Through a FOIA request to the Illinois Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at that state’s tracks in 2020. There is, as you will see, a most conspicuous gap from January to June – no deaths reported. I went back and forth with the Board on this. Its position: “As you are aware racing in Illinois during 2020 was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. During the time of January-June…there was no racing in Illinois.” When I pressed further – “how about training or horses stalled at the tracks?” – I was summarily dismissed: “There are no further documents related to your request.” In a word, absurd. First off, it’s not wholly accurate: There were a handful of dates at Fairmount in March. Second, horses were still stalled at tracks and, presumably, engaged in some sort of training. We’re talking almost six months here.

What I am finding, not just in Illinois but in several states, is that recordkeeping, lacking in the best of times, has been particularly slipshod during covid. There is no question that many, many dead racehorses have fallen through the cracks. So, take the following with a healthy dose of salt.

Token Vow, Jan 4, Hawthorne R – “dropped dead at 1/4 pole – copious amount of blood from nostrils”

A P Fireball, Jun 23, Fairmount T – “fractured fetlock at the joint”

Hawk’s Image, Jul 4, Fairmount T (euth Jul 6) – “fractured ankle, ruptured suspensory”

Louie’s Kingdom, Jul 7, Arlington T – “horse collapsed and died” (four years old)

unidentified 2-year-old, Jul 14, Arlington S – “on 7/13, filly flipped repeatedly in the barn; [next day] found down and unresponsive – comminuted fractures of pelvis”

All Call, Jul 18, Arlington S – “found dead in stall – ruptured stomach”

Muffins Revenge, Jul 30, Arlington R – “unrecoverable injury – euthanized on track”

Nuttinholdinmeback, Aug 24, Arlington T – “tibia shattered into 2 large and at least 48 small fragments”

Cook Memories, Aug 27, Arlington R – “collapsed on track, unresponsive”

Flash for Corona, Aug 30, Arlington S – “found dead in stall – severe, gangrenous pleuropneumonia”

Lucky Lorretta, Nov 14, Hawthorne R – “stumbled coming out of the gate…went down at 3/16 pole – euthanized on track”

unidentified, Nov 27, Hawthorne S – “severe colic”

And He’s Loose, Dec 13, Hawthorne R – “compound fractures; ruptured ligament; open, disarticulated fetlock joint – euthanized on track”

In a FOIA request to the Illinois Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at that state’s tracks in 2019. (This is Part 2; Part 1 can be found here.)

Neuqua, Jul 27, Arlington R – “sesamoid fractures…humanely euthanized”

Crafty Attack, Aug 10, Fairmount R – “fractured carpus”

R Rocket Man, Oct 12, Hawthorne R – “open, comminuted fx…euthanized on track”
(Equibase says the 2-year-old colt, about to be whip-raced for the very first time, was “restless in the gate before the start.”)

Go Oshie Go, Oct 12, Hawthorne R – “dropped dead on track” (five years old)
(This was the very next race after R Rocket was euthanized on the track. The chartwriter said Go Oshie fell after “[taking] a few erratic steps.”)

Magic Dragon, Oct 22, Hawthorne T – “collapsed and died on track” (four years old)

Royal’s Position, Oct 26, Hawthorne T – “[multiple] fractures – multiple fragments”

Mummy Troll, Nov 10, Hawthorne T (euthanized Nov 12) – “MCIII fracture”

Kinsella, Nov 14, Hawthorne R (euthanized Nov 19) – “joint collapse”

Echoes of Laughter, Nov 24, Hawthorne T (euthanized Nov 25) – “joint collapse”

Snapperette, Dec 13, Hawthorne R – “complete, open fetlock disarticulation”

Through a FOIA request to the Illinois Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at that state’s tracks thus far this year:

Gargoyle, Jan 2, Hawthorne T – “comminuted P1 fractures”

Can’t Stop the Cat, Jan 11, Hawthorne T – “broke down with a fetlock complex”

Cupboard, Mar 1, Hawthorne T – “horse went down – multiple carpal fractures”

Hazel Anne, Mar 22, Hawthorne
“[T]he horse was acting up during transport. The driver pulled over in a rest area to check the horses. At that time, all the horses were standing. This horse did continue to kick. He resumed his trip and about 15 minutes later the horse was no longer acting up in the trailer. When he went to unload the horses, he discovered the horse had gone down in the trailer and bled to death. He thought another horse had trampled it but when he looked further into what happened in the trailer it appears the horse got over the partition and broke the partition which allowed the horse to go down. Examination…shows the left hind groin area was macerated and femoral arterey [sic] was ruptured leading to the exsanguination. The horses mucous membranes were white also indicative of a hemorhagic event. The horse was enroute to begin training and had never raced.” (Hazel Anne was two years old.)

Just a Secret, Mar 23, Hawthorne
“3/16/19 the horse is found with a large bruise on right side of chest and abdomin [sic] with unkown [sic] origin. The horse was sore but walking normal. 3/17 the horse is ataxic and febrile. 3/18-3/22 Baytril given daily, DMSO and Toltrazuril given every other day. 3/19 Flucort given IV. 3/23/19 the horse is down in the stall and unable to stand. The horse is humanenly [sic] euthanized.”

Smart Daddy, Mar 28, Hawthorne T
complete fracture of neck, euthanized on track”

Myrtle’s Boy, Apr 6, Hawthorne T
“The rider reported hearing a bone break. On Dr. Gilman’s arrival the horse was down and could not rise. Drs. Martin and Folker-Calderon performed a site necropsy. The horse had a comminuted fracture of the neck of the right scapula.”

