“[Trainer] discovered that the horse’s right foot had fallen off.”

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2020. It should be noted that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because these details, including vet testimony, are so powerful (and damning), I will post in multiple installments so as to give each death its proper due.

As always, please consider contacting Maryland politicians and media. Nothing as entrenched as horseracing will change without unrelenting pressure. The message need not be long; in fact, shorter is better – e.g., “Horseracing is animal cruelty, no different than dogracing, which has been banned on moral grounds in 41 states.” Then, copy and paste this list (and the other Maryland reports). Thank you.

Governor Hogan: contact form; twitter; instagram
Senate Majority Leader King: nancy.king@senate.state.md.us; 410-841-3686
House Speaker Jones: adrienne.jones@house.state.md.us; 410-841-3800
Senate members
House members

The Baltimore Sun: newstips@baltimoresun.com; 410-332-6100
ABC Baltimore: newsroom@wmar.com; 410-435-TIPS
CBS Baltimore: 410-578-7568
NBC Baltimore: newstips@wbaltv.com; 800-677-WBAL
Fox Baltimore: news@foxbaltimore.com; 410-467-5595

In Arrears, Jan 7, Laurel S – “progressively lame right foot – [multiple] fractures”; also: “severe degenerative changes both front fetlocks”

Little Bit Country, Jan 16, Laurel T – “flipped, recumbent, unable to move hind limbs”

Dr. Sorum (private vet): “I found the horse down…and [he] appeared in shock. [H]e didn’t have movement to his hind legs. He was also dribbling urine.”

Louise, Jan 19, Laurel S – “RH abscessed and rotated”

Dr. Lockard (private vet): “[T]here was concern the tip of the coffin bone was going to come through the sole.”

City Traveler, Feb 27, Laurel S – “abscess, laminitis” (last raced Jan 20)

Special Power, Jun 6, Laurel R – “flipped, recumbent, head trauma”

Dr. Walsh (commission vet): “The horse was nervous and slightly difficult to work with [during pre-race] exam.”

Aljohn, Jun 9, Laurel S – “horse was being treated for an infected right foot for approximately 10 days; several medications…did not correct the problem; on June 9, [the trainer] discovered that the horse’s right foot had fallen off” (two years old)

again: “discovered that the horse’s right foot had fallen off

Top Czar, Jun 9, Laurel S – “pleuropneumonia, trouble breathing; horse had previous tie-back surgery for partially paralyzed throat”

Miners Quest, Jul 14, Laurel S – “acute laminitis, rotation of the foot” (nine years old, had been raced 72 times, most recently in June)

Lucerito, Oct 7, Laurel S – “severe arthritis, chronic degenerative joint disease [all four] fetlocks” (was only three years old)

Noble Way, Nov 24, Laurel S – “traumatic brain injury: horse reared up [coming out of] throat surgery, struck head and face on walls of stall”

Dr. Stokes (private vet): “The horse…began to thrash around the stall and hit the walls multiple times.”

49 Comments

  1. Reading these, the pain and fear these horses had to live through just slams into me. I cannot imagine how anyone can see these things on a daily basis and not feel any sort of compassion or pity for what these gentle sentient beings are forced to go through.
    It is certainly telling that so many of these horses rear up and flip over – this is a horse’s last resort to escape when he feels he has no other choice. Any caring responsible horse owner would NEVER put their horse in that kind of a situation, not just because of the physical damage it can do but the extreme emotional trauma it gives a horse.
    These disgusting parasites couldn’t care less about these horses – they think no more about them than the trash they take out each day.
    “Discovered the horse’s foot HAD FALLEN OFF” – how in the everloving HELL does that even happen?!

  2. I strongly encourage residents of Maryland and the D.C. area to contact their legislature now!

    • To submit a comment to Gov. Larry Hogan online, you can be a resident of Maryland, DC, Delaware, or Virginia. I live in Idaho so I will have to contact him a different way.

