27 (Dead) Reasons to Boycott Del Mar This Summer

As Del Mar 2017 kicks off, a reminder…

Last summer, there were 13 identified kills (racing or training) at Del Mar:

Presidential Air, July 15, race 6
Dynamite Charge, July 17, training
Pacific Swell, July 21, race 5
Whisky and Wine, July 23, training
Big Book, July 23, training
Dutchessa, July 23, race 2
Fasnacloich, July 24, race 2
Summer Scorcher, August 11, race 6
Hadfunlastnight, August 12, race 3
Unusualy, August 15, training
Alicanto, August 20, training
All the Marbles, August 21, training
Chasing Aces, September 5, race 5

But according to the Stewards Minutes, there were another eight unidentified horses who died either at Del Mar or while being prepped off-site for upcoming Del Mar races. In addition, there were six more fatalities in the ultra-short (15 days) Fall Meet, five – all while racing – identified (below). That’s 27 dead horses last year “where the turf meets the surf.” 27 dead animals for $2 bets and frivolous entertainment. Is this how we’re to define “cool as ever” in 21st Century America?

Lyrical Passage, November 20, race 5
Trixie Topper, November 27, race 1
Trump Diesel, November 27, race 5
Flaming Vixen, December 1, race 5
Adair, December 3, race 1

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  1. Sacrificing magnificent noble horses for $2 bets and to ‘entertain’ people, including children, sure does make one question
    “Are we really living in the 21st century?”

  2. Because this industry is all about money (banking is all about money, finance is all about money, money is all about money — horse racing is about horses) — precisely why this industry MUST be SHUT DOWN — there is no respect, no love for the horses — and, let’s admit, it’s all about the horses and people who care about them!– Is it THAT DIFFICULT to change one’s mindset? Or, must we “gut” the industry and replace with horse-loving people?

  3. I don’t think I have ever attended a Horse Race in my life. I have watched some on TV. It’s not at all about the Horses; it’s about betting, winning and Stud fees. So many Horses are Killed and maimed while racing. It’s Not a Sport!! I wish it would be banned in the U.S.

  4. SANTA ANA- Should be boycotted as well.

    This group has blood and death on their hands. So do all who gamble and Make Money Off this horrific “sport”
    There are key players that are refusing to cut back and they should be thrown in jail for allowing this rampant horse abuse to continue

    ‘The Ship Is Sinking’: CHRB Members Argue For Fewer Race Dates

    For the second time in 2017, the California Horse Racing Board’s Race Dates Committee bandied about the idea of restricting the amount of racing dates in the state, and again roundly faced opposition by industry stakeholders in attendance.
    In May, the Race Dates Committee discussed the radical idea of a single circuit in the state, rather than separate circuits in the northern and southern regions. On July 21 at Del Marproposed calendars featuring new “dark days” (dates in 2017 that would not run in future years) on the Southern California circuit were presented.

    CHRB executive director Rick Baedeker presented three calendars that would cut down 18-19 racing days, with the target of increased field size as the main objective.
    “The commissioners asked for new ideas—fresh ideas,” Baedeker said. “I decided to come at this from the perspective of the racing fan and the racehorse. It’s been said here that the last year (has been) an anomaly, but short fields have been around for some time and the quality of those fields has deteriorated over the last several years. I don’t think anybody can argue that point.
    “I constantly hear that, without multi-race wagers, the races would be unbettable, and I don’t think there’s any denying that. We’ve also heard from veterinarians that the horse population needs a break. We race all year, every year. I looked at the calendar from that perspective, with the understanding it would probably annoy everyone in this room in one way or another.”

