Another Day, Another Kill at Saratoga – That’s 15 on the Season

From Equibase today at Saratoga: “SAYONARA ROSE…was returning on the main track to be unsaddled when she took a bad step and tragically had to be euthanized on track.” Yes, tragic, like this entire wicked industry. Sayonara was two; this was her second race. This is the second death in as many days at the “oldest sporting venue in the nation” (an epithet that should be ringing a bit more hollow with each passing kill).

KIA, Saratoga ’17:

Lakalas, May 28, “collapsed and died after breezing”
Queen B, July 6, “fractured leg while breezing…ambulanced to clinic – euthanized”
Wanztbwicked, July 22, “suffered an injury while breezing – euthanized on the track”
Angels Seven, July 28, “pulled up, injury to LF leg – euthanized on the track”
Howard Beach, July 29, “suffered a fracture to RF leg breezing and was euthanized”
Positive Waves, July 29, “suffered a fracture to his RF leg breezing – euthanized”
Brooklyn Major, July 31, “collapsed and died after the finish of the race”
Marshall Plan, August 2, “fractured condylar bone while training – euthanized”
Fall Colors, August 3, “horse fell at second fence, died on track”
Munjaz, August 3, “was pulled up…vanned off – euthanized”
Lakeside Sunset, August 5, “ambulanced off; fracture right hind leg – euthanized”
Unbroken Chain, August 6, “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal injury – euthanized”
Sweetneida, August 11, “ambulanced off – euthanized”
Meteoroid, August 16, “injured RF leg prior to 6th fence – euthanized on track”
Sayonara Rose, August 17, “was euthanized on the track for a left front leg fracture”


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  1. I believe in your fight to stop horse racing. Everything you say about horse racing is true. I worked at the track for many years,I’ve seen it all. My love for thoroughbred horses brought me to the track, My love for these animals made me leave. I’ve seen fist hand the pain and suffering in their eyes when they break a leg on the track during morning workouts and at the races in the afternoon. Please stop the killing. We must be their voice.

    • Thanks Mary.
      I love your line “My love for thoroughbred horses brought me to the track. My love for these animals made me leave.”
      100% right on!!!
      That’s exactly what happened with me other than the fact that I was born into this business with family.
      However, when you become an adult you make your own decisions, and there was no other decision for me other than to take my racehorses, and get them the out of these hell holes.
      Thank goodness I never had one of my own ever breakdown either career-ending or catastrophically.
      However, what you subject them to on a daily basis is so wrong.
      Leaving was the best decision I ever made in my life because with each passing day I became more uncomfortable with what I was doing, and watching the trainers around me do whatever it took to win made me realize that I would have to stoop to that low level in order to be competitive and/ or make a living.
      I watched trainers laugh while their horse was laying in the dirt, writhing in pain, waiting for the needle.
      This behavior was not even worth reporting because it was not illegal – it was part of racehorse culture.
      I’ve heard jockeys laugh over the severe beating they just delivered to a tired, and sore horse that went down on their knees trying to escape a morning beating out on the track.
      Again, totally acceptable behavior in this culture of animal abuse.
      When you have top trainers with multiple drug violating records who are, more or less, willing to make racehorses die while they are turned into lab experiments – if you don’t stoop down to that level then you will not make it.
      So when people in this business direct comments to me like “you couldn’t train your way out of a paper bag.”
      I find that to be complimentary because really what they are saying is that I wasn’t willing to dope and kill racehorses to win, and laugh at the animal abuse I saw going on all around me.
      Then it also made me realize that you can’t be “caring” and “love” racehorses while in this business.
      If you do you will go broke because loving a racehorse and loving horse racing is NOT possible.
      The same goes for owners.
      They can talk all they want about getting rid of medication, but if they don’t do the same thing that the owners who sanction the ongoing medication abuse, then they will not be competitive.
      Aside from this mentality, is a living being paying the price every single day for this deplorable business.

