2-Year-Old Killed in Mud at Churchill: “Multiple Fractures,” “Extensive Soft Tissue Damage”

The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has confirmed the death of Elegant Bay in the 2nd at Churchill November 30: “multiple fractures of the distal third metacarpal bone, including a medial condylar fracture and a comminuted lateral condylar fracture; avulsion fractures of both sesamoids; extensive soft tissue damage.” Oh, and “ulceration of the stomach,” to boot. All that for/to an equine babe (she was two) under the whip for the first time. Speaking of which, the Commission added this:

“Channing Hill stated that he had worked the filly several times and liked her. He took her away from the pony in the post parade and she warmed up fine. He had no concern about her soundness and expected her to run well. He stated that when she got some mud in her face she started climbing a bit, possibly because it was her first start. He was not sure if the off track [slop] was a factor in the injury.”

This is horseracing.

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  1. Already ulceration of the stomach!!! Unbelievable.

    A two (2) year old baby thoroughbred having her very first start, she was whipped to force her to go faster and keep up the momentum, mud on her face, highly likely mud in her eyes, nose and mouth, frightened, no wonder she began to climb and then she suffers these horrific multiple injuries and DIES a horribly cruel death.

    Her rider, Channing Hill casually remarks that he liked her and wasn’t sure if the mud was a factor in the injury. Pfft. Yep, that’s all folks…next horse.

    They don’t give a damn, not the riders, trainers, owners, racing officials, vets, stable staff, outriders, ambulance drivers and the list goes on. Innocent defenceless magnificent horses breaking down and dying horrible deaths day in day out, week after week, month after month, year after year.
    It’s outrageous, it truly is. Bloody SICKENING.

  2. Really how long will this abuse go on being ignored horse racing ownership is for ASSHOLES with money who know the right people who look away from all this death, not one of them has an drop of integrity, cash blinds all sense of humanity. It is truly vile what cash can do to sub humans who have no soul. My all these poor unfortunate animals find freedom & peace in the dreadful meaningless deaths

  3. This is so horrible and yet it continues. What is wrong with the people that can do this to young underdeveloped horses? They are morally depraved and selfish. Ban horseracing. Stop the deliberate cruelty and torture to horses.

  4. I am not an expert in horse anatomy by any means but HOW in God’s name is it possible to break a baby horse to the extent that Elegant Bay was broken??? Not one but multiple fractures, avulsion fractures, EXTENSIVE soft tissue damage etc?? The scumbag expected her to “run well”? Run well into the ground I suppose he meant. Cannot imagine the fear and pain this baby endured. There will come a day when these leeches will have to account for their heinous crimes.

    • Isn’t it disgusting, Andreea?? When many of these horses are necropsied after their horrific deaths, these kinds of multiple fractures are often found. There are many smaller bones in the ankles of horses, and they literally break apart when these forceful catastrophic injuries occur. A baby I knew was found to have 15 fractures, and BOTH front legs were broken, and yet he was made to stand on that overnight til it could be confirmed the next day and he was then, finally, euthanized, They didn’t know both legs were affected until he was necropsied. And he spent the night with a small amount of bute to help with the pain.
      When I worked at the track, more often then not I would see partial or complete leg snap offs, but I still remember one filly, her legs had been wrapped for her race. She broke down, and I ended up being the one that held her while the vet euthanized her. I remember to this day, looking at her leg, and seeing the wraps, and noted that there was no deformity, no glaring, blatant injury. I just knew she couldn’t bear weight on that leg. Then a spot of blood appeared on the wraps, and it grew. So, I’m assuming her ankle bones had internally fractured apart and caused them to break through her skin. Even though it wasn’t obvious, it cost her her life.

      • Peggy, I appreciate your statement about the fractured bones not being obvious as just seeing the outside of her wrapped leg kept it hidden. The thing that is most obvious is that young horses are not fully developed. That is why they should not be forced or expected to perform at a maximum level of performance! Only horses that are fully developed first (before they are ruined by racing) should be expected to perform at a maximum level. Of course, you know that and many people know that, so why can’t these morally depraved morons get that? Obviously, it’s because they are morally depraved morons.

        In 1987 (on February 1st) I had a situation where I sustained an injury to my neck. It hurt like crazy!!!!!! I could not stop doing what I was doing because I had to get done with moving. It was a dysfunctional family situation so I kept going and to make a long story short, it turned out that I had a hairline fracture in my fourth vertebrae. A few days afterwards, I told one of my sisters that “a doctor would say I have a broken neck.” She scoffed. She accused me of lying. I was in excruciating pain from my muscles being “spasmed out” as I call it. I could not sit up or stand up straight. I could stand and sit but it was painful! The muscles don’t bounce back like rubber bands. I was in so much pain! When the injury occurred, it was my bone that hurt. The next morning my muscles hurt! My muscles hurt so bad that I could not get out of bed until I figured out a way that I could move that would be the least painful. I think of it as “peeling myself out of bed” because I had no one but myself to get me out of bed with a broken neck. I had 2 young children to take care of so it was tough. What makes injuries worse is having armchair know-it-all people to pass judgment and add insult to injury. I was able to get treatment from a very good chiropractor that did things to make my muscles relax somewhat over time.

