The 7th at Keeneland yesterday for 4-year-old Hidden Scroll, as relayed by Equibase: “HIDDEN SCROLL was irritable early…settled along the turn, was in the five path into the lane and empty down the lane, bled.”

I don’t know, but do you think it’s possible that this poor animal was “irritable” because his lungs were about to bleed from being forced to run at a breakneck speed by a perched, whip-wielding human? Vile.

Last month at Santa Anita, according to the Stewards Minutes, 19 horses were scratched prior to their races for sickness; 11 for injury; and 7 for “unsoundness.” Then this: On March 5, “Jockey UMBERTO RISPOLI was in our office to review his crop use in Sunday’s eighth race. Mr. Rispoli did not have an excuse, other than to say he simply miscounted. Unfortunately [italics added], this was his fourth offense in last sixty days.” So what did the Santa Anita sages figure was a reasonable punishment for 4 whipping violations in 60 days? A three-day suspension.

Last month at Golden Gate, according to the Stewards Minutes (all emphases mine): 41 horses were “scratched” (by vet) from races for being sick; 13 for being injured; and 4 for being “unsound.” That’s 58 horses. But those were just the scratches. In addition:

3/5: “Claim submitted by Blaine Wright for the gelding Conquest Lemonraid was deemed void after state vet reported him lame in RF leg; returned to barn of Pablo De Jesus.”

3/5: “Claim submitted by Jonathan Wong for the gelding Upo was deemed void after state vet reported him lame in LH leg; returned to barn of Isidro Tamayo.”

3/7: “Claim submitted by Mark Glatt for the mare Miss Indefatigable was deemed void after state vet reported her lame; returned to barn of Blaine Wright.”

3/14: “Claim submitted by Victor Trujillo for the mare Splashing was voided by the Stewards after they were notified that she was unsound in RH leg; placed on Vet’s List; returned to Reid France’s barn.”

3/25: “Alma Spirit was unruly while the assistant starters attempted to get her loaded in the gate. [She] eventually flipped over and fell on her back causing the Stewards…to scratch her. This resulted in the loss of the rolling super high five wager and a seven minute delay in off time for the race.”

The loss of a wager and a delay – what a terrible inconvenience.

3/26: “Claim submitted by Frank Lucareli for Tiz The Standard was deemed void after state vet reported her lame in RF leg; returned to barn of Bill McLean.”

3/26: “Claim submitted by Jonathan Wong for Lucky Ms Jones was deemed void after state vet reported the mare lame; returned to barn of Steve Sherman.”

3/27: “Claim submitted by Andy Mathis for the gelding Luck’s Royal Flush was deemed void after state vet reported him lame in RF leg; returned to barn of Jeff Bonde.”

And finally, 3/28: “Jockey Catalino Martinez, who rode Pour On The Cole in the third race on March 27, is suspended three racing days for violation of CHRB Rule ‘Use of Riding Crop – used more than six times in a race.’ The ruling was issued after Martinez appeared in the Stewards office and said he just plain forgot in the heat of battle. The leader in the race was tiring and Martinez felt his mount had a chance to overtake that rival and win the race.”

“Just plain forgot in the heat of battle” – You can’t make this stuff up.

Last week, I posted a video of 13-year-old Hes too Icy for Me taking a bad fall at Turf. Apparently, he’s alive, but amid public outrage Arizona may soon consider lowering the maximum age at which a horse can be raced (currently, it’s 13). Anyhow, I came across this quote in BloodHorse from Turf GM Vince Francia: “I like to say I have, as a general manager, time in the day to go through the entries and check everything, but I don’t. My concern since this meet began in January is singular—getting us through this meet with this virus. Talk about losing sleep at night.”

Who has “time in the day” to keep track of abused horses? Not this GM. He’s too busy “losing sleep” – not over animal cruelty, mind you, but whether the cash will keep flowing. Ah, honesty.

The Philadelphia Inquirer continues to be in the vanguard on the issue of horseracing. Having twice before decried the giant subsidies keeping that state’s racing industry afloat, and just last week publishing a scathing article on how those subsidies and animal cruelty intersect, yesterday the paper struck again. The Board’s editorial – “How long must Pennsylvania prop up a dying racehorse industry?” – opened thus:

“Welcome to Pennsylvania, the animal welfare state. By that, we definitely do not mean a state devoted to the well-being of animals, but rather, one that has created a massive $3 billion subsidy program for the owners of racehorses. The money props up an industry that is not only failing but is responsible for the deaths of more than a thousand horses in the past 10 years.”

The Board went on to say that the industry “needs to be put out of its misery.” Excellent, indeed. The Inquirer becomes the second major U.S. paper – joining The Washington Post – to call for an end to horseracing. Thank you, to both. Know that you are firmly on the right side of history.