The CHRB has confirmed the death of Sunny One at Golden Gate. Apparently, the 5-year-old was found dead in his stall on November 29th, just two days after finishing 2nd in a GG race. His trainer was Alex Sywak, his owner, Ingrid Sywak.

Other notes from the week:

Wednesday at Charles Town (8th), Beau American “was always outrun in the four path, remained under incessant urging throughout the length of the stretch and was vanned off.” “Incessant urging.”

Thursday at Finger Lakes (6th), Speedy Getaway “was whipped to the late stages for the win.” “Whipped for the win.”

Friday at Finger Lakes (7th), Dreamboat “was kept to pressure for the win.” “Kept to pressure for the win.”

Saturday at Laurel (8th), Eighttofasttocatch “pulled away [for win] under relentless right handed encouragement.” “Relentless right handed encouragement.”

Is this what horsemen mean by love to run, born to compete?

And finally, this from Friday’s 2nd at Laurel: Keep Me Informed “was pulled up soon past the three quarter pole then walked off on his own courage.” This is horseracing.

Rulings from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission:

For abuses committed against QuarterHorses:
5/31/14, Aron Hunt, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension
6/13/14, Christian Esqueda, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $250 fine, no suspension
7/11/14, Julian Serrano, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension

For abuses committed against Thoroughbreds:
6/18/14, Alejandro Contreras, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $200 fine, no suspension

For abuses committed against Standardbreds:
5/8/14, Andy Shetler, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/13/14, Bradley Hanners, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/13/14, Lewayne Miller, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/13/14, Samuel Widger, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/17/14, Luke Plano, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/23/14, Lewayne Miller (again), “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/23/14, Michael Micallef, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/24/14, Luke Plano (again), “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension
5/27/14, Andy Shetler (again), “Whip-excessive” – $100 fine, no suspension
5/28/14, Brandon Bates, “Whip-excessive” – $100 fine, no suspension
6/21/14, Donald Eash, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension
6/27/14, Tyler Smith, “Kicking” – $100 fine, no suspension
7/1/14, Andy Shetler (again), “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
7/1/14, Lewayne Miller (again), “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $1,000 fine, no suspension

In early May, Andy Shetler, Lewayne Miller, and Luke Plano were each cited and fined for whipping their Standardbreds to the point of bleeding or welts. Over the next six weeks, the trio had a combined five more excessive-whipping violations. All continue to drive. This is Indiana horseracing.

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In its most recently released rulings, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has cited the following harness drivers:

Norman Robbins, “Indiscriminate Use of Whip” – $50 fine, 5-day suspension
Chris Page, “Indiscriminate Use of Whip” – $500 fine, no suspension
Daniel Noble, “Kicking a Horse” – $50 fine, no suspension
Christopher Loney, “Kicking a Horse” (multiple offences) – $100 fine, no suspension
Tyler Shehan, “Kicking a Horse” – $50 fine, no suspension
Chris Page (same one from above?), “Kicking a Horse” – $50 fine, no suspension

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Wrist-slaps for whipping and kicking the athletes. This is horseracing.

Santa Anita has announced a new whipping rule for its upcoming Fall meet – no more than three consecutive strikes, then wait for a “response” before whipping can resume. Santa Anita’s president says (DRF, 9/2/14), “It’s good for the horse, and it’s good for public perception.” Darrell Haire of the Jockeys’ Guild adds, “It’s perception more than anything, but perception is reality.” Exactly.

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With this summer’s spate of deaths at Del Mar (16), California racing is reeling – and the Breeders’ Cup beckons. So, a show of “commitment to equine welfare” was needed. But like NYRA’s “thorough investigation” into The Saratoga 12, this kinder, gentler brand of jockeying is nothing more than a marketing ploy. As an aside, if the whip were truly the harmless, painless guide some insist – “more about sound than feel,” “barely registers on a half-ton animal” – wouldn’t regulating its use be largely unnecessary?

5-year-old Gingerbred Girl’s last place finish in a $5,000 claiming race Saturday at Suffolk Downs was described thus:

“Gingerbred Girl trailed, lost contact with the field before the half-mile pole and was put to strong right-handed whipping to the final furlong while steadily getting further behind.”

To repeat, she trailed and lost contact with the field before receiving a “strong right-handed whipping,” a whipping, by the way, that bore no fruit – Gingerbred finished 44 1/4 lengths back. 5th place in this race, the best jockey Rigo Sarmiento could hope for, was worth $270. Mr. Sarmiento should be arrested for animal abuse.

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Gingerbred Girl has only been raced five other times. Follows are four of those:

7/28/12, last of 11 – trainer/owner David Wallace
6/16/13, 13th of 14 – trainer/owner Charles Bell
6/27/13 (11 days after 13th-place finish), 6th of 7, 30 3/4 lengths back – Bell
7/14/14, last of 8 – Bell