For the Record: Horseracing (That’s Mandy Pope and All the Rest) Killed Havre de Grace

Word from Kentucky is that former superstar racer turned breeding machine Havre de Grace died yesterday at a farm in Lexington, the result, says BloodHorse, “of multiple hemorrhaging episodes after producing a colt two days earlier.” Those internal bleeding “episodes,” it turns out, numbered three – on three successive days.

Anticipating the obtuse apologist line that death during childbirth can and does happen in nature, allow me to point out what should be the obvious: Havre was made pregnant – nothing natural about that. But it’s even worse.

The stable manager, Wayne Sweezey, told BloodHorse: “She had problems foaling before. … I’m sure that put a lot of stress on her body.” So, she had prior birthing problems but they kept doing it. If this were a court of law…

Havre’s most recenter exploiter, Mandy Pope, who bought Havre for $10 million – yes $10 million – back in 2012 (photo below), told the TDN that the dying horse “was stoic right to the end.” She added that “hopefully [Havre] will be in the Hall of Fame one day.” My contempt for the Mandy Popes of this world grows with each passing day.

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  1. I am completely shattered to learn of the death of Havre de Grace. There was no veterinary treatment available? They just let her bleed to death over THREE days? Just sickening. That poor mare deserved better.

    • Supposedly, there were multiple vets helping her! Were these vets the same quality or go to the same school as the one that killed Laoban?!
      I can’t believe they couldn’t have done some sort of exploratory surgery to find the bleeding or an emergency hysterectomy if it was her uterus! Especially since this occurred over a significantly long period of time.
      I had a horse that was colicking severely, and when the vet got there – she was ready to punch a hole up into his abdomen to see where the blockage was and what to do with it. It’s not like my barn was a sterile surgery suite- like I am sure they had one fairly close and accessible for this poor mare.
      Evil, vile people!!

  2. She also made the comment that they made a nest near the mare for the baby to watch his mom. That imagery just broke my heart.
    Evil, vile people!!!

    • Poor mare in the hands of these money hungry people. Did they really want to save her since she probably could not be bred again ?!!
      And now we will have the nurse mare and her foal will be gotten rid of…every aspect of this business involves animal cruelty.

      • Also, I find it curious that many high profile mares have serious problems when foaling. Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta and now Havre de Grace is dead…

        • Rose, don’t forget Royal Delta. She died giving birth to her very first foal.

          • Yes! Thank you.
            I saw that gorgeous mare work out at Payson Park many years ago. They go from track to the breeding shed without a break. Gotta get that money!!

  3. It’s a no-brainer that if this mare had not been bred again due to the high-risk of having complications, she would have been sold to a killbuyer. Since she was such a high-priced horse, the mare was exploited for as much money as possible as a broodmare.
    The people in this industry have no genuine compassion for these horses as sentient beings. It’s utterly repulsive that the racing industry people are hell-bent on exploiting horses to their last breath. It is not the human beings that have to endure the excruciating and agonizing pain of physical injuries that they inflict on the horses. These people appear to be completely incapable of empathy.

  4. Immoral! To continue to impregnate a mare who has experienced foaling issues on three previous occasions is just pure immorality. I learned from a Facebook post on the great race mare Zenyatta that she has had difficulty getting in foal on numerous occasions. Perhaps nature knows what selfish humans don’t? Zenyatta KNOWS she can’t carry a foal to term, and deliver a live baby! Yet the owners continue to push the envelope in the hopes that she does get in foal and can pass on those “marvelous” competitive genes to her foal! Crudely speaking….so they can get another big money-maker! This is so sad! The mother is dead and the innocent foal is an orphan. Yes, Patrick….this is horse-racing!

  5. What REALLY upset me, more than (almost) anything was what the Wayne Sweezy said. “”She fought the good fight now; not many mares will fight like that,” Sweezey said. Makes me wonder how many mares this sick man has watched bleed to death.

    • Coming from a guy who exploits horses for financial gain and drops the ball on keeping them safe, that sounds so sleazy and self-serving to say that the (dying) mare “fought the good fight” while she was suffering from complications of labor and delivery of a live foal.
      She had the will to live and this sleazeball took her life through his selfish, sadistic exploitation of her.
      Who knows how many other mares he has watched die is right, Jeannette.

  6. I was trying to find the information that said Havre de Grace, had had 15 foals … Of course the math doesn’t add up… But she could have been bred and lost and re-bred… We know the statement the trainer made about the last couple of struggles she had… Her youngest is two years old not counting the one she just had so she probably was bred another time in between…
    Insurance—pretty sure these expensive horses are insured?? The article says they impregnated her… I have also read other articles that details of how the pregnancies are manipulated… Usually 360-380+ days or more is the gestational time…It tells when the natural season for horses to breed and then it tells what they do to manipulate the horses to breed… And how they can shorten the timeframe… Some horses carry up to 11+ months…Because these people are greedy & all about money… The sooner the foal drops the sooner they can start training and put it out on the race track and breed the mothers again…These people think they are God!

    • These sadistic pseudo-horsemen put money first above God and above the welfare of the horses. They don’t have a healthy set of priorities.
      The racing industry promotes the Kentucky Derby in such a way that they attempt to manipulate the image in people’s minds of what horseracing is all about.
      The promoters say the Kentucky Derby is tradition. They don’t appear to be concerned about moral values being more important than money and tradition.
      They also like to emphasize that being involved in horse ownership, especially a Thoroughbred that could potentially be entered in races to qualify for entry in the Derby, is “the dream” and these white-collared barbarians talk about rags-to-riches types of stories to lure people into buying fractional shares of racehorses and, of course, placing bets on the horses.
      Horseracing is horse exploitation to the detriment of the horse. Saying that the Kentucky Derby is “tradition” does not make this form of Animal Cruelty okay — ever.

    • Havre de Grace has had 8 foals, and that’s 8 too many for a race mare who ran as hard as she did.

  7. I believe Havre de Grace had prior birthing issues, but of course they had to squeeze the last foal from this mare even though it killed her. Well over 2 and a half million in track earnings wasn’t enough. They had to bleed every last drop of blood from this noble beast, and if her foals aren’t lucrative they’ll fall off the radar and eventually be shipped to slaughter. They may have already.

  8. Nearly all great race mares have breeding issues, look at the Derby winner Genuine Risk, she lost foal after foal. She had only two surviving foals and one them ended up on Craig’s List. Luckily he was rescued from a horrible fate in a slaughter house and went to Old Friends sanctuary where he lived until he was euthanized in 2018. Genuine Reward was 25. Many race mares die from birthing complications, the industry downplays it and veterinary science doesn’t appear interested in studying why.

    • No two pregnancies are the same in humans or animals. In the horses and other animals intended for extreme exploitation, the ownership/ management will usually dump the horses as well as other exploited animals like hot rocks if they are not producing offspring profitably. This is business as usual in breeding operations.
      Untold numbers of Thoroughbred and Standardbred broodmares are culled from the operation when they are barren or when they have too many complications in foaling. Most people in this type of business are in it to make a profit, or at least trying to make it look like a business as opposed to a hobby as far as the Internal Revenue Service is concerned. Unfortunately, when people exploit mares for profit, they’re not going to give the broodmares a break from producing offspring. It’s sickening and this extreme and abusive exploitation for profit should not be funded by government subsidies and government-directed benefits including tax write-offs and tax exemptions. It’s an uphill battle to stop this ruthless exploitation of horses.

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