Borough Boy “Takes Bad Step,” “Falls Heavily,” Dead at Saratoga – 13th Victim on Meet

One helluva way to go out. In the final race of the Saratoga meet, this for Borough Boy: “hustled from the gate, showed the way three to four wide under light coaxing, swung four wide into upper stretch displaced from command, dug in under a drive and took a bad step near the eighth pole, fell heavily and unfortunately had to be euthanized on track” (Equibase).

took a bad step

fell heavily

unfortunately had to be euthanized

Borough Boy is the 13th dead horse at Saratoga ’19 – which puts this venerable track at right about its historical average. So much for NYRA’s “demonstrably safer racing.”

The victim roll…

Golden Julia, May 30, stall, “found distressed in stall…died from acute blood loss”
Golden Julia was two years old and coming off a training session 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, “colonic rupture, euthanized”
Overlord was three years old and coming off a training session just one week prior.

Verravanni, Jul 25, stall, “pleuropneumonia”
Verravanni was two years old and coming off a training session just eight days prior.

Misspent Youth, Jul 27, training, “cardiovascular collapse”
Misspent Youth was five years old and had been put to the whip 13 times.

Umetuka, Jul 31, training, “injured, vanned off, euthanized”
Umetuka was four years old and had been put to the whip 9 times.

Divine Miss Grey, Aug 3, racing (euth Aug 26), “complications [after] surgery”
Divine Miss Grey was five years old, and this was her 26th time under the whip.

Sundae On Sunday, Aug 4, racing, “collapsed, euthanized”
Sundae On Sunday was ten years old, and this was his 61st time under the whip.

Go Big Or Go Home, Aug 28, racing, “went wrong, euthanized”
Go Big Or Go Home was five, and this was his 22nd time under the whip.

Borough Boy, Sep 2, racing, “took a bad step, fell heavily”
Borough Boy was three years old, and this was his 6th time under the whip.

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  1. I’ve read numerous comments about how this horse was struggling and yet was still getting beaten. And that after he fell, his jockey just got up and walked away from him. That’s the sheer callousness of this “sport”. And if I had $100 for every comment I’ve read tonight about how “awful” this was to see, both in person, and on tv, my mortgage might be paid off! Yet, how many of these people whining about how awful it was to see, will be back betting tomorrow, or partying it up at the next Saratoga season? I’m thinking it was much more awful for this pained, struggling, beaten horse to snap his leg and fall than for these jerks who will be putting their money on another poor horse to win tomorrow!

    • I read the comment “under light coaxing” to actually mean having the shit beat out him, and of course the jockey just walked away – since when do they give a flying f*ck about these horses?

      • They euthanized him on the track so his last breaths were in the mud pile and the footprints of the rest of the pack.

  2. Disgusting pass time of the ignorant. Stop all horse racing. It’s another form of animal abuse.

    • The jockey was the one who deserved to be smashed apart, since he continued to beat that horse even though it was obvious the horse had nothing to give. Have you seen the way those jockeys “urge” their mounts? Arms above their head and swinging those whips down as hard as they can. They’re the ones who deserve death in the dirt.

    • This is the outrage I feel. These junkies have no connection to the horses. They are paid to get a leg up keep their weight down and ride whipping them means nothing it’s like a gas pedal for them if an accident happens I’ve seen it over and over they hustle up and get off the track they don’t stop and comfort the horse or try to settle it down or keep it from running. These ignorant jockeys don’t even react when the horse starts to follow them struggling to get up ot walk because that person is the only one they know out there on that track. It is heart wrenching Horses feel connections we know that. Imagine their sense of confusion when the human they have allowed on their back and suffered physical abuse walks away from them in their pain. I just feel that we have no chance of recovering any sense of horseracing being a partnership between men and Horse with hateful comments from these cowards driving them to exhaustion. I hate above

      • I’m sorry this was one of those audio to text comments. I hate the comment from the jockey stating that the riding jockey that fell with borough boy was lucky not to have been stepped on. that’s really not a concern to me. Years ago it would’ve been because I knew many jockeys we had a lot of laughs way back in the day but now we don’t even speak the same language

  3. I used to own racehorses a small owner.
    Horse racing is a corrupt, horrible business that kills racehorses.
    I left and will never go back and will never support this ever again.

    • I used to breed. Standardbreds, not thoroughbreds. They are a much sturdier horse, they actually train several miles daily so they don’t suffer the fatal injuries on the track but I was horrified to find that they suffer the same fate after racing. Can’t count how many times I bought my horses out of a kill pen, the people are the same scum. When I went out of business it took me two years to find a good home for every single horse. There are adoption agencies, they placed the young ones, but they can’t take them all.

  4. Hi Patrick:
    Excellent addition to your injuries and deaths tabulations is the added information on how many times the horses are whipped. And yes, those whips HURT (awhile back, some trainers/owners claimed that they did not cause pain–WRONG!)

  5. I suggest that we clarify to all if the whip actually hurts.
    I invite any jockey to authorize me to whip them on their ugly ass and see if it hurts.
    You jockeys also whip them on the shoulders right on their joint so that’s fair game as well.
    What do you say?
    Oh, and you have to have either bucked shins (tibia in humans), sore ankles and/or feet and a stomach full of ulcers to replicate the racehorses’s situation more accurately.
    How about a big shot of lasix to your jugular vein as well since we must compare apples to apples.
    Let’s settle this debate once and for all.
    I can assure you that any jockey who takes up my challenge will have no doubt that the whip hurts you sadistic horse beating bastards.

