The Week in Racing

Chart notes (Equibase) from American racetracks last week:

Elostorm “bled” at Aqueduct
Spa Town Parade “vanned off” at Aqueduct
One More Song “vanned off” at Aqueduct
Horse Laugh “vanned off” at Del Mar
Arlene’s Buck “vanned off” at Finger Lakes
Nay’s Back “vanned off in obvious distress” at Charles Town
Mr. Game Seven “vanned off” at Charles Town
Vedelago “vanned off” at Churchill
Russian Radiance “broke down” at Golden Gate
Bennett Mtn. Gal “bled” at Golden Gate
Aspic “broke down…euthanized” at Penn
Welder “vanned off” at Remington
Tale of E Dubai “vanned off” at Aqueduct
Combined “vanned off” at Fair Grounds
Sight Line “pulled up in distress” at Parx
El Comander “vanned off” at Mountaineer
Split Step “vanned off” at Zia


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  1. Was at Finger Lakes 11/20. After the last race, the 10th, a horse was euthanized, named Act Surprised, which I believe wasn’t on your list from a quick scim (sorry if I missed it).

    Act Surprised was purchased by Zayat Stables for 100,000+ at a sale. After racing unsuccessfully and being unable to break his maiden on then NYRA circuit, he was moved to Finger Lakes. He couldn’t break his maiden for 5,000 and was sold (not claimed) to Christopher Progno, from Rudy Rodriguez who somehow acquired the horse from Zayat Stables (also didn’t claim him).

    Progno is known for being a terrible human. I have been going to Finger Lakes for years and the only trainer that has a worse reputation than him is Jon Buckley. They don’t feed their horses, don’t provide proper care and their barns are a mess. Personally, I haven’t seen this or can confirm it. But it is a small track and people talk. When the majority are against these guys, there’s a reason.

    Anyways, back to Act Surprised. This horse would competitively race 2nd or 3rd in 5,000 maiden claimers, but once he got to Progno, those days we’re over. He had a few terrible starts before breaking down in the stretch of his final race. Was he trying to cover up an injury and race an unsound horse? We Will never know that but can only assume.

    Finally, what happened after. First off, they took forever to get an equine ambulance to the horse. Once they did, they opted not to put up a screen. It was the last race of the day and he majority of the people he left anyways. They proceeded to tranquilizer the horse and administer euhanization shots, kill him where he lay, no screen, out in the open. I don’t mind seeing this. It’s part of the sport that I choose to watch. I don’t bring my kids to the races, but some parents do. One thing we both can agree on, despite our views on the sport, is that kids shouldn’t have to see that and be traumatized at a young age if they didn’t not make the decision to attend the races. Like I said, I know the results of the sport. The kids often do not.

    They then proceeded to tie a rope around the (now) dead horse’s legs and neck and pull him into the ambulance, to be driven off. What was so disturbing about this to me is it was obvious that the horse was not sound.

    Just a disclaimer for anybody that cares…yes, I like the sport. I bet on big events and was at the track that day to bet on a Stakes race at Mahoning Valley with a favorite horse of mine in it. That being said, I know what I support, but I love the sport and my support for it isn’t going to change. That in mind, I want to do my best to help prevent senseless deaths like these ones. Deaths will still happen, that’s for certain and it is inevitable as you say. But this one, at least, could’ve been prevented.

    Also, another side note: for everyone who has connections on here to get homes for old racehorses, check out Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds on Facebook or just google it. Plenty of horses for sale that may still race at bottom ranks you can save and re-home. I don’t have the land or resources to but just wanted to bring it to the attention of everyone if they did not know about it. They act as a medium between the owners and buyers, give it a look.

    Looking forward to the conversation this will hopefully inspire. If anybody has anything to add about Finger Lakes trainers in general or could Just corroborate my stories of Progno and Buckley, would love to hear it…you guys seem to be “behind the scenes” more than I am lol. Thanks!

    • While I appreciate you sharing your experience, I cannot truly fathom how you can continue to maintain this mindset – horseracing-as-sport, dead animals come with the territory. I would implore you to take some quiet moments and approach racing with a blank slate. Horses are intelligent, sensitive creatures; horseracing exploits, abuses, maims, and kills those creatures – for gambling. For entertainment. While 50 years ago racing may have been the only (legal) game in town, no such excuse exists today. Go to a casino, play online poker, buy some scratchoffs. Let the animals be. Please.

    • Jim – this isn’t an attack on you – but as I read your post – you state you were at the track to bet on the stakes race at mahoning, and assuming you also bet on a few at finger lakes and maybe a few others that were simulcast – but then you state you don’t have the resources or land to assist with rehoming a very desperate ottb that needs a soft place to land? I implore you to take that money that you placed on those bets that day and donate it – there are numerous nationwide ottb rescue/rehome agencies across the country that would appreciate that money even to buy a few bags of grain or bales of hay for the dime a dozen horses that this industry throws away and are too crippled to be anything but sanctuary horses and lawn ornaments. And please, please, consider putting your betting money, as resources, into these agencies from here forward, instead of betting on the industry that is creating those crippled and broken horses and encouraging them with your betting money to perpetuate this cruelty.

      • I second that, SD. One doesn’t need pastures and paddocks to help the racing industry’s discarded horses.

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