Beau American is (was?) a 6-year-old racehorse. He has been put to the whip 50 times in the past four years, and, as claiming chattel, was “for sale” prior to each and every one of those races. The most recent leg of his lifelong miserable journey is not pretty:

10/31/13, Charles Town – 7th of 10, 16+ lengths back (trainer, Erin Johnston)
11/28/13, Laurel – last of 8, 18+ lengths back (Charles Frock)
12/13/13, Laurel – last of 7, 24 lengths back (Frock)
12/28/13, Charles Town – 7th of 10 (Frock)
4/26/14, Charles Town – last of 8, 13+ lengths back (Johnston)
5/24/14, Charles Town – last of 7 (Johnston)
6/13/14, Charles Town – last of 10, 34+ lengths back (Johnston)

And finally, four weeks ago today at Charles Town – last of 8, 28+ lengths back (Frock): “BEAU AMERICAN…remained under incessant urging [from jockey Rachel Gray] throughout the length of the stretch and was vanned off.” “Incessant urging” for a horse who was not only done in this cheap $4,500 claiming race, but done period.

I had purposely held off on this post to see if Beau would resurface for yet another run at pay-first-through-last (he “won” $100 for his connections – above trainers, owner Barry Utterback – in each of his last 5 races), racino-subsidized Charles Town. He hasn’t. I do know that he wasn’t euthanized at the track on December 3rd. But that, of course, does not mean he isn’t dead. Regardless, sad story, sad human beings.

download (9)

It is well-established veterinary fact that horses are not fully mature till around six. Racing, because it would be economically prohibitive to wait (so it’s not going to change), typically begins pounding equine bodies at two – or the rough human equivalent of six. So, add child abuse to horseracing wrongs. But no one has ever accused Racing of age discrimination. At the other end of the spectrum are the middle-agers whose servitude seemingly knows no end:

11-year-old Calculating Jimmy has been on the circuit – these days, exclusively claiming – for almost 8 years now. In all, he has been put to the whip 77 times, and is slated for a 78th this Friday in Tampa. In a racing anomaly, just one person has been responsible for this creature since day one: trainer/owner/breeder Glenn Wismer.

images (5)

12-year-old Missing Sefa is two days past her 105th race. Yes, 105th. Anyone care to speculate on the condition of this mare’s joints? Current trainer/owner – and the only person empowered to end this madness – is Jamie Grubbs.

Last week’s U.S. horseracing casualties.

Reported as Dead or “Broke Down” (racing-speak for dead):
Celebrate We Will, Dec 26, Aqueduct 1
Mo Bagels, Dec 26, Laurel 8
Wicked Irish, Dec 27, Aqueduct 2
Spooky Lady, Dec 27, Parx 8
Grandslamthankumam, Dec 27, Sunland 10

“Vanned Off” – horses who required an ambulance (in crudest sense of the word) to leave course; a better-than-even chance of dead:
My Debit Card, Dec 22, Delta 2
This Way Jane, Dec 22, Delta 9
Hopefromthegitgo, Dec 22, Delta 10
Hotrod Haywagon, Dec 22, Mahoning 3
Rowdy Pulpit, Dec 22, Sunland 7
Grand Rapport, Dec 26, Gulfstream 6
Dark Flight, Dec 26, Laurel 3
Lil Reef, Dec 26, Los Alamitos 1
Man of Steal, Dec 26, Sunland 3
Effortless Eagle, Dec 26, Sunland 5
Isn’t He Perfect, Dec 27, Aqueduct 4
Expedite, Dec 27, Golden Gate 5
On Appeal, Dec 27, Gulfstream 1
I Got Id, Dec 27, Gulfstream 5
Bonnet Carre, Dec 27, Laurel 9
Sweet Intimidator, Dec 27, Mahoning 8
Roses for Ben, Dec 27, Turf 6
Nate’s Dynamite, Dec 27, Turfway 7
Lock Me Away, Dec 28, Tampa Bay 4

Saraguaro, Dec 23, Gulfstream 7, fell, DNF
Equilibrium, Dec 23, Gulfstream 7, fell, DNF
Gator Jack, Dec 26, Fair Grounds 4, “stumbled very badly,” DNF
Tee Brown, Dec 26, Fair Grounds 7, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Thorin, Dec 27, Aqueduct 5, bled
Tacky Angel, Dec 27, Delta 5, bled
Silent Appeal, Dec 27, Laurel 4, pulled up, collapsed post-race

images (3)

There was a short pause between victims 11 and 12 at Aqueduct’s Winter Meet: A day after Celebrate We Will, the “reluctant to load” Wicked Irish, too, broke down (2nd race) and was euthanized. Although the 5-year-old had been raced 12 previous times, this was his first time under the whip in over two years. Wicked Irish was trained by Peter Chin, owned by Nicholas Picariello, and bred by Picariello/Jennifer Curley.

(The stellar Aqueduct day was not yet complete, however: In the 4th, Isn’t He Perfect was ambulanced off; in the 5th, Thorin returned bleeding.)

Two other horses were killed this weekend: 4-year-old Spooky Lady in the 8th Saturday at Parx, 2-year-old Mo Bagels in the 8th Friday at Laurel. The former was trained by Philip Aristone, owned by Phil Bongiovanni, and bred by Jon Marshall; the latter was trained by Dane Kobiskie, owned by PTK LLC, and bred by Bonita Farm.


4-year-old Celebrate We Will is dead after breaking down in the 1st yesterday at Aqueduct. Replay here (Race Replays, Friday, race 1). The Bruce Levine-trained horse was being raced for the third time; in his first race back in September, he finished last of 11, 27+ lengths back.

The current meet’s (only a third of the way through) dead at the Big A:

5-year-old Summer Sunset, Oct 31, race 2 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Jesses Giant Dunk, Oct 31, race 3 (ruptured ligament)
4-year-old Knockher Off, Nov 12, race 5 (neck trauma)
9-year-old Cherokee Artist, Nov 28, race 6 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Princes On Thelake, Dec 3, race 5 (undisclosed breakdown)
3-year-old Warrior’s Hero, Dec 4, race 3 (fractured carpus)
5-year-old Half Nelson, Dec 5, race 8 (undisclosed breakdown)
7-year-old Quick Money, Dec 5, race 8 (neck trauma)
5-year-old Sage Valley, Dec 10, race 8 (apparent cardiac arrest)
5-year-old Ludo Bagman, Dec 11, race 1 (fractured sesamoids)
4-year-old Celebrate We Will, Dec 26, race 1 (fractured leg)