Vertical Threat Killed at Churchill

In the 10th at Churchill yesterday, Vertical Threat, says the chartwriter, “clipped heels, fell, [and was] vanned off.” That’s almost always fatal, and indeed it was; the 4-year-old, I can confirm, is dead. Much sadness, I’m sure, for the “connections” – owners MyRacehorse, Slam Dunk Racing; trainer Richard Baltas – as Vertical had run a Grade 1 at Del Mar in July and was averaging over $30K a start. Oh, all that money lost.

37 Comments

  1. Rough Entry was the clip horse. They were so busy talking about Necker Island winning this was an afterthought

  2. From one of Vertical Threat’s many owners; “Vertical Threat fought through a few injuries to win 3 stakes races and give us all one hell of a ride. Today is a sad day, and this will hurt for a while, but what a ride it was.”

    Now isn’t that what you’d say when your family member, your CHILD, dies making money for you in his dangerous job? – this will hurt for a while but he gave us a hell of a ride?!?

    Industry members can claim that BS (the horses are like their own family/children) until they’re blue in the face…but the truth always comes out. The horses are nothing but tools of the trade and the only thing owners are “hurt” about is the loss of their cash cow.

    (And VT had a “few injuries”? – good GOD they made certain to race him to his grave.)

    • Joy, that’s exactly what they did — they made sure to race VERTICAL THREAT to his inevitable end as an injured racehorse and as you said, a tool of this immoral trade. These psychopaths don’t know how to roll any other way. The almighty dollar reigns supreme over a horse’s life in this immoral trade of using innocent living beings as gambling chips, until they kill them.

      • One of many Vertical Threat owners here. He was healthy, and training well. His bone chips from a year ago were treated exactly the same as bone chips are treated in NFL players. We didnt make money on him because he got the best medical care available.
        Another horse clipped him, hardly his fault.
        We loved the horse.

        • Horses should not be used for a gambling racket that breaks their body and minds down. Would you put your child in a situation where the odds were very high it would kill or maim your child?

          • Bonnie, never had a child. Probably not relevant but I played football and suffer life long from it.
            I dont share your opinion horse racing should be banned, but it’s a valid opinion. The deaths should be publicized more. I prefer that the protests lead to legitimate changes but if the industry refuses, the ban will eventually occur.
            Many of the deaths are unsound horses running, usually too old to be running. In this case a horse near the front had some kind of injury and was properly pulled up by the jockey to limit the injury. That horse fell but walked away. Either that horse or another clipped Vertical Threat, and he had a horrible fall with awful injuries. Fortunately they were able to sedate him quickly.
            One thing I don’t like is the tracks refusing to publicize the deaths. All I saw on the feed when watching was the other horse being pulled up and then Vertical Threat’s head going down. The announcer said he fell and after the race said the 2 jockeys were ok. Nothing about the horses.
            I have cried mostly non stop since Sunday night. In that regard I guess it is like a kid. Saw him race in person several times, was in his barn playing with him

        • James Mitchell, you say it was hardly his fault. No one here said it was the horse’s fault. The fault of the horse being put at an extremely high risk of injury leading to death of the horse belongs to the human participants, which includes you.

          • Wanda, it’s an extremely low risk of injury and death. I do more dangerous things with my body periodically.

            • Okay, James, you have a choice as a human being and you are still alive. The horse didn’t have a choice and he is dead. You call that low-risk…???

            • Here’s the thing James …if they don’t die being forced to race,then they go to the slaughter house. The most minuscule of these dear babies go to “stud”.

            • An “extremely low risk of injury and death”? – is that what you tell yourself while 99.99% of other owners/trainers/fans pray and wish for the horses to just finish the race uninjured and in one piece? If we had a dime for every time we heard or read that, those of us who rescue your industry’s discarded and crippled racehorses would be able to rescue a great deal more. They PRAY and WISH because they KNOW what a dangerous activity horseracing is for horse and jockey.

