Another Kill at Del Mar; Emerald Loses One, Too

Dead horses on a lazy July Sunday:

“With heavy hearts we are sad to share that the very promising filly, Dynamite Charge sustained a catastrophic training incident this morning. She was so special in so many ways, not only was she gifted with tremendous ability but she was a gentle giant with one of the biggest hearts of any in the barn. Dynamite Charge will be greatly missed.” (trainer Doug O’Neill’s FB page)

The 2-year-old Dynamite was coming off a $33,000 win in her very first start, July 4 at Santa Anita. And that is why this “gentle giant will be greatly missed.” Incidentally, that’s two kills in Del Mar’s first three days.

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While the chart had 2-year-old The Chilli Man as merely “pulled up, vanned off” in the 5th at Emerald, the track’s website reports that Chilli was euthanized back in the barn.

This is horseracing.


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  1. DYNAMITE CHARGE you ended up with a serial killer horse Trainer that gets away with blatant animal cruelty on a continual basis because people support him and this industry.
    This industry is a cruelty circus, and death camp Dynamite and you ended up smack in the middle of it. You died for it. You died for people who wanted to wear stupid hats, place a bet, and have a laugh at the expense of your life.
    Every single one of you who attended Del Mar, watched Presidential Air die, and remain silent are the worst enemies of our society.
    Not one of you, probably, complained to the President of Del Mar Harper – did you?
    Not one of you ran out on the track to watch a racehorse writhe and die in pain because you are a bunch of idiot sissies.
    You have no backbone.
    If you were driving along a road and hit a horse you would stop your vehicle, jump out, and try to help in some capacity.
    What makes this so different?
    Yet, you choose to ignore it, remain silent about it, and that’s why your just as guilty as this animal killer called horse Trainer. Dynamite Charge died today because many people make a choice, every day, to support this antiquated cruelty circus, and death camp.
    There will be many more die because not one of you do anything about it.
    How many more must die until this industry is shut down? How many more?
    The people out in front of Del Mar, including the child, who were peacefully demonstrating against this abuse, cruelty, doping, dumping, and dying? They are the heroes of our planet because they stand up to protest against this mayhem that should be outlawed, and every racetrack should be shut down.
    There is no place in the 21st century for this antiquated business model – no place whatsoever.
    Many people know about it, and do something about it.
    The people who continue to participate, and support this carnage continually to defend the dying on racetracks almost every day. You people are the worst.
    Doug O’Neill needs to be charged with Felony Animal Cruelty charges, drag his ugly face into court, subpoena the doping records, and get this criminal in jail.
    Once this precedent is set, then the rest of the horse killers should follow.
    Sorry for you The Chilli Man. Who were part of this horrific scenario like most other racehorses until you died under the care of a monster.
    Doug O’Neill you are a monster who needs to be held responsible, and accountable for every single racehorse that has died under your care.
    You smile in people’s facing claiming to “love” these horses. Killing a sentiment being is not love. You may have not been directly killing the horse, but you certainly contributed to her demise. She died under your direct supervision while you were well aware of the possible doping going on.
    The shock wave therapy machine must be over heating from over use right?
    You are a low life parasitic scum bag.

    • Although I do not know you, and I also do not know anything about the horse racing business, the statement you have written and posted here moved me very much. Obviously you are such a caring, thoughtful, and knowledgeable person. Good for you to have composed such a critical piece and for sharing it. I want to know how I can protest to help.

