Sunday at the Scottish Grand National Steeplechase, one of the entrants, Claud and Goldie, collapsed and died immediately after finishing 9th. He was just 12 years old, which is right about the prime of life for horses in a more natural setting. Anyhow, his trainer, Sandy Forster, had this to say to Southern Reporter:
“For himself, one thing I do know is he didn’t suffer. He ran an absolute blinder of a race and I couldn’t be prouder of him. As a horse, he was just the biggest, gentlest giant. A complete gentleman of a horse – so it’s just heartbreaking.
“He was just galloping along within himself the whole way. It’s just one of these heartbreaking things that happens. He would not have known anything about it, so that’s the main consolation I can take from it.”
They tried. Oh, how they desperately tried. Having kills on back-to-back days, especially after all their talk of “success,” was just unthinkable. So, a broken ankle, which is almost invariably a death sentence for a racehorse, was to be “stabilized,” with the promise of a surgical fix disseminated. But I and most of you here reading knew it was but a matter of time. Just announced: Multiplier, an “injured, vanned off” in the 3rd at Santa Anita yesterday, has been euthanized. He was six years old.
While we wait for news on Multiplier’s fate after being “vanned off” yesterday at Santa Anita, there is a confirmed kill to report. Yesterday, at the Stronach Group’s other California track, Golden Gate Fields, Lady of the House “went wrong soon after the start, was pulled up and was vanned off.” “Went wrong,” of course, is one of racing’s go-to euphemisms for dead, and indeed she is. Lady was two years old, and this was her 8th time under the whip. For Golden Gate, this is dead horse #10; for all California tracks, #25. Reform is a lie; you can’t fix wicked.
Pop Pop’s Boy “bled” at Parx Laneys Love “fell, vanned off” at Delta Movin’ On Bye “vanned off” at Turf Bonita Redhead “vanned off” at Turf Quality Line “vanned off” at Turf Elusive Road “vanned off” at Tampa Bay Ingeniero “vanned off” at Turf Tammy’s Window “vanned off” at Turf Five Bar Royalty “vanned off” at Turf Rockin N Scootin “vanned off” at Turf Jo’s Bold Cat “vanned off” at Aqueduct Grand Manan “fell, DNF” at Grand National Class Indian “fell, DNF” at Grand National Totono “vanned off” at Gulfstream Jr What You Mean “fell, DNF” at Remington Rf Open Range “vanned off” at Weber Lady of the House “went wrong, vanned off” at Golden Gate Peves Moon River “vanned off” at Remington Multiplier “vanned off” at Santa Anita
While not all the “vanned” end up dead, most do, as borne out by our year-end FOIA reports. But even if death is not the ultimate result, the above are victims nonetheless, suffering painful injuries – in the case of the bleeders, pulmonary hemorrhage – so that some men may gamble, others chase pots of gold. (For any new confirmed deaths during the week, please see our running annual list.)