Ignore NYRA’s Sleight of Hand – Saratoga Owns Each and Every One of the 9 Dead Horses

Forced (by the media – thank you) to answer for the nine dead horses so far at Saratoga – on pace to easily outstrip its historical average of 14 per summer – NYRA propaganda czar Patrick McKenna, according to the Times Union, “said the Saratoga meet has been safe [and] points out that of the nine horse deaths, only one [italics added] was during racing.” In other words, the other eight dead horses – five training, three back in their stalls – are not germane to the topic of “equine safety,” even though McKenna goes on to cite “the daily inspection and testing of racing and training [bold added] surfaces and inspections of equine athletes [bold added]” as the primary reasons for the “demonstrably safer” NYRA tracks.

Last year, I compared 2013 – the year of NYRA’s supposed safety overhauls – with 2017; the results speak for themselves. And while the numbers dropped a bit in 2018 – only 59 deaths at the three NYRA tracks – here we are in 2019 sitting at 35 – with almost five full months to go. And no, Mr. McKenna, it matters not a whit where or how an active racehorse dies. Every death in the industry is by the industry.

The Saratoga ’19 victims:

Golden Julia, May 30, stall, “found distressed in stall; referred to Rood & Riddle, whereafter horse died from acute blood loss”; Golden Julia was two years old and coming off a training session (at Saratoga) just five days prior

Investment Analyst, Jun 7, training, “sustained leg injury necessitating euthanasia”; Investment Analyst was two years old; he was being prepped for his first race

Gattino Marrone, Jul 3, training, “fractured sesamoids, euthanized”; Gattino Marrone was three years old and had been put to the whip 6 times

Fight Night, Jul 12, racing, “fell heavily after the wire, euthanized on track”; Fight Night was three years old, and this was her 5th time under the whip

Total Fidelity, Jul 14, training, “suffered fracture to LF sesamoids, euthanized”; Total Fidelity was two years old; she was being prepped for her first race

Overlord, Jul 15, stall, “developed post-op complications (colonic rupture), euthanized”; Overlord was three years old and coming off a training session (at Saratoga) just one week prior

Verravanni, Jul 25, stall, “diagnosed with pleuropneumonia 7/11, euthanized on 7/25 due to lack of positive response to treatment”; Verravanni was two years old and coming off a training session (down in Kentucky) just eight days before diagnosis

Misspent Youth, Jul 27, training, “cardiovascular collapse breezing on Oklahoma turf course”; Misspent Youth was five years old and had been put to the whip 13 times

Umetuka, Jul 31, training, “injured galloping on main track, vanned off for x-rays, euthanized”; Umetuka was four years old and had been put to the whip 9 times

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  1. The facts and the truth are on our side and the racehorses are speaking through their broken bones, bodies, and minds.
    Every single death is a horse racing death and this business is solely responsible for every single one of them.
    Every single racehorse counts, but I was particularly heartbroken over the filly GOLDEN JULIA.
    As I begin to read the details surrounding her horrific death ““found distressed in stall; referred to Rood & Riddle, whereafter horse died from acute blood loss”;
    This is completely outrageous and the secret vet/doping records leading up to her death demands a full investigation and the results should be released to the public.
    All my years in this business I’ve never heard of such a thing – this is unacceptable on every level, but so is every death.
    Her broodmare, trained by multiple drug violator and multiple racehorse killer Todd Pletcher, was more than likely doped to the stall rafters to win the money that she did while her super wealthy owner, attorney Ms. Barbara Banke suddenly goes silent especially when one of her racehorses die.
    Golden Julia was supposedly under the care, custody, and control of Todd Pletcher in his racing stable when this happened – please correct me if I’m wrong, but the connections are “secret” because she hadn’t raced yet.
    How in the world can a beautiful filly die on a public racetrack, wagered on by the public, being primed to fill her role as a profit and ego slave and nobody bats an eyelash???
    Their “investigations” lead to nowhere and protect the connections who are, in some capacity, directly responsible for her death.
    Golden Julia – so sorry for you.
    May your beautiful spirit be with the peaceful demonstrators outside of Saratoga today – we are the only ones wanting to end this killing and carnage.
    The only way to stop the dying is to shut this antiquated business model down.

