I have confirmed that 4-year-old Dave’s Cutie – a “pulled up lame…vanned off” in a $4,000 claiming last Saturday at Thistledown – is dead. The filly had just been raced eight days earlier. Trainer, Shane Meyers; owners, Meyers and Bonnie Rogoff.

Also, the CHRB has confirmed the death of 4-year-old Native Tea Rose in a Handicap Stakes September 28th at Los Alamitos. Equibase had the filly as vanned off, but in fact, says the CHRB, “Native Tea Rose never rose from where she fell and was euthanized on the track.” Trainer, Paul Jones; owner, Abigail Kawananakoa.

Two more van-offs who are actually dead. This is horseracing.

The NYS Gaming Commission has finally confirmed the death of 4-year-old G W’s Hammer in last Friday’s 5th at Finger Lakes – “went down at finish” with a fractured cannon. The gelding was ridden by Jamie Rodriguez, trained by James Acquilano, owned by River Card Stable, and bred by William Butler. For trainer Acquilano, this makes 11 dead – all at Finger Lakes – in the past five years.

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An update on the March 2014 American horseracing casualties.

86 horses were “vanned off”; 5 of whom were later confirmed dead:
Sound of Drums, Mar 1, Aqueduct 7
Tawdry, Mar 10, Mountaineer 8
Candy’s Jewel, Mar 15, Los Alamitos 1
With a Miracle, Mar 23, Sunland 7
Causewere Gamblers, Mar 30, Santa Anita 3

Of the rest, 68 have not been heard from since:
Mean Season, Mar 1, Aqueduct 3
Beer Is Good, Mar 1, Aqueduct 10
Mommieslilmonster, Mar 1, Charles Town 6
Tacara Mucho, Mar 1, Golden Gate 2
Malahide, Mar 1, Hawthorne 6
News Bulletin, Mar 1, Hawthorne 8
First Time John, Mar 1, Turf 2
Armed Intelligence, Mar 2, Parx 6
Candy Eye, Mar 2, Santa Anita 5
Decoy, Mar 2, Sunland 9
Natural Shelter, Mar 2, Tampa Bay 10
Goodbye Charlie, Mar 2, Turf 7
Thegallopingghost, Mar 5, Mountaineer 4
Jalouzi, Mar 6, Charles Town 2
Thwack, Mar 6, Charles Town 5
Run in Aruba, Mar 7, Calder 4
Bravo Romeo, Mar 7, Laurel 2
Direction to Pay, Mar 7, Tampa Bay 7
Warren’s Hopeful, Mar 8, Charles Town 9
Prado Cat, Mar 8, Gulfstream 6
Holy Wildcat, Mar 8, Gulfstream 7
D’wildbill, Mar 8, Mountaineer 1
Diamondsontheinside, Mar 8, Remington 11
Jack Brookshire, Mar 8, Remington 14
Dats Dee, Mar 8, Sunland 10
The Fed Eased, Mar 9, Calder 3
Compromising Txt, Mar 9, Los Alamitos 3
Ko Ko Fleur, Mar 10, Mountaineer 5
La Tonga, Mar 10, Turf 4
Passport Denied, Mar 11, Mountaineer 9
Honor Spirit, Mar 12, Turf 6
Ask Her Out, Mar 13, Charles Town 3
Chickatari, Mar 13, Penn 5
Promise Me Pyc, Mar 13, Remington 9
Tripski, Mar 13, Santa Anita 1
Bertie, Mar 14, Santa Anita 3
J Rose Gal, Mar 14, Tampa Bay 1
Anskey’shero, Mar 15, Fonner 4
Fulmerized, Mar 15, Oaklawn 2
S S Tribal Girl, Mar 16, Fonner 2
Starlight Dreamer, Mar 16, Hawthorne 1
Next Right, Mar 16, Santa Anita 1
Tanjero, Mar 17, Mountaineer 7
M Two Forty, Mar 17, Turf 6
Donnas Dynasty, Mar 18, Sunland 9
Pure Afleet, Mar 19, Laurel 1
Love Contract, Mar 20, Aqueduct 8
Eternal Ruler, Mar 21, Gulfstream 8
J W Blue, Mar 21, Laurel 1
Bulletsinthegun, Mar 21, Remington 11
Jess Wave, Mar 21, Sam Houston 7
Tempting Prize, Mar 21, Sunland 1
Pat’s Back, Mar 22, Golden Gate 5
Royal Gallant, Mar 22, Gulfstream 5
Letmegetmybroom, Mar 23, Mountaineer 3
Am Another Lover, Mar 23, Santa Anita 9
Shop Keeper, Mar 25, Sunland 7
Eight Stitches, Mar 26, Turf 3
Tapits Wildcat, Mar 26, Turf 8
Renards Lapin, Mar 27, Aqueduct 2
Eyes a Stoli, Mar 27, Sam Houston 7
Yu Tiger Yu, Mar 28, Hawthorne 6
Potomac River, Mar 29, Fair Grounds 8
Jurzenski, Mar 30, Fonner 5
Some Way Some How, Mar 30, Oaklawn 4
Lewkacy, Mar 30, Turf 6
Carvey, Mar 31, Beulah 1
Raptitude, Mar 31, Beulah 2

