Sweetwater Downs is a nondescript, lightly-raced Quarterhorse track in Wyoming, a place, surely, that the vast majority of Americans have never even heard of. And the chart notes reflect that, offering just a few words per horse – the bare minimum. So it is no surprise that in my daily review of those notes, there was little or no indication that something bad had happened last Sunday. But something did – thrice over.
Sweetwater Now, a local paper, reports that three – yes three – horses were killed at Sweetwater August 23: “After the finish line [of the 4th race], the horses were going into the turn when the No. 9 horse bolted to the outside and … hit the No. 10 horse forcing both them and the jockey into the rail.” (The newspaper couldn’t be bothered with identifying the horses by name; hence, the numbers.) “No. 10,” or Vvr Barn Find, suffered a dislocated shoulder and was euthanized. He was two.
Next race: “The No. 3 horse was halfway down the track and appeared to want to buck the rider off. The jockey bailed off of the horse as it [it, not he] ran around the outside turn and collapsed. During that same race, the No. 1 horse face planted at the finish line….” “Broken backs,” both. Dead. “No. 3” was El Divo Moves. He, too, was two years old. “No. 1” was Skinny Love, and yes, she also was just two years old.
Said Eugene Joyce, Sweetwater GM: “I can’t tell you how gut wrenching yesterday was. It’s just devastating to go through something like this.”
“Devastating, gut wrenching,” Mr. Joyce? Imagine how those poor babies felt, what with their broken backs and dislocated shoulders and all. And all so that you and your comrades could make a buck. Vile.