The NYS Gaming Commission reports that Start It Up was euthanized yesterday at Aqueduct for “laminitis in both front feet.” The 5-year-old mare had been raced 31 times, most recently at Belmont in May. While the state calls it a “non-racing” fatality, make no mistake Racing killed this horse. Born into bondage, exploited for $131,000 in earnings, dead before reaching full maturity – this is horseracing.

From the Los Alamitos Stewards Minutes, June 27:

“JOCKEY SANTIAGO MENDEZ IS FINED THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS FOR VIOLATION OF CALIFORNIA HORSE RACING BOARD RULE #1688 (USE OF WHIPS – WHIPPING IN POST PARADE) ON FRIDAY, JUNE 26, 2015. The foregoing ruling was issued after Jockey Santiago Mendez was cited for warming up his mount with his crop prior to the seventh race on Friday, June 26, 2015.”

“…warming up his mount with his crop.”

From the same weekly report (6/23-6/28):

“Three equine deaths were reported this week due to racing injuries.” Identities, however, withheld. This is horseracing.

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I have confirmed that two horses were euthanized for catastrophic injuries on the same Charles Town card yesterday: 6-year-old Awesome Life went down in the 3rd; 5-year-old Dos Oro in the 7th. Prior to dying in the West Virginia dirt, the two had been whip-raced a collective 61 times.

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To those who wager on horseracing, we implore you to reconsider. And ultimately, you hold all the cards – no more bets, no more races; no more races, no more kills. And – no more abusing unformed bodies; no more extreme, relentless confinement; no more whipping; no more drugging and doping; no more buying and selling and trading and dumping. No more auctions, no more kill-buyers, no more transport trucks, no more abattoirs. No more maiming, destroying; pain, suffering. No more.

In a landscape that abounds with other gambling options – casinos, lotteries, real sports involving autonomous human beings – hasn’t the time at long last arrived to let the racing horse be? You, the bettor, have within the capacity for mercy. We ask only that you exercise it. Please. For the horses.