Oaklawn (Arkansas) Can’t Cover This One Up

According to the Oaklawn chartwriter, Muskoka Wonder “fell” in the 2nd Friday. That’s it. Oh, and he “unseated rider.” In fact, he is dead. We know this not because Arkansas officials came clean (this is the most dishonest state in U.S. racing); rather, the loathsome racing press (see: Paulick) couldn’t help but mention it while reporting the jockey’s fractured back. Muskoka was four; ’twas his 13th time under the whip.

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  1. What ?
    This poor horse unseated the rider ?
    Clearly MUSKOKA WONDER suffered an injury that caused his death. Years ago, I came across ‘unseated rider’ when a horse suffered a horrendous limb injury and died – implying that the horse caused the rider to come off. When a rider comes off, it’s never the fault of the horse, any real horseman knows that.
    The callousness with which the racing industry describes the deaths of these horses is repugnant.
    It makes me feel sick in the stomach that they talk about a jockey’s injury and that the death of the voiceless sentient equine is, oh well, we don’t care about the dead horse.

    • Racing’s response to the death of Muskoka Wonder is indicative of the industry. The vast majority immersed in horseracing do not care. The horses are similar to stocks in a portfolio. When they are performing well, it is a love fest. When they aren’t, they are eliminated.

      Racing is a destructive industry where injuries, and deaths, reign supreme. There is no “fixing” it, and, if you believe it can be “fixed” or “cleaned up,” then I truly believe you are living in the enchanted forest.

      • Mary, i don’t believe that racing can be ‘fixed’ or ‘cleaned up’ and where in my comment did I say, or even imply, this?

    • Carolyn, the first part of my response was a reply to your comment. The second part was just an “add on” directed at those that still feel that racing should continue if it can be “cleaned up.” I should have just made a new comment because I know you regularly speak out against certain atrocities in racing.

      People will always talk about the human first when a racing tragedy occurs and I don’t want to see anyone hurt, including a jockey, but they choose to engage in an inherently dangerous occupation. The horse is forced to do so but of course you are aware of that.

  2. From watching the replay,he was second for quite awhile. When he started losing ground, it seemed like the whipping got intense. No wonder Muskoka fell. Sickening to the core.

    • The whipping is abhorrently cruel and contributes to the horse breaking down.

    • Yes indeed Nancy…..sickening to the core. These poor souls have no choice,they are at the mercy of these scumbags,who are trying to like ‘flip a house’. It’s pure evil.

    • It’s absolutely barbaric that beating a racehorse into the ground is allowed anywhere in this country let alone legitimizing it.
      It’s horrific and this business practice alone justifies shutting this vile business down.
      Furthermore, any person who supports and defends this business is also defending this blatant racehorse abuse such as Donna Brothers, ex-jockey, a mouthpiece for this industry who took the time to write an article defending this cruel and inhumane treatment of a racehorse.
      Anybody who can sit there and watch beatings on sore and tired racehorses play out needs their head checked.
      They are all sadistic parasites – every single one of them.
      This is so vile it’s beyond comprehension.

  3. I had also read that he kept whipping the horse even though he seemed to be in distress, and that the horse was struggling for a while and he didn’t pull him up.

  4. Some inside information on the death of MUSKOKA WONDER (MW).
    I know a groom that used to work for Mark Casse at Woodbine Racetrack.
    I’m told by that source that MW had serious issues as a 2-year-old at Woodbine.
    Evidently, they dumped everything but the kitchen sink into him to win the Clarendon Stakes on 8/5/2018.
    He barely made it through the race on 9/16/2018 “lacked a closing response.”
    After that race and back at the barn the groom said he was visibly limping, in distress, and the vet had to be called to the barn.
    History on MW – was broke at around 18 months or even earlier to ready for, what would be, his 4 starts as a 2 year-old on an underdeveloped musculoskeletal system.
    His issues began early, but true to industry form, and especially with this “top” trainer (racehorse killer) Mark Casse there’s no mercy on these horses.
    It’s incessant pounding, doping, whipping and being sent out under serious conditions just to flip a buck.
    Mark Casse is no different than the countless other “top” trainers who “get the job done” for their demanding owners even if it means risking the racehorse’s life.
    Since the doping/treatment records are kept secret it protects these vile parasites from any type of responsibility towards the racehorse whom they throw away like disposable trash knowing that the horse really needs to be retired from racing.
    As MW slipped into the claiming ranks, and changed hands his pre-existing conditions, most likely, gave out.
    Prior to this he was probably in physical pain and distress enduring unnecessary cruelty and abuse at the behest of this vile industry and the parasites in it.
    Now dead there will be zippo accountability by either Mark Casse, and any other trainer who continued to send MW out to train every morning and even race knowing that he was probably suffering.