  2. Wasn’t it Rood & Riddle who tortured Barbaro by keeping him alive so that they could enjoy all of the publicity and donations?

  3. Here is a very telling article from 1993 that I found during my research.
    https://www.si.com/vault/1993/11/01/129693/the-breaking-point-a-rising-toll-of-racetrack-breakdowns-has-shaken-public-confidence-and-put-the-thoroughbred-industry-at-a-crossroads
    It’s long, but worth reading.
    Here’s why.
    Every single issue that we are exposing today are the same issues that were going on in horse racing back in 1993 if you can imagine that.
    My point is this business has never made any meaningful changes to protect racehorses even before this article, but 26 years later and the exact same things are going on.
    So their “changes” do absolutely nothing – racehorses were dying then just as they are dying now.
    That’s why I feel it’s so important to counter the apologists stance that the recent deaths at Santa Anita are so “sudden” as if dying in horse racing is an anomaly – it’s not and it’s up to us to educate the unsuspecting public and media about exactly what has been going on for years.
    Another thing that this article clearly demonstrates is he continued egregious acts of abuse on racehorses as it describes, in detail, the spill and it’s horrific.
    Refer to Paragraph 3.
    I can’t imagine the terror that these racehorses were going through, but a filly named RUSSIAN VIXON (RV) got damaged during the spill yet survived.
    She sustained some injuries, but we will never know to what extent.
    Did they take her off the track after this?
    NO, because this is horse racing.
    Without skipping a beat RV was forced back into racing only 7 days later!!!
    She was subsequently run into the ground and raced 17 times after this incident barely finishing most races.
    RV was most likely running with pre-existing conditions – physically and mentally, but nobody in this business neither the commissions or vets cared to protect her in even the most minimal way.
    The owner/trainer obviously didn’t give a damn about her and just used her as a chattel, a profit slave squeezing every last drop of sweat of her just like a parasitic leech does.
    Her last race on April 9, 1995 she finished last by a combined 17+ lengths and was probably sent to the kill auction and subsequently bled out on the slaughterhouse floor.
    OMG – come on folks, this MUST end, this has GOT to end and we must stop financially supporting and placating these monsters.

    • Thanks for providing the article, Gina – Bill Nack, for remaining a supporter of horseracing, certainly didn’t hold many punches in his writings – I’ve read a fair amount of his work over the years.

      Yes, isn’t it something that the industry in this article from over a quarter of a century ago sounds just like the industry today?!? – the horrific breakdowns and deaths – the “shaken public confidence” – Nack’s asserting the dead horse numbers are “appalling and unacceptable” – the racing industry being at a “crossroad” – the “rampant” drug use per Dr. Ferraro – the fighting amongst industry members about Lasix – even the claim that TB’s are “not as tough and sturdy as [they] used to be”! This article could be dated for 2019! NOTHING HAS CHANGED and the industry has DONE nothing to address the problems they acknowledged all those years ago! Oh and the bemoaning by racing individuals who are quoted in today’s articles are the very same in this one – Stover, Bramlage, Arthur Hancock. Hancock DID exclaim at the 2008 Congressional sub-committee hearing on the drugs and breakdowns in TB racing that he had been pleading for changes for 25 years – he wasn’t kidding.

      Some of Dr. Gregory Ferraro’s (who left a “lucrative private practice” at Southern California tracks because of the “rampant use of drugs on the backstretch”) final words from this 1993 article really struck me; “I mean, get the drugs out of racing, man. We’ve got to make it cost too much to cheat, make the incentive to race clean…We had an excuse in the ‘50s and ‘60s and ‘70s because we didn’t know any better about medication. But we know better now. We don’t have an excuse anymore.” That was TWENTY-SIX YEARS ago – there is STILL no excuse.

      I say time’s up. Gina says racing must end. We’re right. And the horses are waiting.

