Currently, there are six American tracks using a synthetic surface. Synthetic, supposedly, reduces the number of catastrophic breakdowns. But because these surfaces are more costly to maintain than was originally promised, the trend, according to Ray Paulick (Paulick Report, 2/20/14) is back toward dirt – Del Mar, one of the six, is slated to revert in 2015. This, of course, should come as no surprise. As Paulick himself says, “…the majority of horsemen were never convinced that the safety and prevention of catastrophic injuries trumps everything else in the sport.”

Still, Paulick urges racing to reconsider: “An industry turning its back on a surface that has statistically proven to be safer is not a winning public relations move. …Injuries happen, whether it’s two horses running across a paddock of lush grass or a full field racing down the stretch of a dirt, synthetic or turf track. The goal for racing, no matter what the surface, is to reduce that number and make the sport safer and more palatable for the public.”

Well, Mr. Paulick, while true that injuries can and do happen in more natural settings, racehorses are dying for the most shameful of reasons – $2 bets. And no matter how much “reform” you and other apologists achieve, they will continue to die, on all surfaces, with or without drugs, even after the best of pre-race exams. Guaranteed. So, there is no cleaning up this “sport.” It is corrupt, from core out.

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Owner Ernie Moody has announced (Paulick Report, 2/18/14) that the Bob Baffert-trained Tiz the Truth (below) is dead from an infection, contracted, apparently, on the owner’s farm. The 3-year-old colt last raced at Santa Anita in the fall. Moody has since severed his working-relationship with Baffert, claiming no ill will, just hoping to reverse “some bad luck.” Baffert, remember, lost seven horses to “sudden death” in a recent 16-month period (’11-’13). No word on whether that figured into Moody’s decision.

photo credit: Mike Sekulic
photo credit: Mike Sekulic

We can also confirm that 3-year-old He’s Not Too Shaby is dead after breaking down in Monday’s 9th race at Santa Anita. The gelding was trained by Peter Miller and owned by Camille Paris Jr. This is Miller’s second death there in four days (Code of Conduct).

In an article posted on ESPN (“Of Diamonds and Ovals,” 2/15/14), professional handicapper Steve Davidowitz attempts, odiously, to bond his two favorite pastimes – baseball and horseracing. He can do this, apparently, because one, these sports began around the same time (19th Century), and two, a handful of former baseballers find the cerebral challenges of betting (breeding, owning, training) similar to those faced on the diamond, both requiring “focus” and “powers of observation.”

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By now it should be clear that many in and around racing are not necessarily callous, just delusional. They truly believe this stuff. Their sport is storied, their athletes exquisite. The racetrack, like the ballpark, has sights and sounds that recall a more innocent time, lazy afternoons spent with dear old Dad.

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But, Mr. Davidowitz, horseracing is no more sport than hunting. Every day, the movable property referred to as born-to-run, love-to-run athletes die on the playing field, after, that is, being trained to submit and whipped to perform. And most of the ones who don’t will end up in some Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouse, shackled by a hind leg, hoisted upside down, slashed, and bled-out. That is horseracing. Like baseball? Just a figment of your imagination. You’re just a gambler, betting on forced “competitions” between nonconsenting animals. Get over yourself.

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The following racehorses were casualties on American tracks last week:

Felix, Aqueduct, race 6, vanned off
My Jordy, Aqueduct, race 9, vanned off
Last Chance to See, Beulah, race 1, “in distress,” vanned off

Landonmav, Turf, race 8, vanned off

Royalsaintjames, Tampa Bay, race 3, fell

Lieutenant Seany O, Santa Anita, race 6, vanned off

Shelby Scott, Delta, race 2, bled, vanned off
Moscato, Golden Gate, race 7, “went wrong,” vanned off
Optionality, Gulfstream, race 7, bled
Code of Conduct, Santa Anita, race 7, confirmed dead

Dateful Gred, Delta, race 8, vanned off
Blue Blizzard, Golden Gate, race 4, “went wrong,” vanned off
Silver Tactics, Oaklawn, race 2, vanned off
LG Jet, Turf, race 2, broke down

Vero’s Hero, Gulfstream, race 1, broke down
First Prize Prince, Louisiana, race 2, “injured,” DNF