    • Mark “lasix” Casse is held up as a model and leader to other trainers because of his stand against clenbuterol. What a joke. So Casse was the dirtbag who started this horse. Randy Morse was the trainer on the program at Oaklawn. I wonder what the connection is between the two. I think the racing world should know that Mark Casse started this horse and began his downhill slide. This horse breakdown reinforces the fact that there is an underlying reason for catastrophic injuries and that Oaklawn Racetrack is oblivious to the doping and illegal treatments that are done to the horses racing there. Did you send this message to them? If you didn’t, thats o.k. because I will. I send them a message almost every day. And its not a good one. I sent a message about Paul Holthus’ horse that was pulled up in a race. It was obvious there was something wrong with the horse: every race the horse came in further back until it broke down. Nancy Holthus the race analyst at Oaklawn is the wife of dirtbag Holthus. She sent me a message and said she saw the horse and “he was fine” after being pulled up by the jockey. Liar. Jockeys don’t pull up unless the horse is in distress. But now I believe Oaklawn is starting to get the message that their lack of oversight is contributing to horse deaths. But they have to have it shoved it their faces. Just like every other race track. I sent NYRA a message every day too. These trainers have to be confronted. And Ray Paulick does not want to criticize the racing industry. He gets paid from their sponsorship. This post was the best one I’ve read on here. Thankyou and keep up the sharp observations.

      • Marymbaggaley, in horseracing, the fact that the horses are intentionally, willfully, wittingly, knowingly used and abused at an age when they are so underdeveloped that it is absolutely criminal animal abuse, cruelty, torture, vile exploitation of horses is an accepted practice by The Jockey Club (and other breed registries) as well as all of the breeders, owners, and everyone involved in horseracing, not only the trainers. THIS IS THE UNDERLYING REASON WHY SO MANY HORSES BREAK DOWN!!!! This is the reason that the unscrupulous world of horseracing uses both legal and illegal drugs to mask the pain the horses feel so that the whole horse racing industry can keep their corporate money-making machine going!!! That would include the breed registries!!!!

        Thank you for sending those messages to all of those different people. Of course, they are going to deny any wrongdoing!!! Why else would they try to hide it by not being transparent?! I think “the racing world” basically already knows who Mark Casse is and what he does. I think that other people and enforcement agencies should be the ones who should be informed about the worst offenders; I should say, the worst of the worst offenders because the racing world consists of all bad offenders!!!!! The worst examples of humankind are involved in horseracing and you have named a few. It appears that there are way too many conflicts of interest in racing that keeps this horror show going.

      • This track doesn’t care the owners have a long history of doing things under the table the city turns it’s head and covers it’s ears. After all this track brings a lot and I mean a lot of revenue to the tourist town until they are shit down they will keep destroying lives (horses on the track and people in the casino). They got approved 2 years ago to build a multi million dollar hotel. Bring jobs they said. I would never weork a job where i got my hands dirty unless it was legitimate and served and helped others. Enough said.
        Thank you all for exposing and working hard to stop this abuse.

