The NYS Gaming Commission has just announced the death of three-year-old King Wando from an injury sustained while galloping at Belmont Park. With just five career starts and less than $16,000 earnings, the gelding’s passing is of little import to an industry that produces Thoroughbreds like a bakery does muffins. But we noticed. And we also noticed that he died on October 9th, the third horse killed at venerable Belmont that day.

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Oscar Pistorius, the “Blade Runner” sprinter who became a media darling at the London Olympics for competing without legs, ran a race last December against an Arabian horse in Qatar, ostensibly to raise disabilities awareness. A sorry spectacle, sure, but noteworthy here because of the merciless flogging administered to Pistorius’ equine adversary. In a 100-meter race that took about 11 seconds to run, the horse was struck at least 20 times, roughly 2 lashes per second. Imagine that.


Pistorius, of course, claims to have been unaware of the excessive beating going on behind him, a beating that would qualify as criminal had it occurred in NY. In one way, however, this video is a gift: Side-by-side, stride-for-stride, two supremely conditioned beings “compete.” One, an autonomous and self-driven embodiment of human athleticism, runs free and easy to the finish line. The other, a half-ton piece of movable property, is set (and kept) in motion by a whip. Here, in but 11 seconds, the idiocy in calling horseracing sport and the racehorse athlete is laid bare for all to see.

The equine ambulances had another busy day Sunday:

Silent No More, four, Belmont, race 2
Let’s Rocket, six, Lethbridge (Canada), race 3
Shock Me, five, Mountaineer, race 5
Outright Secret, five, Portland Meadows, race 4
A Spanish Madam (after winning), six, Turf Paradise, race 3
Coles Keys, four, Turf Paradise, race 4

Three horses broke down Saturday at Penn National:

five-year-old Lov Tov in the 2nd race
three-year-old Round of Applause in the 3rd race
five-year-old Call Me Sweetheart in the 6th race

In addition, three-year-old Youngwildandfree failed to finish the 4th race, her 3rd DNF of the year.

Also on Saturday:

five-year-old Side by Side broke down in Laurel Park’s 6th race
three-year-old Quarter Horse Sonoran Cowgirl broke down in Turf Paradise’s 2nd race
three-year-old Commando Tres Seis was vanned off after Los Alamitos’ 8th race
six-year-old Neva Masquerade was vanned off after Meadowlands’ 3rd race
four-year-old Cherokee Art was vanned off after Retama Park’s 6th race
three-year-old Roode Dude was vanned off after Suffolk Downs’ 7th race

Good, clean family fun…