Heaven’s Music Killed at Santa Anita

The chart for Heaven’s Music in the 4th at Santa Anita Friday read: “sustained an injury [after colliding with another horse] at the 1/8 pole and was vanned off.” In fact, the 3-year-old was euthanized. He is the 12th dead athlete at Santa Anita this year.

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  1. HEAVEN’S MUSIC is the twelfth horse killed at Santa Anita that we know of since the policy of hiding the true number of horses killed by racing at Santa Anita has become a top priority. We are not stupid. We know about the loopholes in counting and reporting the deaths of racehorses, especially at Santa Anita Park, the racetrack that facilitated so many injuries and killings of racehorses in 2019 that it became national news on CBS.

  2. Using ignorance as an excuse to place bets on horses is unacceptable. If a person can read the Daily Racing Form, that same person can read a book or several books about horses and HORSEMANSHIP. There are so many different books and magazine articles about horses and how horses should be kept to keep them healthy and thriving that it defies common sense not to be knowledgeable about the proper way to keep horses. This gambling racket called horseracing is an industry that allows human beings to make a living at abusing horses. No person should be legally allowed to make a living abusing animals!!!!!
    You might as well say that you didn’t know you were supposed to stop at stop signs when you’re driving a car. Ignorance is no excuse!!!!! If you bet on racehorses, you are supporting the abuse, the brutality, the cruelty, the torture, the injuries and the killing of horses exploited for racing and wagering. Take responsibility for your own actions!

    • Wanda,

      Your rant about just how horribly awful all these race track bettors are is both misguided and misplaced. I understand your passion towards the abuse these animals receive under the so-called “care” of these trainers, but most bettors know absolutely nothing about the care and keeping of horses, and have no intention of ever owning one, tending to one or caring for one, as their only interest in horses is in the betting ‘action’.

      I’m not in any way justifying any of the race track bettors’ actions – remember, I walked away from it – but I’m only telling you what I, as a former bettor, know first-hand.

      “Using ignorance as an excuse to place bets on horses is unacceptable. If a person can read the Daily Racing Form, that same person can read a book or several books about horses and HORSEMANSHIP. ”

      Well, yes, they sure can. But most won’t. Why should they? Most bettors have no interest at all in horsemanship, other than how fast a horse can run on any given day.

      Save your vitriol for the REAL abusers; the trainers, owners, et. al. who’s lifeblood depends on this dying industry. Most bettors are so ignorant of what goes on behind the scenes in the back row at any race track that they’d look at you like you’ve got two heads if you walked up to them and violently told them that they’re abusing horses.

      Are they complicit in keeping the game going? Well, of course they are! Screaming about them, even on the ‘net, though, is NOT going to make them stop.

      I quit betting horses long before I came across this site. As a bettor, if I read some of these more, um, colorful posts before I stopped, I might not have. Insulting and degrading people for engaging in a legal and voluntary activity is, IMHO NOT the way to get them to see your side of the argument, AND [hopefully] change their ways. Which, I think, is the shared goal of all the readers and posters on this site.


      Like all of us, you and I, and everyone in the United States, we are entitled to our opinions, and should be respected for them. I’m only giving you my personal advice – and you can take it or leave it – of what I believe will help your cause, and that is, to convince the active racing bettors to voluntarily leave the game. Like I did.


      • You can interpret my rant however you like. I still believe that the owners and trainers and the people in the administrative positions in the various groups are making a living abusing horses and the bettors who support it don’t care about the horses as much as they care about winning money. In any gambling venue, the house wins the majority of the time and the majority of the money. It is not rocket science.

        • Wanda,

          You are 100% correct when you say that “the owners and trainers and the people in the administrative positions in the various groups are making a living abusing horses” and also that “the bettors who support it don’t care about the horses as much as they care about winning money.”

          Without a doubt, I agree, completely, 100%.

          Which only goes proves my point.

          SHOW THEM they’re being cheated, show them that they CAN’T win money as they thought they could, and you’d be surprised how many will stop!

