A Shocking New Expose on Florida Racing

“Then it happened suddenly. Cabezudo heard an explosive crack, he would later testify, like that of a tree branch snapping, then Rivera scream. He continued looking straight ahead, but the sound was gut-wrenching. He knew what it meant.

“White arrived less than five minutes later to find a sickening sight: The filly’s right foreleg was held together by nothing more than hide and ligaments. Her cannon bone, slightly above the ankle, looked like it had detonated. But that wouldn’t have killed her on the spot. She must have fractured her neck or spine, or maybe suffered a heart attack as she crashed to the ground.”

The preceding excerpts are from an explosive new article from Ryan Goldberg on Vice: “The Death of a Racehorse.” Last year, you might remember, Ryan highlighted our work in Deadspin. His latest is long but worth every bit of your time – in equal measures exhaustive, shocking, and gripping. Please read, then share widely.

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  1. The continuing love of racing in the USA despite the gut wrenching scenes right in front of their eyes on the track, with impressionable young people watching, only proves how callous and moronic the citizens of the US really are. Their macho lifestyles ignore the suffering of the animals being abused. To these sick people only money matters.

    They have to consider the fact that society will eventually break down if allowed to continue like this and a human version of racing and betting like a modern version of a Mad Max film will come next.

    • Ray, this dreadful abuse happens in any country that has horseracing, not just the USA. You must know that, I am sure. Deregulation in the USA just made it worse for the horses. Unfortunately, certain party platforms are big on deregulation which has negative effects worldwide for all living plants, animals and humans.

  2. god bless you Patrick…for all this tough work you do. It’s gut wrenching. You truly are a SAINT for the voiceless.

  3. Gosh, I wonder why nobody in the racing press asked Mr. Goldberg if they could run his story? Would think there’d be lots and lots of interest among the usual racing “news” and “sports” media (thinly disguised horse racing trade publications):
    Yoo-hoo! Calling all so-called reporters. Hello? Anybody there?

    Daily Racing Form?
    Bloodhorse?
    Paulick Report?
    Thoroughbred Daily News?
    NBC Blood Sports?
    Los Angeles Times Horse-Killing Department?

    Y’all might want to take a peek at what REAL horse racing news looks like. It might give you some insights into the future of your chosen career path;)

  4. Happy Halloween to all at Horseracing Wrongs. Hope it’s a safe and happy one for all of you.
    Of course, it’s a little late for the folks at Churchill Downs, though. Looks like they just had a breakdown/van-off in their appropriately spooky, scary 4th race. Sir Winsalot, well, doesn’t anymore:(
    Was “trained” by Ken McPeek, of Swiss Skydiver fame.

    • And not even a mention of him being vanned off on mcpeeks twitter, but he tweets on about his other horses as if nothing unusual occurred. Sir Winsalot is also Co-owned by his wife. Such love and concern shown, huh?

      • Tweets on as if nothing unusual occurred because NOTHING UNUSUAL DID OCCUR. Just another breakdown, on just another day. Notice Sir Winsalot’s record? Hasn’t raced in over a year, so they decide to send him out (to die, probably) a week before the Bleeders’ Cup. Nice judgement, McPeeks. Imagine if Swiss Skydiver goes down in the BC Distaff. It really would be the end of this whole horrible shitshow.

      • Kelly, I understand your logic in saying “nothing unusual did occur” meaning that breakdowns of racehorses (especially in this case SIR WINSALOT) are part of the racing routine. However, I don’t understand your logic in saying that it would be the end of this “whole horrible shitshow” if SWISS SKYDIVER breaks down catastrophically in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff race.
        All I can say is I wish racing could be ended once and for all, sooner rather than later. End the forced running of underage juvenile immature young horses at the very least. The futurities and derby races are a celebration (for sadistic animal abusers) of barbaric indifference to the needs of the horses.
        #endhorseracing

