Miss McKeown, a 3-year-old filly making her 5th career start, broke down and died yesterday in the 9th race at Aqueduct. The kill occurred on-track. This single death, in a $20,000 claiming race a world away from sunny Santa Anita, serves as the perfect microcosm for horseracing. While the official NYRA replay talks of Miss McKeown’s “very poor start” (perhaps this tragic creature was amiss from the gate), causing her to “lag the field by several lengths,” her snapped leg, the ambulance, the screen (to hide the ugliness), and the pentobarbital garnered not a single mention. Nothing. But, as always, we get the winner’s circle. Racing is but one lie, deception, and diversion after another.
2-year-old Secret Compass broke down during the running of the Breeders’ Cup $2 million Juvenile Fillies Saturday afternoon, suffering, in the words of the on-call vet (The Washington Post, 11/2/13), “the worst type of injury we get,” a lateral condylar fracture. The child-horse was put out of her misery. Dead.
She crumples at 1:12…
In an AP article (11/2/13), famed trainer Bob Baffert says, “When you lose a horse like that, it just took all the wind out of our sails.” Undeterred, though, Baffert, according to the AP, “was smiling later” when his New Year’s Day won the boy’s version. Win some, lose some, I guess.
5-year-old Centralinteligence (shown below), a Seattle Slew progeny, was vanned off after the $1 million Dirt Mile Grade 1 at Santa Anita. The video, which can be viewed here, shows no ambulance, of course; it’s all smiles and jubilation in the winner’s circle, with Goldencents’ owner calling Doug O’Neill “the best trainer of all time.” Yes, that Doug O’Neill.
Later in the Santa Anita day, 9-year-old (54 starts) So Big Is Better was vanned off after winning a non-BC $150,000 Grade 1.
Because NY is the only state to publicly disclose its breakdowns as they happen, we have to draw inferences on the rest of the nation’s “vanned off.” But consider this: Today, the Gaming Commission announced the death of a 3rd (of 3) Finger Lakes ambulance-rider from Saturday. 5-year-old My Cousin Eddie, who “returned sore and was vanned off” after the 2nd race, is but a carcass now, joining comrades Magestick Tomahawk and Irish Lady. With these, Finger Lakes boasts 38 kills this year (and 44 in 2012). This is horseracing.
Running in his very first race, 2-year-old Mr Rabbits broke down and died yesterday afternoon at Finger Lakes, trainer James Acquilano’s 2nd dead horse in 3 days (Magestick Tomahawk on Saturday). The kill allowed Mr. Acquilano to hit his annual average at the western NY track (9 dead since 2009). Condolences to the connections, anyone?