According to the chartwriter (Equibase), Iggy Loco’s run in the 8th at Aqueduct Wednesday went like this: “lost his action with six furlongs remaining and was immediately put to a protective hold, guided to the outside, pulled up and was subsequently vanned off.” “Protective hold, guided to the outside.” So far, so good. “Vanned off”? Merely precautionary right, apologists? Turns out, the 3-year-old is dead – euthanized, says the Gaming Commission, presumably back in the barn.

The Commission has also disclosed the death of 5-year-old Rainy Night: “found lame in her stall on 11/15; euthanized on 11/22 for severe hemorrhage from gastrocnemius tear/trauma.” No word on how, exactly, this horse tore her muscle enough to produce that “severe hemorrhage,” and I suspect that that’s exactly how it will stay. As for the initial lameness, a clue perhaps in Rainy Night’s final race, at Belmont roughly one month prior: 11th of 12, 17+ lengths back.

In the 4th yesterday at Mahoning, says Equibase, Classic Reward “had good early speed, pulled up injured entering the turn and was euthanized.” Classic Reward was 10 years old; this was his 70th time under the whip.

Later in the day, in the 4th at Penn, Blu Moon Ace “tracked the pace on the outside, suffered an injury at the five sixteenths pole and was euthanized.” Four years old.

I have also confirmed that Black Jules, a “pulled up in distress, vanned off” in the 4th at Mahoning Tuesday, is also dead. He was three; this was his third race.

Young, old (for the track, that is); new, worn – it doesn’t matter. Racing maims and kills without discrimination. If you’re a bettor, please stop. Go to a casino, play online poker, buy some scratchoffs. Let the animals be.

According to the chartwriter at Finger Lakes Monday, nothing out of the ordinary happened to 3-year-old Act Surprised in the 10th beyond, that is, falling and not finishing the race. In fact, the horse is dead – broken shoulder, and, says the Gaming Commission, “euthanized on the track.” Industry duplicity laid bare – yet again.

This morning, I received this from a witness to the above: “First off, they took forever to get an equine ambulance to the horse. Once they did, they opted not to put up a screen. It was the last race of the day and the majority of the people [had] left anyways. They proceeded to tranquilize the horse and administer euthanization shots, kill him where he lay, no screen, out in the open. They then proceeded to tie a rope around the (now) dead horse’s legs and neck and pull him into the ambulance, to be driven off.” Visualize that.

This is horseracing.

Chart notes (Equibase) from American racetracks last week:

Elostorm “bled” at Aqueduct
Spa Town Parade “vanned off” at Aqueduct
One More Song “vanned off” at Aqueduct
Horse Laugh “vanned off” at Del Mar
Arlene’s Buck “vanned off” at Finger Lakes
Nay’s Back “vanned off in obvious distress” at Charles Town
Mr. Game Seven “vanned off” at Charles Town
Vedelago “vanned off” at Churchill
Russian Radiance “broke down” at Golden Gate
Bennett Mtn. Gal “bled” at Golden Gate
Aspic “broke down…euthanized” at Penn
Welder “vanned off” at Remington
Tale of E Dubai “vanned off” at Aqueduct
Combined “vanned off” at Fair Grounds
Sight Line “pulled up in distress” at Parx
El Comander “vanned off” at Mountaineer
Split Step “vanned off” at Zia

As I posted, the 6th race at Penn National Friday night not only produced a breakdown but an unconscionable eight-minute lag before the medical staff arrived on the scene to euthanize. Credit, I suppose, should go to the chartwriter for calling out the responsible parties. Here is the note as it appeared Saturday morning:


“ASPIC chased the pace on the outside, broke down at the three eighths pole and was euthanized after the ambulance took about eight minutes to arrive.”

Yesterday, that note was changed. But this was no mere tweak. Gone was the chartwriter’s editorializing but so, too, was any mention of a dead racehorse. Aspic was now simply “injured, vanned off.” This morning I awoke to yet another alteration. Someone at Penn (or Equibase) must have realized how bad this looks – as if one of their “athletes” dying on the field isn’t bad enough – and Aspic has once again been downgraded to dead, albeit without the eight minutes of suffering:

“ASPIC chased the pace on the outside, fell after suffering a catastrophic injury nearing the three eighths pole and was euthanized.”

“The Sport of Kings” is a ruse. Horseracing, in truth, is but a 20th Century gambling business that kills animals, regularly (over 2,000 a year on U.S. tracks alone). They do their damnedest to hide this, even, as the above attests, changing the facts as they go. It – horseracing – is a big lie. End it.