Del Mar’s “Nothing Short of Terrific” Opening Weekend: At Least Two Dead Horses

Two horses were killed during morning training at Del Mar yesterday. First, 3-year-old Needless to Say dropped dead of what The San Diego Union-Tribune is calling “an apparent heart attack.” Again, she was three – a pubescent. Then, less than an hour later, Arson, two and being prepped for his debut, snapped a leg and was euthanized.

On Del Mar’s website, CEO Joe Harper said of this, the opening weekend: “You can’t get much better than this. I’d have to say it was nothing short of terrific. Our horsemen have stepped up and delivered and the Del Mar magic is working its spell. What’s not to like about a summer at the beach with fast horses, enthusiastic fans and all the sweet sunshine and breeze. How could I call it anything but terrific.”

Super proud, huh, Joe? “Nothing short of terrific”? That old “Del Mar magic working its spell”? Three days in, and already two carcasses. (And actually, it may be three, as Contagion was an “injured, vanned off” in the 10th last night.) Vile, to the core.

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  1. In 1966 in Lewiston, Idaho and in 1985-86 in Kennewick, Washington the newspaper of each respective city only reported on the WAGERING HANDLE and whether or not they would continue having a race meet. The viability of horseracing in their respective cities was an issue along with the wagering handle. I was not aware of any horses being killed at that time. I never did see the racing at Sun Downs in Kennewick. I don’t know if they had catastrophic life-ending breakdowns. If they did, they were not reported on in the newspaper. So, at the very least, I give some credit to “The San Diego Union-Tribune” for reporting on the reality of HORSERACING at Del Mar.

  2. I watched your protest on the news last night and am so thankful to you and your protestors and your Director for making a solid stand for these poor horses. The jobs that the Gaming Commission references does not equal or justify the acceptance of horse abuse and horse slaughter. Horse racing is a dirty business and the horses are victimized on a consistent basis. It has to stop. I support you along with several others in rescuing these horses from this industry that has been consumed with making money at the extreme expense of innocent horses.
    Please stay strong in this fight.

  3. This is in regards to Midnight Bourbon(The wording here makes me uneasy as they did not say “X-rays show no injuries”. I wonder if this means poor guy has existing issues and its only a matter of time.

    They did X-rays on him and jogged him this morning,” said David Fiske, the stable’s longtime general manager. “The X-rays were no different than what they showed before the race and he seems to be jogging better today than he was yesterday.

    • Autumn, thanks for update. This could have been catastrophic for all concerned. And I love MB(gorgeous sweetheart).

  4. I think Contagion represents a unique problem for the whole Del Mar machine. Somebody (everybody) there knew he was not okay to run in a stakes race yesterday; he was the longest long-shot of the field, yet he’d been on a consistent win-or-place streak for his last five races at the SADT. Plus, he was “trained” by the notorious Peter Miller. Just couldn’t handle the higher class? Yeah, right.
    More likely he was pre-injured — as so many of them are — but his loving connections just wanted to keep pushing that win-streak til he couldn’t do another step. Can’t wait to see his racing (non-)future. That is, IF he survives this week.

    • I think using the word “magic” is a euphemism of sorts for glossing over the reality of the sadistic cruelty to the horses being EXPLOITED for the WAGERING HANDLE revenue and PROFITS, plus the location of Del Mar is conducive to a party or vacation type of atmosphere as far as I know. It’s all about the money for this venue. It’s a business.

      • I think Kelly was being facetious. There is no magic in this vile “business” except that many of these beautiful creatures “Magic”ally disappear after they get to the gate. They are vanned off. That’s magic, huh? Many do not even want to get into the gate. If these overworked creatures “love to race” so much, why do they not run to get into the gate to start their race?

        • It’s too bad that these heartless heathens (that lock their horses up in stalls for 23 hours a day and take them out for an hour and beat them with whips — for “SAFETY” of course, what else — and use the chains, metal bits and tongue ties in the horses’ mouths) could not experience the “magic of Alcatraz” because these perverted, compulsive liars deserve it so much!!!

  5. “The x-rays were no different than what they showed before the race”.
    So what did the pre race x-rays show?
    “Seems to be jogging better than he was yesterday”! SEEMS to be…..either he is or he isn’t!
    Talk about ambiguous!!

  6. Like Harper, Josh Rubenstein, president and CEO of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, was quoted in the San Diego Union Tribune today as saying “everyone here was devastated” by the news of the deaths. “We love our horses. Safety is absolutely our top priority,” he said. But then in discussing the handle, noting the opening 3 day total was up compared to last year, Rubenstein said it was “an incredible start to the season.” Can’t let a couple of greatly loved, but now dead horses dampen your enthusiasm for making lots of money.

  7. Craig Dado, Chief Marketing Officer for the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, touting the new protocols at the track, told NBC news on opening day that “the culture has really turned around. It is all about equine safety from the trainers to the owners and all the way down to track management.” Turned around?? Hmmm…….and exactly what was the culture before it “turned around” and embraced the concept of equine safety?

    • The public relations department can only take that line of “Del Mar magic” so far. Their attempt to create an illusion that horse racing is not FUNDAMENTALLY INHUMANE is not working here.

  8. Horses dying for entertainment. Nope, Joe is right, you can’t get much better than this. I’m sure as those horse lay in agony on the track they were enjoying the sweet sunshine and the breeze. That ol’ magic just keeps working its spell as sentient beings are dragged out of their near-constant confinement long enough to be beaten down the track for those enthusiastic ( and morally bankrupt) fans.
    How COULD you call this archaic butcher show anything but terrific?

  9. This is such FN Insanity! None of this needs to happen! Please may the wrath of God come down on the evil doers of this animal cruelty!

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