In an altogether fitting way to begin the new year, Santa Anita has killed again. In the final race of the afternoon yesterday, this for 3-year-old Golden Birthday, according to Equibase: “GOLDEN BIRTHDAY…took a bad step then drifted out while being pulled up into the stretch with an injury behind, then lost the rider and was vanned off.”

Ah yes, the proverbial “bad step.” In fact, it was a broken leg, and he is dead. Victim number 1 of 2020. Folks, this is quite simple: They can’t stop the killing so we must stop them. Voice your outrage:

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Delta Outlaw was bred into existence by Blue Heaven Farm on February 15, 2012. At some point, probably before his first birthday, he was SOLD. He was first put to the whip, at the tender age of two, at Monmouth in September 2014 under trainer George Weaver and owner R. A. Hill Stable. He was raced 14 more times for them, then SOLD.

Then this:

Raced on October 5, 2017 under trainer Assaf Ronen, owner Everything’s Cricket Racing. Three races followed, then SOLD.

Raced on January 15, 2018 under trainer David Jacobson, owner River Card Stable. Three races followed, then SOLD.

Raced on March 25, 2018 under trainer Scott Lake, owner Home Team Stables. Seven races followed, then SOLD.

Raced on October 25, 2018 under trainer Bernard Dunham, owner Belair Stables. Eight races followed, then SOLD.

Raced on August 3, 2019 under trainer Hugh McMahon, owner Larry Rabold. Two races followed, then SOLD.

Raced on November 10, 2019 under trainer Michael Catalano, owner Princess K Racing. Then SOLD.

Raced on December 3, 2019 under trainer/owner Jennie Wilhelm-Saldana. Then SOLD.

Three days ago at Parx, he was raced again, this time under trainer Joseph Taylor and owner John Fanelli. In this one, before which he was “For Sale,” again, Delta Outlaw was “vanned off” and, I have confirmed, subsequently euthanized. Dead. At seven.

In all, Delta Outlaw (below) was put to the whip 46 times, at 12 different tracks, in 7 different states, for 9 – yes, 9 – different trainer-owner teams. A mere thing to be used, a piece of chattel, a means for human ends.

Imagine the hours, the years, this poor animal suffered – alone – in tiny stalls.

Imagine the amount of drugs that coursed through his system.

Imagine the number of lashes his sensitive hide was made to absorb.

Imagine his fear at being prodded, pulled, pushed, wrenched, jerked, and yanked.

Imagine his stress and anxiety – anyone care to bet on whether he died with ulcers? – at being shuffled from trainer to trainer, barn to barn, track to track, state to state.

Imagine his life. Imagine his death. But while doing so, remember that this is no isolated incident: There are tens of thousands of Delta Outlaws out there; they, not the American Pharoahs and Justifys, are the real horses of horseracing.

The dead bodies – for gambling and entertainment, I remind – continue to pile up at Belmont Park (43 on the year, in case anyone’s lost count). Yesterday, the Gaming Commission reports, Solar Fire, two, “sustained a r elbow fracture in his stall” and was euthanized. The Commission, of course, will categorize this as “non-racing,” unmistakably implying that the connections’, the track’s, the industry’s hands are clean. Lies. It matters not where death ultimately comes – in the stall, on the track, at the slaughterhouse – all racehorse deaths are Racing deaths. Full stop.

Buried deep in the ethically-challenged John Cherwa’s Santa Anita kickoff column in the LA Times last evening was this: “However, there was a fatality Dec. 26…Truest Reward, a 3-year-old gelding, broke his left front leg on the training track…” Perhaps he and the Times thought no one would notice – especially with the article brazenly titled “Santa Anita opener goes off without a hitch.” Truest Reward, incidentally, was trained by the equally challenged Doug O’Neill – yes, the same $133 million-earning Doug O’Neill who cynically leads a bunch of lowly-paid backstretch workers in “counter” at our track protests. Vile people. Vile industry.

Santa Anita’s 43 dead racehorses, 2019 – with still a few days to go:

Tank Team, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 4, 2019
Unusual Angel, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 4, 2019
Secret Street, killed training at Santa Anita Jan 8, 2019
Derby Treasure, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 11, 2019
Henry, dead at Santa Anita January 14, 2019
Noise Mandate, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 18, 2019
Amboseli, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 20, 2019
Like Really Smart, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 21, 2019
Last Promise Kept, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 21, 2019
Ponchito, dead at Santa Anita January 22, 2019
Dancing Harbor, killed training at Santa Anita Jan 23, 2019
Spitfire, killed training at Santa Anita Jan 25, 2019
Mongolian Hunter, dead at Santa Anita January 28, 2019
Kid Cantina, killed racing at Santa Anita Feb 2, 2019
Comegowithme, killed racing at Santa Anita Feb 3, 2019
Jager Time, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 17, 2019
Unusual Rider, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 18, 2019
Hot American, killed racing at Santa Anita Feb 22, 2019
Battle of Midway, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 23, 2019
Just Forget It, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 23, 2019
Charmer John, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 24, 2019
Eskenforadrink, killed racing at Santa Anita Mar 2, 2019
Cooney, dead at Santa Anita March 4, 2019
Lets Light the Way, killed training at Santa Anita Mar 5, 2019
Princess Lili B, killed training at Santa Anita Mar 14, 2019
Arms Runner, killed racing at Santa Anita Mar 31, 2019
Rolling Shadow, dead at Santa Anita April 4, 2019
Commander Coil, killed training at Santa Anita May 17, 2019
Spectacular Music, killed racing at Santa Anita May 19, 2019
Kochees, killed racing at Santa Anita May 25, 2019
Current Times, dead at Santa Anita May 27, 2019
Derby River, killed training at Santa Anita June 5, 2019
Formal Dude, killed racing at Santa Anita June 8, 2019
Truffalino, killed racing at Santa Anita June 9, 2019
American Currency, killed training at Santa Anita June 22, 2019
Zeke, killed training at Santa Anita September 16, 2019
Emtech, killed racing at Santa Anita September 28, 2019
Ky. Colonel, killed training at Santa Anita October 5, 2019
Satchel Paige, killed racing at Santa Anita October 19, 2019
G Q Covergirl, killed training at Santa Anita October 25, 2019
Bye Bye Beautiful, killed racing at Santa Anita October 27, 2019
Mongolian Groom, killed racing at Santa Anita November 2, 2019
Truest Reward, killed training at Santa Anita December 26, 2019

Another day, two more kills at Belmont. The Gaming Commission reports the following from Saturday:

Outside Influence “sustained a LH compound, open distal fx at the 1/16 pole [on] training track and was euthanized.” She was two.

Iswear I’ll Behave “suffered a RF suspensory injury approx 1 to 2 months ago and developed supporting limb laminitis in the LR; declining condition over last 4 days and euthanized.” He was six.

The Belmont Carnage, 2019 (42 dead horses…and counting)

Doyouknowsomething, Jan 8, stall – “sustained left elbow injury in stall”
Speke, Jan 19, training – “suffered a fracture to his right shoulder”
Catpsalm, Jan 29, stall – “protozoal myeloencephalitis”
Miss Marion, Feb 3, training – “fractured cannon bone…euthanized on track”
Chronos, Feb 3, training (euthanized Feb 4) – “fractured right front leg”
For Pops, Feb 26, training – “collapsed and died” (four years old)
Queen Bode, Mar 3, training – “euthanized at hospital”
Mighty Zealous, Mar 10, stall – “severe respiratory distress…euthanized”
Miss Marilyn, Mar 23, training – “leg injury…euthanasia on the track”
Miss Mimosa, Mar 28, training – “cardiovascular collapse” (three years old)
Pretty Enuff, Apr 1, training – “suffered a leg fracture…euthanized”
Luz Mimi, Apr 4, training – “suffered a leg fracture…euthanized”
La Manche, Apr 11, training – “suffered a fracture…and was euthanized”
Noble Cause, May 11, racing – “injuries necessitating euthanasia”
Anne’s Song, May 24, racing – “ambulanced off, euthanized due to poor prognosis”
Successful Mission, Jun 9, training – “sustained fractures while breezing”
Inflection, Jun 9, racing – “euthanized due to poor prognosis”
Ro Bear, Jun 16, stall – “died in the barn from an apparent impaction colic”
With Caution, Jun 28, training – “P1 fracture…died complications from anesthesia”
Fancy Persuasion, Jun 30, racing – “went down dead on the track” (two years old)
yet-to-be-named, Jul 11, training – “fractured sesamoids…euthanized”
La Fuerza, Jul 27, training – “fractured humeral, ambulanced to barn, euthanized”
Royal Inheritance, Sep 6, training – “collapsed and died” (five years old)
Passporttovictory, Sep 6, racing – “bad steps”
Mo Moxie, Sep 7, training – “sustained a fracture and was euthanized on track”
Deft, Sep 12, racing – “broke front leg and was euthanized on the track”
Rhode Island, Sep 14, racing – “was vanned off…subsequently euthanized”
Coffee Crush, Sep 19, training – “cardiovascular collapse” (four years old)
Have Another, Sep 20, stall – “severe laminitis”
Meet Me in L A, Sep 21, racing – “went wrong…euthanized”
E Z for You to Say, Oct 10, stall – “severe laminitis [both front] feet” (two years old)
Mo Fun, Oct 14, training – “suffered a cardiovascular collapse” (three years old)
Iswear I’ll Behave, Nov, training (euthanized Dec 21) – “suspensory injury…laminitis”
Kid Robin Hood, Nov 2, training – “sustained a fracture at the 5/16 pole”
Darken a Day, Nov 10, training – “sustained injury to leg requiring euthanasia on track”
Long Haul Bay, Nov 21, stall – “severe colic”
Goneonamission, Nov 24, stall – “found deceased with apparent head injury”
Sweet Timing, Nov 29, stall – “pelvic injury…fever and pleuropneumonia”
Gio Game, Dec 6, training – “cardiovascular collapse” (four years old)
Dino Three O Nine, Dec 8, training – “sustained injury…necessitated euthanasia”
Riot Worthy, Dec 16, training – “sustained leg injury…necessitated euthanasia”
Outside Influence, Dec 21, training – “compound, open distal fracture at the 1/16 pole”