Cashel Rock, Apr 11, Hawthorne R – “open joint disarticulation, ligament rupture

She’s So Needy, May 10, Arlington R (euthanized Jul 6)
“Rear limb laminitis secondary to left rear foot injury – rotated P3, euthanized due to grave prognosis.”

Jersey’s Heat, May 10, Arlington R (euthanized May 13) – “comminuted carpal fracture”

Allie’s Aflirt, May 11, Fairmount R – “flipped, hit head prior to race – horse died

Chis Conquest, May 12, Arlington T – “collapsed – comminuted fracture of scapula”

Amazon Nellie, May 14, Arlington T – “open, disarticulated fetlock”

Prue, May 15, Arlington T – “horse dropped dead training”

Winning Homer, Jun 14, Arlington T (euthanized Jul 20) – “laminitis”

New Dancer, Jun 28, Arlington T (euthanized Jun 29) – “[multiple] sesamoid fractures”

Buck Snort, Jul 4, Arlington R – “sesamoid fractures with DSL rupture”

Stand With Honor, Jul 13, Arlington R
“The horse went down around the 1/16 pole with left front open, bilateral sesamoids fractures, DSL rupture and loss of support column. The joint was disarticulated. The horse was very fractious on the track. Drs. Martin and Folker-Caldreon cuncurred [sic] that the horse shold [sic] be euthanized. The trainer was present and gave permission to euthanize on track. The horse was humanely euthanized and taken by ambulance to the designated area.”

Through a FOIA request to the Illinois Racing Board, I have confirmed the following kills on that state’s tracks in 2018.

Ready Poncho, March 24, Hawthorne T
“collapsed dead on track…exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage”

Nite Goggles, April 7, Hawthorne T
“fractured humerus…euthanized on track”

Act of Heroism, April 19, Hawthorne R
“open fetlock…ambulance to the designated area…euthanized”

Lost Creek, May 19, Arlington T
“fractured tibia…euthanized on track”

Bank Account, June 12, Fairmount R
“fracture fetlock apparatus – ligaments torn”

Big O’s Tavern, June 15, Arlington R
“comminuted sesamoid fracture, mid-body lateral fracture, and complete rupture of [ligaments]…ambulance to the designated area…euthanized”

Sully’s Dream, July 7, Arlington R (euthanized July 12)
“complete basilar fracture of sesamoid”

Ask Alex, July 20, Arlington T
“comminuted P1 fractures”

Larry Rocks, July 20, Arlington R
“femur fracture…ambulance to designated area…euthanized”

Star Quest, July 22, Arlington R (found dead next morning after being “vanned off”)
“suspect pelvic fractures and hemorrhage”

Intrepid Humor, July 28, Arlington T
“fracture with lacerated femoral artery”

Half Ready, August 4, Arlington T
“broke down breezing; suspensory apparatus failure of previous surgery with screws”

Giant Breeze, August 5, Arlington R
“after racing the horse became recumbent…they got the horse up…it went down and never got up again…severe heat stroke…euthanized”

Get Mad Gracie, August 11, Fairmount R
“fractured ankle – shattered”

Triple Dog Dare, August 13, Arlington T
“spiral comminuted MCIII fracture”

First Attempt, August 26, Arlington T
“compound fracture MCIII, sesamoid fracture, ruptured collateral ligaments”

Ava Atticus, September 2, Arlington R (euthanized September 4)
“fracture radial carpal bone”

Hurricane Hank, September 13, Arlington R
“multiple carpal fractures…taken to the designated area…euthanized”

G P’s Girl, September 20, Arlington R
“collapsed on track…horse was in agonal breathing and the mucus membranes were white…stopped breathing within seconds of arrival” (five years old)

Altai, September 23, Arlington T
“bilateral sesamoid fractures…taken to the designated area…euthanized”

Matthew’s Thunder, October 5, Hawthorne R
“comminuted fractures of the sesamoids…suspensory ligament ruptured”

Vic the Boss, October 20, Hawthorne R
“[multiple] comminuted fractures…ambulanced to designated area…euthanized”

Semper Frey, October 21, Hawthorne T
“horse went down and was dead before [vet] got to the horse”

Twin Deuce, October 24, Hawthorne R
“open fetlock complex…euthanized on track” (chart said absolutely nothing)

Kate’s Cat, October 26, Hawthorne R
“comminuted fracture and luxation of the joint…euthanized on track” (chart merely said, “fell, vanned off”)

Del Mar Bert, October 31, Hawthorne T
“compound comminuted fracture of cannon”

Whats Up Hero, November 21, Hawthorne T
“mid-shaft compound fracture”

Thurman, November 24, Hawthorne R
“complete rupture of [multiple] ligaments and subluxation of the fetlock joint…ambulance to the designated area…euthanized”

Sailor Brodee, December 7, Hawthorne R
“comminuted sesamoid fractures…ambulance to the designated area…euthanized”

She Is Fuzzy, December 16, Hawthorne T
“fractured tibia”

Legendary Vision, December 22, Hawthorne R
“open sesamoid fractures and complete rupture of [ligaments] with disarticulation of the fetlock joint”

In addition, the following horse died on track grounds from what the industry craftily calls a “non-racing” cause. Technically true, perhaps, but morally she is no less a casualty of this vile business than the ones above. (Notably, this was the only “non-racing/training” death submitted; in an active racing-state like Illinois, there were surely many more either undocumented or apathetically disregarded by the Board.)

Black Angel, July 4, Arlington
“possible electrocution – mare dropped dead in stall after touching metal door frame; screw eye was red hot” (was last raced three days prior)