Through a FOIA request to the Illinois Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at that state’s tracks in 2020. There is, as you will see, a most conspicuous gap from January to June – no deaths reported. I went back and forth with the Board on this. Its position: “As you are aware racing in Illinois during 2020 was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. During the time of January-June…there was no racing in Illinois.” When I pressed further – “how about training or horses stalled at the tracks?” – I was summarily dismissed: “There are no further documents related to your request.” In a word, absurd. First off, it’s not wholly accurate: There were a handful of dates at Fairmount in March. Second, horses were still stalled at tracks and, presumably, engaged in some sort of training. We’re talking almost six months here.
What I am finding, not just in Illinois but in several states, is that recordkeeping, lacking in the best of times, has been particularly slipshod during covid. There is no question that many, many dead racehorses have fallen through the cracks. So, take the following with a healthy dose of salt.
Token Vow, Jan 4, Hawthorne R – “dropped dead at 1/4 pole – copious amount of blood from nostrils”
A P Fireball, Jun 23, Fairmount T – “fractured fetlock at the joint”
Hawk’s Image, Jul 4, Fairmount T (euth Jul 6) – “fractured ankle, ruptured suspensory”
Louie’s Kingdom, Jul 7, Arlington T – “horse collapsed and died” (four years old)
unidentified 2-year-old, Jul 14, Arlington S – “on 7/13, filly flipped repeatedly in the barn; [next day] found down and unresponsive – comminuted fractures of pelvis”
All Call, Jul 18, Arlington S – “found dead in stall – ruptured stomach”
Muffins Revenge, Jul 30, Arlington R – “unrecoverable injury – euthanized on track”
Nuttinholdinmeback, Aug 24, Arlington T – “tibia shattered into 2 large and at least 48 small fragments”
Cook Memories, Aug 27, Arlington R – “collapsed on track, unresponsive”
Flash for Corona, Aug 30, Arlington S – “found dead in stall – severe, gangrenous pleuropneumonia”
Lucky Lorretta, Nov 14, Hawthorne R – “stumbled coming out of the gate…went down at 3/16 pole – euthanized on track”
unidentified, Nov 27, Hawthorne S – “severe colic”
And He’s Loose, Dec 13, Hawthorne R – “compound fractures; ruptured ligament; open, disarticulated fetlock joint – euthanized on track”