Medina Spirit Collapses and Dies (Yes, This Is a Common Occurrence in This Vile Industry)

The big news of the day – covered by ESPN, CNN, and everyone in between – is the death of Medina Spirit while training at Santa Anita this morning: “collapsed on the track and died suddenly of a probable cardiac event,” says the track. Pity trainer Bob Baffert as he had ostensibly received a bit of good news last week on Medina’s split test from the Kentucky Derby: the betamethasone positive came from an ointment and not an injection, at least according to his lawyer.

So, another pubescent racehorse (Medina was just three) has simply dropped dead. While this one is the most famous, let us not forget that this is a common occurrence in “The Sport of Kings.” Here are some of the others from just this year:

Treasured Bond, Jan 3, Mahoning T – “collapsed on track, deceased when arrived”
Doc Gardner, Jan 4, Mahoning S – “found dead”
From the Get Go, Jan 5, Turf S – “sudden death”
Cali Caliente, Jan 9, Santa Anita T – “collapsed, got up, did circles, collapsed, death”
That’s Official, Jan 12, Monticello T – “collapsed…died on track”
Favored, Jan 15, Gulfstream R – “fell and perished on the track”
Noor Khan, Jan 17, Los Alamitos T – “staggered, collapsed, [died]”
He’s a Gold Digger, Feb 17, Charles Town T – “heart attack”
Trivial, Feb 17, Hawthorne T – “after returning [to barn] horse collapsed dead”
Sweet Boy, Feb 20, Golden Gate T – “galloped out and fell over dead”
Wicksters Dream, Feb 24, Gulfstream R – “collapsed midway around the turn”
Rockshaw, Feb 25, Oaklawn T – “dropped dead after training”
Rustic Canyon, Feb 26, San Luis Rey T – “collapsed, sudden death, spontaneously”
Bm One Rare Rocket, Feb 27, Oaklawn S – “found dead”
Lunar Heat, Mar 2, Mahoning S – “found dead”
Ultimate Justice, Mar 6, Charles Town T – “sudden death”
Daddy’s Angel, Mar 6, Oaklawn T – “collapsed and died”
Cam Funny, Mar 8, Monticello S – “found dead”
Kiss Me Dave, Mar 20, Aqueduct R – “fell fatally”
Nomadess, Mar 30, Los Alamitos T – “pulled up, dropped dead”
Sparkling Unicorn, Mar 30, Turf S – “sudden death”
Officers Club, Apr 14, Hoosier R – “died on track, heart defect”
Three Babes, Apr 15, Hoosier R – “pulmonary hemorrhage”
T C’s Image, Apr 19, Will Rogers S – “cerebrum hemorrhage”
Pleasant Wish, Apr 24, Tampa Bay R – “cardiovascular event – sudden death”
Allgorilla, Apr 24, Tampa Bay R – “collapsed, sudden death”
Cougartown Blues, Apr 26, Indiana R – “collapsed on track, pulmonary hemorrhage”
S K Flyer, Apr 30, Tampa Bay R – “fell to the track, sudden death”
Communicator, May 3, Penn T – “sudden death”
Zeke the Streak, May 3, Thistledown S – “found deceased”
Wishful, May 9, Monmouth S – “found dead”
Runs for Luck, May 11, Parx R – “collapsed, sudden death”
Smoke ‘n’ Gloat, May 13, Gulfstream R – “collapsed”
Harvest, May 13, Hoosier R – “sudden death on track”
Mister Bobby, May 13, Saratoga T – “collapsed and died”
My Emmally, May 14, Charles Town R – “collapsed and died”
Charlie’s Heir, May 22, Arlington R – “horse went down, had a few spasms, and died”
Geometrico, May 24, Palm Meadows S – “found [dead]”
Pearls in Charge, May 25, Belterra R – “distress, pulled herself up, collapsed, died”
Bunnings, May 26, Indiana T – “pulmonary hemorrhage”
Tapitena, Jun 5, Finger Lakes S – “suddenly collapsed and expired”
Delicious Pursuit, Jun 5, Lone Star R – “acute death”
Apocalypse, Jun 11, Vernon R – “heart attack”
Registrant, Jun 12, Los Alamitos R – “sudden death”
G Q Girl, Jun 14, Thistledown R – “collapsed, died”
Music Babe, Jun 16, Golden Gate T – “sudden death”
Perrys Dinamite, Jun 17, Arizona T – “sudden death”
Snazzy Cazzy, Jun 17, Golden Gate S – “sudden death”
Tia Vicky, Jun 21, Belmont S – “found deceased”
Easy Return, Jun 24, Sam Houston T – “possible cardiac”
Charge Into War, Jun 26, Belmont R – “cardiac arrest”
Rio Seco, Jul 4, Arlington R – “[sudden death], [possible] heat exhaustion/stroke”
Straightupp, Jul 6, Ruidoso T – “collapsed, sudden death”
Needless to Say, Jul 18, Del Mar T – “apparent heart attack”
Bruce, Aug 2, Los Alamitos S – “sudden death – aortic rupture”
Wasn’t Me, Aug 26, Saratoga T – “possible heart attack”
Kat Eye Kylie, Sep 6, Ruidoso R – “unknown, [just died]”
Baltimore Bucko, Sep 16, Belmont R – “fell fatally to the ground”
Holdfast, Sep 16, Golden Gate T – “sudden death”
Left Alone, Sep 19, Golden Gate T – “sudden death”
Fulmini, Oct 9, Gulfstream R – “collapsed and died”
Kakistocracy, Oct 14, Santa Anita T – “sudden death”
Favorite Doc, Oct 16, Los Alamitos R – “sudden death”
Luca’s Ride, Oct 17, Los Alamitos R – “fell, sudden death”