    • Gina, MW as off for a year after undergoing throat surgery and returned to the races on September 1, 2019 and was winless in 5 starts for Casse between 9/1/19 and 12/15/19. He was claimed from Casse for $40,000 on 12/15/19 by Martin Drexler for some outfit registered as “1569389 Ontario Inc”. Sometime between 12/15/19 and 1/31/20 (the date of his next race) he was sold to Racer’s Edge Inc. and Michael Fronte, (trainer Norm McKnight). He finished dead last in a $40k claiming race that day. He raced once more for those connections in a $40K claimer on 2/29/20, then they dropped him into a $16K claimer on 3/15/20. For some inexplicable reason, Easy Street Stables Inc. (with Randy Morse as trainer), purchase him from Racer’s Edge et.al.and they ran him in a $16K claimer yesterday and he dropped dead.
      One of the apologists for the industry in today’s Paulick report wrote “For the horse’s connections, it is like losing a family member.” Please….

  5. I am not shocked at that, Gina. I’m sure they pushed him hard because of his big name sire, Into Mischief. I also read he was out for a year because of “throat surgery”. And went from $40,000 to a big class drop into cheaper claimers.
    When I was active in racing and then breeding, I was looking around at stallions to breed to. I had had a couple Harlan’s Holiday babies and grand babies that I was racing, and though they were beautiful to look at, they were hard to keep sound. Bows and rebows were a huge problem. So when I went to see some stallions, one of which was a Harlan’s holiday son, I noticed he had also had a bow. I immediately voted him off the list. I did not want to continue to breed for any sort of potential unsoundness. So, I followed Into Mischief’s offspring with interest, and also watched them get injured, or die. Horses like Vicars in Trouble, Maximus Mischief, and more. I feel that though he’s a beautiful big price sire, Into Mischief is not passing on soundness, and Muskoka Wonder was a product of these crappy breeding practices. Rip beautiful horse.

  6. Peggy,wasn’t that Brad Cox trained filly who broke down training at Oaklawn-she was the one they wanted to run against the boys in the Kentucky Derby-I can’t remember her name,but I’m positive she was by Into Mischief.

  7. Kelly, you’re not gonna believe this…House Drunk,the filly who was vanned off,like a week ago…is entered at Oaklawn race 3 today. WTF??????

    • Looks like she survived, Bonnie. Eighth place in a ten-horse race. Wonder how her classy connections are gonna spend their $92.00 windfall? Maybe they’ll use it to “retire” her to a life of comfort and care, where she’ll no longer be whipped and confined, exploited and abused. Maybe she’ll soon be able to frolic with others of her kind in grassy pastures, when she’s not being doted on by loving, horse-crazy girls who feed her apple slices while braiding glittering ribbons into her mane and tail…
      Or, we’ll all learn to accept that she lived to die another day. Probably at this or that dumpy track, after being dropped into progressively cheaper claiming races, repeatedly drugged and patched up by so-called veterinarians, until her wrecked body finally gives out.

      We all know which of the two scenarios will likely play out. And, it isn’t the nice one.

      • Kelly, very interesting she had front bandages on today,AND a different jockey. I did feel a little better,that Stewart Elliot was on her,maybe cause I’m a Philly girl,but Stewart is an OLD veteran,who knows his shit. It certainly is an odd case,though. She is by a NEW sire-Carpe Diem…I do admire the Giant’s Causeway line…what an iron horse old Giant’s C. was. Not much any of us can do..but, let’s hope for her to stay out of pain.

  8. Another heartbreaking story with a soul crushing end…as they all are, nevertheless. A poor soul whose only escape was unfortunately an untimely death. I am so sorry for what happened to MW, for his life of abuse and cruelty, for him never experiencing true love and I vehemently blame the parasites who never even attempted to find him a good home but sucked every drop of life out of him instead. Pure evil. As for the minion with the whip…he made a choice, a poor choice at that, and paid for it. If he was whipping poor MW knowing full well he was in distress which I am sure happened…you reap what you sow…
    Never-mind the damn track still being operational when the planet is at a standstill. How are they even justifying THAT? What in God’s name is “essential” about it that they are allowed to be open and kill? People all over the world are losing everything they worked for their entire lives and these excrements are still operational? UNBELIEVABLE the world we live in..

