And Another: Saratoga, 5 Kills in 5 Days

The carnage continues at the self-styled “oldest sporting venue in the nation.” Sunday, the Gaming Commission has belatedly reported, Closed Caption was killed while training at Saratoga. She was just three years old. The complicit: Javier Martinez, Harold Lerner, Kenneth McPeek, et al. This makes it five kills in five days at Saratoga, 10 on the “season.”

The Saratoga ’23 Victims
Kaon, May 26 – “yet-to-be-raced horse euthanized”
Ami’s Curlin, Jun 10 – “laminitis in all four feet, euthanized”
Frigid Lady, Jul 15 – “broke RF leg, euthanized”
Winter Son, Jul 20 – “injured, vanned off, euthanized”
Blame It On Mary, Jul 23 – “injured, vanned off, euthanized”
Lawful, Aug 2 – “suffered injury, euthanized”
Sopran Basilea, Aug 3 – “injured on gallop-out, euthanized on course”
Maple Leaf Mel, Aug 5 – “fell, euthanized on track”
Closed Caption, Aug 6 – “pulled up, vanned off, euthanized”
Ever Summer, Aug 6 – “fell, euthanized on course”

Meanwhile, on the same day that Warrior Nation was killed, Finger Lakes also claimed 4-year-old Racing Queen, who, says the Commission, was euthanized for colic. RQ had just been raced at that same track Jul 31. Also of note: In her final five races, including the one on the 31st, RQ finished a combined 94 lengths back – almost 20 per race. Perhaps she was trying to say something? Her abusers: Nirka Huertas, Yireh Racing.

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  1. Saratoga did not run the barbaric Steeplechase today as scheduled. I don’t know the reason but it crossed my mind maybe they didn’t want to add a broken neck,pelvis or another leg to the existing carnage.

    • They cancelled it because the jockeys were concerned over the turf course condition and the fact that they’ve had so many fatalities on it recently. They cancelled all the turf races recently.

  2. Regarding the human connections to MAPLE LEAF MEL, I discovered that her trainer, Melanie Giddings, had a direct connection to Jeremiah Englehart in a video dated July 24, 2023. I wasn’t aware of this until yesterday when I happened onto the video that she (allegedly) survived stage 4 cancer and also discussed her involvement with racehorses.
    From what I’ve learned over the last roughly four years, the name “Englehart” is synonymous with killing Thoroughbred racehorses.
    Ms. Giddings seemed to have no qualms whatsoever in asking Jeremiah Englehart for advice.
    Ms. Giddings seems to like buying babies. The idea and the practice of putting these young and underdeveloped fillies in harm’s way on purpose by sending them out to the racetrack to run at a full gallop with a whip-wielding rider on their backs doesn’t seem to phase her as something that could cause injuries, lameness, maiming, crippling and death to the babies.

  3. Wanda, everywhere I read something about Ms Mel, they mentioned she apprenticed under him…and then went out on her own.

    • Nancy, it’s just like you were saying in answer to their old worn out line of crapola, that it won’t be the same without (name of deceased racehorse) and you said, “No, it won’t until you fill the stall with your next victim.” That’s exactly what Melanie Giddings has done already.

  4. Tim Wilkin, the author of the BloodHorse article, says the two fillies are not related although they have similarities. In the next sentence, he says they have the same sire. You have to read it…

  5. Melanie Giddings comment the day after Maple Leaf Mel died was something like “It’s a sad day.” How the filly LOVED to be at the track and she looked her worse when she returned to the track after 2 months off at the farm. Sure … right. For someone who was suppose to be sooo close to this filly and loved her sooo much, that seems to not show much emotion. If I was in the stall with a horse that I layed down and the filly put her head in my lap (like they showed in a pre-race story about Giddens) I would have been devastated and would never be able to get over what happened. I would have quit my job and racing right then and been haunted for the rest of my life. By the way when Living In Limbo was down and could not get up I saw them UNTIE HIS TONGUE when removing his bridle. Why do they tie these horses tongues for races? I will no longer watch horse racing.
    I am new to this sight. Thank you for the truth.

