In Memoriam, Saratoga 2020

In 2017, the hallowed Saratoga Race Course recorded what was, at the time, a record 21 deaths. (The Gaming Commission did not begin releasing numbers till 2009, so who knows if it was truly a record.) There was, you might remember, a fair amount of handwringing, as the killing made national news. What I repeatedly reminded back then is that Saratoga averages 14 dead a summer (again, since 2009), so the toll wasn’t really that extraordinary. In any event, three years later, three years, that is, of incessant talk of state-of-the-science safety protocols, the primacy of “equine welfare,” “a standard that should be emulated across the country,” Saratoga finished its 2020 racing/training season with . . . 21 deaths. In other words, folks, “reform” is a ruse; “safe racing” is a lie. Horseracing kills horses, inherently. Full stop.

Longtime advocate (and HW supporter) Linda Rydant produced the following. Thank you, Linda.

27 Comments

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  1. Thank you Linda for this video.
    You know to see the facts, the figures as posted on HRW is horrible in and of itself.
    However, to see it like this, in video form, watching every single racehorse name and the details of their injuries, that led to their deaths, is powerfully impactful and so heartbreaking.
    They deserve to be remembered because the industry that exploits them doesn’t as they quickly move on to the next race, the next bet and, sadly, the next death.
    It’s to brutal and vile that one can’t help, but think why in the hell is this permitted to continue?

  2. Thank you for the video. It was well done. The horses deserved better in life, but they were owned by greedy, evil people. The owners and all racing participants deserve punishment. The horses deserved to be remembered.
    The horseracing industry deserves to be terminated.

  3. Today 12/10/2020 I woke up to sirens blaring a horse had broken down taken away in the ambulance i don’t know its fate but not good. No more than 5 minutes later sirens again another horse had broken down this was bad I think put down on track. This is becoming an almost daily wake up call

  4. Last race at good ol’ Los Alamitos: Hope the three involved horses are okay, they all reportedly “walked off.” But two big-name jockeys were thrown, possibly injured. Guess Los Al’s super-safe thoroughbred meet isn’t so safe after all.

    • Victor Flores at Fairgrounds.
      Horrible accident training this morning. The horse was ok however the ones that couldnot move outof the way may be injured
      Victor is in dire situation

      • Victor Flores has also been penalized by the CHRB for hitting horses so hard he welted them, and then was cited for his whip use again just a week later. The story from today is the filly he was on bolted and he fell. Wonder if he was beating the crap out of her when it happened and she bolted from the whip?

      • A Go Fund Me page has been set-up for jockey Victor Flores.
        This is yet another reveal of horse racing: they don’t even put money aside for jockeys who get hurt or injured on the job.
        Even their compensation funds are minimal at best while they collect millions in casino and wagering profits.
        There is no other business in this country that gets the financial handouts and exemptions from taking care of their workers like horse racing.
        I realize that jockeys have a choice and my heart is with the horses, but this multi-billion dollar business doesn’t take care of anybody.
        It’s a brutal archaic antiquated business that needs to be shut down.
        I can’t be as abusive and brutal as Victor Flores is to racehorses so I will wish him well.

      • Yes, chart says he was “clipped” while he was down. Tyler Baze also came off in the same race, but he’s since ridden others, so it appears he’s fine. Cedillo has reportedly been taken off today’s mounts. No idea how badly he’s hurt, but knowing Los Al, they’ll say he’s “alert and responsive” even if he’s in a full-body cast.

  5. I have always maintained during my apologist era and on this site: the whip is a huge contributor to the breakdowns and subsequent deaths of racehorses.
    It’s the “icing on the cake,” so to speak delivering the kill blows upon a doped up racehorse who is, most likely, sore and running in pain with a plethora of pre-existing conditions.
    In light of the whipping rules in California the racehorse beating jockeys have come out in full force to defend this abusive practice with Mike Smith on the lead.
    Mike’s main concern overall was that the gamblers who support this business will be very upset when their bets don’t pay-off.
    This is known to be true and some even carrying electrical devices to shock them while being beaten.
    It’s these statements and the actual beatings that make it blatantly clear that a racehorse is nothing more than a gambling chip to bet on, exploit, dump and/or kill.
    I’m not here to convince gamblers to leave racehorses out of it because it won’t impact these pathetic losers.
    The only solution to this cesspool of suffering and dying is to end it and to end it now.

