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

Broke Down:
Antone Suavey, Nov 3, Finger Lakes 2
Unabiding Citizen, Nov 5, Thistledown 6
Next Right Thing, Nov 8, Thistledown 6

Vanned Off:
Letngo, Nov 3, Gulfstream W 2
Power’s Cupcake, Nov 3, Parx 3
Eslin, Nov 3, Turf 7
She’s All Lady, Nov 4, Zia 11
She’s Slammed, Nov 5, Mountaineer 3
Wild Sassy Syn, Nov 5, Turf 8
Sisteremos, Nov 6, Churchill 5
Secret Duke, Nov 6, Finger Lakes 8
Air Landon, Nov 6, Gulfstream W 7
Diamond Disco, Nov 6, Remington 4
Giacomo Strap, Nov 7, Hawthorne 8
Fashionably Rich, Nov 7, Los Alamitos 3
Ace Navigator, Nov 7, Remington 2
Corporate Culture, Nov 8, Churchill 6
Igotitdad, Nov 8, Gulfstream W 1
Diamondback, Nov 8, Gulfstream W 7
So Long for Now, Nov 8, Mountaineer 6
Patchofbadweather, Nov 8, Remington 8
Snow Warrior, Nov 8, Retama 9
Model With Style, Nov 9, Turf 3

Miss Special Laveaux, Evangeline 8, “lame”
Bonamassa, Nov 5, Mountaineer 1, bled
R Dirteater, Nov 5, Thistledown 6, “hit fallen foe,” DNF
Pigeon Chris, Nov 6, Charles Town 8, bled
Hidden Blitz, Nov 6, Laurel 2, “returned bleeding”
Kaptain Konawa, Nov 6, Remington 6, fell, DNF
Phar Stretch, Nov 7, Charles Town 7, “limped off”
Margin Call, Nov 8, Charles Town 5, DNF, “limped off”
Thisishowwedoitbaby, Nov 8, Lone Star 7, “fell to face,” DNF

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While reviewing the April casualties, I came across these three horses, all 3-years-old when initially appearing on our lists:

Una Parche was vanned off in a race at Sunland on April 8th. Inactive for the next five months, the filly resurfaced in a claiming run at Albuquerque. Once again, the ambulance was called. Her career started-to-finished ratio is (was?) 3:0. Trainer/owner/breeder team, Ralph and Melaquias Valdez.

Color Me Hot has also been raced three times, all at Prairie Meadows. On April 20th, she was “slammed” by another horse and DNF. Three weeks later, she finished last of 8, 46 lengths back. About two weeks after that, she finished last of 9, 33 3/4 lengths back. Nothing on her since. Trainer/owner, Gene Jacquot.

On April 22nd, Bubba Blitz “dropped back in apparent distress” in a race at Beulah. (At that same track 17 days prior, the gelding had finished last, 17 1/2 lengths back.) Since then, two races at cheap Hazel Park – second-to-last, last. Owner/breeder, Robert Donald; trainers, Ivan Vazquez and Daniel Myers.

If the above aren’t already dead, there’s a good chance they will be soon.

This is horseracing.

“The only reason it’s [Aqueduct Racetrack] in business is because of the casino.” (horseplayer “Harry the Horse,” Gothamist)

Writer Max Rivlin-Nadler sets the scene on Aqueduct’s Opening Day (Oct 29th):

“Aqueduct, with its wooden seats, tobacco-stained walls, and cavernous feel, remains as a vestige of a seedier time in New York City, before such cathedrals to vice were done in by changing tastes and corrupt management; $14 million in recent capital improvements have given Aqueduct a new scoreboard and a beautiful mural, but still, opening day didn’t really have much of a celebratory air about it.

‘This place has depreciated a lot,’ Angelo [another horseplayer] told me. ‘Used to be men in suits—now look at us.’ The crowd was as outerborough as it gets. Sweat suits, crumpled hats, and an air of desperation that tends to hover around people who bet on horses.

At noon, racing season at Aqueduct officially began with an electronic rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. On the third floor of the race track, an elderly man stood up and faced a monitor that was displaying the flag, the only soul in a vast concourse that had a maximum capacity of 768.” (full article and pics here)

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With a few exceptions (Saratoga, Keeneland, etc.), Aqueduct is 21st Century American horseracing – eschewed by the young, sustained by racino cash. So you see, we are most certainly not fighting a losing battle. When state legislatures tire of propping an archaic industry – and they will – much of it will go. Guaranteed.

An update on the April 2014 American horseracing casualties.

95 horses were “vanned off”; 3 of whom were later confirmed dead:
Casey’s On Call, Apr 9, Hawthorne 2
Aussi Austin, Apr 25, Aqueduct 8
La Jolla Cove, Apr 27, Santa Anita 2

