Party Time Plummets to His Death at Keeneland

3-year-old Party Time is dead from a post-training injury sustained Saturday at Keeneland. According to The Courier-Journal, the colt was spooked by the large crowd, jumped the rail on the backside, and “plummet[ed] down the steep dropoff to the service road.” Trainer Wayne Catalano: “…he went down. I don’t know how deep that is. It’s straight down, somebody said it’s 30 feet.”

The industry will dismiss this as tragic accident, blind misfortune – a “non-racing” fatality. But I say, rubbish. Horseracing killed this equine child. Period.

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  1. Such a horrific way for this defenceless young horse to die.

    And it is most definitely not a non-racing incident, training is part of racing.

  2. Sounded so cold hearted, like the horses aren’t even worth caring about. Of course, these are the same people that treat the horses so badly on a routine basis, so why would one more death matter.

    • you are insane if you think the people who work with racehorses don’t care about them. every horse matters. you need to spend some time on the backstretch-the hardest working people on earth-and why would they work so hard? they don’t make much money and the hours are absurdly long. the horses are like family to them.

      • Danio, there are some people who work in the industry who do genuinely care about the horses but they are very few and far between and eventually walk away because of the unacceptable cruel lives these horses are living. I’ve worked in the industry at the coal face and was hands on with the horses. Many of the workers were unsuitable because they treated the horses badly and many trainers/owners don’t care what type of person they employ to “care” for their horses.

      • Danio…no, YOU are insane if you think the “people that work with racehorses” care about them. Spend some time on the backstretch, you say?…how’s nearly ten years? And I’ve got an answer for you on why they would “work so hard” (and that’s a matter of opinion) – because that’s all they’ve ever done. The majority of the trainers I saw every week for 6 months/year for nearly ten years knew nothing else…they grew up in the racing industry…like father/mother, like son/daughter. If I only had a dime for every time I had to hear the BS that the horses are “like family”, we could RESCUE hundreds more of those “family members”! Yea right, Danio…the O’s/T’s just LOVE their horses…and they’re like family…that’s why COUNTLESS used-up racehorses end up crippled in over-crowded and under-funded rescues and THOUSANDS more are butchered in the slaughterhouses! Family…that is laughable. Once again, Bill Casner’s own words must be reiterated, this time for Danio…and it is not hear-say nor “I thought I heard”…it is his Op/Ed in the Thoroughbred Daily News: “Our industry is PERMEATED with those who have no regard for the welfare of the horse nor understanding of the growing negative perception of horse racing. The horse becomes only a tool for fulfilling their own agendas of WIN AT ALL COSTS.” Did you get that, Danio?…your industry is PERMEATED WITH THOSE WHO HAVE NO REGARD FOR THE WELFARE OF THE HORSE. Here’s the link for you so you can catch all of what an industry insider has to say about it…or is Casner insane, as well? http://www.thoroughbreddailynews.com/shared_content.cfm?id=244

      • Danio, you are insane if you think the majority of the people in racing really care about horses…again, insane! Every horse matters? They DO matter if the horse is generating dollars by “putting his/her life on the line every time they step onto the track”. Doesn’t that sentence just make you want to puke? And then this idiotic statement…the horses are like “family” to them? Really? Do you drug your family? Do you make your family run around the block with a fracture? Do you keep your family locked up in the house 23 hours a day? Do you inject your family’s joints so that, over time, the joints are destroyed? Do you put your family up for sale (claiming races)? Save your idiotic statements for those who are even more insane than you. By the way, it is because I have personally witnessed the atrocities that I have turned against racing. Got it?

  3. From what I heard he was treated at Rood & Riddle before the owners made the decision to euthanize him – granted this injury occurred on a racetrack but it didn’t happen during a race, it happen during the morning workouts as he was being jogged around the track – but go ahead and classify it as a racing injury if you’d like. A horse, any horse, can be spooked by a large crowd if it’s not used to being around one – this was a freak accident, could of happened anywhere at anytime to any horse. I am just sorry the horse had to lose his life because of it .

    • You are right Britto5, it sound’s MUCH more humane, and sporting to call it a “freak accident”. All in the name of “entertaining” man, race related ? no, racing related ? most certainly ! during a “morning workout”, isn’t that usually quite early, crowd’s were there at that time ? surely the public Witnessed this ? at least he was euthanized, rather than being sent to an auction, because we know where he would have ended up after that…

      • Workouts are open to the public, so race fans can see their favorite horse working or just the horses in general working. Unfortunately it allows them to see things like this happen if and when it does.

