From Santa Anita’s most recent Stewards Minutes:

October 18 – “4th Race #10 SURFCUP – pulled up, dropped rider post race, euthanized on horse ambulance.”

October 23 – “Jockey ALONSO QUINONEZ is fined FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS for violation of California Horse Racing Board rule #1688(B)(3) (Use of Whips – causing welts or breaks in the skin) (two offenses), while riding WARREN’S WESLEY in the fourth race at Los Alamitos Race Track on September 20, 2015, and DRAGON FLOWER in the eighth race at Santa Anita Park on October 1, 2015.”

October 25 – “Jockey MIGUEL PEREZ came to the office of his own volition to review the third race yesterday. He believed that the assistant starter prevented his horse from getting a fair break. He believed that the assistant kicked his horse in order to help it break but that it had the opposite effect. There was no evidence of that behavior on the video but we explained that we would speak to the starter and warn him that kicking horses is not permitted.”

October 25 – “8th Race #10 VENTURE CAPITALIST – pulled up stretch (euthanized).”

This is horseracing.

By now the obscenity in calling horseracing a sport has been well established. But should there be any holdouts among friends and acquaintances, refer them to yesterday’s action at Delta Downs, where, in addition to the general awfulness of whipping animals to run at breakneck speed so that human beings could gamble, two of the supposed “equine athletes” were killed in back-to-back races:

In the 7th, 4-year-old Miss Celeb “stopped after going a half, was pulled up and euthanized” (Equibase). It was the filly’s 30th race, virtually all at the claiming level (prior to dying last night, Miss Celeb was “For Sale” for $4,000). Her last four finishes practically presaged a fatal breakdown:

July 25 at Penn – second-to-last, 32 lengths back
September 2 at Penn – last, 33+ lengths back
September 15 at Presque Isle – last, 14+ lengths back
September 24 at Penn – last, 21+ lengths back

The September starts and the death run were under trainer/owner Stephanie Beattie. What’s that old adage about blood on the hands?

In the 8th, 3-year-old Aut’s Maria “fell and was euthanized.” This, too, was a claiming race, and, in fact, Aut’s Maria was technically sold minutes before perishing.

Two dead racehorses in a half hour’s time. Defend that, apologists.

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7-year-old Blue Sixty Four died at Belmont Monday from… well, allow the Gaming Commission to explain: “crashed into rail and fell while training; sedated and stood up; ambulanced to barn; treated for head trauma; seized in afternoon – euthanized.”

“Crashed into rail – head trauma” – dead.

“Blue Sixty Four” was made on April 19, 2008. Still very much a pubescent, she was put to the whip for the first time in a July ’11 race at Saratoga. 70 more would follow. Horrible enough, but then this: For the last 2 1/2 years of her “career,” BSF was exclusively a claimer – 50 consecutive races in which she was up “For Sale” prior to the start. Owner to owner, trainer to trainer, barn to barn – a thing to be passed around. To top it off, in those final 50 races, she finished 4th or below 44 times.

This is horseracing.

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