On September 25, Bridget Moloney was killed in a race at Mountaineer. But there was another death earlier that day at Mountaineer – one that would have gone unreported if not for this site.
Around 6:30 a.m., according to two trusted sources at the track, a horse named Rockaroo somehow got loose from her stall. At some point, she either crashed into a fence or simply took a fall; regardless, she broke one or more – the sources could not be sure – legs. A death sentence, of course. But there was no vet to be found. In fact, even with training beginning at 7, it took until 8:20 for one to arrive at the track. Meantime, track personnel had to hold the mortally-injured Rockaroo down, with one person reportedly having to leave as the scene’s horror proved too much. By the time the pink was delivered, almost two hours had passed – that’s two hours of unfathomable, unconscionable pain, terror, and suffering for this poor animal.
According to the West Virginia Racing Commission rules, “an association shall provide an equine ambulance staffed by trained personnel on association grounds on each day that the racetrack is open for racing or training.” An advocate reached out to the Commission’s executive director and asked: “What does ‘trained personnel’ mean? Does it mean a vet tech? A track vet? If a horse falls shortly before training begins and suffers a severe injury, what ‘trained personnel’ will be there to euthanize the horse since only a licensed vet can do so?”
The director wrote back: “‘Trained personnel’ means employees trained to drive the tractor and operate the equine ambulance. During racing a State Vet. is present when the horse is loaded into it and when the horse is taken back to the barn an Association Vet. is there to meet it and the horse is treated at the barn. During training an Association Vet. is there when placing the horse in and follows the horse back to the barn for treatment.”
When informed (though he surely already knew) of Rockaroo’s fate, and asked why, at the very least, a vet wasn’t on site at the beginning of training (7 a.m.) and what protocols – how to keep a broken horse calm, pain relief, etc. – are in place for a tragedy occurring before training, no response.
No response. This is horseracing.