Yesterday on American tracks:

Run On Energy “fell” at Charles Town

Last Tap “vanned off and reported to have bled” at Fair Grounds

Big Shanty “appeared to go wrong, vanned off” at Fair Grounds

Malkia “pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Gulfstream

Cinder Queen “bled and was vanned off” at Mahoning

Hennessy Fire “bled” at Mahoning

Ebo Strong “took a bad step, pulled up lame, vanned off” at Penn

Critter “vanned off” at Sam Houston

Just one day – and all so that some men may gamble, others chase pots of gold.

Through a FOIA request to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission, I have confirmed the following kills at Prairie Meadows in 2019. (Please note: The Commission did not forward any stall deaths – e.g., colic, laminitis – though surely there were several of these too.)

Tarpys Zapper, May 2, training – “radius”
Moonlight Party, May 25, training – “sesamoids”
Super Bound, May 27, racing – “crashed into gates – basisphenoid and parietal bone”
Harkins Hall, May 30, racing – “sesamoid and suspensory”
Mysterious Kingdom, Jun 7, racing – “carpal fracture”
Heroic Street Boss, Jun 8, racing – “carpal fracture”
Rockin Rudy, Jun 27, racing – “condylar”
Rebel Rouser, Jun 28, racing – “condylar, suspensory, sesamoids”
Maximum Volume, Jul 19, racing – “sudden death” (three years old)
Go Spread the Word, Jul 25, training – “carpal fracture”
Noho, Jul 25, training – “carpal fracture”
Essie’s Reward, Jul 26, racing (euthanized Jul 31) – “sesamoids”
Run Baby Run, Aug 9, training – “carpal fracture”
Rm U Bet the Rocket, Sep 6, training – “ligament rupture”
Fantastic Feelyn, Sep 29, racing – “sudden death – fluid around heart” (three years old)
Hermajestythequeen, Sep 30, training – “sudden death” (three years old)
Hez Opinionated, Oct 5, racing – “sesamoid and fetlock disarticulation”

From the most recent Stewards Minutes at Los Alamitos, December 28:

“The hearing for the penalty portion of the Methamphetamine case against Trainer Jose Flores took place this afternoon. Mr. Flores’ horse Look of Love MV was the winner of the fifth race at Los Alamitos Race Course on May 17. The post-race blood and urine samples showed the presence of Methamphetamine…a split sample confirmed the original findings.

“[Mr. Flores’] defense centered around the fact that once he was aware of the positive test, he ordered all employees in his barn to be tested for drugs. He also volunteered to test. All samples came back clean except for one. Victor Arias, who was the horse’s groom, tested positive for the drug found in the horse’s sample – Methamphetamine. Arias has since been barred from these grounds by management.

“Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur stated in the investigative report that the level [of Methamphetamine] in both blood and urine were extremely high, leading him to conclude that it was not an accidental positive test – someone purposely gave the horse Methamphetamine. We will…render a decision in the near future.”

By the way, the 2-year-old Look of Love Mv remains in the possession of Mr. Flores; in fact, Flores raced her at Los Alamitos December 27 – just a day before this hearing.

In other news:

In the 2nd at Sunland Tuesday, says Equibase, Sea Merman “bled outwardly and was vanned off.”

In the 2nd at Fair Grounds yesterday, J Rob “…came under the whip…responded well…and prevailed under vigorous urging [more whipping] then was vanned off after returning to the winners circle [yes, he ‘won’].” J Rob was one of three horses to be “vanned off” on the Fair Grounds day.

This is horseracing.

By all measures, X Y Jet was a hugely “successful” racehorse: multiple graded-stakes wins, lifetime “earnings” of over $3 million, etc. So of course, news of his death would be all over the racing press. Never mind that these same rags – Paulick, BloodHorse, Daily Racing Form, et al. – utterly ignore the cheap, pedestrian horses who die every day on American tracks. This was a “star”; this was newsworthy.

Yesterday, trainer Jorge Navarro announced that X Y Jet suffered a heart attack after a training session. He was seven years old. For those unfamiliar with the development and lifespan of a horse, a seven-year-old is just out of adolescence – in the prime of life. Heart attack. Anyhow, here is Navarro’s full “WE LOVE YOU X Y JET” statement:

“With deep regret, I am sorry to notify you that X Y Jet died this morning as a result of a heart attack. X Y Jet was more than a horse on my trained list, it [not ‘he’] was the one that took us through a wonderful and exciting roller coaster of emotions. He always fought against adversity and despite the injuries that affected him during his career, he always brought out that kind of champion he was.

“Beyond the racetracks, XY Jet becomes [sic, but then again who can be bothered with proofreading?] part of my family, was like the older brother of my children and of course, that affection extended to all those who in one way or another related to this swift, mood [sic], but noble racehorse.

“Since his arrival at my stable at the end of 2014, I immediately felt that connection with him, which remained until today and will surely remain with me until the day of my departure. I owe X Y Jet so much, that I’m sure there are no words that can specify my thanks to his nobility and class, I do not say goodbye to a horse, I say goodbye to a friend that I will carry forever in my heart. Keep running fast to your next destination X Y Jet.”

“with deep regret”

“he always fought against adversity”

“he always brought out that kind of champion he was”

“part of my family”

“like the older brother of my children”

“that connection…will surely remain with me until the day of my departure”

“I do not say goodbye to a horse, I say goodbye to a friend”

“carry forever in my heart”

“keep running fast to your next destination X Y Jet”

Vile – to the core.

Saddle Club was “vanned off” after “placing” (and “winning” $2500 for her people) in the 4th at Los Alamitos December 28. In fact, I have confirmed (CHRB), she is dead (fracture). Saddle Club was six years old and under the whip for the 18th time.

Horseracing is inherently cruel and inevitably deadly. Horseracing cannot be fixed or “reformed.” Horseracing must end.