Lovely Legend “hit the rail, DNF” at Turf My Ty Fu Peg “bled, vanned off” at Delta Ap Adamari “fell after wire, vanned off” at Turf Jessbye Train “vanned off” at Louisiana Fortified Effort “vanned off” at Turf Markistan “vanned off” at Gulfstream Jacks Fire Balls “slammed into rail, DNF” at Oaklawn Sea of Hope “fell, bled, vanned off” at Oaklawn Critic “fell, hit rail, vanned off” at Oaklawn Dash for a Surprise “bled” at Remington Moscows Got Talent “returned bleeding” at Penn Scowling Ridge “vanned off” at Tampa Bay Mr Right Now “vanned off” at Turf Analyze It “bled” at Aqueduct Big Truck “fell over a fallen rival, DNF” at Mahoning Startdfromdabottom “fell, DNF” at Mahoning John Edward “vanned off” at Keeneland My Super Sally “bled” at Laurel Southern Galaxy “bled” at Laurel
While not all the “vanned” end up dead, most do, as borne out by our year-end FOIA reports. But even if death is not the ultimate result, the above are victims nonetheless, suffering painful injuries – in the case of the bleeders, pulmonary hemorrhage – so that some men may gamble, others chase pots of gold. (For any new confirmed deaths during the week, please see our running annual list.)
The Grand National, Britain’s most famous race, has claimed another life. The Long Mile, seven, was euthanized (ABC News said, “destroyed”) after breaking a leg between fences yesterday. According to Animal Aid, he is the 54th kill there since 2000.
The 6th at Mahoning yesterday: “TO WIN avoided a spill past the five sixteenths pole…. BIG TRUCK allowed to settle, fell over a fallen rival just past the five sixteenths pole…. HAKMAN also fell over a fallen rival past the five sixteenths pole and was euthanized. STARTDFROMDABOTTOM fell just past the five sixteenths….”
Must have been an ugly scene indeed. (I’d show it but the cowards at Mahoning have declared the race “unavailable” for replay.) The one (confirmed) dead horse, Hakman, was three, and this was his 10th time under the whip.
Horseracing apologists are forever crying how unfair it is for us to characterize stall deaths as industry casualties. These deaths, they say, can and do happen to horses everywhere horses are kept. Well, leaving aside that racehorses are enslaved – yes, I realize that’s inflammatory, but it is what it is – and anything that happens to a slave is the slaveowner’s responsibility, we do have science to bolster the case.
The three most common causes of stall deaths are colic, laminitis, and pleuropneumonia. Yes, of course horses die of these the world over, but…
Colic: A study by Dr. Nathaniel White, professor of surgery at Marion DuPont Scott Equine Medical Center, identified risk factors for developing colic. There were only three that presented a “higher than normal” risk: fed grain before hay at meals; horses in training for racing or eventing; horses confined to stall more than 12 hrs/day. In addition, gastric ulcers are, at the very least, associated with colic; research indicates that up to 90% of active racehorses suffer from ulcers, most chronic, many severe.
Laminitis: According to the American Association of Equine Practitioners, three of the most common causes of laminitis are: excessive concussion to the feet (like the pounding a racehorse’s feet are forced to absorb); excessive weight-bearing on one leg due to injury of another leg (see Barbaro); severe colic (see above).
Pleuropneumonia: From the Merck Veterinary Manual: “Race and sport horses are particularly at risk [of developing pleuropneumonia]. The majority of horses with pleuropneumonia are athletic [emphasis added] horses younger than 5 years old.”
Magicians Diva in the 3rd at Charles Town last night, in the words of the chartwriter: “MAGICIANS DIVA angled to the inside to set the early pace, but was pulled up with a fatal injury approaching the five sixteenths pole and had to be euthanized on the track.” She had just turned four, and this was her third time under the whip.