    1. Throat surgery. Throat surgery, more often than not, is usually a repair to a damaged epiglottis that is trapped and needs to be corrected. There are many theories as to why a racehorse gets this condition, but one that makes sense to me is the overload of intense breathing that is required at a very young age prior to muscles being completely formed. Add into the mix Lasix and other drugs that increases their capacity on the respiratory system essentially pushing then beyond their capacity causing the trapped epiglottis. More importantly though is the fact that this type of surgery is done to enhance performance and the vet takes the word of the Trainer’s and performs the surgery even though a racehorse may not even have a trapped epiglottis, but is listed as the diagnosis in order to cover up the performance enhancing surgery. Most of the top Trainers routinely have this surgery performed at their barns to improve performance not because of a medical condition. Moreover, this common surgery performed in racehorses only takes about 5-10 days of downtime, but the horse can be jogged 3 days later in most cases. That’s why this surgery is so common because of the minimal downtime and low cost. Make no doubt about it though it’s a very invasive risky surgery and if the post-surgical care is not done properly it can cause very serious medical conditions that necessitate lots of time off well beyond the 5-10 days. Only a trained vet assistant can usually perform the aftercare required, but that’s left up to grooms in the barn and cleaning the wound is not for the faint-hearted. So if MW did get this surgery than this seems to be the case. 2. Norm McKnight who MW ended up with eventually. This Trainer and his vet was caught in the stall at Woodbine giving Shock Wave Therapy to a racehorse hours before the race according to the complaint filed with the AGCO, he was doing this for a long time which is why he was at the top of the Trainers Stats and they finally caught him. Reference: https://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/citing-reputation-woodbine-seeks-stiffer-penalty-for-shock-wave-violation/
    It’s important to note that he trains for one of the most notorious claiming, abusive owners Bruno Shickendanz who consistently shows total disregard for the health and welfare of racehorses (Wake At Noon) well beyond the normal abuse seen. True to industry form both Norm and the vet Van Arem got a slap on the wrist fine. It’s also important to note that the vet Brian Van Arem has a long list of serious violations against racehorses including lots of them dying suspicious deaths under his “care.” At one point he was ruled off the track and for a vet to be ruled off a track or suspended it has to be repeated serious violations. Brian Van Arem inherited his vet practice from his Dad who was also a vet at Woodbine (when my family was there) and who also had a long list of violations. Brian has owned and probably still does own lots of racehorses that he regularly treats before races and also treats some other racehorses in the same race as his.
    Woodbine Racetrack and all tracks are a cesspool of cheating and violations that often lead to little or nothing with the racehorse being the main victim as we see time and time again.
    3. Mark Casse. The whole Clenbuterol thing is, evidently, a sham. His concern for Clenbuterol is supposedly to project a clean image on advice of his public relations team. MC like all other “top” trainers dope, cheat, lie, and/or kill racehorses with no remorse because they go right back and do it all over again.
    4. “1569389 Ontario Inc”. Woodbine Racetrack is a cesspool of corruption and facilitates organized crime. I base this statement on my direct experience with Woodbine, the “trainers,” people and the HBPA who operate there. I’ve also done some research on “1569389 Ontario Inc” They have 15 active or inactive syndicates designed to cover-up exactly who they are. Who is one of their syndicates? Bruno Schikendanz. When I requested via FOIA who exactly they are I’ve never received a response and that’s public information, but I would guess that they have a criminal record which is why they partner up with somebody who doesn’t. It’s an old trick because in order to be licensed who can’t have a criminal record so they get around that by have another person as a front so that they run their background which comes up clean and then they get licensed.
    I suppose my whole point of this post is to show the cesspool of rampant corruption in horse racing and trapped within these parasites are their innocent victims like MW.

    • Thank you, Gina and everyone who shares facts about the things that morally depraved people do to voiceless victims, and for sharing the names of the perpetrators.

  10. Gina, I always felt there should be a rule that if a horse finishes so many lengths back…for say two times in a row,then that horse should not be able to compete anymore,and also must receive a THOROUGH EXAM,including X-RAYS,if deemed necessary. If exam finds no physical cause, then they would have to prove sound in scrutinized workout. What’s your feeling on this idea?

