“Cannon Bone Shattered Into Numerous Fragments; Sharp Ends Protrude [Through] Skin and Are Thickly Coated With Sand”

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2019 (previous ones here.) Please note that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because those details – and the words of the vets – are so powerful (and damning), I will post these in installments so as to give each death its proper due. Please share.

Perfectlyintune, Dec 20, Laurel T
“middle third of the LF cannon bone has shattered into numerous fragments; sharp ends of bone fragments lacerated the skin and protrude, and are thickly coated with sand; the shoe on the LF hoof has been modified to accommodate radical hoof trimming; a wedge shape section of hoof has been removed and the exposed deep surface is black and cracked, with deep fissures and flaking; distal LF cannon bone…cartilage loss; proximal phalanx…cartilage loss; full thickness laceration in the skin over RF [other front leg] fetlock with…associated hemorrhage on the skin and hair, and it is packed with sand; copious amount of bright red (acute) subcutaeous hemorrhage along the medial surface of the RF cannon bone; the surface of the palmar annular ligament is ruptured and packed with sand; stomach…numerous (>30) chronic mucosal ulcers, ranging in size from 3mm diameter to 2cm diameter”

Dr. Walsh: “When I arrived the filly was up on the track near the outside rail. I was told she fell and was originally stuck under the outside rail. Her LF leg had an open fracture of the cannon bone and she was sitting backwards trying to flip over on the handler. Dr. Casey soon arrived and sedated the filly. At that point Dr. Newsome arrived and administered euthanasia. The filly went down and began paddling. Dr. Lockard and Dr. Kerford…took over and administered additional euthanasia.”

Dr. Virginia Pierce (necropsy): “We removed the LF shoe and sectioned the hoof through the defect in the heel. The hoof in the affected region is discolored dark grey/brown, the outermost layers of hoof wall are peeling apart. [T]here is gross evidence of necrosis and disorganization of the structures of the LF hoof.”

Bandito, Dec 24, Laurel S
“cecal perforation, colic, septicemia”

Dr. Plaisance: “On Monday, 12/23 Marco Salazar brought up the concern that the gelding Bandito was not eating like he used to for the past week or so despite being treated with omeprazole and having his teeth floated. On Tuesday, 12/24 Marco Salazar phoned me around 8 am that Bandito was in distress. According to the groom and Mr. Salazar, Bandito acted normal before, during, and after training [yes, they still trained him even though he wasn’t eating normally]. Upon seeing Bandito he was in distress. He had an extremely rapid respiratory rate, excessive sweating muscle fasciculations, looking at his side, and stretched/parked out. The horse was making frequent attempts to urinate. The urine volume was low and the color was brown. He was bleeding slightly from his nose. He was treated with pain meds…Bandito died at 5 pm despite treatment.”

Dr. Daniel: “I did not witness Bandito during his illness. I would expect that he was painful for quite some time.”

Guilty, Dec 28, Laurel T
“horse collapsed suddenly and died – exercise-associated sudden death” (Guilty was just two years old.)

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  1. I really really hope the people who took care of these horses had a really really great holiday season.

  2. “I would expect he was painful for quite some time.” No shit, Sherlock, and yet he was still forced to train despite not eating. ANY horse owner with two brain cells to rub together knows that a horse off their feed is a serious sign, and would act responsibly, not go on their merry way for days while still forcing the horse into a regular training regime. These racing people make me sick.

  3. Are you frickin’ kidding me?? 2 so called vets can’t even administer the right dose so the poor filly is taken out of her undeserved misery? Seriously? You need an additional dose because you cannot get it right the first time? IDIOTIC MORONS! She was “humanely euthanized” though. Right?? I cannot EVEN imagine the poor filly’s horror in her last minutes when she knew and felt she was being killed off hanging on to dear life. What has become of some representatives of the human race? When and how or why did they become such utter MONSTERS AND DISGUSTING BRUTES? WHY DO THEY THINK THEY CAN ABUSE MAGNIFICENT, GORGEOUS BEINGS AND GET AWAY WITH IT? Perhaps, because they did get away with it. They killed thousands and thousands of horses with zero repercussions But not much longer.

