And so, as another young racehorse – Ludicrous – makes his way to the rendering plant, the air becomes fouled with the typical racing response. Writing in the Times Union (Albany) Saturday, Pete Iorizzo had this to say:

“On Travers Day, we saw the best and worst of thoroughbred racing. A few hours after a horse suffered a grotesque injury and died in front of 46,557 fans, the Grade I, $1.25 million stakes race delivered a photo finish and long-shot winner.”

(The “grotesque injury”? “Ludicrous got bumped in the stretch and took a bad step. He threw his rider and, when he came to a stop, revealed a leg bent at an impossible angle. At least one fan said from the apron he could hear the horse’s bone snap. The 2-year-old colt thrashed about for a few moments before the ambulance arrived, and most of us prayed for the inevitable to happen quickly. It did. Behind black curtains that flapped in the afternoon breeze, Ludicrous was euthanized.”)

Iorizzo continues: “Race horses sometimes die. It’s the most painful truth about a sport so many of us love, a game that has brought much joy — not to mention economic gain — to the Spa city.”

And as if seeking reassurance, he turns to Ludicrous’ trainer, Chad Brown:

“…there are not too many businesses that have animals with round-the-clock care. Unfortunately, like every athlete, you take a bad step and you get hurt. It’s a rare thing, thankfully. But there are so many good things that happen to the horses every day. That’s what drives you to come to work — how they’re well-cared for, how happy the horses are. Those are the highlights of being in the sport.”

Iorizzo: “It’s possible to be both horrified by Saturday’s tragedy and a fan of horse racing, because Brown’s moral calculus isn’t unreasonable. The overall well-being of many animals can outweigh the occasional tragedy. And when Brown says he — and other trainers — love and care for their horses, I believe them.”

Still, there is a hint of conflict (hope) in Iorizzo’s words: “What’s most disturbing to me, rather, was how quickly the party went on. After Ludicrous was removed from the course, the on-track announcers never mentioned him — no offering of condolences, no moment of silence, nothing. And by the time V.E. Day was edging Wicked Strong by a nose in the Travers, it seemed just about everyone had forgotten…” (Ludicrous dying – hit “Race Replays,” Saturday, race 4) (and a photo)

Mr. Iorizzo, follow that train of thought to its logical conclusion. Ludicrous, like them all, was but a means to an end, a simple resource. His “tragic death,” save for a line on his owners’ 2014 tax return, has already been forgotten. As for Chad Brown’s response? Specious garbage, per usual. The “Sport of Kings” is no such thing. It’s animal exploitation, inherently cruel and regularly deadly.

The incomplete 2014 Killed List:

