Here is the very recent biography for seven-year-old Thoroughbred Jacob’s Dream:
After having been idle for almost a month (and nothing from Oct ’12 till Jun ’13 – where was he?), finished 4th in the 3rd race on August 5th at Suffolk Downs (Boston).
Finished 2nd in the 8th race on August 13th at Suffolk Downs.
Started but did not finish the 3rd race on August 17th at Suffolk Downs. Broke leg. Euthanized. Gone.
For those doing the math, that’s 3 races in 13 days. 3 races in 13 days. The American Association of Equine Practitioners, a professional organization not unfriendly to racing, recommends that “no horse be permitted to race within 10 days of its last start.” This nonbinding “rule” was broken not once, but twice in a fortnight. This is the animal cruelty statute in Massachusetts:
“Whoever overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments, deprives of necessary sustenance, cruelly beats, mutilates or kills an animal, or causes or procures an animal to be overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented, deprived of necessary sustenance, cruelly beaten, mutilated or killed; and whoever uses in a cruel or inhuman manner in a race, game, or contest, or in training therefor, as lure or bait a live animal, except an animal if used as lure or bait in fishing; and whoever, having the charge or custody of an animal, either as owner or otherwise, inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon it, or unnecessarily fails to provide it with proper food, drink, shelter, sanitary environment, or protection from the weather, and whoever, as owner, possessor, or person having the charge or custody of an animal, cruelly drives or works it when unfit for labor, or willfully abandons it, or carries it or causes it to be carried in or upon a vehicle, or otherwise, in an unnecessarily cruel or inhuman manner or in a way and manner which might endanger the animal carried thereon, or knowingly and willfully authorizes or permits it to be subjected to unnecessary torture, suffering or cruelty of any kind shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than 5 years or imprisonment in the house of correction for not more than 2 ½ years or by a fine of not more than $2,500, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”
Did Jacob’s Dream’s trainer (owner) not “overwork” him, “drive [him] when overworked,” “use [him] in a cruel or inhuman manner in a race”? But also complicit here are the stewards, the racing secretary, and the state vet(s) (lameness exams?), all of whom should have remembered this horse from FOUR DAYS ago. His private vet, too, needs to answer. With racing always talking about improving transparency, perhaps we could take a peek at his medical records. In the end, even by racing standards, there is little doubt that Jacob’s Dream was overworked. But beyond that, it is also highly likely that the excess burden caused, or at least contributed to, his death. Any ambitious prosecutor in the commonwealth listening?