      • Thanks Patrice. If you want to know about the real world of horse racing – the truth – then stick with this blog.
        Don’t fall for the delusion that this industry portrays.
        There are many people commenting on this blog, myself included, who are ex-insiders.
        We have held different capacities in this industry from owners, to trainers, jockeys, grooms to people who rescue the horses that they dump.
        So many of the comments here are based on direct experience.
        However, the killed in action list is a fact – an indisputable fact, and many are dying for $2 bets.
        I don’t know where you live, but there is a peaceful demonstration going on in front of Del Mar again this weekend.
        There’s also a peaceful demonstration going on outside of Saratoga Springs in upstate New York.
        Many of the bloggers here will be attending.
        Go to Facebook – horseracingwrongs and the details are there.
        If you don’t live close to either of these demos, then you can organize a demo outside of the racetrack that is closest to you.
        There are many people like you who want to attend these peaceful demonstrations, but live too far.
        So there are probably many others like yourself that live close by who will participate in a peaceful demonstration if you should organize one.
        You realize that it’s every American citizens right to peacefully demonstrate.
        There was an undercover investigation conducted by PETA, and a video released on Youtube.

        This also shows the everyday life of an active thoroughbred, and videos don’t lie – unfortunately.
        Thanks so much for your comment and interest.

    • Right on, Gina. DOUG O’NEILL is a serial killer of innocent horses. I remember when he was out for a while (doping charges) and saw a documentary on tv on him with his children in the car and to make it more shocking the things he was saying in the presence of his children exposed what a creepy cur he is. He had no shame, lying in front of his children. How low can one go……

      And the industry permits him to carry on business as he always has and i suspect his owners condone the treatment dished out to their horses – why else would they choose him as their trainer?

  2. Once again death is happening every other day at Del Mar. That is the history there. I told people at the track Sunday that a horse would die. Funny that no one mentions the horses that die during training, like their life doesn’t matter. These horses are literally raced and trained to death. The is pure legalized animal abuse. This has to stop!

  3. We many years ago were told by a buyer of our horses when we asked why he was not going to race them at Emerald said ” Emerald is too hard on horses and has too high a break down rate”. This buyer traveled with his son all the way to the Barrett`s sale and bought our colts entered in the sale. He sadly brought them all the way back to our state to run at the bull ring , bush league tracks that our state is great for! We are one of the FEW breeders who have had the experience of having horses from the SAME, EXACT, pedigrees, same sires, dams, and NEVER win a race in the state they were foaled! Once they were raced OUT of state they began to win races. This was all before we realized how fouled up,drug ridden all racing jurisdictions are. We now do due diligence and market our horses as family horses who we prefer to live on the same property as their families which of course the horses enjoy too. We have had people tell us that were not raising horses “but large puppy dogs that thrive on companionship of people as well as other horses”. If you have ever seen the morning gallops at Emerald you would see how crazy it is with horses coming onto and off of the track all over the place! There are apparently MANY on gaps/ off gaps at Emerald. We were able to watch the gallops in the mornings online a few years ago and were surprised at how chaotic it all was.We have also read in the WTOBA journal of how Emerald tracks surface is composed of a semi-synthetic surface with a mixture of many materials in the composition of the track.

  4. How many horses have to die before this animal abuse stops?! Your “love” of Dynamite Charge is based on your using and abusing her for fame, fun and money. Horse racing needs to be put down & the horses saved. Racing animals only proves what a vile race we are! RIP, Dynamite Charge; you deserved better!

  5. The trainer of The Chili Man was so devastated by his passing that she committed suicide. Not all trainers are heartless.