      • Yes, it was a morning workout – Keeneland has this program called ‘Breakfast with the Works’ that allows racegoers to eat breakfast during the morning works on the main track – they have a separate training track as well and I am not sure what one it happened on, so it is quite possible that the public witnessed this. But seeing as it happened on the backstretch it could have been hard to see. I totally agree with you in that he was euthanized to end his pain, from what I heard he was paralyzed – and I didn’t say it sounded more humane, any horse not used to it’s surroundings could very well have done the same.

  4. Britt, a horse, any horse is pre-programmed by mother nature to follow a leader follow a leader. In the absence of a respected leader, the horse will do what it thinks it needs to do to survive.
    You wouldn’t send your kids into the world without a solid foundation. You wouldn’t build a house without a rock solid foundation because you’d want it to last a while. Racehorses usually don’t get much of a foundation because it costs too much or the custodians of the animal don’t really have high or realistic hopes that they are going to be useful for more than a couple years.
    If your kid jumped off a cliff while on a school field trip, who’s to blame?

    • Most racehorses get a good education. Have you ridden many yearlings? I have. I take pride in breaking a baby well, I want them to be safe, both for themselves and me. This was not a green broke baby on the track, he was a three year old. He had been in training for probably 18 months. I really wonder how many of you writing these posts actually work around racehorses? I have had horses do some stupid things while I’m riding them, run into trees, gates and fences. I’ve had them buck me off because they were feeling good. I’ve had them rear over and land on me because they felt like it. Most of the people who break/ride thoroughbreds do a good job because our lives are at risk if we don’t.

      • Mandi, no, I have never ridden a yearling, not because I couldn’t, when I was younger, but because I am opposed to riding a “baby”. If you know what the hell you are talking about, you know that horses aren’t fully developed, skeletally, until they are six years of age. Racing babies is just another dirty aspect of the racing industry. A three year old is still a baby, yes, a BABY! No wonder “babies” die in the dirt on racetracks throughout this country. If you follow this blog, you won’t have to “wonder” because you will “know”, that the vast majority of breakdowns and deaths happen to horses that are two, three, four, and five. You don’t have to be a mathematician to figure out that these horses suffer horrific injuries when they are still BABIES!

        I galloped racehorses for a friend of my mother’s, back in the 60’s, when I was still a teenager. I have NEVER had a horse run into a tree, gate, or a fence with me on its back – NEVER! It sounds as if your life has been “at risk” several times. Keep in mind that the horses put their lives on the line everytime they step onto the track. I have taken many horses off the track when they could no longer “hit the board”. Therefore, no need for you to “wonder” if I have worked around racehorses. In fact, I got my first horse, an OTTB, in 1963. I sincerely hope that I have answered your concerns. There are many of us who know exactly what happens in an industry that is based on gambling. Anytime you mix money and animals, the animals always end up losing!

        Finally, the title of this blog is Horseracing Wrongs. It isn’t Horseracing Rights or Horses That Crash Into Fences When Cantering In Fields. For some reason, the pro-racing folks, such as you, constantly struggle with the fact that many of us want racing to go bye bye. The popularity of racing is diminishing and I applaud its decline. It can’t go away soon enough for me!

    • I don’t know about the drugs part. I’ve been on horses who were spooked by loud noises (a honking horn, dogs, etc) and they’ve taken off towards the safety of their barn. They were my personal riding horses and I know they weren’t on any type of drugs…..just frightened. Horrible way to die, though, for this young horse. Maybe Keeneland needs to erect a better barrier?

      • Finally, someone posting a sensible comment on here. Good idea, a higher rail would have discouraged him from taking the rail on. I hope Keeneland will build a higher fence or something at that spot.

    • The majority of jockeys are not equine educated and have no idea of the lives that these horses endure.
      They just hop on, ride the horses like dodgem cars and at the same time flog the living daylights out of the horses when they are seriously fatigued, are carrying injuries and not up to the task of the insane fast galloping – the likes of you Craig are the small minded people that have no clue.

  5. I think we can all agree that horses at the track lead a very stressful and unnatural life. The horse must have been terrified and I frankly do not believe for one minute it was because of any “large crowd” because of “breakfast with the works”. The horse started 8 times and was entering the claiming game in his recent starts. Of course he is a racing casualty no matter how one tries to spin it !

  6. I wasn’t trying to spin it in any way – a racing casualty is a horse that suffers an injury in a race, not in training. If you’ve ever been to Keeneland for the Breakfast with the Works there is a sizeable crowd that gathers for this event that they put on (they only race 2 months out of the year and this is a popular thing to do during the racing meet) – there usually aren’t any crowds gathered that early in the morning on any given day at any other track in the U.S. – so a horse coming onto the track that isn’t used to a large crowd gathered that early in the morning just makes sense that he spooks – maybe he thought by going over the rail that he was headed back to his barn. Not trying to make any excuses, just trying to see the logic.

