While I have already reported on the death of Gingrich (with video) at Churchill Downs June 10, here are the details from the Racing Commission: “Left forelimb: open, lateral condylar and biaxial sesamoid fractures – medial fracture was comminuted, lateral was avulsed; marked disruption of the suspensory ligament branches.” Also: “multifocal, subacute hepatitis; multifocal squamous ulcers.”
In another note from the document, and as has been the case with virtually every other Kentucky death I’ve reported, “no prohibited substances and no therapeutic medication above regulatory threshold concentrations [were] detected” in the 3-year-old Gingrich. And yes, I believe that. Drugs in racing, while a problem, are not the main culprit. In truth, the system is set up for a practically unalterable level of killing (see our annual lists). Thoroughbreds (QuarterHorses) are bred for speed; thrust into intensive, grinding training years before their bodies are fully mature; and forced to run at an unnatural rate, in an unnatural way, and through unnatural means. And that, folks, is the primary reason over 2,000 horses are dying at U.S. tracks every year.