10-year-old Runs for Luck “collapsed” in the 5th at Parx yesterday. It was his 85th race. While I don’t have official confirmation yet, “collapsed” almost always means dead – especially when you’re 10. Current exploiters: Vaccaro Racing, Patricia Farro.

The replay doesn’t show the fall; all we get from the track announcer are comments like “and the trailer, Runs for Luck” and “at the back, Runs for Luck.” And then just this: “One did go down there at the back of the field.” Yes, “one” – an intelligent, sensitive, fully conscious being, probably in the throes of dying. Oh, how they love their horses.

And at Mountaineer yesterday, Wild Winter, 11, was put to the whip for the 101st time. 11 years old, 101 races: all horseracing is animal abuse; this is egregious abuse. Current exploiters: Algarcon Stables, Cally Ann Herrington.

In just the past two days at Remington Park in Oklahoma…

(While not every word is to be taken literally – e.g., “cremated,” “obliterated” – the language employed by the chartwriters is telling nonetheless.)

2-year-old Whitneys Secret “flipped in gate”
3-year-old Dilly Dilly Hurray “bore in severely, slammed foes”
3-year-old Moon Baby Moon “antsy in gate”
3-year-old Ms Aranda Cartel “restless in gate”
4-year-old Midnight Bay Cartel “cremated at start”
5-year-old Filthy Rich “slammed by rival”
5-year-old Apollitical Spin “bumped hard”
2-year-old Jess Good Graces “unruly in gate”
2-year-old One Kiss At a Time “bumped hard at break”
2-year-old Relentless Speed “slammed foe”
2-year-old Dividends Trick “wiped out at start”
2-year-old Blackwater Secret “bled”
2-year-old Favorite Flirt “seemed unmotivated”
2-year-old Whizkey Glasses “bumped around at break”
2-year-old Lethal Code “obliterated at break”
2-year-old Paleface Cowboy “went to nose at break”

And at Sam Houston in Texas…

3-year-old Hart Perry “rank, no threat”
4-year-old Warr Wagon “hit gate, threw head”
3-year-old Lightbow “bumped both sides”
2-year-old Personal Kiddy Up “bumped hard” (very first race)
2-year-old Whiskey One O Won “bumped hard” (very first race)
2-year-old Mighty Revenant “bumped hard” (very first race)
2-year-old Miss Luciana Jess Mv “bumped hard” (very first race)
2-year-old Go Gettum Pyc “fractious gate” (very first race)
2-year-old Joose “unruly gate” (very first race)
2-year-old Bv Destiny “unruly gate” (very first race)
2-year-old Fm First Wagon Rock “lugged in, hit rail” (very first race)
2-year-old Cashininonaprospect “bucked, lost jockey” (very first race)
2-year-old Sorchaes Soldier “bumped both sides”
2-year-old Petes Dream “bumped hard” (very first race)
2-year-old Dr Toola “unruly gate” (very first race)
2-year-old Nashville Hotspot “shied from whip, lost jockey” (very first race)

This is horseracing.

Gina Rarick is a well-known American trainer currently working in France. She is, also, a frequent critic of U.S. Racing; in fact, she was on the same “Real Sports” episode on which I appeared. She wrote the following on her FB page Wednesday:

“It’s Kentucky Derby week in America, and while I would like to appreciate the buzz that attracts people to the sport that normally wouldn’t pay any attention, I cannot find much positive to say. The photos of the horses are making my head explode. Every horse is held down with so much equipment it makes my mouth bleed just watching. Lip shanks doubled with crossed nosebands and sometimes tongue ties and more on every one. Every. Single. One. One trainer proudly posted a video of loading a horse to go to Kentucky. It took a lip shank, four people and a broom to get the job done. I would be humiliated to post a video like that.”

And then in response to a question on “lip shanks”: “It’s a chain that goes around the head collar and is placed between the teeth and the upper lip, so pulling it tight is supposed to have an effect sort of like a twitch. If you see some of the Derby horses walking, they are being held down like Macy’s Thanksgiving day balloons. Can’t take one natural step. What you see below the bit in this photo is a very fine tongue tie.”