A Pair of Broken Backs and a Dislocated Shoulder – Three Kills in One Day at Wyoming Track

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.

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  1. I’ll bet the people who trained those horses had no idea what they were doing. Horses bolt on the turn when they want to get away from the race. And at 2 years old the horses were barely broken. Anybody can take a horse to a racetrack and just about anybody can get a trainers license. Thats one of the things that is wrong with horseracing. The people allowed into it for the most part are not educated. Barely above a grammar school education. If that

    • Once again more rationalizations from you Mary.
      In response to your “anybody can get a Trainer’s license…that’s what’s wrong with horse racing.”
      To put it succinctly – horse racing is wrong, dead wrong and it kills racehorses daily.
      This entire corruption, killing pit and blood bath is wrong – so wrong, in fact, that it needs to be immediately shut down.
      Then people like you don’t have to justify it anymore.

    • Gina, this is one consideration that gets overlooked time and time again. I want horse-racing to end. No amount of requiring this, or mandating that, will end the cruelty. But it is unconscionable that anyone who “wants” to, and get a racehorse and run it! It’s nothing but laziness and ignorance. They need to get a job and work. Not abuse an animal to make a living!!! Thanks so very much for your continued strong voice and advocacy!

  2. Totally unnecessary “gut wrenching” Mr. Joyce. And as long as this business continues so will the “gut wrenching” killing continue over and over without end until racing ends.
    It really is that simple, Mr. Joyce.

  3. I have been to Wyoming back in the 1970s driving on Interstate-80 and Evanston is not an attractive place in my opinion. I didn’t know that they had a race track there and nondescript is the most accurate description of the whole area, in my opinion.
    It sounds like a bunch of “something-something” cowboys decided to entertain themselves by roughing up some two-year-old Quarter Horses. It is “par” for racing at any level though, which is totally unacceptable! I feel sorry for their horses!!!!!

  4. This track is just like all of the other “Kill zones” for these horses. A god damn 2 year old should not even be near a track – all the people involved are pathetic losers. I agree with “Gina” too much time is spent trying to explain all of the killings – they all need to be shut down and done away with – that is the only way all of this bullshit and killings will end.

  5. Just finished reading the SweetwaterNOW story. A few thoughts
    1. Quarter horse racing is just as deadly as thoroughbred racing. The one and only advantage racing QHs have is that there’s a slightly greater likelihood of their being retrained/repurposed/rehomed, should they survive the track.
    2. Racing authorities in Wyoming (and every other small-market jurisdiction) aren’t yet comfortable with addressing all the new attention being paid to their equine carnage. Would this story have seen print two years ago, before the Santa Anita publicity? Not a chance. So, while Mr. Joyce says “occasionally” this happens, he’ll have to learn the hard way how to address the now-public issue of constant racehorse killings. I suspect he’ll take a page from the big guys, and stop being so accessible to the local reporter(s) when this recurs, over and over, and over…again.
    3. Smaller market racing commissions are as monumentally ineffectual as their big-time counterparts in protecting racehorses’ health and safety. They “may make changes” after a “thorough review” to “improve things going forward”? Sounds awfully familiar.
    4. Coronavirus restrictions have turned out to be a major plus for all the folks still in this sick game, at least in terms of social media exposure. It’s easier to keep all the horrific breakdown video out of public view when the only witnesses at the track are racing friends, fans and family.

    • Kelly ..your point #2 re access to local reporters. ” You can run but you can’t hide”. Gonna be real hard to outrun anyone at the local bar,barber shop, tack shop,etc.

  6. Gut wrenching…..yes it sure was gut wrenching but NOT for the POS owners, trainers and jockeys…No it was gut-wrenching to read that THREE young babies were killed trying to satisfy the whims of blood-thirsty, money-grabbing, profiteering a******s that couldn’t actually care less about the deaths of these innocent babies as all they care about is MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!!!

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