3-year-old Aunt Meanie, January 1, Fair Grounds, race 9
5-year-old Uncle Smokey, January 2, Aqueduct, race 7
3-year-old Shand, January 2, Santa Anita, race 8
4-year-old Sassy Cherokee, January 4, Charles Town, race 1
3-year-old Classic Ford, January 4, Fair Grounds, race 10
2-year-old Side Street, January 4, Gulfstream, race 3
8-year-old Caixa Eletronica, January 4, Belmont, training
3-year-old Six Drivers, January 4, Belmont, training
2-year-old Blonde for Ever, January 6, Parx, race 3
4-year-old Clodhopper, January 6, Turf, race 3
8-year-old Devils Afleet, January 8, Turf, race 3
2-year-old Casey Lynn, January 9, Delta, race 1
3-year-old Battle Silk, January 9, Delta, race 9
4-year-old Skip the Limit, January 11, Charles Town, race 6
4-year-old Golden Archway, January 11, Tampa Bay, race 3
10-year-old Stormy Surge, January 12, Golden Gate, training
3-year-old Go Canes Go, January 13, Belmont, training
6-year-old Mystery Taste, January 14, Beulah, race 7
4-year-old Past Glory, January 16, Charles Town, race 8
3-year-old Forgot to Duck, January 16, Golden Gate, training
3-year-old The Mikester, January 16, Penn National, race 1
5-year-old Actin Lucky, January 18, Charles Town, race 7
4-year-old Diplomatic Gal, January 18, Charles Town, race 7
6-year-old More Nuggets, January 18, Hialeah, race 3
4-year-old Trick the Queen, January 18, Laurel, race 5
3-year-old Longevity, January 18, Oaklawn, race 3
2-year-old Top Data, January 20, Fair Grounds, race 9
3-year-old Soul Searcher, January 20, Golden Gate, race 8
4-year-old Vanessa Flag, January 21, Sunland, race
5-year-old Holleran, January 22, Beulah, race 2
3-year-old Miss Go Free, January 24, Golden Gate, training
4-year-old Shesonlyseventeen, January 24, Los Alamitos, race 7
2-year-old Electric Eddie, January 25, Santa Anita, race 10
3-year-old Dixie Sparkle, January 26, Aqueduct, race 7
3-year-old Silent Blessing, January 26, Calder, race 2
4-year-old Gimmenosass, January 26, Turf, race 8
4-year-old Royal Affair, January 29, Beulah, race 1
2-year-old Valar Dohaeris, January 30, Belmont, training
3-year-old Budding Affair, January 31, Golden Gate, training
4-year-old Flashy in Pink, February 1, Belmont, training
4-year-old Charlie Company, February 1, Golden Gate, training
2-year-old Tizardo, February 1, Oaklawn, race 9
4-year-old Minotaur, February 4, Turf, race 1
5-year-old Silver Cloud, February 5, Tampa Bay, race 9
2-year-old Salt Block, February 6, Laurel, race 4
3-year-old Cougarontheprowl, February 6, Santa Anita, race 4
4-year-old Mr Manske, February 7, Charles Town, race 4
4-year-old Malibu Affair, February 8, Sunland, race 9
1-year-old Manchas Mojave, February 13, Golden Gate, training
8-year-old Moscato, February 14, Golden Gate, race 7
5-year-old Code of Conduct, February 14, Santa Anita, race 7
4-year-old LG Jet, February 15, Turf, race 2
4-year-old Vero’s Hero, February 16, Gulfstream, race 1
3-year-old He’s Not Too Shaby, February 17, Santa Anita, race 9
5-year-old Gracias, February 17, Turf, race 2
3-year-old Sum Royal, February 20, Charles Town, race 2
3-year-old Very Elusive, February 21, Golden Gate, training
3-year-old Andromeda’s Coming, February 22, Aqueduct, race 3
9-year-old Miss Palatine, February 22, Hawthorne, race 2
4-year-old Body of Evidence, February 22, Hialeah, race 2
Standardbred Scottie C, February 22, Buffalo, race 3
3-year-old Byerley Barb, February 23, Golden Gate, training
2-year-old Chica de La Noche, February 23, Louisiana, race 7
Standardbred Pay Tribute, February 26, Buffalo, race 7
5-year-old Giant Indian, February 26, Laurel, race 7
4-year-old Sea Rep Run, February 28, Charles Town, race 6
5-year-old Sound of Drums, March 1, Aqueduct, race 7
2-year-old Syeshacat, March 1, Mountaineer, race 4
3-year-old King Moon, March 2, Oaklawn, race 4
3-year-old Aggressive Prize, March 3, Louisiana, race 5
2-year-old Changeinaction, March 5, Belmont, training
6-year-old The Program, March 6, Fair Grounds, race 8
1-year-old Ruby Jo, March 6, Golden Gate, training
2-year-old Miss Da Sunrise, March 7, Fair Grounds, race 4
5-year-old Cellophane, March 7, Golden Gate, race 6
6-year-old Tawdry, March 10, Mountaineer, race 8
Standardbred Hickory Louie, March 12, Monticello, race 8
2-year-old Uncle Betty, March 13, Charles Town, race 5
3-year-old Kenai Warrior, March 14, Gulfstream, race 6
6-year-old Cooper River, March 14, Laurel, race 3
4-year-old Concept, March 15, Aqueduct, training
7-year-old Itsagoodtendollars, March 15, Belmont, training
4-year-old Candy’s Jewel, March 15, Los Alamitos, race 1
3-year-old Fardan, March 15, Santa Anita, race 1
