Loose, four, is dead after breaking down (“bad steps,” says the chartwriter) in the 1st yesterday at Belmont. She was under the whip for the 15th time. To date, 20 racehorses have lost their lives at Belmont Park this year:

Steve’s Image, January 7, “horse died in stall from apparent colic”
Alex the Terror, January 9, “fx sesamoids while galloping, vanned off – euthanized”
Old Dubai, January 19, “fell breezing – euthanized on track due to compound fx”
Ciaran, March 6, “suffered a fx breezing – vanned off and euthanized”
Anchor, April 6, “horse was found dead in stall”
Belt High, May 3, “fx cannon/sesamoids – euthanized on the track”
Desert Affair, May 6, “fatal musculoskeletal injury – euthanized on the track”
Terry O Geri, May 18, “found dead in stall two days after having colic surgery”
Mark My Style, May 24, “suffered a soft tissue injury breezing – euthanized”
Overdraft, June 3, “euthanized for a fx pelvis”
Montauk, June 7, “suffered a fx shoulder while breezing and was euthanized”
Classy Cara, June 14, “ambulanced off the track; fx to leg – euthanized”
Freeze the Account, June 17, “fx cannon/sesamoids – euthanized on the track”
New Pass, June 23, “suffered fx cannon – euthanized on the track”
Luzinski, June 27, “was pulled up in the vicinity of the 1/4 pole – euthanized on track”
Charlonique, July 30, “fx cannon and sesamoid breezing – euthanized”
Gabriella, August 6, “sustained pelvic fx while training, vanned off – euthanized”
Northernstreetgal, September 7, “chronic septic tendon infection – euthanized”
Quaff, September 8, “removed from track via horse ambulance – euthanized”
Loose, September 21, “fx sesamoid – euthanized”

This, for 5-year-old GP’s Girl in the 5th yesterday at Arlington (Equibase): “sat well rated off the pace while running in the two path, bled and was eased in the final furlong, fell after the finish and died.” Bled first, then fell and died.

According to a trusted source, Phil’s Cocktail, a “fell past the quarter pole, vanned off” in the 8th at Thistledown Monday, is in fact dead – apparently from a heart attack. Phil’s Cocktail was six – an age when a horse is just emerging from puberty. Heart attack. Then again, perhaps the 48 times under the whip and the myriad substances pumped into his body over the past four years had something to do with it.

The most recent Stewards Minutes for the LA County Fair (Los Alamitos) report that Valley Child, a 2-year-old being prepped for her first race, “fractured both front knees and fell just before the finish line” while training September 6 and, of course, was euthanized. Two broken knees – imagine that scene.

The Los Alamitos (QuarterHorse) Minutes report “one equine death due to racing injuries” for September 7-9. The dead horse, alas, remains anonymous.

This is horseracing.

A day after I reported on the 10th kill at Saratoga this year, yet another has surfaced. Hard Study, five, broke down while training Sunday; x-rays and a “poor prognosis for recovery” (Gaming Commission) led to euthanasia two days later. In case you may be wondering about the lag, Hard Study was still a “horse,” meaning had he been able to be saved, lucrative stud fees for owner Paul Pompa Jr were in the offing. So, (more) human greed likely extended this poor creature’s suffering.

The 11 dead racehorses at Saratoga since July:

Presumptuous, July 7
Heartspoke, July 25
Macho Citizen, July 28
Frosty Gal, August 1
Master Manipulator, August 6
Biz Boss, August 17
Indifference, August 20
Bowie, August 26
Royal Blessing, September 4
Business Expense, September 13
Hard Study, September 16 (euthanized September 18)

The NYRA carnival has long since moved on to Belmont, but horses are still training at Saratoga – and dying. The Gaming Commission has just disclosed the death of Business Expense last Thursday: “fx cannon and P1 while breezing – euthanized.” Business Expense was five and was last raced August 22 at that same track.

Last summer, the media was all over Saratoga’s ignominious, record-breaking meet (21 kills). It was sensational and dramatic: horses were dying at a clip of roughly three a week at “the nation’s oldest sporting venue,” hallowed and consecrated Saratoga Race Course. This year, as numbers dipped into the single digits, there was (with a couple praiseworthy exceptions) a collective shrug. If anything, we were treated to a few “Saratoga is better protecting its athletes” stories. But as I said in practically every interview I gave last year, the real story is that Saratoga has averaged 14 dead a summer since the database went live in 2009. And now we learn that the 2018 toll has inched closer to that average, once again giving lie to “safety initiatives” and “track improvements.” Horseracing kills horses. Always has. Always will.

Presumptuous, July 7
Heartspoke, July 25
Macho Citizen, July 28
Frosty Gal, August 1
Master Manipulator, August 6
Biz Boss, August 17
Indifference, August 20
Bowie, August 26
Royal Blessing, September 4
Business Expense, September 13