  3. I never thought I could literally hate someone but the excrements in this business achieved the unachievable. I cannot imagine the pain and horror these poor, beautiful horses were made to endure. “ discovered that the foot fell off”??? How does a f**n trainer who is fattening his wallet off of the backs of these horses just DISCOVER a fallen foot? The description by the vet is so nonchalant.. hey, a foot fell off. No biggie.. plenty of other horses in the barn.
    “The horse was nervous and slightly difficult to work with”… and you, as a F**N vet don’t think he needs to be scratched off? These butchers are not vets. A normal vet shows love and compassion and RESPECT for his/her patients. Took an oath they would do no harm. Why in God’s name do they still have a license??
    I contacted the corrupt/oblivious politicians named above and will contact the papers/news outlets also. Heartless pricks! All of them!

      • Right, Nancy..We all know the answer. Because they don’t care in the least. Because they are a bunch of SOCIOPATHS. Period. I am so ANGRY!!!

    • And if they could’ve gotten that horse onto the track, they would have, missing foot or no.

      • Of course they would’ve, Rebecca. They constantly and knowingly send them to their deaths.

  4. so you’re complaining about surgery complications now? were they supposed to let the horse die a painful death from whatever throat condition he had?

    • B N, clearly you are missing the point!!!! A horse should not be at a racetrack at all only to be tortured!!!! If a horse needs surgery for anything, the horse should be removed from the racetrack grounds completely before surgery!!!! How’s that for a no-brainer??!!!! What reason would anyone keep a horse at a racetrack that could not run because the horse could not breathe properly and needed surgery?????????????????????????

      • Because breathing issues can be resolved, and the horse can go on to have a successful career with no further complications if it heals correctly- Omaha Beach is a recent example. They want the horse to have a fair chance. Even if this was a much more serious condition (that could have significant long-term implications if left untreated), the horse could still have the possibility of racing if they make a full recovery.

        • They want the horse to have a “fair chance” at WHAT, Jose Flores? – stuffing their wallets?

          No horse needs tie back surgery to live a normal life – but because money-making is the name of the game for the racing-employed, their horses with laryngeal hemiplegia are made to undergo tie back surgery and are therefore put at risk for that surgery’s complications.

          Noble Way’s “throat surgery” was almost certainly a tie back…unnecessary for a horse to live normally. And since horses often come out of anesthesia like Noble Way did, why risk his life for a surgery he doesn’t need to live. WHY? – because his connections wanted a horse who could make them money.

          • Thank you for your well-informed comment, Joy! As a consequence of the greed and indifference to the horse’s well-being by racing participants, they killed the horse. Horseracing needs to be recognized as the ABUSE OF HORSES that it most definitely is!!!!!

          • fair chance at living a more comfortable life, you idiots. i would LOVE to hear your plans regarding rehoming thousands of tbs and reemploying thousands of imigrants.

          • But what if Noble Way was in pain or discomfort? We just do not know. Owners I have personally met do care about their horses’ health and want their horses to receive the best treatment and care they can get. It’s very disappointing and sad that it did not go well and resulted in his death, but most cases that I have heard of, including big names like Omaha Beach and Roadster, did go well.

        • Jose Flores,
          The surgery was only done for the purpose of racing and CLEARLY THE HORSE IN THIS CASE NAMED ‘NOBLE WAY’ DIED AS A RESULT OF HAVING THE SURGERY. He reared up coming out of surgery, striking his head, sustained a traumatic brain injury, thrashed around and hit the stall walls multiple times. The horse is DEAD.

        • And THAT is all they care about – “a fair chance at racing”. This has nothing to do with the improving the quality of life for the horse, since the majority of them are thrown away, either into the downward spiral of claiming races or to the slaughterhouses. No, this has everything to do with being able to squeeze more money out of the horse on the racetrack. You’re confusing greed with compassion.

        • Tie backs went well for Roadster and OB? – typically horses don’t have long racing “careers” after that surgery…and those two are already done after only 11 and 10 starts respectively. They were subjected to a procedure that ONLY benefitted their humans – and now they must live with its complications, Jose Flores. In this business, it’s always about what benefits the owners/trainers…it’s always what THEY can get from using the horse.