3-year-old Broadway Peyton, March 15, Tampa Bay, race 6
5-year-old El Altanero, March 17, Beulah, race 7
3-year-old Hot Little Thang, March 17, Turf, race 1
4-year-old Colonel By, March 21, Charles Town, race 2
3-year-old Finesse, March 21, Oaklawn, race 7
4-year-old Garden Tavern, March 22, Charles Town, race 2
4-year-old Diva On Demand, March 22, Laurel, race 4
4-year-old Sweetly Put, March 22, Penn, race 9
6-year-old Vagabond Shoes, March 22, Santa Anita, race 4
3-year-old Vengeful, March 23, Gulfstream, race 2
6-year-old With a Miracle, March 23, Sunland, race 7
6-year-old Kern River, March 28, Fonner, race 2
3-year-old Art of the Game, March 28, Gulfstream, race 8
2-year-old Russian Silk, March 29, Santa Anita, race 9
3-year-old Causewere Gamblers, March 30, Santa Anita, race 3
4-year-old Notbyemyrules, March 30, Santa Anita, race 9
2-year-old Jojonotjoelowe, April 3, Aqueduct, training
6-year-old No Shenanigans, April 4, Pimlico, race 5
6-year-old Crystallo, April 6, Mountaineer, race 3
6-year-old Hudson Ridge, April 6, Pimlico, race 9
8-year-old Casey’s On Call, April 9, Hawthorne, race 2
2-year-old Ivebeensaved, April 12, Parx, race 6
4-year-old Alondra Sky, April 13, Gulfstream, race 4
5-year-old Here Comes Drz, April 15, Charles Town, race 6
4-year-old American Iron, April 15, Finger Lakes, training
2-year-old Crimson Flyer, April 16, Golden Gate, training
3-year-old Sicard’s Sensation, April 17, Evangeline, race 10
3-year-old Recovered, April 18, Finger Lakes, race 3
Standardbred Southwind Tabor, April 21, Yonkers, race 12
Standardbred Laredos Goose, April 26, Cal Expo, race 5
4-year-old Marcelino Springs, April 26, Golden Gate, race 8
5-year-old Marine, April 26, Gulfstream, race 9
5-year-old Cuban Devil, April 27, Atlantic City, race 5
8-year-old Golden Mexico, April 27, Golden Gate, race 4
2-year-old La Jolla Cove, April 27, Santa Anita, race 2
6-year-old Caverna, April 28, Beulah, race 2
5-year-old Rock Elle Ten, April 30, Evangeline, race 2
3-year-old Handstand, May 1, Belmont, race 6
6-year-old Hotradamus, May 1, Santa Anita, race 3
3-year-old Polar Pal, May 2, Evangeline, race 7
2-year-old Onebaddancer, May 2, Golden Gate, training
5-year-old Granny Calling, May 2, Santa Anita, race 1
3-year-old Canadian Winner, May 3, Churchill, race 13
9-year-old Boston Chief, May 3, Finger Lakes, training
3-year-old Zion Hill, May 4, Mountaineer, race 6
Standardbred Liberty Cruise, May 5, Yonkers, race 5
2-year-old Nightfall, May 8, Santa Anita, race 5
5-year-old Looks Like a Saint, May 9, Indiana, race 6
6-year-old Mad Magic, May 9, Pimlico, race 1
3-year-old Aztec Secret, May 10, Louisiana, race 3
3-year-old Gameboy Luke, May 10, Santa Anita, race 4
4-year-old Mr Lemon Tree, May 11, Santa Anita, race 9
5-year-old Very Very Grateful, May 13, Finger Lakes
5-year-old Rhythm of the Moon, May 14, Suffolk, race 4
2-year-old Bold Fashion, May 15, Golden Gate, training
3-year-old Oriental Silk, May 18, Louisiana, race 8
5-year-old Blushing Martha, May 18, Mountaineer, race 8
4-year-old Caillech’s Quest, May 18, Parx, race 4
3-year-old Lucky for You, May 18, Saratoga, training
Standardbred KZ Too, May 20, Monticello, race 8
5-year-old Summa Cum Boom, May 20, Parx, race 3
3-year-old See the Music, May 21, Belmont, race 7
5-year-old Never Tell Lynda, May 22, Churchill, prior to race 1
3-year-old Stadtpark, May 22, Santa Anita, race 4
3-year-old Reflective Glory, May 24, Emerald, race 6
5-year-old Big Note, May 24, Santa Anita, race 2
5-year-old Silver Arch, May 27, Parx, race 7
4-year-old Kingston Jamaica, May 29, Belmont, training
3-year-old Jess a Speeder, May 30, Arapahoe, race 7
5-year-old Kissinginthedark, May 30, Finger Lakes, race 1
5-year-old Berrymeaux, May 31, Mountaineer, race 2
3-year-old Archie’s All Heart, June 1, Parx, race 4
4-year-old Der Boss, June 1, Pimlico, race 2
5-year-old Samuels Blond Lady, June 5, Belmont, race 2
4-year-old Sweet Teri K, June 7, Belterra, race 4
5-year-old Lemon Sundae, June 7, Finger Lakes, race 1
4-year-old Tebows Big Play, June 7, Golden Gate, race 9
5-year-old Stormdefrere, June 7, Penn, race 3
Standardbred Faith N Moon, June 8, Buffalo, race 5
8-year-old Lobo Del Norte, June 8, Parx, race 5
5-year-old X Country Girl, June 8, Parx, race 7
3-year-old Nics First Rainbow, June 9, Ruidoso, race 5
5-year-old Gulf of Aden, June 10, Parx, race 1
5-year-old Bear’s Spirit, June 12, Aqueduct, training
6-year-old J.B.’s Marquis, June 14, Louisiana, race 5
5-year-old Hot Necker, June 14, Mountaineer, race 5
4-year-old Socialbug, June 15, Churchill, training
4-year-old My Jordy, June 17, Presque Isle, race 2