    • To assume that Monique Snowden commited suicide because she cared so much for The Chili Man can be the wrong assumption, and to portray it otherwise is misleading.
      There are probably a multitude of factors that lead her to take her own life. Sorry for you Monique.
      I can draw on direct experience of 2 people that I knew in the industry that took their own life.
      One worked for me. Noel Turcotte was a famous jockey on the Canadian circuit in the 60’s and the 70’s.
      He was also very depressed over the guilt that he felt beating the crap out of a racehorse in the stretch when he knew it was sore and/or tired. He said he could never forgive himself for the racehorses that broke down and/or died as a direct result (he thought) of him continually whipping them to perform.
      He had a conscious and it was weighing heavily on him.
      We would talk about it quite often, but one morning he didn’t show up for work.
      He was found hanging from his closet. He had commited suicide.
      I can’t pinpoint one reason as to why he did this, but I do know that he was riddled with guilt, and felt responsible for racehorses that he had to beat in order to win, and be successful.
      It was a sad day for all of us, and he is missed.
      Then there was Steve Parish. Steve was a Trainer at Ft. Erie.
      I saw him 2 days before he committed suicide.
      He told me that he no longer wanted to be a Trainer because he hated abusing racehorses in order to get them to perform.
      He said “how can I love them, and then needle and whip them to win?”
      He was questioning the entire delusion – 2 days later he was found hanging from one of his stalls.
      Of course the industry covered it up just like they do when racehorses breakdown. Total disrespect for life, but they continually claim how they “love” racehorses and the people who work for them.
      I’m sure there were many factors involved as to why Steve commited suicide, but he was questioning the entire delusion of horse training, and having a very hard time dealing with it.
      These are 2 direct examples that I witnessed, but I know of many more that I heard about.
      In every case, the person was questioning exactly what they were doing with these racehorses.
      They were questioning the delusion of “love” while perpetrating actions of cruelty, and abuse on the racehorses in their care.
      It’s possible that Monique felt responsible for The Chili’s Man’s catastrophic breakdown because she knew what she possibly did to get him to perform. Perhaps she was aware of a physical issue that she kept taking a chance with – common in this industry.
      I suppose we can only speculate, but this business exploits and kills both racehorses, and people whether that killing is direct or indirect the result is the same.
      Horse racing is a cruelty circus, and death camp for all involved.

    • Sincerely sorry to hear this very sad news about Monique Snowden.

      Even more tragic is that others have taken their lives as a result of being involved in horseracing. The horses are not the only participants who suffer and lose their lives, however, the horses have no say, they are unwilling participants and are forced to race.

      Personally, I lost a dear friend who was the daughter of a breeder, a beautiful woman with a young child who lived on the farm working with the mares and foals. On my trips up north I would stay with them and she confided that she hated the racing industry. On my last return trip I helped her with separating foals from their mothers and we were distressed with the babies crying for their mothers who were desperate to be with their babies – far too young to do this to them.
      Thought all was going OK for her and several months later get the phone call – on the horses’ national birthday in darkness she walked to the main highway and jumped out of the bushes in front of a huge transport truck ensuring that the driver couldn’t take evasive action. She left behind a young child and a devastated family.
      The horseracing industry kills and destroys in more ways than one!

  6. Rip Dynamite Charge and The Chili Man. I just read about The Chili Man’s trainer Monique who took her life. So heartbreaking to hear more and more breakdowns all because of people trying to win millions in the industry. I am proud to say my fiancé Ryan and I are
    Going to step up our part by opening our farm to some retired race horses. I told him that I wanted to make a home for those who are thrown away like trash at the livestock auctions. I know rescues have ones that need homes and my hearts set on those lost ones at the slaughter bound places. We have dairy cattle but we also have land for a few horses too.
    As for Doug O’neill I’ve heard many stories on the horses
    He’s trained who ended up dead.

    • And they’re just the ones that the industry chooses to disclose. Having worked in the industry hands on, it is no exaggeration to state that that number can easily be doubled.

  7. When $2500 claimers run 6F in 9 and change and $5000 claimers run it in 8 and change as they do at Emerald Downs, it doesn’t take a genius to figure the track is as hard as the I5 freeway! That’s what breaks horses down!

    • The track is certainly a contributing factor, but I don’t think it’s the only reason.
      The ongoing use of drugs is another factor.

      • Absolutely agree with you, Gina. To my mind, it is often the culmination of a number of factors these voiceless horses suffer.

