A guest post this morning from regular HW contributor Mary Johnson:
As most of you here know by now, the racing people rely on smoke and mirrors to minimize the carnage that occurs on their tracks and prefer to keep their dirty secrets behind closed doors. In other words, sanitizing their image is their main focus.
According to the official race chart, 3-year-old Dawgmentality was a simple “scratch” at Presque Isle October 10. No other information given. But I have learned from an eyewitness that day that Dawg in fact died at the gate. Here is that person’s description of what happened:
“At first the gate crew attempted to load a fractious Dawgmentality from the front by backing him into the gate. That attempt was almost successful, but before the front closed the horse reared up and leaped forward. An attempt was then made to load the horse from the back of the gate (the way most horses are normally loaded), but Dawgmentality never made it. When he got to the side of the gate, he put all four feet down and wouldn’t budge and refused to move forward. He then reared straight up, flipped over and fell to his left side.
“It looked as if Dawgmentality hit his head, and he didn’t move for approximately 15 seconds. He then attempted to get up but couldn’t, and appeared to be paralyzed and convulsive. He was flopping around with legs flailing but continued to try to stand up. Someone from the gate crew knelt on his neck to keep his head on the ground. The screen was then brought to the gate, and Dawgmentality was euthanized. At no time did the track vet or official starter intervene when it was quite obvious that this horse did not want to go near that starting gate.”
Horrible. Simply horrible. And a perfect illustration of how the racing industry whitewashes, or at least attempts to whitewash, its daily ugliness.
A source at the track has also confirmed these other deaths at Presque Isle during its recent meet. All four were merely reported as “vanned off,” nothing else.
5-year-old Magic Bomb, July 4 (“one of his front legs was dangling”)
5-year-old Truckin Tommy, August 8
6-year-old Eurobeliever, September 6
4-year-old Super Gremlin, September 19
It remains to be seen whether Patrick receives information on these horses from the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission. But we won’t hold our breaths.