Yet Another Dead Horse – One of Gary Contessa’s “Children” – at Belmont, 34th on the Year

To the uninitiated, the Racing marketing department can be awfully convincing. Especially when faced with crisis – coverage of what is perceived to be an inordinate amount of dead horses – the polished industry pros are quite adept in the art of reassurance. We’ve got this; no stone will be left unturned. More vets, tighter prerace exams, stricter drug regulations, transparent medical records, “continuing ed” for trainers, and my personal favorite – super-diligent surface testing (“cushion depth,” “moisture content,” “ground-penetrating radar”). And yet.

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) – covering Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga – does the above, including massaging the numbers, with the best of them, and they’ve been doing it for years. “Demonstrably Safer Racing,” they’re fond of saying. Sunday, according to the Gaming Commission, a young filly christened Darken a Day “sustained [an] injury on [the] Belmont training track requiring euthanasia.” In the process, she became the 34th dead horse at Belmont alone this year – and 54th at the three NYRA tracks combined. How’s that for a “commitment to equine safety”?

Incidentally, Darken a Day was trained by Gary Contessa, who, you may recall, referred to his horses as “children.” Well, Mr. Contessa can now boast 10 dead children (in just NY) over the past four years. Vile.

The Belmont ’19 Carnage:

Doyouknowsomething, Jan 8, stall – “sustained left elbow injury in stall”
Speke, Jan 19, training – “suffered a fracture to his right shoulder”
Catpsalm, Jan 29, stall – “protozoal myeloencephalitis”
Miss Marion, Feb 3, training – “fractured cannon bone…euthanized on track”
Chronos, Feb 3, training (euthanized Feb 4) – “fractured right front leg”
For Pops, Feb 26, training – “collapsed and died” (four years old)
Queen Bode, Mar 3, training – “euthanized at hospital”
Mighty Zealous, Mar 10, stall – “severe respiratory distress…euthanized”
Miss Marilyn, Mar 23, training – “leg injury…euthanasia on the track”
Miss Mimosa, Mar 28, training – “cardiovascular collapse” (three years old)
Pretty Enuff, Apr 1, training – “suffered a leg fracture…euthanized”
Luz Mimi, Apr 4, training – “suffered a leg fracture…euthanized”
La Manche, Apr 11, training – “suffered a fracture…and was euthanized”
Noble Cause, May 11, racing – “injuries necessitating euthanasia”
Anne’s Song, May 24, racing – “ambulanced off, euthanized due to poor prognosis”
Successful Mission, Jun 9, training – “sustained fractures while breezing”
Inflection, Jun 9, racing – “euthanized due to poor prognosis”
Ro Bear, Jun 16, stall – “died in the barn from an apparent impaction colic”
With Caution, Jun 28, training – “P1 fracture…died complications from anesthesia”
Fancy Persuasion, Jun 30, racing – “cardiovascular collapse” (two years old)
yet-to-be-named, Jul 11, training – “fractured sesamoids…euthanized”
La Fuerza, Jul 27, training – “fractured humeral, ambulanced to barn, euthanized”
Royal Inheritance, Sep 6, training – “collapsed and died” (five years old)
Passporttovictory, Sep 6, racing – “bad steps”
Mo Moxie, Sep 7, training – “sustained a fracture and was euthanized on track”
Deft, Sep 12, racing – “broke front leg and was euthanized on the track”
Rhode Island, Sep 14, racing – “was vanned off…subsequently euthanized”
Coffee Crush, Sep 19, training – “cardiovascular collapse”
Have Another, Sep 20, stall – “severe laminitis”
Meet Me in L A, Sep 21, racing – “went wrong…euthanized”
E Z for You to Say, Oct 10, stall – “severe laminitis [both front] feet” (two years old)
Mo Fun, Oct 14, training – “suffered a cardiovascular collapse” (three years old)
Kid Robin Hood, Nov 2, training – “sustained a fracture at the 5/16 pole”
Darken a Day, Nov 10, training – “sustained injury to leg requiring euthanasia on track”

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  1. DEATH is NOT ACCEPTABLE You vile sub-humans are committing Murder every friggin’ day!! This will not go on in a CIVILIZED society. You losers are pathetic.

  2. Horses are supposed to live into their 30’s. You assholes are MURDERING babies!!!!!!!!! Don’t you idiots “Get it”. are you that stupid?