          Also, I might add, respectfully, you are 100% WRONG when you state “In any gambling venue, the house wins the majority of the time, and the majority of the money. It is not rocket science.”

          Uh, not quite.

          FYI: Here’s race track gambling 101:
          No, it’s not as involved as rocket science, but not as simple as you think, either.

          You see, race track gambling is the only form of legal wagering, other than state lotteries, that is conducted on what is called a ‘pari-mutuel’ basis. Translated from French, this means, literally, ‘amongst ourselves’.

          At all legal horse race betting in the United States, the race track simply collects all the bets, either on track or from the various simulcasting facilities, and once the race is declared ‘official’ ALL THE MONEY is returned to the winning bettors!

          Oh, uh, wait….! Gee, I ALMOST forgot to add…….. the race track TAKES a percentage of the winnings for the “privilege” of conducting the day’s events! That’s usually 15% on all win, place and show bets; and up to 24% on the ‘exotics’, i.e., exactas, triples, daily doubles et. al.

          As an example: if $100,000 is bet to win [or, in the “win pool”] on race #1, and Horse #5 wins, the track immediately FIRST takes $15,000 before distributing the remaining money [in this case, $85,000], to all the bettors who wagered on #5.

          Win, place and show bets are all held in separate ‘pools’, and all are subject to additional takeout. Likewise, with every single exotic bet. These added pools get the race track more money, regardless of who wins!

          So you see, the track, or the ‘house’ here, couldn’t care less who wins … as long as there is active betting, and a lot of it! They ONLY CARE that MORE MONEY is being bet back into the system so they can get more money from increased bets throughout the day. This is called the ‘handle’ while the track’s cut is called the ‘takeout’.

          Most race track gamblers are fully aware of the pari-mutuel system and how it works, which simply means to them that they only have to be slicker than the guy sitting next to them who’s betting on the same race. Because they know if they win, they’ll get his [losing] money. The ‘house’ never enters into it at the race track, as far as the gamblers are concerned. Most bettors simply accept the ‘takeout’ without giving it a second thought, because the odds posted on the tote board for each horse reflect the payouts AFTER the takeout has already been figured in.

          This whole diatribe is more important than you think, because many race track bettors, including myself, were convinced that “oh, if only we can outsmart that other guy… we can win!” And this flawed thinking helps to KEEPS THEM AT THE TRACK, and betting!

          It worked for me for a long time until I wised up.

          Race track bettors erroneously assume that they stand a greater chance of winning money at the track than at a casino because they are NOT betting “against the house” at the track. But they need to be informed on just how badly this game is being illegally rigged. I firmly believe now, the cheating is worse than ever.

          The casino is different, and it’s the exact opposite. There, you ARE betting against the house! Your odds of winning at a casino are different with every game offered there, but all the games are carefully designed that, unless you are a card counter, you will consistently, over the long run, lose.


          • Appreciate your well thought out description of how horse racing wagering actually operates Joe. We have never wagered $$ on anything except every time we galloped or rode horses at any track. That was the biggest gamble one could make, life and limb of ones self on the horses!

          • Joe, the entire business and all financially supporting individuals and/or entities are all equally responsible for horse racing and they all fall into 3 categories:
            1) abusers (owners, trainers, jockeys etc.) 2) enablers of the abuse (gamblers, owners, horse racing publications etc.) 3) both.
            Then there’s an entirely separate category that most people don’t know about, and that’s the hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies, often referred to as corporate welfare, that are given to horse racing every year with no questions asked.
            So even if gamblers or wagering revenue were to be subtracted from the financial equation horse racing would still exist due to our elected politicians handing out enough money to keep this abhorrent killing business going no matter how low the revenue is or how many racehorses they kill.
            In fact, in most tracks located in subsidized states this is a reality because the wagering revenues are not sufficient enough, and haven’t been for years, to keep the doors open.
            So you’ve already taken a step to make a huge difference, but if you were to contact your local politicians and tell them that you want the subsidies to end that’s the key to ending this insanity.