        I cannot imagine what these racehorses have to endure. It is a crime what these “people” do to racehorses. They need to be prosecuted for Animal Cruelty and TORTURE, animal abuse, animal neglect, you name it, all of the drug violations. All of it needs to be enforceable, not something the deviants can just get away with and laugh about it.

      • Peggy… I don’t even want to think about how you felt in those moments. As a horse lover, this is something that can scar you for life. At least she had you, a caring human being before she died. These horror stories are literally breaking my heart and they don’t seem to stop! These excrements continue to do what they’ve always done, knowing full well horses are broken before they even start a race. Indeed only monsters can “work” in this industry. Premeditated crimes are punishable by law…but not in this vile industry. Their time will come. I know it will.

      • I’ve been kicked out of barns and asked to leave horse shows because I very loudly call people out for sawing on their horse’s mouth with the bit or spurring them like they were riding a bicycle, or flailing whips around with audible smacks against the horse. If people didn’t already know – albeit deep down – that what they were doing is wrong, it honestly wouldn’t bother them to have one nut job (me) call them out. I couldn’t see abuses and accidents like those at the racetrack without going seriously postal on someone’s ass, and honestly I think that people in the racing industry recognize that what their doing is fundamentally wrong just by society’s standards, let alone by moral and ethical obligations to sentient living beings, but if no one says anything, they can stay focused on their money and high lifestyle without an inconvenient conscience (even if its not one of their own) pointing out their blatant cruelty. To people who are too afraid to speak out or even leave the racing industry, I say if your morals aren’t worth defending then they’re not worth having.

  5. ELEGANT BAY – yet another victim of this vile business.
    Purchased for $170,000 equine insurance policy most likely in place, but who really cares?
    What I find baffling is that there are NO official workouts on Equibase, which are required in order to enter and run a horse, but not sure why this isn’t provided.
    Usually workouts, especially in 2 year olds, are a strong indicator if something is wrong, but not only do we not have this information, but the secret doping/vet/treatment records leading up to this poor fillies death.
    In the past 5 years I’ve extensively looked into the bloodlines of racehorses who died and were posted on this site and almost all are either by sires from multiple drug violating top trainers and the same with their broodmares – sometimes both.
    So we can reasonably deduce that those sires and/or broodmares were pumped up with dope to enhance their performance or for whatever other reason such as regular antibiotics because most racehorses get extensive respiratory infections due to many reasons such as 1. intense confinement 2. close quarters with hundreds of other racehorses including transport 3. dirt flying into their lungs 4. stress
    So although it’s not scientifically-proven information it’s just common sense that doping racehorses is a huge contributing factor to their breakdowns – it’s being passed on, and also noteworthy is that most of these sires and/or broodmares were retired due to injuries of their own – some serious.
    Furthermore, most all broodmares, especially of value, have a concoction of drugs pumped into them to manipulate their reproductive cycle for an early foal to increase their value at the sales.
    The same goes for sires who are given dope to keep them going while they are breeding 100+ mares – especially the high level commercial stallions such as Uncle Mo – sire of ELEGANT BAY.
    Incidentally, Uncle Mo was trained by multiple doping violator Todd Pletcher – need we look any further?
    These foals coming out are a test tube of dope for the most part, which brings me to my next point.
    No reforms on the track will ever stop racehorses from dying especially if doping plays a role.
    Any effective changes requires a complete overhaul of their system, a complete multi-faceted approach throughout their entire life cycle that will turn this business upside down.
    The Safety Act is one mere small droplet in an ocean of widespread abusive business practices and it won’t work, but will provide them some cover from the unsuspecting public.
    Also, to implement such changes on a grand scale is impossible, will never happen, especially in a business where they can’t even agree on Lasix.
    The prevailing mentality is that they OWN the racehorses, it’s THEIR property and they can do whatever they want to that horse so based on all of these realistic factors racehorses will continue to die.

    • Gina, I didn’t realize she had no workouts posted. That is strange, and makes me wonder if there was something going on with this poor filly, Also, why the necropsy or is it a rule at Churchill? Her sire, Uncle Mo, was “retired” to the breeding shed at about 3yrs. old because of “liver disease” which was deemed to not “effect his progeny”!!

