Last night at a football game in Dallas, Seattle Seahawk Ricardo Lockette was injured after colliding with another player on a punt return. As he lay motionless on the turf, a deafening hush fell over the stadium, with players from both sides (as well as the fans) locked in on Lockette, thoughts of paralyzed footballers past inescapably floating in their heads. Turns out, he should be fine. Which, of course, is good news.
Now, contrast this with what transpired at another “sporting venue,” Los Alamitos Race Course, just a couple hours later. There, three separate “athletes” – Under the Moon, Abu Dhabi Do, From Here to There – had to be removed from the track via ambulance. It’s a good bet that as you read, at least one is dead. And no one cares.
Meanwhile at Zia Park in New Mexico, two were “vanned off” and another, a 3-year-old named Classey Cash, is said to have “broke down”; “broke down,” for those of you who are uninitiated, is racing-speak for dead. And again, no one cares.
Horseracing a sport? Only to the ignorant, delusional, or unconscionably callous.
From American horseracing tracks yesterday (Equibase):
In the 2nd at Del Mar, “W. GILES reared and fell backward in the gate at the start and unseated the rider. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the start before ruling W. GILES was the cause of his own trouble.” “The cause of his own trouble.”
In the 6th at Hawthorne, “LITTLE DONKEY DONK wouldn’t load into the gate then raced in the second flight early before being pulled up and vanned off.” “Wouldn’t load – [eventually] vanned off.”
In the 1st at Keeneland, “PRIME ENGINE was a bit reluctant to load, broke sharply, tracked the leader three wide, remained a solid presence under pressure to mid stretch, gave way and was reported by the stewards to have bled.” “A bit reluctant to load…remained a presence under pressure – [subsequently] reported to have bled.”
In the 5th at Parx, “SUPER CHICA prompted the pace for almost a half mile then stopped and was eased through the stretch. Afterwards she was reported by the veterinarian to be in respiratory distress.” “Respiratory distress.”
In the 7th at Penn, “JELISE reared in the gate and broke the doors prior to the start then moved up outside early, angled in on the turn then stopped.” “Reared in the gate…broke the doors” – raced anyway, finished last.
In the 7th at Portland, “GABE’S PRIDE reared at the start and unseated his rider.” “Reared at the start…unseated his rider.”
Yesterday morning, 5-year-old In Haste met the following end at Belmont: “collapsed and died on horse path after jogging on training track.” “Cardiovascular,” says the Gaming Commission. And oh yes, “the investigation continues.”
Yesterday afternoon at Parx, 3-year-old Star Actor broke down after finishing third in the 3rd race – dead (Equibase, of course, prefers “humanely euthanized”).
Two more bodies for the KIA 2015 list.
This is horseracing.