    • As I said, Party Time started 8 times. Often there are many people gathered at the post parades and some horses do act up but are kept under control. We will never know what really happened as is the case in this business, all too often. I’m not buying the crowd theory in this instance, however. Death of a horse in training at the track is a horseracing casualty and needs to be counted as such. Racing does have “technicalities” and they are geared to helping the industry “hide” as much of the carnage as possible.

      Also, Keeneland needs to review the safety of that area. A 30ft drop is deadly, obviously. Horse safety and welfare are low priorities in this game.

    • Racing 8 times is not that bad considering there are others who have raced 60+ times or more and still going. The horse spooked from the crowd and ran off. Many of these horses are high strung animals, this was just a freak accident.

      • The point was not that he raced too often. With 8 starts he was not a total novice re. the noises and people. Something really spooked him or there was something unusual going on with him.
        Was it a large or really noisy crowd ?

    • If it was witnessed by a large crowd it is up to them whether or not they consider this a racing death and/or whether or not they turn against racing. I am just sorry this had to happen

      • Britto5, the public is slowly turning against racing which, in my opinion, is a good thing. Witnessing a catastrophic death, when the horse is racing (Eight Belles) or when the horse is being worked on the track, will turn many people against racing. Barbaro succumbed to laminitis but racing killed him since he broke down during the Preakness. Anyway you spin it, racing kills many more horses than those that snap their legs off and die in the dirt. As we all should know by now, racing doesn’t like to give up the names of the dead.

  7. We can’t just assume that everyone will be turned off by racing by witnessing a catastrophic death – it’s an ugly thing to witness firsthand as I have before and we can only hope the right judgement call is made to end the horses misery when it happens

    • Britto5, no, we can’t “assume” that everyone will turn against racing when they witness a catastrophic death, but I do hope that those with a “moral compass” will re-evaluate their views on horseracing when this type of death occurs. However, there are those, such as yourself, who will continue to support an industry in which horses are exploited day in and day out irregardless of how many catastrophic deaths occur, how many horses limp back to their stalls, and how many horses meet a grisly death on the floor of the slaughterhouses.

      Now, I am NOT making an assumption with my next statement. I want to be clear – crystal clear. You simply can’t mix money and animals in ANY industry based on gambling because the animals always end up losing. Again, the animals ALWAYS end up losing. It doesn’t matter if the industry is horseracing, dog racing, or dog fighting. Anytime you introduce money//gambling into the activity, BAD things happen to the animals. It has been that way for centuries and will continue until humans, such as you and me, say “enough is enough”. Remember the phrase…you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. Take your pick.

      Horseracing is losing public support. That is NOT an assumption. It is a fact. I personally feel that it is important to continue to shine a light on the “dirty secrets” in racing, because, in general, the public is clueless as to what occurs behind closed doors and that is exactly what the racing industry wants….it wants to market “Dawn at the Downs” with the hope of showing the public the “glitz” and “beauty” of racing. Those of us who know this industry, inside and out, are fully aware that the atrocities far outweigh the “beauty” of the sport. That is a FACT…not an assumption.

  8. Of course he was killed because of this industry! As a baby – just three years old – he was subjected to surroundings and circumstances no 3 y/o horse should be subjected to! Good lord, people!…use a little common sense here! A freak accident?…no, an accident just waiting to happen BECAUSE of the environment!

    Britt05, you’re sounding like a broken record…”from what I heard”, “from what I heard”…Britt05, I doubt anyone cares “what you heard”, just as it matters not that tracks have “breakfast with the works” or “dawn at the derby”…no one freaking cares. Training, racing, colicking in stalls from 23-hour confinement, getting hung up on the walker, getting loose and running into trucks parked by the shedrow…it goes on and on. How many years have you spent on the backside, Britt05?…how many horses have you trained and rehabbed, giving you the expertise on how to be diligent in manipulating a horse’s environment in order to keep them safe?

    This death of Party Time is absolutely horrifying. All of this talk of “what was heard” and “breakfast” and length of a particular track’s meet…NO ONE CARES about that insignificant BS! It is not new news! And to go on and on about it is so incredibly disrespectful…it is such astonishing minimizing of this equine baby’s death!

    RIP Party Time. We mourn your tragic and unnecessary death. Thank you Patrick, once again, for exposing the countless horses who die in the name of entertainment. How can anyone with even an ounce of compassion for these sentient creatures support an industry that causes their deaths every single day? Mind-boggling.

