One Dead, Another Maybe Dead in Same Fairmount Race

In the 5th at Fairmount yesterday, says the chartwriter, “Red Bird fell from a serious injury, was humanely euthanized and vanned off.” Glad he added the clarity of “vanned off,” for if he hadn’t, we would have been left wondering how they were able to remove that 1,000-pound dead horse. Red Bird was just three years old. Complicit in his death: breeder Marylou Whitney Stables, owner Vernon Obermeier, trainer John Witthauer.

In this same race, Midnite Revolution, under the whip for the very first time, “pulled up with an injury after [the finish] and was vanned off.” Still, the jockey, Reynier Arrieta, did his job: Midnite, despite being described (by the track announcer) as “a bit awkward moving” during the race, finished 2nd, earning $2,400 for his exploiters in the process.

Below is a picture of the “Winner’s Circle” celebration carrying on while Red Bird was being “put down” out on the track. This one was particularly egregious as it involved children. Yes, there was more than one type of abuse going on at Fairmount yesterday.

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  1. I saw this race and poor Midnite was moving TERRIBLY, not awkwardly! I assumed he was the one that had broken down, because of course they chopped up the replays to hide the death. Shame on the dumbass jockey for not pulling him up. Totally uncalled for. Racing again proves why it’s awful.

    • This replay showed a pathetic total nightmare. The #4 horse came out of the gate horribly. He must have gotten hurt in the first megaseconds of this abhorrent but still managed a second,then they noticed he was hurt. #7 Red Bird was not stopped after it was obvious there was an issue. They cut it off before he fell.

  2. This whatever you want to call it is sick. Only focusing and looking for the tragic things that OCCASIONALLY happen racing. It’s a great sport that loves our horses. We are devastated if anything happens badly. We do our best to keep them safe, occasionally and sadly accidents happen as in any sport. Don’t paint us with the broad brush as animal abusers. Your efforts would be far more effective addressing factory farming and inhumane slaughter.

    • Colleen, as a former bettor and horse racing enthusiast for many years, I have since discovered that unfortunately, you are wrong, as these tragic events do not “occasionally” happen, but as Mr. Battuello notes, these deaths occur almost, if not every single day. In fact, I believe one track was even crowing about having gone SIX WHOLE DAYS without a “death”, like this is actually something to be proud of.

      Like you, I also thought that these tragic incidents were few and far between, and that racing was “safe” – but the truth is quite the opposite, There’s simply way too many deaths for it to be considered a “safe” sport

      While I do believe that the racing officials and boards are doing everything they can to keep these deaths down to a minimum, after all, this is really bad press, something the sport does not need. Especially now. But unfortunately, and sadly, the killing is inherent in the sport itself. Month after month, year after year, roughly the same amount of deaths occur which means, quite simply, that it’s not being fixed, and that’s it’s just not fixable.

      I, too, once thought it was. But Mr. Battuello’s reporting is exhaustive and he’s got the facts to back it up – he won’t post updates on horse deaths here unless it’s been researched and officially verified.

      Like you, I loved this sport but then when one gets their eyes opened, you can’t un-see what’s been going on. The rampant and illegal drug use doesn’t help either.

      Do I bemoan the current state of affairs with horse racing? Sure I do. Would I like to be able to go back to attending the races, spending lovely afternoons at the race track, handicapping, betting, and having a grand old time? Of course I would! But the drugging and cheating, culminating in a Kentucky Derby winner being disqualified from the race by arguably the top trainer in the world, and seeing what happens to these horses in their short, sad lives has turned me off for good.

    • IF you were honestly concerned about horses as sentient beings, Colleen, you would be doing the Freedom Of Information Act requests yourself and then you would see that the racing people CAUSE HARM and DEATH to about SIX HORSES EVERY DAY.
      I don’t believe that categorizing SIX HORSES KILLED DAILY by the racing industry people in the USA is “occasional” besides the fact that knowing that horses are injured by racing and that the “body of knowledge” within Veterinary Medicine proves exactly what type of INJURIES are inflicted upon horses exploited for racing.
      There is a long list of specific injuries to horses that are specific to horse racing! Just read a book and learn something, Colleen. This is NOT rocket science.
      Read the necropsy reports of racehorses killed by this vile exploitation of horses and their specific INJURIES caused by racing.
      If you really want to see who is sick, look at the die-hard horse-abusing, horse-doping, horse-killing people who do this to horses 24/7, month after month, week after week, year after year, and have been doing this to horses for decades and without a conscience.
      Horseracing is a case of the foxes guarding the chickens or the inmates running the prison.
      Horseracing is not a wholesome activity that is anything a decent person would want to emulate. Horses need to be protected from this egregious cruelty and abuse.
      It takes people outside of racing to tell the truth about racing and how many horses are injured and killed every day, every week, every month, every year, year after year!

  3. It sounds like the exploiters of RED BIRD sent him out to die on the racetrack on purpose. If the trainer knew his rear-end from a hole-in-the-ground, he would have been able to see this breakdown coming. Also, what did any of the veterinarians at the track think about the horse’s predisposition to breaking down under extreme exertion??? ($$$)
    This abuse of horses is how these people get paid so why would they prioritize a horse’s welfare over their “paychecks”? After all, they need to fill a racecard. Otherwise, they all could cancel the races and go get jobs doing honest work.

  4. Instead of “race tracks,” they should be called “race traps,’ So many horses die or are injured because of being trapped by a situation which is not of their choice.

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