    • I’ve never known a regular horse to have a throat condition other than choke. Chances are, he was a roarer or was having tie back surgery, as both are detrimental to a racehorse. For regular horses neither would be an issue. I’ve dealt with thousands of eventers, hunter/jumpers, and dressage horses over the years and the only ones who’d had throat surgeries had been former racers who’d had the surgeries while racing. Just saying.

      • Thank you, Marie. To the best of my recollection according to what Gina Powell has commented in the past, the throat surgery is done for reasons other than being life-threatening. I believe this horse, NOBLE WAY, was strictly a casualty of racing and would still be alive if someone had been able to rescue this Thoroughbred gelding from his abusers.

      • that you know of. it isn’t purely racing related but for quality of life. you guys should worry about the real abuse which is what happens at illegal match racing tracks — and probably the future of the entire racing industry if people like you prompt a ban.

        • B N, you are wrong. The surgery was racing related. The horse named NOBLE WAY would still be alive if not for the throat surgery. Period.

        • So, BN, currently racing is legal in a whole lot of states, and yet… illegal match racing is STILL going on! The sad part about illegal match racing is that all the people in the “racing industry” know it’s going on, no one in the industry CARES it’s going on, no one in the industry does anything about it, and they are the ones, (much like the asshats that supply horses to race in PR), that dump horses to people TO do their match racing with! And “probably the future of the entire racing industry” what? Abuse in the entire racing industry if racing were banned?? There’s a whole lot of abuse in the industry now, I know first hand of which I speak. I was involved in it.

          • Not to mention, on top of knowing the match racing is going on, the industry brags about it being a great start and source for all their Cajun jockeys and trainers, and how the jockeys started as 11 to 16 year olds riding match races. So, illegal?

        • It has NOTHING to do with quality of life for the horse. It all comes down to keeping the horse functioning at a level where he can still be sent onto the track for another purse. Honestly, I don’t understand how people like you can be so intentionally ignorant that you willfully interpret greed as compassion.
          And what, pray tell, will happen to these horses whose quality of life has been so generously improved when they are no longer bringing in enough money to justify their existence to their owners and trainers? Retirement to idyllic pastures, where their worn down joints and arthritic limbs, severe stomach ulcers, and other health issues will be cared for?

    • B N, you’re obviously referring to Top Czar and it states right in the necropsy report that he had undergone tie back surgery…he didn’t have a “throat condition” that he was going to “die a painful death from”. I know you folks get so upset when we expose these horrible facts about your beloved industry, but slow down and READ.

      Tie back surgery for laryngeal hemiplegia is not a necessary surgery for ANY horse – no horse is going to die from untreated laryngeal hemiplegia. It’s the horses that are made to perform, ie racehorses, that receive this surgery because their owners want a horse with a less obstructed flow of air. It’s ALL about getting the most out of the horse – it’s ALL about the money.

      That said, tie back surgery does not produce a completely normal airway AND it comes with complications post-surgery…one being aspiration of food or dirt particles into the trachea causing PNEUMONIA, a potentially life-threatening condition – just what Top Czar died of.

      The video is of Redneck Margarita. He had tie back surgery and always had difficulty when eating/drinking; it’s something those horses must learn to do, to swallow food and water without aspirating. And since excess mucus is another complication post-tie back surgery, the combination of that and aspiration sets these horses up for problems. Like pneumonia. Like what Top Czar died of. He IS another casualty of the racing industry.

      • Oh, I didn’t realize they were giving them the vaccines in the middle of the racetrack!

        • Oh my gosh, Marie, RIGHT?!? I Googled it because I thought that must have been a HUGE group to have caused the entrance to wherever they were holding the vaccination clinic to be blocked!…turns out, the article said there were 4 people ON the track and the group of protestors outside of the track was small. WOW.