2-year-old Fran’s Kid, June 18, Belmont, training
2-year-old Summer Sanctuary, June 19, Delaware, race 4
3-year-old Ol’ Bob, June 19, Louisiana, race 4
4-year-old Chiffy, June 20, Penn, race 2
5-year-old Lake Brilliant, June 20, Prairie, race 2
3-year-old Cole Forty Five, June 20, Santa Anita, race 8
6-year-old Birthday Wish, June 21, Belterra, race 7
3-year-old Shanes Social Cat, June 21, Lone Star, race 2
5-year-old How Far We’ve Come, June 22, Parx, race 8
6-year-old Griffin Rock, June 23, Parx, race 1
4-year-old Roses for Romney, June 25, Belmont, race 8
5-year-old Mel’s Game, June 26, Santa Anita, race 1
7-year-old Elsaroarin, June 27, Finger Lakes, race 9
4-year-old Western Grit, June 28, Finger Lakes, training
6-year-old Commandeer, June 28, Belterra, race 2
4-year-old Papa Doc, June 28, Charles Town, race 4
4-year-old Halos Wild, June 28, Lone Star, race 9
5-year-old My Belle Etoile, July 4, Ellis, race 5
3-year-old Michonne, July 4, Finger Lakes, race 9
2-year-old Finns Huckleberry, July 4, Ruidoso, race 1
5-year-old Guidopanzini, July 5, Oak Tree, race 9
3-year-old This Guy Is Blue, July 6, Belmont, race 9
9-year-old Streaterville, July 6, Mountaineer, race 6
7-year-old Back Talking, July 9, Mountaineer, race 5
5-year-old Our Deputy Express, July 10, Delaware, race 2
5-year-old Lone Star Sizzler, July 12, Evangeline, race 7
4-year-old Music Maid, July 13, Belmont, race 2
4-year-old Corlett Drive, July 13, Del Mar, training
5-year-old Finally Together, July 14, Mountaineer, race 9
4-year-old Kokaltash, July 17, Del Mar, race 5
4-year-old Indomitable Woman, July 17, Finger Lakes, race 5
5-year-old Could Be a Rumor, July 18, Charles Town, race 6
4-year-old Generator, July 18, Evangeline, race 8
5-year-old Piskacha, July 19, Belterra, race 4
3-year-old Missy Zelliott, July 20, Belmont, training
2-year-old Washington Dacat, July 20, Canterbury, race 7
3-year-old Ithink I Can Dance, July 22, Mountaineer, race 6
5-year-old Mr Percussionist, July 22, Parx, race 1
3-year-old Gryphon Gold, July 23, Santa Rosa, from race 7 at Sacramento July 20
Shocker Topper, July 23, Santa Rosa, training
3-year-old Dance With Fate, July 24, Del Mar, training
4-year-old Lifeguard On Duty, July 24, Saratoga, training
3-year-old Rue the Day, July 25, Charles Town, race 6
4-year-old Yes She’s Unusual, July 25, Del Mar, race 6
5-year-old Longview Drive, July 25, Del Mar, race 7
3-year-old Movin’ On Up, July 25, Louisiana, race 8
3-year-old Elusive Cowgirl, July 25, Monmouth, race 6
3-year-old Double Gold, July 25, Saratoga, training
5-year-old Lil Swiss Echo, July 26, Del Mar, race 5
3-year-old J Kat, July 26, Del Mar, race 9
3-year-old Chichita, July 26, Finger Lakes, race 1
5-year-old Rockabar, July 26, Santa Rosa, race 8
2-year-old Chilled Mousse, July 27, Del Mar, training
7-year-old Gimmeanotherwink, July 28, Finger Lakes, race 2
3-year-old Father Johns Pride, July 28, Saratoga, race 7
Standardbred Majic Laughter, July 29, Batavia
5-year-old Quorum, July 29, Finger Lakes, race 6
4-year-old Cool Under Fire, July 29, Parx, race 8
5-year-old Intimate Storm, July 30, Charles Town, race 6
4-year-old Patinka, July 30, Presque Isle, race 3
3-year-old Chattering Gambler, August 2, Del Mar, race 3
5-year-old Markyour Territory, August 2, Fairmount, race 1
2-year-old Sir William Bruce, August 2, Saratoga, race 5
7-year-old Maji Moto, August 4, Mountaineer, race 7
3-year-old Cat O Gold, August 8, Arapahoe, race 7
3-year-old Western Sword, August 8, Penn, race 8
4-year-old De Rage Girl, August 9, Parx, race 6
3-year-old Trail Blaze, August 9, Parx, race 7
4-year-old Who’strickingwho, August 10, Arapahoe, race 1
7-year-old Bonita Muneca, August 10, Belterra, race 2
5-year-old Exultant, August 10, Belterra, race 4
4-year-old Regretless, August 11, Saratoga, race 4
3-year-old Steppingood, August 13, Del Mar, race 8
3-year-old Bullwhip, August 14, Charles Town, race 1
3-year-old Deputy Gulch, August 14, Charles Town, race 2
4-year-old Serious, August 14, from race 7 at Del Mar July 31
3-year-old Bayview Drive, August 16, Del Mar, race 10
6-year-old Winter’s Wildchild, August 17, Columbus, race 7
4-year-old Royal Hard Spun, August 17, Monmouth, race 3
4-year-old Bonnie Lass, August 18, Delaware, race 2
3-year-old M B and Tee, August 21, Saratoga, race 7
2-year-old Little Tower, August 22, Del Mar, race 3
5-year-old Celzo’s Birdie, August 22, Ferndale, race 4
2-year-old Kamarius, August 23, Saratoga, training
2-year-old Ludicrous, August 23, Saratoga, race 4
7-year-old Magic Beam, August 24, Del Mar, training
3-year-old Matagorda Bay, August 24, Gillespie, race 2

