Horse Breaks Leg at Mountaineer, Suffers for Two Hours Before Being Euthanized

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.

10 Comments

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  1. There are no track vets on site anymore because, they are not even the ones giving lasix. I blame this on you and your nut case activists. More proof that horses are not as drugged as the media makes it seem.

  2. A few years back an incident somewhat like this happened at penn national that was 2010 then again in 2011 then again in 2017, just another example of how racing cant even follow their own rules and procedures, yet folks will come here to try n defend their sorry industry, while full well knowing the truth. It is disgusting this is even considered a sport, and quite a slap in the face to actual sport. So sorry for the horses made to suffer.

  3. And yet there’s no charges of cruelty for this disgusting treatment. What conscientious owner would allow their horse to suffer needlessly for even a few moments, let alone hold him or down for two hours of sheer agony. To the scum who had the stomach to do this, you deserve karma in the worst way.
    Anyone hear PETA or HSUS kicking up a fuss?

  4. I’ve heard in the past that there are times that there are no vets on the grounds when training is going on. It’s such a dump of a track.

  5. According to the WV racing rules, a track vet does not have to be on the grounds during training, only during racing. As those of us know from reading this site, training injuries/deaths do happen so why isn’t it mandated that a vet be on site during training? I asked one of the Mountaineer stewards that very question and, instead of answering, he turned it around and asked me! I told him I suspected it was a money issue and he had NO reply. Imagine that!

    Please note that this is a WV rule. It could differ from state to state.

    • The Mountaineer stewards are incompetent clowns – they don’t know their own rules (or rather, “RULES”). Get any of them on the phone with questions about their protocols and they stutter and stammer…during the Burton Sipp ordeal (selling racehorses to a kill buyer at the Lolli Bros auction last November), I spoke with three of them – I was (almost) embarrassed for them.

      Ever hear the old saying about horseracing stewards? – Three Blind Mice? – applies at Mountaineer. Except those particular mice are not only sight-challenged…

      • Aside from the obvious moral fact that horse racing maims and kills hundreds of racehorses every single year, there’s so many other factors that show just how antiquated this business model is.
        The stewards on the racing commissions are about 95% male, 60+ years with little education.
        This business deliberately refuses to meet government quotas for female’s to fill these positions.
        In fact, there was a memo that wen’t around (I wish I would have kept it, but as an apologist protected it) that ordered these older male stewards NOT to retire, to hang onto their jobs as long as possible, and to make sure that only supporters/investors of horse racing got these positions whenever they became vacant.
        They have been surprisingly successful in keeping these people in place and to completely ignore the modern day working world that is supposed to be inclusive.
        This business is rife in discrimination against woman (it’s a solid ole boys club just look at the trainers statistics), racism (very few Mexican grooms and/or African Americans ever get promoted), and all hell will break loose if they ever employ a member of the LBGTQ community!
        They are living in their own little delusional world from back in the 50’s and little has changed since then.
        It’s an elite, predominantly white, all boys club that is protected by the same demographics on their racing commissions and they are supported by taxpayers money.
        They don’t even come close to fulfilling government mandates for all inclusive working environments on government held official positions such as stewards.
        They know damn well that “normal” people would immediately call for the shut down of this business if they worked there not to mention the billions in taxpayers money wasted.
        I suppose education and infrastructure doesn’t create jobs right?
        It’s just so ridiculous, so outdated, and it’s run the course.
        There are no reforms that will change this deeply outdated business model.
        It needs to be put into the (her)story books and the racehorses need to stop dying.

  6. Outrageous cruelty to let her suffer that long! They had better update their protocols for medical personnel to cover all times that horses are in training and racing to make sure this never happens again!
    Horseracing needs to END NOW! Everything about it is evil for the horses!

  7. Horseracing is a disaster for the horse in life. And in death, it is obvious how this abusive, corrupt “sport” regards it’s athletes – just garbage!

    I wonder where the lifeless Rockaroo wound up after 2 hours of horrific suffering because of outrageous negligence on the part of the “officials” at this sorry racing venue; Mountaineer.

    It is a good bet, these are not isolated incidents! Shut this place down !!

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