    “In general I believe we should try something for a while, stick with it, and see if it works. … Until we see a better system than that, to change things just for the sake of changing things is not appropriate,” said TOC president and chief executive officer Greg Avioli.
    CHRB member George Krikorian pressed Avioli, and stressed a need for change.
    “We’re losing tracks, we’re losing stalls, and we’re losing opportunities,” Krikorian said. “We need to look to the future and come up with something that is stabilized going five, 10, 20 years.”
    It was a common theme throughout the meeting for Krikorian, who also made the suggestion to consider the single California circuit in May.
    “If you don’t make changes and the ship is sinking, you’re going to drown,” Krikorian said. “To me it’s questionable as to what would be better until you try it out. … We’re here to talk about trying to be proactive, as opposed to being reactive in what we can do, because the trend has been and continues to be reduction of inventory—in the North and the South—and reduction in field sizes. That’s just not a healthy situation. We’re talking about what we can do together to change that.”
    Santa Anita racing secretary Rick Hammerle was one of the opponents to the racing schedule changing in Southern California, but pointed to the unique challenges the region faces to “put the show on,” as opposed to other major circuits, which have extended downtime at tracks he considered to be less consequential.
    “In California we’re expected to put the show on for 10 months,” Hammerle said. “Every weekend we have stakes races—we have allowance races to put on—and we don’t have that break every other circuit has. So our 3,000 horses are not the same as (the horses) the other circuits have.
    “They don’t have to put the show on week after week after week. That’s why our circuit is different than anywhere else. We put the show on every week.”
    California Thoroughbred Trainers executive director Alan Balch not only opposed a single circuit and the potential of cutting dates, but expressed a desire for more racing dates through the recruitment of more horses

    At one point during the meeting, Baedeker asked a question of Avioli, who opposed cutting certain weeks of the year down to three racing days.
    “What about what the customer wants?” Baedeker asked, referencing frequent complaints from bettors about the short fields at times during Santa Anita’s most-recent meet.
    “It’s a balancing act,” Avioli responded. “We’ve talked about this in our board meetings. Around the country the quality looks better. No question about it. The fields are better, the racing looks better, and handle goes up on those days. So it’s a challenge. I guarantee you, if you only ran two days, we’d have even better fields and higher quality, but at what point in time do the underlying economics (factor in)?”


    • Thanks for sharing Kathleen.
      Historically, horse racing and the people who run it have always been reactive – not proactive.
      That’s precisely why they are sinking and it looks good on them.
      Horse people in this business are notorious for not wanting change even when it’s staring them in the face.
      I now know that the only change that is necessary is that this business shuts down.
      It’s the only way to protect racehorses from maiming, dumping, and/or dying.

      • I agree with you Gina.

        It is a core group of people that are behind keeping this abuse going. Most people supporting this Evil “sport” are clueless as to the abuse and horrific treatment horses go through. If the videos of these horses treatment were exposed (drugging, slave labor, dying at the race track, and in many cases , slaughter) I think the horse racing industry would end faster.

  5. Since 1992 I have discovered the following facts which seem to be at the root of the astonishingly high rate of suffering and yearly deaths of horses used for racing:
    2 Modern day practices have combined to create the tragic trend
    1.) “Breeders…began breeding Thoroughbreds for how the mating looked on paper”. Consequently “…the American thoroughbred is a far more fragile animal now than the raw-boned beasts of yore. With them being inbred we’ve weakened the race” said Shug McGaughey, a prominent East Coast trainer. See Sports Illustrated, William Nack, Nov. 1993.
    Exhaustive scientific studies confirm that repeated concussive forces
    (maximum-speed workouts and racing) on 2-year-old’s bones add up to
    injury and death more frequently than on older horses.
    1. See CHRB Post Mortem Examination Program, 1990-2014. 2-year-olds more likely than older horses to suffer broken bones which lead to death. University of California, Davis
    2. Fracture injuries accounted for the majority of Thoroughbred fatalities. California Horse Racing Board’s Post Mortem Examination Program 1994 report.
    3. Cornell University. Dr. Lennart Crooks’ study of 68,397 starts found: Fracture injuries more common in 2 and 3 year-olds than in older horses. Incidence of fracture injuries continued to decrease with advancing age
    2.) Today, in willful ignorance of the proven facts, Race Tracks continue to offer races for 2-year-olds and trainers go on forcing yearlings and 2-year-olds to perform repeated maximum-speed workouts in order to enter those races and/or be sold at 2-year-old in training auctions! Proof of the destructive results of this practice: The number of average yearly starts per horse has plummeted from 12 in 1960 to 6.2 in 2013. See The Jockey Club Fact Book and the Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, 2014.

