According to well-known equine advocate Deborah Jones, the Todd Pletcher horse who died while training Sunday at Saratoga was 3-year-old Lucky for You (below), not the previously deceased (and also Pletcher-trained) Onlyforyou. Some interesting parallels: both horses were created in Kentucky; both were fillies; both first raced at two; and both ran four times, all in-the-money. But most poignant of all, both were but adolescents when killed. This is Todd Pletcher. This is horseracing.
In advance of last weekend’s Preakness, the HSUS’ Keith Dane penned an opinion piece for The Baltimore Sun. In it, he joins a choir of thousands in decrying racing’s drug culture, calling, yawn, for a national governing body akin to what every other major sport has.
He opens thus:
“With the Preakness coming up here in Maryland, it’s time things changed for the better in America’s horse racing industry, which long ago drifted far from the values of sport.”
And closes with this:
“With Triple Crown season upon us, we are calling on Congress to pass the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act to protect the sport’s athletes — both equine and human — and begin to restore integrity and confidence in an industry whose reputation has been badly sullied.”
In effect, the self-described “largest and most effective animal protection organization” in the nation is making a philosophical case for horseracing: We’re not here to take racing away; we simply want to help make it better, both for the “athletes” and the “players.” On the latter, “honest bettors” deserve a “fair shake.” Shameful. And disgusting.
Mr. Dane, no matter what supposed improvements come down the pike, racehorses will still be enslaved – bought, sold, traded, and dumped purely on an owner’s whim. And with or without drugs, they will continue to snap sesamoids, and die. And it is highly probable that there will never be enough good homes for the expended, meaning that the shackle and slash will, at least for the foreseeable future, remain the retirement program of choice.
In short, suffering of some kind is an inherent part of exploitation; thus, it is an inherent part of horseracing. And this, no matter what airy rhetoric is bandied about, for lousy $2 bets. HSUS, enough with the half measures. Take a stand, an unequivocal stand, against horseracing and use your not inconsiderable resources to help end it, once and for all.
The following racehorses were casualties on American tracks last week:
Lil Ditty, Will Rogers, race 10, vanned off
Cryptolight, Presque Isle, race 5, vanned off
Rhythm of the Moon, Suffolk, race 4, confirmed dead
Portfolio, Thistledown, race 6, “pulled up…bleeding from both nostrils”
Nana Jean, Churchill, race 9, vanned off
Inside Draw, Belterra, race 3, “pulled up in distress”
Valueable Silver, Calder, race 8, vanned off
Mda Game, Delta, race 7, “wiped out start, taken up sharply,” DNF
Canon Zoom, Remington, race 1, vanned off
Roper, Santa Anita, race 1, vanned off
Viti Levu, Thistledown, race 3, “returned bleeding from the nostrils”
Sylvester, Arlington, race 6, vanned off
Schoolyard Dreams, Belmont, race 12, vanned off
Amazingly Karen, Canterbury, race 8, “stopped badly”
Up to Mischief, Charles Town, race 9, “came back bleeding from the nose”
Got My Shine On, Delta, race 1, bled
Special Buttons, Emerald, race 2, vanned off
Silent Hero, Lone Star, race 8, vanned off
Wildcatter, Malvern, race 3, fell, DNF
Platinum Vision, Mountaineer, race 3, vanned off
Megador, Parx, race 10, vanned off
My Pioneer, Penn, race 6, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Indian Gods, Santa Anita, race 8, vanned off
The Way I Roll, Thistledown, race 7, fell, DNF
Shining On, Arlington, race 7, vanned off
Eyema Delight, Arlington, race 8, vanned off
Catawba Gray, Belterra, race 7, vanned off
Foolish Chopper, Emerald, race 5, vanned off
Sweet Sara Brown, Emerald, race 7, vanned off
Ramble On Rose, Los Alamitos, race 1, vanned off
Seis Pac, Los Alamitos, race 3, vanned off
Oriental Silk, Louisiana, race 8, confirmed dead
Blushing Martha, Mountaineer, race 8, broke down
Caillech’s Quest, Parx, race 4, confirmed dead
Zoe 14, SunRay, race 1, vanned off
Two horses were killed in action Sunday afternoon:
4-year-old Caillech’s Quest “broke down in her left front” entering the stretch in Parx’s 4th race. The complicit connections: jockey Jacqueline Davis, trainer Michael Aro, owner Albert Tassone, breeder Hickory Tree Farm, and all priors.
3-year-old Oriental Silk fatally broke just after the wire in the 8th race at Louisiana Downs. The complicit connections: jockey Richard Eramia, trainer Preston Adams (this start), trainer John Prather Jr (first two starts), owner Michael Greer, and breeder Fares Farm.
This is what currently appears on the NYS Gaming Commission’s website:
2014 – Equine Death Only
EQUINE DEATH Training 05/18/2014 Onlyforyou Saratoga Racecourse (NYRA)
Incident: EQUINE DEATH
Racing Type: Thoroughbred
Location/Type: Saratoga Racecourse (NYRA), 1/4 pole; Training
Trainer: TODD A. PLETCHER
Trainer Todd Pletcher/Horse Onlyforyou suffered a fracture to her right front leg while breezing on the training track and was euthanized.
This said, I apologize for the mistake. The horse’s name rang very familiar, but I did not go back far enough in my own posts to discover the repetition. I can only assume that another as-yet-unidentified Pletcher horse died yesterday at Saratoga; once the Gaming Commission figures it out, I will duly report. Again, I am sorry for the misinformation.