.

    • Fred & Joan Booth. Grateful to your contribution here.
      It absolutely infuriates me that millions of general slush funds supported by taxpayers is going to support this cruelty circus, and death camp.
      You have mentioned on several posts that they pay $500 to somebody who breeds a thoroughbred for horse racing. This is obscene because this incentive contributes to the unwanted horse problem.
      Then, as you mention, much needed taxpayers money goes to this corrupt industry that is controlled by a small group of people in cohorts with the HBPA/Associations.
      I know many people who were physically threatened from speaking out which confirms that the industry doesn’t want to change, they reward the abusers, and they punish the good people.
      It’s always been that way.
      They promote, and protect the abusers, the enablers, and quickly squash the outspoken.
      I’ve figured out why though.
      It’s because they are so used to abusing their voiceless victim (racehorse) that they are repulsed when somebody has a voice, and actually uses it like those of us here.
      They want everybody to be voiceless just like the racehorses so the business of DYING can carry on as usual.

  3. How do we stop this abuse of these beautiful creatures! They are way too young! As a horse owner and natural horse trainer – I am sickened to see this!

  4. I would love for the trainers to be named that are losing their horses. This needs to be brought out into the open. I know from my own experience when I was in the business that the same trainers lost horses over and over again in just one race meet. Then there would be trainers that wouldn’t lose a single horse for decades if at all. So what does that tell you? Why are they still around? Why aren’t they held accountable? Because the abusive trainers are the ones that fill the daily racing card the quickest and then are rewarded with more stalls.

  5. This is so sad that these beautiful animals have to be treated this way! The owners and trainers should all be treated the same way! I will NEVER go to the Saratoga track again and will never support it!

  6. Lets see! Mostly all creation before the ninteens hundred are dead, and by the end of the 2000s all creation in the 1900s will be dead, no matter what you where created to be,You could be a Queen or a King, a SLAVE , Rich or Poor! You could die act birth, live to be a 100, killed in a car accident, airplane crash, Shot!
    The point is , nobody plannod to kill these horses, they died doing what they where bred to do, racing. When these untimely events happen, all of racing mourns, but mostly all the non racing public make make it a time to throw arrows, which is sadder.There is nothing more painful in Hirst racing, than having a stalemate go down.


    • If your so concerned about racehorses DYING for bets?
      Then stop participating, and supporting this cruelty circus, and death camp.
      That would be the most “caring” thing anyone of your delusional people could do.

    • Then stop it from happening!.Don’t push them by whipping to keep running while they are in pain and finally die of a heart attack! The solution is simple, take responsibly for the living being you use to MAKE YOUR LIVING!!

    • First paragraph – everything dies, sooner or later. OK, got it. What’s this got to do with -justifying abuse-? May I suggest, nothing.

      Second paragraph – “They died doing what they were -bred- to do…”??? Ah, right – because someone ‘bred them for ‘racing'(too young)/treated as ‘commodities’ etc, that makes it OK? Right, got it.
      Errr… what were -you- bred to do? Hey, careful what you wish for!

    • Mr. Rivera, didn’t you race You Got The Silver with a hole in his side that was draining pus from an infection? Did you, and your colleagues, mourn when he experienced pain? If so, why did you keep racing him? Now, anyone who treats any animal so callously deserves to be called out and I am calling you out. You don’t deserve to own any animal, even one that you exploited with the hope of making a buck. Yes, we all die. Even a fool knows that but it is our responsibility to try to prevent suffering as much as we possibly can. Got it?

    • Tito Rivera…says the man who raced ‘You Got The Silver’ with an infected hole and while draining pus. Those arrows that you speak of, if they fly your way, it is well deserved. All of racing mourns…who are you trying to fool?

    • Tito Rivera, you are a scourge of the industry, part of the problem as so many know and have pointed out. Of course you would try to defend your soulless actions. YOU contribute to the destruction of these horses. It’s not natural for any of them to be “bred to race,” especially the way the trainers today do it. It’s cut throat, no one is fooled.

    • “How profoundly sad” as Patrick said. A 2 yr. old drops dead and the cause, according to the Gaming Commission, is “suspected cardiovascular collapse”. While the colt’s cardiovascular may have collapsed there is a reason for it to happen. But this is racing, and we will never know why this colt dropped dead because nobody cares.

