Four More Dead Horses in Kentucky, Including “Spontaneous Hemorrhage From Both Nostrils”; My Confirmed Killed for 2019 Now Tops 1,100

An addendum to my 2019 Kentucky FOIA report: The documents I received from the Commission did not include stall deaths; neither, fatalities at the state’s four harness tracks. So, I asked again for the missing information (or, I should say, “records,” as the Commission has held up previous requests over silly semantics). Their answer:

“Dear Mr. Battuello: We received your request for deaths that occurred at Kentucky tracks. We construed this request to include on-track deaths. The information responsive to that request has been produced and we have no further records concerning on-track deaths. If you wish to appeal the Commission’s response to your January 21 request, you may do so by filing a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office…or by filing an original civil action in the appropriate circuit court.”

To which I replied: I do not wish to file a “complaint” or a “civil action”; I simply want the records I requested (which, by the way, are the same I requested in each of the past two years – and yes, at least some stall deaths were included in 2017 and 2018). Fact is, my request couldn’t have been any clearer: “…whether death occurred racing, training, or other (e.g., colic, laminitis, barn accident)….”

Once again, the Commission is playing games. Every other state understands exactly what “at” means. Do not horses who die back in their stalls from colic or laminitis do so “at” the track? In addition, I received no harness records; I’m sure there were at least some deaths at these tracks, too. So again, I request the records for all racehorses who died at a Commonwealth-sanctioned racetrack in 2019.

At last, the Commission sent me more records. However, they came with this note: “Please be advised that the fatalities that are the subject of the attached necropsy reports are not racing related fatalities. These are other incidents which were submitted to the lab out of a responsibility to rule out infectious disease and protect the general horse population.” Which I read as not all stall deaths have been included, just the ones deemed relevant to “protection of the general horse population.”

On the harness end, the Commission wrote: “There were no Standardbred horse fatalities at licensed Kentucky racetracks during the period from January 1, 2019 through December 31, 2019.” Four tracks over 12 months and not a single death? Please. For context, at New York’s (7) harness tracks, there were 16 deaths in 2019. Draw your own conclusions. Anyhow, here are the four stall deaths they did send me:

unidentified, Jun 13, Churchill S – “spontaneous hemorrhage from both nostrils and urethra; witness reports that subject was hesitant to leave stall, and when removed from stall to begin training, subject resisted…and spontaneously died…likely due to the compression of the brain from the subdural hemorrhage; the location of the [skull] fracture suggests a large amount of concentrated force to the area”

(This, by the way, is the fourth reported kill at Churchill Downs on June 13, 2019.)

unidentified, Aug 26, Churchill S – “found dead – typhlocolitis, bronchopneumonia, severe gastric ulcer disease”

unidentified, Oct 16, Churchill S – “encephalitis, protozoal myelitis, acute colitis”

Mottaret, Nov 10, Churchill S – “large colon displacement”

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  1. These horses were abused and neglected. That report about the unidentified horse being hesitant to leave his or her stall is so messed up and twisted. It’s so screwed up and it’s obviously twisted up on purpose. So how did the horse get a skull fracture??? Was it that the horse had a skull fracture and then they wanted to take the horse out of the stall to be ridden and “trained” on the track, but it died (from bleeding to death) before they could get the horse out to the track??? Or, was it that the horse was hesitant to leave the stall and then someone clubbed him or her over the head and caused the skull fracture and then they stood there and watched the horse bleed to death???? What kind of “training” is that??? Why are they withholding the names of any of these horses??? It sounds like someone really does need to pursue the criminal abuse of these horses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Just how did the horse get a skull fracture and no one knew about it. Either the horse was forced to do something or someone caused the fracture and bleeding by striking the horse in the head. How can those people be so cruel to such magnificent animals, some of them are just babies! The pain must have been horrible for the horse, the bleeding should have given them a clue. I’m sure there are good people in horseracing but I think the bad outnumber them!

    • Sharon,I thought the same thing…did someone do something to that horse? God knows what goes on in the seedy dark corners of these stalls. Frankly,I don’t trust people.

  3. The facts that the names were deliberately omitted seems to be some sort of cover-up.
    Names of racehorses also provide the connections and pieces of the puzzle usually come together.
    So this is a flat out malicious deception on their behalf.
    It’s my understanding that the Kentucky Racing Commission was ordered by the KY State Office to release the names of racehorses who died and was cited that it was a violation of some laws?
    Perhaps some backtracking can find out the some of the names of these racehorses listed above.
    On Saturday at Gulfstream Park (why why why is a track even allowed to operate during a pandemic?) SEIZE THE HAY is yet another victim of multiple racehorse doper and killer Todd Pletcher.
    He broke down in Race 7 and although he was allegedly “vanned-off” it doesn’t state that.
    If indeed Seize The Hay was “vanned-off” and it wasn’t listed than it seems that The Stronach Group is up to their old tricks of deliberately deceiving the public by not providing this to Equibase or ordering them not to.
    I don’t know the outcome of yet another horrible event – is this racehorse still alive?

    • Gina, I agree that the racing connections are being “protected” by withholding the names of the horses!!! I personally don’t have enough information or records on the horses to research the names of their breeders, owners, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, and/or any racetrack personnel connected to the deadly assault on this UNIDENTIFIED HORSE at Churchill Downs S, fourth reported kill on June 13, 2019. This horse that bled to death was listed as a “stall death” but the text states that this particular horse was removed from his stall for training. The horse resisted and spontaneously died, likely due to… The way they write this stuff! How much money does the writer get paid for this criminal cover-up???!!!!

    • I thought it was more than a little odd that there were NO van-offs reported on the charts for Saturday or Sunday. I suspect this is because the few tracks still racing are doing so in near-total confidentiality, and with zero outside accountability. So I’m not surprised to read your comment about Seize the Hay and his “breakdown-that-wasn’t.”
      Thanks to COVID-19, it’s now only industry insiders bearing witness to the carnage. And it’s only they who can report it. Or not report it. No one there is motivated to tell the truth about a horse injury, much less one that occurred during a race. So who’s going to speak out about this chartwriter’s fraud? The Stronach Group? The jockey? The track vet? Pletcher? The stewards? The poor, Spanish-speaking backstretch workers, already fearful of losing their jobs and housing? Not likely.

      As always, Gina, a million thanks for your knowledge and willingness to share it. And, please keep us updated.

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