A “Cast” Death at Finger Lakes

The NYS Gaming Commission reports that 2-year-old Bonafide Bandit is dead after being “cast in [his] stall” at Finger Lakes Tuesday. For those who may not know, “cast” is when a horse has lain down or rolled so close to the wall that he can’t get up or re-position himself. Panic and desperate struggle often set in. While the Commission did not release further details, it’s a good bet that Bonafide’s death was not peaceful.

One of the under-reported and under-appreciated cruelties involving racehorses is their intense, unremitting, solitary confinement – 23 hours a day or more – to a 12×12 stall. For naturally social, free-ranging, herd-oriented animals like horses, this alone should be enough for compassionate people to forever forswear this vile industry.


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  1. Poor guy…..Except, even if they don’t die, I truly believe that the unrelenting abuse, confinement, the whip, and watching other horses die, they must lose a bit of their soul each and every time something happens. Wake up people!!!

  2. Come on people can you not do a god damn thing right. He was only a 2 year old – he was a baby at heart. Leaving them in these stalls for hours upon hours with no contact – what a sadistic bunch of bastards you all are. You can be assured that his death was indeed painful and it should have never ever taken place had he had anyone that cared about him at all. Obviously that was not the case so again – another poor animal dead for again the lack of compassion from the owners and trainers. What a sad f*cking world you bastards all live in – try sticking yourself into one of these stalls and stay by yourself for hours upon hours. Let these poor horses live their lives as was intended for them. This is not what these horses deserve – you are all a bunch of cruel abusers. You need to be the ones dying not the horses.

  3. It’s natural for a horse to roll, but they are supposed to be in the open not a confined space so small that they can barely turn around.
    Racehorses tend to roll much more often when confined and they do this when they get “colicky.”
    It’s their way of physically assisting gas through their GI system since they are not capable of burping.
    Many reputable equine vet studies prove that racehorses are highly prone to colic.
    I bet that he had ulcers that wasn’t being treated, or if treated, would indicate ulcers, but the secret doping/vet records will never confirm this.
    Nevertheless, BB is yet another victim of this vile business just as they all are.

  4. Nobody around to help any horse in trouble during their 23 hr. confinement in their tiny confining stalls .

    The fact is, a 2yr. old is dead and the cause is not really known.
    Further, nobody really gives a damn what happened because it is racing and horses are disposable..

    How they suffer or how and why they die is of no concern to these people. Terrible.

  5. Sorry this can happen in any boarding facility where riding horses are, this one is just an accident, you may not like it but those are the facts. Even experienced horse owners can have this happen to them. If you think horses should run free 24/7 then you are ignorant about horse care.

    • Of course it can happen to any stalled horse – race track or private barn. But common sense tells us that a horse stalled 22-23 hours a day has a greater chance of getting cast than a horse stalled overnight (half the time).

      Additionally, and Gina pointed this out as well, the great majority of racehorses have gastric ulcers and will try to address their pain by rolling.

      Stalled for hours and hours, discomfort/pain from gastric ulcers leading to more frequent rolling, and lack of eyes on them put racehorses at a much higher risk of becoming cast with a poor outcome.

      Finally, a horse that is allowed to “run free” (or as I would put it, have access to shelter whenever he wants it but is never confined to that shelter) is your healthier and happier horse – without a doubt.

  6. Karen – can’t agree with you on this one- sorry. I’ve had 2 horses cast. One was at my farm- I knew right when it happened and called 911 for the fire dept to help me. He was a Percheron gelding. The second was my gelding at a boarding farm- again- they knew exactly when it happened. 2 stall walls were removed- and 4 people helped him up. When I had horses at the track – when racing was done- we quick fed the horses – and ran home, done for the day. They had security guards that would walk through the barns a few times a night – but they had no horse experience. If a horse was cast or colicking – no one would know. There were no cameras in the barns – unless individual trainers put them up. Every boarding farm I’ve had horses at they had cameras- or people with horse experience would walk through multiple times a night.

  7. Peggy I have never been at a barn with cameras except for foaling mares. When I boarded the owners were there but after everyone left, horses were not checked on until morning. Horses can be left out with shelter but if there is only one run-in the dominant horses are inside and the others are out in the heat or cold, luckily when I owned horses non of them were cast. My standardbreds who spent part of their lives in stalls knew to roll in the center, the baby in this article had sadly not learned that lesson. It just irks me that some people here think that all horses should run free, probably thinking that eating grass is enough.

    • Karen, just “eating grass” IS enough for undomesticated horses. Regardless of being “irked” by some people here (and I would venture to guess that supporters of this site sincerely want domesticated animals – horses, in this case – to not be exploited for any purposes and to be able to live as closely to how nature intended), the fact remains that horses stalled for long periods of time (racehorses) and horses that suffer with pain from gastric ulcers (racehorses) are going to be at a much higher risk of getting cast and not found until it’s too late. And it’s completely unnecessary to put any animal at an increased risk of injury or death just for entertainment and profits.

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