I have confirmed that 4-year-old Tangible Assets – trainer, Nabu Morales – is dead after breaking down (leg) in yesterday’s 8th at Thistledown. The gelding had been steadily worked – all at the claiming level – in 2014. And, overworked: In February, he was raced twice in 72 hours, finishing last both times – trainer, Joseph Orseno. In August, he was raced twice in nine days, finishing last on the backend. This time the trainer was Murray Rojas. In the final 7 1/2 months of his pathetic life, Tangible Assets ran 10 times in four states for three trainers. This is horseracing.
I have confirmed that 3-year-old Run Albert Run is dead after breaking down last weekend at Penn. The gelding had been under his fourth different trainer/owner team in nine months: Michael Pino/Run Horsey Run for two races, Robert Mosco/Jack Armstrong for one race, Chris Landicini/Carl Hess for two races, and Kimberly Graci/Carl Hess for two races, including the fatal one. Bought and sold, bought and sold, bought and sold. Dead.
Also, 5-year-old Frannie G (trainer Wayne French, owner Dennis Lovell) is dead from a pre-race fall at Churchill Downs on September 21st. Apparently, she reared after jockey Didiel Osorio mounted, fell, hit her head, and died instantly. This is what the industry calls a freak accident, a “non-racing” fatality. But, horseracing, your turn as Pontius Pilate fools no one: This mare’s death cannot be cleansed from your hands.
In an Erie Times-News article on Pennsylvania racing deaths, Penn National spokesman Fred Lipkin says, “In a perfect world, we would have zero breakdowns. … And I’m sure in the National Football League and the (National Basketball Association), they would hope that nobody ruptures an Achilles tendon. It’s the price of the sport when you’re dealing with 1,000-pound or 250-pound athletes.”
By now it should be clear that horse people are either delusional, ignorant, dishonest (most likely), or a combination thereof. The rational among us know that an autonomous human athlete does not equate in any way to an indentured horse. (And Aaron Rodgers is in no danger of being “put down” should he rupture his Achilles tonight.) But the most vile part of the quote is the last: “It’s the price of the sport…” Mr. Lipkin, that “price” you speak so casually about were once intelligent, sensitive creatures, and their grossly premature deaths are not innocent, unfortunate byproducts of sporting competition.
As for the numbers, according to the article, in the recently completed Presque Isle meet, 13 horses lost their lives – 10 while racing, 2 while training (heart attacks), and 1 “found dead in the stall.” (Presque Isle, long touted as one of the nation’s “safer tracks,” surpassed its kill total from last year.) Through August 27th, 33 have died at Parx – 24 racing, 8 training, and 1 from a fractured spine after flipping in the paddock. (Parx lost 44 in 2013.) And at Penn, through August 8th, 41 dead – 20 racing, 12 training, 9 “other.” (89 – yes, 89 – died there in 2013.) So, this year, in Pennsylvania alone, 87 horses have been sacrificed for Mr. Lipkin’s “sport.” This is horseracing.
An unraced 2-year-old by the name of Here in a Hurry fractured his shoulder – “after a bad step” – during morning practice at Belmont today and was euthanized. He is the 30th equine athlete killed at that esteemed track this year. This is horseracing.