A pair of equine children being raced for the very first time broke down over the weekend: Saturday at Thistledown, 3-year-old Matched Ruler crumpled in the 8th; Sunday at Monmouth, 2-year-old Souper Arch dropped in the 4th. The former was ridden by Kevin Gonzalez, trained by David Hunt, and owned by Charles Golden; the latter by Angel Serpa, Michael Trombetta, and Live Oak Plantation.

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Also, Friday at Retama, 4-year-old Strategic Player broke down in the 5th. In his penultimate start, July 24th at Fair Meadows, Strategic Player “was never close, pulled up in distress.” Apparently, owner Danny Keene thought a change of trainer would help – from Shea Stuart in July to Allen Milligan Friday. Apparently, he was wrong.

Sunday, the Paulick Report published a press-release announcing the retirement-to-stud (to a farm called “Country Life”) of 4-year-old Graded Stakes Winner Super Ninety Nine. It’s the type of story that racing apologists love – a career celebrated, an idyllic retirement, a happy ending. Never mind that stud is its own kind of exploitation, this, to them, is responsible aftercare – an industry taking care of its athletes. But in truth, an overwhelming majority of the done-earning never see places like “Country Life.” This is the fate that awaits them.

Like Mulheb before him, 4-year-old DJ’s Hope was reported (by Equibase) to have been vanned off a NY track – Finger Lakes, Saturday – only to later turn up dead on the Gaming Commission website. This time, however, we learn the horse was actually euthanized on-track (sesamoid). So, it appears the “van” was hauling a carcass. DJ’s Hope was ridden by Luis Perez and trained/owned by Adrianne D’Alessandro.

That same day, 3-year-old Freddie Freud was killed while practicing at Belmont. The Jena Antonucci-trained horse was inactive – reason unknown – from November ’13 to August of this year when he finished dead-last – almost 25 lengths back – in a race at Saratoga. NY’s 2014 Death Toll: 88.


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

Broke Down:
Frat Man, Sep 10, Charles Town 7
I Love Penny, Sep 10, Penn 3
Funnys Man Dream, Sep 11, Belterra 1
Kingliest, Sep 11, Belterra 6
Foxy Syd, Sep 11, Penn 5
Eddington Bay, Sep 11, Penn 9
Tale of Lucknfame, Sep 12, Belterra 7
Strategic Player, Sep 12, Retama 5
X Why Zee, Sep 13, Parx 10
Matched Ruler, Sep 13, Thistledown 8
Souper Arch, Sep 14, Monmouth 4

Vanned Off:
Dawnandlori, Sep 9, Parx 1
Bankitos Gold, Sep 10, Albuquerque 2
Landrys Girl, Sep 10, Albuquerque 5
Mulheb, Sep 10, Belmont 1 (subsequently confirmed dead)
Tanzana, Sep 10, Suffolk 2
Mingunesque, Sep 11, Laurel 2
Midnight Roar, Sep 11, Los Alamitos 2
SC No More Clouds, Sep 11, Remington 3
Trenomee, Sep 12, Charles Town 1
Stayo, Sep 12, Golden Gate 5
Wildcat Mile, Sep 12, Gulfstream 1
Im a Cranky Seis, Sep 12, Will Rogers 6
Girl Friday, Sep 12, Will Rogers 9
Ize a Great Dancer, Sep 13, Albuquerque 4
Feathers Inthe Sky, Sep 13, Churchill 8
Training Zone Jon, Sep 13, Finger Lakes 4
DJ’s Hope, Sep 13, Finger Lakes 5
Marija’s Wish, Sep 13, Gulfstream 1
Girl’s World, Sep 13, Louisiana 6
Cola de Oro, Sep 13, Prairie 1
Sister Glady Oh La, Sep 13, Suffolk 8
Deputy Dia, Sep 13, Zia 9
Kato, Sep 14, Belmont 7
Hrh Burning Corona, Sep 14, Los Alamitos (Q) 2
Mamma Nia, Sep 14, Mountaineer 2
Travieso, Sep 14, Zia 9

Other Casualties:
Can’t Stop Believn, Sep 8, Suffolk 3, fell, DNF
Red Excell, Sep 10, Albuquerque 3, fell, DNF
Eddy’s Time, Sep 10, Belmont 4, bled, DNF
In Kelly’s Defense, Sep 10, Belmont 5, bled
Sista Baby Girl, Sep 11, Canterbury 2, “stopped badly”
Hola Wild Cat, Sep 11, Canterbury 7, “stopped badly”
Boastful Dancer, Sep 11, Laurel 9, “pulled up lame”
This Chicks a Madam, Sep 12, Albuquerque 2, “bumped hard, fell,” DNF
Please No Emails, Sep 13, Finger Lakes 8, “appeared…in distress,” DNF
Stella Bluish, Sep 13, Gulfstream 4, fell, DNF
Too Many Candles, Sep 13, Laurel 6, “bled from both nostrils”
Remarkable, Sep 14, Belmont 3, bled

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6-year-old (44 races) Tale of Lucknfame – trained and owned by Rebecca Johnston – broke down Friday at Belterra, bringing that track’s two-day fallen-horse total to three (Funnysman Dream, Kingliest). What’s more, Penn National also lost three horses in a two-day span this week: I Love Penny on Wednesday; Foxy Syd, Eddington Bay on Thursday. Two tracks, Wednesday-Friday: Six breakdowns.