Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks thus far this year. (Four came without necropsies.)
Bonnet, Jan 28, Laurel T
“After the training session, the horse returned to her barn. While the hot walker was cooling [her] down, she collapsed: massive internal hemorrhage.” Also: “previous surgery on ankles; degenerative joint disease [both front limbs]; stomach ulcers.” Then this: “DJD is common in racing horses. This horse is a little bit older than those we usually see, which may explain the severity.”
Dr. Daniel (commission vet): “[N]o amount of treatment would have solved the massive internal hemorrhage she suffered from on the day of her death.” And: “The degree of DJD and the loss of cartilage…certainly limited Bonnet’s future career….” Bonnet, below, was just five years old.
Petion Lass, Feb 3, Laurel R
“Horse sustained injury [and] continued running…. The injury was so severe that the horse was euthanized on the track: [multiple] fractures, ligaments torn, distal portion of limb hanging by small strand of skin, abundant dirt within joint and fracture site, possible bilateral pulmonary hemorrhage.” Also: “degenerative joint disease.”
Dr. Daniel: “The degree of damage and contamination made this injury irreparable. The fact that [she] ran loose for at least 1/8 of a mile absolutely contributed to her demise.” Petion Lass, below, was six years old.
Jamerican, Feb 6, Laurel R
“Catastrophic bilateral pelvic fractures – comminuted, complete, displaced, with abundant hemorrhage. The horse was medicated…but then went down in the equine ambulance. The horse was euthanized in the ambulance.” Also: “broken vessels in the lungs; degenerative joint disease [both] front limbs.”
Dr. Daniel: “My biggest regret in this case was not euthanizing Jamerican on the racetrack as her condition rapidly declined. I was trying to abide by the wishes of management to save as many of these horses as possible. However, I feel that, in doing so, I allowed for Jamerican to suffer for longer than needed. For that, I am deeply sorry.” Jamerican, below, was two years old, and this was her very first race.
Secret Prize, Feb 27, Laurel R
“The horse sustained a broken LF ankle – fetlock dropped, both sesamoids shattered, euthanized on the track.” Also: “chronic degenerative joint disease in all four limbs; stomach ulcers, hemorrhages.” Dr. Daniel: “There was quite advanced degenerative joint disease in this young horse.” How young? Secret Prize, below, had just turned four.
Crying for More, Mar 6, Laurel R
“RF limb: both sesamoids fractured, abundant hemorrhage, damage to surrounding ligaments; severe degenerative joint disease. LF limb: 2-3″ tendon tear, marked avulsion [away from bone], abundant hemorrhage; severe degenerative joint disease.”
Dr. Daniel: “I had concerns in the prerace exam. The RF fetlock had slight heat…and the horse was choppy at the jog with a slight intermittent lameness…. I voiced my concerns to [trainer Kevin Dove] and was told that the horse fretted all night due to a new, just-claimed horse in the stall beside that was very nervous. He felt that his horse would warm up well before the race.” Crying for More, below, was four years old.
Stormin’ Cougar, Apr 14, Laurel R
“As the horse was approaching the 5/16 pole, [she] sustained a catastrophic injury. [She then] ran loose until she stopped at the 3/16 pole: open disarticulation of the fetlock, [multiple] fractures, euthanized on the track.” Also: “chronic degenerative joint disease in all four limbs; stomach ulcers, hemorrhages.”
Dr. Daniel: “Upon arrival, the filly…was on her knees with her head on the ground. She very quietly laid down on her right side [and] never attempted to rise. Palpation of the RF limb revealed a fracture, torn ligaments with both sesamoids displaced, [and] torn tendons. I don’t know if I have ever noticed such severe bone bruising on other horses with open fractures. This was actually quite unnerving to me. After reading the necropsy report, it saddens me to see how unwell this horse was with respiratory disease as well as significant joint disease in every joint.” Stormin’ Cougar was three – three – years old. If this doesn’t profoundly sicken you, I’m not sure what will.
Union Betty, Apr 21, Laurel R
“The horse was loaded into the ambulance [and] euthanized in her barn: [multiple] fractures, LF limb.” Also: “old, chronic, complete fracture, RH limb.”
Dr. Daniel: “I made sure to get a good look at her with weight because I had flagged her in the morning for an intermittent lameness that wasn’t always apparent. This was the second time in three starts that I had commented on this to [trainer Kevin Dove]. … In previous races, [she] was very difficult to load into the starting gate. … Palpation indicated crepitus [grating sound] and pain.” Union Betty, below, was four years old.