Nomadess, a 2-year-old filly, died training this morning at Los Alamitos. Officially (CHRB), “sudden death.” That’s “sudden death” for a 2-year-old horse – on the maturation chart, the rough equivalent of a first-grader.
By the way, while The Jockey Club – and everyone else in racing – is busy celebrating a “record low” death rate in 2020, know this: Nomadess would not have been counted in that death rate – in fact, would not have been counted in three different ways: she was a QuarterHorse (doesn’t count, says TJC); she died in training (doesn’t count, says TJC); she died of “sudden death” (doesn’t count, says TJC). And that, folks, is the most respected organization in American horseracing. (More on TJC coming soon.)
Unrelenting Force, three, is dead after breaking down in the 8th at Aqueduct yesterday. His trainer was Steve Asmussen (yes, that Steve Asmussen). Unrelenting is the 15th Thoroughbred killed at a New York Racing Association track this year. Reform is a ruse; “safe racing” is a lie. Horseracing kills. Period.
Running in today’s $1.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, Kentucky-bred Zenden broke down horrifically – but doesn’t that pretty much describe them all? – immediately after “winning” (BloodHorse: “triumph turned to tragedy”). He is dead, at five.
Shartle, a 2-year-old colt, was injured in the 5th at Turfway January 8. This is what ensued, according to the Racing Commission: “The on-track veterinarian summoned the ambulance and administered a sedative/analgesic to allow for application of the Kimzey splint and assist in loading onto the ambulance. The horse was transported to a veterinary hospital for further diagnosis…. After consultation, the decision was made to euthanize due to the severity of the injuries and a poor prognosis.” For the record: “comminuted fracture, severe disruption of the suspensory apparatus.”
Also: The CHRB has disclosed the death of John’s Jewel yesterday at Golden Gate – pleuropneumonia. She was two (barely) and had yet to be raced. The racing people, of course, are greatly offended when a death like this is lumped with an honest-to-goodness breakdown. A horse, they say, who impales himself, flips and fractures his skull, colicks, or, as is the case here, develops a fatal infection is not the industry’s responsibility. (Then again, some apologists aver that all racehorse deaths are simple misfortune – you know, the proverbial “bad step.”) Well.
It is fairly well known that roughly 620,000 soldiers died during the Civil War. But what many don’t realize is that roughly two-thirds of those perished from disease. With that knowledge, when have you ever heard someone try to make the case that those deaths were in any way less significant, or more to the point, could somehow be disassociated from the war itself? Doesn’t happen – nor, obviously, should it. Time, place, circumstances, and context matter. Same here: Every death in horseracing is by horseracing. And that’s that.
The “result” for Wiggle It Jiggleit in the 4th at Charles Town last night: “WIGGLE IT JIGGLEIT angled in to pressure the pace, contested the turn nearest the rail while at a close disadvantage, threatened the winner to mid-stretch, showed no further response to steady urging, suffered a fatal injury later yards and had to be euthanized on the track.” She was seven years old, and this was her 43rd time under the whip. Oh, and her owner (Derrick Goetz) also had her “For Sale” prior to dying. A witness to the race said the poor girl’s leg was “flopping”; I would show this but…