The response to my FOIA request in Minnesota:

Dear Mr. Battuello,

I am responding to the data request you directed to our Deputy Director Joe Scurto yesterday. The information you requested is classified as private veterinary data under Minnesota law, Minnesota Statutes, section 156.082. This can only be released with the horse owners’ consent.

However, I can give you the following summary data:

1. At our licensed harness track, there were two horse fatalities in 2015; both were illness related and not racing related.

2. At our licensed thoroughbred/quarter horse track, there was a total of 8 fatalities in 2015 and we do not have summary data broken down by cause of fatality.

From the Los Alamitos Stewards Minutes, January 1:

“Jockey Santiago Mendez was in to review his ride in the eighth race from the previous Sunday evening, when he over-cropped his horse, #5 “Ivy’s Storm,” approximately a dozen times without a pause. Mr. Mendez offered no excuse other than he blanked out and kept hitting the horse and forgetting the rule as he was in the heat of battle for the win. The following ruling was issued.

JOCKEY SANTIAGO MENDEZ IS FINED $100 FOR VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD RULE #1688(b)(6) (USE OF RIDING CROP-MORE THAN THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION WITHOUT GIVING THE HORSE A CHANCE TO RESPOND-FIRST OFFENSE WITHIN THE PREVIOUS 60 DAY PERIOD).”

“Over-cropped his horse approximately a dozen times without a pause” – “no excuse other than he blanked out” – $100 fine.

Speechless.

The “battle” he was in, by the way, was for a share of $20,000; 2-year-old Ivys Storm finished 2nd, earning $4,500 for her “connections,” including, of course, Mr. Mendez.

images (9)