85% of the vanned off were either later confirmed dead or have simply disappeared.

Although not reported as vanned, these 7, too, have not resurfaced:
Cherokee Mystery, Mar 2, Parx 8, “broke in a tangle,” DNF
Bandini Girl, Mar 7, Turfway 2, bled, DNF
Cooper River, Mar 14, Laurel 3, fell, DNF (later confirmed dead)
Accelerare, Mar 16, Gulfstream 7, bled
Finesse, Mar 21, Oaklawn 7 (later confirmed dead)
Rockinpop, Mar 26, Gulfstream 7, bled, DNF
Coleman Barricks, Mar 29, Charles Town 3, “came back bleeding from the nose”

Equibase reported 4 horses as “euthanized”:
Aggressive Prize, Mar 3, Louisiana 5
The Program, Mar 6, Fair Grounds 8
Miss Da Sunrise, Mar 7, Fair Grounds 4
Sweetly Put, Mar 22, Penn 9

…and 18 as “broke down” – racing-speak for dead:
Syeshacat, Mar 1, Mountaineer 4
King Moon, Mar 2, Oaklawn 4
Cellophane, Mar 7, Golden Gate 6
Uncle Betty, Mar 13, Charles Town 5
Kenai Warrior, Mar 14, Gulfstream 6
Fardan, Mar 15, Santa Anita 1
Broadway Peyton, Mar 15, Tampa Bay 6
El Altanero, Mar 17, Beulah 7
Hot Little Thang, Mar 17, Turf 1
Colonel By, Mar 21, Charles Town 2
Garden Tavern, Mar 22, Charles Town 2
Diva On Demand, Mar 22, Laurel 4
Vagabond Shoes, Mar 22, Santa Anita 4
Vengeful, Mar 23, Gulfstream 2
Kern River, Mar 28, Fonner 2
Art of the Game, Mar 28, Gulfstream 8
Russian Silk, Mar 29, Santa Anita 9
Notbyemyrules, Mar 30, Santa Anita 9

Allowing that a few of the vanned may have been “retired”/rescued, I think it likely that some 100 horses from our March 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 (thus far in 2014, 45%). 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.

