“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the connections!”

Da Alpha was scratched from the 5th at Tampa Bay Sunday – the note said he was “fractious in the gate.” The track then tweeted this:

On the one hand, I suppose a certain amount of credit is due the track for the almost-immediate disclosure. But on the other hand… As presented, it is impossible not to detect a “just one of those things” attitude. A horse, a fully sentient being – intelligent, aware, sensitive, loving, affectionate, the capacity (and desire) for pleasure, the capacity for (and aversion to) pain – was destroyed. Killed. And for what? Lousy $2 bets. But the worst of the tweet was the “thoughts and prayers” line. Not the mere words, of course; this is quotidian vileness for horseracing. No, what angered me beyond an ability to adequately articulate was the fuckin exclamation point. Sorry folks, but I hold these people in utter contempt.

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  1. ‘Sokay, Patrick. We all do (hold them in utter contempt, that is), with or without their “heartfelt” punctuation. These guys probably fretted over the decision to admit poor Da Alpha’s outcome only because there happened to be a REAL sporting event going on next door — lots of extra potential witnesses to their horror show — and they didn’t want to be accused of their usual cover-up.

    Smart thinking, Tampa Bay Downs(!). And, by the way, when exactly are you going to replace that medieval torture device you fondly refer to as your starting gate?

      • I do not. Nor do I want to try to imagine it. But I do know that Tampa seems to have more gate carnage than other tracks, who must rely on killing their beloved athletes in the usual way, by running them to death. TBD offers its customers the added benefit of watching them get mangled in a meat grinder before they have a chance to die in the race.
        So, big shout-out to the “heroic” gate crew at Tampa Bay Downs. If you guys hadn’t extracted Da Alpha from the machinery just in time to “humanely” kill him, there might have been a (gasp) DELAY in starting the next race. And, THAT would have been truly awful to witness.

        • Kelly, I believe that is exactly the case (about the DELAY) and why the “exclamation point” is so “meaningful” in a manner of speaking. After all, it is a business and they do have a schedule to keep. How sickening!!!!

  2. I agree, Patrick, that whole sickening and vile ordeal is completely indifferent to the needs of the horse. It’s all about the industry of exploiting the horses as gambling chips and caters to the bettors/ gamblers who stupidly contribute to the funding of the abuse and, therefore, killing of horses as gambling chips. Using the templates of “heroic efforts of our gate crew” and “could not be saved” and “was humanely euthanized” are vomit-worthy. That isn’t disgusting enough!!! Their adding of the standard template of “thoughts and prayers go out to the connections” is an ABOMINATION TO GOD. WHO DO THEY PRAY TO??? They could easily replace the word “connections” with the word(s) “serial horse-abusers/horse-killers” if they weren’t being phony about it.
    Then, to further add insult to injury, the exclamation point is added as a sort of code message in the context of this public relations message. The message of the exclamation point in this context is, more or less, “Sorry for the delay. This inconvenience of a horse being killed by (our arrogant a**hole industry) is over. Let’s get back to the racing and the BETTING and the killing.” “Wahoo!” “Next victim!”
    Your work in reporting the abuse of horses in the racing industry is much appreciated, Patrick. It is amazing to me that you don’t explode or something. The exclamation point at the end of the phony “thoughts and prayers” line certainly does not show any reverence whatsoever.

  3. How about Caramel Latte?,god, I reported him at least 3 weeks ago. Kelly, do you know if anything happened at Aqueduct today?,or anyone can answer that question.. if they know anything. Thank you,

    • When I looked up CARAMEL LATTE on Equibase, it said F for Filly. The website is down/unavailable now for scheduled maintenance, from 1:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m. Eastern. I think we will have to wait for Patrick’s FOIA report to find out if CARAMEL LATTE is confirmed dead. If she doesn’t show up on that list, I’m not sure what to think. I don’t feel optimistic about the outcome for any of these horses including CARAMEL LATTE.

      • Wanda..there were several people on the PR saying “you told us about the jockey now tell us about the condition of CL”. The silence is deafening

        • Nancy, someone commented that he, Mr. Paulick, didn’t need to go on and on about the past history of Angel Suarez, the jockey who sustained a broken femur, being involved in some criminal activity in 2014; he sustained the broken femur on December 26, 2020 (if I recall correctly). So I commented something to the affect of “All that information about the jockey, Angel Suarez, and nothing about CARAMEL LATTE. Is she dead or alive?” I saw two other comments regarding CARAMEL LATTE. One commenter said some stuff but didn’t have enough information to know the answer to the question about the horse being dead or alive. I have not gone back to that particular article for several weeks. I got silence from the author, Mr. Paulick. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. I check Patrick’s kill lists for 2020 and 2021 on this blog. I’m grateful for the Freedom Of Information Act and Horseracing Wrongs. Otherwise, I just would not know how widespread the killing of racehorses has been and continues to be.

          • Bonnie, Wanda and Nancy, someone asked the SO of Caramel Latte’s breeder/owner (Wendy Schutte) on a post they made about her win on December 4 if she was “OK” after her DNF on December 26…no response. Typical.

  4. “Heroic efforts”?? Are you f..rickin’ kidding me??? They are heroes now too for trying to “save” a poor baby horse who should have had no business being there in the first place? Who despite the fact that he was “fractious” he was forced into that taut squeeze of a “gate”? They used him, abused him and killed him…oh, pardon me..”humanely” euthanized him. He was worthless to these excrements and I cannot imagine a lower species than the horse racing folks.

