The most recent minutes from Los Alamitos reveal “one equine death due to racing injuries” for Nov 16-Nov 18. While the identity of the dead horse was not disclosed, we can, based on the charts, fairly surmise it was either Arizona Icon, “injured, vanned off” on the 17th, or Vip Firm, “vanned off” the next day.
In addition, among several “excessive whipping” (funny, huh?) violations was this one: “Jockey Cesar Franco is fined $300 for…[striking] his mount approximately twenty times in the final one sixteenth mile of the race.” Yes, that’s 20 blows in 1/16th of a mile. $300. And worse, ’twas his third “offense” in the past two months. Imagine that.
And finally, this: “Jockey Marcial Ramirez was in the office this evening in response to a complaint filed against him by the Board…according to the complaint, Mr. Ramirez was observed on the backside appearing to be under the influence of drugs. His eyes were bloodshot and his coordination was suspect. The investigators attempted to obtain a urine sample from him, but when that did not work an oral swab was used. The test confirmed the presence of Methamphetamine. Mr. Ramirez gave conflicting versions of Methamphetamine use, stating that he had used for several years, then…the day he tested positive was the first time he had used.”
Why is this noteworthy? This is the same Marcial Ramirez whom I wrote about just last month – the chronic animal-abuser Marcial Ramirez. Given all that, one would think Racing would forever ban this man from being around its horses. One, of course, would be wrong. For you see, Mr. Ramirez merely received a two-month suspension and ongoing probation. Horseracing’s “integrity” laid bare for all to see, again.