Eskenforadrink Makes it 22 Dead at Santa Anita This Meet; Lily Ain’t Foolin Killed at Parx

Amid much media coverage of its current killing season (even the major networks are chiming in), and in advance of a HW-supported protest today, Santa Anita strikes again: In the 3rd, the Equibase writer recounts, “Eskenforadrink…took a bad step, was pulled up in distress, and was vanned off.” The 3-year-old was subsequently euthanized, making her the 20th horse killed either racing or training at Santa Anita since December 26 – and 22nd death there overall (two others have died from what the industry conveniently dismisses as “non-racing” causes). This one comes after track-surface guru Mick Peterson was flown in for two days of in-depth study and analysis (“segregation of the material” – please). So much for that. BloodHorse caught up with Peterson on his way back to Kentucky and recorded this reaction:

“But when I heard about (the incident Saturday), my response was, What the hell do we do?” Ah, at last some honesty.

Around the same time, but with significantly less interest (cheap horse, cheap track), this for Lily Ain’t Foolin in the 9th at Parx: “…suffered a catastrophic injury and fell on the turn and was subsequently euthanized.”

Also, among the several other horses who either “bled” (from the nostrils, that is) or were “vanned off” yesterday was 3-year-old Courtyard in the 5th at Fair Grounds: “…lagged at the rear…rallied outside under a left-handed whip…and prevailed under strong urging then pulled up in distress after the race and was vanned off.”

Whipped to a win (“under strong urging”), then “pulled up in distress and vanned off.” Horseracing – proudly abusing and killing horses for over 150 years.


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  1. What immediately needs to stop is ALL taxpayers funding, tax breaks and/or casino profits NOW!
    Our politicians need to immediately STOP financially supporting this cruelty and death ring.
    I can assure you that when this funding stops the tracks are sure to follow.
    Racehorses are the biggest victims obviously, but so are taxpayers being forced to pay for this with little to no input from taxpayers because they know damn well that we would all rather see this money going to essential community services not to enrich a callous millionaire called Frank Stronach and his equally callous racehorse exploiters.
    This man is a total jerk and anybody who invests in this legitimized racehorse cruelty is as well.

  2. It’s the “sport of kings”. Rich men want to bask in the glory of the wins of their horses and enjoy to losses of their competitors. A lot of blood has been spilled in the pursuit of this “enjoyment”. I just don’t know what it would take to sour the wealthy on being owners. Gambling businesses should receive NO government support,

  3. It must be drugs to enhance their performance. But also raises The horses pulse & Blood pressure, Maybe????? Whatever the reason, this MUST STOP !!!!!!! I will never go to the track again, PERIOD…..

  4. After reading Patrick’s mention of Peterson’s response to another horse (Eskenforadrink) dying after his “full evaluation” of Santa Anita’s track and claiming it was “100% ready” for racing – “WHAT THE HELL DO WE DO?” – I was interested in what he and/or others had to say prior to her death on March 2 AND after.

    After the track was deemed safe by Peterson and ready for racing on February 28, Tim Ritvo, The Stronach Group’s chief operating officer, did not respond to requests for comment by the BloodHorse. Jim Cassidy, president of the California Thoroughbred Trainers, was “apprehensive” about more forecasted rain and stated; “They seal the track, and sometimes it’s better the next day and sometimes it’s better three days later. You just do the best you can to look at it and evaluate it, but at the end of the day you just hold your breath.”

    After Eskenforadrink broke down and died, Ritvo, according to the BloodHorse, again declined to comment. What is he going to say? I suppose he could be honest and repeat what he stated back in September of 2018, when he commented on a stabling dispute at Santa Anita…here, Tim Ritvo; “We want horses in stalls who will run. All I care about is getting horses to run and giving the public a good product to wager on.”

  5. The total focus on the track surface, and the subsequent report by track surface guru Petersen was the usual response.
    Of course the real causes of racehorses dying, according to reputable equine studies, is masking chronic issues with dope to keep them running,and being pushed beyond their natural ability.
    On top of the dope is usually the continuous administration of SWT and this is another deadly factor.
    The Stronach Group is well aware of this situation, but they won’t implement meaningful policies to end this or even address it because they know damn well that they need dope, SWT, and slaughterhouses to keep this business going.
    Racehorses dying are stubborn facts that no track report can cover-up or justify.

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