  3. Vile.
    Now that the horse racing industry and their supporting entities can no longer dispute the horrific facts, the continuous daily maiming and killing they now resort to this:
    “we can’t be 100% sure that racehorses will not die even with the most stringent reforms in place.”
    Some of the apologists, as I perused social media, are even ordering the public to “butt-out” that they just can’t understand how much they love their racehorses so they shouldn’t have a say.
    Let me be clear to all you pathetic, morally-bankrupt, apologists:
    I will never accept racehorses dying as your “normal” operating procedures and the results of those daily abusive business practices – NEVER – and nor should anybody else.
    Moreover, your claims of “loving” them is immediately put to rest in light of the facts, and solid evidence because you can’t possibly possess feelings for a commodity whom you convert to a profit slave for your own selfish means so go take all of your proverbial lines, and deliberate delusional thoughts and kill them in the dirt like you do to your racehorses.
    Furthermore, as your business in most all states continues to get billions in taxpayers handouts, casino profits that should be going to OUR communities, we will surely have a say in your killing business.
    Moreover, you collect wagering profits from the PUBLIC, therefore, you are accountable to the public and you will be further accountable when you start getting sued for hiding doping/vet records that certainly affect the outcome of races – surely more to come on this.
    Nevertheless, your business has been operating with virtual impunity for way too long now, and that’s going to change.
    I can assure all of you that when you are held accountable under Felony Animal Cruelty charges many of you will be charged and/or get jail time.
    Moreover, the minute that your multi-business profit making business, all made off the bones, backs, and lives of racehorses, is legally mandated to set aside a minimum of 10% of profits directly to racehorse aftercare all of you apologists, who claim to love your racehorses so much, will be on the run.
    You will run away from this business because all of you racehorse abusers only get into this business because you know that you will not be held accountable for your daily abusive practices on racehorses, you also know that you can keep these abusive vet records secret, and you always count on dumping your “family member” whom you’ve crippled during this abusive process, either into claiming ranks, or at a kill auction – all of which is not only acceptable by this vile business, but common business practice.
    This is precisely why about 90% of racehorses are running in the claiming ranks, dumped by previous owners, some becoming feeding chumps for the trainers who claim and dump, and of course the multi-stakes winners of over $100,000 now running for their lives for multiple owners, multiple stables because the very people that made this money made an intentional decision to dump their racehorse when it no longer served their purpose.
    This is an utter disgrace, this is unacceptable, it has no place in a civilized society and it’s heartbreaking that this abusive killing business is permitted to continue.
    If you think you will continue to carry on your own private killing show, with no accountability to either the racehorses or the public – your days are numbered because you can’t change, you know it, and you’ve admitted that racehorses will continue to die even with reforms so there’s no other conclusion to come to:
    BAN horse racing, SHUT IT DOWN.

    • Gina – thank you for all you said here! You are absolutely spot on and this barbaric industry needs to end!

  4. The racing industry continues to move under the impression that if they just use the word “love” in every second sentence that nobody will notice the trail of broken horses they’re leaving behind. That if the rest of the world would just mind their own business they can go on with business as usual. It is completely mind blowing and beyond disgusting that living sentient beings are dying in numbers that would make any morally sane person horrified, yet the racing industry is outraged only that “animal activists” have them in the “crosshairs” and are daring to question their beloved “sport”. At what point do you become so morally bankrupt that seeing a horse’s legs snap completely off his body is something you rabidly defend?

  5. One of the most blatant and ridiculous lies from those in racing – “they’re like our children”.

    But keeping exclaiming it, industry members – you’re proving us right.

  6. At last! You are naming the trainers who are killing the horses. Thank you. Did you hear about the Outrider at Los Alamitos who turned back an obviously lame Bob Baffert horse one morning a few days ago? She is now being haraassed and her job threatened.

  7. There is a 9 year old gelding named English Manor listed for sale on the Finger Lakes Finest website under available horses. I am not a horse expert but this horse appears lame in the jog video. English Manor is entered in the first race at Finger Lakes tomorrow. This will be his fourth race since October 8th. It will be his 114th lifetime start. He has made $343,450. I hope he will be scratched if he is as sore as he appeared to be in the jog video posted November 12th.

    • Such a sweet-faced fellow! – breaks my heart to watch that video and read his sale write-up! Here we go again – another racehorse, “beloved family member”, needing a home.

      “We saw flashes of cute movement, but since he had raced (and won) earlier in the week, we could also detect traces of residual stiffness during his video. We were told that he sometimes needs a little warm up when he comes out of the barn after a race.”

