Where Was This Urgency, Why Did It Not Matter Before?

When it rains… In Wednesday’s Louisville Courier Journal, Tim Sullivan writes, “Of the 25 racetracks that share their casualty counts with the public, only one [Hawthorne] was more deadly last year than Churchill Downs. Over the past three years, only the [Sonoma County Fair] exceeded Churchill’s race-related mortality rate.” Yes, that Churchill Downs, the world-famous home of the Kentucky Derby. The timing of this article, of course, could hardly be any worse what with the goings-on at Santa Anita and “The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” just around the bend.

In addition to me being interviewed and subsequently quoted, this article was also a boon for who else was quoted – or more to the point, what he said. Dr. Mick Peterson, the industry’s go-to track expert, likened this moment in horseracing to the Sputnik crisis of the 1950s (really, I’m not kidding), saying: “It really is one of those moments where we need to step back and say we’ve got to do this better, and we’ve got to change how we’re doing it. Because otherwise the industry is not going to survive. People don’t accept (racing fatalities) the way they did.”

Then: “It takes exactly one horse to change the narrative: Battle of Midway at Santa Anita, Eight Belles. People aren’t always watching, but when they are, it matters.”

“People don’t accept (racing fatalities) the way they did. People aren’t always watching, but when they are, it matters.” Imagine that. In an industry that churns out self-indicting statements regularly, this level of temerity may just be unsurpassed. One correction, though: People – the masses – didn’t know enough about the carnage to make a decision on “acceptability” or whether it “mattered.” This, attention on the kills, is a relatively recent phenomenon (my first Killed List was published in 2014).

But back to Peterson’s message to the industry:

Where was this sense of urgency, why did it not matter when 600 horses were dying at Santa Anita over the past decade, 150 on-track alone in just the past three years?

Where was this sense of urgency, why did it not matter when 2,000 horses were being killed across the country last year?

Where was this sense of urgency, why did it not matter as I documented death after death after death on this website (to date, over 5,000 confirmed)?

Where is this sense of urgency, why does it not matter as 12,000-15,000 “retired” Thoroughbreds are being shackled, hung, slashed, bled-out, and butchered at Canadian and Mexican abattoirs this and every year?

Short answer: Nowhere to be found because they, the industry, simply didn’t and don’t care – not about the horses. To them, those animals are simple assets, Horseracing a mere business. That business, their money, is now under siege. Hence, the urgency of which Mr. Peterson speaks. America, you’re being hoodwinked.

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    • OMG – what race?
      I noticed they have delayed putting up the results after the 3rd race.
      They are probably scrubbing the replay video true to TSG’s modus operandi.

  1. Just like when the fire at Frank & Belinda Stronach’s (The Stronach Group) San Luis Rey Downs training center where about 47 racehorses burned to a crisp in their stalls – all the usual expressions of “sadness” and how they “love them like family members.”
    Then, true to industry form, a Go Fund Me account was set-up because this multi-billion dollar industry, that doesn’t take care of their profit slaves when they are done maiming them, had to garner sympathy from the unsuspecting public to raise money for those who were affected.
    The hailed the “heroes” of the day as those who risked their life to go into the burning barns to let racehorses out of their stalls.
    That’s quite an effort, but where in the hell are these people that “love their family members” when they are standing at kill auctions or boarding the slaughterhouse truck?
    If they truly loved and cared for them then they wouldn’t be exploiting them in the first place.
    While they have no problem watching racehorses snap their legs-off – have you ever seen one of them risk their life to run out on the track and perhaps hold the dangling leg?
    While they participate in a business that risks a racehorses life and limbs every single time they send them out they take issue with them burning to a crisp in their stalls!
    Deliberately delusional – willingly ignorant – racehorse exploiters and apologists.

  2. Gina. They are not commenting except a while ago they said the jockeys were on their feet. A grey horse was one of them
    It was a grade 3 downhill and I posted here right away. You are probably right on the delay of the result because it did not look too good. The grey one stood up but not the other one.

  3. Arms Runner fell. LaSardane fell on top of him. Arms Runner vanned off with severe right front injury
    No info about LaSArdane condition. It was the San SImeon stakes at santa anita.

  4. PLEASE read this, even die hard horse racing enthusists will be appalled at the continue abuse, murders of these beautiful horses. What an ungodly life they live, just for some ass to make millions of dollars off of them.

  5. This article coming out of Kentucky by Dr. Mary Scollay – equine medical director of Kentucky Horse Racing.
    Now realizing that she’s an apologist and derives a living off racehorses including the ones that snaps their legs-off like CATHEDRAL READER in the Madison Stakes at Keeneland last weekend, she does make a point.
    Horse racing is, finally, under scrutiny by not only the outright opponents such as HRW, but also the public.
    I urge you to scroll mid-way down the article to a CHART showing the spike in horse racing deaths that the Kentucky Racing Commission has been keeping secret – the death facts/numbers are not being released and neither are the names of the racehorses dropping dead in the dirt (they refused to respond to Patrick’s FOIA request), and I’m told that many are dropping like flies during morning training out of the Keeneland training barns evidently.
    Either way, nothing can be proved because information is being kept secret.

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