Two More Kills for NYRA, Including Another at Saratoga (That’s 16 There)

Two kills confirmed by the NYS Gaming Commission yesterday – one belatedly:

Shutters, the Commission says, was “found down in stall” at Saratoga Tuesday and “died before vet could arrive.” He was five years old and was coming off a timed workout at that same track five days prior. This makes 16 kills at Saratoga this summer – officially one more than its historical average. But fret not, for NYRA says things are getting better.

Uragano “developed laminitis” Jul 27 and was “euthanized due to his sickness” at Belmont Aug 18. He was four and had been put to the whip 11 times, most recently Jun 24.

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  1. Say one thing and do the opposite.
    Do one thing and say the opposite.
    This is the expectable and predictable behavior and method of operation of the New York Racing Association and everyone else in horse racing. It’s their modus operandi to say whatever they think they need to say in order to protect their bank accounts and the corporate welfare to this heinous and egregious cruelty to horses.

  2. 2023 shaped up to be a pretty bad year all-around for Saratoga, the “crown jewel” of the racing world. Naturally, it goes without saying that it was most awful for the horses who died, with, as reported here, now 16 deaths attributed to this summer’s meeting. But invariably there are thousands of horses stabled at Saratoga and nearby who are suffering, infirm, or unsound, but will be trotted out on each race day dressed up in their Sunday’s finest.

    Even the bettors and fans, with over 50 races having been taken off the turf (so far), have bemoaned this sad state of affairs. More ‘off the turf’ racing means less entries, less handle, and the weather, with the heavier than usual amounts of rain, also put a damper on the ‘fun’ for the patrons. No less than seven of my former racing buddies, some, who only go to Saratoga with their families, decided to ‘skip it’ this year – like I have. Usually, when this happens – they don’t come back.

    I won’t.

    Honestly, up until last year, I never knew the horrific maltreatment of these majestic animals until I stumbled across this site, and did some research. The racing industry’s rebuttal to this site’s reporting ? Weak, at best, but outright lying, at worst.

    Logically, though, when you think about it, spending millions of dollars on this ‘sport’, and sometimes on only one horse, would lead you to the conclusion that the investor(s) would do everything in his/her power to insure that the animal would receive only the finest of care – no? After all, it seems rather idiotic to abuse something that just cost you a fortune whether it be a new Ferrari, a vacation home, or, in this instance, a thoroughbred horse.

    But logic does go out the window when a stronger urge enters – money.

    In my many years of betting, though, I always thought that the breakdowns were rare, thoroughbreds were treated like royalty, after all, some were million $+ earners – and yes, they look well-muscled, fit, and fabulous in the pre-race warm ups.

    But the industry is failing – and it doesn’t look like they’ll turn it around anytime soon – $455 million dollar NYRA prop-up be damned. The dark underbelly of the racing industry is being brought to light, and it ‘ain’t pretty’. Trying to do damage control is getting tougher and tougher when horses break down right at the finish line – like the two unspeakably sad and devastating incidents that happened this year at Saratoga.

    No, I do not, for one moment, regret quitting the races – sure, I had a lot of fun at the track, when I was almost completely oblivious to the horrors that took place behind the scenes. But after over 30 years, I no longer bet on horse racing, and while I have always adopted the philosophy “never say never,” I can affirm that I will NOT be going back to this game anytime soon. To those who may still be wagering on the races, I urge you, if you still bet on horse racing to stop. They’re losing, they know it, and they’re desperate. And when the betting handle overall becomes untenable, horse racing will go the way of dog racing.

    • Agree 100% Joe. The industry is going the way of the carrier pigeon. Several states wonder why, with their refusal to participate in the mostly minimal regulations of HISA like my state of Oregon! Because of this there is no outside of the state wagers accepted on the 1/2 mile bull ring county fair meets held here. The purses are reliant on Hub taxes levied on sites such as Twin Spires & Express Bet ADW`s to continue . After 40+ years participation as a rider at tracks & private farms teaching horses to accept being ridden & going out of the gate & galloping on the track we now operate a small farm where we REFUSE to have any of our horses participating in racing despite many encouragements to do so.Seeing a horse break down with both front legs in the 2nd race of the last day of the meet in 2004 from the stable we were galloping horses for was enough for us.That poor mare had been having illegally used SWT used on her front legs EVERY DAY for 2 weeks up to & including the day she broke down. That crummy trainer still trains horses to this very day at the 1/2 mile bull ring tracks here in Oregon even though his farm is located in Raymond, Washington!

  3. Patrick, do you happen to know the statistics of the percentage of foals that even make it to the races?!!!!!

    • Bonnie, I believe that less than half of all Jockey Club registered Thoroughbred foals “cut the mustard” to be racehorses. I read some information some years ago about that, but I don’t have anything to verify the numbers. It surprisingly fewer than one would expect.

  4. I remember with sickening clarity that undercover video showing an 18 month old dark bay filly being forced into a stock trailer. The guy with the hidden camera was asking the Hispanic trainer why he was getting rid of her and the trainer said “too slow”. Imagine, destroying a baby because her immature body can’t reach the speeds you’re demanding. The video actually followed her to the kill pen and finally to the slaughterhouse, where her life ended horrifically.
    This is the truth of horse racing.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Rebecca. This epitomizes the diabolical absence of true horsemanship in this despicable industry.
      The undercover PETA videos of two-year-olds in training being forced to run and being forced to run at top speed carrying a whip-wielding rider show one running so fast and breaking front legs. The sound of the break is/was like the sound similar to a gunshot or the loud crack of a baseball bat. It’s unbelievable at the diabolical absence of common sense, true horsemanship and anything that resembles common decency. It is horrific! This was at a Keeneland Sale.
      I despise the Keeneland graduate logo on Equibase because it represents such heinous acts of cruelty to so many young, underdeveloped colts and fillies. It means an unknown number of young horses were horrifically abused and killed by these morally depraved people at Keeneland.
      The names (if they had names) of these young, underdeveloped colts and fillies will not ever be publicized by the racing industry, of course. They aren’t Keeneland graduates when they are dead, obviously, and most people will never know about them. We will never know how many young and underdeveloped colts and fillies were brutalized and killed by this evil industry before they were ever entered in any race.

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