  5. We can only imagine how much the TBD folks hated to have to admit to such a horrific public display of animal cruelty as typically they work so hard to hide it…“that damn 8 horse” was said under a lot of breaths, I’m sure.

    Da Alpha’s last moments on earth are something I don’t want to try to picture…but for industry members, racing fans and apologists, I only wish you would have to see it. A fully sentient being who instinctively fears small, confining spaces, who has tried to tell anyone watching he was afraid and stressed, yet was forced to continue being a gambling tool – imagine the deafening noise while he tried to escape the starting gate – hooves and head and body slamming against metal, gate crew yelling. The terror Da Alpha endured. The injuries he suffered, so severe he needed to be euthanized. I WISH they all had to watch it…then tell us again, racing-employed Donna Brothers, how LUCKY Da Alpha was to DIE doing what he loved…tell us again, fans and apologists, how the lives of racehorses are no different than those of my own horses.

    Da Alpha’s PP’s are evidence of his distress and possibly an additional cause (other than the stressors of racing already acknowledged);

    – He was a cheap purchase and weeks shy of his fourth birthday for his first start – and in that first race he “struck the near side stall at the start”.

    – He was “restless while being saddled in the paddock” in start #4, December 9, 2020 at TBD.

    – He was “a bit unruly in the paddock” in start #5, December 24, 2020 at TBD.

    God he tried.

    • Joy as a person who has been in the starting gate many times, We always hated a starter holding the horse We were riding by the head! This leads to many gate accidents we feel. When were riding a horse were captain of the ship & expect to have the ability to react to how the horse responds without any other persons interference.Have disliked Donna & have said so on the PR & of course had our comment removed! Feel greatly for the terrible experience that this poor horse suffered!! One of many reasons we quit riding in 2004 was the terrible abuse of horses we galloped experienced & witnessed from so called experienced horse people,vets,farriers, riders.Our states lone 1 mile oval is now completely demolished & redeveloped to trucking/ warehousing operations. A better use for land located right off of I-5. Never so glad to see a place go away after seeing so many horses & fellow riders hurt & injured there as well as some killed.

      • Yes, I imagine you witnessed a great deal of suffering and abuse, Fred and Joan (I see your comments on the PR, as well – I’m banned from commenting there but I can still read the (often incriminating) comments).

        During my years working on the track with the rescue during the 6-month-long meet, I witnessed AND was privy to much, as well. Starting gate incidences were not uncommon – my own rescued racehorse Greenwish was one who often resisted and was “fractious” in the gate…so he was subjected to ear-twisting and spinning and whatever else the starter could do to MAKE him load. And I got an earful as I stood close by to his racing owner/trainer Eddie Clark while the starter cussed and yelled at Clark about “that fucking black bastard” – who was merely trying to show he was scared and sore.

        Greenwish never came to accept confinement – he either stood like a statue trembling from head to tail (ready to blow up) or blew up. So we made his environment comfortable for HIM and adjusted things to ensure he remained safe.

        • Joy, our one Seattle Slew line mare to this day does better if fed & kept in our barn addition eating hay / grain off of our flatbed trailer like a large kitchen table. She does not maintain weight even for a little while kept in a stall during bad weather.Our mare is the opposite! Because she has been through so much she is not afraid of anything & if you don`t watch her carefully she will run you over like a mouse being flattened by a truck! Horses indeed want to live & run, but on their terms not for a “crooked , crummy , gamboling game” as once was told us by a very well trained & born English jockey who we used to gallop horses with.Our mare was also very possibly going to a kill buyer as well but give credit to the owner / breeder they placed her $ price just above the meat price & trusted us to accept a lower $ from us than what they were asking. She is now 25 & at times scares the living daylights out of the neighbors when she runs & bucks like a 2 year old out in front of our farm! It`s sad that the PR does not allow ALL the truth be told but amazingly we have been able to slip in quotes such as the one by the English jokey above.We comment on the PR & other sites so as to share our 40+ years experiences with horses of many kinds to younger people as we wish them not to learn the hard way as we have had to.

          • Fred & Joan,
            I am always thinking of which racetrack you are describing and the best guess I can come up with is Portland Meadows.

  6. Joy and fredjoan, your comments brought hot tears to my eyes. I ride an OTTB who is now 21. My friend bid against a kill buyer when he was 3. I feel he and she were blessed to have shown up at the auction the same night. I don’t know what he went through before that night but from my education on these sights, it was not in his best interest. The apologists make me crazy and I will speak out whenever and wherever I can against this heinous blood sport. “They love to run…”
    They want to live….

    • Jacqueline, THANK YOU…for being their voice and for giving your 21-year-old ex-racehorse a loving home. He’s a very lucky guy.

  7. “Thoughts and prayers go out to the connections” on the racetrack is like telling someone you’re sorry they had to throw their garbage in the trash can. These people don’t care, aside from the brief annoyance that they will have to pay for the disposal of the body. It’s disgusting that the racing industry is trying so hard to push their own propaganda about “loving these horses like family members” that they feel they have to toss out a feigned sentiment with an exclamation point without the reality of any sincerity behind it.
    I have nothing but disgust and contempt for anyone in this industry.

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