Maple Leaf Mel Killed at Saratoga on Whitney Day (Video Included)

In the 8th at Saratoga this afternoon, Maple Leaf Mel, says the chartwriter, “suffer[ed] a catastrophic injury to the right front leg, fell in the shadow of the wire and was subsequently euthanized on track.” She was three.

This one, given the horse (Maple had “won” her first five races), the race (a $500K Grade 1), and the venue (Saratoga, on Whitney Day no less), is garnering a lot of media. Hopefully, they’ll also mention that Saratoga averages 15 kills per summer; that this is the 7th kill already this meet; that over 2,000 horses die at U.S. tracks annually; that thousands more have their lives snuffed out at the slaughterhouse; that…well, you get the idea. And, uncomfortable though it may be, that anyone who attended and/or wagered today is complicit. (HW, by the way, was there protesting.)

The ugliness…

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  1. And as usual…the abuse goes on..
    With zero care or love for the poor horses involved…

    • I believe that their idea of “care” is injecting the horses with Lasix and a variety of other drugs in order to make it possible to force the horses to run at the owners’ and trainers’ choosing.

          • And you’re a liar. Nothing you say can actually be ba led up with facts. Cocaine? Are you for real?

        • If you call being injected with the illegal street drugs such as methamphetamines and cocaine “the high life” then you might be correct in your defense of brutally exploiting horses for racing and wagering.

          • No horses run on meth or cocaine. Horses are tested prior and after each race. You have been misinformed. I am a retired groom/pony person and have cared for many beautiful race horses. I think the cruelest thing for race horses is being kept in box stalls.

            • There have been reports of horses being injected with these illegal drugs, but it is common in unregulated racing.

            • You might want to take a look at the paulick report from yesterday. “Prairie Meadows trainer summarily suspended for 4 methamphetamine positives”.
              What was that about no horses running on meth again??

        • Have you ever been forced to run until your lungs bled or your bones were broken? Of course not. But what would you know about empathy, Cameron? Zilch. Zip. Zero.

        • Hi Cameron, humans choose how they live their lives. Horses don’t. They don’t ask to be confined to a stall 23 hours a day, fitted with painful mouth bits, drugged up and WHIPPED for your pathetic $2 bets. You obviously don’t have a life if you think your misinformed, idiotic post is going anywhere on this site!!

      • All horse that run 1st, 2nd and third are drug tested after each race. I am a retired groom/ pony person and went with a l9t of winners to the test barn.

          • She seems to be unaware of the undercover video of the unregulated racing where the jockeys inject the racehorses with a cocktail of meth, cocaine, caffeine and a 4th substance that I can’t recall exactly what it was. Also, in regulated horseracing, there were HW posts that reported certain individuals giving meth to racehorses. I don’t recall the dates of the posts, but they were in or since 2019.

      • That’s funny, in a sad way, to those of us that know better, that actually were in this business. It’s so misguided that people believe that.

  2. No words can express the sadness I feel for the horse. Thank you for showing up to protest. Catastrophic, yes, and tragic.

  3. The New York State Gaming Commission chose the right time to stop publicly reporting all the carnage, didn’t they? I figure they’ll post another huge data-dump soon. (Unless powerful NY racing interests — like the freaking Governor — convince them not to.)
    “Hey, let’s keep all our kills top secret. You know, like HISA tells us to.”
    *Edit: now looks like they did just that:(

      • Oh, I know it’s being reported all over — even in the racing press. But I thought the NYSGC had all but stopped posting their near-daily van-offs, deaths, and “incidents.” It’s bizarre. They now don’t seem to have any standards at all about which events get recorded publicly. And which don’t.

        • Maybe with such a crowd and the famed Whitney being run, word got out. We know in this day and age with social media and cell phone videos being taken,it’s hard to halt info being circulated.

      • No doubt. It’s just that NY used to have a teeny tiny shred of forced transparency in these matters. Now they appear just like the CHRB; looking for any excuse NOT to record the massacre to the public.

        • Kelly,Glory Road had two prior vet scratches before today when for some inexplicable reason ny chucklef**k vet lets him race and of course he got VANNED OFF!

          • How desperate are these veterinary “professionals” to keep this poor gelding alive right now, anyway? (They know NYRA officials can’t afford to admit to another kill by Rudy “The Butcher” Rodriguez.)
            Let’s hope they’re not inflicting further trauma and suffering on him just to keep the heat off their boy Rudy:(

    • A horse passes tragically from racing “you’re all scumbags who kill animals” as you order another vegan salad and condone the displacing of hundreds of species of small animals and plants. I’ll quote the show you hate “how cute does an animal have to be before it’s okay or not to screw it’s life up to better your own”

  4. Statistics keep rising there and everywhere. Every day, every venue whether it be a dump or the coveted Spa. Hopefully with the presence of HRW there and then watching this travesty unfold, the fans will see the real nightmare. Watching the ugly screen go up really may have put a damper on the whole day. I might add the horse was the cutest,sweetest gray darling.

  5. Let’s shove this footage in ny governor hochul’s FACE. This is what she took away children’s FUTURE for 🤬

  6. In my 30+ years of following and betting on horse races [for the record, and for you new posters/ readers to this site – I no longer do] I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a horrific breakdown as this one yesterday at Saratoga that cost the life of the horse Maple Leaf Mel. Yes, they are all awful, tragic, heartbreaking and unnecessary – no horse should ever be killed for ‘sport’- but the fact that it was on one of the biggest days of the meet – Whitney Day – really hammered it home for me, since I attended many “Whitney Day” celebrations over the years at Saratoga.