  2. Exactly, Mary!
    Who else is going to speak up for them?
    One thing’s for sure – the trainers, the owners, the jockeys, the trackwork riders, the grooms, the stewards, the racing officials, the so-called vets and all the other participants (the bettors included) in horseracing most certainly don’t.

  3. If there was an all out publicity campaign, talking about and citing statistics of horse racing abuse and deaths, we might change things. Trouble is the newspapers are as corrupt as racing industry. They won’t print a negative word about racing. My heart aches for these horses. We see the foolish women in their floppy hats at the rail and I wonder at their unfeelingness, or is it just stupidity? Get a tv station on board— let them give the daily count of deaths on the 6 pm news. I know it’s easier said than done.

    • Bonnie, it is happening! In just a few short years thanks to Patrick and Horseracing Wrongs, what was once hidden — the racing deaths — is now out in the open. For those tracks or racing jurisdictions that hide their dead, Patrick uses Freedom of Information Act requests to get their death tolls although I know at least Michigan’s is incorrect because they DO NOT OFFICIALLY COUNT their dead. Have always refused to participate in any counting so we know that whatever figures we receive from the FOIA requests are LOW as I’m sure other tracks also ignore the death toll.

      The deaths have received newspaper coverage and Patrick has even been interviewed on television. We have to keep informing others of what WE know as I will never believe that a civilized society will knowingly allow such carnage in order to gamble on horses. Thank you for trying and there’s thousands with you!

    • Actually, Bonnie, locally (Saratoga area) Horseracing Wrongs has garnered unprecedented coverage over the past two summers – all local stations, both major newspapers, several radio stations, etc. We have also been cited by Forbes, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, The Buffalo News, the Boston Herald, and others. The momentum is all going one way. Horseracing Wrongs is becoming bigger by the day; with it, our message – our data – is getting disseminated.

  4. “Opening Day is Friday, July 21, 2017 – so get ready for another thrilling season of racing in Saratoga Springs!”. That is a DIRECT quote from their web site! THRILLING??? 15 horrendous deaths in a meet that is not over til September 4 is THRILLING?? The general public is starting to become informed and they do not think death is THRILLING.

  5. A fellow advocate found a piece with a video about SAYONARA ROSE – the 2 y/o filly took up “stall walking”, a vice, to relieve her extreme boredom and subsequent anxiety from being confined to a stall. I shared the video to my FB wall…take a look. And what you’ll see is mild compared to the vices these cooped-up horses develop in order to cope with such an unnatural existence.

    RIP, beautiful Sayonara Rose.

    • Anxiety – absolutely.
      When I was training there were horses in other racing stables, that everybody knew was sore, in pain, and suffering were usually the ones stall walking because their anxiety over having to race again was not controllable.
      They were anticipating their next start knowing that they were risking their life.
      Horses are smarter than the stupid people who exploit them.


    LIES-LIES-LIES- LIES and JUSTIFICATIONS By Ray Paulick – 8/25/2017
    Whose Allegiance is to Money and NOT to the horses Welfare or Care or Wellbeing

    “Saratoga has been in the news this summer not just for its excellent racing and traditionally popular, fan-friendly atmosphere, but also for equine fatalities. So far this year at Saratoga, 17 horses have died, compared to 16 deaths in 2016 and 13 in 2015.”

    “The New York State Gaming Commission, New York Racing Association, and New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association issued a press release days after the 17th death to assure the public they were working on the issue. In addition to safety protocols implemented over the past several years, the groups detailed the monitoring process for the track surface and announced additional regulatory veterinary presence on the backstretch.”

    “One thing the release didn’t provide was speculation on what has prompted the recent rash of deaths. An examination by the Paulick Report reveals that could be because there seems to be few similarities between them.”

    “We also have found no single identifying commonality to these horses,” said NYRA safety steward Hugh Gallagher. “However, we are continuing to examine and assess every possible relative factor as all of these matters remain active investigations.”

