From the Carolina Cup (Camden, South Carolina) website:

“The Carolina Cup is a South Carolina tradition that has achieved premier social event status in the state. This annual ‘rite of spring’ draws over 30,000 fans from across the world to enjoy the riveting sport of steeplechase horse racing. Mark your calendars and get to shopping, the Carolina Cup Races bring a flurry of bright, spring fashions and extravagant tailgate parties. From the Hospitality Terrace to our Vendor Village, friends and family unite for an exciting afternoon of racing.”

The organizers went on to note: “There is no official dress code at the races. However, most women wear bright sundresses and hats, while men wear dress shirts, slacks and often a bright colored tie. Feel free to browse our Facebook or Instagram pages for inspiration! There will be a best dressed and best hat competition held each year which you might just win!” And finally: “Children 12 and under are free”!

In short, good, clean family fun!

This year’s edition was run April 2. Here are some highlights:

That’s three different horses falling over the course of two races. The first in the clip, 4-year-old Declareatruce, “broke his neck,” the stewards report, adding: “He never left the ground and appeared to be dead on impact.” In addition to the other two fallers, Westerland and Fiddlyn, Duckett’s Grove was “pulled up lame and vanned off.”

Bad enough, but then there’s this:

“The stewards conducted a course inspection the day before the races. There was concern about the 10th fence on the turn which has historically been a trouble spot on this course. At the stewards’ request Race Director Jeff Teter adjusted the angle to this fence. The riders suggested moving the fence forward out of the turn which the stewards agreed would be a better solution but got push back from Toby Edwards as being unnecessary. At this time the stewards decided to leave the jump with the angle correction but changed the start of the race to the landing side of the first fence making the race slightly shorter for the three maiden races and jumping 9 fences instead of 11 with the theory that the horses would be less tired.

“At approximately 10:30am on race day the stewards were informed that the SOTA representative would like to meet with us. Several trainers and a few riders objected to the shortened distance and taking out 2 fences. The trainers stated that this was not the race that they entered in and it would change the race dynamic. The stewards then reluctantly agreed to run the first race with no changes and carefully monitor how the horses jumped the second last hurdle. In the first race there was a faller at this fence that suffered a broken neck and the stewards closed the fence for the remaining two maiden races.”

To recap: They knew it was potentially dangerous. They made changes. There was pushback. Changes reversed. A horse is killed (broken neck, no less). It’s downright criminal. Every bit as complicit, though, are all who attended – with a special condemnation reserved for the parents of small children. For shame.

More details on some of the 2021 deceased I reported on…

Insane Lifestyle died training at Hawthorne Nov 1. The full evil, however, is better understood through detail. From the Racing Board: “The horse has had a history of EIPH. Bled through lasix racing on 3-10-20; given time on vet’s list. Bled through lasix racing on 7-31-20; given six months on vet’s list. Bled through lasix racing on 6-11-21; given six months on vet’s list. Trainer then raced the horse at a fair without lasix. Trained this am without lasix – collapsed on track dead with blood in nostrils.”

That’s at least three bleeding episodes (and “vanned off” at least twice) prior to bleeding to death. The only race in this period (Mar 13, 2021) in which he (presumably) did not bleed he finished last, 25 lengths back. Then there’s this: Over just a 13-race “career,” Insane was sold at least six times and trained under at least four different men. That poor, poor animal.

Also, the death of Naughty Swagger (below) demands repeating. Her end came in the 6th at Turf Dec 14, and what a horrific, terrifying end it was:

“Just past the wire, it [it] collapsed and fell. Examination found the horse deceased. There is a complete fracture of the second cervical vertebrae, with exposure of the spinal cord, which is partially severed. Osteoarthritic changes of the forelimbs, with the most severe changes found in the left front fetlock, may have led to the described slowing and collapse of the patient at the end of the race.”

Naughty was only six, the age of maturity for a horse. “Severe osteoarthritic changes may have led to the collapse at the end of the race.” Words fail me.

More details on some of the 2021 deceased I reported on…

Sisters Cartel was raced for the very first time on Mar 6 of last year at Louisiana Downs. Born on Apr 2, 2019, that made him technically just a year old that day. That race would also be his last: “comminuted pelvic fracture with lacerated/severed muscle.” The FOIA document noted that Sisters was not euthanized – he just died. With the severed muscle, we can presume he bled out. Again, at one, just a baby.

Three Amigos was euthanized on Sep 29 at Arlington. He was four years old. Here is why he was euthanized: “The horse had chronic, severe degenerative osteoarthritis in the left carpus; no rescue would accept [him].” Again, four years old.

Sir Longwood “pulled up lame” in the 2nd at Charles Town Oct 27 with, according to the FOIA, multiple fractures in his LF. Given that he was a 6-year-old gelding “claimer,” and a cheap one at that (he was “For Sale” at $5,000 that day), there wouldn’t have been a whole lot of incentive to keep him alive. And indeed, his exploiters (Joseph Pyke et al.) did eventually have him killed – six days later. Yes, that’s right, this poor horse was made to suffer with multiple fractures for six days. Vile.