      • It has been my experience that the biggest cause of breakdowns are horses being run on previous injuries, and horses that are running on current injuries. Horses that are too sore to gallop or ‘train in the mornings’ with weight on their backs being a ‘jockey or exercise rider’, are ponied or swam. Some horses are just jogged the backwards on the outside fence. I always called BS when trainers blame the track surface for breakdowns. Sure, a hard or muddy track doesn’t help , but in the end the trainer ‘chooses’ whether or not to do the ‘right thing’. They have the power to scratch, and lay a horse up.
        What I find interesting is this…why do track managements take the brunt for these breakdowns. Why not make nepropsies mandatory to show the truth, and also the vet records for every breakdown. Honestly…it would clear the track of wrongdoing when being blamed…give jockeys the evidence they need to file suit, when injured, and bring the transparency needed to help decouple. And in that would be great benefit to the horses.

      • Agree with all you say 20yr+industry insider. Just to add that if a horse is constantly training/racing on a hard track surface it takes its toll on his body especially his feet and legs, sometimes resulting in a stress fracture which is often not picked up. From my observations in my state, just over 50% of catastrophic limb injuries occur on a hard track. Limb injuries include the suspensory apparatus (e.g. sesamoids, shattered fetlocks) as well as knees and shoulders – what’s going on with the feet and legs can have an adverse affect on the shoulder, imo.
        One horse in my care would freak out when racing on a certain track and he nearly came to grief once, in the end the trainer just couldn’t race him there. And he was not the only horse who displayed similar behaviour. The old timer trainer put it down to the fact that the racetrack had been built over old underground coal mines and therefore there was a feeling of shallowness that this gelding sensed when his feet hit the ground, trainer had experienced this with a few of his horses over several decades.
        I’m wondering if what’s going on under the Del Mar track is being sensed by some horses, possibly contributing to them breaking down on that particular track – i may well be wrong about this.

      • I agree Carolyn. When I galloped current injuries had much effect on other area’s. Such as, some horse’s would actually feel sore in the hind end, trying to redistribute their weight off their sore front end. Or not wanting to switch leads, because of soreness. So, if they switch leads they are adding to the problem, and if they don’t switch leads, then the other leg takes the brunt the whole gallop. I was very good at pin-pointing soreness in a horse. At the time I thought I was helping, doing a good job. And I would have been, if the horse would have been given time to heal or laid up or retired. No, in reality…it afforded most, a tap job, injections, shock wave, bute or banamine, and then off to the next race. I am glad not to be a part of it anymore.

      • Your experience and knowledge is invaluable 20yr+ industry insider – thank you! If only they had’ve listened to you, an astute rider knows how a horse is going underneath him. These poor horses are forever compensating one limb for another. Dr Sue Stover of the US Davis California has stated “We know that well over 85% of horses that die from a bone fracture die because the bone has a weakness….. These are repetitive overuse injuries” – Stover runs a finger over the bone. “This horse, if it was allowed to heal, would have had normal performance afterwards”.

      • 20yr+industry insider – can i ask you this. Did you find that the horses were changing lead on a bend?
        With my research i’ve been finding that a significant number of catastrophic limb injuries occurred on the last bend when jockeys were vying for the best position after the home turn and full on with the whipping. Of course given the momentum, the racehorse cannot pull up immediately and the jockey has difficulty in pulling the horse up as well (depending on the severity of the injury of course). I’ve witnessed a horse fracture its sesamoids in one of its fores and hasn’t pulled up for another 300 metres because the horse doesn’t have brakes and the jockey really has circumstances beyond his control. I also believe that because there’s no control over the horse’s momentum an initially non-lethal injury does in fact become lethal because the galloping on exacerbates the initial injury. I hate to think what must be in the minds of these magnificent creatures when this happens to them – my heart breaks!

  8. I trained for over 30 years in the Northwest at Longacres and a bit at Emerald Downs and the claim that the horses are doped for the most part is BULL! They have so many tests for illegal drugs today [that they didn’t have way back] makes it very tough to get away with using any. Bute may be over used for sure but with blood tests and urine tests it makes it real tough to get away with illegal drugs.When they started racing earlier in the spring they had to use more sand mix with the dirt-due to the rain-which would make the track like a plowed field and could cause bowed tendons, Sand has NO bounce back and as tests have proved asphalt in fact has MORE! Check and see where the horse Kaabraaj is now after setting the 6F record of 1:06.86 at Emerald Downs! And the horse Trackmaster – I bet he’s done after all the fast times as a two year old over that track! The 1st year in operation they had more horses break HIND legs at Emerald Downs than I ever heard of in all my years of training-virtually unheard of in all my years training at Longacres!

