3-year-old Ashado Cat, fresh off a last place, 20-lengths-back finish on September 27th, broke down in last night’s 5th at Mountaineer.

With the rarest of exceptions, the death of a racehorse is a non-story – a vague note on a chart or an addendum to a larger piece on an injured jockey. For the latter, witness an anonymously penned blog (“Longshot’s Blog”) on Ashado’s breakdown: The first 20 or so sentences relay the trials and tribulations of jockey T.D. Houghton; one lone – and brief – line at the very end mentions the filly’s condition.

Contrary to what the racing people would have us believe, horses are neither athletes, nor partners, nor family members. They are expendable assets – willfully created, wantonly used, and (mostly) unceremoniously dumped. When they die, they are quickly forgotten – if even remembered at all. So, apologists, spare us your declarations of equine love, for each time one falls, you betray your true colors.

Belmont Park lost its 33rd athlete of the year when 3-year-old Grand Arrival broke down in a practice session Friday morning. The Linda Rice-trained gelding had been last raced three weeks ago (at Belmont); his line: “GRAND ARRIVAL broke open the gate, had it re-set, proceeded to get bumped at the start, sat forwardly placed three wide for six furlongs before giving way.” He finished 10th of 11. Now, dead.

I have confirmed that 3-year-old Bee Boppin Along was euthanized after “pulling up lame” in the 7th race Thursday at Charles Town. The filly – under the care of trainer/owner Gerasimos Moschonas – had three last-place finishes this summer:

June 28th, 10th, 44 1/2 lengths back
July 31st, 9th, 24 3/4 lengths back
August 21st, 9th, 15 1/2 lengths back

Bee Boppin Along is the fifth confirmed death this week of a horse originally reported as merely “vanned off.” This is horseracing.

After 62 races – all but two, claiming – over five years, 8-year-old Funky Country was, according to prominent advocate Mary Johnson, scheduled to be retired. Problem was, he had one more race left on his sentence – a cheap run on Suffolk Downs’ final day. The chart for last Saturday’s 6th has Funky Country “bumping a foe,” pulling up, and being vanned off. But in fact, he is dead. Apparently, trainer/owner John Nassi – who bought FC for $4,000 in May – couldn’t bear to leave any possible dollars on the table. (Although 5th was paying only $300; 6-9 were getting nothing.)

In the end, it is fitting that Suffolk Downs – which had been killing horses for 79 years – should go out this way. And yet, it is we – a 21st Century society that still abides blood-sport – who ultimately failed this horse. End racing, now.

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Yet another horse who was merely reported as vanned off has turned up dead. Yesterday, 3-year-old Stenson fractured sesamoids in the 1st race at Belmont. Today, he is gone. As a young, promising colt, he no doubt received a little extra attention – splint, x-rays – but in the end, there was nothing to be done. In his penultimate start on September 1st at Saratoga, Stenson “bumped solidly with a rival at the start…faded” and finished 8th of 9, 20 lengths back. Debra Divitto trained, owned, and bred.

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And just this morning at Belmont, an unraced 4-year-old filly named Endearing snapped a leg while breezing and was euthanized. She was being trained by John Shirreffs. To date, 94 racehorses have died at NYS tracks this year – a full third of them at illustrious Belmont Park. This is horseracing.