  6. I was at the Saratoga Race Track this past Monday and I am never ever going back there. I am traumatized for life I love all animals and thought horse racing was so much fun seeing these beautiful creatures racing, the whole horse racing experience , ladies in hats and all people from around the world. A stunning town added to the beauty. Until Borough Boy number 6 took a bad step and had to be put down right in front of the crowd . The poor boy was trying to walk and could not, After hearing story after story. Horses bones do not mature till they are 5. Why race them so early. Why whip them? I will never bet on a horse or go to a race for the rest of my life. I saw 10 year old girls crying their eyes out after seeing that horrible site. Poor horses.

      • Lisa, your honesty is greatly appreciated! These horses are nothing more than a commodity to the owners , trainers, handlers and jockeys. One cannot claim to “Love” an animal while deliberately putting them in harm’s way. These race horses dying haven’t even yet physically matured! I’m a lifelong Horsewoman and I speak from a seat of knowledge. All the smoke and mirrors surrounding this antiquated industry is out in the open now. Thank you Lisa from speaking the truth!

  7. I read the Times Union article today and am glad to know there is an organization trying to make changes.
    I was (and still am) upset since having watched that 11’th race on TV ( race at Saratoga) – and was shocked that the announcers didn’t mention what was going on with the horse after the fall. They glossed over it very quickly and most news stations didn’t mention it. I assumed they are trying to paint a pretty picture, with profits.
    Anyway, I wanted to send a check, rather than use PayPal or a credit card – do you have an address ?

  8. While I do not minimize the grief and anger at these deaths, I blame it less on racing per se than on racing two and three year olds (or even 4 year olds).* Horses are not physically mature until they are five, but the market drives rushing them to the track ASAP. I think even just setting the age for the Triple Crown races at 4 would diminish deaths/injuries. However, I would not include the colics and aneurysms listed above in the “Death list.” A kid’s pony, grazing in a field and never asked to do more than trot around an arena can die from colic or an aneurysm, A friend’s 13 year old Warblood galloped down his paddock and flipped over dead from an aneurysm. Ditto another 15 year old warmblood just standing in his stall. Kentucky Derby winner Swale died from an aneurysm while having a bath, and colic, in general, is the NUMBER ONE KILLER of ALL horses. Something needs to be done re racing, but including these not directly racing-related deaths weakens the case.

    *I own a horse, a non -TB, but a rather “hot” horse (Arabian/Appaloosa). He was started under saddle at age 3, but only ridden 20 minutes a day, four days a week, until he was four, then gradually ridden more, but not really asked to “work’ until he was five. He’s 15 now. But I know that he, like any horse of any breed, could suffer from colic, no matter how careful I am in my management and use of him, ditto for undiagnosed aneurysms, like the horses I mentioned above, both in their teens.

    • You are actually incorrect, colic in racehorses is definitely race related. In various studies, racehorses suffer a significantly higher incidence of colic than non-racehorses. The causes are numerous but include high grain/low forage diets, confinement to stalls for prolonged periods, stress, and ulcers which either contribute to colic or are confused with colic. Ulcers themselves are particularly prevalent in racehorses with some studies finding as many as 95% of racehorses suffering from ulcers, primarily due to a combination of stress and overuse of medications including banamine and other analgesics. The ill health and possible death of racehorses is not restricted to on track injuries, they suffer from a wide variety of maladies at much higher rates than pleasure horses as a direct result of the practices of the racing industry. Just for reference, I was in the racing industry for 15 years and my wife is a veterinarian who formerly worked with horses but now treats primarily companion animals. If you are interested you can go to google scholar and search for incidence of colic/ulcers in racehorses. The subject has been extensively studied.

      • Yes, Alan, thank you. Racehorses are “set up” for colic due to all of the reasons you mentioned.

      • I invite anybody to peruse the details of the necropsies provided here, via FOIA, and there you will find plenty of factual evidence that most all racehorses have ulcers and most have serious ulcers which is not natural.
        This is caused by their stressful conditions that comes in many forms.
        Of course being beaten while your sore or tired is a great way to make a horse nervous and develop ulcers.
        It goes on and on, but the proof is there.
        Anybody who claims otherwise is usually a delusional apologist.
        Furthermore, most all racehorses are on some form of ulcer medication especially in the big barns where they can afford to give them meds.
        The “cheap” claimers the “rats” usually get nothing not even vet care in an emergency situation as continually evidenced on this site.
        One of the most egregious is a racehorse put into a stall with a BROKEN LEG to suffer with NO vet care.
        This would garner Felony Animal Cruelty charges in any other setting.
        This folks is the wonderful world of horse racing where these leeches claim to love them like “family members.”
        Any rational person knows otherwise.

  9. Gina, you are spot on. The much followed Halos and Angels was a prime example of this. After her retirement last year, she colicked 3 times, and the vet told the new owners that as severe as her ulcers were, she was not surprised that she had colicked so severely and frequently.
    I remember when I was still at the track, I noted another trainer’s horse colicking. The horse was restless, pacing, sweating, and rolling. I pointed it out to the trainer, and he went in, pulled the horse’s sheet off, then shrugged and said, “well, we’ll see how he looks like tomorrow.” No vet for him. No compassion. And this trainer was one that I thought was one of the “good guys”. I later also found out he condoned cobalt as a PED, and consistently ran older, bottom of the rung claimers, without much success.

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