    • j.c. palmer…

      1), when we state racehorses are receiving drugs to race – or as you put it, are “doped” – for the most part we are talking about the 26 (at least!) LEGAL drugs. The post-race testing?…every horse post-race doesn’t have urine or blood collected so how are cheaters going to be caught? In addition, trainers utilize “stacking” those legal drugs to “dull the pain” a racehorse is enduring…they stay within the legal limits AND their horse runs on an injury.

      Here’s what Dr. Scollay has to say about this practice of stacking…

      “Scollay said the KHRC has been able to identify trainers who use multiple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in their horses albeit within the rules for withdrawal times. Such regimens are believed to be a factor in catastrophic injuries
      ‘When trainers are using multiple (therapeutic) mediations across the board in all horses aggressively, it’s not possible they know the soundness (level) of their own horses,’ Scollay said.”

      2), the widespread practice of intra-articular corticosteroid injections keeps horses racing longer with injuries, although as I’ve seen over and over again, it destroys their joints, leaving bone looking like Swiss cheese on radiographs. And obviously, drug testing isn’t going to pick up that practice, is it!

      3), and then shockwave therapy – it’s handy “side effect” of analgesia to the treated limb gives the appearance of a sound horse. Again, unable to “test” for its use.

      4), New York just approved the use of topical DMSO on race day. Here, a comment from the PR regarding this…and from a racing insider, no less; “DMSO is used as a driver in that whatever you put in it goes directly into the horse. Opens up a whole can of worms. Don’t need a needle either.”

      5), lastly, illegal drugs are being used and you know it…at least, you should. Like Dr. Rick Arthur stated (from the PR article titled, “Taking My Money Elsewhere: California Gets It Wrong On Lasix” from 8-26-2015)…”drugs other than Lasix are being used on race day. We know that.”

      So where you state, j.c., “makes it very tough to get away with using any [drugs]”, that is absurd. They do…because there’s drugs there are no tests for and there are routes of administration that urine/blood will not result in a positive for. And so WHAT it cheaters get caught?…the disciplinary action is laughable. Or non-existent.

  9. Everything you wrote Joy is true! We have seen the effects of shock wave therapy illegally used in the Northwest where we once galloped horses and groomed them. The pervasiveness of new drug concoctions being used is always present. The statement of an asphalt road having more give than many tracks is also true. We have experienced first hand from training young horses to ride. A newly paved asphalt road is SOFTER to land on than most of the tracks in the NW.We have galloped a dead lame horse from California named This Tune Rocks who was unable to walk without limping but remarkably could gallop fairly well on the track. But after his left front knee was injected by a private track vet was sound at a walk for a couple of weeks so as to pass the pre-race exam and be entered to race. This was done to appease the owner of the horse at the time so the trainer would keep receiving the owners FREE labor at the barn.We always felt for Rocky to be so sored up at such a young age! When we galloped him we always cantered him as slowly as we could while all the rest of the horse people all sneared and laughed.They had very little empathy towards young, worn out horses. We also have seen NW tracks with so many rocks in them you could have used a potato harvester with good effect to clear the track of them. At one of the major NW tracks we actually pulled a horse up at the top of the stretch to pickup and carry away in our jacket pockets several large rocks we saw from the sand that the track had just brought in. Needless to say we were asked why we had pulled up the horse and without answering we just emptied our jacket pockets out in front of them. A couple of trainers than commented” maybe that`s why some of our horses have been coming up injured”! The horse we did this with was the kind of horse that anyone could ride pretty much anywhere and was trained like a good saddle horse should be.

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