2 More Killed at Del Mar; That’s 4 in 26-Race Span

Two more “athletes” have been killed at “Cool as Ever” Del Mar. Thursday, 3-year-old Flaming Vixen snapped a leg – “bad step,” says the chartwriter – in the 5th and was subsequently euthanized. Curiously (not really, of course), the chart merely had Flaming as “pulled up, vanned off”; The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the pentobarbital was injected right there on the track. Yesterday, 4-year-old Adair went down in the 1st: (The Union-Tribune) “On the same day a dozen protesters gathered at the edge of the parking lot to protest horse deaths at Del Mar, another horse died. Adair…broke down about 125 yards from the finish line and was euthanized. Adair was the fifth horse to suffer a fatal breakdown here this fall and the fourth in a 26-race span beginning Sunday.” That’s four dead horses in 26 races.

Note to Del Mar president and CEO Joe Harper: You can no longer defend the indefensible. Your industry – at its core, but a gambling mechanism – kills horses, every day. Cease and desist. Cease and desist.

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  1. Though I search for new words
    in the deep dark abyss,
    I find none that can accurately describe the indefensible.
    The only thing I keep repeating on this blog is this:
    Horse racing is a cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit.
    This is where whipping/beating, doping, electric-shock wave therapy, brutal training methods, and questionable racetrack surfaces are part of the daily regime for racehorses long before Race #1 starts.
    The secrecy of vet records plays a critical role to ensure that the wagering public, and horse lovers/advocates/activists have NO IDEA what these horses are going through.
    We have NO IDEA how many needles, how much dope, what doping cocktails are being used to mask pain and/or chronic ongoing issues.
    The vets don’t even know what a claiming racehorse has been given or the history of their problems because they don’t gain access to the prior records when racehorses continually change hands in the claiming ranks.
    So they are not even aware of a prior fracture or a multitude of other potential issues that could be present upon purchase.
    Vet records are rarely revealed, kept secret, like in a private vault at Ft. Knox.
    I draw this analogy for readers of this blog who are not familiar with the ins and outs of horse racing.
    When you purchase a used car it’s mandatory in most states to provide a CAR FAX or CAR RECORD which reveals what issues, if any, that car has gone through.
    This is for your safety, and for the safety of others on the road.
    The certification process for a car is one in which the car is “gone over” to check the main operating systems for functionality, and for safety.
    This doesn’t happen in horse racing so that everybody’s life and limbs are put at risk from the racehorse to the jockey – it’s all kept secret while a game of Russian Roulette plays out.
    Even when a racehorse DIES or a jockey is maimed they STILL insist on keeping the vet records private, and herein lies the KEY to unlocking this ongoing cruelty circus.
    The secret vet records are, more or less, legitimate maiming records that would send off alarm bells, save lives, and reveal just how sore these racehorses are when they are sent out to the cruelty oval.
    It’s a double-edged sword for this business because they would not be able to fill races, increase wagering revenue if racehorses were prevented from running based on the vet records.
    So, in essence, the industry as a whole is well aware of racehorses running with ongoing chronic issues that are masked with dope until that issue (whatever it is) finally gives out, and the racehorse DIES in the dirt.
    If, when going over a used car, they see that the brakes are starting to go, they replace the pads.
    This is a mandatory preventative measure for safety.
    Although the Trainers bear the burden (as they should) so should the owners because they are well aware what their horse is getting because they pay the vet bill.
    However, the new Trainer and/or Owner of the racehorse they claim has NO IDEA what that racehorse has been given prior to purchase.
    Those records, like used car records, should follow the racehorse throughout its career.
    Owners, in most cases, know that their horse is being doped up to address issues, and that every time they go out to run they are part of a Russian Roulette mentality.
    Racehorses are being sent out every day with pre-existing conditions that make them prone to catastrophic breakdowns.
    At one meeting in California, as a CHRB Steward, there were a contingency of us who brought forward the idea of transferable medical records like “used car” records.
    Those records would contain previous treatment, showing ongoing issues, and ensuring the continuity of care for the racehorses, and possible prevention of racehorses/jockeys being maimed and/or killed.
    I was frustrated, upset about racehorses DYING at Del Mar back in 2009, and something had to be done.
    This was the best solution to prevent catastrophic breakdowns.
    There were certain Trainers on board for this plan, but most were not.
    The owners demanded that this idea stop immediately because they didn’t want to be embarrassed for the most part.
    The fact that their racehorse were being repeatedly injected with needles to address issues would burst their little delusional bubble among their social circles I suppose.
    So it never got anywhere and that was back in 2009.
    I was very aggressive with the introduction of a microchip which would not only contain the tattoo number, but would have all the medical records as well.
    So a vet could scan the chip, and gain access to the medical records, treatments, and ongoing issues on any lap top computer right in the field if need be.
    This would be a win-win situation for the vet, racehorse, jockey, trainer and/or owner.
    To repeatedly inject a bad joint is a recipe for disaster so we could also regulate the administration of drugs and/or the medical regime for the betterment of the industry and/or work in conjunction with the vets.
    The only thing that could be gained from this is positive preventative, and progressive change.
    Most vets opposed it because their income would be greatly reduced.
    After all, they make a very good living from ignorance, stupidity, and repetitive administration of dope.
    So the idea was quickly put to rest, put-off to another meeting that never happened.
    Again, the health, and welfare of the racehorse was put on the back burner in favor of wagering profit, and people’s wallets. Money was the priority – not the racehorse.
    A microchip would also help the racehorses who are dumped at kill auctions.
    Instead of walking through a mine field, blindfolded, rescuers could immediately gain access to the history of the racehorse including holding the previous connections responsible for their dumping in some capacity.
    Not for this industry because their sole purpose is to make money off these racehorses, and to dispose of them when no longer profitable, when maimed, with no responsibility to their disposable product.
    They are nothing more than profit slaves, gambling pawns to be used, abused, and to even DIE for gambling bets.
    So sorry for Flaming Vixen and Adair. So sorry for both of you.
    Not anybody, not any of these connections, not even Del Mar will be held legally responsible for these racehorses dying under their direct care.
    UNFATHOMABLE. BLATANT ANIMAL CRUELTY that should garner a full fledged NEUTRAL investigation with possible Felony Animal Cruelty charges to follow.
    How can they be getting away with this in the 21st century, in the animal loving state of California, under the hospices of the California Governor?
    Like I said: a legitimized cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit where the racehorses are nothing more than gambling pawns who sacrifice their life daily for this hell hole that should have been shut down a long time ago.

