3-Year-Old Breaks Back at Los Alamitos – Dead

In the 3rd race at Los Alamitos December 15, the chartwriter (Equibase) reported 3-year-old Dancing Thru Fire as having “locked up [at the] start” and being “vanned off.” A half-truth, at best. Here, according to the Stewards Minutes, is the full story:

“Immediately following the break #5 Dancing Thru Fire appeared to lock up in her hindquarters. When she attempted to get up and was unable to Dr. Fitzgerald determined the filly had broken her back and euthanized her.”

Horseracing kills – shattered legs, imploded hearts…broken backs. End it. Now.


  1. This filly had 6 race starts as a 2 year old and then went on to race another 9 times. At her 16th race start she breaks her back at the very beginning of the race. How excruciatingly painful that must’ve been for her, fighting for her life, trying to get up on all fours….her mates galloping off into the distance (no doubt the race was abandoned).
    According to equibase.com
    Trainer is Paul C Jones
    Owner is Veronica Gail Worth
    Breeder is Veronica Gail Worth
    Prizemoney won by this filly was $9,075.
    Yet another innocent young horse is sacrificed for $2 bets, greed and “entertainment”.

  2. Incompetence or lack of morals at it’s height,no more no less.You mean to tell me this horse just breaks his back just like that.There was no indication of a back problem prior to this tragic incident?My guess is there had to be some hint of discomfort prior to the actual event of opening the gates and letting this horse suffer through the agony of being paralyzed on the track.It doesn’t get any lower or incompetent then this.Then you have the question of maybe this was not a case of paralysis but rather a severely pinched nerve have you ever had a badly pinched nerve,where it became crippling but the pain made the incident feel much worse than the condition was.Maybe this horse did not break his back,but merely had a pinched nerve,but he was euthenized due to a pinched nerve in his back.I wasn’t there,so what the fuck do I know.But they were quick to euthenized the horse because the show must go on.What kind of diagnosis was this on site,it seems everything came into consideration here,except the well being of the horse. DEDICATED

    • The “well being ” of the horse comes into consideration when they are making money, If they are not moneymakers they are disposable.

  3. I was wondering the same thing, Dedicated. I was leaning toward a prior injury- or having her tail caught in the gate. When I worked at one of the tracks, one of the gate guys said they had a horse that had it’s tail wound up in the back gate door, and when the gates opened – the horse’s tail was still caught, and the horse took off. It’s tail didn’t.
    The tail was ripped off at the base- and in the process, pulled the horse’s spine so severely it broke the horse’s back. The gate guy kind of shrugged it off and said, “it happens”.

    • SD,That comment from the gate crew guy is so typical of a low life race tracker.It’s this sought of mentality that the general public does not see.This ignorance hits every level of the racetrack from top to bottom.It’s unbelievable that you could gather so many people into the same business and end up with so many ignorant people in the same place.Just remember not all of these people are there because they love working with horses,some do but it’s the miserable ones that are the dangerous ones to the well being of the horse.DEDICATED

  4. I want to remind readers that the horse racing industry keeps their medical records/treatments secret.
    Those medical records don’t follow the horse when they are claimed or when there is a change of owners.
    There are no neutral agencies permitted to regularly review medical records, which would reveal the real pain, and suffering most likely going on especially in this example with DANCING THRU FIRE.
    Keeping their medical records secret translates to serious physical injuries that are kept hidden from the public, but protects the racehorse abusers, and the enablers of the abuse – the vets, commissions, tracks, wagering companies..
    I want to also remind readers, anybody who owns a domestic pet, that vet records are regularly exchanged between vets for peer review, reduction of invasive procedures that were already performed, consistency of treatment and/or to prevent further pain/suffering.
    This is totally contrary to the way in which this business conducts their legitimized animal cruelty.
    As an Associate Steward in California I was first to recommend that a micro-chip should be mandatory when registering a foal with the ID number right on the foal papers.
    It would have immediate, and multiple benefits for the racehorse, but would be detrimental to the profits.
    This was quickly squashed.
    Of course my intentions were for the health, and welfare of the racehorses, but that’s not what this business is about.
    It’s about covering up the ongoing cruelty, abuse, and pain of racehorses so they can be exploited for profit.
    DANCING THRU FIRE, if we could have access to your medical records, they would be your voice speaking out loud wouldn’t they?
    Furthermore, the lack of medical records often reveal a horse that has been suffering for a very long time, and nothing was done about it as in SILENT RULER.
    There is ZIPPO oversight for these racehorses, and even if there was, they suffer by virtue of their business practices that are mainly motivated by profit.

