“Restless,” “Fractious” Before Their Races – “Vanned Off” After

In the 5th at Hawthorne yesterday, R Rocket Man, says the (Equibase) chartwriter, “[was] restless in the gate before the start, settled near the inside, was pulled up nearing midstretch, then was vanned off the course.”

Later, in the 8th at Charles Town, Runnin’toluvya “became fractious in the gate then broke through prior [to] the start…gave chase leaving the seven sixteenths pole, showed little response from that point…pulled up and vanned off.”

“restless in the gate”; “became fractious in the gate”: Two enslaved animals telling – the only way they can – their enslavers that they did not want to do what they were being forced to do and that perhaps something was wrong with their bodies – to no avail. Both “vanned” away after the race – to unknown (as of this writing) fates.

This is horseracing.

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  1. Yesterday I watched those horses, if they don’t want to go in don’t make them. I hate seeing them pushed and prodded to go into something they are against. It just shows to me how things get out of hand when handling those beautiful horses. Afterall, they are all very young! It is terrible that these horses have to be abused just to make them run for money!

  2. I’ve seen videos of horses literally jump straight up and fall backwards to avoid even going near the gate. When a horse reacts with such extreme fight-or-flight reactions it should immediately raise a red flag, but of course, in racing, they “love their horses like family” so know the horse actually really “loves to run” and just needs a bit of gentle motivation. From the sounds of these poor horse’s behavior during the race, it’s sadly a given conclusion they are dead, even after begging not to be forced to race.
    These people just make me sick.

    • Well said, Rebecca. There is video of Runnin’toluvya on twitter being saddled, and he almost flips a few times- then jumps up and lands on the pony. There’s pics of him bloodied, being loaded on the van. Now I have also seen a video of how he acted in the gate. He is so lucky he did not break his back.
      And yet. I see comments on twitter, from people like Cindy Longo, who say this will just give Patrick’s site “more ammo”. Well. Yes. Because it HAPPENED. And it will keep happening! And this just proved this industry can’t regulate itself, it’s not looking out for the welfare of horses, and in this case it also gave a big middle finger to its supporting bettors, because there is no way this horse raced at 100%. But yet, there’s goofs that believe this industry is “less corrupt”.
      And this – just a month after a horse died in the gate at another racetrack after ripping his tail off and diemboweling himself.
      So it’s just a matter of time. It will happen again.

  3. Yes, I agree with your assessment of when a horse is fractious in the gate or doesn’t want to load. Then out comes the ear tongs, the blindfolds, and two men pushing the poor animal into the gate from behind. Torturous!

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  4. Probably been “shocked” so many times in the gate or training that just the very sound of a “buzzer” terrorizes them and makes them jump straight up.

  5. This is horrific can’t you put health of the animal above your own greed . Do something worthy of these noble animals and stop this horrible practice!

  6. This is going to be a lengthy post, so I apologize in advance but I saw this and just had to share. The Thoroughbred Daily Times has an article entitled “Racetrack Community Unites to Reshape Narrative” which is in response to the protests at Santa Anita. The coordinator is Oscar de la Torre, who stated that these “counter-demonstrations have turned into celebrations of our industry”.
    And from Doug O’Neill: ” We’ve got to show the human connection in our sport – the relationships we have with our horses and how we’re proud of that.”
    And this from Tyler Cerin, son of trainer Vladimir Cerin: “I think the public supports horse racing but all they’ve seen is the negative publicity on it.” (Apparently Tyler had an altercation with a protester at Del Mar in August that left him with a wrist injury).
    Finally, from Lisa Beattie, a California owner/trainer: “We spend years of our time and money and love just to get them to [the races]”. The article mentions that Lisa has 3 retired racehorses in her backyard and wears a vial of ashes around her neck belonging to Carrousel Clown.

    Quite honestly this is one of the more disgusting pieces I’ve read. The fact that these people think their industry is worthy of celebration speaks volumes about how twisted their mindset really is. Celebrate an industry that cripples and maims and kills horses by the thousands? That can’t even support itself on the blood of its own racehorses?
    “The relationships we have with our horses and how we’re proud of that”. Like isolating and confining horses for 23 hours a day? Injecting them with Lasix, frog venom, and Lord only knows what else to keep them running through injuries caused by starting and overtraining at too young an age? Trading horses off multiple times a week when they can’t make enough money for their callous trainers? Giving them fractured skulls, broken shoulders, severed spines, splintered legs, colic, laminitis, pulmonary hemorrhaging, and ulcers? Destroying them physically and emotionally before sending them to slaughter? (And I’m sure we all remember that horrible story of the filly with broken limbs held down for two hours because there was no vet on site and the racing industry wouldn’t dare bring in a vet that wasn’t on their payroll to help cover up the results of their ” relationships” with their horses).
    And the best for last: “years of their…..love just to get them to the races”. We all know that even they don’t believe that shit, but they think it sounds good in an interview. If they could send their horses out to race at two months old to save themselves the money required to feed them until they’re at least 18 months then we all know they would. The results of their so-called love is evident on a daily basis in the form of catastrophic injuries and horses simply dropping dead from the cocktail of drugs forced into them.
    The racing industry defenders want to make it sound like they are under an undeserved attack from radical extremists trying to tear their beloved family members from away from doing what they love to do. That they are a close knit community devoted to each other and their horses, and the loss of their industry would cause irreparable repercussions to American employment and the equine community. They make it sound like they don’t deserve the negative publicity and public scrutiny, and if they just have a live band and tacos it will show what outstanding members of society they really are. I’m sorry, but all the music and Mexican food in the world isn’t enough to cover the volume of their sins.

    • And Rebecca, we will also remind readers that O’Neill’s “group” – We Support Horse Racing – aligns with the pro-horse slaughter organization Protect the Harvest.

      Thank you for your post – they are always appreciated. You GET it.

  7. Followed this horse for awhile, they say fractious, runnintoluvya freaked out in the gate, and what makes it worse is his trainer is the one that ponies him to the post. How, how in the world does the state vet and trainer let this horse run after that? Oh thats right i believe he was the 2nd choice in the wagering, wonder if this would have been different if he was a long shot. Just ridiculous. And people have the nerve to question why we are against whats goin on.

    • R Rocket Man is a 2yr old thats was running in his first race, just breezed from the gate 7 days ago, being that hes a maiden ( special weight ) or not and not a stakes runner, you wont here much on the status of him. Born to race,love to run, more like just stop with the lies and deception.

  8. A photo of Runnin’toluvya after the race – blood steaming down the length of his left hind – is on my FB page…as is the video of him in the starting gate – of course, they cut away (to a Standardbred race) before he breaks through the gate as it is horrific – they don’t want the public to see what these racehorses endure.

    Seeing him rearing and struggling in the gate as he did, I still can’t believe they reloaded him and made him race. I always think I cannot be surprised anymore at what the industry does to its horses – and then I am.

  9. Here’s the actual tape of Runnin’toluvya.
    Clearly shows massive injury to the neck and they still loaded him and forced him to run for $2 bets.
    This vile business is a bottomless pit of widespread suffering and carnage.
    Not only do they exploit voiceless victims, but they also exploit human beings on a grand scale.
    This all going on while they get billions in handouts are unanswerable to the general public operate with total impunity when it comes to animal cruelty laws and fly around buying up another victim for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    Stand up Americans – ENOUGH!

    • Really love the comment “He’s my favorite horse” as if that somehow glosses over what was done to him. These asshats forced an obviously injured horse to race for blood money alone and all the usual bullshit comments aren’t going to hide that.

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