The following horses were raceday casualties on American tracks last week:

Reported as died, euthanized, or “broke down” – racing-speak for dead
Soft Shoulders, Turf
Only Josie Knows, Santa Anita
Criminal Element, Sunland

Reported as “vanned off” – left via ambulance, a better-than-even chance of dead
Dancing Commander, Will Rogers
Jetrunaway, Louisiana
Lydgate’s Proof, Mountaineer
Jitterbug Shoes, Oaklawn
Morgans Corner, Penn
Macaffer, Tampa Bay
Rio Grey, Tampa Bay
Maleeh, Aqueduct
Complimenting, Laurel
I Forget, Penn
Believe Too, Santa Anita
Grand and Regal, Fonner
Cheers for Sidney, Gulfstream (later confirmed dead)
New Splash, Sam Houston
Go Trumpy Go, Santa Anita
Moldavite, Aqueduct
Bluffalatta, Fair Grounds
Hot Rock Hallie, Los Alamitos
Stolis Bud, Sunland
Undercover Kitten, Gulfstream
Movin a Legacy, Los Alamitos
Lisafinishline, Rillito

Other
Devil’s Silent, Aqueduct, “stumbled badly,” DNF

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In the 7th race at Santa Anita yesterday, Only Josie Knows, two days shy of her 5th birthday, broke down and was euthanized. In yet another example of the relatively worthless nature of racehorses, witness this Blood-Horse article on the “spill”:

Jockey Tiago Pereira was taken to the hospital March 29 after a spill in the seventh race at Santa Anita Park. Pereira was thrown into the air and hit the grass when 5-year-old mare Only Josie Knows broke down in deep stretch of the mile allowance/optional claiming turf race. After an extended amount of time on the grass surface, the jockey was lifted into an ambulance on a backboard and appeared to be equipped with a neck brace.

Pereira was taken to Methodist Hospital, immediately southwest of the Arcadia, Calif. track, but x-rays showed no damage and the jockey was released. Agent Joe Griffin said Pereira’s back is sore, but that he is resting at home. “It really is amazing after that spill,” Griffin said.

Only Josie Knows, by Rio Verde out of Dinner Bell, by Alydeed, was owned by Josie Goldberg and trained by Oscar Garcia. She sustained a compound fracture in her right front leg and was euthanized.

Not until the final sentence of this multi-paragraph write-up do we learn the horse’s fate. Why? Because beyond her capacity to earn for her people, Only Josie Knows did not matter – not in life, certainly not in death. This is horseracing.

Through a “Public Records Act” request, I have confirmed the following 21 raceday kills (the Commission did not forward training deaths, so this list is far from complete) at Louisiana’s Evangeline Downs in 2014:

3-year-old Sicard’s Sensation, April 17, Evangeline 10

5-year-old Rock Elle Ten, April 30, Evangeline 2

3-year-old Polar Pal, May 2, Evangeline 7

5-year-old Gibson Halo, May 29, Evangeline 4
(chart merely said “eased, lame”)

4-year-old Wino, June 11, Evangeline 2
(chart merely said “pulled up, vanned off”)

5-year-old Lone Star Sizzler, July 12, Evangeline 7

4-year-old Generator, July 18, Evangeline 8

5-year-old Rosie by Rossini, August 9, Evangeline 7

5-year-old Sorcerer’s Queen, August 21, Evangeline 7
(chart merely said “pulled up, vanned off”)

5-year-old Im Funny for Money, August 21, Evangeline 9
(chart merely said “pulled up, vanned off”)

3-year-old Tu Tu Tango, August 23, Evangeline 1
(chart merely said “pulled up, vanned off”)

5-year-old Throwsomelimeonit, August 29, Evangeline 2
(chart merely said “vanned off after wire”)

3-year-old Integratee, October 22, Evangeline 5
(chart said finished fine)

5-year-old Game to Run, October 23, Evangeline 8
(chart merely said “lame”)

3-year-old Honeydripper, October 30, Evangeline 3
(chart said finished fine)

4-year-old Lies N Disguise, November 13, Evangeline 2

4-year-old Caseys Patriot, November 22, Evangeline 9
(chart said finished fine)

2-year-old First to Dashn Shine, November 28, Evangeline 10 (“neurologic”)
(chart merely said “stumbled, fell”)

4-year-old Heza Fast Lover, December 12, Evangeline 3
(chart merely said “lost rider, lame”)

2-year-old Dee Magic Corona, December 13, Evangeline 5
(chart said finished fine)

3-year-old Mississippi Stud, December 17, Evangeline 8
(chart merely said “pulled up lame”)

The following is our latest installment of “Shedrow Secrets” – first-hand accounts from the heroes who work tirelessly to save Racing’s broken bodies.

Shedrow Secrets

Shedrow Secrets

Darned Worthy
by Joy Aten

Over the course of his racing career, the stunning grey Darned Worthy had at least three strikes against him in the “owner department.” Yet two of those three owners would’ve been considered a couple of racing’s “good folks” by racehorse advocates who are supporters of the industry. So how could it be that Darned Worthy found himself running out of time?…and with an owner – his third and final – who boasted he would rather send his spent and injured racehorses to slaughter than give them to a rescue? How did Darned Worthy spiral to racing’s abyss? Why did his “good” owners allow him to get there, and where were they when he needed them?

