The case of a horse named Tyeste illustrates, again, how easily Racing has been able to conceal its awfulness these so many decades. Tyeste, a 5-year-old mare, was raced for the 25th time – all at the claiming level – at Monmouth in August of last year. She finished a non-noteworthy second-to-last. Prior to her next race, September 7, she was “scratched” by order of the stewards. And then, simply disappeared.

But through FOIA documents from the New Jersey Racing Commission, I have since learned that this horse died that September day – and in a particularly horrific way. Apparently, on her way to the starting gate, Tyeste fractured her skull (how remains unclear) and was euthanized after “hemorrhaging from both nostrils and ears.” Imagine that. If not for that FOIA request, no one – except, of course, the complicit – would have been the wiser. For all the public knew, this probably injured horse was recuperating in anticipation of another run – or, safely retired to her owner’s farm, living the erstwhile equine-athlete’s version of the pastoral life.

While scratched/vanished does not technically qualify as a lie, the full truth surrounding this mare was withheld by the relevant racing entities – Monmouth Park, NJ Racing Commission (until, that is, forced to disclose by law) – and left untold or uninvestigated by the racing press. None of which should surprise, of course: To the former, dead horses are bad for business, especially one who broke her head and bled from her orifices; to the latter, this was a non-story – the death of a cheap claimer who was eking out meager livings for bottom-feeder connections simply doesn’t rate. Or put another way, who cares? How very sad – on multiple levels.

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The California Horse Racing Board has disclosed the death of an unraced 1-year-old – yes, 1-year-old – horse named Off Looks Alone. Apparently, in an April 9 “training” session at Golden Gate, the filly collided with another and broke her pelvis.

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And from NY (Saratoga Casino and Raceway): After suffering a fractured pelvis a couple months back, Standardbred Morning Joe’s “health took a turn for the worse, [and he was] found down in [his] stall.” They “got [the] horse standing – non-weight bearing – [but he] demonstrated considerable distress – [and the] decision was made to euthanize.” Morning Joe’s obit line: enslavement, exploitation, abuse, maiming, extended suffering, premature death. This is horseracing.

In the 1st Thursday at Aqueduct, 2-year-old Zenstone finished 2nd – and then was “vanned off.” Turns out, the filly had broken a leg and was subsequently (the next day) euthanized. Dead at the equivalent age of a grade-schooler.

In all, Zenstone was put to the whip five times. In her last two, she was a “struck the rail” DNF and a dead-last 27+ lengths back. The connections (who earned a nice $8,000 on Zenstone’s final act): Gregory DiPrima, Michael Imperio. Zenstone is the third dead horse at Aqueduct this week and 24th since Halloween (list below).

Also from NY, Standardbred Make a Friend died in the 8th last night at Buffalo Raceway – cause undisclosed. Jack Flanigen drove, Judith Blaun trained.

The Aqueduct 24:

5-year-old Summer Sunset, Oct 31, race 2 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Jesses Giant Dunk, Oct 31, race 3 (ruptured ligament)
4-year-old Knockher Off, Nov 12, race 5 (neck trauma)
9-year-old Cherokee Artist, Nov 28, race 6 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Princes On Thelake, Dec 3, race 5 (fractured cannon)
3-year-old Warrior’s Hero, Dec 4, race 3 (fractured carpus)
5-year-old Half Nelson, Dec 5, race 8 (fractured shoulder)
7-year-old Quick Money, Dec 5, race 8 (neck trauma)
5-year-old Sage Valley, Dec 10, race 8 (apparent cardiac arrest)
5-year-old Ludo Bagman, Dec 11, race 1 (fractured sesamoids)
4-year-old Celebrate We Will, Dec 26, race 1 (fractured leg)
5-year-old Wicked Irish, Dec 27, race 2 (undisclosed leg trauma)
2-year-old Golden Bay, Jan 2, race 6 (fractured leg)
5-year-old Shewreckstheplace, Jan 4, race 5 (fractured sesamoids)
2-year-old Channel of Love, Jan 9, training (fractured leg)
4-year-old Apex, Jan 9, race 2 (fractured leg or ankle)
9-year-old Italian Rules, Jan 9, race 2 (torn suspensory)
4-year-old You Take the Cake, Jan 15, race 2 (fractured neck)
3-year-old Senso, Jan 18, training (fractured pelvis)
3-year-old Miss Macarena, Jan 22, race 1 (fractured leg)
3-year-old Risk the Moon, Mar 12, race 5 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Subtle Humor, Apr 12, race 3 (fractured leg)
2-year-old Con Sneaky, Apr 12, race 4 (fractured tibia)
2-year-old Zenstone, Apr 16, race 1 (fractured leg)