          (As a side, they also interviewed a woman who didn’t get her vaccination because of what turned out to be a 2-hour “shutdown” – she was angry with the track and the protestors but agreed with the activists calling for an end to horseracing!)

          • They didn’t cancel racing, just postponed it. I have to say, it was pretty cool under the lights. Those people are plain messed up, or yesterday they either forgot to take their meds or they took too many meds. They were calling themselves the “sleeping dragon” and laid face down on the track surrounded by purple smoke (probably from whatever drug or hookah bomb they set off). I understand normal protesting, and I’m not happy with the current safety at Golden Gate (get real dirt PLEASE- been much safer at Santa Anita and Del Mar), but these whack jobs went too far. They blocked traffic. And also shame on the police and security for not clearing them out faster- it shouldn’t have been that hard. Also going to be an issue if any vaccines were wasted.

  5. B N, you and your horse-killing friends should be happy now, because the horse is dead after having throat surgery.

  6. Aaah, hey “skipper”, how about scumbag people involved in horse torture and killing, go out and earn themselves a REAL mf’n job,RATHER than killing helpless animals. YOU scumbags make me SICK. You’re all bottom feeder lazy asses.

    • The training staff work harder in one day than these activists do in their entire lives. Not a whole lot of effort to just lay down with your arms in pvc pipes. Torture is illegal in racing, as it should be, and deaths are rare. There are hundreds of thousands of horses that race and workout over the Golden Gate track every year, the fatality rate is probably like .01% or less. This website is big on info but not so much stats- that’s what I’d like to know, just how unsafe racing is. Accidents aren’t common, jockeys wouldn’t ride if they were. Still, the deaths are too many. I’m hoping that the track gets redone (been like 12 or more years now?) and it’s changed to dirt, which I think has been wonders for safety at the Santa Anita and Del Mar the past year.

      • What do you think happens to thousands of horses that disappeared from racing?

        • Yep, that’s a slaughter problem which needs to be ended. That’s why my wife and I support aftercare organizations. More national uniformity and funding can eliminate this problem. Thankfully most horses go on to breed, have second careers, and retirement homes, but far too many don’t. Number one issue not only in this sport, but also in most equine industries.

        • Probably best not to engage with this Sparky, or Skippy, or whatever creature, Wanda. I’ve made the mistake of debating with a 20-year-old on Twitter who sounds suspiciously like him; throws around the “less than .01% fatality rate,” as if THAT gem has any basis in reality whatsoever. Has an answer for everything: “Whips don’t hurt! They almost all go to good homes! Santa Anita’s worked wonders for horse safety, blah blah blah…”

          Even if this isn’t the same guy, it’s definitely another racing creep who’s had the brilliant idea of coming here, of all places, to spin the usual, pathetic “Save our Blood Sport” rhetoric.

          • I am not on social media, just a happily retired 77-year-old man. Wife, kids, grandchildren, dogs, and horses are all that takes to make this man happy. Social media is probably the best way to reach a younger demographic though. Horse racing doesn’t have to be a blood sport. I welcome changes that can make the sport safer and better for equine and human athletes involved. And yes, when you look at nearly 400,000 starts each year and millions of workouts, I can see why I’m not the only one who thinks the sport isn’t as dangerous as some people like to say- especially the improved track at Santa Anita.

      • A little comic relief from “Skipper”…

        The 30 protesters who chained themselves to a fence 300 yards from where the vaccinations were to be given BLOCKED traffic? – yea, sure they did. Check your local news reports. And no worries about the vaccinations, as the approximate 100 folks who were turned away (because of 30-ish protestors) received them today. You can breathe a sigh of relief, Skippy.

        There are “hundreds of thousands of horses” that race/train at GGF every year? – HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS? – well there are approximately 1,200 horses stabled at GGF so 98,800 horses would need to ship in to race to equal ONLY 100,000 horses, not the HUNDREDS of thousands you claim. Nice touch, though.

