Jockey Aboard a Laurel Kill: “After crossing the wire, I could hear the bones breaking.”

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks last year. Please note: Maryland provides the most detail in the nation. Therefore, I will post in installments so that each of these deaths can be fully appreciated (previous ones can be found here).

Bourbon Swing, Jul 28, Laurel R
“Broke down after the wire: fetlock completely dropped, both RF sesamoids fractured and displaced.” Also: “moderate-to-severe ulcers present in the stomach.”

Jockey Yan Aviles: “After crossing the wire, I could hear the bones breaking.”

Dr. Walsh (commission vet): “When I arrived on the scene, the fetlock was completely dropped to the ground. She was placed in a splint and vanned off for euthanasia.”

Dr. Daniel (commission vet): “I am somewhat surprised to see the degree of gastric ulceration in this horse.”
Bourbon Swing, below, was just four years old.

Candy Corner, Aug 26, Timonium R
“Broke down at approximately the 1/4 pole: [multiple] displaced fractures, severe ligament damage.” Also: “severe degenerative joint disease, all four limbs.”

Dr. Daniel: “I have examined this mare many times and am somewhat surprised at the degree of joint disease present.”
Again, Dr. Daniel is “somewhat surprised.” She shouldn’t be. Candy Corner was just five.

Hooky Player, Oct 21, Laurel R
“Broke down and fell right before the finish: extreme open fractures in RF cannon and RF fetlock – euthanized on track.” Also: “degenerative joint disease, all four limbs.”
Hooky Player, below, was just three years old.

Player Boy, Nov 4, Laurel T
“Broke down during morning training: complete fracture with fragmentation, marked hemorrhage, ligament and tendon damage.” Also: “The degenerative joint disease [here] is commonly seen in young racing horses.”
Player Boy was just two years old.

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  1. Thank you all for the research done, information provided and the advocating you do for these poor defenseless creatures.

  2. For those who think the Equibase chartwriters make it their policy to put all the on-track carnage they see into their official race charts, think again. Check out the Laurel Park version of poor Bourbon Swing’s final Death Race: “…outkicked, lacked the needed finish.” That’s all.
    Now that we know what REALLY happened to her — jockey could hear bones breaking/vet on scene admits she was “vanned off for euthanasia” — does anyone truly believe Patrick’s weekly list is all-inclusive? It can’t be. Because the chartwriter’s priority is to …HIDE the horrors of horse racing.

  3. How in the name of decency can someone say they are surprised at any amount of disease when they see it day in and day out. REALLY????

  4. This Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian, Dr. Daniel, makes specific comments in the necropsy reports that she is “somewhat” surprised to see the degree of gastric ulceration and the degree of degenerative joint disease (DJD) in these underdeveloped colts and fillies that were not allowed to have a normal equine life, that were deliberately put in harm’s way for this perversion that is known as horseracing.
    How many years has this MRC vet been seeing injured and killed Thoroughbred racehorses? How can anyone continue to be involved in this hideous cruelty to horses?
    Is there any chance that the sound of BOURBON SWING’s bones breaking sounded like a gunshot?
    Just what does it take for some people to stop participating in this hideous cruelty to horses?
    What kind of people become and continue to be owners and trainers while having the knowledge of what they do is going to cause injuries and death to the horses in their “care”??? It’s morally depraved to do these horrible things to horses and act innocent of any wrongdoing!!!

    • True. But I’m even more bothered by Dr. Kelly Walsh. S/he was there at Laurel for the breakdown, and did or said NOTHING as the chart was published this way, complete with the glaring omission/deception/LIE of this poor filly’s presumed survival.
      And they’re both vets who work for the Maryland Racing Commission? Seems to me they work for the Stronachs.

      • Kelly, I’m going to assume that you are correct unless you find out that they are not working for the Stronach family.
        Belinda Stronach was reportedly said to “hate horses” and I have no reason to believe that she doesn’t hate horses. I read that Belinda Stronach hates horses in what I think was a reliable source of information.

        There’s no excuse for any of this absolute animal cruelty and racketeering but, at the same time, I think you know these people could use the excuse that it is not in their job description or job duties, you know, to do the job duties of another person with a different job title, description and duties.

        AS LONG AS the Maryland Racing Commission veterinarian, Dr. Walsh, is not keenly interested in ANIMAL WELFARE anyway, why would he or she bother to volunteer information to the person or persons with the job title, job description and job duties of a “chartwriter”? It makes logical sense to me but it is and always will be moral depravity on display in Maryland and the whole horseracing industry.

        • Sorry, out doing horsey stuff:)
          I don’t care if the commission vet communicates with the chartwriter at all, ever. I’ m saying the chartwriter himself SAW — and possibly heard, ugh — this poor filly’s bones breaking. He (pretty sure it’s a he) also saw the equine ambulance haul her off the track after completing her fourth-place finish.
          But again, not a hint in the chart about it. Kinda makes you wonder how many OTHER fatal racing breakdowns we’re not immediately privy to at Laurel, since Stronach officials (and even the vets!) are clearly comfortable with them going altogether unreported and ignored…
          Til FoIA time, that is.

    • Wanda, I have previously heard from the words of one of the jockeys that the gunshot is exactly the sound of these devastating injuries.

      • Nancy, I have not heard what it sounds like other than in an undercover video of the (yearlings)/ 2-year-olds in training sales where they deliberately forced a young filly (as well as several other fillies and colts) to run at top speed. This incredibly stupid choice caused the filly’s front legs to break and the sound was very obvious. It was caught on undercover video.
        That was cannon bones breaking that sounded like a gunshot. I don’t know what it sounds like for fetlock joints to break.
        I wonder if the jockey made any more remarks about what it sounded like, or if he just didn’t say anything more, or if they purposely left out/ omitted/ failed to share any more comments that he might have made.
        If the breaking did sound like a gunshot, I’m guessing there were other people there that heard it as well as the jockey on board.
        For all the people that were there in attendance, how can they continue to participate? They have to be morally depraved monsters, including the jockey.

    • I agree with Wanda Diamond. I do not know what it will take to get all these horrible people to stop their cruelty to the horses. How can anyone get involved in such horrible cruelty causing suffering and death to all those poor horses? These people should be held accountable and prosecuted for animal cruelty.

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