Rich Strike’s trainer, Eric Reed, on the “controversy” at the end of the Derby Saturday (from an interview with Today):

“I want to clear that up. The outrider’s job at the end of the race is to help get the leading horse slowed down, and take him around and let him do the interviews. Well, Richie, he was in ‘killer mode,’ he was gonna outrun every horse on the track. So when he saw that pony coming his way, he thought he had another horse to beat and he was trying to run by it.

“The man did his job: he reached out and grabbed ahold of the horse and it made the horse mad. He didn’t know that he was trying to help him, he thought he was supposed to outrun that horse, and he bit the guy’s leg terribly. He bit his arm, a couple really bad bites. The horse is not a mean horse, he just was in race mode and he didn’t understand why they were grabbing him to slow him down. That man saved my horse from injury….”

You be the judge. Is this merely an innocuous and correct “disciplining” of a horse in “killer mode”?

As fully expected, Speedcuber has been euthanized (today) after “suffering an injury near the 1/8 pole” Saturday at Santa Anita. She was four years old; ’twas her third time under the whip. She is the sixth (admitted) dead horse at Santa Anita this year.

Dylans Wild Cat, Feb 3, training
Warren’s Showtime, Feb 26, training
Royally Command, Apr 17, racing
Magnolia, Apr 25, training
Cayton Kid, Apr 26, training
Speedcuber, May 7 (euthanized May 9), racing

To all those who submitted disgusting defenses of the outrider who abused Rich Strike Saturday, I ask, simply, what is to be your rationalization for the following?

The 3rd at Remington yesterday. Mi Bella Valentina is the horse seen flipping and thrashing in the gate. She is (was) three. Maudest Maven is the horse seen bouncing off the dirt several times. She, also, is (almost assuredly, was) three.

(I made the video a bit longer than usual in order to more comprehensively show the horror – pay special attention to the head-on in the final minute.)

Mutadarrib “vanned off” at Belterra
Myers Tiger “vanned off” at Horseshoe
Make Me Blush “vanned off” at Turf
Cj Leadtheway “hit rail, DNF” at Delta
Buff My Boots “vanned off” at Laurel
Pretty Dude “vanned off” at Tampa Bay
Predetermination “vanned off” at Turf
Monarch Woods “vanned off” at Turf
Abscond “bled” at Churchill
Kentucky Ghost “vanned off” at Churchill
Madison Joy “fell, vanned off” at Evangeline
Dare Felix “vanned off” at Fonner
Malintent “vanned off” at Oaklawn
Mrs. Beans “vanned off” at Oaklawn
Speedcuber “vanned off” at Santa Anita
Axis Charm “vanned off” at Sunray
Dazzling Sunshine “vanned off” at Tampa Bay
Kid Cash “vanned off” at Belmont
California Swing “vanned off” at Oaklawn

While not all the “vanned” end up dead, most do, as borne out by our year-end FOIA reports. But even if death is not the ultimate result, the above are victims nonetheless, suffering painful injuries – in the case of the bleeders, pulmonary hemorrhage – so that some men may gamble, others chase pots of gold. (For any new confirmed deaths during the week, please see our running annual list.)