Like Mulheb before him, 4-year-old DJ’s Hope was reported (by Equibase) to have been vanned off a NY track – Finger Lakes, Saturday – only to later turn up dead on the Gaming Commission website. This time, however, we learn the horse was actually euthanized on-track (sesamoid). So, it appears the “van” was hauling a carcass. DJ’s Hope was ridden by Luis Perez and trained/owned by Adrianne D’Alessandro.
That same day, 3-year-old Freddie Freud was killed while practicing at Belmont. The Jena Antonucci-trained horse was inactive – reason unknown – from November ’13 to August of this year when he finished dead-last – almost 25 lengths back – in a race at Saratoga. NY’s 2014 Death Toll: 88.
6-year-old (44 races) Tale of Lucknfame – trained and owned by Rebecca Johnston – broke down Friday at Belterra, bringing that track’s two-day fallen-horse total to three (Funnysman Dream, Kingliest). What’s more, Penn National also lost three horses in a two-day span this week: I Love Penny on Wednesday; Foxy Syd, Eddington Bay on Thursday. Two tracks, Wednesday-Friday: Six breakdowns.
NY is the only state to publicly identify its dead racehorses. Theoretically, all horses who die at NYS tracks – whether racing, training, or “non-racing” – are disclosed to the Gaming Commission, who then posts on its site. Hence, (generally) we are not forced into assumptions on the “vanned off.” In Wednesday’s 1st race at Belmont, 5-year-old Mulheb was said, per Equibase, to have “faltered…then was vanned off after the finish.” Today, the Commission concludes the story: “carpal slab fracture,” dead.
On June 1st at Belmont, Mulheb finished last in the 5th race – 28 1/4 lengths back. On June 8th at Belmont, Mulheb finished second-to-last in the 5th race – 24 3/4 lengths back. On August 20th at Saratoga, Mulheb finished second-to-last in the 10th race – 18 1/4 lengths back. All – including his fatal run – under the watchful eye of trainer John Toscano. This is horseracing.
I have confirmed that 3-year-old Frat Man was euthanized for a catastrophic injury suffered Wednesday at Charles Town (race 7). Prior to his fatal run, Frat Man had nine 2014 starts – these included:
1/29, last, 13 3/4 lengths back, trainer John Robb
4/11, last, 12 lengths back, trainer Robb
5/3, last, 13 3/4 lengths back, trainer Robb
6/27, last, 12 lengths back, trainer Robb
8/1, second-to-last, trainer Robb
8/22, second-to-last, trainer Manolo Mangual
If Frat Man’s death was not entirely predictable, it still should come as no surprise: He was a gelding descending into the claiming netherworld, a workhorse whose sole function in life was to earn for men. Today, he is all but forgotten, replaced ever so easily by the next not-yet-mature equine up. This is horseracing.
Four horses – two each at Belterra and Penn – broke down yesterday and can be presumed dead:
2-year-old Funnys Man Dream, race 1, Belterra. Jockey Juan Vargas, trainer Jose Lopez, owner/breeder Bobby Rankin. It was the equine child’s first race.
5-year-old Kingliest, race 6, Belterra. Jockey Yuri Yaranga, trainer James Yaegel, owner Deborah Kopatz Estate.
4-year-old Foxy Syd, race 5, Penn. Jockey Ivan Perez, trainer Sandee Martin, owner Unstable Stable.
4-year-old Eddington Bay, race 9, Penn. Jockey Edwin Gonzalez, trainer Enrique Alonso, owners Alonso and Rohan Watson. In her last start – six days ago – Eddington Bay finished last of 8. What’s more, she was run five times in about eight weeks, finishing last thrice – all under Alonso.