  6. It seems as if most folks currently have a deep abhorrence, Patrick, for dogfighting —[i.e., maybe moreso after former NFL player Michael Vick’s 21 months in Federal Prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring]— so, I thought I’d do a little “Compare & Contrast” exercise, and it’s rather interesting to see ………… how it unfolded, (Below + the capitalizations are mine)!!:
    A) From various (reputable) online sites, these sentences —[directly Below]— are about DOGFIGHTING:
    #1) “Dogfighting is often considered one of the most serious forms of animal abuse, ………… i.e., not only for the VIOLENCE that the dogs endure during and after the fights, but because they often suffer their ENTIRE LIVES.”
    #2) “Dogfighting is a felony in all 50 STATES and in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
    #3) “Dogfighting is a felony offense under FEDERAL Law as well.”
    #4) “In most states, the POSSESSION of dogs for the purpose of fighting is also a felony offense.”
    #5) “Being a SPECTATOR at a dogfight is also illegal in all states.”
    #6) “It is also a felony to knowingly bring a MINOR to a dogfight.”
    B) Additionally, by using those exact-#6 sentences —[directly Above]— it would be wonderful ***IF*** we could ~also~ legally switch the word(s) ………… “”dog(s)”/”dogfight(s)”/”dogfighting” >>> TO “horse(s)”/”horserace(s)”/”horseracing” ………… ~and~ the word “fight(s)” >>> TO “race(s)”/”horseraces(s),” as well, ………… [e.g., JUST LIKE THIS, directly Below]!!:
    #1) “Horseracing is often considered one of the most serious forms of animal abuse, ………… i.e., not only for the VIOLENCE that the horses endure during and after the races, but because they often suffer their ENTIRE LIVES.”
    #2) “Horseracing is a felony in all 50 STATES and in the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.”
    #3) “Horseracing is a felony offense under FEDERAL Law as well.”
    #4) “In most states, the POSSESSION of horses for the purpose of horseracing is also a felony offense.”
    #5) “Being a SPECTATOR at a horserace is also illegal in all states.”
    #6) “It is also a felony to knowingly bring a MINOR to a horserace.”
    In any event, **My Very Fervent Wish** is for every one OF the #6 altered sentences in “B),” (directly Above), to ………… [with great haste for the welfare of the poor suffering and DYING horses😢] ………… ALL come true!!

    • An undercover cop was able to go “underground” and do what it took to bust a dogfighting operation and seize 500 dogs. The narrator of the show said the dogfighting people will just go deeper underground. It’s sickening.

      • ‘Really, (no kidding!), good point, Wanda!!
        So, even if most of the relatively large-scale/”above-ground” dogfighting operations ………… [i.e., those which aren’t AS deeply-underground as they could “potentially” be] ………… are busted up, the (**completely soul-less**) dogfighting people would then just go DEEPER underground??
        Maybe the dogfighting people would subsequently have to go so-darn-DEEP —[i.e., in order to escape undercover cop “detection”!]— that, in a theoretical Problem-Solving Mode ~and~ at that “extremely deep” point, there just (figuratively)
        …………………… wouldn’t even be any ~**A.I.R.**~, at all, down there!!

        • I take “deeper underground” to mean that the offending animal abusers make it much more difficult for any undercover cop to get through undetected as a cop. Going “undercover” is potentially extremely dangerous. Any law enforcement officer could be killed. The offending animal abusers could have more ways to “sniff out” a cop going undercover. It’s a very dangerous job.

          • Completely/totally/💯% true, ………… i.e., it’s an extremely, ~e.x.t.r.e.m.e.l.y.~ dangerous job for any undercover cop, for sure!!
            I have numerous cousins/friends who were/are Police Officers and, for those who are currently in the workforce, ………… I fervently pray to God for their safety every single day.
            I’m additionally grateful-beyond-words for the many times ~(throughout my 35-year Staff R.N. Career)~ that I had to call for Police protection —[ i.e., in dealing with combative/dangerous patients]— and I’m honestly not sure, Wanda, whether or not I’d even be here reading Patrick Battuello’s Horseracing Wrongs Blog, or your very insightful and thoughtful comments, if my urgent calls for “Help!” hadn’t been answered by Law Enforcement Officers, you know!!