      • Good points Rose.
        I forgot that Uncle Mo had liver disease and one would wonder just how he got liver disease?
        Out of all my years in horse racing I’ve never heard of such a thing.
        This was never established or disclosed, but given his trainer, Todd Pletcher, is a “win at all costs” ;trainer with a long history of both legal and illegal doping positives it isn’t a stretch to think that toxicity is a factor.
        The Kentucky Horse Racing commission only recently required a necropsy for any racehorse who dies within a track enclosure and is supposed to make them public:
        https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/horseracing/2019/06/28/kentucky-horse-racing-commission-makes-necropsy-reports-public/1593076001/
        So all the racehorses who died before died with no oversight and no record to identify potential factors contributing to racehorse’s death.
        it seems obvious that their goal to hide evidence and/or to protect the connections are paramount over the health and welfare of racehorses.
        It’s important to note that there’s been nothing posted for all the deaths in 2020 and we know that racehorses have died as posted on this site.
        So much for transparency right?

  6. Is there some special horseracing jargon or meaning to “He took her away from the pony in the post parade….”? Does “took her away from the pony” refer to something other than physically moving her away from a “pony” in the parade? And if the race had not been run yet, what does “post parade” refer to?

      • Yes, I have wasted time googling it–over 125,000,000 “results” of usual and unusual uses of the word “pony” as a noun and verb. If I restrict the search to horse racing, the result is: Your search – In “horse racing” what does “took away from the pony” mean? – did not match any documents.
        It seems quite an odd statement to be in an injury report, so I assumed it has an “insider” meaning.
        Oh well, onward.

    • Marilyn, the “post parade” is when the racehorses are walking with the jockeys on their backs from the “paddock” to the starting gates usually in front of the grandstands of spectators. Most racehorses are lead by a pony rider on a pony horse (a rider on another horse that is older and calmer) to help guide the racehorse and to help keep the racehorse calmer than they might otherwise be under excitement-inducing circumstances; i.e. a horse race.

    • Marilyn, you are correct about “he took her away from the pony”…it’s simply that he physically moved her away from the pony.

      The post parade is the horses going from the paddock to the starting gate.

      • This brings to mind that the other animal abuse at the track is the pony horses. They are dealing with the same confinement, often they are also medicated, they also have lameness and soreness issues, because many of them are ex racers.
        In the last 2 weeks, while watching some of the races, I noted at least 3 pony horses at various tracks that were noticeably lame.
        I’ve seen pony horses, that, when their days of servitude were over, it was much the same mentality as the racers, as far as getting rid of them. I’ve seen them get kicked, reared up on by the racers, bitten… I’ve seen riders that have no clue how to ride just bounce and flop on their backs and kidneys, their heads cranked down by tie downs. I’ve seen the spurs many pony people ride with, I’ve seen them jerk on their mouths and faces in the process of trying to control the racers. And most of the ponies look miserable. They have their ears pinned, they have sour expressions. I knew quite a few pony girls whose addictions were so bad – that they rather had spent their money on drugs then on feeding their horses.

      • FYI: Animal Talk Radio Episode 96: “Trouble at the Track” with Marty Irby
        (“Trouble at the Track” is within the episode and runs from 29:55 to about 42:00 on the audio meter)
        Click here to listen: https://tinyurl.com/wzjgjhl
        This interview omits the real incentive for horseracing–gambling profits–not the horses. In CA, there is talk of “reform” at the Horse Racing Board meetings and at the national level mentioned in this interview. Proposals such as, “restricted whipping,” are akin to proposing laws for “restricted human [or child] trafficing” or “restricted human slavery,” etc. A beating is a beating. It’s also telling that many horses have problems going into the starting gate–they KNOW what’s coming. That should be enough proof for anyone to ban it entirely. Unlike horses, gamblers have plenty of other games. It would be great if HW folks could be interviewed on this podcast….

  7. R.I.P. Elegant Bay, your short life of abuse ended in horrendous suffering.

    I would like to know why her “loving” connections did not scratch her when the race was taken off the turf and instead ran her on an “off track” of mud in her very FIRST race?
    Her owner was her breeder and, according to the racing apologists, we are supposed to believe she “loved” her young filly!!

    P.S. Her injuries sound like she was hit by a truck and, of course, already suffering from the ubiquitous gastric ulcers that add to the torment of these horses and are ignored in this business. No excuse for this inhumane neglect.

    • Rose, it is generally thought, within the racing industry, that the turf is “kinder” to the horse than the dirt. When it rains, races are often switched from the turf to the dirt in order to prevent the turf from being “torn up” because the turf is more expensive for the track to maintain. Oh, and it doesn’t have to be a downpour to make the switch and that comes directly from a manager of a track here in Ohio. It really is all about the money.

