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 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.”

And that, is that.