I previously reported the death of Song for Someone after “winning” a race at Montpelier Nov 5: “within 30 seconds it was apparent he was expiring and died very quickly.” In addition, there were these that day:

Race 1: “Rum Bobby was scratched by vet as he was lame in the pre-race exam.”

Race 2: “Top Brass was scratched by vet as he was lame in the pre-race exam.”

Again, these horses were lame – yet their “connections” tried to race them anyway.

Race 3: “Diva of Seville pulled up before the last fence…. This horse has not completed a course in her four tries over jumps and is on the Stewards’ List for poor performance. The trainer indicated that this was her last attempt at running.”

So nice that it only took four straight “DNFs” – all this year – for her people (trainer: Casey Pinkard) to cut her loose (from racing). Where she ends up is anyone’s guess.

Still in Race 3: “Refi returned lame.”

And finally, this closing remark from the stewards: “The horse ambulance needs to have two people…. One person is not enough to handle tarps etc.”

This is horseracing.

In the 6th at Finger Lakes this afternoon, Trinity Titoli, says the chartwriter, was “in distress” and subsequently “vanned off.” Not the whole story, of course. In fact, the 3-year-old filly suffered a catastrophic fracture and was euthanized then and there, on the track. She is the 15th kill at Finger Lakes this year – and second in three days.

This is horseracing.

Although I am generally loath to villainize individual exploiters – choosing instead to indict the industry – I do occasionally make exceptions. Doug (aka “Drug”) O’Neill has a well-earned reputation as a cheater – with cheating, in horseracing, almost always involving animal abuse. We have documented some of that: here, here. In addition, the $152 million-earning O’Neill is a shameless opportunist, helping to lead low-paid (read: exploited) backstretch workers in counter protest to animal-rights activists. In short, Doug O’Neill is a louse.

Sunday, this came down from the CHRB: “Trainer Doug O’Neill, who started the horse Worse Read Sanchez at Golden Gate on May 1, is suspended 60 days and fined $10,000 for violation of the prohibited substance lidocaine [Class 2] and placed on probation for one year. For good cause 30 days of the suspension is to be stayed.”

What in O’Neill’s resume – besides being fabulously successful and wealthy, that is – led the CHRB to believe he was worthy of a break on the suspension? A joke. Lidocaine, for those who may not know, is an anesthetic – “an agent that causes loss of sensation.” For his part, while not contesting the ruling, O’Neill claims the positive resulted from a “transfer of medication from a member of my staff who was prescribed a medication for Shingles.” Of course. Two by the ways: The 3-year-old Worse continues to be under the yoke of O’Neill, most recently raced Oct 7; Worse’s owner is Reddam Racing, the subject of yesterday’s post on a horse named “Vegan.”

Last month, I reported the death of 2-year-old Paddock Boss at Churchill. The race, you may remember, was canceled after the start – “management decision.” The stewards have now provided a bit more detail:

“Because [the jockey] appeared to be injured and was unable to be immediately moved, the stewards took the necessary steps to have the field pull up by activating the alarm system and alerting the outriders and announcer…the race declared a No Contest.” Paddock Boss, the stewards go on to note, “suffered a catastrophic injury and was humanely euthanized on the racetrack.”

This, in microcosm, is The Big Lie: horseracing as “sport,” racehorses as “athletes” – “teammates.” Imagine that the only reason the alarm was sounded and the race canceled was the downed jockey (he’s fine, by the way). In other words – and of course this happens on American tracks every day – a dying horse was not going to stop this race. Let him lie there until it’s safe to get the vet out with his pink concoction; first, there are bets to be settled. It is vile. It is horseracing.