Through a FOIA request to the Washington Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at Emerald Downs, the state’s only currently active track, in 2021:

Regis, May 20, Emerald T
“[Multiple] sesamoid fractures with hemorrhage and partial rupture of the lateral branch of the suspensory ligament.”

Regis was three years old and being prepped for his first race.

Incredibly Lucky, Jun 1, Emerald S
“Shipping fever.”

This was the only death that came sans a report. When I inquired, the Commission responded: “Being as the horse arrived with illness it was not sent for necropsy.”

Demand de Lute, Jun 12, Emerald T
“Annular ligament rupture, with flexor tendon luxation; rupture of lateral suspensory ligament branch; sesamoid fracture.”

Then this: “Rupture of the annular ligament and luxation of the flexor tendons is an unusual injury, and it cannot be determined if this occurred before or after the lateral branch of the suspensory ligament ruptured and the medial sesamoid bone fractured. It is possible that there was a pre-existing injury…but unfortunately the ligament became severely macerated when it ruptured and, as a result, it will be very difficult to detect any pre-existing lesions at the rupture site.”

Demand de Lute was four years old and being prepped for his first race.

Scatalycat, Jun 12, Emerald T
“Right forelimb: severely comminuted, open, compound fracture of MC3. Left forelimb: Severe derangement of the left carpus with exteriorization of the majority of the proximal row of carpal bones. There are comminuted, compound fractures of most of the bones of the proximal row, save the ulnar carpal bone.”

That’s two legs utterly destroyed. Scatalycat was six years old.

Great Scott, Jun 19, Emerald T
“This horse’s breakdown was caused by bilateral scapular fractures [that’s both shoulders] – comminuted, acute, severe, with hemorrhage.”

Great Scott was only two years old; he was being prepped for his first race.

Tomorrow’s Mine, Jul 1, Emerald R
“[Multiple] sesamoid fractures with open fetlock luxation. Chronic sclerosis and subchondral necrosis in both [emphasis mine] front limbs – consistent with chronic mechanical overloading; chronic osteoarthritis.”

Tomorrow’s Mine was six years old, and this was her 45th race.

Baja Sur, Jul 11, Emerald R
“Biaxial sesamoid fractures, RF fetlock, with open luxation. Acute fracture of the left accessory carpal bone is presumed to have occurred at the time of the fetlock injury.”

Then this: “The sclerosis and subchondral necrosis in the palmar aspect of both front third metacarpal bones are consistent with chronic mechanical overloading. This change occurs where the metacarpal bone comes in contact with the proximal sesamoid bones during the gallop phase of exercise. In addition to causing damage to the third metacarpal bone, repetitive overloading at this site can cause fatigue injuries in the proximal sesamoid bones that predispose to catastrophic fracture.”

Baja Sur had just turned five – not fully mature yet.

Diction, Aug 5, Emerald R
“Distal sesamoidean ligament rupture, bilateral, acute, severe, with open fetlock luxation and medial proximal sesamoid fracture – both [emphasis mine] forelimbs. The associated fractures are…assumed to be secondary to the ligament rupture.”

Translation: Diction, five, ruptured his ligaments – then broke both his legs in the fall.

The report ended with this: “Unfortunately, both distal sesamoidean ligaments are severely macerated and covered in dirt, and as a result it is very unlikely that a pre-existing lesion could be identified histologically.”

Constant Craving, Aug 18, Emerald S
“Hoof abscess – went into bone. Chronic infection of the distal interphalangeal joint with necrosis of portions of P3, P2, and the navicular bone, and partial disruption of the distal aspect of the deep digital flexor tendon. Chronic desmitis of the lateral branch of the suspensory ligament. It is not known if a traumatic fracture preceded these findings, but a traumatic compromise of the medial hoof capsule could readily explain the majority of these findings.”

Constant Craving was seven years old and had been raced for the 34th time on Jul 1, finishing almost 25 lengths back. She was also “For Sale” – for just $2,500 – that day.

Metatiger, Aug 19, Emerald R
“This horse’s breakdown was caused by an acute, severely comminuted slab fracture of the left third carpal bone and a smaller slab fracture of the left radiocarpal bone. In addition, there is evidence of mild chronic osteoarthritis of the left midcarpal joint and more marked chronic osteoarthritis of the right midcarpal joint.”

Metatiger was just six years old.

Lady Campbell, Aug 26, Emerald R
“This horse’s breakdown was caused by acute, severe fracture of the left medial proximal sesamoid bone and subsequent rupture of the superficial flexor tendon [with] fetlock joint luxation. The condylar sclerosis and subchondral bone hemorrhage/necrosis in both front third metacarpal bones are indicative of chronic mechanical trauma from repetitive loading. This repetitive trauma also causes sclerosis of the proximal sesamoid bones and likely predisposed to complete fracture in this case.” Also: “bilateral, chronic radiocarpal joint osteoarthritis.”

Lady Campbell was just five years old.

Bex, Sep 3, Emerald T
“Acute, severe sesamoid fracture with hemorrhage; palmar annular ligament rupture; superficial flexor tendon rupture; partial rupture of the deep digital flexor tendon.” And once again: “Proximal sesamoid bone fractures most commonly occur a sequela to sclerosis caused by repetitive mechanical trauma/loading during exercise.”