  8. I’d like to know why she had gastric ulcers at 2 years old,thats pathetic,what were they pumping into her system& she could have had some hairline fractures before she even entered the gate.This is too much for me to believe that it all happened on the track.I don’t trust any of those people,they lie about meds,they lie about horse health,they lie so damn much no wonder people don’t want horseracing anymore.I still think 2 yrs old is too young to be thrown out there to run at high speeds,especially since their bones are still soft.despicable

    • muttley1,
      You’re absolutely correct that a horse, any horse, is too young to be racing at the age of two-years-old! I keep saying that over and over. It is FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG to force yearlings, two-year-olds and three-year-olds to carry weight and run and run fast. If the dirtbag humans were not doping/drugging these poor horses, these young, underdeveloped horses would not be able to walk or run. The pain killing drugs, in addition to the other things that the morally depraved horseracing community does to racehorses, cause ulcers in horses. Being constantly stressed out causes ulcers. Being locked up in a stall and not being allowed to be a horse causes stress. Horses are being horses when they are allowed to be out on pasture, an acreage outdoors, where they can graze on grass and be buds with other horses and not be whipped, shocked or otherwise abused by dirtbag humans.

    • muttley1…nearly all racehorses have gastric ulcers; living conditions (stall confinement and isolation, restricted movement/ambulation, frequent change in ownership that results in different barns, handlers, feed and routine, training/racing) that stress the horse, grain-rich diets, “bulk feeding”, NSAID administration all factor into ulcer development.

      Do horses other than racehorses get ulcers? – of course they do. But racehorses are “set up” for equine maladies, including ulcers (and subsequent colic), due to their living conditions and their forced participation in a high-risk-for-injury-and-death activity.

  9. It’s beyond disgusting and heartbreaking: a baby, in pain from ulcers and from damage already beginning deep in her legs, is thrown onto a track for her first time in horrible conditions and completely overwhelming surroundings, and instead of getting some sort of encouragement or reassurance, the predator clinging to her back escalates her fear by hitting her with a whip. This poor baby was trying to protect herself the only was she could, and ends up shattering in a way that sounds like she was hit by a truck. I can’t even imagine the abuses she faced on a daily basis in her short life from unfeeling humans who were only interested in exploiting her, and then to die in fear and agony in the mud with no one offering her comfort or even showing concern, just one final needle shoved into her neck. The inhumane and senseless end of another one of their “children” – and by tomorrow will her exploiters even remember her name?

  10. Please include the name of the TRAINER in all of these deaths.  They have the ultimate responsibility for the horse, more than owner, track, jockey… but the tracks impose no fines or penalties vs. The trainers except for Hollendorfer who was banned from SA but not fined or suspended.    Thanks. Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

    • They’re all responsible – but yes, a great majority of racing owners know nothing about horses – trainers can tell them horses love being confined and isolated for 23 hours a day with a stall ball and hay bag at the level of their nose and they believe it – because they are CLUELESS.

      Trainer of Elegant Bay – John Alexander Ortiz.
      Owner, Sandra Sexton.
      Breeder, Hargus and Sandra Sexton and Silver Fern Farm.

      And anyone can look this information up on Equibase – we are not “protecting” these exploiters.

    • Bo Tiegs,
      I agree that the name of the trainer is important to note but I think the trainer’s responsibility for the horse is not greater than the owner’s or the track’s responsibility. I think the morally depraved exploitation and abuse of horses in horseracing is an equally shared responsibility. The Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse breeding and racing industries are a business of producing a “factory farmed product” if you will. Of course, the wagering handle is a key component of this whole business. So, to say the trainer has more responsibility is not quite on target, in my opinion. Obviously, there are those trainers who stand out as being more disgusting than others. Bob Baffert is one example of being a high-level Grade One trainer who trained the last two Triple Crown winners as you may know. You also may have read that Bob Baffert had a drug violation against him with JUSTIFY before the Kentucky Derby. His violation was not enforced. It was kind of like it sort of “magically” disappeared into someone’s drawer or file or wherever the information on doping violations are kept. Also, there was a report online that the trainer of the horse that came in second to JUSTIFY had ***no legal recourse*** to get JUSTIFY disqualified due to the drug violation that, if enforced as it “should have been enforced,” would have disqualified Bob Baffert from being able to run JUSTIFY. How does all of this “legal” stuff happen to, or, I should say, for Bob Baffert? How is this one trainer held above the rules of racing by the very people that are supposed to enforce the rules of racing??? My guess is that there is someone with more money and power than some of the others and they can influence the outcome of races (by any means possible) if they want to and lie like hell, and, everyone else that doesn’t like it can kiss their butts.

    • Watching a replay of this race, I would actually lay much of the blame on the idiot that was riding her. A few strides out of the gate she started to dramatically fall behind, then proceeded to take some really bad, bobbling steps, and still he didn’t pull her up, until her leg most likely exploded apart. He failed this poor filly, as there’s no way he didn’t feel something was wrong a few strides out the gate.

  11. It’s terrible and so sad.
    I cannot understand how Americans can continue to ignore this.
    Thank you so much for your efforts on behalf of the horses.

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