It is well established that many in and around Racing are self-deluded, maintaining that what they do/follow is “sport,” their “athletes” pampered – and loved. But every so often a comment catches my eye and compels a response. In the wake of Flatterfly’s death Sunday at Aqueduct, came this on Facebook:

I would like to thank the NYRA veterinarian , Trainer Rudy Rodriquez , the Nyra Ambulance, the horse Ambulance driver, Gary Contessa groom all for caring so much about horse racing. These heroes go unknown by most of the Horse Racing world . I was standing today at the 3/16 pole when the 4 horse Flatterfly snapped her leg throwing Jockey Junior Alvarado.i saw something on the spot that I pray no one will ever see in their lifetime. The veterinarian was talking to the horse girl I’m here for you don’t worry . Telling me with tears in his eyes I have to put her out of her misery. Then the groom a slim blond lady came running towards me crying my baby girl please save my baby girl I tried to comfort her but I just couldnt . she said that’s my baby girl I take care of her. Then The ambulance took Jockey Junior Alvarado away on a stretch but he was sitting up. the vet gave the horse the shot and then they put the black screen around the brace horse and they all helped lift her in the horse Ambulance .

The most amazing thing of the whole shocking time was trainer Rudy Rodriguez had just won the race with his first time starter the 8 Bluegrass hip hop and he ran from the finish line to the 3/16 pole to help them out. Now that’s a class act. I dont want to hear anyone bad mouth horses, trainers, jockeys because you will have to answer to me.i saw something today that I pray none of you ever will see a horse giving her all for our pleasure ending her life but I also saw this world does have people that care the Nyra Vet, the Nyra ambulance drivers, The nyra Horse van driver , the groom for Gary Contessa and Trainer Rudy Rodriquez. (full post)

The preceding, of course, is absurd. But it is so much more. Captive-bred, tightly confined, socially isolated, drugged, and beaten to perform, Flatterfly was but a medium for gambling, a thing to be used, nothing more. That the very people responsible for all that and, ultimately, her death (including, obviously, those like this poster who sustain racing with their bets) would attempt to claim honor – “heroes go unknown,” “trainer ran to help them out…now that’s a class act” – and elicit sympathy – “i saw something that I pray no one will ever see” (though he was probably right back at the windows the next day), “with tears in his eyes,” “came running towards me crying my baby girl please save my baby girl” – is, in a word, obscene. Obscene.

Last week in U.S. horseracing (not including training and harness casualties).

Pretension “returned bleeding from the nostrils” at Mahoning
Icy Bells “reluctant to load,” raced anyway…and eventually “vanned off” at Sunland
Zephyrous “collapsed post-race” at Charles Town
Crawfish “vanned off” at Evangeline
Special Street “went wrong, vanned off” at Lone Star
That’s You Not Me “came back bleeding from the nose” at Charles Town
Gladhander “bled” at Mountaineer
Caliente Carson “vanned off” at Sunray
Chasing the Stars “vanned off” at Tampa Bay
KC Wiegmann “vanned off” at Tampa Bay
Jumpin Tac Class “vanned off” at Weber
Flatterfly “broke down, euthanized” at Aqueduct
Grand Bili “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Vow of Secrecy “vanned off” at Lone Star
Dan’s Irish Cop “vanned off” at Los Alamitos
Flatfoot Walker “vanned off” at Remington
Ira Hayes “vanned off” at Sunray
Yorkshire Inn “broke down” at Tampa Bay

“Broke Down” – racing-speak for dead
“Vanned Off” – many, if not most, will be on my year-end FOIA kill-reports
“Bled,” “Returned Bleeding From Nostrils” – usually indicates pulmonary hemorrhage

(source: Equibase)

The NYS Gaming Commission has this to say about yesterday’s 5th at Aqueduct: “Flatterfly fell after suffering a fatal musculo-skeletal injury in the vicinity of the 3/16 pole and was euthanized on the track.” That’s that. Three years old. Also Sunday, 4-year-old Yorkshire Inn is reported (Equibase) to have “broke down” in the 9th at Tampa Bay. We all know what that means.

This is horseracing.