2-year-old Chase This Bandit – barely more than a baby – broke down (“tragically,” says the chartwriter) and was euthanized after finishing 2nd in yesterday’s 10th at Belmont. The Linda Rice-trained, John Witte-owned colt was being whip-raced for the second time. His final moments on this Earth can be seen here (the fatal fall is at 1:38). Per usual, not a word on the dying horse from the track announcer, and nary a mention on NYRA’s website. This is horseracing.
Two more horses have perished at Belmont Park, bringing that track’s 2014 Kill Total to 36: 4-year-old Zaikov, who hadn’t been raced since last December, went down – fractured humerus – while training yesterday morning. For trainer Todd Pletcher, that’s seven dead horses at NY tracks this year. The other horse, 4-year-old Perfect Danger, was felled by post-surgery laminitis. The Eugene Reiff-trained colt was last raced at Saratoga in August.
In its most recent meeting (September 30th), the Ohio State Racing Commission disclosed that through September 29th of this year, 35 horses – 28 Thoroughbred, 7 Standardbred – have died racing or training on Ohio tracks. (And there was no Thoroughbred racing the first 3 1/2 months of the year.) Five of those kills came in a recent five-day period at Belterra. The minutes go on to say that “[Executive Director] Crawford and Chairman Schmitz expressed concern about this development.” This is Ohio horseracing.
3-year-old Party Time is dead from a post-training injury sustained Saturday at Keeneland. According to The Courier-Journal, the colt was spooked by the large crowd, jumped the rail on the backside, and “plummet[ed] down the steep dropoff to the service road.” Trainer Wayne Catalano: “…he went down. I don’t know how deep that is. It’s straight down, somebody said it’s 30 feet.”
The industry will dismiss this as tragic accident, blind misfortune – a “non-racing” fatality. But I say, rubbish. Horseracing killed this equine child. Period.
In its most recently released rulings, the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has cited the following harness drivers:
Norman Robbins, “Indiscriminate Use of Whip” – $50 fine, 5-day suspension
Chris Page, “Indiscriminate Use of Whip” – $500 fine, no suspension
Daniel Noble, “Kicking a Horse” – $50 fine, no suspension
Christopher Loney, “Kicking a Horse” (multiple offences) – $100 fine, no suspension
Tyler Shehan, “Kicking a Horse” – $50 fine, no suspension
Chris Page (same one from above?), “Kicking a Horse” – $50 fine, no suspension
Wrist-slaps for whipping and kicking the athletes. This is horseracing.