              Here, Barry Irwin from the 4-15-2015 Bleacher Report; “I think it’s tough being a racehorse. You have a lot of concussion, a lot of pounding, and being in a horse race can be a very hard experience physically on a horse’s body”. It sure is – your poor racing slave, from the chart; “Vertical Threat was bumped around at the start…”. Imagine the blunt force his body endured, being slammed into by other 1,000-pound horses. I loaded many racehorses onto my trailer, so body sore from the race the evening before – it didn’t take too long before the reality of this unnecessary gambling industry set in and left me with shame that I had, at one time, loved and supported it.

              You do more dangerous things with your body? – hey, have at it…at least you get to make your own choices.

              And one more thing, put yourself in Vertical Threat’s shoes; find yourself a dangerous job, hand over every penny of your earnings to your boss (who will house you in a 12X12 shed and let you out long enough for you to make money for him), but here’s where you’ll get a heads-up unlike every racehorse ever born – just know that around your prime age, your boss will throw you out of that shed (he’ll have a younger, “healthier” worker waiting in the wings for it) and you’ll be left with NOTHING (except degenerative arthritis, likely some chips and possibly a tendon) and will be begging for a home. But it’s not so bad…they LOVED you!

            • I’m stunned you would actually claim the risk is low. 1000 racing death annually (according to the Jockey Club) and many thousands slaughtered. Those are “athletes” who don’t get a choice. What is your definition of dangerous? Do you know how many human athletes (who choose to participate) actually die? Virtually none. I’d hate to see your definition of dangerous.

        • As one of “many owners” of Vertical Threat, how well did you actually KNOW him? Yea ok you played with him a few times at the barn. Big whup. You’re many tears are lost on him, because if you really knew him, you could not have subjected him to the dangers and painful death he had. If you really knew the horses you could not subject the next one to this possible death, or life long pain from lingering injuries.
          And FYI, my OTTBs have never fallen over each other in their pastures.

          • Marie,
            Thanks! I was aware of his breeding, parents and grandparents, their medical and racing history. Was aware and knowledgeable of Vertical Threat’s medical history, the details of his treatment, and the work ups after each race. He got better medical treatment than I do. None of that is related to his fall and death. While none of us can hear them speak, I have seen ones who refuse to run, or arent enthusiastic, as well as ones who do it enthusiastically. If they are sick or over trained
            (a definite problem), it can be determined. Similar to sled dog racing, if you have ever been up close. You are able to figure out which trainers are bad, and stay away from them
            I am aware society is moving toward risk aversion, this is an example.
            What is your point? I am grieving my horse’s tragic death.

            • Hopefully the grief you’re experiencing, Mr. Mitchell, over Vertical Threat’s avoidable death (for your entertainment) will open your eyes to the thousands of horse deaths in this industry that has no business existing in a civilized society.

              Racehorse deaths are not merely unavoidable accidents – every horse made to race is guaranteed to be put at more risk of dying than my horses who make their own choices when to run (which is hardly ever, actually – even the TB ex-racehorses) and when not to. They have self-preservation working for them, something a racehorse in the midst of a running “herd” with a jockey on his back has been stripped of.

          • Oh, and, I have seen mentioned in multiple places now that Rough Entry was possibly euthanized also. So, possibly 2 dead horses in the same race?? No so low- risk or rare, sadly.

        • Another “we loved this horse” track connection here trying to excuse the exploitation of a sentient being by using that magic phrase. Love wouldn’t confine a horse to a stall 23 hours a day. Love wouldn’t use whips to force him to run. Love wouldn’t continue to race a horse despite previous injuries. If Vertical Threat had survived his days of exploitation for profit on the track, did you have a plan of retirement for him? I know, you guys always say you do, but I’m not talking about a sale to some obscure buyer where the horse winds up starved to death or in the kill pen, and you can claim no actual responsibility because you weren’t the owner at the time.
          Your talk of loving this horse is an insult to those of us who own horses and do truly love them, and would never for a moment think of exploiting them for profit or using them in an industry that cripples and kills thousands of horses EVERY YEAR. If you’re looking for sympathy, you won’t find it here. Try the Paulick Report.