      • Hey, Wanda. Hope you find this;)
        Most women (or, if you prefer, “psycho PETA broads,” as I was recently called on NBC Sports’ Horse Killing page) were immediately turned off from horse racing waaaaaay back when Ruffian horrifically broke down in ’75. (I’d been a small child, but have since heard plenty of horror stories about it and its impact.) A few still hung in there, though, through all the other famous fillies’ deaths like Go for Wand’s, Eight Belles’, and the more recent, “lesser-knowns” — such as 2-year-old Taraz’s shattered leg while training (they like to claim she’d been three, but they lie about that shit, too); and Peek It Up’s gruesome fall this summer (that also paralyzed her jockey, and happened soon after Los Al was taken off Horse Killing Probation.) The women who CAN accept an awful, sickening on-track death, especially of a filly, as “part of the game” are few and far between, and getting fewer all the time. ALL racehorse deaths are stomach-churning and nightmare-inducing to all but the (mostly male) gambling-addicted die-hards who watch them regularly. But I think it’s the Baby Girl Breakdowns that REALLY tear people up.
        So, my fears for Swiss Skydiver are multi-fold. First, she looks like she’s on STILTS. Add in the fact that she already “beat the boys” in a TC race (yet her connections obviously waffled between running her in the BC Classic or Distaff.) Plus, last year’s BC fiasco at the SADT. Plus, today’s unacknowledged van-off of her stablemate?
        Just my opinion, but U.S. horse racing could not survive something terrible happening to her. Because the public will not accept it. Nor should we.

  5. I just watched the replay which was not deleted already (shocking). Looks like he was being forced to move right along until he started to bobble and then drop out of the race.

    • Bobble = BAD, but who knows if they’ll try to keep him around to breed other super-fragile, breakdown-prone progeny that won’t be able to run beyond one lousy race past their 2-year-old season.

  6. Kelly, I am not a licensed psychologist, but that doesn’t stop me from doing my own version of psychological analysis.

    I think the people involved in the racing industry must have very low Emotional Intelligence Quotients.
    Q. Why do I think that?
    A. I think people who are incapable of listening to the needs of others (both animal and human) cannot possibly have a high Emotional Intelligence. I think racing participants do not listen to the needs of their horses or the needs of anyone’s horses. If they were listening to the needs of the horses, they would not be forcing them to run while carrying the weight of a saddle and rider at the age of yearling or 18 months old. They would not be racing two-year olds or three-year-olds and forcing them to stand in a stall for 23 hours a day and then run fast carrying approximately “one-hundred twenty pounds” for that few minutes that they run them on a race track. They would not be using whips. They would not be using shocking devices to torture horses with who-knows-how-many volts of electricity!!!!

    As far as anyone in the horseracing industry referring to you or anyone else showing enough respect for what is right for the horses to demand that they (the racing participants, including racing industry news media) stop this heinous abuse of horses as a psycho PETA broad, their low Emotional Intelligence is showing!!!! It shows their lack of being capable to show genuine concern and compassion for others including both animals and humans!!!! It shows their lack of compassion for their horses!!!!

      • Thank you, Alan. As I said, I’m not licensed and I also didn’t go to college for the required number of years to get a degree. I also did not want to have my comment deleted…lol…
        It would be interesting if everyone participating in horseracing were required to undergo a bona fide mental health evaluation. It would be something, but I don’t expect it to happen.

  7. Kelly, never underestimate the cold callous evil hearts of these bloodthirsty souls. I was 10 yrs. old when the Ruffian breakdown happened, and had no interest in horse racing, I was so busy playing all kinds of sports and pretty much living my life outdoors…no computer games then,which I feel was a much better way for a child to grow up. The point I’m making is…I agree with EVERYTHING you say…BUT, never rule out the evil forces. You get what I’m saying…they always use that but jobs excuse. God and morality should trump everything. But, you can’t trust these people when it comes to seeing things with a COMPASSIONATE ❤️.

    • I think the word domination is the key. The horse had it all over the humans. Size,beauty,intelligence all these things. SO when you are a trainer,jockey,etc. You feel you have dominance over something so much bigger and better than YOU will ever be in your whole life.

  8. Uuugh — The horrific PAIN the Horses undergo — beyond HEARTBREAKING — SHUT DOWN HORSE-RACING — Horses are innocent & vulnerable & at the mercy of Humans — this so-called sport of Horse-Racing is beyond WRONG & HATEFUL — we MUST SHUT DOWN the brutal, unconscionable, sadistic, vile, depraved industry of HORSE-RACING — FOREVER — The History of Mankind is Carried on THE BACK OF THE HORSE — ALL HORSES deserve RESPECT & PROTECTIONS — SHUT DOWN HORSE-RACING — FOREVER

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