While NYRA is busy congratulating itself on the recently completed Belmont meet (5/1-7/13), we here at Horseracing Wrongs remember the athletes who perished in the pursuit of handle cash:

3-year-old Handstand, 6th race on May 1st, “fx RR leg – euthanized in necropsy area”

3-year-old See the Music, 7th race on May 21st, “collapsed at the 3/16 pole and died”

5-year-old Samuels Blond Lady, 2nd race on June 5th, “LK sagittal slab fx – euthanasia 3 days later”

4-year-old Roses for Romney, 8th race on June 25th, “clipped heels…and fell – died of apparent neck trauma”

3-year-old This Guy Is Blue, 9th race on July 6th, “fx RF leg – euthanized in necropsy area”

5-year-old Music Maid, 2nd race on July 13th, “fx RF leg – euthanized”

photo credit: AP
photo credit: AP

And – the 2014 Belmont training deaths:

9-year-old Caixa Eletronica, January 4th, “suffered a fx skull and died” [from a head-on collision]

4-year-old Six Drivers, January 4th, “suffered a fractured neck and died” [from same collision]

3-year-old Go Canes Go, January 13th, “suffered fx LF leg while breezing – euthanized on track”

2-year-old Valar Dohaeris, January 30th, “suffered fx RF leg – euthanized on track”

4-year-old Flashy in Pink, February 1st, “suffered a fx RF leg while breezing – euthanized on track”

2-year-old Changeinaction, March 5th, “fx RF leg while breezing – euthanized on track”

7-year-old Itsagoodtendollars, March 15th, “died from apparent cardiovascular collapse while breezing”

4-year-old Kingston Jamaica, May 29th, “suffered fx LF leg while breezing – euthanized on track”

2-year-old Fran’s Kid, June 18th, “suffered fx LF leg while breezing – euthanized on track”

As the Empire State’s (and much of the nation’s) attention turns to storied Saratoga, another NY track, Finger Lakes, hums along with piled-up carcasses. After the 5th race Thursday, 4-year-old filly Indomitable Woman, ridden by Oscar Gomez and trained by Ilmar Loaiza, was “vanned off” with an undisclosed affliction. Had this not been NY (or California), she would have simply vanished from the charts, but owing to the public database, we now know that she broke a sesamoid and was killed. For Finger Lakes, that makes 15 dead in 2014; for NY tracks in total, 56.

An update on the December 2013 casualties.

The following were reported as “vanned off”:

