It is established fact that a significant number of just-off-the-track horses require euthanasia shortly after landing at a rescue. They do because their beaten-down bodies make a pain-free life all but impossible. Unfortunately, however, these horses are mostly out of my reach, dying in anonymity to all but their final caretakers. Still, every once in a while, I learn of one.

Catchumdenae (below) was a 6-year-old mare who was raced 36 times, the final six for Rodney Moyers. Her last race – in which she was “For Sale” at the bargain-basement price of $4,000 prior to – was March 2 at Mahoning. She finished second-to-last, some 22 lengths back (“stayed back throughout”). Shortly thereafter, she was simply given to someone who intended to retire her. Sweet relief appeared at hand. But, it wasn’t to be. Turns out, this poor animal had a slab fracture in her right knee and a broken splint bone in her left leg; she was euthanized Tuesday. Says the attending vet: “She must have had a lot of heart running with those injuries.”

The profoundly sad end for Catchumdenae is an all-too-common tale: The founder of two of the nation’s most respected Thoroughbred rescues estimates that 30% of those taken from the track must be euthanized almost immediately. 30%. These are the hidden casualties – the ones who don’t make my “Killed” lists. But make no mistake, Racing is wholly responsible for each and every one of them. And I’d love to see some lowlife apologist try to refute that.

In the 4th at Thistledown yesterday afternoon, “SOROA settled near the inside, suffered a catastrophic injury in upper stretch, fell and was euthanized” (Equibase). Soroa was a 4-year-old filly under the whip for the 10th time.

Soroa suffers her “catastrophic injury” around 1:05 mark…

Later in the evening, in the 6th at Mountaineer, “LIL’L ALLSTAR took a bad step shortly after entering the turn losing the rider, was euthanized on the track.” Lil’l Allstar was a 6-year-old gelding under the whip for the 32nd time.

25 minutes later, at that same track, “LASER LYNN collapsed in upper stretch and was euthanized after the race.” Laser Lynn was a 3-year-old filly under the whip for the 22nd time.

Kill. Kill. Kill. Just one day, just the ones we know about (for now). This is horseracing.

Through a FOIA request to the California Horse Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at that state’s tracks in 2018. (Please note: The Board redacted the names of the dead horses; any identifications below came via other channels.)

We Have a Favorite, March 10, Los Alamitos R
“Comminuted, complete, displaced slab fracture of radial carpal, intermediate carpal, ulnar carpal and carpal III, plus osteochondral fragmentation of the palmar aspect of the proximal articular surface of MCIII (acute). Chronic cartilage lipping and osteochondral disease [both] front limbs.” (she was but three years old)

unidentified 12-year-old, March 18, Los Alamitos
“Hauler got to Los Alamitos, noticed blood on trailer. This horse was picked up from Burns Ranch earlier and likely went down on trailer during transport. Fracture, open, complete, severely comminuted. Subcutaneous and intramuscular hemorrhage, severe. Hemorrhagic puncture wound of skin. As suspected, she was pregnant with a 5-6 week gestation embryo.” (again, pregnant)

Native Jaylo, April 20, Golden Gate R (died April 22)
“Pulled up at 1/8 pole. Grade 4 lame RF with hyperdorsiflexion at R carpus. Radiographs diagnosed fracture of C3. Today 4-22-18 during surgery to compress fracture, filly experienced cardiac arrest and died.”

Carulli, April 20, Los Alamitos R
“Open, comminuted, complete, displaced condylar fracture with rupture of the articular capsule, annular ligament and collateral fetlock ligaments. Open, comminuted, complete, displaced fracture of the medial proximal sesamoid bone with avulsion fracture of the tip and avulsion fracture of the axial surface; rupture of the intersesamoidean ligament and fibrocartilage. Deep gastric ulcers.”

unidentified 3-year-old, May 9, Los Alamitos T
“Open, comminuted, complete, displaced fracture of MCIII. Missing bone fragment(s).”

Blackhawk Beauty, May 11, Golden Gate R
“Horse had an open, displaced fracture in the fetlock with fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones and tendon/ligament rupture. Gastric ulceration was severe.”

unidentified 3-year-old, May 30, Golden Gate T
“Complete humerus fracture with an additional fractured proximal bone fragment. Marked hemorrhage within the surrounding soft tissues which also are partially torn.”

Irish Spring, August 4, Del Mar R
“Horse was in tight and appeared to clip heels and fell. Horse was dead upon arrival. Complete, comminuted, displaced fracture of C 3, with complete transection of the spinal cord and extensive hemorrhages.” (he broke his neck)

unidentified 2-year-old, August 4, Los Alamitos T
“Upon arrival horse was dead. Viewers described slowing down and stumbling to outside rail, then collapsed, DX: cardiovascular failure. Pulmonary congestion, edema and extensive pleural hemorrhages. Tracheal congestion and hemorrhages, marked. The stomach had numerous irregular deep ulcers.” (again, two years old)

Mz Brown, September 2, Del Mar R
“Catastrophic breakdown of the left front fetlock. Fractures of the proximal sesamoid bones. Full thickness, transverse rupture of the palmar annular ligament. Full thickness, transverse and longitudinal rupture of the intersesamoidean ligament.”

