Defined Is Fourth Dead Horse at Saratoga Since May 1

The NYS Gaming Commission reports that 3-year-old Defined is dead after breaking down while training at Saratoga June 30. The once-raced (Aqueduct, April) colt is the fourth horse to die on these hallowed grounds since May 1 (You Gotta Believe, Jay Bird, Zzaj); 14 perished there last year. Please do not bet on horseraces.

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  1. In a discussion on another forum, the editor there commented with an excerpt from the book Ground Manners: A Novel by Cynthia D’Errico…it is as follows:

    “The horse industry in general was a zero-waste proposition: this was one animal you could take from birth, exploit all its qualities – speed, strength, tractability – through breeding, racing, eventing, caleche or companion service, and then profit from its flesh when it had outlived its usefulness.”

    And such is the mindset of the horse racing industry. The horse is simply an object to be used from soon after his birth up to and even including his death. In this same forum’s conversation, an individual who augments his living in the racing industry yet attempts to pass as an equine advocate because he opposes horse slaughter states; “horse racing needs fixing and it cannot be fixed.” What a confession! This racing insider – supporter, promoter – admits there are problems in racing that negatively affect the HORSE and in the same breath states the problems “cannot be fixed.” Doesn’t it seem to follow if one holds the horse as a sentient creature to be respected and treated humanely, one would not want the horse to be forced to compete in an “unfixable” industry? But this individual once again makes clear he values the horse for what he can DO and not simply for what he is – a living, breathing and feeling being that just wants to live and be a member of his own “social order” – when he states; “I am a believer we need them [horse sports] [as] eliminating them simply further marginalizes the horse…”. To this individual and the rest of racing’s “employees”, the horse is WITHOUT inherent value – to them, the horse “needs a job” to have value. And from the line in D’Errico’s novel, the racing industry sees fit to “exploit all its qualities” when forcing them into that job. Actually, none of this is surprising…not for an industry that uses slaughter for its racehorses’ retirement plan. Once again, it breaks down to VALUE SYSTEMS, and removing slaughter as an easy option for racehorse disposal will not change the VALUE SYSTEM of the racing industry…there is no cleaning up this dirty-to-the-core business.

    Defined, an immature three-year-old, was FULLY exploited and in short order KILLED in this “unfixable” industry. To give him a job? To assign him value? To avoid further disregard? Racing apologists, what’s the current value of this gray colt’s corpse?

    RIP Defined…you deserved a life.

  2. Having participated in hunters 20 yrs ago and around sport horse people now there is the same mind set as racing. A horse ,to be worthy of food, shelter etc must have a job. No job, it’s off to auction or directly to the kill buyer. The trainer then jokes how such and such a horse has gone to become Alpo. Made me very sad to hear that and I quit riding. I support no horse activities that are bad for the horse. I am a horse leader for therapeutic riding for children. The horses at the farm live out their lives on the farm. I also do healing touch for Animals and reiki for the animals as needed. As a nurse, I once worked in the OR with a heart surgeon who is now a small time trainer at Golden gate fields. He and two of his partners had a race horse at Bay Meadows a few yrs ago. Horse lost his races and was sent to slaughter. When he talked at work about it I asked him couldn’t he find a home for him and he said race horses are not pets. One of his partners then said “you didn’t have to do that, Alex”. Then silence by all the staff, in the room.

  3. Joy, great post. Thank you.

    The following is a quote from Dr. Gregory Ferraro who was Director of the center for Equine Health at UC Davis :

    “In general, treatments designed to repair a horse’s injuries and to alleviate its suffering are now used to get the animal out on to the track to compete – to FORCE the animal like some punchdrunk fighter, to make just one more round. Equine veterinary medicine has been misdirected from the art of healing to the craft of portfolio management, and the business of the horse racing is in the process of killing its goose with the golden egg.”

    This was said back 1992 !! No steps were taken to right this wrong and in fact things are probably worse now. What a shameful business.

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