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

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

Broke Down:
G W’s Hammer, Oct 3, Finger Lakes 5
Tangible Assets, Oct 3, Thistledown 8
Stormy Henry, Oct 4, Parx 6
Bizzy E F, Oct 5, Thistledown 1

Vanned Off:
Little Miss Kona, Oct 1, Albuquerque 2
Kaye’s Way, Oct 1, Indiana 5
Make Mine a Jack, Oct 1, Remington 3
Tenleytown, Oct 2, Laurel 7
Intaxication, Oct 2, Santa Anita 6
Decisive Decision, Oct 3, Gulfstream 5
Guest Star, Oct 3, Hawthorne 5
Seeking Romance, Oct 3, Indiana 5
Royal Flashy, Oct 3, Lone Star 5
Looklistenandlearn, Oct 4, Belterra 3
Tiztactical, Oct 4, Belterra 6
Elusive Stamp, Oct 4, Gulfstream 8
Close to the Edge, Oct 4, Los Alamitos 1
Ishararuler, Oct 4, Remington 8
Heavenly Starlight, Oct 4, Retama 6
Funky Country, Oct 4, Suffolk 6
Dave’s Cutie, Oct 4, Thistledown 7
Savvy Star, Oct 5, Belmont 8
One Vote, Oct 5, Mountaineer 8
Foxy Who, Oct 5, Zia 3

Other:
Say That Again, Oct 1, Charles Town 1, “returned bleeding from the…leg”
Copper Flash, Oct 1, Remington 7, fell, DNF
Maybe My Way, Oct 1, Thistledown 1, “returned sore,” 50 lengths back
Mythical Man, Oct 2, Belmont 9, “stumbled badly falling to his face at the start”
Avenue Jones, Oct 3, Albuquerque 5, “stopped badly”
Kukaluka, Oct 3, Santa Anita 7, fell, DNF
Scene Queen, Oct 3, Santa Anita 7, fell, DNF
Love to Score, Oct 4, Parx 8, “returned bleeding from the nostrils”
Harmonic, Oct 4, Santa Anita 6, fell, DNF

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Dead horses are bad for business. So, out of self-preservation – and despite calls for transparency, some from within – the industry does all it can to hide its dead, a truth further illustrated in a recent Erie Times-News article on Pennsylvania deaths. Through a right-to-know request, the paper was able to secure information on Presque Isle’s just-completed meet (5/11-9/25). It found that 13 horses lost their lives, 10 while racing. A review of our weekly casualties reveals 14 horses from that meet suffering some sort of negative outcome:

Cryptolight, May 14, vanned off
Between Dreams, Jun 7, fell, DNF
My Jordy, Jun 17, broke down
Kissnatalie, Jul 9, “stopped badly in the stretch”
Miss Stellsie, Jul 24, “fell over backwards,” DNS
Patinka, Jul 30, broke down
Kings Tuesday, Jul 30, fell, DNF
Casanova Kiddo, Jul 30, fell, DNF
Be a Pro, Aug 25, broke down
Scealeile, Aug 25, fell, DNF
Never On Time, Aug 27, vanned off
Goodforyourheart, Sep 2, vanned off
Castle Creeping, Sep 15, vanned off
Don’t Give Way, Sep 18, “stopped badly”

Of the 14, only 3 were reported as “broke down,” which, of course, is a euphemism for dead. But that still leaves 7 unknowns, probably from the above, but who knows. And that’s just the way racing wants it.

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In that same article, Penn National spokesman Fred Lipkin claims that in 2013 Penn “had 31 catastrophic racing injuries [the paper says the number is higher] out of 12,799 horses that ran on its dirt track…” There were not 12,799 horses at Penn National last year. Starts, yes, horses, no. There were probably closer to a thousand doing Penn’s bidding. Now, 31 kills out of a 1,000-horse pool tells a significantly different story. And remember, that’s just in-competition, on the dirt – training and turf deaths are not reflected. And those are only the ones reported – how many more were euthanized off-site? How many more, still, were retired to the slaughterhouse?

Racing has been allowed to deflect, distract, and deceive for virtually its entire existence (Exhibit A is calling itself a sport). But we’re here to say, no more. Not only will we continue to put names and faces to their “collateral damage,” but we will also work diligently on providing a true and accurate reckoning of their carnage.