  4. Patrick,
    I just want to say I don’t know how you can stomach this researching and reporting on this despicable industry because the gut wrenching details are so extremely disturbing! Thank you for constantly and diligently making the effort because it is absolutely a horrible existence for these horses and the public needs to be informed! These demented, barbaric, sadistic buffoons that contribute to the death of horses by cruelty and torture need punishment because there needs to be some form of justice. A slap on the wrist is woefully inadequate and the sweeping of this torturing and killing of horses “under the rug” needs to be brought to light. So, thank you a million times over for everything that you do to help bring about an end to this horror show called horseracing.

  5. It is BEYOND ME why these owners, trainers and also grooms and horse vets are not hauled into court for charges of extreme animal abuse and neglect. Where are the state legislators? The governors? Oh, yes, collecting donations for their war chests so of course we don’t want to upset the apple cart and donors or the all-important voters who place bets or who think of the “glories” of horseracing.
    And where has the media been, until very recently? Oh, yes, worrying about not offending sponsors and the like. Can’t turn off the feeding line and profits, can they? It’s “only” animals, for heaven’s sake. It’s not like they are betraying the lives of humans, isn’t that right? “Life isn’t perfect. Nothing is black and white.” Blah blah blah,
    I am very liberal on incarceration for non-violent offenders. But these people? Throw the books at them. Get them stiff, STIFF, prison sentences.
    Where are the veterinary professional organizations? The silence is deafening. You ought to be screaming bloody murder and revoking licenses to practice. As should the state licensing boards.
    If you do nothing you are complicit. We all know that!!
    Thank you, Patrick Battuello for your tireless, daily, excellent reports on these atrocities. Without you, there would be no hope. Also, deeply, the same thanks to Nicole Arciello, all members of HRW, including Joy Aten and Jo Anne Normile. And the board of HRW.

  6. Mr. Battuello & readers: I’m a 70 year old man now. Back in the years I was a horse player. I went to the tracks around New York & Maryland on a religious basis. I knew all the names and I bet big. I stopped supporting this torture show 10 years ago. It was only recently that somebody told me about your site. I want you to know that I agree with everything you say and what your supporter comments say. Horse racing is a dirty racket, a scam that kills racehorses.
    As a gambler I watched racehorses go down and go down hard from the stake horses that ended up running for a ham sandwich all beaten bruised neglected and sore to most of them who end up dying.
    It’s a total betrayal from the beginning to the end and I stopped supporting it.
    I have no regrets and I even have a 25 year old retired racehorse in my field that I supported as a fan and watched him get horribly neglected.
    I bought him for peanuts for my granddaughter he was on his way to the slaughter and I went to the barn and gave $50 to save him.
    I was mortified that a horse who ran so hard for his owner, made him decent money was not taken care of in the end and nobody cared about him.
    There were lots of horrible things that led me to my decision but this horse was the turning point for me especially when I looked into his eyes and saw him crying out for help.
    Horse racing is a horror show for racehorses and I will never ever place another bet to support it.

    • Mr. Whyte, thank you. Your post brought tears to my eyes and I so appreciate you saving your horse. Please help spread the word on the evils of racing!

    • Your post moved me to tears, Mr. Whyte. Thank you for doing right by all racehorses, but especially for your old gentleman. If only more former fans had your sensibility and compassion, and would speak out as you have done…
      Alas, you’re one-in-a-million. And I salute you, sir.

  7. You are absolutely right,all involved need to be dealt with by the courts (legal system),it is ANIMAL ABUSE-plain and simple. And, you know what?, we’re not gonna stand for it,this is for every innocent soul, who had their legs SNAPPED OFF.

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