Art Collector Dead at Saratoga; Exploiters Lament the End of Their Gravy Train

Art Collector was euthanized yesterday at Saratoga for laminitis. This one is being widely covered. Why? He was a “superstar”: multiple stakes wins – including the $3M Pegasus at Gulfstream in January – over $4.2M in “earnings,” trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, etc. And, of course, because of that stature, the excrement is freely flowing:

Breeder/owner Bruce Lunsford (Horse Racing Nation): “He was a member of the family, and obviously, we’re heartbroken.”

Former trainer Tommy Drury: “Thanks for a great ride Art Collector, you will be missed!”

Mott: “[I]t’s always difficult to lose one like that.”

Lunsford (Thoroughbred Daily News): “The biggest win of my life was in the Pegasus down in Miami [Lunsford and company won $1.7M in that race alone], so this was a really big loss. And he was going to be a great sire.”

Yes, the real tragedy here: money lost.

Art Collector was last trained Aug 5 at Saratoga. A couple of days later, according to Mott, he developed a foot abscess, which eventually led to laminitis in all four feet. He became “real uncomfortable” in his Saratoga stall Tuesday, with Wednesday a “bad day and getting worse.” The decision, Mott says, was then made to “put him asleep.”

Art Collector (below) was but six years old.

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  1. Join us to Protest at Saratoga on Travers Day – Saturday, August 26th at 10 am. Go to the Get Involved tab here on our website. Click “Protests and Events” for more information.

  2. This one really broke my heart. He was such a beautiful horse. Poor guy was dragged from state to state, track to track, and even sent overseas to race in Saudi Arabia. This had to have been horrible on his immune system. Someone on one of the racing sites suggested the abcess may have caused him to be septic, for him to decline so quickly. Abscesses are fairly common in horses, but it doesn’t sound like this one was managed very well.

    • There was no emotional investment in this horse. As Patrick pointed out, the horse was purely a monetary investment and in the end not even that. Another beautiful horse, another tragic death.

  3. its a tax write off for these guys. only for money and taxes.the horses mean nothing. stop horse racing now.

  4. Allegedly, he got an abscess in allegedly one hoof on allegedly August 7th (a couple days after being run on August 5th). This is August 18th and was he euthanized on August 17th…? If he was killed yesterday, August 17th, that is scarcely 10 days that he went from having a foot abscess to having Laminitis in ALL FOUR HOOVES and being so UNCOMFORTABLE that they decided to put him to sleep to end his misery. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? LIKE WHAT THE H*** HAPPENED…???!!! What kind of abscess was this that would be so TOXIC that this horse would be dead 12 days after he was run on the racetrack???
    My dad had a smaller sized horse in the late 1980s, early 1990s that had some type of abscess in one hoof, but she DID NOT get Laminitis and she was not on her death bed from it. This is one of the things about the racing industry people: that they are so tight-lipped about disclosing details and just tell you enough to make it sound like some kind of “fairy tale” gone wrong, but it is not okay that they can be so secretive about stuff this serious!

    • I think if they were paying attention, these rich people with access to the best Veterinary Medicine and Care could do a lot more to prevent horses from contracting Laminitis.

      • Wanda, I agree 1000% with you. Dr
        Pol from Michigan doesn’t have a big fancy facility like these people do and he saves horses(and other animals) constantly. And he doesn’t give up either. I just don’t get it.

    • According to Thoroughbred Daily News, laminitis came first then the abscess. It’s heartbreaking that horses are forced to run on surfaces too hard for their delicate hooves.

      • There is a lot of information about laminitis and what causes it and it isn’t necessarily just one little simple thing. My bone of contention is that Laminitis is, in essence, caused by negligence on the part of the owner, of the caretaker, whoever is taking care of the horse, you know, the daily grooming and exercise, walking out, cooling off, water at the proper time, and feeding and they’re not paying attention to the carbohydrate content and the sugar content of the hay and grain, and some other things. A lot of things can go wrong through negligence and carelessness especially when these horses are fed feed rations high in carbohydrate and sugar contents that occur naturally in the feed. A lot of Thoroughbreds are really big horses and they are not necessarily easy keepers. They can be hard keepers plus they are under the intense physical demands of racing so they need a lot of high quality food to maintain weight, plus they are still growing under the age of full maturity which is usually considered to be six years old.
        The trainer, Bill Mott, and the rest of these racing industry people should know this stuff well enough to have prevented this, but they are not in the habit of actually giving a damn about keeping horses in a perfectly sound condition anyway.
        If they actually cared about the horses’ welfare and well-being, including keeping them sound, they wouldn’t be running them around the track as babies and all the rest of the abuse and brutality they put these horses through for racing and the Pari-mutuel wagering handle, and plus, don’t forget, the government subsidies and government-directed benefits including tax write-offs and tax exemptions to horseracing that should be going to educating young people and making sure that you can cross a bridge in those certain states like Pennsylvania and New York, without having it collapse.

