Virtually without exception, “broke down” is racing-speak for dead; “vanned off” translates to a better-than-even chance of dead.

Broke Down:
Chappstick, Nov 11, Zia 3
Knockher Off, Nov 12, Aqueduct 5
Lies N Disguise, Nov 13, Evangeline 2
Midnight Music, Nov 14, Laurel 6
Ernie Owl, Nov 15, Los Alamitos 5

Vanned Off:
My Four Rewards, Nov 10, Aqueduct 9
Diamond Mike, Nov 10, Zia 8
Hot Java, Nov 11, Mountaineer 3
Twice Perfect, Nov 11, Turf 4
Alia’s Diamond, Nov 12, Charles Town 4
Reinvested, Nov 12, Hawthorne 8
Two Scotch Blues, Nov 12, Turf 5
In Kelly’s Defense, Nov 13, Aqueduct 3
Flamin Hot Mama, Nov 13, Golden Gate 5
Gonna Be Purrfect, Nov 15, Charles Town 5
Drivin Miss Ellie, Nov 15, Churchill 3
Hazelnut Expresso, Nov 15, Parx 9
Reachfortheclouds, Nov 16, Churchill 8
Tsunami of Love, Nov 16, Gulfstream W 4
Mar Vista, Nov 16, Los Alamitos 1
Covert Reward, Nov 16, Los Alamitos 3
Melissas Good Boy, Nov 16, Thistledown 3

Frankie’s Bad Boy, Nov 10, Mountaineer 2, “stopped badly”
Alshujaa, Nov 12, Churchill 3, bled
Chuck Chuck Goose, Nov 13, Remington 6, fell, DNF
Miners Quest, Nov 14, Laurel 6, fell, DNF
Talk Show Man, Nov 15, Laurel 6, fell, DNF
Emperor’s Tune, Nov 16, Gulfstream W 1, fell, DNF
Oxidienne, Nov 16, Gulfstream W 2, “stopped badly”
Sharkbait Ooh Haha, Nov 16, Gulfstream W 5, “stopped badly”
Facundo, Nov 16, Gulfstream W 7, “stopped badly”
Excellent King, Nov 16, Gulfstream W 10, “stopped badly”


Through a reliable source, I have confirmed that the two horses listed as broke down Friday at Woodbine are dead. 3-year-old Tomtom Drum, coming off a 10th-place finish two weeks prior, went down in the 2nd. He was trained by Jean-Marc Dumas and owned by Jennifer Hallett. 2 1/2 hours later, 6-year-old Psychotherapy dropped in the 7th. Trainer, Norman McKnight; owner, Brad Mcknight.

Per the annual necropsy report by the Oklahoma Horse Racing Commission, in 2013 60 racehorses died or were euthanized (well, they all died) at the three Oklahoma tracks: 28 at Remington, 18 at Will Rogers, and 14 at Fair Meadows. Although most of the deaths were musculoskeletal in nature, there were three (on raceday) who perished from “Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage” – they drowned in their own blood. Imagine that.

A couple points. First, since Oklahoma only counts those who died at its tracks, the toll is significantly understated. As a matter of fact, when discussing training deaths, the Commission practically admits as much: “Oklahoma continues to report more race day fatalities than training fatalities compared to some other jurisdictions. This reflects the large number of animals that train off-site of OHRC facilities.” Bottom line: Other horses are dying from their racing/training injuries away from the tracks. So it’s considerably more than 60.

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Second, and more importantly, the report itself is but more industry subterfuge. By breaking down these deaths in every possible manner – gender, breed, age, spot, race type, etc. – the Commission seeks to give the impression that it’s on top of things, that it will eventually figure this out, that it actually cares about its “equine athletes.” But 20 pages of mostly extraneous data cannot (or we will not allow it to) obfuscate two simple truths: One, last year in Oklahoma, at least 60 intelligent, sensitive beings were destroyed for $2 bets and racino-jacked pots of gold. Two, as long as they continue to race horses, there is nothing they can do to stop it. Nothing.

As a rule, the only dead horses reported in the media – including and most glaringly, the beat publications – come coupled with injured jockeys. Friday afternoon at Laurel Park, jockey Alex Cintron suffered a possible broken jaw in a 6th race fall; another jockey was treated for a knee abrasion. In a single-sentence afterthought tacked on to the end of this story – a Laurel Park press release that was re-published in Blood-Horse, the Paulick Report, et al. – we learn that Cintron’s mount, Midnight Music, “was humanely euthanized.” (Actually, not quite the end, for Laurel felt it appropriate to convey the winner and who now leads the trainer standings.)

The dead 4-year-old was being raced for the second time in nine days – under two different trainers (Dane Kobiskie, Jamie Ness).

The breakdown is captured in the second replay (around 2:30)…

I have confirmed that 4-year-old Lies N Disguise was euthanized after breaking down last night at Evangeline. In four career starts beginning in June – all under trainer Francis Melancon and owner Chase Melancon – the filly finished last of 8 (36 1/2 lengths back), last of 8 (18 lengths back), 5th of 7, and dead.

Watch her die (hit “Replays,” Nov 13, race 2).

At about :55, the track announcer says, “Lies N Disguise has gone down!” Toward the end, he reassures, “We are very pleased to report that jockey Zacharie Kelsey has walked off the racetrack under his own power.” This is horseracing.