Dead on Nebraska Tracks, 2017

Through a FOIA request to the Nebraska State Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills on that state’s tracks in 2017. Please note, however, that a single track, Columbus, accounts for four of the five results. The three other Nebraska tracks – Fonner, Horsemen’s, Lincoln – had a combined 40 racedays last year. Hard to believe that only one horse died over those 40 days (actually more, as training takes place every day, not just raceday). Best guess: sloppy and/or apathetic reporting.

Driving Miss Dixie, April 22, Fonner, training
“fractured shoulder”

Irish Keys, August 6, Columbus, race 1
“broken sesamoids, ankle gravelled”

Smokinisashame, August 12, Columbus, race 1
“fractured hock – complete, separated”

Mestizo, August 27, Columbus, race 6
“broken down on back straight”

Castana, September 2, Columbus, race 4
“RF pastern, sesamoids, tendon, knee; LF suspensory” (fourth race in less than a month; trainer, Schuyler Condon; owner, Jeffery Cox)


  1. One major problem that the industry is aware of but doesn’t do anything aboout is the high number of horses who have conformation defects. Some of these horses that actualy race are backward at the knee , are pigeon toed, etc. There are a bunch of defects as to how the horse is built that shorten many racing careers.

    The industry knows a certain percentage of the horses will have catastrophic breakdowns. The synthetic surfaces were an attempt to reduce this, but I dont think it has been successful. Some horses are doomed as soon as they are born.

    • Agree richard. There are a lot of racehorses running with poor conformation. Some foals are destroyed when they have a very obvious defect such as a club foot. Poor conformation has proven to be a risk factor for breakdowns.

  2. My heart breaks for all of these horses that died on Nebraska racetracks and those that died in training who have not been disclosed.
    CASTANA in particular had a horrendous death with both front legs suffering catastrophic injuries. Those present at the track would have been witness to the sickening sight of CASTANA still running on two front legs that became stumps when these injuries were sustained. The sesamoids and knee injuries in his Right foreleg would have rendered that leg a dangling mess. The excruciating pain, panic, fear and shock that CASTANA endured is inexcusable. His trainer SCHUYLER CONDON and owner JEFFERY COX forced him to race four (4) times in less than a month. These two scumbags are guilty of aggravated cruelty resulting in the death of this horse, in my opinion. The administrators of the Columbus racetrack are also complicit for permitting, supporting and condoning the racing of CASTANA four times in less than a month. Disgusting.

  3. All involved in racing are complicit in the overworking of the horse. They all know it is wrong but wrong does not matter in racing. Stewards say there is nothing they can do about it. Well, there is nothing they can do about it because racing does not WANT to do anything about it…no rules to prevent this form of abuse translates to the stewards, et al, being able to hide behind the cop out excuse… “there is nothing we can do about it”

    If one looks at the veterinary watch lists the same players are listed over and over. Some names that come to mind are Rose and Jacobs. Nothing is done about these people, so, what is really the purpose of the “watch list”
    The whole thing is a sham. The veterinarians should be ashamed of themselves.

  4. Heartbreaking.
    Horse racing is an entire system of legitimized animal cruelty.
    It’s entire goal is to fill races, and increase wagering profits.
    Racehorses are most often running with pre-existing issues that are continuously being masked with drugs, and/or shock wave therapy.
    It so bad that they have to hide their medical records, and guard them like Ft. Knox.
    Moreover, these horses are being whipped/beaten while sore, lame, crippled, and/or doped up.
    They are being beaten, and exploited to the point of dying.
    If they make it out alive, they become disposable commodities for the most part with many ending up on the slaughterhouse floor.
    Knowing this – how can any normal, rational, compassionate person support it?
    END this now.

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