Jockey Mychel Sanchez was suspended by Pennsylvania officials Thursday for betting on horseracing. But here’s the kicker: He wasn’t just betting on any old race; he was betting on races he himself was in. And it’s even worse: Sanchez was betting against himself. Talk about scandalous. Still, Alan Pincus, Sanchez’s attorney, says we shouldn’t judge too harshly, claiming that Sanchez is mentally ill; for proof, he points out that Sanchez actually won some of those races. Pincus in the Paulick Report:

“These are extremely weird circumstances. You can never totally understand how the human mind works. People who may appear to be on top of the world…can be suffering from depression. You don’t know. Mychel Sanchez is suffering from some type of depression. I’m not a psychiatrist, but he’s someone who needs help. He started betting. Not in any cheating way, just as a way of coping with the pain he was experiencing. He’s been feeling low for some time and it’s been building up in him.

“It’s inexplicable. He had races where he actually bet against his own horse, then went out and won the race. He’s not pulling horses, he’s not doing it for evil purposes, he’s doing it for crazy purposes, inexplicable purposes. … He is not a criminal. … He’s a person who needs help. Although he needs to be punished and needs treatment, it shouldn’t be fatal punishment.”

To hear Mr. Pincus tell it, we should be offering compassion, not outrage. By the way, PA’s idea of an appropriate punishment for an active participant betting against himself: 60 days. And they wonder why their social license is in such dire straits.

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.)

Square Dreamer, Jul 9, Golden Gate T
“open, comminuted fracture of MCIII”
“open fractures, [multiple] sesamoids”
“complete ruptures, [multiple] ligaments”
“chronic gastric ulcerations”
Square Dreamer was four years old.

(Note all the ridiculous redactions – ridiculous because these horses have already been identified by the CHRB on its database.)

Made in Karoo, Oct 7, Golden Gate S
“severe weight loss, rapid onset depression, head tilt with seizure”
“meningoencephalitis with hemorrhage”
“severe, necrotizing gastroenteritis”
Made in Karoo was three years old.

Kakistocracy, Oct 14, Santa Anita T
“Sudden death – post work. Rider stated horse went into trot quickly, was weak behind and then collapsed – abdominal and retroperitoneal hemorrhage.” Kakistocracy was five years old.

Favorite Doc, Oct 16, Los Alamitos R
“Horse jogging back after race, fell and died suddenly – abundant foam in the tracheal lumen.” Favorite Doc was three years old.

Electric Ride, Oct 16, Santa Anita T
“Horse worked this morning…sudden death following IV vitamin administration…flipped over…died.” Electric Ride was two years old.

Winetastic in the 8th at Aqueduct yesterday afternoon: “broke a step slow, was urged along on the outside, went five wide on the turn, suffered an injury inside the three-eighths and was pulled up then euthanized on the track.” And that’s that. He was but two years old – an equine babe – and this was his second ever race.

Although the breakdown is innocuous-looking, and while (it goes without saying) there are no images of the euthanasia, I’ve included the entire race to show both the conditions and, more important, the beatings administered to the rest of the “field” down the stretch. “Animal rights” aside, how can anyone see this as even remotely acceptable in the 21st Century?

The Racing press is celebrating – yes, that’s the right word – a decline in California fatalities last year. According to BloodHorse, the 71 deaths (it’s actually 72: see Bowies Hero) is the lowest total in California in 10 years. First, anyone who thinks there wasn’t some fudging going on to get to that number is either willfully ignorant or hopelessly naive. Rest assured, there were far more than 72. Second, and of much greater import, even if that figure were true, it would still be 72 horses killed – for $2 bets. Again, that’s 72 fully sentient beings destroyed for gambling. And they’re celebrating? Vile.

Perhaps even worse, among the supposed explanations (for the supposed decline) reeled off by BloodHorse is this: “The racing culture has also adapted to put equine safety more at the forefront.” Scott Chaney, CHRB executive director, added: “I think every stakeholder in California understands that animal welfare is the most important thing. It has to be because of the state in which we live….” Although he followed that with, “and because it’s the right thing to do,” the message couldn’t be any clearer. As I’ve said repeatedly in the wake of Santa Anita ’19, it’s only now – since racing’s been exposed as the cruel, deadly industry it is – that the horses supposedly matter. Hell, they even admit it, as illustrated above. Wake up, California. Wake up, America.

The 72 dead horses in California – that we know about:

