Miniconjou: Class 2 Positive in May, Collapsed and Died in June

As previously reported, 3-year-old Miniconjou collapsed dead of “an apparent heart attack” immediately after the 11th race at Churchill June 11. Again, three years old.

Now, we learn that in his penultimate race, May 6 at Oaklawn, Mini ran on Class 2 (second worst kind) mepivacaine – an anesthetic. In its report filed just yesterday, the Arkansas Commission notes that “trainer Kelly Von Hemel availed his right to do a split sample and waived his right to a hearing.” In other words, guilty as charged. And all the Commission did was disqualify the now-dead horse and redistribute the purse money (Mini had “won” the race and $31K). No fine, no suspension.

(Not that it matters much, but sometime between those races Mini changed hands, with Thomas Amoss the trainer on death day.)

I write this not to imply there was a connection between the drug and Mini’s death (indeed the Kentucky Commission wrote: “no prohibited substances detected; no therapeutic medication detected above threshold concentrations”). Far from it. Fact is, adolescent racehorses collapse and die all the time, and they do, in my opinion, for the same reason they snap legs: their bodies are woefully unready for what they’re being forced to do. No, this is simply to underscore how this poor horse was abused prior to being killed – like, that is, every other casualty of this vile industry.

(Update: The following day, Arkansas did impose penalties on trainer Von Hemel: 15-day suspension, $500 fine. Still, for a Class 2 drugging, laughable.)


  1. As always just a slap on the wrist for abusing a defenceless animal.
    Next horse…

  2. Exactly. Drugs or no drugs, racehorses die young. Which is what is so tragically absurd about (the ridiculously-titled) Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority. Their (deliberately vague) mission statement is to make U.S. racing SAFE for thoroughbreds — but only while their victims are actively racing, of course.

    Never mind the annual culling of thousands of TB weanlings and yearlings, for not having the conformation, talent, stride, mentality, soundness and luck required to even make it to the death tracks.
    Never mind the “old-timers” — many of whom are all of four and five — already mangled enough to ensure that they’ll NEVER find a forever home, or a job, or a pain-free life.
    Never mind the quarter horses, and standardbreds, and every other breed some greedy creeps decide to sacrifice to the degenerate lowlife racing cause.

    HISA washes its collective, blood-covered hands of them all. Worse, HISA doesn’t even begin to make racing ANY safer for those few animals they DO claim to protect. (Even the folks who actually LIKE racing will concede that the breakdown rate seems to have gotten much worse lately. Though HISA, and their sister-trade group, The Jockey Club, will cut off their own heads before admitting such a truth.)

    Looking back, I’m embarrassed to say I believed HISA was going to have a demonstrable effect on the way racehorse kills are (not) publicly reported. Instead, they’ve proven with their smarmy, super-secretive silence that they’re protecting ONLY the horse-killers. And not even one single, actual racehorse.

    So, of course they consider US (not the dopers, abusers, manglers, and cruelty-fiends who pervade their whole, horrible industry) to be the “enemies” of HISA. Figure that one out.

    • Anyone or any group of people who threatens their livelihood of abusing, doping, dumping and killing racehorses would be “the bad guys” to these morally depraved people. The only supposed way that HISA, the so-called Authority, was going to allegedly protect horses was in the context of preserving the horses for more prolonged abuse. For example, the removal of the toe grabs and the heel caulks from the horse shoes were supposedly going to help prevent certain INJURIES inflicted upon the horses. The idea of “stop racing any horse that has not been allowed to fully develop” would be a real way to protect the horses in horseracing, but that is not what the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority is or was all about.
      The idea of withholding the names of the people who nominated the various people to the various committees and calling themselves “the blue ribbon nominating committee” is AND was so absolutely freaking ridiculous that I can’t believe that any government agency would let them get away with such unprofessional non-disclosure, if this so-called Authority had, or was to have, any credibility of any kind at all. It reminded me of being in the fourth and fifth grades in elementary school and the county fair to say “blue ribbon” but, for HISA, it was EXTREMELY SHADY at best.

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