Oaklawn Yesterday

The charts (Equibase) from Oaklawn yesterday:

In the 2nd: “JACKS FIRE BALLS void of speed, was slammed off stride and knocked into the rail by SEA OF HOPE as that one was falling midway up the backstretch…. SEA OF HOPE shortened stride and was being pulled up when he fell into JACKS FIRE BALLS with just over a half mile remaining, bled, [was vanned off].”

In the 9th: “CRITIC stopped badly midway on the final turn, fell, hit rail after
wire…and was vanned off.”

Oaklawn (Arkansas Racing Commission) is notoriously unforthcoming about the fates of the horses forced to race there. That said, I have made inroads over the past couple years with FOIA. So, I hope to be able to update soon.

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  1. “Vanned off”: The industrial parlance is so creepy & Orwellian. It explains why the talking heads in the booth refer to “the number 1” or “the number 6,” instead of using the horse’s name. They depersonalize it as much as possible. These are not glorious creatures deserving care & affection; they are digits in a race that will ultimately end in the “kill pen” (a rare instance of explicit language).

    Question: It sounds as though some of these horses are disabled or immobile prior to being “vanned off.” If so, how do they load it into the vehicle?

    PS: This website is an exceptional (albeit disturbing) resource. Thank you for your diligent work.

    • Answer: Winches, hoists, pullies, motors, and the brute force of a bunch of “men” who’ve signed non-disclosure agreements, of course! But, it’s the all-important SCREEN that does the heavy lifting, so to speak. Without the screen/curtain/view-blocker, the public might witness what sheer, sick, depravity is going on across America’s horse tracks. Can’t have that!

    • While attending a day of racing at a racetrack in COLORADO in 1980, I saw a horse in a race go down all of a sudden. It was so weird and it happened so fast. It was mysterious as to what her injuries were, but she was not able to stand. She just went down. Boom! Done! No more standing, no more walking, and no more running! Somehow they got her into a van upside down. She must have been dead, because she was on her back for her hooves to be up in the air inside the van/trailer. There was no replay of that particular race. All races before and after that race that day were replayed on the video screens they had back then. Only her hooves and parts of her pasterns were visible after she was loaded into the “van” and hauled off the track.

  2. This forced abuse on these horses is horrible and totally unacceptable! This barbaric, inhumane treatment of horses is bad enough to make people cry who have empathy for horses. Yet I, and many others, would not even know about this incident at Oaklawn in ARKANSAS, if it were not for today’s technology and your diligence and fortitude in researching the details of these “self-governing” racing commissioners and their multitudes of sins through the Freedom of Information Act and all that. These horses are all abused and eventually killed in vain. HORSERACING AND PARI-MUTUEL GAMBLING ARE VAIN PURSUITS. There is no redeeming value to abusing horses, regardless of any twisted thing that any twisted person can say. Horses do not deserve this brutality.

  3. This is heartbreaking.
    It’s so bad for these racehorses that they cling to each other while going down in the dirt.
    It’s like “help me” “help me please because I’m about to die.”
    SEA OF HOPE looked for anything to support him while going down and JACKS FIRE BALLS happened to be the closest and he was taken down too.
    This happens often in horse racing whereby 1 victim easily becomes two.
    Tracks are horrific hell holes for racehorses and for people to actually support this, let alone defend it, is repulsive and sadistic.

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