            • Besides the corporate welfare to regulated horseracing, there are the unregulated race tracks that openly dope horses with illegal drugs, such as methamphetamines and cocaine. The jockeys wear wristbands with the electric shocking devices/buzzers on their wrists in plain sight of any onlookers. The dead bodies of killed racehorses are dragged off the track with no screen, no van, nothing of what you might see at a regulated racetrack except the big John Deere tractor with the huge tires.

      • Joe, I have never been a bettor, even on my own when I was still racing. In fact, I used to joke that I don’t even understand or know how to bet. I appreciate your posts for the honesty and explanations you provide. Appreciate them. And thank you for no longer being a bettor, and for helping spread the word to others to hopefully stop them.

          • Thank you all very much.

            But, really, this is just a terrible game, all around, and I firmly believe it is getting worse, as the racetrack ‘connections’ are beginning to realize that, yes, the game is truly dying. NO taxpayer-funded subsidiaries were required many years ago when 20,000+ or more patrons entered the race track on a daily basis – and on the BIG days those crowds would often swell to 50,000+.

            I also believe that as interest in racing falls off, and as less people are betting on horses, the politicians are going to have a really rough time of it justifying these subsidiaries when the general public wakes up and understands that the betting ‘handle’ is way off.

            Remember, if you pass unpopular bills, the voters will express their displeasure on Election Day. And since I also firmly believe that if you’re a politician, either Democrat or Republican, your primary goal is, always, to get yourself re-elected! So, yeah, with enough of the betting handle falling off, and vehement displeasure on the part of the voters, the taxpayer-funded money will soon stop too.

            In New York, some of my own connections have told me that ONLY the summer Saratoga Meet, and the Belmont Stakes weekend can actually support their product. They lose money throughout the rest of the year. As a kicker, almost no one is present at Aqueduct or Belmont throughout the year. They’re like ghost towns.

            A bigger problem for them may be in either 2023 or 2024 when, I believe, Aqueduct will close for good. At present, Belmont is closed for renovations to allow year-round racing, which foreshadows the permanent closure of Aqueduct. This, also, will present a very thorny issue convincing voters to pay for and prop up this dying ‘sport’ that’s rapidly closing its very own venues,

            The unregulated tracks are a whole other problem, and most of them may even be border-line legal. I don’t know. In my wagering days, I only frequented the larger venues such as Churchill Downs, Saratoga, Belmont, Aqueduct, Gulfstream, Del Mar & Santa Anita, assuming there was a better caliber of racing there, and, [foolishly, I might add] a much better chance to win. I know very little about them, but of course, they should be permanently shut down.

            However, even many of my ex-wagering buddies are complaining about the ‘product’ at the so-called ‘better’ tracks lately. Six-horse fields and less are becoming more common, and wagering opportunities, they say, are becoming thin.

            Well then, I reply, why not join me at the casino! Many houses that sign you up may also hand you $50 -or more – in new money for bets! Now just try and go to the teller at the race track and ask them to please hand you $50 to bet with!

            You’ll probably get arrested!


            • Since I don’t gamble on the internet or
              at racetracks or casinos, I don’t know exactly how this would work meaning what strings are attached and such, but the pop up ads on Equibase have offered $200 to your account. I don’t have an account and I don’t plan on getting a wagering account with Express Bet or 1/ST Bet or any other wagering company. I feel certain that anyone, even an avid gambler, would quickly get deeper in debt so fast it would make their head spin.

              • ‘Sign up’ bonuses on Equibase, Xpressbet, NYRA bets, 4NJBets, and all the others are a common way to lure more potential gamblers into their sites. However, these sign-up bonuses are usually only for new customers; ‘points’ that are earned by continued wagering of larger sums on races can be redeemed as betting dollars, but, as with most horse race gambling sites, the ‘points’ are fairly abysmal; conversely, the same money bet at the casinos can conceivably earn you free dinners, often at 5-star restaurants within the casino; free hotel rooms and luxury suites; free drinks, and ‘comp’ dollars on ALL your ‘action’ – not just your ‘sign-up’. Also, some casino ‘sign-up’ bonuses are often $1,000.00.