    • We agree 100% on the use of whips contributing to breakdowns! All the horses we worked in official workouts we NEVER carried or used a whip. We still were able to achieve the fastest workout time of the day at times.As regards medical care for those participants injured while working in racing? There was NONE or little except workers comp which is a joke for proper rehab from injuries. We know from personal experience where thankfully our family insisted we have a GOOD accident coverage policy just in case, which we once had to rely on to recover from a very bad injury that we later was caused by deliberate tampering of the horse we were riding. Never so happy to see a business shut down & redeveloped out to something else besides an operation that injured & killed many people & horses every time it was operating as our 1 mile track which is now GONE!

    • Thank you. Sounds like Mr. Flores is in bad shape. I didn’t even know about the training accident until you posted, Nancy. Everything I scanned just now about it is utterly sickening and was absolutely preventable. Whether it was a “head-on collision,” as one racing so-called news site posted, or he just got stepped-on by another horse jogging in a different direction, it all comes down to the same, damned thing: HORSE RACING KILLS HORSES and HUMANS, TOO.
      I can’t imagine how his family is feeling right now. But good old Fair Grounds just moved right ahead with the card today, didn’t they? No time to honor the fallen when racing junkies are all lined up like zombies to watch their favorite, $2-dollar horror show. Oh, plus they just vanned off another one in race 9. Ah, the Sport of Kings!

      • On that note, in all my years of observing jockeys getting maimed and/or killed there has only been a few lawsuits filed by the surviving family members.
        The tracks claim that jockeys knowingly and willfully accept the “inherent” risks of the “sport.”
        This is insane when you start to dissect this in legal terms and every single court has agreed.
        For example, the attorneys of J.C. Gonzalez whose was killed in Pomona California, proved that not disclosing the doping of racehorses, and/or known pre-existing conditions are a breeding ground for deadly accidents.
        “The lawsuit further alleges California Horse Racing Board rules were broken concerning the use and required reporting of medication given the horse.”
        http://www.espn.com/horse/news/2000/0905/724520.html#:~:text=POMONA%2C%20Calif.,riding%20along%20with%20three%20veterinarians.
        The judge agreed and awarded them millions.
        Here’s another:
        https://blogs.findlaw.com/injured/2014/04/jockeys-family-wins-78m-for-racetrack-death.html
        One more:

        The non-disclosure of what dope the racehorse was given prior to training and/or racing plus the intentional cover-up of pre-existing conditions (the medical records don’t follow them as I’ve repeated on multiple occasions) is a recipe for disaster.
        The tracks and racing commissions know this and after years of operating this way and even lawsuits they still haven’t changed much of anything.
        They don’t give a damn because they keep getting away with it and when you review the lawsuits that have actually made it into a court of law it’s probably less than 1% so why change?
        This business is consistently exonerated from labor laws, legal and financial responsibilities.
        This business only exists because it can exploit both horses and humans even when they die as a direct result of their negligent and malicious business practices.
        This is just one more reason to shut down this brutal unnecessary gambling venue.

  6. Thank you so much for an absolutely beautiful tribute to these poor horses who died because of humans love for money. Video is very nicely done. Thank you Linda

  7. Thank you Linda. If this doesn’t get attention to the abuse these beautiful horses endure in the hands of humans, then they are cold-hearted.

  8. So many deaths….totally heartbreaking that most of these horses were still BABIES, only 2 or 3 years old, an absolute travesty.

  9. Yikes. For a while there, it looked like today was gonna be one of those impossible, super-rare, miracle, unicorn race days when zero horses would be vanned off to their likely deaths. ALL the usual horse-killing tracks running today recorded no van-offs at all. Not even Gulfstream. Not even Aqueduct. Most shocking of all…NOT EVEN LOS ALAMITOS with their COVID-enhanced, daytime thoroughbred meet(!).
    Alas, turns out they were just saving up their kills for later this evening. Penn and Los Al each kicked off their cards with van-offs in their openers. Not to be outdone, Hollywood (such a glamorous-sounding name for such a shithole, no?), well, they chimed in with a finale filly kill, because…um, because she was LAME. And why spend the gas money for the equine ambulance to take her a few hundred yards to be “treated” for her so-called lameness?
    Smart move, West Virginia geniuses. Nobody will ever question your integrity and dedication to racehorse welfare now.

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