Bowies Hero, Jan 2, Santa Anita R (euthanized Jan 18) – “laminitis”
Cali Caliente, Jan 9, Santa Anita T – “collapsed, got up, did circles, collapsed, death”
Noor Khan, Jan 17, Los Alamitos T – “staggered, collapsed, [died]” (four years old)
Don’t Stop Lookin, Jan 17, Los Alamitos T – “[multiple] fractures, [multiple] ruptures”
Scat’s Choice, Jan 23, Santa Anita R – “[multiple] open fractures, [multiple] ruptures”
Staredown, Jan 28, Golden Gate T – “massive hemorrhage, muscles severely torn”
Natural History, Feb 6, Santa Anita T – “[multiple] open fractures, complete ruptures”
Black Badge, Feb 8, San Luis Rey T – “rider heard ‘loud pop’ – catastrophic breakdown”
Munny, Feb 11, Golden Gate S – “surgery on 2/10…found deceased this morning”
Sweet Boy, Feb 20, Golden Gate T – “galloped out and fell over dead” (three years old)
My Three Kids, Feb 21, Golden Gate T – “musculoskeletal”
Okoye, Feb 23, Golden Gate T – “ran into rail – penetrating wound, collapsed lung”
Rustic Canyon, Feb 26, San Luis Rey T – “collapsed, sudden death, spontaneously”
Squeaky Cheeky, Feb 28, Santa Anita R – “[multiple] open fractures/ruptures”
One Famous Prize, Mar 2, Los Alamitos T – “[multiple] fractures, [multiple] ruptures”
Surfside Sunset, Mar 5, Santa Anita S – “[stomach] rupture”
Squiggy, Mar 10, Golden Gate S – “spinal cord completely severed”
Mantra, Mar 21, Santa Anita R – “fractured ankle”
John’s Jewel, Mar 24, Golden Gate S – “pleuropneumonia” (two years old)
Nomadess, Mar 30, Los Alamitos T – “pulled up, dropped dead” (two years old)
yet-to-be-named, Apr 1, Golden Gate S – “accident”
Velocemente, Apr 3, Golden Gate R – “went wrong”
Call Sign Lucky, Apr 3, Los Alamitos T – “hit rail: open, displaced fracture”
My Child Sbud, Apr 17, Santa Anita R – “fracture of the LF ankle while racing”
Lady of the House, Apr 18, Golden Gate R – “went wrong”
Multiplier, Apr 18, Santa Anita R – “fractured ankle”
Champagneformybaby, Apr 20, Golden Gate S – “musculoskeletal”
Steamy, Apr 30, Los Alamitos R (euthanized May 4) – “compress[ed] spinal cord”
Noodles, May 22, Los Alamitos S – “pneumonia”
Big Wish, May 31, Golden Gate R – “went wrong crossing the finish line”
Agamemnon, May 31, Santa Anita R – “[multiple] fractures, [multiple] ruptures”
Meet At Dudley’s, Jun 9, Santa Anita T – “fractured [both] forelimbs”
Registrant, Jun 12, Los Alamitos R – “sudden death” (three years old)
Pushing Sixty, Jun 13, Santa Anita R – “fractured LF ankle…humane euthanasia”
Music Babe, Jun 16, Golden Gate T – “sudden death”
Snazzy Cazzy, Jun 17, Golden Gate S – “sudden death” (three years old)
Uncle Boogie, Jun 27, Santa Anita T – “fractured humerus while galloping”
Gutz, Jul 4, Santa Anita T – “fractured ankle…unrecoverable injury”
Square Dreamer, Jul 10, Golden Gate T – “musculoskeletal”
Needless to Say, Jul 18, Del Mar T – “apparent heart attack” (three years old)
Arson, Jul 18, Del Mar T – “fractured leg, euthanized”
Arjun, Jul 28, San Luis Rey T – “musculoskeletal”
Bruce, Aug 2, Los Alamitos S – “sudden death – aortic rupture”
Shesgotattitude, Aug 6, Del Mar R – “flipped, struck head, euthanized”
Mark Whats Mine, Aug 12, Golden Gate S – “accident”
Moonlite Promise, Aug 29, Del Mar T – “musculoskeletal”
Esperada, Sep 5, Golden Gate T (two years old, being prepped for debut)
Honor Award, Sep 6, Del Mar R – “musculoskeletal”
Holdfast, Sep 16, Golden Gate T – “sudden death” (five years old)
Stopdropandroll, Sep 19, Golden Gate T – “musculoskeletal”
Left Alone, Sep 19, Golden Gate T – “sudden death”
Seven Summers, Sep 30, Santa Anita T – “musculoskeletal”
Fight On Ron, Oct 1, Santa Anita R – “musculoskeletal”
Made in Karoo, Oct 7, Golden Gate S – “neurological”
Kakistocracy, Oct 14, Santa Anita T – “sudden death”
Favorite Doc, Oct 16, Los Alamitos R – “sudden death” (three years old)
Electric Ride, Oct 16, Santa Anita T – “non-musculoskeletal”
Luca’s Ride, Oct 17, Los Alamitos R – “fell, sudden death” (four years old)
Major Cabbie, Oct 23, Santa Anita R – “musculoskeletal”
Star of Africa, Oct 31, Santa Anita T – “non-musculoskeletal”
Set the Tone, Nov 3, Del Mar T – “hit pole”
Storm Spun, Nov 3, San Luis Rey T – “musculoskeletal”
Racer, Nov 6, Golden Gate S – “gastrointestinal, colic”
Galloping Slew, Nov 14, Golden Gate T – “musculoskeletal”
Ima Rumbler, Nov 16, Golden Gate T – “musculoskeletal”
Inimitable, Nov 19, Golden Gate R – “fell…euthanized on the track”
Mary’s Great Hope, Nov 21, Golden Gate T – “pending”
Barbwire, Nov 21, San Luis Rey T – “musculoskeletal”
Restiany, Nov 25, Santa Anita T – “musculoskeletal”
Conchita, Nov 28, Los Alamitos R – “fell”
Not This World, Nov 28, Los Alamitos R (euthanized Dec 1) – “pending”
Medina Spirit, Dec 6, Santa Anita T – “collapsed and died” (three years old)