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).
Air On Fire, Nov 28, Pimlico T
“When the horse returned to the barn, [trainer] Kieron Magee noticed that the horse appeared to be sore: complete, comminuted sesamoid fracture – euthanized.” Also: “marked degenerative joint disease [all four limbs]; stomach ulcers.” Also, on the death certificate under “disposition”: “difficult to handle, poor stall rest candidate.”
Dr. Daniel (commission vet): “While the injury sustained by Air On Fire is career ending, I do not feel that the injury was life ending. I do not know how this horse behaved in a stall and what his attitude was, but I do feel that he may have been saved given more time. I also question the joint injection prior to radiographs.”
Air On Fire, below, was eight years old.
Wall, Dec 18, Laurel R
“The horse began pulling up, rider came off, and the horse ran loose. The LF fetlock was completely dropped, sesamoid fractured [into] three parts, and there was extensive soft tissue and ligament damage. Euthanasia was elected on the track.” Also: “marked degenerative joint disease [all four limbs]; stomach ulcers.”
Wall was six years old, and this was his 51st time under the whip.
Escape Fund, Dec 30, Laurel T
“Mare broke down near the 7/8 pole: both LF sesamoids fractured badly; connections chose humane euthanasia.” Also: “degenerative joint disease in all four limbs.”
Dr. Daniel: “This choice [euthanasia] is understandable and humane given the joint disease…and the severity of the fractures.” Then this: “She had very few joint injections – once each year for the last three years – which is extremely minimal.”
Escape Fund was just five – which means the injections started when she was only two. The industry’s incessant grinding of unformed bodies, writ large.