The repugnance of “love them like children,” yet again…

Fish Trappe Road was one of those prized, blue-skies-ahead racing creations. Bred by Rhapsody Faarm and Jon Davis in Feb 2013, he sold for $140,000 at the Saratoga Fasig-Tipton sale as a “yearling.” The buyer was St. Elias. The following year he was sold again, in Florida, this time for $95,000 to Martin Racing. Then, the slog began. But again, with great hopes, as evidenced by the early tracks he frequented.

Fish, under Martin, was debuted in a $50K race at famed Churchill Downs in Jun 2015. His trainer that day was the multi-million-dollar-earning W. Bret Calhoun. Then it was off to another of the industry’s crown-jewels, Saratoga. Over the next two years, racing at the best tracks in Kentucky, New York, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, Fish was, by the only metrics that matter to “horsemen,” successful – running in several stakes races and “earning” hundreds of thousands along the way.

Not counting the two flips prior to even being raced, Fish was first put up “For Sale” by Martin/Calhoun in a $40K “claiming” at Churchill in Nov 2017. No takers. But next time out, later that same month, Fish was claimed (bought) for $25,000. Now it was on to a new barn and a new exploiter, owner/trainer Patrick Dupuy.

By this point, Fish was starting to slip – the paydays getting smaller as he was being entered in more and more claiming races. And so it was that after eight races with Dupuy, Fish was sold again – this time for $10,000. New owner/trainer team: Kurtis Coady/Chelsey Moysey. This pair only had him for one start – claimed, as the slide continued, for $5,000. Still, Fish won that race and over five grand, making this, between the win and the sale, a $10K day for Coady/Moysey.

At this juncture, it was strictly cheap racinos in Ohio and West Virginia. His new owner/trainer, Robert Cline, had him for eight races, then sold again, for just $4,000. Four races for Oscar Barrera III, then a private sale to Julio Sandiford. Fish made his last appearance in the States on Nov 4, 2020, at Mountaineer. When he resurfaced, it was at the hellhole that is Camarero Racetrack in Puerto Rico.

Here is the breakdown for Fish’s American owners:

Martin: 21 races, $596,478
Dupuy: 8 races, $25,711
Coady: 1 race, $5160
Cline: 8 races, $7172
Barrera: 4 races, $6450
Sandiford: 3 races, $11,068
total earnings in the States: $652,039

From Dec 25, 2020, through this past Jan 27, Fish, who will soon be nine, has been raced 18 times at Camarero – for no fewer than four owner/trainer combinations. In his two most recent races (both “claiming,” of course), Fish has finished a combined 36+ lengths back. It shouldn’t be that difficult to see where this is heading. For too many to count, Camarero is the endgame – a track that averages almost one dead horse per day. Meanwhile, the above continue along merrily. Vile is too kind.

Nuestra Senor was first put to the whip over nine years ago, Nov 4, 2012, at Santa Anita. Among his subsequent stops in Florida, New Jersey, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York were two tracks that no longer exist (Hollywood Park, Suffolk Downs). On Nov 11, 2015, Nuestra, then five, brought up the rear in a cheap “claiming” race, some 28 lengths back. And even though he “won” $315 for his “connections” that day – Finger Lakes, a racino, pays first-last – owner G & G Establo and trainer Michael LeCesse were done with him. He next surfaced at the single worst (among stiff competition) track in North America, Camarero.

Nuestra’s first race on the island was in Feb 2016. 17 more followed that year; 12 in ’17; 13 in ’18; 14 in ’19; 11 in ’20; and 11 this year, the most recent just four days ago, bringing the Camarero total to 79 races. That coupled with the 49 in the States means that this poor animal has been whip-raced an almost unfathomable 128 times. His current abusers – there have been many: Nuestra has been “For Sale” in over 95% of his races – are owner Establo Vagabundo and trainer Luis Colorado. Nuestra will be 12 next month – and there is no end in sight. Vile doesn’t quite cut it.

As a follow-up to the grisly list I recently published on Camarero, I’ve decided to highlight some of the more egregious cases, horses who were without question run into the ground – to their graves. Here are four more:

Zamarata was bred and initially raced in Florida. She was sold (presumably by her last States’ owner, Ricardo Vallejo) in the winter of ’16 and shipped to Puerto Rico. Race after race after race after race followed. 61 in all. This, after 34 in Florida. Her 95th race came on July 11 of last year. Two days later, according to the report I received, she was euthanized per “doctor’s diagnosis – leg problems.” As if this could be any more vile, this poor girl was, with the exception of her first race, “For Sale” each and every time out. That’s 94 instances where all it would have taken was a “claim” to buy her. Just a thing to be used, a garden-variety Amazon product.