In the 6th at Santa Anita yesterday, Spectacular Music was said (by Equibase) to have “[taken] a bad step”; eventually he was “vanned off.” Today, we learn (LA Times) that the 3-year-old was euthanized for a pelvis fracture.

Spectacular Music is victim 30 in the current meet. But, I remind, nothing unusual there: On average, Santa Anita notches 50 dead horses annually. 50. In other words, and despite trainer Doug O’Neill’s claim in the Paulick Report last week (prior to the two most recent kills, that is) – “we’ve turned the corner…good, safe racing is here [to] stay” – there are surely more to come.

Psychedelicat, killed racing at Santa Anita Dec 30, 2018
Tank Team, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 4, 2019
Unusual Angel, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 4, 2019
Secret Street, killed training at Santa Anita Jan 8, 2019
Derby Treasure, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 11, 2019
Noise Mandate, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 18, 2019
Amboseli, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 20, 2019
Like Really Smart, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 21, 2019
Last Promise Kept, killed racing at Santa Anita Jan 21, 2019
Dancing Harbor, killed training at Santa Anita Jan 23, 2019
Spitfire, killed training at Santa Anita Jan 25, 2019
Kid Cantina, killed racing at Santa Anita Feb 2, 2019
Comegowithme, killed racing at Santa Anita Feb 3, 2019
Jager Time, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 17, 2019
Unusual Rider, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 18, 2019
Hot American, killed racing at Santa Anita Feb 22, 2019
Battle of Midway, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 23, 2019
Just Forget It, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 23, 2019
Charmer John, killed training at Santa Anita Feb 24, 2019
Eskenforadrink, killed racing at Santa Anita Mar 2, 2019
Lets Light the Way, killed training at Santa Anita Mar 5, 2019
Princess Lili B, killed training at Santa Anita Mar 14, 2019
Arms Runner, killed racing at Santa Anita Mar 31, 2019
Commander Coil, killed training at Santa Anita May 17, 2019
Spectacular Music, killed racing at Santa Anita May 19, 2019
unidentified, Jan 14-Jan 20, died off-track at Santa Anita
unidentified, Jan 21-Jan 27, died off-track at Santa Anita
unidentified, Feb 25-Mar 3, died off-track at Santa Anita
unidentified, Feb 25-Mar 3, died off-track at Santa Anita
unidentified, Apr 1-Apr 7, died off-track at Santa Anita

One of Santa Anita’s 2018 victims (Boom Boom Bango)…

Last week in U.S. Horseracing (not including training, not including harness).

Giant Song “vanned off” at Sunray
Bud’s Bayonet “was pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Indiana
Hasty Commander “flipped in the gate, vanned off” at Indiana
Jamaican Magician “vanned off” at Delaware
Thaddeus “vanned off” at Delaware
Harlan’s Howling “vanned off” at Mountaineer
Kinley Karole “went wrong” at Churchill – subsequently confirmed dead
Adios Jess “vanned off” at Delta
Circle Unbroken “suffered a catastrophic injury, humanely destroyed” at Penn
Morning Belle “vanned off” at Prairie
Kinetic Art “returned bleeding from the nostrils” at Belterra
Misty Fly “suffered a fatal injury…euthanized on the track” at Charles Town
Mr. Carlos “vanned off” at Evangeline
Saratoga Breeze “fell, vanned off” at Gulfstream subsequently confirmed dead
Seeking the Sunset “vanned off” at Pimlico
Congrats Gal “collapsed post race…perished on the track” at Pimlico
Blame Joe “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Fusaichi Samurai “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Sheadashingivory “bled, vanned off” at Sam Houston
Warrior’s Delight “vanned off” at Delaware
Catbalee “vanned off” at Louisiana
Dapper Dan “fell, DNF” at Malvern
Super Saturday “hit fence, fell, DNF” at Malvern
Mutin “fell, DNF” at Malvern
Balistes “fell, DNF” at Malvern
Foot in the Door “vanned off” at Monmouth
No Drinking Rules “pulled up in distress, vanned off” at Parx
Friendly Fire “returned bleeding” at Pimlico
My Third Eye “vanned off in heat distress” at Lone Star
Thru Lady “vanned off” at Los Alamitos
Nenas Gmc “vanned off” at Ruidoso
Spectacular Music “vanned off” at Santa Anita
Dewyalovemenow “vanned off” at Suffolk
Hereditary “vanned off” at Sunray

“vanned off” – many if not most will resurface on my year-end FOIA killed-reports
“bled,” “returned bleeding from nostrils” – typically indicates pulmonary hemorrhage

(source: Equibase)