  5. Simply having access and neutral oversight into the medical records/treatments leading up to a race would be more telling than any pre or post-race exam, but would lead to decrease fields, and a subsequent decrease in wagering profits.
    Furthermore, one of the most commonly used practices, Shock Wave Therapy (SWT) is not reported in most racing jurisdictions, and no exams can detect it.
    It’s widely known that the regular practice of SWT is a major contributor to racehorse break downs because it’s a potent way to mask chronic issues, but keeps the racehorses running.
    True change can only come about by affecting their bottom line: wagering profits.
    It’s near impossible to prioritize the health, and welfare of racehorses without affecting the wagering profits, which is why I advocate for the shuttering of this business.
    There are no other changes that can prevent racehorses from dying.

  6. Regarding the horse with the broken back or whatever the case was,because one really does not know why this horse was put down,except I believe the vet said the horse locked up behind,fell and could not get up.Tough situation for the vet.My question is what the hell does locking up mean.Sounds serious to me but somewhat vaugue,like so many other inside horse terms often used instead of saying,”I don’t know what the fuck is happening to this horse” Locked Up Sounds Like An Inside Horse Term” that the lay person won’t understand.I got news for you the vet did’t know either.Locked up actually sounds like the vet knew what he was talking about.It sounded serious and authoritative and it shouldn’t be questioned.Did you ever hear the phrase “I’ve fallen and can’t get up ” I guess the vet would’ve said,hey the old broad locked up behind and couldn’t stand up.So I injected her,now she really can’t get up.Just van her back to the barn.DEDICATED

    • Was a necropsy conducted on this 3 year old filly? If not it should have been as it would’ve revealed the true nature of her injury/condition necessitating the vet euthanasing her.

    • Many racehorses on tracks have a serious condition called locked STIFLE.
      It’s a VERY DANGEROUS issue to have when running for both the racehorses and the jockey.
      There are a plethora of articles on it, but here’s one for your perusal:
      You are playing Russian Roulette with both the racehorse and the jockey’s life when you run a horse with a locked stifle, and MANY do!
      The horse can appear perfectly normal, but this locked stifle usually appears suddenly, with no warning, and renders the hind quarters totally ineffective – they seize up.
      There are probably lots of racehorses dying on racetracks due to this type of physical ailment, which is almost always treated with joint injections.
      However, the joint injections wear-off and they can during a race.
      Again, the secret medical records/treatments covers these type of serious ailments up, but as long as they are filling races, and increasing profits then they don’t care who gets hurt.
      Moreover, their shameful lack of jockey workers compensation certainly isn’t a deterrent to even care about the people risking their life every day albeit it’s their choice.
      If they don’t care about the jockeys, then how in the hell are they going to care about a voiceless racehorse?
      This is all going on while the industry boasts about BILLION dollar wagering profits.

      • Dear Gina,I think I remember the vet using the term “broken back” I could be wrong.I’m no vet but we really can’t make an assumption that this was a stifle getting disjointed due to damaged joint or the ligaments surrounding the the stifle joint.A horse with this kind of injury if it was a stifle and we don’t know this and should not assume this.Let’s just say it was the stifle it’s a good chance that this just did not just happen when the gates opened.If this was a bad stifle,which it could have been but we don’t know that because even the vet on site said nothing about stifle.The chances are greater that if it were a stifle problem which we don’t know for sure,I’m sure this is not new and most horses can’t race competitively with a locked stifle problem active or inactive it’s a dysfunctional joint and ligaments I personally don’t think a damaged or a subluxation of a stifle caused this horses problem and do horses get put down for a locked stifle this is not a life threatening defect and will eventually unlock but to be put down for it .I’m sure it’s uncomfortable and this horse should definitely not be racing and it’s likely the vet knows of this horses condition I’m sure he injected it once or twice before.I think it’s wishful thinking on the trainers part that it’s cured but like you said to take that risk is unconscionable to take this chance!Chances are nine times out of ten the joint will lock during a max effort during a race.Personally with this type of injury there is,no normal max.effort.Can you be more specific with the term “seizing up” do you mean,the joint is just not working do to damaged ligaments or joint damage or muscle spasm. DEDICATED