    • Bonnie, any type of preventative measures, such as these, will never prevent racehorses from dying.
      This is a corruption pit full of parasites who prey on their innocent victims: the racehorses.
      Equally worse, is a system that facilitates this widespread suffering and dying.
      i don’t believe that racing can be ‘fixed’ or ‘cleaned up’ and I don’t subscribe to the “reformist’ approach.

      • Totally agree Gina, people cannot be trusted to do what’s right by the animals. People are the PROBLEM. I’ll never forget what the legendary jockey Tony Black told me once- he said “I hate it when they try to hard (horses) that’s what scares me,that’s when they get in trouble (hurt). I don’t know if you know old Tony Black,but he’s a wonderful guy. Gina, what it boils down to is ANIMALS should NEVER be used for entertainment. Horses have given so much to humans over the course of HISTORY, they should be held sacred to us.

      • No doubt about it, Ms. Powell: There is no possibility of “reforming” the corruption, greed, & bigotry (speciesism) of the Thoroughbred breeding & racing industries. They must be permanently abolished.

  11. I awkwardly stated the point I was Trying to make yesterday… I was trying to say that if a horse on a Continuous Basis finishes mega lengths back…they should not be Allowed to compete anymore…until after extensive examinations (x-rays) amongst other invasive and stringent lab tests and protocols. The main point at the heart of what I awkwardly said, was these rules should have been there loooooong ago!!!!!!! I without a fucking doubt wasn’t trying to say racing is something good. ANYONE who has followed my remarks and opinions on this site would understand that. I will NEVER ever get over that Gorgeous 2010 born Chestnut gelding who won almost 700,000,the hard way ,not big money stakes races. I’ll NEVER forgive the ugly,ugly scumbags in this ‘sport’…NEVER .That Chestnut died because of those scumbags at 8 years of age…because 700,000 wasn’t enough to give his Gorgeous face the proper retirement he DESERVED.

  12. Patrick….I am not going to let Rebecca Paquette’s comment go with no reply. If Horseracing Wrongs is going to change the industry, you don’t need the Rebecca’s of the world calling people pricks and wishing that they break their backs.

    • Actually you do need the Rebecca’s of the world to step out and say what they think instead of mincing around afraid of hurting the feelings of animal abusers and sadists. People have said worse than that on this site. The comment was deleted but the feeling still stands. I guess freedom of speech and expression is no longer acceptable from people who support this site and are honestly outraged at the constant abuse and torture of these racehorses, but who won’t pity the “humans” involved in said torture.

      • Rebecca, I’m a relative newbie to this site, but the comments I’ve read over the last few months haven’t had the “edge” of your post yesterday. I, too, am outraged at many of the reports I’ve read but IMHO wrestling in the gutter with these abusers doesn’t help resolve the issues.

      • Rebecca,what it boils down to is: Don’t Ever use animals for entertainment, and humans have Choices ….nobody is Forcing people to do this (riding) against their Will. These poor horses don’t have a Choice…they are Slaves. You Rebecca, are in the RIGHT. No need to apologize.

      • Rebecca, I know you have strong feelings against jockeys whipping horses especially when the horse they are whipping is about ready to drop dead from over exertion and/or has broken bones. We know whipping a horse is sadistic. It’s also true that the breeders-owners-trainers and others directly involved in the HORSERACING industry want the jockeys to whip the horses because they don’t care about the horses. They only care about the money involved and part of that money is the WAGERING handle. Technically, if you were in a court of law, you would not be allowed to use language that is considered malicious, abusive, obscene, profane, or offensive. Anyway, I think you’re smart enough to understand that. You can state your opposition without using certain choices of words. It might not seem to have the same impact to you, but there are plenty of words in the dictionary to make effective choices of words against the heinous abuse of jockeys whipping horses to their deaths.

      • Rebecca, probably one of the hardest challenges for me has been to remain civil in the face of outrageous racehorse abuse and murder.
        I can’t count the number of times I had to click on CANCEL REPLY because when I read my comment it was just as abusive as the racehorse killers.
        It’s very difficult.
        Keep up the good fight and I look forward to your comments.

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