Bex was just three years old.

Dame of the West, Sep 11, Emerald R
“Sesamoid fractures, [both front limbs].” Also: “acute gastric ulceration.”

Dame of the West was just three years old.

Bee Einstein, Sep 26, Emerald R
“Slab fractures, left carpus; fissure fracture, LF MC3; chip fractures in each fetlock. The left radiocarpal fracture is severe and warranted humane euthanasia. Dr. Wilkinson indicated that he thought the affected carpal bones were excessively sclerotic and it is therefore assumed that the complete fractures were precipitated by pre-existing pathology from repetitive loading during training/racing.”

Bee Einstein was just four years old – still an adolescent.

Through a FOIA request to the Washington Horse Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at Emerald Downs in 2020 (there was no racing at Washington’s other track, Sun Downs, last year).

Hide N Seeker, Feb 24, Emerald T – “humeral fracture – acute, severe, with hemorrhage”

Rojo Bou Peep, Mar 19, Emerald S – “suspected pleuritis”

Double Zero Seven, Apr 24, Emerald T – “collapsed – unknown” (three years old)

Ready Eddie, May 9, Emerald T – “collapsed – unknown” (five years old)

Little Cat Gee, May 23, Emerald T – “fetlock luxation”

Midnight Medley, May 28, Emerald T – “fractured sesamoids”

Good Mischief, Jun 12, Emerald T – “fractured humerus”

Sketchy Lady, Jun 17, Emerald S – “sick – unknown”

O. K. So Far, Aug 23, Emerald T – “fractured sesamoids”

Bobble Doit, Aug 31, Emerald T – “displaced fracture, severe ligament laceration, tendon lacerations”; also, “chronic osteoarthritis, gastric ulceration” (two years old)

Scotchontherocks, Sep 24, Emerald S – “chronic, severe cutaneous wound; chronic, severe laminitis with P3 rotation and sinking” (two years old)

Great Gasby, Oct 1, Emerald R – “severe blunt-force trauma: skull fracture – comminuted, acute, severe”

yet-to-be-named 2-year-old, Oct 4, Emerald T – “compound fracture, multiple fragments”

Through a FOIA request to the Washington Horse Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at Emerald Downs in 2019.

Midnight Retreat, Mar 15, Emerald S – “gastric rupture”

Fury’s Prospect, May 18, Emerald T – “fractured humerus”

Shanghai Billy, May 20, Emerald T – “ligament rupture”

U Nomutt, May 22, Emerald S – “colic” (raced just five days prior)

Formal Joker, May 25, Emerald R – “unknown” (9 years old, 66th race)

Private Star, Jun 1, Emerald T – “fractured carpal”

All My Heart, Jun 2, Emerald R – “fractured carpal”

Glenwheresmymoney, Jun 7, Emerald R – “pulmonary hemorrhage”

Doc Brown, Jun 23, Emerald T – “fractures both front legs” (three years old)

Oreosong, Jun 28, Emerald R – “fetlock joint luxation”

Audacious Sadie, Jul 7, Emerald S – “cecal impaction” (two years old)

Racy Opinion, Jul 21, Emerald R – “fractured spine” (first race)

Informed Lady, Jul 21, Emerald R – “fetlock joint luxation”

Gypsy Chick, Jul 26, Emerald R – “fractured carpal”

Smokin Wild, Jul 27, Emerald R – “fractured sesamoid”

He’s Not Grey, Jul 28, Emerald R – “fetlock joint luxation”

Calex, Sep 7, Emerald R – “fractured sesamoid”

Tapalot, Sep 14, Emerald R – “fractures both front legs” (three years old)

Through a FOIA request to the Washington Horse Racing Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at Emerald Downs in 2018.

Medicine Bundle, March 19, Emerald T
“fractured pelvis”

Oasis Wells, June 9, Emerald R
“fractured sesamoid”

Bet the Harbor, June 17, Emerald T
“fractured sesamoid”

Citizen Sam, June 29, Emerald R
“fractured sesamoid”

She Walks On Water, July 21, Emerald R
“pastern joint luxation”

Gavinator, July 22, Emerald R
“fractured sesamoid”

Emerald Candy, July 27, Emerald R
“fetlock joint luxation”

Calculated Chaos, July 28, Emerald R
“fetlock joint luxation”

Cruzin in Style, August 5, Emerald R
“fractured sesamoid”

Charming Ruler, August 5, Emerald R (euthanized for laminitis four days later)

Im Insatiable Too, August 31, Emerald R
“exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage”

Az Dreamer, September 1, Emerald R
“fractured carpus”

Pepe the Legend, September 7, Emerald R
“fractured carpus”

Lofty Cause, September 14, Emerald R
“fractured sesamoid”

Ever Special, September 16, Emerald R
“fractured sesamoid”

In addition, these still-very-much-active racehorses died on track grounds from what the industry craftily calls “non-racing” causes. Technically true, perhaps, but morally they are no less casualties of this vile business than the ones above.

Jensen, February 28, Emerald
“cecal rupture intestines” (four years old, last raced in January)

Part of the Plan, April 7, Emerald
“colic” (two years old, had been raced once)

Lucy’s Eclipse, August 12, Emerald
“hematomas” (two years old, last raced in July)