      Hey, all you “good folks” who race at FL – yes, you who hate the truths HW presents and whine you are being misrepresented – that you CARE about these horses and they are your life…your “children”…claim they are fed before you are, get the best medical (vet) care and live better lives than all of you – STEP UP for English Manor! Demand he isn’t raced AGAIN! GIVE him a home!

      Hell will freeze over first…

      • And sadly Joy- he won’t have 30 vets scrutinizing him today, there wont be standing MRI machines to run him through prior to his race, he won’t have an article in paulick report if he is scratched, there will be no emergent vanning to a surgery center If, God forbid, he takes a “bad step”, and will be fixed with disregard to all the expenses involved. He will be lucky if the state vet even glances at him. For he is not a breeders cup champion under nationwide watch, he is a low level horse at a very low level track, who will have to be sent to race to make a few measly dollars, even though he is lame. And if he survives it, he will be patched together to do it again in a few weeks, or less.

      • Peggy…I’m nodding my head in agreement with everything you said – I saw horses just like English Manor ALL THE TIME during my nearly ten years working on the backside with the rescue. Horses like him, the claimers, the majority of horses who carry the racing industry on their tired backs, will not receive the exclamations of “love” and mourning from racing and its apologists when they are killed.

        Again, all you good folks in racing – especially those of you who run at FL (and you know who you are – you read here and every so often complain about this site because you’re such caring folks and the horses are so loved) – HELP English Manor. Purchase him (they want 2K). Bring him home. Take care of him for the next 20 +/- years. We cannot keep up with all of your unwanted children…

  8. When you think about the ridiculous amount of racehorses it takes to fill races for all the active racetracks in America – it’s mind boggling!
    People who have taken in OTTB’s for a long time know that there has never or will never be enough homes to accommodate their disposable gambling chips.
    It’s only getting worse as the economics of keeping any horse is beyond the reach of most working folks.
    Then when you consider that most racehorses will require extensive vet work and/or a long lay-up time and/or a transition period to calm them down off the track to subsequently re-home them – the costs are enormous.
    Of course I would like to see them all as lawn ornaments, but that’s not realistic.
    Racehorses who can be ridden are the ones who usually get the homes first – sad, but true.
    Yet, they keep on breeding to fill races and it’s the financial handouts that stimulate this over-breeding, and dumping so politicians need to wake-up and stop supporting this.
    Support education and our communities instead.
    Collectively, they generate more jobs than this vile industry ever has or will.

  9. English Manor did indeed run today. No claim, no rescue for him before the race. Are any of us here shocked? NO ONE in the racing industry stepped in to save him. So much for love and concern. And his chart says “tired”. I bet he is!! I bet he’s exhausted. And lame, and body sore!! He made Harris Dukes a whopping $200, which after all the other fees are paid off, it’s more like $150. He put his life on the line for $150. That’s some love. And I bet he will be entered in a week, or 2 at the most, again, for start number 115.

    • Yes, Peggy , “no claim, no rescue for him before the race”.
      No one in the business stepped up and none of the amazing fans like the members of the dedicated group, We Support Horse Racing. Maybe there are some funds to spare from the money the group is raising to help perpetuate this business????
      Bet there wont be a peep from any of these die-hard “fans”. Lost your tongues, have you?

      • They would have offered except they spent all their spare change on the band and tacos. That stuff ain’t cheap.

  10. Joy, I second your request to all those in racing who say they love the horses. Please step up for English Manor. Surely you can come up with the $2,000, or so. Is that too much to ask ?!!
    His future is very uncertain now.
    Lets see if some of these people put some money where their mouths are instead of professing their “love”. Talk is cheap, folks. Action is what is needed now!!!
    Someone needs to step up for this horse – he is waiting. Racing ends soon for the season at FL – what then for English Manor?
    Lets keep track of him…

  11. Mr. Contessa, how in the hell can you keep putting your “children” at such risk of dying?!? – TEN “children” killed in only 4 years? I can’t imagine….

    Then this other “child” you no longer want – she’s “available for adoption” – an Elusive Quality 2-year-old filly…with arthritis in her knees. TWO. With ARTHRITIS.

    “Children”? Nauseating.

  12. One of Mr. Contessa’s “children” was recently found in a kill pen – My Pretty Echo, a 25-year-old mare…along with countless others, of course.

    Bred for racing. Used in racing. But not provided a forever home nor supported for life by racing.

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