While the Belmont Stakes was being run, its home, Belmont Park, was in the process of (what else) killing another horse. The NYS Gaming Commission reports that Lullula, three, sustained an injury while training on the 1st; five days later (or, the day after the Stakes), she was euthanized “due to prognosis.” She is the 23rd dead horse at Belmont in five months; 76th since January 1, 2020.

Look, I know this gets old, but I’ll keep screaming it from the mountaintops till the message is received by all: Reform (read: drugs) is a ruse, “safe racing” a lie. Truth is, horseracing kills horses, inherently. From breeding for speed (big torsos, spindly legs, fragile ankles), to working pubescent bodies (the typical horse doesn’t fully mature until six; the typical racehorse begins training at 18 months), to the incessant grinding of those bodies (if they’re not racing, they’re not earning), to forcing them to “race” at an unnatural rate (breakneck), in an unnatural way (always counter-clockwise), through unnatural means (perched, whip-wielding humans), to the commodification (the average racehorse is bought and sold multiple times, making long-term health of little concern to current “connections”), horseracing guarantees killing. Guarantees.

The NYS Gaming Commission reports that Tapitena “suddenly collapsed in [his] stall” at Finger Lakes Saturday – “and expired.” Here’s the thing: Tapitena was but three years old, an equine pubescent – “suddenly collapsed and expired.” He had also just been raced earlier in the week (a race, incidentally, before which he was sold). But worry not, folks, for the Commission is all over this: “hair sample(s) collected for testing – shipped to Cornell for necropsy – more to follow.” ‘Twould be risible if not for the deadly gravity of it all. (By the way, in my eight years on the job, there has never, not once, been “more that followed.”)

King of Rock’s run in the 5th at Gulfstream yesterday, as succinctly relayed by the chartwriter: “King of Rock suffered an injury to the left front leg and was euthanized.” For this to be reported at Gulfstream, which is notoriously tight-lipped about these things, King must have been euthanized where he lay. Which means that after an on-“field” death that all – fans, staff, racers, etc. – saw, not a one, apparently, had the slightest compunction about continuing with the day’s festivities (in this case, five more races.) Vile. King of Rock was four; ’twas his 12th time under the whip.

In reviewing the charts this morning, the following notes were particularly ominous:

At Santa Anita, “AGAMEMNON…was injured inside the sixteenth pole and vanned off.”

At Golden Gate, “BIG WISH…went wrong crossing the finish line and was vanned off.” (Another horse, Street Dancing, was “vanned off” in this same race.)

Knowing the writing styles at these two tracks, I figured both were dead. And they are, as confirmed by the CHRB.

Dead athletes every day – this is horseracing.