$8.2 Million Filly Breaks Neck at Saratoga

This morning at Saratoga, America’s Joy fractured a sesamoid while “breezing” and, says the Gaming Commission, “broke [her] neck in the fall.” This one has created quite the buzz because AJ, who was three, sold for $8.2 million as a “yearling.” Said trainer Todd Pletcher to the DRF: “It’s very unfortunate, she was a very talented filly…. We hadn’t had her that long, but she trained impressively and was looking forward to her debut on closing day. That was a tough one.” But of course, it was the horse, not the heavily-invested exploiters, who was looking forward to that debut. This, by the way, marks track kill number 11 at Saratoga this summer (a 12th died in his stall).

Yesterday at Saratoga, Whitmore was “vanned off” after the Grade 1 Forego Stakes. His owner/trainer, Ron Moquett, reports that the injury was not catastrophic and the 8-year-old will be “retired”: “It wouldn’t be career-ending, but for us, at his advanced age, what does he owe us?” Indeed: Whitmore “earned” more than $4.5 million for Moquett et al. over the course of his six-year “career.” Moquett added this caveat, however: “There’s definitely something and he has some inflammation, but sometimes these things show up better in two or three days.” In other words, we’ll see.

Also from Saratoga on Travers Day, this from the 10th (another Grade 1): “Graceful Princess was reluctant to load…dropped back under urging near the nine-sixteenths and faltered, then returned bleeding from the nostrils….”

“reluctant to load…returned bleeding from the nostrils”

If this – horseracing – were a court case and I were the prosecutor, how many times do you suppose I would have rested?


  1. This despicable industry needs to be sued for Animal Cruelty!!!!!!
    GRACEFUL PRINCESS dropped back under urging which translates into the jockey was whipping/beating the hell out of her while her air sacs in her lungs were bursting.

    • This short bit of info needs to be sent far and wide for people to finally understand what “beating-a-race-horse-to-death” actually means or looks like. And yes, it should be a felony under most state Penal Codes. Thank you!

    • The jockey never touched the filly. He saw blood come out of her nostril and basically let her canter around the track. She is fine. You shouldn’t spread lies about something you obviously know NOTHING about.

      • Carol Schmelz, read again, SLOWLY – “Graceful Princess was reluctant to load [translation, she DID NOT WANT TO]…dropped back under urging [was being whipped while falling behind] near the nine-sixteenths and faltered, then returned bleeding from the nostrils [I would hope you understand she was suffering from EIPH, bleeding from both nostrils]…”

        That’s a lie, you say? – then you best get a hold of the chart writer because what is reported here is word for word from the chart.

        And the jockey? – if Velazquez noticed her bleeding, the prudent thing to do would have been to pull her up and have her vanned off – you know, “out of an abundance of caution”. Instead he had her continue, “cantering” her around the track, the flow of blood from burst pulmonary capillaries continuing (can’t imagine what that feels like, can you? – certainly isn’t easy to BREATHE when that’s occurring), finishing over 67 lengths behind.

        Animal suffering – but oh “SHE’S FINE”.

  2. You can never rest your case, Patrick, because thoroughbred breeders will always keep pushing for PROGRESSIVELY more freakishly fragile creatures to be raced to death. Trainers will push for PROGRESSIVELY more past-their-breaking-point times. Jockeys will whip them PROGRESSIVELY harder as they become PROGRESSIVELY more exhausted. Most disgustingly, racing officials and so-called regulators (and the ever-diligent racing press) will work PROGRESSIVELY harder to try to hide and cover up the PROGRESSIVELY increasing carnage and cruelty inflicted on racehorses.

    Lots of progressive progress going on in the Sport of Kings.

  3. Ahh yes, the old tiresome obligatory statement spewed by the likes of Todd Pletcher when one of their ‘stars’ breaks down and suffers death. In this case with AMERICA’S JOY, she suffered the catastrophic injury of a fractured sesamoid which caused her to fall and then she breaks her neck catastrophic injury number two in this poor filly’s death.
    So she was impressive in training?
    Unusual for a yet to be raced racehorse to suffer a fractured sesamoid in training.
    Professor Chris Whitton in Australia has publicly stated that in his necropsy findings he comes across injuries only found in racehorses.
    Says it all doesn’t it.

  4. I have had this conversation many times with ‘race trackers.’ I used the analogy of people, our kids etc., racing with these outcomes and they think it is just the cost of doing a sport. Their thinking is so narrow, uncaring, greedy and egotistical! I have also asked them if they are going to keep their race horse through retirement and death. Well, this gets them going because of course, they will find a ‘good’ home IF the horse lasts that long. It is completely disgusting.

  5. Isn’t it ODD that the industry and its paid mouthpieces write about, post, tweet and whatever else they can think of to share the news of American Joy’s death? – yet those same folks do not and will not do the same for the “cheap claimers” (the industry’s words, not mine) that die damn near every day. Why is that?

    Also, the same apologists who willfully ignore the confirmed deaths reported on HW are responding with such “sorrow” over AJ’s training injury and death. And why is that? Do only the high-priced, elite racehorses matter to you? Or is it that you’d all rather not acknowledge the thousands of racing and training deaths because doing so would make you look damn monstrous for supporting such an unnecessary death machine that is horseracing?

    • YES. Awesome post Joy. I hope they all rot (the people) in this gambling racket. I could NOT have more contempt for the sacks of **** in this business.

  6. It should be common sense now that Horseracing Kills. Sooner or later, these majestic horses will die at the hands of human abuse, whippings, horrific and totally unnecessary injuries, all for a waste of time, so-called sport.

  7. The minute she set foot in Todd Pletcher’s barn, she was doomed, although I guess the same could be said for any of the animal abusing sadists that hide under the name trainer and enjoy complete freedom from repercussions. Hell, they even have a Hall of Fame for these disgusting parasites where they laud their petty achievements, all built on the bodies of abused, mangled, and dead horses.

    • Yearlings are put through hell to be prepped for racing and being sold at auction. This whole scenario is absolutely DESPICABLE!!!!

  8. How could Whitmore’s trainer be so calm mentioning the swelling and just say “we’ll see”. Whitmore has won millions of dollars racing so I would think everyone would be a lot more concerned with his injury. Did anyone know about the injury before Whitmore started the race, if so, maybe he should have been pulled before the race started. Thank God Whitmore has been retired and won’t be run again.

  9. So very sorry to hear about America’s Joy. Todd Flecher ddn’t sound very upset, he dd mention that she was a good filly, it was an unfortunate inccident because they were looking forward to watching her race. Looking forward for all the money America’s Joy would win.

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