  9. I witnessed this accident at Keeneland. He was not spooked by the crowd. Another horse was misbehaving and bumped into Party TIme, causing him to unseat his rider. The horse actually survived the fall down the hill (which was far out of view of the public watching morning workouts) and was taken to the hospital where he was euthanized. Freak accidents do not just happen on the racetrack, they happen in show rings and in pastures, on trailers etc.

    • Thank you for the information Danio…as you can see I was just going off of “what I heard” – although the incident is still tragic and the loss of this horse still will be mourned – it was no more than a freak accident – I appreciate the clarification of everything surrounding the events.

    • Too bad it was far from the crowd. If the crowd contained compassionate folks who would be willing to find their entertainment elsewhere – somewhere that doesn’t put sentient, non-consenting creatures at risk – it would have been an eye-opening experience and they wouldn’t be back.

      Danio, if you really think the number of racetrack “freak” accidents rival the number of pasture “freak” accidents, you just drew the insanity card.

      • Is this the horseracing hate page? Joy, you obviously had a really bad experience when you had you’re 10 years on the backside. Either that, or you just don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

      • These horses are psychologically as well as physiologically traumatized by what they are forced to endure at these tracks.

        I claimed a horse after he was unmercifully whipped in a $4,000 claiming race. When he arrived, he acted like he was “insane”. He had an old stifle injury, too. He was terrified of everything a normal horse would take in stride and except for one minor incident, he did not have a “freak accident” here. Today he is a gentle sweetheart. He is fascinated by children and loves to watch them. He definitely is not the same horse that arrived from the track. It took a while but it did happen.

        There are others too, but this is not the time or place for similar stories I have personally observed.

        Suffice to say, this business destroys horses and that is obvious to anyone who is not in a state of denial !!

      • Mandi, just to clear up any confusion on your part, Joy spent YEARS on the backside of a low level track picking up the bodies of horses destroyed by YOUR industry….again, YOUR industry, which is horseracing. Then you babble that Joy must have had a bad experience!! Take ONE bad experience and multiply it by 100. That is how many BAD experiences (plural) that Joy had as she helped to pick up horses that were damaged beyond repair. How many times did she hold a lead rope in her hand as the horses, mercifully, fell to the ground? Too many to count, Mandi, too many to count.

        I, too, spent years on the backside of a low level track and saw atrocity after atrocity. Racing is an industry that drugs horses, runs them with injuries, injects joints until they are damaged beyond repair, keeps horses in stalls 23 hours a days, watches them as they die in the dirt, and uses slaughter as a disposal system for unwanted horses. Therefore, you are the one that doesn’t know what the hell you are talking about. Got it?

        Yes, Mandi, I despise horseracing and I despise it for many reasons. However, I don’t want to waste my time explaining to someone, who has NO problem with these horses being exploited, the many NEGATIVE experiences that I have had. The evidence is out there for ALL to see. Read what Bill Casner has to say about those immersed in racing. Casner says that racing is PERMEATED with those who have NO regard for the welfare of the horses. Again, NO REGARD FOR THE WELFARE OF THE HORSES! Anyone who doesn’t believe what Casner has said is delusional! Would that be you, Mandi?

      • Mandi…yes, this is Horseracing Wrongs. And yes, we see the horseracing industry for what it is – a multi-billion dollar gambling industry that uses horses for 1) the entertainment of fans, 2) the gambling fixes for bettors, and 3) the measly paychecks for those employed in the industry. I’m guessing you fit under #3. And of course, someone like you is going to defend how their bread gets buttered. Typical. And regarding your statement “you obviously had a really bad experience when you had YOU’RE 10 years on the backside” – do you think? (and Mandi, that would be “…when you had YOUR 10 years…”)

        I have no motives in exposing the rampant abuses the horses are subjected to in your industry. None. My plate is already full without advocating for the horses, without picking up the discarded, broken “athletes” of your “sport”, without finding forever homes for the physically and mentally battered racehorses that can no longer produce for their connections, without educating the uninformed about the disposal system your industry utilizes for the horses – the slaughterhouse, and without writing about my “really bad experienceS” (plural, Mandi…experienceS…too many to even count). You, on the other hand, have EVERY reason in the world to defend this despicable industry. We get it.

        So, “horseracing hate page”?…sure, you can certainly call it that. I just have to wonder why you waste your time and ours in coming here…

      • And then finally Mandi, regarding your last statement “you just don’t know what the hell you are talking about”…actually, I do. In fact, I supplied the information for exhibits submitted to the 2008 Congressional hearing entitled “Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Horseracing and the Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse”. The exhibits included hundreds of Thoroughbred racehorses’ names, their racing/training injuries that deemed them “unsalvageable”, their intake dates to the rescue, and their euthanasia dates. Hundreds. And all from just one track over a period of just six years. I know quite well what the hell I’m talking about.

