Breaking Boundary in the 5th at Belmont Sunday: “grew detached at the tail of the field…bobbled midway…continued along to the finish well behind receiving taps [lashes] to the near side a furlong out despite appearing to struggle, was pulled up…vanned off and reported to have bled” (Equibase). Jockey: Edwin Rivera.

Billy Youre Fired in the 3rd at Parx Monday: “stopped abruptly after half a mile, was eased and returned bleeding from the nostrils.” Three races back, March 30, same track: “BILLY YOURE FIRED stopped badly before a quarter mile and was eased through the stretch and returned bleeding from the nostrils.” Two bleeds in four races. Trainer: Alfredo Velazquez; owner: Anita Velazquez.

Vile. Animal abuse. Horseracing.

The Stewards’ Report for the Iroquois Steeplechase May 11 included these notes:

“CITE fell at the last fence. He appeared to knuckle upon landing.”

“ORCHESTRA LEADER fell at the last fence [after] hitting the top.”

“ALL FOR US pulled up lame before the 7th fence and was vanned off.”

Then this:

“Jockey Aaron Sinnott was observed by the stewards using an excessive amount of stick on the winner WIGWAM BABY during the running of this race. The Stewards were able to count fifteen strikes from the second last fence to the wire, many in succession without giving the horse time to respond. The stewards met with Jockey Sinnott…and gave him a warning that this was not acceptable and must be considerably modified or he would be subject to penalty next time. Jockey Sinnott was very polite and promised to be careful next time.”

So, for “using an excessive amount of stick” (“fifteen strikes”), this animal-abuser receives a gentle admonition. Who says being “very polite” doesn’t pay?

Also: Forever, the racing people have been telling us that whips are but “harmless guides”; that the horse’s thick hide makes him impervious to the lashes; that they’re really only responding to the sound. Nonsense, of course, and every once in a while an apologist admits as much, though in most cases, unintentionally. Two days ago, hack racing writer John Cherwa wrote this in the LA Times:

“There could also be changes to the proposal that riding crops, or whips, can be used only for safety reasons. A new crop was tried out at Keeneland that is said to cause no distress to horses.” In other words, the “crops” they use now do cause distress.

Distress.

This is horseracing.

The 4th at Aqueduct yesterday, as relayed by Equibase: “Big Mischief…suddenly became detached in the general area of the half mile pole after suffering a fatal injury, was pulled up then after being examined by the track veterinarian, was euthanized.” Big Mischief was three; this was her fourth time under the whip.

Then this for the 3rd at Penn Saturday: “SALT IT HERE set the pace while under constant pressure from the inside…drifted out through the whole stretch run after the rider switched to left handed urging…held on to win while being struck over twenty times in the stretch.” “Over twenty times” – but then again, the jockey, Angel Rodriquez, was just doing his job, as the $6,000 win-take was there for the seizing.

This is horseracing.