Samurai Zip is 12 years old. Yesterday, this poor soul was raced at Presque Isle, his 75th time under the whip. When I highlight these long-suffering racehorses, in some cases the apologists will argue, “but they’re still competitive.” (For the rest, we get, “but they need a job.”) While Samurai finished last yesterday, he has indeed been “competitive” over the past couple years. But isn’t that quite beside the point?
Given that in the necropsies we often see 4-, 3-, even 2-year-old horses dying with (not of) osteoarthritis and DJD, and given that upward of 90% of active horses suffer from chronic ulcers, there can be very little doubt that Samurai suffers, probably horribly, today. And that’s just physically. As for the emotional and mental, it’s a good bet that he has spent the majority of his days on this planet in solitary confinement (to a tiny stall). But here’s the thing, as long as his exploiters – Shelly/Jake Radosevich – keep cashing in, this will continue. They, and this industry, are despicable.