It is established fact that a significant number of just-off-the-track horses require euthanasia shortly after landing at a rescue. They do because their beaten-down bodies make a pain-free life all but impossible. Unfortunately, however, these horses are mostly out of my reach, dying in anonymity to all but their final caretakers. Still, every once in a while, I learn of one.
Catchumdenae (below) was a 6-year-old mare who was raced 36 times, the final six for Rodney Moyers. Her last race – in which she was “For Sale” at the bargain-basement price of $4,000 prior to – was March 2 at Mahoning. She finished second-to-last, some 22 lengths back (“stayed back throughout”). Shortly thereafter, she was simply given to someone who intended to retire her. Sweet relief appeared at hand. But, it wasn’t to be. Turns out, this poor animal had a slab fracture in her right knee and a broken splint bone in her left leg; she was euthanized Tuesday. Says the attending vet: “She must have had a lot of heart running with those injuries.”
The profoundly sad end for Catchumdenae is an all-too-common tale: The founder of two of the nation’s most respected Thoroughbred rescues estimates that 30% of those taken from the track must be euthanized almost immediately. 30%. These are the hidden casualties – the ones who don’t make my “Killed” lists. But make no mistake, Racing is wholly responsible for each and every one of them. And I’d love to see some lowlife apologist try to refute that.