In the 3rd at Great Meadow Saturday – “Three Miles On The Timber,” says Equibase – Dapper Dan “stumbled on the landing side of the stone fence, appeared injured and [was] vanned off.” I can now confirm that the 8-year-old is indeed dead. This was his 30th race, his most recent being at another Virginia steeplechase, Glenwood June 13 – a day of fun and activities that also saw at least one animal killed. In fact, in four of his final 11 races (not including Saturday), Dapper Dan “did not finish,” “falling” in two.

The American steeplechase – vile, to the core.

From the Glenwood Park at Middleburg (“Virginia’s Oldest Steeplechase, Est. 1921”) website: “The Middleburg Spring Races have become the quintessential event to welcome spring to Virginia, synonymous with the blooming of the daffodils and dogwoods. Surrounded by Virginia’s famous hunt country, the tradition continues.”

Ah yes, the tradition of abusing animals for fun. In this year’s edition, held on June 13, 28 – yes, 28 – horses did not finish, including at least one who was “vanned off” and four others who merely “fell.” In addition, a horse, Royal Drumlee, who did finish “pulled up lame after the wire and [was] vanned off.”

And of course, what “quintessential event” would be complete without death? In the Stewards’ Report from the National Steeplechase Association, we learn that one of the “DNFs” “collapsed and died on his way from the race course to his stable tent.” It appears that the deceased, 6-year-old Last Shani, suffered a “ruptured aorta.”

Good, clean family entertainment.

Mr Dejavu, four, was killed training at San Luis Rey Downs Saturday, according to the California Horse Racing Board. He had been put to the whip 12 times, most recently at Turf Paradise last October (a race, by the way, in which he was a “vanned off”).

The Board has also disclosed the death of Up and Ready (probably in his stall) at Los Alamitos Friday. He was two. For Los Al, that’s 5 dead in 10 days, 27 on the year.

This is horseracing.

Last week on U.S. Flat (Thoroughbred/Quarterhorse) Tracks:

Elektracutioner “vanned off” at Prairie
Handsome Coyote “pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Tampa Bay
Cheri’s Win “vanned off” at Delaware
Canrunalittle “fell, vanned off” at Evangeline
Painted Clown “stopped suddenly…bleeding, vanned off” at Penn
Huntington Drive “pulled up lame, vanned off” at Penn
Dream Search “took a bad step, vanned off” at Penn
Holy Muchacho “vanned off” at Churchill
Wisecrack “bled, vanned off” at Belmont
Lord Cadbury “bled, vanned off” at Belmont
No Salt “struck rail, vanned off” at Belmont
Rkm Gamers Bug “bled, vanned off” at Delta
Stroll Action “vanned off” at Penn
Legendari “bled, vanned off” at Prairie
Bean and the Bug “vanned off” at Ruidoso
She’sinthebusiness “vanned off” at Delaware
Dapper Dan “appeared injured, vanned off” at Great Meadow
Mojave “vanned off” at Great Meadow
Case Crossing “vanned off” at Laurel
Ready to Rocket “vanned off” at Thistledown
Bar Cat “fell, DNF” at Thistledown
Brother Beauchamp “vanned off” at Ruidoso

“Vanned Off”: exactly how it sounds – the horse was unable to walk off the track on his own and required the “equine ambulance.” While not all of these horses end up dead, most do, as borne out by my year-end FOIA reports.

“Bled/Returned Bleeding From Nostrils”: typically indicates pulmonary hemorrhage.

(source: Equibase)

Just a few hours after reporting on Los Alamitos’ 25th kill of the year, I submit another. In the 1st race there last night, Nana Shila, says Equibase, fell and was “vanned” away. That, according to the California Horse Racing Board, is not the whole story: She was indeed “vanned off,” but at the time, she was already dead (or died in the van). What’s more, she didn’t require euthanasia, for whatever the cause (and I am still trying to ascertain), she died without the help of a vet. Nana Shila was three years old, and this was her second time under the whip.

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