  7. Unfortunately Carolyn, very few states have mandatory necropsy rules when it comes to either career-ending or catastrophic breakdowns.
    It should be mandatory in both cases in every single state where horse racing (killing) takes place.
    Then the biggest set back for racehorses (the way I see it) is the SECRET medical records/treatments.
    Every time a vet treats a horse this should be entered on a computer system directly hooked-up to racing commission computers.
    It’s so easy to do, but this business keeps them secret to, in many cases, cover-up nefarious operating procedures instead of being transparent for the both the horse, and the wagering public.
    Even after all of this what the hell does it matter because this industry fails miserably when it comes to enforcing rules and implementing meaningful deterrents for the health, and welfare of the racehorse?
    They know that they need the dope to keep them running and/or to gain a competitive edge because most racehorses are sore or have a pre-existing condition – to what extent depends on the horse.
    They don’t care if a racehorse is sore, they just want another betting number and another buck or two.
    The same goes for the connections who keep them running like Halos and Angels, which clearly shows that the cost to keep abusing her doesn’t come close to the cost of keeping her in training, and running.
    Delusional bunch of buffoons really.
    The lack of rules, and enforcement surrounding the doping, subsequent breakdowns, and lack of necropsy rules are all deliberate in order to maintain wagering profits.
    They do a great job at lip service, and wallpaper though, but meaningful change will affect their profits.

  8. Legit records,paper trails,indictable evidence,alleged staging of races,alleged doping,non- doping,All for money,alleged major gambling syndicates,alleged cheating, Screw the betting pubic and screw the innocent horses.This game,will never,ever,never,ever be transparent,and I’m afraid any one that thinks this is possible is delusional.This corruption goes too far up the ladder.Even if you had all the information available,I guarantee you it would not be truthful.It’s just the nature of the game and they call the shots and they always will call the shots.There will be no record keeping and no transparency.Does the MAFIA take master-card?

  9. A locked stifle is not a life threatening defect for the most part, but a very dangerous defect to have when loading maximum physical stress on a defective ligament/joint while being beaten to run.
    In a racehorse, a locked stifle is not only life threatening to the horse, but to the jockeys, and all other horses in that race.
    The moment it takes for a stifle to lock-up, while running at about 40 miles per hour, is a recipe for disaster.
    That’s why not having access to medical records/treatments is a way to cover-up such conditions, to take one more chance with that racehorse’s life, and to others.
    It’s not only the physical aspect that’s an issue, but also a mental one.
    The racehorses that I saw on the track that had this issue were usually extremely nervous.
    They lived in fear of being saddled, sent out to the track, and especially to race because they knew that they couldn’t rely on their hind end with this issue.
    Then the nervousness was medicated with tranquilizers in some cases.
    By continuing to load an inefficient ligament/joint with the demands of horse racing often leads to secondary lameness issues, and can lead to mental instability in a racehorse.
    So what may seem relatively innocuous is really an accident waiting to happen.

  10. Gina maybe I didn’t make myself clear, what I meant,I understand the potential danger to racing a horse with this type of stifle problem.What I meant to say was this,was it necessary to put this horse down for a stifle dysfunction,if in fact this was a locked stifle?We don’t know what this horses problem was,but we know he was put down.

    • IF a locked stifle was present, then the horse should not be on a track because this flaw often leads to secondary lameness issues and/or to catastrophic injuries.
      Since their medical records/treatments are kept secret nobody ever knows for any racehorse leading up to either a career-ending or catastrophic breakdown.
      The majority of racing jurisdictions don’t have mandatory necropsy rules.
      Even if they did, it’s controlled by the pro-racing entities who protect these animal abusers.
      If a neutral organization was ever given the power to look into medical records/treatments, then most racehorses would not be permitted to fill races for them which is precisely why they guard their medical records/treatments like Ft. Knox.
      Most all owners/trainers from rich to poor know damn well what’s going on with their racehorses since they pay the bills for the medical treatments and for the dope to keep them going.
      Furthermore, the people who are directly responsible for sending any racehorse into a race, knowing they are risking their life, never get any repercussions so there is zippo deterrent when a racehorse dies.
      It’s “business as usual,” and that’s why this business is so vile, evil, and deliberate when it comes to all of these racehorses dying.
      Like Patrick has stated many times on this blog: dying is inherent in horse racing, and he’s 100% correct.

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