Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2019 (previous ones here.) Please note that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because those details – and the words of the vets – are so powerful (and damning), I will post these in installments so as to give each death its proper due. Please share.

Perfectlyintune, Dec 20, Laurel T
“middle third of the LF cannon bone has shattered into numerous fragments; sharp ends of bone fragments lacerated the skin and protrude, and are thickly coated with sand; the shoe on the LF hoof has been modified to accommodate radical hoof trimming; a wedge shape section of hoof has been removed and the exposed deep surface is black and cracked, with deep fissures and flaking; distal LF cannon bone…cartilage loss; proximal phalanx…cartilage loss; full thickness laceration in the skin over RF [other front leg] fetlock with…associated hemorrhage on the skin and hair, and it is packed with sand; copious amount of bright red (acute) subcutaeous hemorrhage along the medial surface of the RF cannon bone; the surface of the palmar annular ligament is ruptured and packed with sand; stomach…numerous (>30) chronic mucosal ulcers, ranging in size from 3mm diameter to 2cm diameter”

Dr. Walsh: “When I arrived the filly was up on the track near the outside rail. I was told she fell and was originally stuck under the outside rail. Her LF leg had an open fracture of the cannon bone and she was sitting backwards trying to flip over on the handler. Dr. Casey soon arrived and sedated the filly. At that point Dr. Newsome arrived and administered euthanasia. The filly went down and began paddling. Dr. Lockard and Dr. Kerford…took over and administered additional euthanasia.”

Dr. Virginia Pierce (necropsy): “We removed the LF shoe and sectioned the hoof through the defect in the heel. The hoof in the affected region is discolored dark grey/brown, the outermost layers of hoof wall are peeling apart. [T]here is gross evidence of necrosis and disorganization of the structures of the LF hoof.”

Bandito, Dec 24, Laurel S
“cecal perforation, colic, septicemia”

Dr. Plaisance: “On Monday, 12/23 Marco Salazar brought up the concern that the gelding Bandito was not eating like he used to for the past week or so despite being treated with omeprazole and having his teeth floated. On Tuesday, 12/24 Marco Salazar phoned me around 8 am that Bandito was in distress. According to the groom and Mr. Salazar, Bandito acted normal before, during, and after training [yes, they still trained him even though he wasn’t eating normally]. Upon seeing Bandito he was in distress. He had an extremely rapid respiratory rate, excessive sweating muscle fasciculations, looking at his side, and stretched/parked out. The horse was making frequent attempts to urinate. The urine volume was low and the color was brown. He was bleeding slightly from his nose. He was treated with pain meds…Bandito died at 5 pm despite treatment.”

Dr. Daniel: “I did not witness Bandito during his illness. I would expect that he was painful for quite some time.”

Guilty, Dec 28, Laurel T
“horse collapsed suddenly and died – exercise-associated sudden death” (Guilty was just two years old.)

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2019 (previous ones here.) Please note that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because those details – and the words of the vets – are so powerful (and damning), I will post these in installments so as to give each death its proper due. Please share.

Aikenetta, Nov 21, Laurel R
“sudden death after race – suspect cardiac; fetlock and right elbow joints: chronic traumatic osteoarthropathy; stomach: chronic squamous ulcers; lungs: multifocal interstitial hemosiderophages – indicative of prior hemorrhage”

Dr. Daniel: “Aikenetta…had mild changes to her shins which had been fired. She had joint capsule hypertrophy of both ankles with moderated decreased range of motion.”

Dr. Sacksen: “Observed mare performing poorly in stretch. Mare vocalized and then collapsed in front of winners circle. On reaching her she was recumbent, mucus membranes were extremely pale/white. She expired shortly after.”

Aikenetta was just five years old.

