Two horses were killed last night at Delta Downs. In the 1st race, a maiden claiming, 2-year-old Casey Lynn “took a bad step mid stretch.” Dead before her third birthday. (Racing advances all ages on January 1st, but Casey Lynn wouldn’t have turned three till April.) In her last start (Louisiana Downs in September), Casey Lynn finished 10th, 22 1/2 lengths back. Perhaps trainer Joe Duhon should have known something. Perhaps he did. And the same for her owner, the sadly ironic Dream Walkin Farms.
Later in the Delta night, 3-year-old Battle Silk, another filly, went down in the 9th race. She was trained by Billy Allen and owned by Raymond McFarlin. The replays reveal little – Casey Lynn dumped her rider late, while Battle Silk pulled up early. This is horseracing.
122 racehorses lost their lives at NYS tracks in 2013. 122 intelligent, sensitive beings sacrificed for $2 bets. The breakdown: 40 dead at Finger Lakes; 38 dead at Belmont; 23 dead at Aqueduct; 9 dead at Saratoga; 4 dead at Monticello; 2 dead at Buffalo; 2 dead at Saratoga Gaming; 2 dead at Vernon; 1 dead at Tioga; 1 dead at Yonkers. For shame, NY.
Blonde for Ever, a 2-year-old filly, was killed in yesterday’s 3rd race at Parx. She was ridden by Jose Flores, trained by Robert Swentkowski, and owned by Burton Butker and Anita Hicken. Also Monday, 4-year-old Clodhopper “broke down” while running the 3rd race at Turf. The racing office was unable to offer more information.
Yesterday afternoon at Gulfstream, 2-year-old Side Street broke down running the Grade 3 “Old Hat” Stakes and was subsequently killed. The filly was ridden by Jesus Castanon, trained by Elizabeth Gray, and owned by Andrew Farm.
Two other horses also broke down Saturday: 4-year-old Sassy Cherokee in the 1st race at Charles Town and 3-year-old Classic Ford in the 10th race at Fair Grounds.
A head-on collision claimed the lives of two racehorses at Belmont yesterday morning, a story receiving mainstream coverage because one, 9-year-old Caixa Eletronica (below), was a star. Apparently, 4-year-old Six Drivers, the claimer afterthought part of this tale, became unnerved on the training track, threw his rider, and darted into Caixa Eletronica. Both, according to the NYRA vet, died instantly (neck, skull fractures).
Now to the nub. Caixa Eletronica’s owner, Mike Repole: “I’m devastated. …It’s a terrible day for racing. For any horse, it’s horrible. When you hear it’s Caixa Eletronica, it’s magnified.” Why devastated and magnified? The aptly named Caixa Eletronica – Portuguese for “cash machine” – had earned $1.6 million for Repole. Chris Englehart, Six Drivers’ brand new trainer (he was claimed on December 27th), fully commiserates: “It made it 10 times worse when I found out who the other horse was.” Curiously, Englehart had nothing to say about his own horse.
As a footnote, Newsday says that Evan Gewirtz, Six Drivers’ owner, hopes “the accident wouldn’t provoke protests from animal-rights groups.” Well, Mr. Gewirtz, we do protest, vehemently. And while you and your cohorts shamefully attempt to wipe your hands of this, we know the truth: Horseracing, not mischance, killed these two horses. Sleep on that.