    And I will admit, yes, I always had a great time and it was a joyous and fun celebration.

    Not any more.

    This awful tragedy has only strengthened my resolve to never attend or place a bet on a horse race, ever again. Although I was once a rabid fan of the sport, and I never thought I’d say this, but it has got to stop. At this point, it’s really becoming incessant, senseless, unnecessary slaughter.

    The race where MLM went down was Grade 1 Stakes, at the finest race meet in the world, and certainly this horse was a champion [undefeated] race horse. But sadly, the champions die along with the $2,500 claimers because death is inbred in this sport – it’s just simply too dangerous for both the horses and jockeys.

    The thoroughbred breed itself has become too fragile, the training too intense, and the illegal [and legal, for that matter] rampant drug use only spells out a recipe for disaster. It plays out every day, somewhere, at every race track. This particular one hit home, though, as most of the major media outlets – who normally couldn’t care less about horse racing – smelled a good story and headlined it.

    An old friend of mine in the journalism industry once told me the media’s mantra – “if it bleeds, it leads” and it’s so sad all the way around.

    It’s my fervent hope that my posts will encourage any new readers here who may still wager on horse racing to find other outlets to gamble on – like I did – where sentient beings are not needlessly maimed, injured or killed. There’s never been more legal gaming outlets available than there is today. Quit betting on the races. If I could, then anybody can.

    • Cameron (above) might be influenced by your intelligence and experience, Joe, but I’m not holding my breath.

  7. That is sad to watch. Horse racing was never high on my list of animal atrocities. The horses live great lives in many ways compared to what literally billions of animals are put through. I accepted that a small number of horses possibly died, but so do a number of humans in many sports, particularly motor racing, which I’ve been involved in much of my life. Sometimes the rewards are worth the risks. But in the last few years I’ve learned much more about horse racing, and found it shocking how many horses die, and what owners will do to keep them going with injuries. All for money in the end. Horses could still be ridden for pleasure, it would greatly reduce the number of deaths. Some may even consider that unacceptable, which i understand, but I feel it would still allow the human bond with horses to continue at an acceptable risk. Horse racing needs to end though.

  8. Wanda,

    I’m almost fully convinced that these one-off, one-line posters here are not even real people – ‘bots’, as I believe they’re referred to in today’s internet lingo.

    It’s always the same ‘modus operandi’ – one line, fairly or blatantly insulting, they almost never respond, or if they do, it’s usually flippant, even more insulting, and with no facts or any basis in logic to back them up.

    Probably better to just ignore them.

    Well, what about it, Cameron? Care to debate me on the subject?

    Remember, I’m not another one of those ‘crazy animal activists’, but a hard-core,[former] high-stakes bettor who attended the races almost every single day strictly to gamble, and did so for over 30 years. Because of my background, I have a slightly different viewpoint than almost all the other posters here, yet, because I’m NOT an idiot, I must agree with them. I cannot ignore the facts and logic that surrounds racing: it’s a deadly game, it’s getting worse, and no, the horses don’t live any sort of “high life”…

    In my gambling days, I visited the shed rows, backstretch, spoke with trainers, jockeys and owners, and even on their BEST days, let me tell you, these animals don’t reside in the Taj Mahal.

    No, I never thought I’d agree with ANY of the posters on this site, or the owner of the site, but, as I said , because I’m NOT an idiot, I cannot argue against true facts and logic. Can you?

    I await your reply, but I doubt we’ll hear from you again.

    • Who are the people behind the bots? Obviously, they’re pro-racing and pro-slaughter. They’re not breaking my knee caps, so my life goes on.

  9. I am very alarmed at the amount of horses who are abused, suffering, and killed in this sport. I think that the media should expose this horror more to the public. There needs to be more awareness of the cruelty whicjh these precious horses are exposed to in the name of selfish and greedy people who partake in this sport.

  10. Is it morally corrupt for the “VETS” to perform these useless pre-race “EXAMS”.
    Knowing that they are passing horses through this corrupt mill, of borderline unfit horses to run.Who sets the protocol of the pre-race test.If it is NYRA related this could be a major conflict of interest.
    I have no doubt the vets are pressed by NYRA to find nothing wrong with most horses to be able to fill race cards. Guarenteed if the VETS do not pass most borderline horses to run,those vets that do not comply will not be practicing on NYRA
    grounds for much longer.
    I would like to address the issue of Maple Leaf Mel. In My opinion I don’t believe Mel was seasoned enough to go way up in class and to stretch out in distance as she was being asked. I would have no problem
    believing that the owner Bill Parcells was the major influencer in racing his baby in a Graded 1. Contest. I don’t think it was anyone but him. He is a money hungry,uncaring, win the big prize at all expense . I don’t think he could have bullied George Weaver into that choice to run a filly where she doesn’t belong.
    Only a young inexperienced trainer could be bullied like this. On paper you might say she was ready but at best she was very lightly raced

    • You’re making a lot of sense now, Sophie. It isn’t truly caring for the horse when humans force underdeveloped colts and fillies to run at a full gallop carrying a whip-wielding rider who is paid to get the most out of the colt or filly and win at all costs.

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