  1. What? You mean it doesn’t only happen to baby horses trained by the Celebrated Creepy-Caricature-Looking, Horse-Killing Robert “SlimeBob” Baffert? Huh. For a minute there, I thought horse racing had found its villain. Oh well. I guess the search continues…

    • They are all villains. And of course the “oh I’m so heartbroken ” script used for every event of this nature is happening all day.

      • i agree. all so called sports but which exist because of the gambling industry. greyhound trainers sell the dogs to China and they are ending up in the meat markets.hey are flayed and boiled alive. Race horses get injuries from pushing their bodies, young, too far and end up shot for their meat. I loath and detest deeply all those who are involved in this industry .

  2. Just look at this god damn list of poor horses that have died this past year for the sake of the useless pieces of shit involved in this horrible so called sport of champions. OMG this could not be further from the truth. You bastards all need to be wiped off the face of this earth for the abuse and trauma you place on these gorgeous horses – there isn’t one of you worth a god damn. I hope to hello Karma cuts your lives short as well – you deserve nothing better.

  3. All of the connections SHOULD BE IN JAIL!!! They forced the horses to do what is UN-NATURAL!!!! THE HUMAN PARTICIPANTS deliberately CAUSED the horses to suffer in pain and fear and pain and fear and more pain and more fear and eventually death, some sooner AND some later.
    I anticipate the usual FALSEHOODS PERPETRATED BY THE PERPETRATORS: None of the dead horses died doing what they loved!!!! The MORALLY DEPRAVED human participants SALIVATED over the EVIL PURSUIT OF ILL-GOTTEN GAINS while abusing and deliberately causing the deaths to MEDINA SPIRIT and all of the horses listed above. So now everyone has to be prepared to tolerate the FILTHY LIES THAT THESE HORSE-ABUSERS will spew out of their filthy, lying mouths in their attempt to get away with murder again and again including this time. The horse must not have been killed in vain, meaning activism to stop the CORPORATE WELFARE to the horseracing industry in all states regardless of what terminology is used; tax breaks, tax incentives, back-room dirty deals, subsidies, Video Lottery Terminal payments, etc.
    The voices of the horses are QUASHED BY RACING PARTICIPANTS.

  4. Another beautiful horse life snuffed out like a candle in the wind. This industry is a black mark on all of the low life creeps involved.

  5. I want to see this industry closed down and done away with forever. End the breeding of horses that suffer and die for human greed.

  6. Again, just as I said recently … this industry is tearing infant babies away from their Mothers, whipping them to run at breakneck speeds (beyond their capabilities) and yet these “people” don’t think that causes undo stress on a baby? Whether you’re animal or human stress kills. (Especially the heart organ).

  7. California’s Golden Boy Bob Baffert – oooops I’ve done it again!
    I’ve killed another racehorse who, more than likely, had an equine insurance policy in place – hmmmm!
    The suspicious circumstances surrounding the drug positive from Medina Spirit’s post-Derby test is from horse racing’s playbook including the fact that the split sample supposedly broke while being transported for additional testing – oooops they did it again!
    They were going to make sure that the “ointment” was to blame come hell or high water even if it meant unsavory circumstances leading up to the announcement that his attorney made yesterday.
    I don’t believe it for one second because that’s how corrupt this state-sponsored killing business operates.
    They wanted to make sure Medina Spirit died a Champion and isn’t the timing just so coincidental?
    I predict, just to put the icing on the cake, within days the deeply corrupt Kentucky Horse Racing Commission will announce that their Golden Boy is cleared of everything and reinstated – ooooops they will do it again just like they reinstated a guilty cobra injecting “Trainer” Patrick Biancone after a so-called lifetime suspension.
    All racehorses on every track is one step away from dying no matter who their exploiters are, but they are all suffering before they go down in the dirt..
    No it’s not about a sociopathic monster called Bob Baffert because racehorses die for this business every single damn day!
    Teflon Bob is laughing all the way home tonight because oooops he got off again!

