A “Sudden Death” Kill at Del Mar on Opening Day

According to the chart, Kazuhiko was “pulled up” in the 5th at Del Mar Friday. But while walking back to the barn, the 5-year-old collapsed and suffered what officials are calling “sudden death.” Nice start for “America’s safest track.”


  1. Lately I’ve been wondering what the folks at HISA are thinking every time something like this happens — six times a day, according to this site, but they’re obviously not all as public as this death.
    Do the HISA-employed collectively groan, shuddering and asking themselves what kind of hellscape they’ve gotten themselves into, career-wise?
    Or, do they immediately go into defensive mode, knowing full well that, since the Authority’s inception, the thoroughbred fatality rate has actually INCREASED, and that they’ll never, ever be forced to publicly concede that?
    What could be going through their minds when the big, elite, “safest” tracks (like Del Mar) are still killing horses every bit as much as the “lesser” ones? Shame? Contrition? Denial? Indifference? Vows to redouble their deception efforts, just like their fellow trade group, The Jockey Club, continues to do?
    Because HISA’S complete and total SILENCE on all things horse death-related has become positively DEAFENING.

    • When you’re guilty: 1) keep your mouth shut, 2) do not volunteer any information, 3) do not admit to anything. Remember that you can be accused of anything, if you open your mouth and say anything. You can be held accountable by your own admission. Number One Priority: Do Not Admit Guilt. (Even though it is as obvious as obvious can get.) Thanks but no thanks, thanks to the *blue ribbon* nominating committee, whoever they are. The members of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority *blue ribbon* nominating committee shall remain nameless. I wonder why…

  2. As a former racetrack bettor, it’s my humble opinion that this rash of breakdowns are occurring for two main reasons: one, the influx of drugs being administered to the horses on a regular basis to mask the pain that they are in, and, at the same time, masking, most likely, very serious injuries that these horses have and are being forced to run with, anyway.

    As any sane person knows, pain is the body’s unique way of telling you that something’s not right! All animals and humans feel pain, unless of course you take drugs to alleviate it; obviously the horses can’t tell us they’re in pain, and it stands to reason, infirm and unsound horses running at breakneck speed are gonna crash – sooner or later.

    Secondly, I believe the breed of thoroughbred horses is becoming more fragile, and more prone to serious injury as they are bred for speed. I’ve read here on this site many times that their bodies are still unformed and adolescent at two and three years old, something that I never knew in all my years of betting.

    My guess is that other bettors don’t know this either. Two and three year old race horses look like adults to most folks not that knowledgeable about the breed.

    I think once people’s eyes are opened to what exactly is going on, they’ll find it very difficult to get any enjoyment from a day at the races. I know I can’t anymore.


    • Usually when reading about the maturity in horses, the age is six years old, or around 6 years of age. However, I googled it again to see what would come up and it’s interesting. This time, a source came up that says that the skeletal system (of horses) is matured at 5.5 years at the EARLIEST and that some horses are not fully matured until 8 years of age. Decades ago, I read that some horses are not fully developed and matured until 7 or 8 years of age.
      In the reports on this site, you will find that there are many very young colts and fillies that had been trained and raced and killed and they had DJD, Degenerative Joint Disease (at only 2 years of age).
      The veterinarians in this despicable industry would know these things and more. How can anyone armed with this knowledge of EQUINE anatomy and physiology participate in such a gruesome blood sport that causes so much pain and suffering to sentient beings?
      There are veterinarians in this industry who are NOT advocates of the “do no harm” oath.
      Steroids have been used by breeders to cause animals, including Thoroughbred foals, to grow bigger than normal and at a faster rate than the normal growth rate. I don’t know if any of the race horse breeders use growth hormones but some cattle breeders do. This is also a recipe for disaster. There is a video from 2012 pertaining to doping including the use of steroids on Thoroughbreds. This industry is a trainwreck in so many ways.

      • Yes, I was unaware of most of these facts about thoroughbreds until I began reading information on this site, and confirming it with Google sources regarding horses in general. As a bettor, I was quite typical in that my only concern was cashing a ticket, so my interest in the breed did not go beyond the horse’s capability to run, and how fast.

        Recalling conversations I’ve had while at the track in the past, I would say that most bettors also know very little about thoroughbreds in general, other than what they read in the Daily Racing Form, let alone the conditions surrounding a typical race horse’s life. I certainly didn’t.

        The writing’s on the wall, though,. The desperation in the racing world to secure subsidies to keep their dying sport alive will only become more acute in the future, and with that, I predict an even further dis-interest in this sport that I once enjoyed so much, but can no longer bear to watch.


        • Most of the old-timer die-hards I worked with had literally spent DECADES studying the thoroughbred, yet wouldn’t have been able to keep one alive for even a few days if they had to. (Which, thankfully, they didn’t:)

  3. Kazuhiko’s slow, torturous DEATH has been going on for the last 5 years — and Society is doing NOTHING about it — we’re allowing the depraved cruelty to Horses — heartbreaking — SHUT DOWN this despicable industry.

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