Yesterday at Golden Gate Fields, 3-year-old Steady Azshegoes was a vet-scratch prior to what was to be her very first race. And that – a floating question mark, just the way Racing likes to keep it – would have been that if not for this from track announcer Michael Wrona’s Twitter feed:
Awful start to the day – debuting 3yo filly, Steady Azshegoes, flipped in the saddling paddock and sustained a back injury.
Steady Azshegoes was down in the paddock for an extended period, surrounded by the dreaded screen, but is miraculously up again.
Considerable delay – Steady Azshegoes up but frozen; obviously very shaken and can’t be coaxed into the van.
The “van plan” was aborted, and R1 ran 14 minutes late. Van now returning for another try to transport Steady Azshegoes.
Steady Azshegoes is in the van – 40 minutes after flipping.
Sad news from the Receiving Barn that Steady Azshegoes was euthanized due to the seriousness and poor prognosis of a head (not back) injury.
Flipped…down for an extended period…surrounded by the dreaded screen…up but frozen…very shaken…can’t be coaxed into the van…in the van – 40 minutes after flipping…[finally] euthanized.
How terribly sad.
To be sure, neither California nor the industry as a whole will count this as a racing death. No doubt, it’ll be dismissed as a fluke, simple misfortune, “something that could have happened anywhere.” But let’s set the record straight: Racing created this horse; Racing (utterly) controlled this horse; Racing put this horse at that track, in that paddock for the express purpose of exploiting her.
Racing killed this horse. Period.