Back in September, I wrote about a 3-year-old gelding who had been raced on back-to-back days – in two separate states. Since then, life has not improved for Irish-born Floating Ballerino. Still in the hands of trainer Janet Elliot and owner Gregory Hawkins, FB was recently raced three times in 18 days: 10/1 and 10/10 at Laurel, 10/18 at the Far Hills (NJ) Steeplechase. In the last, he “was through after a mile, fell back…pulled up before the last jump.” DNF. In all, Floating Ballerino was put to track five times in a little over five weeks. And there is no end in sight. This is horseracing.

“Oh no!” And so exclaimed the track announcer when 3-year-old Cloud Cutter broke down (he can be presumed dead) midway through the 4th race Sunday night at Mountaineer. He went on: “There’s a bad fall there. Cloud Cutter, the odds-on favorite, came down.” That, of course, would be the last word we would receive on the doomed colt. Replay here (Cloud Cutter crumples around 1:09).

An unnamed 2-year-old filly “collapsed and died” while training at Belmont Saturday morning. 2-year-old horses – the rough equivalent of 2nd-grade children – should not, of course, just collapse and die, but fret not – the Gaming Commission assures that the “investigation continues.” Incidentally, trainer Tom Morley conveniently omits any mention of his dead horse on his Twitter feed.

In Belmont’s just-concluded “Fall Championship Meet” (Sep 5th-Oct 26th), 12 Thoroughbreds perished either racing or training (another, Perfect Danger, was felled by laminitis). In all, Belmont has lost 38 since the year began. This is horseracing.

Rulings from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission:

For abuses committed against QuarterHorses:
5/31/14, Aron Hunt, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension
6/13/14, Christian Esqueda, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $250 fine, no suspension
7/11/14, Julian Serrano, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension

For abuses committed against Thoroughbreds:
6/18/14, Alejandro Contreras, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $200 fine, no suspension

For abuses committed against Standardbreds:
5/8/14, Andy Shetler, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/13/14, Bradley Hanners, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/13/14, Lewayne Miller, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/13/14, Samuel Widger, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/17/14, Luke Plano, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/23/14, Lewayne Miller (again), “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/23/14, Michael Micallef, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
5/24/14, Luke Plano (again), “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension
5/27/14, Andy Shetler (again), “Whip-excessive” – $100 fine, no suspension
5/28/14, Brandon Bates, “Whip-excessive” – $100 fine, no suspension
6/21/14, Donald Eash, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension
6/27/14, Tyler Smith, “Kicking” – $100 fine, no suspension
7/1/14, Andy Shetler (again), “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
7/1/14, Lewayne Miller (again), “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $1,000 fine, no suspension

In early May, Andy Shetler, Lewayne Miller, and Luke Plano were each cited and fined for whipping their Standardbreds to the point of bleeding or welts. Over the next six weeks, the trio had a combined five more excessive-whipping violations. All continue to drive. This is Indiana horseracing.

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

Broke Down:
Chase This Bandit, Oct 24, Belmont 10 (reported euthanized)
Cloud Cutter, Oct 26, Mountaineer 4

Vanned Off:
Quiet Dinero, Oct 20, Parx 1
Gunnslinger, Oct 20, Zia 1
That’s the Answer, Oct 21, Mountaineer 5
I’m a Pal, Oct 21, Parx 2
Lonnie Ton, Oct 21, Zia 12
Brand Knew, Oct 22, Albuquerque 2
Barzini, Oct 22, Gulfstream W 1
Star of Paradise, Oct 22, Hawthorne 5
Burden, Oct 22, Keeneland 5
Auditorium, Oct 22, Mountaineer 7
Magnificent Moon, Oct 23, Laurel 4
Salty Forecast, Oct 24, Delta 8
Tricky Shane, Oct 24, Golden Gate 6
Shoe Jo, Oct 24, Keeneland 2
R U Experienced, Oct 25, Golden Gate 5
Bea of the Tiger, Oct 25, Gulfstream W 2
Inner Pride, Oct 25, Hawthorne 3
Gorgeous Redhead, Oct 25, Penn 9
Bridlewood Angel, Oct 26, Albuquerque 9
Halo Red, Oct 26, Los Alamitos 1
Lady Jarlyn, Oct 26, Parx 2
Logan’s Lotto, Oct 26, Santa Anita 4
Pretty Wood Jesse, Oct 26, Zia 3

Joan’s Choice, Oct 23, Belmont 4, bled
Game to Run, Oct 23, Evangeline 8, “lame”
Mariano Intheninth, Oct 24, Keeneland 2, bled
Little Redhead, Oct 24, Thistledown 3, “returned sore”

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