As previously reported, 3-year-old Miniconjou collapsed dead of “an apparent heart attack” immediately after the 11th race at Churchill June 11. Again, three years old.

Now, we learn that in his penultimate race, May 6 at Oaklawn, Mini ran on Class 2 (second worst kind) mepivacaine – an anesthetic. In its report filed just yesterday, the Arkansas Commission notes that “trainer Kelly Von Hemel availed his right to do a split sample and waived his right to a hearing.” In other words, guilty as charged. And all the Commission did was disqualify the now-dead horse and redistribute the purse money (Mini had “won” the race and $31K). No fine, no suspension.

(Not that it matters much, but sometime between those races Mini changed hands, with Thomas Amoss the trainer on death day.)

I write this not to imply there was a connection between the drug and Mini’s death (indeed the Kentucky Commission wrote: “no prohibited substances detected; no therapeutic medication detected above threshold concentrations”). Far from it. Fact is, adolescent racehorses collapse and die all the time, and they do, in my opinion, for the same reason they snap legs: their bodies are woefully unready for what they’re being forced to do. No, this is simply to underscore how this poor horse was abused prior to being killed – like, that is, every other casualty of this vile industry.

(Update: The following day, Arkansas did impose penalties on trainer Von Hemel: 15-day suspension, $500 fine. Still, for a Class 2 drugging, laughable.)

Recent notes from the stewards at Churchill Downs and Del Mar, two of the most prestigious tracks in America. Again, it’s not just death; racehorses are suffering with various injuries and sicknesses every day, everywhere.

Churchill, Nov 19:
“Duplantis returned lame and required the horse ambulance.”
“Mariah’s Princess bled and required the horse ambulance.”

Churchill, Nov 24:
“Little Sister Sue was injured in the starting gate and scratched.”

Del Mar, Nov 11:
“American Refugee, vet scratch – sick.”

Del Mar, Nov 12:
“Whistler’s Style, vet scratch – injured.”
“Maqamat, vet scratch – unsound.”
“Wudi, vet scratch – injured.”
“Deep River, vet scratch – sick.”

Del Mar, Nov 13:
“Dr. Venkman, vet scratch – sick.”

Del Mar, Nov 18:
“Seek the Truth, vet scratch – sick.”
“The Giants Candy, vet scratch – injured.”
“Burton Way, vet scratch – unsound.”

Del Mar, Nov 19:
“Pioneering Papa, vet scratch – sick.”
“Micky From Wexford, vet scratch – injured.”
“Lord Sheldon, vet scratch – injured.”
“Gimme Mo Baby, vet scratch – sick.”

Del Mar, Nov 20:
“Bobs Blues Man, vanned off due to lameness.”
“Girl Named Doris, vet scratch – sick.”

The official line for 3-year-old Luck of the Stars in the 9th at Delta last night was “fell, vanned off.” Here is what that looked like…

While I don’t have a confirmation (on death) yet, re-watch the clip and tell me how that even matters. That poor, poor horse.

No fewer than 10 horses were ambulanced off U.S. tracks yesterday. Again, 10 horses, one day. FOIAs will determine how many are dead.

Twentytwenty Hoax, Churchill
G’s Deadline, Delta
Upandover the Moon, Evangeline
Cyclone Slew, Golden Gate
Midnight Symphony, Golden Gate (after being “washy in post and prior to loading”)
Olympic Fencer, Gulfstream
Midnight Parade, Penn
United Patriot, Remington
Cajun Spice, Tampa Bay
Lippy, Turf