Through a FOIA request to the California Horse Racing Board, I have obtained the following details on 2021 kills. (I will be posting in installments.)

Holdfast, Sep 16, Golden Gate T
“Horse went to track and backtracked; rider said horse fell off so he…took him off track; horse collapsed and died – cardiac death, chronic myocardial infarcts, presumptive coronary artery disease.” Holdfast was just five years old.

Left Alone, Sep 19, Golden Gate T
“The cause of death in this animal was exsanguination [she bled out]. Frank blood gushes out of the abdomen upon opening. The right kidney is completely encased in hemorrhage that extends down the retroperitoneal space and along the pelvis. Suspect aneurism with rupture.” Left Alone was six years old.

Galloping Slew, Nov 14, Golden Gate T
“catastrophic left tibial fracture”
“severe hemorrhage and tearing of musculature”
“multifocal ulcerative gastritis”

The report added this: “Young horses and older horses returning from a layup are at higher risk for tibial fractures due to the potential insufficient adaption of their skeletons to the expected performance.” Galloping Slew was four years old.

Ima Rumbler, Nov 16, Golden Gate T
“comminuted, complete, displaced humeral fracture”
“ruptured muscles”
“severe hemorrhage”
Findings also included: “metacarpal disease, degenerative joint disease, osteochondral disease, and chronic/stress remodeling.” Ima Rumbler was just three years old – still an equine pubescent.

Inimitable, Nov 19, Golden Gate R
“open fractures in [both] forelimbs”
“[multiple] ruptures, [both forelimbs]”
“displacement of both cannon bones”
Inimitable was just two, and this was only his second race. Broke both front legs.

Last week on U.S. flat tracks (racing only):

Deserted “vanned off” at Parx
Going With Style “bled” at Santa Anita
Tamarando’s Mine “vanned off” at Turf
Adorable Brittany “vanned off” at Turf
D Oro Canyon “vanned off” at Sunland
Paper Boy “vanned off” at Turf
Missed the Call “vanned off” at Mahoning
Lookin Kinda Crazy “took a bad step, fell” at Parx
Wed O’s Champ “vanned off” at Turf
Run Ballerina “vanned off” at Sam Houston
Dr. Minister “vanned off” at Turf
Achilles “vanned off” at Fair Grounds
Palmach “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Papa Charles “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Frosty Warrior “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Beyound Dreams “vanned off” at Sam Houston
Colby James “vanned off” at Sunland
Brandistyled “vanned off” at Sunland
Majestic Freedom “pulled up, DNF” at Oaklawn (this track hates to reveal anything)
Malibu Mayhem “vanned off” at Santa Anita
Quiero Mas “vanned off” at Turfway
Jaccaci “stopped badly in the stretch” at Turfway

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.)

In the 4th at Monmouth last August 6, Chispita finished 2nd for owner Bonnie Lucas (who also doubled as asst. trainer) and trainer Wayne Potts. Apparently, though, the 3-year-old filly suffered some sort of injury – an injury bad enough that the state vet thought it warranted the ambulance. (In addition, the vet voided a “claim” on Chispita – yes they were selling her – so again, clearly she was injured.) But, according to a NJ Commission ruling in September, Lucas, after consulting with Potts, refused to allow Chispita to be “vanned off.” For that, the pair had their wrists slapped: 30-day suspensions and $1,000 fines. And all this came after Chispita (under Lucas/Potts) was “vanned off” in a race exactly six weeks prior (June 25). Surely, the Commission knew that, and yet…. As for their charge, Chispita has not been heard from since.

The finding:

“As the result of the Administrative Hearing conducted on September 9, 2021, the Board of Stewards finds that: Wayne Potts was the programmed trainer of the horse Chispita when it raced in the 4th on August 6, 2021, at Monmouth Park; Bonnie Lucas was the licensed owner and assistant trainer, as well as the attendant. Following [that race] the State Veterinarian ordered Chispita to be vanned off the racetrack via equine ambulance. After communicating with trainer Wayne Potts, Bonnie Lucas refused to allow Chispita to be vanned off…despite being ordered to do so by the State Veterinarian.”

Out for Justice is a 5-year-old gelding who was first raced in March 2019; through January 11, he has been raced 29 times. Lately, though, those turns under the whip have been coming with an out-of-the-ordinary frequency. He was raced three times in November, three times in December – with all of those in but a 15-day period – and twice thus far in January, those two just seven days apart.

Out’s primary abuser is owner/trainer Alejandro Gomez, who bought (“claimed”) him for a paltry $3,000 on November 16. In that race, by the way, Out finished 55 lengths back. But here’s the thing, because Turf Paradise (Out has been raced exclusively in Arizona) pays first-last, Gomez has every incentive to keep throwing him out there. On January 4, for example, Out came in dead-last – but Gomez still banked $130.

Out for Justice is slated to be under the whip again on January 26, in another $3,000 claiming race. That will make it three straight months of three races per. Here are some relevant phone numbers should you care to voice your opinion:

Vincent Francia, Turf GM: (602) 375-6401
David Johnson, Turf VP, asst. GM: (602) 375-6431
Robbie Junk, Racing Office: (602) 375-6442
John Adams, Association Steward: (602) 375-6445
Arizona Department of Racing: (602) 364-1700
Stewards: (602) 375-6445