  7. As a lifelong horsewoman, owner, and equestrian; as well as a person deeply involved in formal TB rescue, sanctuary, rehoming and repurposing, I too am sickened and deeply saddened by every horse lost due to injuries sustained during a race or on training tracks. Im sure there are few reading or posting on this article that have seen more than I, due to 50 years of experience and observation. I would like to point out that horses that succumb to laminitis, as well as other common equine systemic diseases,viruses or bacterial infections should be removed from track death lists, unless that death can be directly attributed to racing. (Example: Barbaro) Laminitis and a myriad of other common equine systemic illnesses kill tens of thousands of horses that are not race horses. I believe that by including systemic illnesses on racing death lists, only serves to weaken the point. The experienced horsemen, as well as critics, will point out these type of deaths are most often not related to racing and can happen to any horse in any walk of life. Documentation must be readily available , and produced— to prove to critics that a particular death attributed to a common equine systemic illness, was, in fact, the direct result of racing.

    • First, racehorses are at a higher risk for colic, laminitis, respiratory disease, etc. But more important, if not for racing, the (very-much-active, in-between-races) horses dying in their stalls would not be in that place, at that time. As analogy, have you ever read or heard a historian attempt to draw a moral distinction between a soldier felled by camp disease and one dropped by a bullet? Of course not. Same logic here. All deaths in racing are by racing.

    • Antoinetta,
      I perceive that you are a reasonably intelligent person who hopefully can see the ridiculousness of your argument that any horse bred for racing and wagering handle should not be counted on the “death lists” if they weren’t killed immediately after a racing injury sustained by the very act of being forced to run at a full gallop with a whip-wielding rider forcing the horse to run farther and faster than their normal equine behavior would display.
      BARBARO was definitely injured catastrophically by racing, in a race, during a race, and instead of euthanizing him at the racetrack, they attempted to keep him alive because he was owned by rich people who could afford to pay the veterinary care costs.
      BARBARO was one of those, what I call, EQUINE LAB RATS OF THE RACING INDUSTRY, because he got Laminitis as a consequence of the attempt to keep him alive with the type of racing injury he sustained during a race.
      Every horse that is bred for racing should be counted as an “industry casualty” regardless of how they are killed or exactly what type of malady they are forced to suffer from by their so-called “loving” owners.
      I wish we could track EVERY HORSE BRED FOR RACING and then either killed and buried in an unmarked grave, butchered illegally in some backwoods location, dumped in a landfill, picked up by a rendering service, left (abandoned) to die of starvation and severe neglect, and the ones shipped to slaughterhouses where they are killed and processed for their meat and other body parts.
      Every horse bred for racing counts. Too many of these horses bred for racing and wagering handle suffer and die in anonymity.

      We should be counting the “nurse mares” AND their NEWBORN FOALS who are discarded like garbage. The racing industry uses mares of other breeds as nurse mares for Thoroughbred foals in case you missed that. The racing industry has no use for the newborn foals born to a Percheron mare or any other mare that isn’t producing a “Bred for Racing Foal” so they discard these foals. There are some people who are able to rescue these “bottle babies” but who knows how many of them are left to die? Do you believe that the RACING INDUSTRY PEOPLE are going to do a newsflash on this hideous cruelty (of racing)? Can you understand how cold, callous, cruel and heartless it is to take a newborn foal away from the mother and simply discard them?

      The power brokers and stakeholders in the racing industry DON’T DESERVE to be rewarded with public funds that should be going to necessities such as education for young people.


  8. A few points regarding race horse deaths:
    1) It is well known these horses are plagued with gastric ulcers.
    2) Are they diagnosed and treated for this disease ??
    3) It is known that ulcers contribute to colic
    4) They also can perforate causing peritonitis.
    I submit the horses that succumb to colic and “ruptured stomachs” (as I’ve heard perforations called!) are deaths caused by racing and undoubtedly SHOULD be counted as such,
    Further, it is a form of abuse that these horses are not diagnosed and treated but left to suffer while forced to race and splash more acid over these already raw areas. That is unadulterated cruelty!!!

    • Thank you, Rose, for sharing the facts of the matter. You don’t necessarily have to have “50 years” of experience with horses to understand a few basic concepts, in my opinion.

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