Racing Commissioner on Turf Paradise: “We’re still killing horses at a terrible rate out there, and I’m sick of it.”

Addressing Turf Paradise’s recent “safety” record at an Arizona Racing Commission meeting yesterday, Commissioner Rory Goree spoke more bluntly and more scathingly than any racing official in recent memory. Some of his comments:

“We’re still killing horses at a terrible rate out there, and I’m sick of it. [H]ere we are, still with the same problems we had in 2017. And I’m disgusted about it.”

On the multiple ambulance failures: “One of them, a horse was picked up improperly. Another time…the ambulance became inoperable and was unable to assist a horse on the track. The third time, an incident in the paddock in what was described to me as, quote, ‘a shit-show with the ambulance unable to get into the paddock until the 10th try and an incompetent track vet.'”

And then wrapping it quite succinctly: “We keep killing horses like this, we’re going to be out of business.”

So what exactly is that record? Well, here is the report I filed for Jan-Apr, 2021 (26 kills to be precise). Then there was the trainer who said of Turf’s lack of vets: “I mean if I had a horse go out and fall down and break a leg, I’d probably have to go drive to my house, get a gun and shoot that horse because there’s not a vet on the grounds. [The vet] comes in at like 7 in the morning, and he can’t handle 700 horses by himself.” And, of course, the track announcer’s comments as Naughty Swagger collapsed and died in December: “Oh what the hell happened? That horse is dead. … That horse is dead dead. Sweet Jesus. Hey, do not show any replay, a horse is dead.”

To all that, I add the following 21 kills since the start of the current meet in October:

Florida Two Step, Oct 28, training – “fetlock fracture”
My Proposition, Oct 29, training – “shoulder fracture”
Cats Blame, Nov 9, racing – “fetlock fracture”
Ambers Storm, Nov 10, stall – “colic”
Half Cocked, Nov 30, racing – “fetlock fracture”
Wasjuannowpaul, Dec 6, stall – “accident”
Naughty Swagger, Dec 14, racing – “collapse”
Originate, Dec 17, training – “[multiple] fractures”
Midnight in Maui, Dec 20, stall – “ataxia”
Alleyesfollowbelle, Dec 27, training – “fetlock fracture”
Tazeeti, Dec 27, stall – “flipped – head injury”
Midnight Luck, Dec 29, racing – “ligament rupture”
C Dub, Jan 10, stall – “pleuritis”
Pay Tavasco Rent, Jan 13, stall – “colic”
Raagheb, Jan 14, racing – “fracture, rupture”
Tamarando’s Mine, Jan 17, racing – “carpus fracture”
Adorable Brittany, Jan 17, racing – “fracture, luxation”
Wed O’s Champ, Jan 19, racing – “fracture, rupture”
Aries, Jan 21, stall – “colic”
Lily Malacara, Jan 21, stall – “colic”
Circus Ride, Jan 27, racing – “[injured in] gate”

This is Turf Paradise. This is horseracing.

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  1. Dead horses, horses crippled, horses with minds destroyed all to place a lousy bet. Yeah, this is horse racing.

  2. The racing commissioners comment reminds us of how our state commission almost closed down Grant`s Pass in the early 2,000`s because of the high injury / fatality rates.The English race caller also reminds us of how an English born & trained rider told us of how he had seen more wrecks in America than he would see in a lifetime in England.Asked why he was here & it was all about the $$. He said there were more opportunities to ride here & hence able to earn more $$. He also told us that ” Racing is just a crooked , crummy, gamboling game” We galloped horses together in 1986 on our now demolished state fairgrounds track.

  3. That line about horseracing that says, “We are horsemen who have one horse and a dream…” sounds so naive and incredibly stupid. It’s on the National HBPA web page.
    First of all, anybody that engages in deliberately breaking down horses like this is not a horseman. A real horseman would never want to run their horses to death! That’s what these people do; they injure and KILL their horses. A real horseman would NOT deliberately run their horses to the point of lameness and death. There are a lot of people in this gambling racket that could not care one iota about the well-being of the horses. They are only thinking of the money they can rake in from people placing bets on the horses and from government subsidies, tax breaks, and so on.
    Horseracing is EVIL. It’s stupid. It needs to be stopped now!

  4. Turf Paradise is a “special hell” for the poor horses who end up there. I’ve seen MANY comments from those in racing who also say the place is a dump. Again, the evidence is right in front of our noses thanks to Patrick’s continued work in exposing this industry.

    • The reviews of Turf Paradise on Maps give me the impression that there is a very high risk of the spread of communicable diseases in humans as well as being a death trap for the horses. I seriously wonder if the Health Department should shut it down for the safety of human beings especially if anyone takes their children there. Of course it should be shut down for the sake of the horses!!!!!

  5. This is terrible and should not continue anymore. Is there any other “sport” where the injury and death rate even close? Terrible respect for the horses lives.