  3. And of course, the poor baby’s owner was that corniest of dumb scumbags “my racehorse”. You know that desperation “ownership” corny crap the industry came up with to make “ordinary folk” feel like they are a part of horse killing ….er, I mean the noble horse racing uneducated scum. 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  4. James Mitchell, I sincerely hope that you are able to achieve the “adulting” mode and take responsibility for your part in the death of a racehorse. The racetracks make millions of dollars by using the horses as gambling chips!!!!!! IF you want them to report the killings in an open and honestly transparent manner, you will need to make a decision to stop participating in this industry that exploits horses for wagering revenue and the corporate welfare to keep it propped up. The people who own and operate the racetracks and the wagering accounts are NEVER GOING TO BE TRULY TRANSPARENT. So don’t hold your breath.
    Hint: the racetracks don’t want the “negative” publicity of dead racehorses on their record. At the very least, the people who are taking/raking in the big money (the wagering account owners and the members of the HBPA) want people (the general population) to be ignorant, unaware, uninformed, oblivious, and/or in denial of the real suffering that the horses must endure every day of their lives, and most of the horses’ lives are cut multiple years short of their normal life-span. It isn’t rocket science that horseracing is dangerous for the horses and once in a great while even a jockey is killed on the track, but the human participants are considered to have a choice. Why? Because as far as the laws are concerned, human slavery was outlawed many years ago.
    Let this industry die and stop the injuring and the killing of horses. The horse as a gambling chip is a horse that is doomed.

  5. Why should RESCUE organizations be left to clean up the broken down bodies,minds,SOULS, of all the horses who have been DUMPED by this corny industry? Why should the MAJORITY of horses go to slaughter. I hate to tell all of you leeches involved in this gambling racket, but ya’ll will definitely not be making the cut …to go to the desirable place. (If ya catch my drift).#SAD.

  6. Very recently I got a wake-up call ..when I tried to help a RESCUE org. get a horse HOME from Puerto Rico,where the life of abuse had gotten even way worse. I told the RESCUE I live very close to a very wealthy “horse country” Chester County,Pennsylvania, and I would try some of my contacts who participated in The Devon horse show for decades. To a person, they told me …”no dice”. They told me there are too many horses and most are just “there” in a pasture, just languishing away. This is SOLEY the RESPONSIBILITY of the horse racing industry, creating too many lives, who were DOOMED from the second they came out of their Mother’s Birth canal.

  7. My husband and I were part owners of Vertical Threat (his 70th birthday present) and while he had bad luck…if no luck at all…his winning races were spectacular! He had BOTH Mr. Prospector and Buckpasser top and bottom (sire & dam) and was a thrill to watch. When he made his move…usually…he came flying–just as he did Saturday night. There is always a chance every time a racehorse sets foot on a track that they might not come back–but then again, they’ll race in a pasture all by themselves if that’s all that’s possible. We are grieving a life cut too short way too soon, and your comments are just “piling on.”

    • You should be feeling some guilt along with your grief. Speaking of “piling on” the fact is that horses don’t “race” in the pasture, so save that bull manure for your own fertilizer.

    • Say that to the millions of DEAD thoroughbreds who met painful,lonely torturous horrific DEATHS by this industry chewing them up and spitting them out.

    • Horses are prey animals. They have an inherent desire to conserve energy in case it is needed to escape predators. While they may engage in short bursts around the pasture, they do not move at breakneck speeds for prolonged periods of time, and they are able to adjust their movements according to how they are feeling, unlike in racing where the jockey repeatedly slaps them with a whip if they try to slow down. Using the pasture vs. racetrack equivalent when talking about injuries is simply ignorance.

      • It’s a lame justification for wrongdoing so somehow the lie becomes a delusional effort to proclaim innocence. The humans that supported the pre-programmed and pre-planned routine abuse to VERTICAL THREAT and all horses exploited by the racing industry are not innocent. The horse was exploited by humans for humans. The horse was forced to run under saddle, under the weight of a whip-wielding jockey and under the threat of being whipped and actually whipped. The horse was running on a racetrack because of selfish, greedy psychopathic human beings. He was not allowed to be anything other than a slave and a tool.