  5. One other thought, a cause of laminitis can be too much grain. Over feeding for energy and speed can cause a metabolic response and laminitis. So sad.

  6. Very suspicious: July 21 coming off suspension for violating a rule regarding intra-articular injections, develops foot abcess, gets shipped to Saratoga, develops laminitis, and gets euthanized, all within one month!

    • So far I have not heard or seen anything about trainers being penalized for having a dead racehorse on their hands. The HISA Enforcement Arm known as the Horseracing Integrity and Welfare Unit is big on cracking down on drug violations and primarily suspending trainers caught with certain drugs and paraphernalia they’re not supposed to have, but dead horses? Forget about it.

  7. Laminitis is a killer. It took out Secretariat and Barbaro along with countless other equines, of which were not exclusively thoroughbreds. Laminitis in all four hooves isn’t “uncomfortable”, it’s hell. I don’t know how long poor Art Collector suffered but one day is too many. Considering all the money the racing industry rakes in, a good portion of that should go into research for this disease. Of course, we are speaking of horses, so laminitis wouldn’t be a top priority in the world of science. Sadly, the money racing generates doesn’t benefit the horses who make the money. For the most part they are viewed as expendable. Their problems are solved when they stop breathing.

  8. What about insurance money? I’m pretty sure Art Collector would have been insured. Just put him down and collect more money. He was a beautiful creation, like all horses a work of art. He and so many more deserve better.
    Beauty without vanity
    Nobility without conceit
    Friendship without envy
    A willing servant BUT NOT A SLAVE

  9. Laminitis is common in any horse. I’ve treated horses many times, some successfully some not able to heal. Laminitis is a death sentence for racehorses because the owners don’t want to sink any money for caregiving period. Never once in my life as a horsewoman have I witnessed all 4 hooves affected immediately and certainly not in the short amount of time that these race trackers are claiming to have happened!
    Here’s a quote that speaks volumes of the importance racehorses in total:
    Mott: “[I]t’s always difficult to lose one like that“

  10. These people’s motto should be “Money, Greed and Power … Disregard Suffering, Pain and Death of the Innocent”.

    How do they sleep at night?

  11. BloodHorse reported on 7/20 Foot Abscess Keeping Art Collector out of Monmouth Cup, calling it a “minor physical setback.” Mott said “He was eligible to go, he had a little foot abscess 3 or 4 days ago.”
    On 8/18 (Paulick Report, citing TDN) Mott says “He had a very good work on the 5th of August and was fine the next day. Then he developed what appeared to be a small foot abscess 2 days later. We were soaking it and treating it. We didn’t think it was going to be anything serious, but it developed into laminitis in all 4 feet.”
    Wouldn’t you think with a horse of this caliber they would have whisked him off to New Bolton or some other reputable facility AT LEAST on the second occurrence of abscess in a short time, having failed to do so back in July when it actually might have helped?
    This seems like gross negligence to Art Collector. When I saw this news today I felt the same sort of actual rage that I experienced at the death of Havre de Grace. It just seems mean…and all the tears are sickening.
    RIP, Art Collector. You were a beautiful, spirited boy and you deserved much, much better.

    • Thank you, Andi. I appreciate what you said. Dismissing serious injuries or conditions in a horse and racing them anyway reminds me of the case of Todd Pletcher and Mike Repole with FORTE whining because they were not allowed to race FORTE with a bruised foot in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes. Abuse, neglect, sadistic indifference to the horses, negligence, gross negligence, dereliction of duty of care of the horse are all applicable in this case and horseracing people in general.
      Was ART COLLECTOR in the beginning stages of being foundered when Bill Mott forced him to run on August 5th?Where were the stewards? Where was anybody that has the responsibility to monitor what is going on at the track in the mornings or any other time?
      These greedy people could have retired him from racing when they knew he was having a problem with any one of his hooves.
      It’s like Gina Powell always said, more or less, “There is no amount of money that these horses can win that is ever enough for these parasites.” So true!

  12. Don’t you just love how these LYING, greedy, money-making POS always say ‘oh we love our horses’ Yea we know you do, you love them while they’re earning you money and five minutes of glory but when tragedy strikes, its ‘goodbye’ lets collect the insurance money and slaughterhouse money and move on to our next VICTIM….but oh how we ‘love’ our horses.

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