Like Finger Lakes before it, Belmont Park wasted no time in recording its first victim of the 2014 meet: 3-year-old Handstand, being raced for only the third time, broke down in the 6th and was euthanized. This, after he “came under urging at the five-sixteenths.” The complicit connections: jockey Rajiv Maragh, trainer Thomas Albertrani (for all 3 races), and owner/breeder Darley Stable. Handstand was running for a share of $92,400.

Friday afternoon at Aqueduct, 6-year-old Aussi Austin comfortably won the 8th race, earning for his connections a cool $42,600. That, alas, would not only be his last race, but also his last day on this planet. For you see, Aussi Austin suffered a spiral fracture during the race and is now dead. Unsurprisingly, his people first tried surgery – unsurprisingly, because this was Aussi’s third consecutive good-money win ($26,790 at Laurel on January 16th and $33,600 at Aqueduct on March 13th).

Friday’s fatal run was Aussi’s first under trainer/owner David Jacobson, who bought the horse for $50,000 back in March. For Jacobson, this makes 12 NY deaths since 2009. Also complicit: jockey Taylor Rice; Aussi’s three previous trainers – Mark Casse, Giuseppe Iadisemia, Rudy Rodriguez; breeder Gainesway Thoroughbreds; and prior owners.

Yesterday in Ohio, “The Sport of Kings” was a five-horse $2,500 claiming race worth $3,000. And now we learn that one of the five, 6-year-old Caverna, never made it out of the arena alive – catastrophic condylar fracture, gone. The jockey was Edgar Paucar; the trainer, Eduardo Caramori; the owner, Equinox; and the breeder, Bobby McIntyre.

5-year-old Cuban Devil died in the 5th race at Atlantic City last night. His last six starts prior to Sunday – all under trainer/owner Bryant Taylor:

12/30/13, claiming race at Parx, 10th of 11
01/12/14, claiming race at Parx, last of 7, 37 3/4 lengths back
01/27/14, claiming race at Parx, 8th of 11
02/25/14, claiming race at Parx, 9th of 12
03/22/14, claiming race at Parx, last of 8
04/12/14, claiming race at Parx, last of 9

In total, the hapless gelding earned $1500 for Taylor over those six races – $250 each time out. Mr. Taylor, this horse was abused to death. The other complicit connections: jockey Jason Nguyen, breeders Stephen Quick/Donald Schmidt/WynOaks Farm, and all who once had a hand in Cuban Devil’s servitude. For shame.

I was able to confirm that 4-year-old Marcelino Springs, who was reported as broke down/vanned off yesterday at Golden Gate (race 8), is dead. The complicit connections: jockey Catalino Martinez, trainer Doug Utley, owner John Battle, breeder Russell Drake.

To those who wager on horseracing, we implore you to reconsider. And ultimately, you hold all the cards: no more bets, no more races; no more races, no more kills. And – no more separating foals and moms, no more abusing unformed bodies, no more confining, no more whipping, no more drugging, no more doping, no more buying and selling and trading and dumping. No more auctions, no more kill-buyers, no more transport trucks, no more abattoirs. No more pain, no more suffering. No more.

220px-pferdeauge3

In a landscape that abounds with other gambling options – real sports involving autonomous human beings, casinos, lotteries – hasn’t the time at long last arrived to let the racing horse be? You, the bettor, have within the capacity for mercy. We ask only that you exercise it. Please. For the horses.