Yesterday was a big day for Horseracing Wrongs and the horses we are so diligently working to liberate. We sponsored protests at Laurel Park in Maryland, Gulfstream Park in Florida, and held a march/vigil for the fallen in California. Thank you to all who came out, especially to the lead organizers: Brando Lee and Jennifer Sully at Laurel, Holly Wilson at Gulfstream, and Heather Wilson and Amanda Lundberg in Pasadena.

The Baltimore Sun (Maryland)
New Times (Florida)
Getty Images (California)

And another: 3-year-old Koa “broke down,” collapsed, and was euthanized while training at Del Mar yesterday morning. He is the 5th dead horse in the ultra-short “Bing Crosby” Fall Meet (which ends today) and 11th on the year.

In an interview with the San Diego Reader back in July – when the Santa Anita crisis was still red-hot – Del Mar CEO Joe Harper boasted the following: “Del Mar is one of the safest, if not the safest, racetrack in North America. I can point to a Fall meet where we didn’t have a single breakdown.” First, if he’s referring to last year, which I assume he is, that last statement is categorically untrue. As to the rest, if this is what the “safest racetrack in North America” looks like, good luck.

Charge a Bunch, killed training at Del Mar Jul 18
Carson Valley, killed training at Del Mar Jul 18
Bowl of Soul, killed training at Del Mar Jul 29
unidentified, died in stall at Del Mar Jul 31-Aug 4
unidentified, died in stall at Del Mar Aug 5-Aug 11
Bri Bri, killed training at Del Mar Aug 12
Princess Dorian, killed racing at Del Mar Nov 10 (euth Nov 18)
Ghost Street, killed racing at Del Mar Nov 10
Prayer Warrior, killed racing at Del Mar Nov 10
Slewgoodtobetrue, killed training at Del Mar Nov 17
Koa, killed training at Del Mar Nov 30

As a postscript, in that same article, Harper praised PETA as “more reasonable” than “those folks with the signs who protest outside [his] gates.” When asked if he believed that those protesters’ ultimate goal is to end horseracing, Harper replied, “I seriously doubt whether an animal rights person will back off.” No we won’t, Joe. No we won’t.

Here’s what we know: Indy’s Quick Image was raced at Parx October 12; he finished last, some 71 lengths back. Yes, 71. After that race, the 5-year-old was shipped to Delaware Park. At some point early the next morning (the 13th), according to the Delaware Racing Commission, he was “found dead in the barn area.” Apparently, the Commission is conducting an investigation, though with Indy’s Quick Image having been a cheap claimer (and still “maiden,” at that), I can’t imagine it’s much of a priority.

For many within U.S. Racing the problem is U.S. Racing. Drugs, mostly – Lasix, a lack of uniformity, etc. – but also dirt surfaces, claiming races, and the like. The clear suggestion being that if only we could emulate clean, well-run jurisdictions like Hong Kong, France, or England, all would be right with the world. Because you know, horses don’t die over there, at least not like they die here in the States.

I recently received the following video of a horse – Voyage King – breaking down in a race at Happy Valley in Hong Kong November 20. The Hong Kong Jockey Club subsequently confirmed that Voyage King’s fracture was “irreparable” and he was “humanely euthanised.” But there’s more: According to the JC itself, just this past May the 4-year-old VK was diagnosed “lame left front leg [yes, same one that broke] on the day after racing, [with] osteoarthritis in both front fetlocks.” Then in September, “substantial blood in trachea after racing.” How’s that for “doing things the right way”?

The reader and person who took the video, Oliver Kemsley, was attending his first horserace. Fair warning: it is difficult to watch.