A 2003 Florida-bred gelding, Darned Worthy was bred, owned and raced by Marilyn McMaster. The big grey beauty had 16 starts for McMaster, running at Tampa Bay and Calder to Keeneland and Churchill Downs. He ran his final race for her at Mountaineer in June of 2007…Darned Worthy was injured with bone chips in his knee. A few months after that race, McMaster contacted CANTER-MI, wanting to donate her injured gelding to the program as her veterinarian advised he should no longer race. McMaster was a “good” owner – she was donating her injured racehorse instead of continuing to race him or sending him off to slaughter. (Yet CANTER would then be responsible for Darned Worthy’s vetting and probable surgery, rehab, and the cost of his daily care until he could be found a suitable home.) “Good folk”?

Shortly before Darned Worthy was scheduled to come into CANTER, an investigative piece on the abuses in horse racing was aired on Channel 7 out of Detroit. The report – “One Race Too Many” – was filmed at Great Lakes Downs in Muskegon, Michigan and I carried the hidden camera that filmed a trainer admitting he ran injured horses. Many Michigan-based racing owners and trainers saw the televised report and were angry that the cruelties of their “sport” were exposed. Marilyn McMaster was one such owner.

She immediately contacted CANTER’s founder via e-mail and the following are her words: “In my opinion, CANTER ambushed and selected the worst to create shock value which I find despictable (sic). Whether you are still involved in the organization or not, tell them to do not ever expect future support from me. I was willing to give them a beautiful, gray TB gelding who, when we discovered a chip, retired him from racing. If we don’t find another home for him, we will put him down rather than give him to CANTER.” In her anger at having her industry exposed, she spitefully took it out on her injured horse. “Good folk”?

August, 2008. Darned Worthy is entered for a new owner and trainer – Emerald Creek Racing and Jennifer Davis – at Pinnacle Race Course in Michigan. I send an e-mail to Commissioner Christine White, inform her of Darned Worthy’s injury and the vet’s recommendation he no longer race, and request the gelding receive a morning pre-race examination and another thorough inspection in the paddock. I do not receive a reply from White. Several days later, I call Emerald Creek Racing (using my maiden name) to inquire about purchasing Darned Worthy…my “story” is I watch racing at Pinnacle and love the greys…but no, this owner LOVES the gelding and is going to run him some more.

Darned Worthy labors in 5 races for Emerald Creek Racing, once with only 6 days between races and another time with just 8 days in between. In his 5th and last race for them, on October 12, 2008, Darned Worthy is “pulled up” and “vanned off.” Another e-mail is sent to the racing commissioner and again, she doesn’t respond. But this time I didn’t need to call Emerald Creek Racing about purchasing their gelding…they called me…and now they were willing to part with him…for “4 or 5 thousand.” I tried to strike a deal for less, but when it was obvious to them I couldn’t pay several thousand dollars, Darned Worthy suddenly became their “favorite,” was “such a nice guy,” and would be retired to their farm. They valued their bank account more than their “favorite” horse. “Good folks”?

June 16, 2009. Trainer Reid Gross runs Darned Worthy at Pinnacle Race Course and the gallant gelding finishes 3rd. Eleven days later Gross races him again. And again, a 3rd place finish. We know the 6-year-old’s days are numbered…Reid Gross’ used-up racehorses disappear… “I would rather send them to slaughter than give them to a rescue.” So when we see Darned Worthy is entered again, this time at River Downs, we feel we cannot wait a minute longer. But we need another story and a racetrack employee willing to act as a buyer…we come up with both. Gross accepts $1500 but warns our buyer “you won’t be able to jump him – he’s got a bum knee.” We had hoped he would take the $1500 and scratch Darned Worthy from the race, but he was determined to run him once more. While we hold our collective breath, the hard-trying gelding runs his last race on July 10, 2009. “Good folk”?…of course not. But he never pretended to be.

We picked up Darned Worthy on July 16. Within days, he received a full lameness evaluation, which included x-rays. Here, that veterinarian’s findings and recommendations: “Significant arthritic changes. Horse approved for light use only. No jumping, endurance, racing, or extended use – the knee would break down.” We then had Dr. John Stick, equine orthopedic surgeon, view the radiographs as well…his advice: “I agree with the future assessment. Flat work only and will need some meds to keep sound.” Darned Worthy was only six-years-old. Not even in his prime. All three of his racing owners made certain he would never be fully sound. Racing’s “good folks”?…not a single one.

(Darned Worthy was adopted by Dawn Mancina within days of his rescue. As one of her beloved equine family members, he spends his days enjoying life in the company of his own herd. He’s done striking out and is finally with really good folks. Darned Worthy has – at last – a family.)

Reported (on the official chart) as “fell, vanned off” in the 5th at Gulfstream yesterday, 3-year-old Cheers for Sidney is in fact dead – euthanized, according to the Paulick Report, “due to her injuries.” Of course, the only reason Paulick disclosed this death is because the jockey was dinged up (“wrist pain”). This is horseracing.