  8. Read through all the comments. I am one of VT’s owners. I have 2 horses now in my backyard, at least one of which was saved from slaughter (not a TB). I’ve owned an OTTB. I have adopted horses, donated to horse causes, and volunteered, including at Best Friends in Kanab, UT. I’ve been to and donated some serious $$$ to Old Friends in KY. I’ve been a vegetarian as much of my life as I have not. I love animals.

    There are a lot of harsh and unfair statements here. Us owners invested less than the cost of going to a concert on this horse. We own a fraction of a fraction of a percent of ownership. Despite that, people actually love and care about this horse, myself included. Instead of judging people, why don’t you ask people why they are drawn to this and actually make an effort to understand them?

    Thanks for asking. For me, I wanted to learn the industry from the inside, ensure that the horses I own a small piece of are taken care of, and see if horses love to run and race. Never once did I think I would win money and the losses are far far far worse than any stock or mutual fund I’ve owned, so no, I don’t think there are many people who do this for $$$ from the MRH side of things.

    What I’ve learned is that every horse I’ve owned has been remarkably well taken care of. The horses that clearly don’t want to run or simply are not good at it have been given other opportunities and I’m grateful to still receive updates on almost all of then. I do not feel as though these horses were forced to do much of anything, at least not for long. But you can clearly tell that some horses want to and enjoy racing, and to deny that is simply disingenuous. It was fun watching such horses, and VT was definitely one of them. He brought a lot of joy to a lot of people and in that sense his life had a lot of purpose that is sadly more than many many horses.

    I’ve also seen more injuries than I am comfortable with and death. To me, the cost of the sport is too high. There is nothing fun or fulfilling about seeing an animal suffer, accident or otherwise, and I am glad and grateful to have made this determination. I will try and convince others, but certainly not as done here.

    I am glad I participated in this sport. I learned. I enjoyed the thrill of the races. I’ve enjoyed more the daily updates seeing my horses looking happy, healthy, and having fun. But I’m done with it going forward for the reasons discussed above. Please be a bit more sensitive in your comments. You don’t know us, our motivations, or our commitment to horse welfare. You may find that some of us have done quite a bit more than any of you, and spending a few dollars to own a tiny part of a racehorse doesn’t change that. Thank you for your consideration.

    • Duly noted. I think you are being judgemental to suggest that we have no experience. You have not read all of the posts and familiarized yourself with the numerous individuals who are involved in the advocacy of stopping the CRUELTIES inherent to horseracing and wagering. Many people on this site have been there and done that. There is a great need for the banning of horseracing. Many thousands of Thoroughbreds and Quarter Horses will be sent to slaughter at some point if they aren’t killed on the breeding/training farms or the grounds of the racetracks. There is no kindness involved there. Some people think that if a horse is not slaughtered for their meat, that they are going to waste. I find that completely repulsive and disgustingly disturbing. The idea that a horse must be exploited in some way in order to make some people “happy” is also disturbing.

    • William, that is all fine and dandy ….but, it is a mere drop in the proverbial bucket. Too many have been tortured and killed by slaughter,evil abuse,neglect,etc.,and the thing is there’s going to be more,until this scourge of using animals as gambling chips is outlawed. It’s really no different than dog fighting,greyhound racing,bull fighting,etc. The majority of the humans involved in this industry do not PROVIDE FOREVER HOMES. Humans and this scam industry cannot be fixed. Stick with betting your money on humans. It is sooooo fun to watch when one of the wealthy spends 1.5 million on a yearling (or an even more insane amount),and the horse really does squat! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 the horses are NEVER worth those astronomical insane amounts. It’s like they are compensating.

    • If you have seen more injuries and death than you are comfortable with, why would you want to participate in and be a part of such an industry? The thrill of the races? Watching horses too physically and emotionally underdeveloped to be running being literally beaten down the track under the guise of “ sport”? You honestly think horses are having “fun” with forced participation in an event where they feel pain?
      Your comment that Vertical Threat’s life has a lot of purpose, which is more than could be said for many horses, is the bottom line of the racing industry. To you, horses have no purpose unless they are earning you money. ALL life has purpose, Mr. Morris. You think we don’t know you or your motivation? You just revealed yourself, not that you weren’t already transparent.

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