      The colt had 14 “workouts” in 12 weeks. Eight of the “workouts” were in July and August plus 2 were 5 furlongs each. In addition he had a 51/2 furlong race thrown in. This is part of how a 2 yr. old is pushed. I’m actually surprised more of these young horses, that should not be even ridden, do not keel over.

  7. Why I cannot any longer go to the races at Saratoga……pushing these wonderful creatures to their limits and beyond,.,,,just for our personal entertainment, …..does not justify the increasing death rates….

    • This entire industry is based on the exploitation of a racehorse for profit.
      Maiming, and DYING is inherent to this industry, and they don’t give a damn.
      If they really “loved,” and “cared” about racehorses then they wouldn’t be an enabler of the abuse.

    • Sickening..This industry is corrupt! Attention needs to be centered on the abuse that exists. Anyone who loves these beautiful animals & turns their head the other way for the $$ that goes in their pockets need to take a step back & exam heir conscious.

  8. The same people complaining about the horse racing industry probably watch the kentucky derby every year!

  9. So.. If it was no horse racing there would’ve been no reason to have race horses and they never would have been born. Is this what you desire?

  10. I wish every State had a law requiring full post-mortems, with X-rays, and total tox screens when horses die on track grounds. Prior fractures, prohibited substances, and other evidence of running unsound horses needs to result in severe penalties to trainers and owners, including fines and banning them from running in that State for a significant period of time. Jockeys and exercise/ breeze riders proven to have knowingly ridden unsound horses should have their tickets pulled. Of course, if horses could not race until they were actually 3 full years old, and only lightly in that first race year, we’d see a lot less of this and a lot fewer ‘throw-aways’.

    • The horse racing industry is self-regulated so they continually block any type of transparency.
      Even in States where post-mortems are mandatory the results are rarely made public because the Owner of the racehorse is the one who usually pays for the post-mortem rendering the records private.
      They have it all covered.
      Ongoing release of vet records for active racehorses are blocked citing privacy laws.
      If these records were made available the public would be outraged, and they know it.
      This is the very secretive world of horse racing that they benefit from, and the racehorses lose.
      Although I agree that running them at 3 or later could reduce issues, there will still be racehorses dying, and that’s why it needs to shut down.

    • Every problem you point out stems from the self-regulating power of the race industry; the self-regulation needs to stop. The USDA is preparing to implement APHIS, which can, if implemented as intended by the federal Act, put a real dent in soring and other abusive practices in the gaited horse show (esp. Tennessee Walkers) industry. The feds are taking comments now, and the gaited horse show industry is up in arms and showing its true bad colors, including my own American Morgan Horse Assoc. and the American Horse Council. Shame on them all for their cowardice, indifference to the horses they supposedly speak for, and their greed. That is not, however, stopping caring, knowledgeable horse owners from insisting that APHIS carry out its intent, and it is not stopping organization members from working for positive change in these groups. APHIS enacted as intended will stop self-regulation in that industry. Our Federal and State legislatures could take a page from this Act and clean up the race industry. It will take a lot of public pressure and determination to elect legislators who will respond to the problem. The end result of an informed process could be sound, mature horses doing what they are truly good at in obvious teamwork with competent riders in front of happy spectators willingly spending money. I do not think that trying to shut down the race industry will ever succeed, but I do think that Federal and State regulation based on racing only provably sound, competent horses can accomplish a miracle.

  11. Just another barbaric so called sport where the animals suffer for the human’s entertainment & money!! When r people going to stop abusing animals for their own pleasure ?? Disgusting behavior; please someone or agency start investigating seriously!!


  13. This is totally unacceptable! Why has this not been made public.? Horse lovers must unite to get Saratoga safer for these animals. Heartbreaking!

  14. This is a breeding problem. Breeders wake up!!! You can breed for health as well as strong racing stock. Money is not worth these untimely deaths. Yes racing is expensive but at what cost? Take a deep hard look into your pedigrees and your program. Even if you have to take a giant step back figure out where this health issue is coming from and stop breeding into it. Breed strong horses that can withstand the rigors of racing. Even if speed needs to be sacrificed to get the strongest horses on the track and keep them in your programs. Yes it’s nice to break records but at what cost.

    • Breeding is one of the necessary operating procedures in order to supply racehorses for profit.
      Changing up breeding programs will never change the fundamental business model of exploiting racehorses for profit.
      Consequently, many more racehorses will die.
      The only way to stop the whipping/beating, doping, maiming, dumping, and/or dying is to shut this industry down.

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