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.
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 following is a sequence of jump-racing pictures from Ireland. Although the Daily Mail reports both jockey and horse as doing fine, I can think of no more damning visual of the steeplechase than this…
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…