Justify Your 71 Dead Horses, NYRA

Last Tuesday at Belmont, the Gaming Commission reports, Wicked Indeed “collapsed in shedrow, regained footing, walked outside and collapsed again.” He was then euthanized “due to ongoing seizure symptoms.” Wicked was five years old and had just been raced three days prior at Aqueduct, where, the chartwriter notes, he “was fractious in the gate” before the race. A sign of the impending collapse? Perhaps.

Friday, Dom’s Feisty Girl “broke down” while training at Belmont. While the horse is dead, the Commission happily reports that there was “no injury to trainer or rider.” Well thank heavens for that (sarcasm, folks), but how would the trainer have gotten hurt anyhow? Dom’s was three years old and had been put to the whip four times.

For the New York Racing Association (Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga), this makes 71 dead horses on the year. At all NYS tracks, we’ve hit the century mark. That’s right, 100 dead “athletes” – more than in each of the past two years. But “reform” is happening all the time, “safety protocols” are ever improving, right? If not for the gravity involved, the Patrick McKennas (NYRA spokesman) of the racing world would make for exquisite parody on Saturday Night Live.


  1. It’s gut wrenching, to say the least, that so many horses are forced to endure this abuse day in and day out. It’s tough to read about the killing of racehorses by torture that isn’t recognized by the racing participants as torture. Nothing could be further from the truth to say that it is safe. It’s sickening to think that, if this barbaric activity was not safe (as if it’s safe but we, of course, know it isn’t) — how many horses would die if it was not safe? It’s ridiculous! It’s stupid to suggest that horseracing is even remotely safe!!!

  2. On this day after the death of Medina Spirit, this is welcome news. Horse racing has long been losing money, our culture is changing and people are becoming more aware of the abuse of animals in all sorts of areas. People who used to frequent the race track have found other modes of entertainment. And the subsidies states have been funneling into horse racing can most assuredly be used for other much needed social issues. Schools, low income housing, homeless, and the list goes on. The total number of sentient beings lost to humans’ lust for greed in this state alone is enough to make me cry, which it did. What does it take to get our legislators attention? Knowing these beautiful creatures have suffered for our monetary pleasures is sickening and it must end and the sooner the better, BAN HORSE RACING

  3. It’s tempting, for me anyway, to jump on the “blame the trainer” bandwagon — especially after yesterday’s not-suspicious-at-all death of poor Medina Spirit, and its ensuing calamity — and this time call out Rudy Rodriguez (again) for killing so damned many horses.
    But I’m gonna hold off on that for now, because ALL so-called trainers in this sick game have had young racehorses die while in their “care.” Every last one. As a rule, the longer they’ve been in the muck of this anti-sport, the more dead horses they’ve accrued.
    So to see those within the racing industry pretend that it actually somehow matters WHICH connection was left holding the dead-horse-filled bag — breeder, owner, official, regulator, agent, vet, rider, and, yes, trainer — only proves that they ALL helped to fill it.

    • It is just more obvious that Bob Baffert was figuratively speaking issued “A FREE PASS TO CHEAT” especially in California for decades. They all could be cheating in terms of the “rules of racing” BUT one thing is for certain — all of the racing industry participants are CHEATING THE HORSES out of living long, healthy, abuse-free lives.

    • I agree 1000%, Kelly – when it comes down to horseracing’s reason for being, it’s ONE thing – money. NO ONE who finds their employment in racing or because of racing would continue in it if there was no money involved. Of course the great majority of the racing-employed barely scrape by, but even they would be gone if their “cheap claimers” didn’t bring home a couple hundred dollar check every 10 or 11 days.

      Additionally, racehorses are clearly not pets and they’re not family members…ironically, it’s racing itself that makes it clear despite their whiny claims of love and devotion. The proof? – NO racehorse is bred and/or purchased with the promise or even the THOUGHT he’s going to be provided his forever home and supported for life by the individual acquiring him to use him to (hopefully) make money. Not ONE. Again, it’s all about the money – meager or millions. The horses are just tools of the trade, created by racing and used by racing.

      So industry members and supporters, prove you “love them like family” – provide every single one (those that make it out of racing alive) with the lifelong home any child should have…and stop asking the general public to fund what you should be funding. After all, you’re the folks taking your horses’ checks – and we’re not expecting you to support our horses nor should we. It’s pretty damn simple – TAKE CARE OF YOUR OWN.

      • Joy, you bring up the POINT that racehorses ARE NOT PETS. A man in Tampa, FL working as a groom at Tampa Downs in 1974 told me in person face to face that, “They’re not pets.” Also he said, “They’re babies.”
        As you know and have said many times, they claim to “love” them like family members. But, they’re NOT PETS! How ridiculously ironic…?!!

  4. Hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies to keep this killing show going when the state coffers and many community groups are bankrupt.
    15 years of throwing taxpayers racino money into this money pit with little to no oversight.
    You bet your sweet ass that they are NOT paying out pensions as agreed to and those seniors will all fall onto the public coffers instead of getting their well-deserved pensions.
    Racehorse killers like Bob Baffert, who lives in California, will often ship in to win anywhere from $500,000+ and then just fly back to California with the bag of cash.
    Hell, he doesn’t even employ anybody there and there are many who do this.
    Baffert cares about New York State communities just as much as he cared about NOODLES a 2 y.o BABY suffering in his stall at Los Al with serious issues that required immediate vet care and was denied.
    Of course NOODLES died and in any other setting in this country he would be up on Felony Animal Cruelty charges, but not horse racing a multiple doping cheater and killers are not held accountable anytime.
    Incidentally, NOODLES was bought at the Keeneland sale for $450,000 and had an equine insurance policy in place at the time of his death – cha-ching!!
    Yet another suspicious death under Teflon Bob’s belt with no outside investigation.
    A study conducted by PA Education Voters found that the majority of large purse money, funded by PA residents/taxpayers/casinos were won by out of town connections who have no interest in those communities.
    They ship in win the money and fly back out.
    A nice, tidy clean sweep leaving those communities in shambles with no money to keep them going.
    Then there are the properties with tracks like Aqueduct and Belmont most of them in highly expensive high density geographical areas that, if sold, would create thousands of good jobs either during the construction period or good jobs after PLUS the state would be getting huge amounts of property taxes going into the public coffers instead of having them drained out by the horse racing business.
    Those properties are worth billions and we now know that those tracks were handed over to the state years ago in exchange to operate horse racing, but NYRA was supposed to pay yearly fees to operate those tracks and we also found out that they haven’t even done that in the 15 years they’ve been operating!
    It’s LONG OVERDUE to END these subsides and to sell these properties to developers so that we can put behind us this antiquated business model that has no place in the 21st century and our young folks want nothing to do with it.

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