  2. Awesome excellent comment Gina one that everyone involved in this industry can’t deny I do have one question not being familiar with the vet trainer system is say you claim a horse you now own that horse say you could find the previous private vet would they have to release those records of that horse being you are the current owner curious to how that works thank you much respect Gina

    • Billy, the connections who made the claim can gain access to the previous records only if the previous owners agree to it, and provide them.
      Most will not especially if the horse is going to be used for racing.
      It also opens up a Pandora box of liability which is another reason why the industry doesn’t want medical records to follow the horse.
      Recently, some racing jurisdictions have passed claiming rules to address catastrophic breakdowns for racehorses.
      Let’s be clear, those rules are a result of economic concern – nothing to do with the welfare of the racehorse.
      Changes in this business are mainly brought about for 2 reasons: 1. public pressure 2. economic pressure.
      Rarely, is the welfare of the racehorse the primary motivation for change.
      Take for example, Del Mar, racehorses DIE there every race meet.
      This has been going on for years.
      If anybody in the industry really “cared” for the racehorses then they would have demanded a shut down a long time ago, but economics drive the industry at the expense of the horses.
      In the least, they would have demanded that medical records follow the horses to ensure that invasive procedures, such as injections, are not needlessly applied.
      Joint injections are very invasive, and reputable studies show that repeated injections into healthy joints to gain competitive edge greatly contributes to the deterioration of that joint.


      In fact, when studies like this are conducted the fact that they can’t gain access to previous medical records greatly hampers the investigation.
      Wouldn’t it be prudent to have medical records available on a microchip to facilitate further studies and prevention of catastrophic breakdowns.
      So then we come to “medical needs” vs. “performance enhancement.”
      Almost always, procedures are intended for performance enhancement, and competitive edge under the guise of medical necessity such as Lasix – the most common example.
      So it’s very possible that, if the records were to follow, it would show unnecessary repeated invasive procedures with no valid medical reason to administer it.
      This enormous cost is shouldered by the owners who are usually well aware that their racehorse is being turned into a pin cushion to get into the winners circle.
      Everybody actively involved in this industry are either the abusers or enablers of the abuse.
      Even when racehorses die on the track they STILL are not legally obligated to release the vet records leading up to the catastrophic breakdown – VILE.
      The racehorses get no justice whatsoever except for our voices on this Blog for the most part.

