Here’s One Way the Industry Hides Kills

When I received documents from the Ohio Racing Commission in response to my FOIA request (post here), I immediately noticed that Edge of Night was not included. I knew through two sources that Edge was euthanized subsequent to being injured in the 7th race at Thistledown Apr 27. When I inquired, the Commission responded thus:

“Mr. Battuello: Edge of Night did race on April 27 and was vanned off the racetrack as a result of a serious limb injury. She left the racetrack property after that race. In a follow up conversation with the track veterinarian, she reported that the mare was treated until such time that it was determined that she could not be salvaged as a broodmare and she was euthanized – more than 72 hours after the race. Using the Jockey Club Equine Injury Database criteria, horses euthanized more than 72 hours after a race are not reported, therefore, this mare was not included in our totals and we received no Death Notice for this mare.”

Further proof (as if needed) that kills are slipping through cracks – on a technicality here, but quite often through plain apathy and/or incompetence. Needless to say, Edge has made our list.

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  1. Respectfully, Mr. Battuello, I must disagree.

    Personally, I believe that the omission of ‘Edge of Night’ was neither apathy, incompetence, or a technicality, but rather, deliberate, fraudulent and deceptive malfeasance..

    IMHO, though, these ‘technicalities” are being manufactured simply to draw attention away from the kills at the track that can’t be hidden, no matter what they do.. After the horror of ‘Maple Leaf Mel’, an undefeated 5-win champion, celebrity-owned by Bill Parcells – who tragically went down in front of thousands of fans on the second biggest day of the race meet at Saratoga – there’s a lot of scrambling going on to put a more positive spin on the current Saratoga meet.

    Even amongst the general public, it’s no secret that the horse racing industry is in serious trouble, and the flow of money, which is tightening badly [otherwise, there would be no need for racinos and government grants, would there?] calls for desperate acts in these desperate times – well, desperate for the racing industry, that is. So, in this writer’s humble opinion, they’re ALL doing there level best to hide just about anything that might impede the “gravy train” – no matter how small or insignificant.

    But that’s probably the just the tip of the iceberg. It’s my guess that many many more are being hidden, and all with the race track industry’s blessings..

    Too much info on the heinous amount of dead horses every year is a sure death knell for this industry, which, right now is on life support.

  2. Thanks for this, Patrick. More proof that the true death numbers are much higher.

  3. Respectfully Joe….. it’s confusing that you disagree with Patrick given your laundry list of opinions about the racing industry and all the wrongs therein.
    Bottom line, is that you agree (hopefully) this antiquated , cruel exploitation of Thoroughbreds needs to end and be shut down once and for all.

  4. Sunny –

    What, exactly is it, that you find confusing? My disagreement with Mr. Battuello on this particular subject is simply that Mr. Battuello is stating that “kills are slipping through cracks – on a technicality here, but quite often through plain apathy and/or incompetence”.

    Personally, I believe it’s more subversive, and is deliberate malfeasance.

    Maybe I’m wrong. But I don’t thinks so. Horse racing people are some of the most dishonest characters in the world.

    And yes, I do have a “laundry list of opinions about the racing industry and all the wrongs therein”, and most of them, if I do say so myself, are spot-on.

    Remember, I bet on the horses almost every day for over 30 years and have since made a 180o turn-around on an industry that has taken cheating and abuse to a new level. When the ‘sport’ was self-sustaining, savvy and competent handicappers could actually win at the races although, at best, it was less than 5% who could. Simply because most people bet very stupidly at the track.

    But now, with the industry literally dying, the racing insiders must resort to chicanery on a whole new level to remain in business.

  5. “Salvaged as a brood mare” – proof positive that horses are not sentient beings to these parasites, but rather mere commodities, like a car or a boat that might have a few more years of service squeezed out of it before it’s finally discarded and forgotten.

    • Exactly, Rebecca. I bought a car four years ago that was Rebuilt from Salvage. It doesn’t have air bags. It has a sticker inside the door frame that says it is a Class C Felony to remove this sticker. The title to this car has the word “Rebuilt” on it repeated multiple times as if just once was not enough.
      The sadistic indifference to horses in this industry is beyond egregious cruelty.

