In Dead Athletes on July 29, 2014 at 6:28 pm
8-year-old Vader Grade, trained by Harlan Bird Rattler and owned by Wesley Edwards, was killed in Sunday’s 5th race at Great Falls (Montana State Fair). Equibase originally reported this as a mostly non-event: “clipped heels, lost rider,” DNF. But in fact, the gelding suffered (according to the meet’s director) “a terrible injury and had to be euthanized.”
Tom Tucker of the Montana State Board of Horse Racing (Great Falls Tribune): “…you’ve got animals running and sometimes they will trip and you have accidents. It’s extremely unfortunate, but that’s just part of this industry.” Dead horses – “just part of this industry.” Mr. Tucker, you’ve said a mouthful.
In Dead Athletes on July 29, 2014 at 8:53 am
To those new to the site – and without a working knowledge of horseracing – “vanned off” may not sound particularly ominous – football players, after all, are occasionally carted off the field. But here’s the reality: A horse who leaves the course via ambulance has a better-than-even chance – some experts put it at 90% – of same-day euthanasia or shortly thereafter. In other words, “vanned off,” like “broke down,” is an industry euphemism for something really bad has happened to a racehorse (which I guess is also a euphemism). For proof, we need look no further than Finger Lakes Racetrack.
Since the current meet began in April, three horses have been reported (by Equibase) as “vanned off.” All three, thanks to the Gaming Commission database, have been subsequently confirmed dead: Indomitable Woman July 17th; Chichita July 26th; and just yesterday, 7-year-old, 50-start veteran Gimmeanotherwink. Three ambulance rides, three shots of sodium pentobarbital. So you see, “vanned off” is just another smoke screen.
In Dead Athletes on July 28, 2014 at 2:51 pm
The Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reports that Peter Miller-trained Chilled Mousse is dead after breaking down yesterday morning at Del Mar. He was two. The kill brings Del Mar’s weekend death toll to five. That’s right, five horses have died at storied Del Mar since Friday – and seven since opening day less than two weeks ago. This is horseracing.