  3. No they would not have to release the records and most likely would not even if you asked! We basicly rescued a great grand daughter of Seattle Slew many years ago as a two year old we saw listed in our local farm paper for sale.She was thin and so sad looking… The owners stable manager at first would not tell us anything but later after coming back and reassuring we were not slaughter buyers explained that if she would load in our 1/4 horse type trailer she would allow us to have her and that they also wanted to come and check on her too which we readily agreed to. They later explained to us that their vet told them she was very close to having or indeed have a slab fracture in her near foreleg and that we should give her stall rest for several weeks.We checked her legs after being in the small front of area of our farm for several days and felt no heat or swelling and so placed her out in the main field where the grass was good. We had her forelegs checked 6 months later and our vet`s X-rays showed no signs of any fractures. She is still with us after almost 20 years. We agree! All vet records should go with the horse / patient! That should also be true for people too. Unfortunately in our state you can readily buy a vehicle without any checkups whatsoever. We have helped several people avoid potential troublesome vehicles as we have a fair amount of experience repairing vehicles. Sometimes our friends don`t listen to us about which vehicle to buy or are to impatient to wait for the right one and then they pay $$$$$ in repairs.We appreciate your educating people of the racing industry Gina. Our state has just now, as of the 18th, begun the enforced ban on the use of Clenbuterol in quarter horse racing after a 6 month probationary period without penalty if found upon positive test! We were LUCKY the previous owners allowed the vet records to be released as long as we agreed not to ever race their Seattle Slew great grand daughter again which was easy to too agree with us.

  4. What is even more appalling is that yesterday, Dec 4, the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine sponsored a “Day at the Races” at Del Mar for alumni and friends of the school. I received an invitation to this because I had donated money to them in the past. For just $45 one could enjoy refreshments, hear a lecture by the Dean and then watch this cruel blood sport. Wonder how the attendees felt as they observed the death of one of the horses after they paid money to promote this.
    I wrote letters to everyone on staff at the vet school after receiving my invitation, calling out the hypocrisy and begging them to have their lecture and event somewhere else. Of course I received no reply.
    Holly Hazan, San Diego

    • Good for you Holly.
      Any vet who works servicing active racehorses can’t possibly be motivated by the health, and welfare of the horse.
      Instead, money, lots of money, is what they make off the chronic ongoing painful issues that almost every racehorse has to deal with on an ongoing basis.
      Any compassionate vet gets out of this business from what I’ve seen.
      They are not helping a horse get better.
      In actuality, they are helping with the ongoing pain, suffering, maiming and/or killing of a racehorse which makes them enablers of the abuse.
      There are only 3 categories of pro-horse racing people. 1. Abusers 2. Enablers of the abuse 3. Both.
      So vets fall into 3 because sticking needles all morning long into non-consenting living beings in order to generate wagering profits qualifies for category 3.

  5. So this excerpt is from a racing industry article:
    “During the Nov. 26 running of the GIII Jimmy Durante S., foam drain covers blew onto the track, causing a number of competitors to alter course to avoid them. After a lengthy inquiry, Stewards ruled that the incident did not affect the running of the race.”
    So this is a loaded statement for many reasons.
    1. It’s a miracle that no racehorses or jockeys were killed in this incident.
    2. Del Mar, BILLIONS in profit, doesn’t think about holding down a foam drain with some sort of gadget? I’m not a technical person, but it seems reasonable to me that something could have prevented this.
    Something as simple as a foam drain shows just how inadequate anything is except for the wagering income.
    3.The stewards didn’t alter the outcome of the race?! Are you kidding me?! How in the hell can any horse in this race run it’s proper course while being interfered with INCLUDING having to alter their path?!
    When it comes to a Stakes race with high purse money the outcome rarely changes.
    4. It shows racehorses running at full speed having to contend with obstacles on a track that should have none. Like I said, it was a miracle that no racehorses or jockeys were hurt.

    People need to be reminded that the Del Mar property is a government owned, taxpayer funded facility that the Del Mar Racing Club (President Joe Harper) LEASES so there doesn’t seem to be an incentive to invest high dollars into fundamental changes that are possibly needed.

    An this article from the pro-horse racing San Diego Times:


    It made me gag while I read it.
    From Joe Harper, to CHRB Equine Racing Director Rick Arthur DVM, to ex-CHRB Director Bo Derek – NOT ONE, not any of these people could give a plausible explanation, valid excuse, or justification for racehorses DYING in the dirt at Del Mar.
    Moreover, all these people (especially Bo Derek) had YEARS making big fat salaries to make a real difference in the life of a racehorse, and she didn’t – surprise anybody?
    In fact, many times she released statements that upheld the ongoing cruelty, abuse, maiming and/or DYING of racehorses.
    Just another enabler of the abuse.
    In order to maintain paid positions in this industry you must uphold the status quo.
    I know that. I lived that.
    The fundamental business model is to permit the exploitation of a racehorse to fill races, increase wagering revenue to the point of being maimed and/or dying.
    Of course all of these individuals make LOTS of money off the broken bones, maiming, and/or DYING of sentiment beings.
    They all claim in the article to “care” and to “love” racehorses – nothing new from racing apologists.
    PETA weighed in with their 2 cents calling for increased transparency via medical records – WOW how brilliant?
    Something that I’ve been demanding for YEARS before PETA even started to expose horse racing.
    If this industry hasn’t done this by now then any reasonable person could conclude that their wagering profits are the primary driving force with the racehorses bearing the burden of the exploitation.
    PETA should have called for the shut down of the industry, and I’m disappointed that they could even suggest that making such changes would make a difference.
    PETA has become a watered down version of their former selves it seems.
    Although I give them huge credit for exposing the day-to-day stable operations of multiple drug violating, multiple racehorses dying under his direct care – Steve Asmussen.
    This was the first video of its kind, but the follow-up was questionable, and so were the repercussions?
    Did PETA cut a deal or just get drowned out by the well-funded, politically connected horse racing industry?
    Their motivations in this article seem to be that changes can be made so that this business can continue with less racehorses dying?
    If I interpret this correctly, then PETA can go to hell.
    There’s only one way to stop this, and that is to shut it down.