    “According to the commission’s database for equine deaths, one of this year’s fatalities was unrelated to racing (a case of colic treated unsuccessfully at a nearby clinic). Of the remaining 16, eight were training injuries and eight were racing injuries. Fatal injuries have taken place on the main track, Saratoga’s inner and outer turf tracks, and the dirt surface at the Oklahoma Training facility on the Saratoga campus. There has also been variability in the location of injuries on those track surfaces, with horses breaking down in the stretch, in the first turn, after the wire, and even one after the gallop out.”

    “The Equine Injury Database has identified a number of risk factors associated with a higher probability of fatal injury for racehorses. Some of those are identifiable in a horse’s past performances, while others remain difficult to spot without additional information from the state. We took a look at the few risk factors we could spot based on a horse’s records in Equibase. (The two steeplechase deaths were excluded from this analysis, since the EID deals primarily with flat racing data.)
    One of the EID-identified factors is the presence of a race on an “off” dirt track. According to racing charts, none of this year’s racing fatalities took place on a dirt track rated anything other than fast. Track condition was not noted in the state database for three fatal injuries on the Oklahoma Training surface.”

    “Horses that switch barns are known to carry an increased risk of fatal breakdown for a period of time after the switch. Only two of this year’s fatalities switched barns since their first career starts, according to Equibase records.”

    “Shorter races are also associated with an increased likelihood of fatality, with sprinters at the greatest risk, but four of six flat racing deaths took place at greater than one mile (one at 1 1/16 miles, two at 1 1/8 miles, and one at 1 ¾ miles).”

    “Presence on a veterinarian’s list is also associated with a higher likelihood of fatal injury, according to the EID, and the horse’s risk remains elevated for a significant period after they are cleared to return to the starting gates. A horse may be placed on the vet’s list for coming out of a race unsound or for failing a pre-race inspection sometime ahead of the race, or for the use of certain medications. New York does not maintain a public-facing, searchable index of its veterinarian’s list (though it is one of two jurisdictions to provide a published vet’s list, in the form of a daily pdf sheet), but we were able to see whether a horse had failed to finish in a previous start, which would probably result in its being added to the list. Just one horse had a prior DNF on its record.”

    “In 2012, the New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety addressed a variety of possible influences on the number of equine deaths at the 2011-12 Aqueduct meet. Two of the temporary safety measures put in place as a result of that investigation were a requirement of 14 days between starts, and a ‘poor performer’ list which would receive extra veterinary monitoring. Poor performers were defined as those who had finished 25 lengths or more behind the leader in at least one start.”

    “None of this year’s Saratoga racing fatalities were making a start with less than 14 days between starts. Only two would have qualified as ‘poor performers,’ but just barely: both of them had finished right on the line at roughly 25-26 lengths off the leader once.”

    “The public often voices concern about cheaper, claiming level runners being at increased risk for fatal breakdown. The EID has not yet been able to gather data on this successfully because of the disparity in quality and purse structure between tracks, but of the racing fatalities at Saratoga, only three horses were running for a tag. One was in a stakes race.”

    “The 16 racing and training fatalities did not appear to be overworked, as a group. Number of lifetime starts ranged from zero to 23, with only three horses running more than 15 times in their careers. All three were five years old and up.

    “The one risk factor that did apply to roughly half of the 2017 Saratoga fatalities: 2-year-old campaigns. The EID has identified horses that have made a start at two as being less likely to suffer a fatal injury than those who did not. Eight of the 14 training and flat racing fatalities this year failed to make a start at two. (One 2-year-old filly, who died during training, was excluded from this number.)”

    “None of this is to say the EID or the Task Force were wrong in their identification of risk factors or safety recommendations. Rather, the Saratoga meet may serve as a reminder of what Dr. Tim Parkin, senior lecturer at the University of Glasgow’s equine clinical science program, said at last year’s Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit. When looking at the national numbers, the risk of equine fatality went down significantly between 2014 and 2015. However, when researchers tried to explain the reduction in fatality rate, they found that seven identified risk factors only accounted for 35 percent of the decline. The other 65 percent is still out there, lurking in untested variables or in additional information Parkin and his colleagues don’t have yet.”

    LIES_LIES_LIES-LIES-LIES-LIES-LIES- and More LIES by Ray Paulick in Above Article


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