    In America’s horseracing industry twenty-four racehorses (on average) die every week on racetracks. About 3,600 died inside track “Blue Rooms” after racing or training inside state regulated horseracing
    enclosures over just the three years leading up to 2012. See “Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys” by Walt Bogdanich, Joe Draoe, and Rebecca R.Ruiz, New York Times, March 24, 2012
    Many more, uncounted, thousands of young racehorses, having suffered painful injuries at the track, are sent to die at slaughterhouses. “The horseracing Industry is a major provider to the slaughter industry”. The Pegasus Foundation
    after long, tortuous journeys on cattle trucks to Mexico and Canada. Virtually never are trainers held accountable for the injuries and deaths of the race horses for which they were responsible. Even more alarming, I know of no one in the animal welfare industry, including the ASPCA, PETA, American Humane Association (AHA) or the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) having ever protested, investigated or prosecuted a single one of the thousands of known race horse fatalities. Their silence is construed as approval by the horse racing industry and the general public.

    • Gail, your post further confirms what we already know – racehorses have been dying for a long time, since its inception really.
      This blog is unique because it’s the only one that is actually posting the Death Lists/Facts, and we can finally put a figure on just how many die although it’s minimal at best as stated “does not include training.”
      We do know that there are hundreds of private training centers in the U.S very active with racehorses where reporting deaths are not required, and of course the deaths are never known.
      These private training centers are havens for sore horses that can be hidden from public view – a modern day torture chamber if you will.
      PETA has NOT been silent about their position when it comes to horse racing.
      In 3 words: “undercover PETA video” of top trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn at Saratoga and Churchill Downs.
      Their position is very clear.
      However, I do agree that most mainstream animal groups don’t pay attention to horse racing, and this is where the legitimized animal cruelty comes in.
      It’s a disgrace that President Wayne Purcell of the HSUS was paid by horse racing to endorse this legitimized animal cruelty.

  6. Stop using animals for entertainment, find an honest business, stop cruelty to animals !!!

  7. I spoke to the CHRB today and was informed of these names:

    Summer 2016:
    1. Chubasco
    2. Easy Obsession
    3. Jagger Swagger
    4. Royal Journey

    Fall 2016:
    5. Energy Spirit

    I do not know exactly which races they were in but will find out. So, the total for either racing or training at Del Mar itself is 23, with the other 4 horses training off-site. I do not know their names and I don’t know how to find out. The official report for CHRB doesn’t come out until Feb. 2018, apparently.

    • Christine, I finally had the time to look into this further and it’s all vile, but I singled out the two most controversial and the findings are very disturbing.

      CHUBASCO – all facts seem to be pointing to a equine life insurance payout. This “royally-bred” horse sold at Keeneland for $725,000 – an equine insurance policy most likely in place. Then his entire Equibase profile SCRUBBED!! There are NO official workouts and the next thing he turns up dead at Death Mar!! Plus, he turns up dead at 4 years old in 2016 with no previous starts?
      So this horse obviously had such severe issues that they couldn’t even run him as a 2 y.o which would be routine for a horse of this caliber to ready him for 3 y.o. Derby. The only way to recoup their money is to make sure he died on the track which is usually a requirement for equine insurance.
      Furthermore, the CHRB in conjunction with pro-horse racing entities like The Stronach Group are complacent in these cover-ups by refusing to release the names of racehorses under FOIA requests via Patrick of HRW?!
      Something is not kosher here, and it doesn’t have anything to do with “privacy” issues that they claim.