Similarly, the story of Rotor. Bred in Kentucky way back in 2008, Rotor spent some time in Florida before being shipped to Puerto Rico in 2014. There, he was raced 82 times. Added to the 17 in Florida, that makes 99 turns under the whip – all at the “claiming” level. Over his final 27 races (8/4/17-8/27/20), Rotor finished double-digit lengths back in all but one; in 14 of those, he finished 20+ lengths back, 5 30+ back.

Less than two months after that August 27 race, the 12-year-old Rotor was euthanized at Camarero for “poor body condition.” His owner throughout this 27-race period was E. Ramos Racing; his trainer, Justo Figueroa. It goes without saying that these are horrible human beings. But what of the track officials, the stewards, what passes for a government oversight agency? Complicit in this evil, all.

Olimpiada was bred and raced (exclusively) in Puerto Rico. But here’s the thing: This 9-year-old (at death) was raced an ungodly 104 times. 104 times. Her final race came on August 20 of last year – 12th, almost 35 lengths back. Apparently, though, owner R. Racing and trainer Jose Garcia were not quite done with this beaten, battered mare: Olimpiada was euthanized on November 30 for a fracture incurred while she was being trained for what would have been race #105. Imagine that.

And finally, there’s the short, ugly story of V My Queen. Bred in 2017, V “broke down” training on December 28, 2020. In between, there were but three races:

12/13/19: 7th, 11+ lengths back
2/6/20: “refused to break”
10/2/20: “refused to break”

Was this poor girl trying to tell her abusers – owner Sanchez Racing, trainer Juan Monserrate – something? You bet – and it breaks my heart.

As a follow-up to the grisly list I recently published on Camarero, I’ve decided to highlight some of the more egregious cases, horses who were without question run into the ground – to their graves. Here are four more:

Play Me Now was bred in Pennsylvania. A “claimer” over his entire 32-race run in the States, he was then sent to Puerto Rico as a washed-up 6-year-old in November 2018. Here are his final four (of 21) races at Camarero:

12/25/19: second-to-last, 25+ lengths back
1/17/20: last, 23 lengths back
2/2/20: last, 15 lengths back
8/27/20 (note the almost-7-month layoff): second-to-last, 28+ lengths back

It was then revealed that Play Me Now had suffered a limb break in that final race and was euthanized later that day. Owner, Malave Racing; trainer, Santos Martinez.

El Puma was bred and raced exclusively (17 in all) in Puerto Rico. Over his final nine completed races, beginning June 2019, he finished a combined 144+ lengths back, an average of 16/race. I say “completed” because his final two starts went like this: On June 10, 2020, he was “distanced, DNF.” Apparently, though, his utter hopelessness wasn’t yet clear to owner Hacienda Basilisa and trainer Juan Monserrate, for these two miscreants proceeded to thrust poor El Puma back onto the track on September 2. Result: “lame, DNF.” A week later – which if that date is accurate, is a whole other level of depravity – he was euthanized.

Dark Bloom was bred in Kentucky in 2013. She was then raced (45 times) in Kentucky, Arkansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Illinois, and Ohio. During this time, she was bought and sold at least six different times. Including her breeder, Cali Holan, she had at least seven different owners and six different trainers: Cali Holan, Westrock Stables, Jerry Caroom, Bobbye Stipe, Richard Robertson, Earl Hughes, Edwin Mundo, Ron Moquett, Jack Van Berg, Lynn Chleborad, Thomas Swearingen, Earl Hughes, Jason DaCosta.

Presumably, Mundo then sold Dark Bloom to Camarero in October 2019. Follows are her nine races there, all for owner Establo Quintana and trainer Maximo Gomez:

10/5/19: last, 38 lengths back
10/26/19: last, 50+ lengths back
2/8/20: second-to-last, 35+ lengths back
6/13/20: last, 35+ lengths back
7/12/20: last, 16+ lengths back
7/31/20: second-to-last, 20 lengths back
8/31/20: second-to-last, 32+ lengths back
9/12/20: 8th, 8+ lengths back
10/9/20: “lame, DNF”; three days later, dead

Andromeda’s Risk was bred in NY in 2011. She was then raced almost exclusively in that same state, hitting all four Thoroughbred tracks there – Aqueduct, Belmont, Saratoga, and Finger Lakes. Her last race in the States came at Finger Lakes in November ’19; her owner/trainer was Michael LeCesse. Presumably, he then sold her to interests in Puerto Rico, and off she went. She was then raced six times at Camarero, finishing a combined 143+ lengths back. Her final race came on October 9 – last, 47+ lengths back. Five days later, she was euthanized for a limb fracture of one kind or another. She was nine years old and had endured 69 turns under the whip.