Abuse in racing comes in various forms, not the least of which is running a horse into the ground. Consider a gelding named Coaltown Legend, nine years old and 63 races into a career that began before Barack Obama was elected president – the first time. In his last three starts – all claiming, all at Penn National, and all for the same connections – Coaltown Legend finished last of 7, 27 1/4 lengths back on May 28th; last of 7, 13 3/4 lengths back on June 6th; and last of 7, 13 1/2 lengths back this past Wednesday. To recap, that’s three dead lasts for a 9-year-old racehorse in the past four weeks.

To horseracing the industry, the horses are but expendable assets – movable, replaceable cogs in a gambling machine. Simple chattel. As such, if Coaltown Legend’s current masters – trainer Bryan George and owner Marcus Rodriguez – choose to run him till he breaks, they can. And there is nothing to be done about it.

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Two horses have been killed at Finger Lakes in as many days:

In the 9th race yesterday afternoon, 7-year-old Elsaroarin, making start number 44, broke his right front pastern. And today, 4-year-old Western Grit, with two DNFs in the past year, went down while training. Over the last 2 1/2 months, 11 athletes have perished at the western NY track. This is horseracing.

An exercise rider, Mourad Boudraa, is dead after his 3-year-old mount Tawney’s Wish had “a suspected fatal heart attack” yesterday at Woodbine. The filly had raced but once, May 25th at that same track, finishing dead last (of 11) some 26 lengths back. Then a heart attack at the equivalent age of a human teenager? Any insights, (trainer) Don Pleterski?

The California Horse Racing Board has confirmed that Cole Forty Five, reported as broke down after a “bad step” Friday at Santa Anita (8th race), was indeed killed. The 3-year-old colt fractured sesamoids in his left front while competing for a share of $57,250. This was but his 3rd race, all at Santa Anita and all with the same connections – jockey Kayla Stra, trainer Edward Freeman, and owner/breeder Matties Racing Stable.