Bo Vuk, Nov 28, Laurel R
“sesamoid bone has a complete, displaced fracture; intersesamoidean ligament is completely torn; suspensory ligament [has] a longitudinal tear extending from the lateral branch proximally into the distal body; deep digital flexor tendon and superficial digital flexor tendon are frayed and hemorrhagic; palmar annular ligament…torn and hemorrhagic; cartilage loss”

Dr. Daniel: “I have examined Bo Vuk many times in the last few years. He had a thickened distal suspensory of his RF leg. Bo Vuk was closely examined in the post-parade. He was flagged as a horse of concern due to the suspensory ligament. He was sound and the rider had no complaint. Bo Vuk was in the turn near the 1/4 pole when he suddenly pulled up. When I got to him, his RF ankle had suffered a fracture/dislocation and both sesamoid bones were fractured. There was also substantial soft tissue damage. Bo Vuk was humanely euthanized on the racetrack.”

Dr. Walsh: “I flagged the horse on pre-race exam. There was no response to palpation or any indication that this injury would be a problem. When I mentioned to Dr. Daniel, she stated this was an old healed injury that the horse had been running well with.”

Super Annapola, Dec 8, Laurel R (euthanized Dec 11)
“3rd carpal bone fracture…euthanized her because they didn’t want to do surgery”

Dr. Dilodovico: “The filly had a history of a right knee issue on previous exams.”

Super Annapola was four years old and had five previous races; in those, she finished a combined 96 lengths back. “Right knee issue.”

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2019 (previous ones here.) Please note that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because those details – and the words of the vets – are so powerful (and damning), I will post these in installments so as to give each death its proper due. Please share.

Portulaca, Sep 21, Laurel R
“severe/displaced MCIII fracture”

This was Portulaca’s first race.

Midskipman, Nov 2, Laurel T
“severe compound/comminuted fracture of the LF cannon bone; multiple fractured pieces of MCIII ranging in length from 10mm to 80mm”

Shes Not Not Fast, Nov 2, Laurel T
“severe open/compound fracture with avulsion [cartilage torn from the bone] of the RF fetlock joint”

Loudon’s Song, Nov 7, Laurel T
“collapsed and died, aortic rupture; stomach: large erythematous [red] ulcer”

Loudon’s Song was just three years old.

Polite Pearl, Nov 7, Pimlico T
“RF leg fracture; subcutaneous hemorrhage on [both] sides of the cannon bone; blood and foam were coming from the nostrils; severe bruising over the right eye, right side of poll and neck and right side of head; right hock showing some degenerative joint disease; left hock showing some degenerative joint disease; LF fetlock showed advanced cartilage erosion/bone cyst; stomach had gastric ulcers present”

This poor, abused animal was just seven years old.

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2019 (previous ones here.) Please note that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because those details – and the words of the vets – are so powerful (and damning), I will release these in installments so as to give each death its proper due. Please share.

To the Stars, Aug 25, Timonium R
“open disarticulation of pastern joint…euthanized on the track”

Dr. Daniel: “From where I was observing, it appeared that he took a bad step near the wire. This was an unusual injury in my experience. I do not believe this is something that anyone missed in the pre-race exam or post parade warm-up. I believe this was just an accident that unfortunately occurred.”

To the Stars was 9 years old, and this was his 106th time under the whip. 106th – “I do not believe this is something that anyone missed … I believe this was just an accident that unfortunately occurred.” Vile.

Hanky Panky, Aug 31, Laurel T
“sudden death syndrome from acute heart disease with myocardial degeneration”

Hanky Panky was but three years old: “acute heart disease.”

Scrap Copper, Sep 2, Laurel T
“catastrophic LF sesamoid fractures and palmar osteochondral disease; hemorrhage within the suspensory ligament; LH [other left leg] fetlock joint has a detached bone/cartilage or mineralized ligament; cerebellar hemorrhage and fractured occipital bone…there is blood oozing from the nares and mouth; stomach, large ulcer glandular mucosa; chronic callous of the distal right rib – old fracture possibly”

Dr. Sivick (private vet): “Scrap Copper had a non-displaced lateral condyle fracture of the RF fetlock [not the one that had the breakdown] in December 2018 following his last race. He was sent for surgery and had 1 screw placed across the fracture. The horse [also] had a P1 chip fracture in his RH fetlock.”