Quiet Miracle, Aqueduct, Dec 1, still active
Triplemental, Fair Grounds, Dec 1, still active
Captain Luke, Hawthorne, Dec 1, still active
End of Discussion, Zia, Dec 1, still active
Believeinyoursong, Beulah, Dec 2, hasn’t been heard from since
Iron Choo Choo, Turf, Dec 2, hasn’t been heard from since
Whata Wild Woody, Zia, Dec 2, still active
Foundaflyer, Zia, Dec 2, hasn’t been heard from since
Lil Dale, Charles Town, Dec 3, hasn’t been heard from since
Moonovermanhattan, Charles Town, Dec 4, hasn’t been heard from since
Tame the Lion, Delta, Dec 4, hasn’t been heard from since
Light Kiss, Hawthorne, Dec 4, hasn’t been heard from since
Lander Road, Charles Town, Dec 5, hasn’t been heard from since
Black Magic Man, Hollywood, Dec 6, still active
Derailer, Delta, Dec 6, hasn’t been heard from since
My Lovers Eyes, Finger Lakes, Dec 6, vanned off – subsequently confirmed dead
Winter’s Coming, Gulfstream, Dec 6, hasn’t been heard from since
Classic Recital, Hawthorne, Dec 6, hasn’t been heard from since
I Lead U Follow, Los Alamitos, Dec 6, hasn’t been heard from since
Sky Slider, Sunland, Dec 6, hasn’t been heard from since
Respectful Wishes, Laurel, Dec 7, hasn’t been heard from since
Coco Noir, Hollywood, Dec 8, hasn’t been heard from since
Cat Five Hurricane, Gulfstream, Dec 8, hasn’t been heard from since
My Two Roses, Beulah, Dec 9, still active
Yankee Robin, Hawthorne, Dec 11, hasn’t been heard from since
A Student, Fair Grounds, Dec 12, still active
Swiss Game, Golden Gate, Dec 12, still active
Cherubic Melody, Hawthorne, Dec 12, hasn’t been heard from since
Good Guy Mike, Aqueduct, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Penney N a Prayer, Delta, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Countess Bling, Gulfstream, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Orientate Express, Hawthorne, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Heritage Hall, Laurel, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Payforward, Remington, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Touched by Faith, Retama, Dec 13, still active
Mrs James, Sunland, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Swiss Fame, Sunland, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Cartier N Capris, Sunland, Dec 13, still active
Mystic Crystal, Turfway, Dec 13, hasn’t been heard from since
Lake Maracaibo, Golden Gate, Dec 14, still active
Roverated, Los Alamitos, Dec 14, hasn’t been heard from since
Buckster, Sunland, Dec 14, hasn’t been heard from since
Tricksareforkids, Los Alamitos, Dec 15, hasn’t been heard from since
Bankin Jessie, Sunland, Dec 15, still active
Im Pure Silver, Sunland, Dec 15, hasn’t been heard from since
Huh, Turfway, Dec 15, hasn’t been heard from since
Tommie Two Toes, Beulah, Dec 16, hasn’t been heard from since
Lonesome Kitten, Mountaineer, Dec 16, hasn’t been heard from since
Silver N Sassy, Turf, Dec 16, hasn’t been heard from since
Spring Rocks, Sunland, Dec 17, hasn’t been heard from since
Stored Away, Charles Town, Dec 18, hasn’t been heard from since
Lil Ms Razorback, Delta, Dec 18, hasn’t been heard from since
Impuregold, Portland, Dec 18, still active
Smart as Jim, Portland, Dec 18, hasn’t been heard from since
Delta Court, Turf, Dec 18, hasn’t been heard from since
Blossom’s Trail, Aqueduct, Dec 19, still active
Gone Before Long, Charles Town, Dec 19, hasn’t been heard from since
Second Lion, Delta, Dec 19, hasn’t been heard from since
Indigo Theft, Evangeline, Dec 19, hasn’t been heard from since
A P Eli, Fair Grounds, Dec 19, hasn’t been heard from since
Ide Be Da General, Fair Grounds, Dec 20, hasn’t been heard from since
Saint Goldie Locs, Laurel, Dec 20, hasn’t been heard from since
Daddys Aja, Sunland, Dec 20, still active
Fit to Rule, Hollywood, Dec 21, still active
Sequoyah Wells, Fair Grounds, Dec 21, hasn’t been heard from since
Fitz Perfectly, Fair Grounds, Dec 21, hasn’t been heard from since
Impregnable, Los Alamitos, Dec 21, hasn’t been heard from since
My Moment, Hawthorne, Dec 22, still active
First Joe Hemp, Hialeah, Dec 22, still active
Controlableimpulse, Portland, Dec 22, hasn’t been heard from since
Show Me the Glory, Sunland, Dec 22, hasn’t been heard from since
Music Appeal, Golden Gate, Dec 26, hasn’t been heard from since
Linguini, Hawthorne, Dec 26, hasn’t been heard from since
Sharp Trip, Hawthorne, Dec 26, hasn’t been heard from since
Iron Stone Ridge, Penn National, Dec 26, hasn’t been heard from since
Angel Above, Sunland, Dec 26, hasn’t been heard from since
Pb Sandario Babe, Turf, Dec 26, still active
Poster Girl, Tampa Bay, Dec 27, still active
Mia Missile, Aqueduct, Dec 28, vanned off – subsequently confirmed dead
I’m Done, Laurel, Dec 28, still active
Public Defender, Santa Anita, Dec 28, hasn’t been heard from since
Truest Legend, Santa Anita, Dec 28, hasn’t been heard from since
Streakish, Sunland, Dec 28, hasn’t been heard from since
No Secret Bank, Turf, Dec 28, still active
Haros Jackpot, Turf, Dec 28, still active
Horse Latitudes, Calder, Dec 29, hasn’t been heard from since
Assume Nothing, Mountaineer, Dec 29, hasn’t been heard from since
Little Miss, Parx, Dec 29, hasn’t been heard from since
Kiss Me G Bye, Portland, Dec 29, hasn’t been heard from since
My Clever Greely, Turfway, Dec 29, hasn’t been heard from since
Sevenytwo, Turfway, Dec 30, still active
Cindykat, Fair Grounds, Dec 31, hasn’t been heard from since

Of the 92 horses loaded onto ambulances, 67 – or 73% – were either later confirmed dead or have simply disappeared.

