As a rule, the only deaths deemed newsworthy are those of star horses and/or ones occurring in rich races. In other words, with but a few exceptions, the hundreds and hundreds of dead horses on my site – 2014, 2015 – received nary a mention in the Paulick Report, Daily Racing Form, Blood-Horse, etc. This, of course, is to be expected, for reporting on the mass carnage would jeopardize those publications’ very existences. Ever self interest.
In a related rule, extraordinary measures – e.g., surgery to repair a fracture – are reserved for the valuable assets. In other words, a broken claimer at Charles Town is put down immediately; a broken colt/stallion at Saratoga, not necessarily. Both of these rules were on prominent display this week with the death of 3-year-old Gimme Da Lute. As reported in the aforementioned rags, the multiple graded-stakes winning, $627,000 earning, six wins in nine tries colt fractured a leg bone while training at Santa Anita Tuesday. Post-surgery (screws) on Wednesday, Gimme, according to trainer Bob Baffert, “got up awkwardly, twisted his leg, and broke it.” Euthanasia.
In yet another rule, the reporting on these matters typically includes an execrable quote or two from the connections, usually how sick they are. But every so often, a kernel of honesty slips through. Speaking to Blood-Horse, co-owner/breeder Mike Pegram called this “a gutshot,” but then added: “The good thing is, we still have the mama and the papa, so maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle again.” Imagine that.