Just a few days after the director of racing for California county fairs strongly implied in a CBS article that the problem rests with Santa Anita and that the fair circuit is a pretty safe affair, we have this for Pleasanton, Alameda County:

In the 5th Sunday, No New Friends was said by Equibase to have “went wrong,” one of Racing’s favorite euphemisms for dead. Indeed, I have confirmed (CHRB) that the 3-year-old was euthanized for an ankle injury.

In the just-released Stewards Minutes (June 23), Joy of the Saints is reported “euthanized/died” while training.

Over the past five fiscal years, 45 horses have died at Pleasanton, this in but a few weeks of racing each year. Here are the kill numbers for all fairs since 2013:

2013-2014: Sacramento 4 dead racehorses; Ferndale 1 dead racehorse; Fresno 3 dead racehorses; Pleasanton 12 dead racehorses; Santa Rosa 2 dead racehorses; Stockton 1 dead racehorse; Fairplex 4 dead racehorses

2014-2015: Sacramento 1 dead racehorse; Ferndale 1 dead racehorse; Pleasanton 18 dead racehorses; Santa Rosa 1 dead racehorse; Stockton 3 dead racehorses; Fairplex 8 dead racehorses

2015-2016: Sacramento 2 dead racehorses; Ferndale 1 dead racehorse; Pleasanton 7 dead racehorses; Santa Rosa 1 dead racehorse

2016-2017: Sacramento 1 dead racehorse; Fresno 1 dead racehorse; Pleasanton 5 dead racehorses; Santa Rosa 3 dead racehorses

2017-2018: Pleasanton 3 dead racehorses; Santa Rosa 1 dead racehorse

“Safe horseracing” is impossible. Always has been, always will be.

Through a FOIA request to the California Horse Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at that state’s tracks so far in 2019. (Please note: The Board redacted the names of the dead horses; any identifications below came via other channels.)

Big Ceas, Jan 20, Golden Gate R
Catastrophic breakdown of left front fetlock. Complete luxation of the fetlock joint with lateral displacement of the distal MCIII. Complete, longitudinal split with severe fraying of fibers of lateral branch of the suspensory ligament. Full thickness, transverse rupture of the palmar annular ligament. Full thickness, transverse and longitudinal rupture of the intersesamoidean ligament. Complete, transverse rupture of the collateral ligaments of the fetlock. Gastric ulceration, severe.”

Tiz Willow, Jan 25, Golden Gate
“The gross findings in this mare confirm a markedly thin body condition with serous atrophy of fat. Additionally there was a large impaction observed in the transverse colon and proximal small colon. The bone marrow fat percentage…was 2.3% which is considered very low with a reference range between 62-99% in an healthy adult horse. This finding along with the serious atrophy of fat support a negative energy balance with mobilization of fat stores in the bone marrow of this animal. It is reported that this horse was not euthanized and had died. 800 lbs [at death].”

Grace Bay, Feb 15, Golden Gate
Horse flipped and struck head on the way to…race. Bled profusely from right ear and unable to rise and then became comatose. Acute skull fractures of basisphenoid, occipital and temporal bones with intracranial hemorrhage.”

unidentified, Feb 17, Golden Gate T
Horse collapsed while training and then shattered left front cannon after working four furlongs. Cervical vertebrae – C2 (dens) acute, transverse, oblique, comminuted with displacement and severing of the cervical spinal cord. Presumably, the catastrophic left cannon bone fracture was the initial injury. The cervical vertebrae fracture, which caused the spinal cord to be severed and led to death, is presumed to be a secondary traumatic event immediately following the leg fracture.”

unidentified, Mar 10, Golden Gate
“Colic on 3/9 treated by veterinarian and died [note: no mention of euthanasia] morning of 3/10/19. …hemorrhage of the entrapped section of intestine and hemorrhage in the ruptured stomach. Gastric rupture with transmural hemorrhage.”

The 4th at Parx yesterday afternoon, as relayed by the Equibase writer: “Daybreaker, unruly in the post parade and fractious in gate, suffered a catastrophic injury to his right hind and was euthanized.” So, this young (adolescent) 4-year-old horse was “unruly and fractious” – indicating he didn’t want to be there – prior to being whipped to “race,” then “suffered a catastrophic injury” and is dead. A sincere question to all within, and all who support, this vile business: How do you sleep at night?

How do you sleep at night?

Last week in U.S. Horseracing (not including training, not including harness).

Divinesilverlining “broke down” at Arapahoe
After Jody “pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Delaware
D W Washburn “pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Evangeline
Tactical Sport “vanned off” at Lone Star
Rockin Rudy “vanned off” at Prairie
St. Louie Guy “vanned off” at Prairie
Emerson’s Queen “vanned off” at Belterra
For the Love “came back bleeding from the nose” at Charles Town
Trick of the Tail “vanned off” at Churchill
Oreosong “vanned off” at Emerald
Crafty Spector “vanned off” at Indiana
Apollo’s Leap “vanned off” at Prairie
Rebel Rouser “vanned off” at Prairie
Lion Dance “vanned off” at Belmont
And Thank You “bled from nostrils” at Belterra
Will Call nothing on chart, but collapsed and died at Churchill
Fk Jettaway John “bled, vanned off” at Delta
Summer Seashell “returned bleeding from her nostrils” at Fairmount
Smart Return “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Rough Sea “bled” at Laurel
Hot Sriracha “sustained a catastrophic injury” at Laurel – confirmed dead
Detroit Cowboy “fell, DNF” at Laurel
Wilko’s Goldeneye “fell, DNF” at Laurel
We’ve Got to Talk “returned bleeding from the nostrils” at Lone Star
Rove “suffered a catastrophic injury…euthanized” at Parx
Tough Tatum “vanned off” at Prairie
Cool Catomine “vanned off” at Prairie
Criminal “vanned off” at Prairie
Royal Ransom “broke down” at Suffolk – confirmed dead
Fancy Persuasion “bolted, bad steps” at Belmont – subsequently confirmed dead
Suremoney “vanned off” at Belmont
Giagantibug “injured after wire, vanned off” at Fair Meadows
Escondera “vanned off” at Gulfstream
No New Friends “went wrong, vanned off” at Pleasanton
Insurmountable “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Chas the Man “vanned off” at Tampa Bay

“vanned off” – many if not most will resurface on my year-end FOIA killed-reports
“bled,” “returned bleeding from nostrils” – typically indicates pulmonary hemorrhage

(source: Equibase)

Having just last night reported on another kill at Belmont – yet another. From the Gaming Commission: “With Caution suffered a P1 fx during training; sent to Ruffian for repair; died from complications from anesthesia.” Like Fancy Persuasion, With Caution was two years old. Belmont stands at 20 dead (and counting) on the year. How’s that “demonstrably safer racing” looking now, NYRA? It’s a bad joke, folks.