  6. Joe, I agree with you and I don’t exactly disagree with Patrick. I think you were going in for the center of the bullseye, so to speak, instead of just hitting the proverbial bullseye. I think you just made the point more clear in a sense, because I know that Patrick Battuello already knows the truth of what you have stated in clear terms. (I thought it was clear anyway.)
    This is one case of a racehorse being taken off the racetrack grounds while suffering in intense and excruciating pain for the, I believe, SOLE PURPOSE of avoiding the death count, besides these people are sadistic. They would not be in this business if they were not sadistic.
    I can speculate that it was possible that the connections wanted to see what they could get away with partly because these people have a propensity to commit heinous acts against horses plus the idea of doing something more vile than usual. Horseracing already is in the business of exploiting horses in extremely abusive ways and doing everything they can to make it look like a desirable business that is on the up and up. In reality, horseracing is the opposite of being on the up and up.
    Look at the Hall of Fame for racehorse trainers. The trainers who make this list are referred to as the “best trainers” but, in reality, they are serial killers. The Hall of Fame racehorse trainers are literally serial killers of horses and the rich owners who pay the bills are just as bad.
    This vile act of causing harm, life-threatening injuries, intense pain and suffering to the horse (exploited for racing and wagering handle), and prolonging the inevitable eventual death of the racehorse so that the horse won’t be counted in the “KILL/DEATH LIST” because of that 72-hour rule, is, and has been for awhile, the MODUS OPERANDI of The Stronach Group and the California Horse Racing Board. Otherwise, we would be seeing higher numbers of horses killed and fewer horses listed as Missing In Action in the State of California.
    Of course, these are horses that “made the cut” to be a racehorse. There is no telling how many young and underdeveloped colts and fillies were discarded without being taken to an “official” racetrack because their breeders/owners decided that they couldn’t see a big enough Return On Investment. The numbers on the ledgers are more important than anything that happens to any horse to the people who are exploiting horses for racing and wagering handle.

    • I agree horseracing attracts some of the most corrupt people indifferent to the suffering of horses. Apathy and a willingness to limit transparency begets fraud and exploitation. Patrick and Joe are both correct. When it comes to the track’s bottom line, commitment to the welfare of the horses is an after thought as long as the monetary advantage is greater than the penalty.

      • Well said, Elizabeth! The 72-hour rule is the “technicality” that gives these vile horse-killing people the option to get away with not reporting all heinous acts of cruelty against horses in the form of causing life-threatening, life-ending injuries to a racehorse.
        Wasn’t it convenient for the power brokers and stakeholders in this industry to provide this loophole to the vile horse-killing people in this industry?! It’s painfully obvious that they are more interested in protecting themselves from true justice than protecting the horses!

  7. Yes, I think we’re all saying the same thing here, but in our own way.

    As an avid horseplayer for many years, it’s both incredibly saddening and horrific at the same time for me, as for the longest time, I thought the breakdowns were only an anomaly, a rarity, something that DID NOT occur daily, and I – like most race-goers – never knew that ‘vanned off” meant – in almost 99% of all cases – surely dead.

    My former race track buddies, some of whom I still in contact with, have been grousing to me all summer about how bad the Saratoga meet is this year, with fewer betting opportunities, small fields, [FYI: one race last week, after scratches, came down to TWO – yes, only two horses!] and some bad turf races.

    I try to explain to them that it’s time to take your bankroll and go home – racing is a bad game, and it wont get any better. Surprisingly, some have actually expressed interest in quitting – a good sign.

    “Bet enough money and the casinos will treat you like kings.” I tell them, “and as a bonus, NO animal gets hurt or killed.”

    And at this point, one really does have better odds of winning at the casino because, at the very least, the casinos have to keep their games honest – or they run the risk of losing their gaming license.

    No such honesty exists in the horse racing world.

  8. And a highly experienced horsewoman thinks only the horses that smash their bones on the track should be counted as racing fatalities because counting any other less outright kills hurt’s the opposition’s credibility!!
    Regardless of how experienced she is, she sure doesn’t seem to understand how devious and morally bankrupt this business is.

    • My experience with horses and ponies started longer than fifty years ago. Having a lot of experience with horses in itself is not necessarily an indicator of having EMPATHY for horses. Many people make their living treating horses like they are a commodity which lends itself to sadistic indifference to the horses.
      It’s really sickening when you think about it that it is so widely accepted that horses can be used until they’re old and people want to go to the younger horses and just dump their old horses off at a livestock auction and whatever happens (to the horses) happens. It’s sickening that people using horses for their own personal satisfaction, or whatever you want to call it, don’t care what happens to their horses once they are done with them and have moved on to younger horses.
      This is the accepted and prevailing attitude in the “equine industry” among so many people, which includes showing, ranching and rodeo as well as racing and wagering.
      Not counting every horse that the racing industry abuses to literal death is one of the key points in the RACING industry. It’s painfully obvious.

  9. Of course they do not want to count every horse that dies in the races because they think they are fooling the public who patronizes this sport. It is sickening that the owners of the horses obviously have no feeling for these horses. These horses should be valued and treated as members of the family. When they are through “using” them they could at least let them retire in a peaceful pleasant existence. The only solution to end this cruelty is to end the racing of horses.

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