      • Exactly.
        Furthermore, although this Blog focuses on the DEATH FACTS (the first of its kind thank goodness), most of us regular bloggers here remind, and educate everybody on the entire scope of this despicable business.
        It’s not just the dying, it’s everything else leading up to the maiming, and dying.
        Broodmares: repeated forced impregnation, and dumped either at kill auctions (LA GALERIE) when no longer reproductive viable, dumped at estrogen collecting plants when no longer producing a commercial foal.
        Yearlings: placed into training at the ripe old age of 1.5 years old to ready them for the 2-year-old in training sale. This entire process of maiming is all for an anticipated huge profit at the sale.
        Racehorses: intense confinement 23/7, running while sore, doping cocktails in and out of the veins, the joints, and wherever they can find a route, about 90% end up running for their lives in the brutal claiming ranks where they are often denied vet care, and some even denied grain. They are disposable products that are used, abused, maimed, and/or killed for wagering profits.
        The astounding over specific breeding, approximately 25,000+ just to fill races, to increase wagering profits, to fatten a wallet or ego.
        It’s estimated (Jockey Club statistics) that 90% of every horse bred will not earn enough money for their upkeep. So that makes 90% of 20,000+ per year vulnerable to the unwanted horse category.
        Now, it only stands to reason, that if somebody can’t afford to keep them, then they certainly can’t afford to house them so the dumping begins.
        Essentially, they are breeding racehorses (about 15,000+ per year) for a life of neglect, dumping, and/or ending up on the slaughterhouse floor – and they KEEP BREEDING!
        While people spend upwards of $250,000 on one potential stake horse at the prestigious sales auction houses like Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton, those people rarely give any money towards aftercare. Nor do they have to.
        Absolutely ZIPPO legal, and fiscal responsibility towards their racing product.
        This is left up to the “FREE” market to take care of.
        BILLIONS in wagering profit and people are begging for $200 donations to get a racehorse out of a kill auction, steps away from a slaughterhouse truck.
        This business, has for its fundamental business model, the exploitation of both horse, and human.
        The industry right now is in a crisis over 2B-foreign work Visas. They are lobbying HARD right now in Washington to ensure that a clause in this VISA program is included during the next reading. IF this is not included, they claim that the racetracks and farms will be in crisis because they can’t fill positions.
        After all, who wants to work 7 days per week early morning hours 5 AM or so, moving from track to track in many cases, making about $6 per hour, hurting your bones, and backs (just like the racehorses), with no benefits or healthcare in case you get kicked in the head by a horse.
        Moreover, when they have a VISA hanging over the head of a worker the exploitation tends to be worse.
        I’ve seen it, I heard it form the Mexican labor, and it’s absolutely disgusting.
        I had Mexican labor (when my Spanish used to be good) come up and cry to me. I’m not kidding.
        Many were forced to sleep in an empty stall on the straw or in a tack room or in disgusting unlivable stable area dorms usually crawling in bugs with inadequate plumbing.
        Many of the Mexican workers would complain to me that they were taking care of a racehorse that somebody paid $500,000 for and they were getting paid $6 per hour. Rarely, would they get tipped by these multimillionaires when they would dedicate themselves to the horse. How nice is that?
        Well I wouldn’t expect nice from people who have no problem watching horses DIE in the dirt.
        It would only stand to reason that they don’t care much about human help as well.
        So the 2 cornerstones of the industry – racehorses and stable help – are being exploited to the hilt.
        Instead of taking care of the very products that generate the profits and carry this business on their backs (literally) they exploit them.
        I hope to hell that they don’t get their 2B VISA clause so that the people spending the money buying the racehorses can get their butts into a stall at 5 AM, and clean up the shit.
        Better still, have them bending over all morning with a 1200 pound racehorse jerking their leg away while their trying to rub them down, and bandage them.
        Might get that pretty little manicure dirty right?
        This business is about exploitation of both racehorses, and people.
        It’s conducted under the guise of mint juleps, fancy hats, and party atmosphere.
        This is nothing more than a legitimized cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit with the racehorses and the cheap labor paying with their lives by either being maimed and/or killed.
        That’s what this is about, and that why it needs to shut down.

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