That’s a detached bone in one leg, fractures in the other three (with a screw in one), a skull fracture, a possible rib fracture, multiple areas of hemorrhage, “blood oozing from the nares and mouth,” and a “large” stomach ulcer, to boot. Imagine this poor animal’s suffering. And now consider, it was all for $2 bets.

Blameitonthekiss, Sep 7, Laurel R (euthanized Nov 1)
“[T]he left acetabulum was fractured in two places, and the head of the left femur was a rough reddish color from cartilage erosion.”

Dr. Sorum (private vet): “She has been lame since her last race, thought it was a foot abscess and one came out in September, but she has stayed lame. Blocked the foot on October 17th to rule it out, stayed lame. Think I also blocked stifle, can’t remember [can’t remember?]. I was off last few days when she took a turn for the worse. She kicks the walls really badly.”

“She kicks the walls really badly,” after, that is, being made to suffer with a broken hip for almost two months. Vile is too kind.

Great Herman, Sep 21, Laurel T
“collapsed and died on the track”

“Collapsed and died” at just three years old.

Through a FOIA request to the Maryland Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at that state’s tracks in 2019 (previous ones here.) Please note that in the wake of Santa Anita, Maryland began releasing much more detail. Because those details – and the words of the vets – are so powerful (and damning), I will release these in installments so as to give each death its proper due. Please share.

Reno Grande, Jun 9, Laurel R
“flipped on the way to the paddock and broke its [its, not his] left femur”

Scouting, Jul 19, Laurel R
Dr. Walsh: “Scouting was pulled up grade 4 lame on the left front. The fetlock was dropping…when the horse would bear weight. Palpation revealed a large, displaced, lateral sesamoid fracture. I could feel fragments over the medial sesamoid also.”

Final Fear, Jul 26, Laurel T (euthanized Aug 5)
Dr. Margolis: “I worked on Final Fear; she had bilateral sesamoid fractures right front; medial base fracture, lateral apical fracture…it was a bad injury.”

Belle Saison, Jul 27, Laurel R
“comminuted knee fracture”

Dr. Daniel: “A week or so prior to July 27, a trainer approached me with regard to a horse, Belle Saison, that he had noticed training on several mornings and had concerns about her soundness. I thanked him for coming to me and jotted down the name for future reference. As I remember that day, Dr. Sacksen examined Belle Saison in the morning and had no concerns. It is unclear if the eventual fracture in the filly’s knee occurred while she was running or if it occurred in the starting gate as a result of trauma when she became fractious.”

Dr. Walsh: “Dr. Daniel informed me she had been warned about her by a trainer. I watched her closely in post parade, she had a funny way of going with the right front swung out wide to the side, but she was even in her forward motion and not lame. She was very fractious in the gate, reared up and tossed the rider. I asked for her to be backed out…and I quickly examined her. I didn’t see any injuries…so [she] was reloaded for the race. She broke good and was running good until she backed out of it and pulled up. She was again very fractious and difficult to examine. The groom from the barn came down and began walking her for us. At that time, the lameness was now obvious…and she was vanned off. Dr. Moury took radiographs and called to tell us she was going to euthanize…3rd carpal bone had a comminuted fracture.”

Dr. Sivick (private vet): “Stated she was never lame, but carried filling in the upper joint of the right knee. He radiographed and injected the joint on June 16th. Stated the radiographs showed a spur on the proximal intercarpal bone, no chips, and the 3rd carpal on skyline looked okay.”

Belle Saison was only three years old. She was raced five previous times, all at Laurel. In the three most recent races, starting in June, she finished last twice and second-to-last once – a combined 56 lengths back. Trainer, Carlos Mancilla; owner, Michael Scheffres.

Versed, Aug 10, Laurel T (euthanized Aug 12)
Dr. Dias: “Versed was last tapped in Delaware on May 18th, got a low grade joint infection on the left front fetlock. He had surgery done around June 12th. He was back in training like recommended and was doing okay. Last Friday during a work, he fractured a sesamoid on the same left front. We tried to find a home but my opinion and also Patty Hogan’s was he would be a long time recovering and maybe only pasture sound. For that reason, we decided to euthanize.”