      • When I went out to California, 2005, to work as an Associate Steward for the CHRB I really wanted to change things for the betterment of the racehorses.
        I felt grateful that I was finally in a position to make a difference.
        It didn’t take me too long to realize that this business doesn’t want to change.
        They want and need to uphold the current business practices of doping (“therapeutic” or otherwise), Shock Wave Therapy, keeping doping/vet records secret having deleterious effects on the racehorses, lack of transparency, whipping/beating, dumping, and dying.
        Of course the intense confinement and depriving them of everything natural comes with the territory.
        This business requires the ongoing cruelty, abuse and inhumane treatment of racehorses in order to fill races and increase their never ending greed via wagering profits.
        They know damn well that at least 50% of the racehorse population shouldn’t even be there to begin with, due to injuries, and require vet care that many of them simply don’t get or they get minimal care – not enough to take adequate care of them – an animal cruelty felony in any other setting in the U.S.
        The future for racehorses is bleaker and will only get worse because the racehorse population even now, including the up and coming foals, are NOT ENOUGH to fill the never ending number of racetracks that exist today not to mention the ones that will open up only due to casino profits.
        Moreover, the tracks today are open year-round.
        On any given day there is always at least 1 track open and it’s usually much more than that.
        So the connections ship racehorses all over the country, like chattel, to keep them going, to not rest them, and to keep them in training so that they can potentially flip a buck.
        Nothing, not even minimal protections are implemented for these racehorses and there’s no neutral oversight, no animal cruelty laws that these human parasites are being subjected to – absolutely no accountability plus they have a powerful lobby group, the HBPA, protecting the rights of the “horseman” not the rights of the racehorses.
        It’s a vile business with vile people and our politicians MUST stop financially supporting it.
        If they want casinos, open up casinos, but don’t feel obligated to support this carnage.

  4. How can so many horses die under such suspicious circumstances and from so many catastrophic breakdowns, and there are no investigations, no accountability, and for the most part, no public outcry against the ever increasing numbers of dead? How can horses be literally BEATEN in front of thousands of people and no one protests or questions it? How can anyone defend an industry that imposes the most inhumane treatment on horses from birth to an often premature death, that blatantly tortures living sentient beings, then throws them by the thousands into slaughterhouses to die in agony and terror?
    There has to be an end to horse racing. Anything other than a complete and total ban is to continue to embrace insanity.

  5. This is so horrible that I get emails everyday about a horse dying in a race. Karma is a real bitch you greedy people. I hope u get yours and then some

  6. Gina Powell, thank you for your eloquence, for sharing your deep knowledge of the abhorrent industry of horseracing, and for your compassion. We won’t stop fighting until there is an end to the horrendous suffering of these beautiful gentle creatures all for human greed and entitlement. May their undying spirits continue to give us the strength to fight fight fight for them, for their dignity and well being. In the photo accompanying the article they didn’t even bother to close his/her eyes and you can see the unspeakable agony in them. Heartbreaking.

    • Thank-you.
      We must all pull together and get this horror show shut down.
      Every single person doing just a little something or more will make a difference.
      I will continue to be a voice for the racehorses and I’m so sad about all of them dying.

  7. The Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) is trying to pass a bill called the Horseracing Integrity Act, which is supposed to impose stiff, nationwide penalties for cheating. It would ban race day medication ONLY. It would substantially increase out-of-competition testing and create an independent regulatory authority.
    Perhaps the HSLF is not aware of the full scope of the horror of the racing industry. That it is more than an average of 10 horses that die per week on American tracks. That it will do nothing to stop the underage training and racing.The near constant confinement. The whipping and shocking. The freeze therapy and other hidden methods used on damaged limbs. The horses traded away like chattel when they don’t make enough for their heartless owners. The complete lack of adequate care on lower level tracks. The thousands of horses sent to the slaughterhouses to die a horrifying death.
    We need to write to the HSLF and tell them that these half measures will not spare countless horses from suffering and death. That only the complete ad total shut down of the racing industry will save these horses.
    This bill is not bipartisan. It is not commonsensical. It does not protect the defenseless as they believe.

  8. This is wrong and you know it is. Is money worth this. How much harm is inflicted on animals every second every day. When is enough to stop this. This is deplorable and we are in the USA, this is the best we can do?
    Respectfully,
    Kelly Hill

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