Training Kill at Tioga Makes It 11 Standardbred Deaths in NY This Year

Solo Story is dead after snapping a leg while training at Tioga Downs Friday. The 8-year-old was euthanized where he lay.

When it comes to racehorse deaths, the focus has always been on Thoroughbreds, and to a lesser extent, Quarterhorses. The Standardbreds always seem to get lost in the shuffle. And that is sad, for while they don’t break down as often as their cousins – different body type, different kind of racing – they do indeed die out there (and, of course, back in their stalls and at the slaughterhouse). In NY alone, this is the seventh on-track kill at a harness track this year; including stall deaths, the tally is 11.


  1. Absolutely the standardbreds get forgotten.
    And they have such sweet natures.
    I often feel guilty that I haven’t been able to carry on the advocacy work my late father did for them.
    Many decades ago, he exposed in the media, with the help of the state Premier of NSW at the time, the long cruel whips made of bamboo. Harness racing said they’d get rid of them and introduce a ‘kinder’ whip.
    Guess what they did, they painted the bamboo whips with a dark brown paint to fool everyone and got away with it. These horses are trapped in all that restrictive gear, many wear blinkers restricting their vision which makes them feel insecure, cannot come out of a trot YET they’re whipped to go faster so naturally they feel the need to canter or gallop to go faster. It’s so bloody SICK.

      • On 1 January 2010 harness racing in Australia changed its whip rules. It did not ban the whip nor the whipping of the horses. They didn’t want the whipping to be so highly visible to the public so they tweaked the rules. The horses are allowed to be whipped to ‘encourage’ them. The standardbreds continue to be whipped in harness racing.

        • Not true Carolyn. Whipping the horse is a violation. The rules are written so that it’s impossible to whip the horse without a violation. The whip is 4 ft long with a 6 inch snapper. You can not place both lines in one hand to use the whip in the other. You can not raise the whip from the shoulder or elbow, you can only flick with the wrist. You can not jab the horse with the whip or use the whip below the shaft or between the horses legs. If the rules are followed it’s impossible to whip the horse. If you do whip the horse you will be fined. The rules are basically the same as in the US.

          Prior to the rule changes you could put the lines in one hand and wail on the horse with the whip in the other hand. You can’t do that anymore and everyone knows that a horse doesn’t respond in a desirable way to whipping.

          • I’ve just watched a replay of a harness race which took place a few days ago here in NSW. 3 horses were being whipped when drivers (jockeys) were hell bent on getting to the finish line first.
            No breaching of the whip rules.
            No violations of the whip rules.

            And we know that the horses were being violated.

                • I just watched a dozen and didn’t see any whipping. It looks just like US racing.

                    • That was not called for. It would be very helpful if you posted a link to what you were watching. I was around harness racing for years and to an untrained eye it might appear as if the horse is being struck when they’re not, most commonly in the stretch when the driver is striking the shaft. Those horses are incredibly well trained, they respond to a shake of the lines or a whip on the shaft. I also think it’s important not to spread misinformation on this website if we want people to take it seriously.

    • We have taught horses how to drive & we never used a whip or a closed , blinders equipped bridle ever. We used our voice or a light wiggling of the reins to ask them to move forward.

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