Virtually without exception, “broke down” is racing-speak for dead; “vanned off” translates to a better-than-even chance of dead.

Broke Down:
Bonnie Lass, Aug 18, Delaware 2
M B and Tee, Aug 21, Saratoga 7 (reported “euthanized”)
Little Tower, Aug 22, Del Mar 3
Celzo’s Birdie, Aug 22, Ferndale 4
Ludicrous, Aug 23, Saratoga 4
Matagorda Bay, Aug 24, Gillespie 2

Vanned Off:
Shot Rod, Aug 19, Mountaineer 1
Angel of Fire, Aug 19, Mountaineer 2
Arctic Thunder, Aug 20, Remington 5
Sorcerer’s Queen, Aug 21, Evangeline 7
Im Funny for Money, Aug 21, Evangeline 9
Dawn’s Destiny, Aug 21, Louisiana 8
Salti Dawg, Aug 22, Albuquerque 1
Senorita Sangria, Aug 22, Monmouth 3
Sal’s Boy, Aug 22, Monmouth 5
Bernco, Aug 23, Albuquerque 1
Squad Leader, Aug 23, Albuquerque 1
Parading Gold, Aug 23, Canterbury 8
Page an Angel, Aug 23, Delaware 3
Tu Tu Tango, Aug 23, Evangeline 1
Twin City Thunder, Aug 23, Evangeline 6
Bold Perspective, Aug 23, Gulfstream 1
Hope Some Gold, Aug 23, Los Alamitos 5
Chubaroni, Aug 23, Monmouth 10
Thunder Stric Again, Aug 24, Albuquerque 8
Casanova Kiddo, Aug 24, Ellis 8
Tycoon Cat, Aug 24, Monmouth 6
Graeme Crackers, Aug 24, Saratoga 5
Blitzball, Aug 24, Timonium 3