Although not reported as vanned off, these 6 horses have also vanished:

Andrew’s Rose, Delta, Dec 5, “returned bleeding”
Northscape, Turfway, Dec 12, “lame”
A P Asset, Laurel, Dec 20, “pulled up lame”
Smoking G, Golden Gate, Dec 28, “bled”
Mad Loot, Los Alamitos, Dec 28, “collapsed after finish”
Thabit, Turfway, Dec 28, “lame”

Equibase reported 4 horses as “euthanized”:

Lrs Last Patriot, Evangeline, Dec 7
Full Sail Ahead, Parx, Dec 8
Colour Portrait, Parx, Dec 8
Dina’s Touch, Penn National, Dec 12

and 17 as “broke down”:

Dixie Lake, Beulah, Dec 3
Blues Heir, Laurel, Dec 5
E Sveikata, Calder, Dec 6
Sterling’s Warrior, Charles Town, Dec 6
Rocky Barboa, Hollywood, Dec 6 (subsequently confirmed dead)
Arbuckle Road, Beulah, Dec 10 (subsequently confirmed dead)
Shoe Freak Marlene, Beulah, Dec 10 (subsequently confirmed dead)
Special Kid, Laurel, Dec 13
Espionage, Remington, Dec 13
Comanche Girl, Calder, Dec 14
The Queen’s Hat, Turfway, Dec 14
Driven by Solar, Aqueduct, Dec 18 (subsequently confirmed dead)
Big Bad Bertha, Charles Town, Dec 21
Stanley Cup, Fair Grounds, Dec 21
Thisisforudaddy, Tampa Bay, Dec 21
Hey Paulie, Charles Town, Dec 26
Kuro, Turf, Dec 30

Of the 13 “broke down” not confirmed killed, not a single one has resurfaced. This, of course, is as expected – “broke down” is racing-speak for dead.

Taking into consideration that some of the vanned off may have been “retired”/rescued, I think it reasonable to assert that roughly 85 horses – or almost 3/day – were killed in December 2013. But remember, that’s just in-competition, Thoroughbreds and QuarterHorses – no harness or training deaths are reflected here. In short, more than 24 racehorses are dying on American tracks each week.

By now it should be clear that when something bad happens, the Equibase notes are usually less-than-complete, often, even grossly misleading. For the latter, we need look no further than the 9th race at Oak Tree (Alameda County Fair) on July 5th when 5-year-old Guidopanzini was reported as “pulled up, vanned off.” In truth, Guidopanzini was already dead when the ambulance arrived, officially (California Horse Racing Board) – “collapsed and died unassisted on track [of a] possible aortic rupture.” So you see, the only thing being vanned off that day was a corpse.

The other part of this story, of course, is a not-yet-mature equine felled by an “aortic rupture.” But since California requires necropsies for dead racehorses, some enlightenment may be in the offing. Then, perhaps, one or both of Guidopanzini’s most recent trainers – Vod Farris, Michael Lenzini – will be made to answer. But then again, this being horseracing, perhaps not.

5-year-old Finally Together, reported as “broke down in mid stretch” Monday night at Mountaineer (race 9), is confirmed dead. In 27 months and 23 races, Finally Together was handled by five different humans: John Charalambous (6), Martin Sandee (3), Heather Hollahan (4), Kathleen Parker (3), and Charles Kieser (7, including the fatal run). And, bought and sold several times over, with market value declining along the way. (His final owner, Wesley Singleton, bought him for a mere $5,000 last July.) A common slave in life, an already-forgotten claimer in death. This is horseracing.

220px-pferdeauge3