      ENERGY SPIRIT yet another victim of multiple drug violating trainer TODD PLETCHER whose had multiple racehorses die under his direct “care.”
      The breeder? International Equities Holdings that breeds lots of racehorses who are, most likely, under a general equine insurance policy. They race under Sumaya U.S. Stable, but this mysterious outfit seems to be the same entity. They don’t disclose where exactly International Equities Holdings is located?? In February 2018 at the Fasig-Tipton sale this company was the leading buyer of racehorses “International Equities Holding was the sale’s leading buyer with 16 head purchased for $1,019,200.” Bloodhorse.
      Here’s just one link to one sale where they bought many – status unknown:

      Reviewing just some of the many racehorses that they either bred or bought, the ones that I viewed were all sent to Todd Pletcher, some died on the track, and many have disappeared off the radar although the higher level earners are standing at stud at various farms.

  8. Let’s not forget the lifespan of a young racehorse. These beautiful spiritual animals are sent to slaughter before the age of 5 after their short racing career. Look up horse slaughter and see these horses being brutally shot and slaughtered alive. Is there any love in this world for one of Gods most beautiful creatures on this earth. Set them free , let them live the life they were put on this earth to live. Rescue and rehabilitate them ….these horses … the SAME horses that are on that track!!! It is a pitifully cruel world we live in run by the filthy rich and full of greed. Let’s change that. Together we can. Most people have no idea what really goes on. The racing industry needs to be shut down completely and forever. Save our thoroughbreds!!! Shame on San Diego and everybody who comes from far away to support this race to death for these poor animals. Shame shame shame

  9. I think there are people attending races who are unaware of what a brutal business it is. I created a website: 27horses.com about the 2016 racing season at Del Mar. Keep spreading the word. One day this will end. My sincere thanks to Patrick for being such an amazing resource…

    • TY, Christine! And YES! – we will keep telling the TRUTHS about the brutal American horse racing industry!

    • Thank-you Christine for this excellent website.
      “Death Mar” is a death trap for these racehorses, but aren’t they all?
      The corrupt CHRB and supporting entities enable dying.
      I see they hired their buddy Bo Derek to the Board of Directors at Death Mar.
      She’s a buddy of Bob Baffert’s and did little to nothing while she watched racehorse after racehorse die under his brutal training methods – TEFLON BOB.
      It doesn’t surprise me that Ms. Derek was rewarded with a fat salary, and prestige since this business rewards those who upholds the systemic racehorse cruelty, and dying that goes on daily.
      She is a self-proclaimed horse lover – laughable like all the apologists.
      I really think that every person who knows the truth about this evil business needs to pull together and, collectively, we need to be an army for these racehorses because they need our voice so badly.

  10. I think horseracing is cruel to the horses who are forced to run even when they have injuries. Or are sick. They are doped up and wrapped up so you can not see their injuries. Those that lose are killed/ slaughtered. It is a cruel life. Not meant for such intelligent and sensitive animals. It is a disgraceful sport I hope will end as soon as possible. People breed too many they have no conscience. Shame on them. Shame. May God do to them that are merciless to their animals.

  11. Shut Down Del Mar. This info was from last year. It was appalling. Del Mar should never have opened this year. 2018. Bictor Espinoza has a broken nevk and mant more horses have died . Del Mar must be shut down and studied thoroughly. Is drugging happening with these horses? Cardiac arrest???? Why. 4-5 more horse deaths. No more. Shut it down. Get to the bottom of it. You are murdering these horses. One horse got away from a lead, and ran directly into oncoming horses in a race, The horse killed himself and killed a horse running at about 43 mph. Horrible.

  12. They call themselves “HORSEMEN” but they are greedy businessmen on a corporate level selling a product and that product is an illusion of something exciting! They are selling $2.00 bets to people who most likely are addicted to gambling and if not, might become addicted.

    Without this type of information sharing, I would not know just how bad horseracing is for horses. Except that it is, in my opinion, common knowledge that there is a dark side to horseracing. Also, the cruel stupidity of running yearlings and two-year-olds at a full gallop with the weight of a jockey and saddle on their back is a no-brainer that something is going to go very wrong.

    I wonder if changing the laws so that insurance companies could be severely penalized for rewarding the inhumane treatment and killing of horses on the track or in their stalls or anywhere would be one avenue to pursue in the stopping of so much cruelty and inhumane treatment of horses.

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