                FYI: Xpressbet is owned by the Stronach group.

                But as I stated earlier, unless you are a proficient card-counter, you’ll eventually lose in the long run over time at any casino – and your odds of consistent winnings at the race track are even worse, if not impossible, particularly with all the rampant cheating going on.

                However, many recreational gamblers view their gambling losses as money simply spent on ‘entertainment’ – besides the gambling ‘action’, they enjoy the games, the social aspect, and the fun of the sport.

                Compulsive gamblers, though, like compulsive alcoholics, should seek professional help.

                No animals are ever killed or hurt no matter how much or how often you bet at a casino. In addition to the more obvious ‘perks’ offered by the casinos, for that reason, I believe most rational persons would certainly prefer casino gaming, rather than horse racing, although many ‘hard-core’ race track bettors might be somewhat harder to convince. But, it is still a worth-while effort.

                I’m not sure if there are any other gamblers who visit this site. But I say, if I left the game, anyone can. And you should. To use the lingo, for race track wagering, “it’s a bad bet”.

                Even with the great ‘Breeders Cup Races’ coming up next week, they won’t be getting any of my wagering dollars anymore.


  3. The SADT strikes again. And, much to the chagrin of the high-integrity, fully-transparent CHRB (and its triumphantly-returned Equine Medical Director, Jeff Blea), the L.A. news media is all over the story.
    *Did they really think the local non-racing press would STOP coverage of horse kills because of their highly effective, super-safe safety measures?

  4. Joe,
    Anytime someone mentions the Breeders’ Cup races, I just automatically think of MONGOLIAN GROOM, a Gelding that was killed because they sent him out to die on the race track in 2019. They knew he had lameness!
    In the PDF, they showed the X-rays of his fetlock before the FATAL and catastrophic breakdown in which he had microfractures in his left hind fetlock joint for certain. They showed this “BEFORE” X-RAY and they showed the “AFTER” X-RAY in the downloadable PDF that Dr. Lawrence “Larry” Bramlage wrote to excuse away, more or less, the deliberate CRUELTY to this horse in the aftermath of this inexcusable (and deliberate) killing of a beautiful but lame horse in addition to all or most of the catastrophic injuries and subsequent killings of racehorses especially at Santa Anita Park in 2019.
    If you can stomach being deliberately baffled with bullshit by an expert bullshitter paid to do just that, you can download the PDF and see the pictures of the X-rays and read the “explanations” for their egregious oversight.
    This is why we call them monsters!

  5. Certainly no rational, compassionate human being wants to see any animal suffering, tortured, or dying. But this “win-at-all-costs” mentality that has pervaded the game has convinced the people in this industry that it’s absolutely necessary, and sadly, the horses suffer and die for it.

    At the risk of sounding like Captain Obvious:
    No, these are not nice people.

    Also obviously, I don’t condone it, agree with it, nor do I want any part of this game anymore. The cheating and abuse of the animals goes hand-in-hand, and cheaters eventually get caught. Like Mr. Baffert.

    But take heart! The industry is dying, and sooner or later, it will no longer be able to be propped up anymore. The potential closure of Aqueduct, which I firmly believe WILL happen by 2024 at the latest, will be a big thorn in the side for the racing insiders. But once interest begins to fall off in the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders Cup races, then the entire industry will fold like a pancake. The much-hyped Saratoga meet is already showing cracks in the armor.

    I freely admit, I loved horse racing and the whole ‘scene’ and the glamour surrounding the big days in addition to the gambling, but one can’t ignore the carnage forever. But like the animal circuses and greyhound racing, it’s long past time to just let this whole thing die.


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