        Oh yes, the old “we work from sun-up to sun-down” – kill buyers have the same hours…so what’s your point? How do your hours in your grunt job have any relevance to the crippling and killing horses at GGF? – and what does your work choice have to do with the price of tea in China? Maybe find a new job and stop your whining (I’d suggest something that doesn’t require numbers)…or just go whine somewhere else?

        And the slaughter thing…yes, seems the trainers at GGF recently received a memo about that…and I quote; “Recently there were a number of horses associated with GGF trainers that turned up in two different livestock auctions. Several of them have been confirmed purchased by killbuyers.” – 10/10/2020

        You kill them on the track and you kill them in slaughterhouses, most likely the Mexican ones. And like some other apologist reminded us in the past day or so, who knows how many more are run to death in the illegal racing you folks hand your used-up horses off to. We won’t ask you for that number, Skippy – no worries.

        • Whoever the protestors are, they are not good. What news I did see was LONG lines of traffic. I didn’t mean literally hundreds of thousands of horses at Golden Gate (I think stabling for 2000 or more there? some ship back and forth) but I did mean that there are hundreds of thousands of workouts over the track in a year. I am against all slaughter it is despicable. I love aftercare. And the horsemen on the backstretch work hard to take care of their horses, I’ve met many, they give them the best care possible.

          • Well Skippy, as we know, those 400,000 starts and million workouts (now are you being literal this time or just pulling numbers out of your backside?) are NOT 400,000 HORSES, NOT millions of HORSES. So that makes a difference to the horses that are crippled or killed? – it’s better if they’re killed after 30 races instead of after 10, for instance? Well I imagine better for the connections, right? – I mean they’re racing their horses for money so the more races the better, yes?

            Horseracing kills. Always has. Always will. Literally.

          • If you know anything about horses, you know that just locking them up in a stall for 23 hours a day for weeks and months is cruel to a horse and a form of torture. If you choose to have a different perception, you should try being locked up with no companionship and see what it’s like. If you think being whipped and shocked is okay, let someone else try that on you. But, if you actually enjoy it, there is definitely something wrong with you. It isn’t normal for horses to be confined against their nature and it isn’t normal for horses to be forced to run fast on an oval and especially not when underdeveloped, not matured.

          • There is now strong evidence that the protestors didn’t block anything, not the lines, not the vaccination site.
            The only thing they blocked, although temporary, was another racehorse getting maimed or killed potentially.
            There now may be an investigation because all fingers are pointing to horse racing who possibly used this incident for their own public relations stunt to make these protestors appear evil in the face of the public.
            Essentially, they were the ones who stopped the vacc line to blame the protestors and I wouldn’t put it past them.
            True to racing form – it’s NOT whipping and killing racehorses to the point where their own limbs are snapping-off that’s evil – no way that’s not evil, but those evil protestors? Well they blocked a race and a vaccination site.
            Horse racing doesn’t give a crap about preventing the spread of Covid or racehorses dying since they fought hard to keep their tracks operating during the biggest humanity crisis that our country has ever faced.
            Nor did they stop the killing, but those wicked protestors?
            According to horse racing – that’s evil, but not all the bones snapping-off and racehorses dying.
            A huge shoutout to the brave and compassionate people who went out on the track, laid down to stop what could have been another death.

        • Gina, I suspected that from the first mention of this ridiculousness…30-some protestors positioned 300 yards from the entrance to where the vaccinations were to be administered didn’t cause them to shut down. And if there was a traffic jam, again, that wasn’t due to the protestors self-chained to a fence and the 4 on the track.

  7. Regarding the protesters at Golden Gate Fields, it was reported on the Paulick Report that only the First race was cancelled. Racing began with the Second race about six hours later than planned.
    It was reported that a tent was put up to provide shade for the four protesters on the racetrack.
    So how hot was it? If it could get hot enough for FOUR HUMAN BEINGS lying down on the ground to need shade on the track, it would be a lot HOTTER FOR HORSES RUNNING at any speed, but especially fast enough to win a race for purse money, gambling bets and all of that.

  8. I love horses and want to see this cruel practice of horseracing ended once and for all!

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