  6. Of course you got to ride the horse to death instead of just stopping and walking him. Sickening the way they treat those poor horses. They don’t just drop dead and there are always warnings ahead of time

  7. Yes, Turf Paradise IS a “special hell” for the horses, Joy.
    And since that takes some doing, it speaks to the special “talent” of this out of control killing venue.
    A combination of incompetence, inherent cruelty, a total disregard for the horse, and, of course, greed.
    Turf Paradise! No, no, more like Turf Hell !

    • Something to KNOW about me …. I will ALWAYS choose the animals over people. I was reading something the other day …it was an article where a man involved in racing in Europe said that over the pond (Europe) they think we are nuts how many horses we catastrophically murder over here. He said Europe doesn’t have anything even remotely like the vomit enducing KILLS are wonderful 😒 country has.

      • Of course, I’m not suggesting Europe doesn’t have breakdowns ….they all do. Correction, meant “our” country,not are.

      • Bonnie, that is like the horse-killers in New York saying that their racetracks are “less deadly” than racetracks in other states. It reminds me of the comedian, Conan O’Brien, when he would say, “Only I may dance.” It is such a selfish and self-righteous thing to say.
        They all kill horses. If they don’t kill them on the racetrack or in their stalls, you know that they can ship them to the slaughterhouse. The horses killed at the slaughterhouses will never be counted as a kill. The names of those horses will never be listed for the public to see.

        • That’s why I said “They all kill”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I do think usa is the worst,most greedy, I was speaking of only breakdowns!!!!! I was NOT including slaughter. Greed, THE MOST scumbag sin. Again, I was only referring to race breakdowns!!!!!

  8. You guys have been exploiting, abusing, and killing horses for decades, Mr. Goree. Why are you suddenly sick and disgusted now? Your entire industry is a shit-show that hides behind propaganda that can’t support itself with any kind of factual evidence, and the thousands of mangled, broken, dead, and slaughtered horses belong solely on your doorstep. How can you NOT keep killing horses like this? It’s the only thing racing knows how to do.

  9. They just DO NOT GIVE A DAMN…..just as long as they get their five minutes of glory and any prize money.

  10. I know this is a little late — okay, almost a week late — but I had to share this with all my HW friends…
    Today, February 9th, marks the three-month anniversary of the day Cats Blame was vanned from Turf Pairo’Deaths. I actually forced myself to watch the replay the next day, and it wasn’t hideous-looking as far as these things go. But it certainly didn’t look good for this poor horse.
    Quick backstory: Cats Blame was a pricey, well-bred, “older” gelding who’d slipped down the claiming ranks via the usual route, from “elite” tracks (Del Mar and the SADT) to bottom-of-the-barrel hellholes like Zia, AZ Downs, and, yes, good old TPD. He’d even been in the careful (ha ha) hands of freakin’ Hollendorfer and O’Neill at points in his (long-for-racing) “career.” So it’s truly a wonder he lived long enough to make it all the way down to the seedy, horse-killing shitholes of the southwest. But, he did, at least until November 9th.
    Now, onward. After seeing the chart, AND watching the replay of his, um, “exit” from his final race, I decided to contact, via Twitter, various racing entities in Arizona with a request for an update on Cats Blame’s condition. (Yes, I was pretty snotty about it, I admit:)
    (From the original tweet) –
    Nov 10, 2021
    “Phoenix’s Turf Paradise Racing is evaluating its Arizona sports betting options after an appeals court denied the horse racing company’s petition to gain a license in late October.”

    (My reply, tagged to various entities, including the track itself) –
    “Maybe their full gaming license is continually being denied because they won’t stop killing off so many horses.
    Anyone know if Cats Blame is still alive? Yesterday’s 5th race didn’t look good for the old gelding:(

    (Immediate response from track’s official Twitter account) –
    Turf Paradise
    “Cat’s Blame was and is fine. Indeed, we mentioned that yesterday. It was also mentioned on air at the time.”

    And, there you have it. Imagine that: TPD straight-up LIED about another one of their kills. And it wasn’t just to me: this poor horse was euthanized THE DAY BEFORE, but the track spokesman also told Arizona Gaming officials, the Arizona Republic newspaper, and apparently their entire TV audience that this DEAD horse “was and is FINE.”
    (This is the kind of INTEGRITY the hilariously-named HISA is gonna try to tackle?)

    • Kelly, thank you for the update on CATS BLAME. The response you got is both shocking and predictable. But, I am also surprised that you received any response at all. In my experience, when a horse is dead, they don’t answer at all.
      They’re not horsemen in the true sense of the word and the word “integrity” is also another word used to cover up the truth in this industry. Evidently, in this industry a dead horse is a happy horse. No matter how miserable the horse is, no matter how much suffering the pseudo-horsemen have inflicted onto and into the horse, he’s a happy horse. Yeah, right.

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