    • Gina, you wrote exactly what I was thinking when I heard about this.
      There are many excellent comments here that express how we all feel, but yours really nails what I believe is the ugly truth behind this death. That poor horse was nothing if not tortured every day of its life.
      They ALL were.

    • Exactly, Gina, on each of your points. Baffert and the industry that provides him with the means to make a financial killing while killing horses have no moral compass – they are incapable of telling the truth. When Medina Spirit’s initial drug test post-Kentucky Derby came back positive for betamethasone, Baffert said (and I kept the video because I knew he was lying) that no one (including himself AND the vet) had administered the drug to the colt. Of course, that was a blatant lie and only a few days later, the new story was the colt had been treated for a skin condition with an “ointment” containing the steroid. Baffert had a KD contender YET was unaware he required a veterinarian-prescribed treatment for DAYS prior to the race?!? – LIAR or just that clueless?

      And of course the “ointment” story is now all a moot point – regardless of the ROUTE of the betamethasone, the RULES are NO AMOUNT may be present in the horse’s system on race day and 14 days prior (per the KHRC). But 7 months later, they remained incapable of following their own rules – only the occasional nobody-scapegoat gets a wrist slap to make it appear as if they do.

    • How many DEATHS [horses] does it take [to quote Bob Dylan]
      “Yes, and how many times must a man look up
      Before he can see the sky?
      And how many ears must one man have
      Before he can hear people cry?
      Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
      That too many people [horses] have died?
      The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
      The answer is blowin’ in the wind”
      WAKE UP PEOPLE! Baffert is one of the worst “sociopaths” on the planet and should have banned from every touching any horse again.

  8. Sarah Doull

    What do we have to do to outlaw horse racing once and for all? The horrible nightmare of abusive treatment and excruciating pain these horses are clearly going through, killing many of them in their tracks, is being ignored and has gone on far too long. Why don’t governments and legislators step in and bring this outdated insanity to an end. What can we do to fight the big money that apparently stands in the way.

  9. Patrick, Maureen Callahan of the New York Post commenting on Medina Spirit passing and quoting you.

  10. With all the media attention Medina Spirit’s tragic death is getting, this seems to be a good time to submit op-eds, lte’s, etc., to speak of this young horse’s death and mention others who’ve met the same fate. And a few media reports are giving more time/space to those who want to end horseracing, which is great.
    So Medina Spirit tests positive for an illegal substance…oh wait, it was not illegal because it was applied to the hide (steroids for a wound?) and not injected? Oh, then it must just be a one-time over-rubbing of too much steroid, but nah, no injections of anything else….
    One report said Medina Spirit had just re-started his “training”–his second workout–after seven months? Has he been penned in a stable for since his Derby race? If so, why? What else has been going into his system? What would cause “heart failure” of a three-year old? There may be quite a few conditions that could cause such a young death, but with a good prosecutor, a few might qualify as felonies. I wish someone would have said that the necropsy could NOT be done under the auspices of the CA Horse Racing Board. Of course, they will cover their own behinds as well as many others, to make Medina Spirit’s death was as “clean” as can be and then shed more crocodile tears.

    • NORAH O’DONNELL of CBS NEWS mentioned MEDINA SPIRIT briefly during the evening news broadcast. I was a bit surprised but he WAS a KENTUCKY DERBY WINNER so that makes it appropriate by national television news standards evidently. So many horses are exploited by racing and wagering. So many horses are forced to endure a lifetime of inhumane treatment and then killed on purpose. It’s routine. It’s UNACCEPTABLE. Horses are capable of living into their 20s, 30s, possibly 40s with the proper care and HUMANE treatment they deserve. Horseracing involves hideous cruelty that causes PREMATURE DEATH and needs to be reported on by the national news THAT THIS HAPPENS EVERY DAY TO HORSES THAT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE NEVER HEARD OF.

  11. Thank Patrick Battuello for posting and making us all aware…AWA Law enforcement should be stepping up more with sanctions and especially prosecution of the likes of Bob Baffert!
    If you look in the eye of these large animals you know that they’re compliant and willing to please. They don’t deserve drugs, confinement or any other man-made device for cash profit

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