6-year-old Hey Willie in the 6th at Charles Town last night, as relayed by Equibase: “Hey Willie…was headed nearing the three eighths pole, showed no response to steady urging from that point [did not run faster after being whipped], faded readily on the far turn, eased in the stretch, collapsed post race and was euthanized.”

Freespin N in the 10th at Monticello Thursday: “broke down in stretch – euthanized.” Freespin N was 11 (on average, harness horses are abused for longer periods of time). He is the 8th dead horse at Monticello this year, one off the high (since Gaming Commission introduced database in 2009) set in 2010; in the past three years combined, Monticello has recorded 9 deaths. Now, 8 – with several months to go. Progress, as measured by NYS Racing.

The latest Stewards Reports from Delaware Park reveal the following:

“Consultation with trainer Claudio Gonzalez with reference to a ‘sudden death’ on July 1st.” The victim, alas, was not disclosed; I will make inquiries.

Wednesday, the stewards reported a temperature of 94 degrees with an “extreme heat advisory“; they went on to mention that it was “straight to the gate, no post parade due to excessive heat.” Three horses were scratched for “anhydrosis” – failure of the sweat glands – another for “heat/best interest of the horse.” And yet, 59 horses were put to the whip in those oppressive conditions; one, 3-year-old Crossbow’s Wildcat, “collapsed [after finishing last] on the horse path returning to the barn due to a heat stroke – multiple lacerations.” Imagine that.

What the preceding constitutes is unmitigated animal cruelty – in fact, a felony under Delaware law. While we continue to work to end this vile industry, it can’t hurt to hold the bastards’ feet to the fire. Contact info for Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings: 302-577-8500, attorney.general@delaware.gov. As for all who attended or gambled on those races Wednesday, two words: for shame.

For shame.

This morning, one day after officially opening for business, Del Mar recorded its first and second kills of the season – via head-on collision during training hours. Both Charge a Bunch, two, and Carson Valley, three, died from impact – i.e., no euthanasia required. Imagine that scene.

I can hear it now – “freak accident,” “nothing we could have done to prevent this one,” “could have happened anywhere horses exist.” Indeed, it’s already being said. Bob Baffert, Carson’s trainer: “This was a very unfortunate accident and it is a shock to everyone in the barn. We work every day to take the best care of our horses but sometimes freak accidents occur that are beyond anyone’s ability to control. This is one of those times and we’re deeply saddened for the horses and everyone involved.”

Sorry, the American public is growing weary of your excuses, diversions, and obfuscations. Horseracing kills horses. The where and how matter not a whit.

Sandra Smiles, a 2-year-old filly being prepped for her first race, was killed training at Pleasanton (Alameda County Fair) July 7 – “sudden death [at] 1/8th pole,” say the stewards. “Sudden death” at two, the rough equivalent of a grade-schooler.

In the minutes for the just-concluded Los Alamitos Thoroughbred meet, one “fatality” is listed for the week 7/8-7/14. I wrote to the California Horse Racing Board requesting the name; I was told that since it was non-racing/training, the identity of the dead horse was not available (at least to the person I made the request to).

And yet another. The Gaming Commission has disclosed the death of 3-year-old Overlord at Rood and Riddle Hospital, by way of Saratoga Race Course, yesterday: “developed post-op GI complications (colonic rupture)…subsequently euthanized.” He is the sixth casualty of the young Saratoga meet. For those who might object to that characterization, I give you a historical parallel.

It is fairly well known that roughly 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. But what most don’t realize is that roughly two-thirds of those soldiers died of disease. With that knowledge, when have you ever heard someone try to make the case that those deaths were in any way less significant, or more to the point, could somehow be disassociated from the war itself? Doesn’t happen – nor, obviously, should it. Clearly, then, time, place, circumstances, and context matter.

Similarly, every death in the horseracing industry is by the horseracing industry – every one, whether it comes via snapped leg, ruptured ligament, cardiac collapse, pulmonary hemorrhage, or “colonic rupture.” And that’s that.

Golden Julia, May 25, Saratoga T (died May 30) – “horse died from acute blood loss”
Investment Analyst, Jun 7, Saratoga T – “sustained leg injury necessitating euthanasia”
Gattino Marrone, Jul 3, Saratoga T – “fractured sesamoids – euthanized”
Fight Night, Jul 12, Saratoga R – “suffered a catastrophic fracture”
Total Fidelity, Jul 14, Saratoga T – “suffered fracture to sesamoids – euthanized”
Overlord, Jul 15, Saratoga – “colonic rupture – euthanized”