The following, unless otherwise noted, were “vanned off” American tracks last week.

2-year-old As High as the Sky, Beulah, race 1
3-year-old Fatherscountrygirl, Beulah, race 5 (“broke down”)
5-year-old Master Splash, Finger Lakes, race 2 (“in distress”)
6-year-old Mam Bird, Parx, race 6 (“fell”)

5-year-old Brandy’s Big Guy, Aqueduct, race 9
3-year-old G’s Calling, Delta, race 4 (“broke down”)
4-year-old Pleasant Closing, Hawthorne, race 8
5-year-old My Fever, Hawthorne, race 9

3-year-old Sacred Ovation, Hollywood, race 5 (“bleeding from the nostrils”)
3-year-old Orangeyouacutie, Hollywood, race 5
3-year-old Monster Dinner, Charles Town, race 6 (not vanned but “bled”)
7-year-old Hammurabi, Golden Gate, race 6 (“broke down,” unclear on van off)
2-year-old Smokin Deal, Remington, race 1 (“pulled up in distress”)
4-year-old Cat Tail Cutie, Remington, race 3 (“broke down”)

4-year-old M One, Churchill, race 3
3-year-old Heza Tipping Fast, Evangeline, race 5
5-year-old Bo Devil, Retama, race 5

4-year-old Fiftyfour Forever, Aqueduct, race 9
8-year-old Henry the Lover (47th start), Charles Town, race 4
4-year-old Flavored Punch, Charles Town, race 7 (not vanned but “bleeding from nose”)
6-year-old Awesome David, Charles Town, race 9 (“pulled up lame”)
2-year-old Like a Deputy, Delta, race 3 (2nd consec DNF – “shied from whip” on 11/1)
2-year-old Dashing Nic, Evangeline, race 5 (confirmed dead)
2-year-old Jess Spicey (after winning), Evangeline, race 9

6-year-old Rock Solid Charm, Golden Gate, race 9
4-year-old Let’s Get Lucky, Hawthorne, race 6
2-year-old Jagger Br, Los Alamitos, race 9 (“took bad step,” “in distress”)
6-year-old Mufaajy, Portland, race 7 (“went wrong”)
8-year-old Joy of the Lord (60th start), Turf, race 6

Dashing Nic, two, was killed after finishing 8th in last evening’s 5th race (his fourth career start) at Evangeline Downs. The gelding was ridden by David Alvarez, trained by Robert Touchet, and owned by Clark Wayne Stout. Later in the Evangeline night, Jess Spicey, yet another 2-year-old running for the fourth time, was vanned off after winning her race.

Equine veterinarian Kraig Kulikowski (statement to the New York State Humane Association):

“A two year old horse is the equivalent to a six year old human. Neither species is mentally or physically mature at this age. Asking a six year old human to be exploited as a professional athlete for economic gain would be considered inhumane. Exploiting juvenile horses for economic gain is equally inhumane. They are subject to permanent mental and physical trauma that, in too many cases, is catastrophic and even fatal.”

This site is occasionally rebuked – by the racers, of course – for almost exclusively focusing on “bad news.” To which, I ask, have they read our “about” statement? In any event, I am not at all interested in hearing about kind, hard-working, or reform-minded horsemen. If they’re in racing, they’re exploiting animals for personal gain. Period.

Today, though, I do present some happier tidings – according to me, of course. From the Paulick Report (11/20/13): “As it engages ongoing competitive challenges that include gaming-enhanced purses at other racetracks and continued growth of casino competition in its home region, Churchill Downs Racetrack (‘CDRT’) has announced a reduction in purses that will affect four races scheduled during the eight days remaining in the 25-day Fall Meet that continues through Saturday, Nov. 30.”

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Two stakes races will have reduced purses, and two other races will be eliminated entirely. Now, is this a case of one state’s loss is another’s gain? Perhaps. But if the Indiana horse people are doing well, it is only through state largess – the racino structure funnels millions of unearned, non-racing, life-sustaining dollars into the hands of happy horsemen. This, the Kentucky people say, is exactly what we need. Irony, yet again: Currently, Indiana racing has an unfair advantage, but if Kentucky succeeds in securing its own subsidies, it too would have an unfair advantage – over other entertainment venues. For now, though, I choose to file less money, less racing at Churchill Downs in the “good news” department.

Two Thoroughbreds broke down Thursday: 7-year-old Hammurabi in a claiming race at Golden Gate Fields and 4-year-old Cat Tail Cutie in a claiming race at Remington Park.

Earlier in the week, at Monticello Raceway, Standardbred John Henry broke a leg (in a non-racing fall) and was killed. This is Monticello’s 2nd death of the year (Standardbreds break down far less frequently than their Thoroughbred cousins), and NY’s 109th overall.