  10. Joy, what a mammoth job that must’ve been! You would have an incredible amount of information and knowledge. I find it annoying when a pro racing commentator on this site accuses those who are against horseracing as “insane”, “do-gooders”, “radicals” and for some strange reason seem to think that we’ve got no idea about what goes on with these horses! I, like yourself, have done years of research and at the end of the day no sane person can argue against the truth of the revealing facts, which the racing industry goes to great lengths to hide as much as they possibly can from the public.

  11. Although I am a racing supporter and my opinions and views may not be supported on this website – I do feel that one of the purposes of this website is to expose what goes on behind the scenes in order for it to be improved upon – and I know many of you want to see it go away for good to stop the death, cheating & despair that goes on in this industry – but I feel that with a little effort, anything can be improved upon. With that being said – I have been scanning this website for a few weeks to see if the name & death of a particular horse can be researched. I was at Keeneland the morning of October 4th and I arrived after training was over so I don’t know exactly what happened but many people said they saw a horse fall from what looked like a heart attack (I did find out the horse was on the far turn when it fell so it was hard to see what happened) and I haven’t heard of hide nor hair of what actually happened to that horse, much less the name. I feel that this horse (among many others) deserves recognition because it died while it was at a track during a workout. This is one thing that, in my opinion, needs to be improved upon – racing does just sweep the dead “under the rug” and we never learn what happens to many of these horses that died on the track. If we could work together to find out who that horse was and what actually happened – maybe it could shed a little more light on the dirty secrets of racing to help improve the welfare of the animals.

    • Britto5, you are correct about this website. We do not want to improve racing. We want it to go away. You state that you feel “with a little effort, anything can be improved upon”. I know you mean well when you make that statement, but it really is an insult to those of us who have been in the trenches, year after year, trying to make things better for the horses. With a little effort? You must be kidding. Many of us have put forth GREAT effort to improve racing, to no avail. As I have posted here, time and time again, racing doesn’t want to change or it would have done so by now. Even the “hot shots” in racing, such as Arthur Hancock, can’t seem to clean up the love affair that racing has with drugs. Why is that? Hancock knows that drugs are harmful to horses, but he uses them in order to “remain competitive”, and that includes Lasix. His wife, Staci Hancock, admitted they “play by the rules” but, until Lasix is banned, they will run their horses on that dirty drug. Therefore, in my opinion, they are hypocrites. Remaining competitive is much more important than the welfare of their horses.

      You once posted here that you would work to make things better for the horses in racing and I asked you how that was working out for you. Of course, the truthful answer would be…It isn’t working out. You are absolutely correct that racing sweeps the names of their dead under the rug. Perhaps you could start there. I would call Keeneland and ask for the name of the horse that fell on the morning of October 4th. I doubt you will get an answer but it is worth a try and I know that Patrick will be happy to give that horse a “name” if you share the info with him. I am not opposed to working with you, or anyone else, but there is only so much I can do. Also, you must remember that I am anti-racing, and proud to be, yet I do more to help the horses in racing than many racing enthusiasts do. Those that make money on these horses need to provide for them when their racing careers are over, End of story.

      Finally, I think it is refreshing that you have admitted that there are “dirty secrets” in racing. I truly believe that if we were friends in the real world, you would turn against a sport that is based on gambling. Remember…whenever you mix money and animals, the animals always end up losing.

    • Britt05…wow, “with a little more effort”?!?!?…you have just offered evidence, with that statement, that your ignorance is even more “impressive” than previously thought. Wow.

      • In no way was that meant to be a slap in the face or an ignorant comment to anyone who has gone to extreme lengths to do what they can to help the horses tossed aside by this industry – I thought this website was for exposing the wrongs if the horse racing industry – not to insult people – sheesh!

    • Britto, how about you contact your racing authorities to find out the name of the horse and its fate. Lodge a formal inquiry/complaint with them and see what they come up with……
      I couldn’t agree more with Mary – my sentiments exactly!
      “I know you mean well when you make that statement, but it really is an insult to those of us who have been in the trenches, year after year, trying to make things better for the horses. With a little effort? You must be kidding. Many of us have put forth GREAT effort to improve racing, to no avail. As I have posted here, time and time again, racing doesn’t want to change or it would have done so by now.”

  12. Correction: “One of the purposes of this website is to expose what goes on behind the scenes” and not to improve upon it, I can’t figure out how to edit my previous comment.

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