Other Casualties:
Bubba’s Gold, Aug 20, Charles Town 8, “bled profusely”
The Gray Hound, Aug 23, Golden Gate 3, bled
Camp Copper, Aug 23, Timonium 7, “returned bleeding”
Mean Maxine, Aug 24, Mountaineer 5, bled
Brassy Boy, Aug 24, Mountaineer 9, bled
My Pal Val, Aug 24, Thistledown 7, “pulled up lame”

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7-year-old Magic Beam, a mostly career claimer, was killed while training this morning at Del Mar. Yes, Del Mar. For those who’ve lost count, that’s 15 dead where the turf meets the surf. Most recent “connections”: trainer Kristin Mulhall, owner Twilight Racing.

The Del Mar 15:

4-year-old Corlett Drive, July 13, training
4-year-old Kokaltash, July 17, race 5
2-year-old Mont Saint Michel, July 24th, found dead in stall
3-year-old Dance With Fate, July 24, training
4-year-old Yes She’s Unusual, July 25, race 6
5-year-old Longview Drive, July 25, race 7
5-year-old Lil Swiss Echo, July 26, race 5
3-year-old J Kat, July 26, race 9
2-year-old Chilled Mousse, July 27, training
3-year-old Chattering Gambler, August 2, race 3
3-year-old Steppingood, August 13, race 8
4-year-old Serious, August 14, from July 31 race 7
3-year-old Bayview Drive, August 16, race 10
2-year-old Little Tower, August 22, race 3
7-year-old Magic Beam, August 24, training

Welcome to county-fair season, where cheap horses run for paltry purses at rinky-dink tracks under bottom-feeder trainers. To be sure, you won’t be reading a Paulick report on today’s 4th at Elko. But here, all horses are equal – in life and death – whether a Grade 1 entrant at Saratoga or a $1,500 claimer at White Pine.

Friday afternoon at the Humboldt County Fair in Ferndale (CA), a nondescript 5-year-old named Celzo’s Birdie broke down in the 4th and was euthanized. While this weekend’s Del Mar and Saratoga kills (see last three posts) received some – but not enough – media attention, Celzo’s demise was destined to pass unnoticed. How very sad, on multiple levels.

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