Of the rest, 73 have not been heard from since:
Straight Scooter, Apr 1, Beulah 7
Printscess Best, Apr 1, Charles Town 9
Sette E Mezzo, Apr 2, Tampa Bay 8
Mr Etbauer, Apr 3, Oaklawn 9
Tellem Its Texas, Apr 3, Remington 9
Tech Fall, Apr 4, Aqueduct 5
When We Laugh, Apr 4, Charles Town 5
Moon Glo Mae, Apr 4, Charles Town 6
Designer, Apr 4, Santa Anita 2
Travis Weaver, Apr 4, Sunland 9
Get Back, Apr 5, Gulfstream 1
Beryozka, Apr 5, Mountaineer 4
Warren’s Internet, Apr 5, Santa Anita 11
Flexiplus, Apr 5, Turf 7
Red Tesla, Apr 6, Santa Anita 7
My Daddy’s Girl, Apr 6, Sunland 7
Stormin Warlord, Apr 7, Turf 9
Twobyfour, Apr 8, Beulah 8
Are We There Yet, Apr 8, Mountaineer 3
Monkey Wench, Apr 8, Turf 5
Mikalas Mission, Apr 9, Evangeline 5
Kaitlyns Cat, Apr 10, Aqueduct 2
Ashtar, Apr 10, Santa Anita 3
Mongol Ring, Apr 11, Calder 1
She’s Gosphel, Apr 11, Penn 6
Mass Destruction, Apr 11, Pimlico 4
Forty Four Loco, Apr 12, Charles Town 1
Smart Sequoyah, Apr 12, Charles Town 6
Thatsthewayweroll, Apr 12, Emerald 2
Famous Gent, Apr 12, Fonner 6
Successful Bluff, Apr 12, Golden Gate 5
Champagne Sipper, Apr 12, Lone Star 4
High Ransom, Apr 12, Oaklawn 7
Cinco Dash, Apr 13, Sunland 2
Smokin Armadillo, Apr 14, Will Rogers 8
Call Me Louie, Apr 15, Sunland 5
Chili Con Queso, Apr 15, Sunland 8
War Politics, Apr 15, Sunland 11
Schmaltzy, Apr 18, Golden Gate 5
Twigazuri Strait, Apr 18, Keeneland 10
Send an Angel, Apr 19, Prairie 8
La Jolla Surprise, Apr 19, Sam Houston 3
Trudy’s Bianca, Apr 19, Sun 3
Riojano, Apr 19, Tampa Bay 4
Classy Marlene, Apr 20, Calder 6
Rimal Al Sahara, Apr 20, Gulfstream 7
Abbey Vale, Apr 20, Santa Anita 3
JC Avenue, Apr 20, SunRay 4
Bojax, Apr 21, Turf 2
Successful Review, Apr 23, Evangeline 3
Genuine Windi Dash, Apr 23, Turf 2
Mr Cacht, Apr 23, Turf 8
Seventy Six, Apr 24, Aqueduct 8
Heroic Divide, Apr 24, Evangeline 4
Royal Love, Apr 25, Calder 2
Tahoe Strip, Apr 25, Golden Gate 6
Jellena, Apr 25, SunRay 5
Palinized, Apr 26, Beulah 6
Zoomin to the Moon, Apr 26, Delta 7
Dubai Perfecto, Apr 26, Los Alamitos 3
Patti’s Dancer, Apr 26, Prairie 2
Nightfury, Apr 26, Tampa Bay 6
Rock U Up, Apr 26, Turf 6
Desert Wildcatter, Apr 26, Turf 8
I Know It All, Apr 27, Gulfstream 7
Sir Kipling, Apr 27, Hawthorne 3
Visions of Candy, Apr 27, Santa Anita 4
Stormy Miss, Apr 27, SunRay 6
Win Machine, Apr 28, Mountaineer 3
Fair Fight, Apr 29, Charles Town 2
Heartfelt Jazz, Apr 29, Finger Lakes 6
Joe Daddy, Apr 29, SunRay 9
Blue Book, Apr 30, Charles Town 9

80% of the vanned off were either later confirmed dead or have simply disappeared.

Although not reported as vanned, these 7, too, have not resurfaced:
Birch Run Fast, Apr 2, Penn 2, “fell in distress,” DNF
Shes a Silvertrain, Apr 15, Charles Town 2, bled
Lm Cold Piece, Apr 17, Sam Houston 1, bled
Too Five n’ Ten, Apr 19, Thistledown 6, “pulled up lame”
Cubicle Queen, Apr 25, Finger Lakes 8, bled
Broken Legacy, Apr 28, Mountaineer 4, bled
Big Dividend, Apr 29, Charles Town 8, “collapsed post-race”

Equibase reported 3 horses as “euthanized”:
Ivebeensaved, Apr 12, Parx 6
Sicard’s Sensation, Apr 17, Evangeline 10
Cuban Devil, Apr 27, Atlantic City 5

…and 10 as “broke down” – racing-speak for dead:
No Shenanigans, Apr 4, Pimlico 5
Crystallo, Apr 6, Mountaineer 3
Hudson Ridge, Apr 6, Pimlico 9
Alondra Sky, Apr 13, Gulfstream 4
Here Comes Drz, Apr 15, Charles Town 6
Marcelino Springs, Apr 26, Golden Gate 8
Marine, Apr 26, Gulfstream 9
Golden Mexico, Apr 27, Golden Gate 4
Caverna, Apr 28, Beulah 2
Rock Elle Ten, Apr 30, Evangeline 2

Allowing that a few of the vanned may have been “retired”/rescued, I think it likely that some 90 horses from our April casualty lists are dead. But remember, that’s flat-track, in-competition only – this report does not include harness and training deaths. For context on the latter, though: Of the 98 on-track (or back in the barn) deaths in NY last year, 43% came in morning practice. If we were to add a similar percentage to the above, the toll grows dramatically. In addition, there were surely other euthanasias not reflected here – horses merely “pulled up” or “eased,” even some who per Equibase finished their races without incident.

In short, I think it reasonable to assert that the New York Times figure – 24 dead horses a week – should be doubled, leaving us with well over 2,000 track-kills annually. And this says nothing of the thousands more sent to slaughter. All, for a 20th Century gambling game that can no longer compete on product alone. Please help end the madness: Stop betting on animal races.

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(If any of the above are alive, their current people – whether racing, rescue, or private – should disclose; if done, I will dutifully post.)