From the “Facts Are Stubborn Things” File

From state necropsy reports, proving (again) that abuse, suffering, and death are inherent to horseracing.

“Proximal sesamoid fractures may carry an occurrence rate as high as 41.5% in racing Thoroughbreds. Approximately 80% of all forelimb proximal sesamoid fractures are biaxial (both the lateral and medial sesamoid bones are fractured). Racing puts excessive force on suspensory ligament attachments to the proximal aspect of these bones, and creates the condition of fetlock joint hyperextension, predisposing this location to injury.”

“The sesamoid bones are commonly fractured in racehorses, as this joint can hyperextend and the sesamoids hit the ground with a high impact force.”

“Fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones are common in racehorses from high intensity exercise and continuous activity during their careers. It is thought that continuous high intensity exercise causes microfractures in the bones that then predispose them to severe career ending fractures.”

“Carpal bone injuries are relatively common findings in racehorses [and] are thought to be a consequence of repetitive impact trauma associated with fast exercise and training.”

“Thoroughbreds racing at high speeds typically causes catastrophic biaxial fractures.”

“Humeral fractures occur in racing animals as catastrophic failure or accumulation of stress and microfractures.”

“Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage is a common finding in racehorses.”

“Chronic ulcers [are] a common finding in racehorses, mostly attributed to stress, high grain diet, and higher use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.”

“Racehorses are predisposed to squamous ulcerative gastritis due to their high intensity exercise, high-grain diets, and >6 hours between meals. The high-grain diets and >6 hours between meals causes excessive acid production and their high intensity exercise causes splashing of the acid contents onto the squamous epithelium.”

“The front fetlock joints are the most reported sites of traumatic and degenerative lesions in equine athletes, with a reported 1/3 of 2- and 3-year-old thoroughbred horses having metacarpophalangeal cartilage lesions and osteoarthritis. Lesions in this location are at least in part due to increased weight bearing on the front limbs and the extreme flexion and stress put on the fetlock joint during racing.”

“Comminuted fractures are typically generated from compression and tension forces on bone which result in oblique and spiral fractures simultaneously with fragmentation.”

“Mild-to-moderate injuries of the suspensory apparatus have been positively associated with mechanical fatigue associated with repetitive activities (overextension), and consequently increased risk for catastrophic injuries.”

“Young horses (2-year-olds) and older horses returning from a layup (over 3 years of age) are at higher risk for tibial fractures due to the potential insufficient adaption of their skeletons to the expected performance.”

“Humeral fracture frequently occurs in racing breeds due to accumulated microdamage or stress, or because of kicks, collisions, and/or falls during training or racing. Repetitive high-magnitude loads during training/racing near the upper limit of physiologic loads cause microdamage or stress accumulation due to osteocyte death. This microdamage stimulates rapid bone remodeling that leads to damaged tissue removal. This reabsorption is followed by slower new tissue formation or deposition. As a result, when the tissue damage overwhelms the repair response, focal osteopenia occurs, causing weakening of the bone increasing the risk of fracture….”

“Up to 90% of racehorses [have] gastric ulcers; factors that increase the likelihood of ulcers: stall confinement, stress, NSAIDs.”

“Streptococcus zooepidemicus is the most common bacteria isolated from cases of pneumonia in racehorses. Some predisposing factors such as restraint during transportation, specifically when the animals are unable to lower their heads, impedes the correct clearance of oronasal secretions leading to bacterial colonization. Other environmental factors for bacterial pneumonia include high dust load and poor ventilation.”

“A condylar fracture is a disease of speed. A fracture to the left lateral forelimb is most common in racehorses as they turn the track on a weakened bone and increased loading on the lateral condyle.”

“Preexisting stress fractures and stress remodeling are the most common contributing factors to catastrophic failure. The fracture is a compilation of physical activity where muscles, body weight, and ground forces place excessive strain on muscles, tendons, bone, ligament, meniscus, synovial membrane, joint capsule, and cartilage.”

“Microdamage occurs because of repetitive, high magnitude loads during training and racing.”

“Laminitis and coronitis are common, painful conditions of [racehorses], resulting in the separation of the epidermal laminae from the underlying basement membrane of the dermal laminae of the hoof.”

“Score lines and bruising in front fetlocks are suggestive of repetitive osseous stress syndrome, a common finding in fetlocks of racing Thoroughbreds.”

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  1. Thank you, Patrick, for providing in one post what everyone in the racing industry struggles to deny daily.
    It doesn’t take a degree in biophysics to see that it’s racing itself that is killing all these young horses. (But it does take a colossal effort by all the fine folks still clinging desperately to their chosen cruelty to downplay the significance of these facts.)

  2. Well well….NY Times just reported No Chin todd’s horse Forte actually Failed his drug test after the horse won the Hopeful race, a derby prep in NY. And we are only hearing about this NOW?!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. I do believe Mike Repole and Todd Pletcher are hell-bent on killing FORTE by racing him to a catastrophic breakdown. According to the article I read, he was put on the Vet’s List for 14 days so he allegedly won’t be allowed to run in the Preakness Stakes in Maryland. But, of course, these two die-hard horse-abusing, horse-doping, horse-killers want to run him in the Preakness Stakes anyway knowing full well that they have to keep him “medicated” because of his internal injuries to date. These two Animal Abusers should be punished like they’ve never been punished before in their lifetimes.

  4. The matter of FORTE testing positive for an overage of pain-killing anti-inflammatory substance after winning the Hopeful in September 2022 was not adjudicated due to procedural delays thanks, but no thanks, thanks to Pletcher’s attorney/s. Sickening! Meanwhile, the horse is described as “happy” by his abusers, especially Todd Pletcher. Typical downplay of the abuse. Business As Usual. This is horseracing.

  5. The trainer’s counsel is said to be lawyer Karen Murphy. There are so many parasitic human beings profiting from the abuse, pain and suffering inflicted on horses for racing and wagering. Mike Repole, Todd Pletcher and Karen Murphy, as well as so many other people, should be in jail for violating Animal Welfare and Business Conduct Codes. If there was any real justice, they would be behind bars in small prison cells.
    For people betting on the horses, had it ever occurred to anyone that they should be checking the “past performance” records of the trainer’s counsel’s repeated procedural delays in calculating which horses might be more doped up than another horse? I know you’re not going to find this type of information on Equibase.

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