Fasnacloich Killed in 2nd Race; Del Mar’s Death Toll Stands at (at least) 8

Fasnacloich became the latest victim at the much-celebrated Del Mar Summer Meet when she “broke down” about midway through the 2nd race Sunday afternoon. Dead. The 6-year-old was under the whip for the 25th time. By my count, since tracking began on July 11, at least eight horses have either died on Del Mar grounds or while being trained off-site for upcoming Del Mar races. (I say “at least” because there may or may not be overlap between the stewards’ anonymous “deceased” and those who have been identified here and/or others may have simply slipped through the cracks.) Again, that’s (at least) eight dead “athletes” for Del Mar in just two weeks.

The ones we know about:

Presidential Air, July 15, race 6
Dynamite Charge, July 17, training
Whisky and Wine, July 23, training
Dutchessa, July 23, race 2
Fasnacloich, July 24, race 2

From the Del Mar Stewards Minutes, week of 7/11/16-7/17/16
“Deceased: 5”

images (1)


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  1. Why are they dying? This article is very incomplete in it’s report.
    Sadly not only are the horses dying but so are journalists ability.

    • Go ask the horse racing industry – why?
      Their ongoing deliberate liberal use of doping cocktails with little to no repercussions on the multiple drug violating top trainers resulted in a bunch of Sires & Broodmares in Kentucky who are, more than likely, breeding unsoundness into their foals – that’s probably why.
      It’s only logical to realize that this is the residual effects of drugs and the effects of an industry that did nothing about it when it was happening.
      Racehorses are now turned into pin cushions in order to race so the cycle continues, and it will probably result in many more racehorses dying.
      Furthermore, their deliberate “covering-up” of medical records so that nobody can see their little drug production facility they got going on in the corner cobwebs of the stalls.
      The racehorses are turned into drug factories for the most part and nobody can tell me that is not affecting the foal crops – I’m sure many vets would agree.

      • This article is from last year. Your hypothrsis doesn’t ecplain why the loop at Del Mar is potentially more deadly than Santa Anita, Churchill Downs, Aqueduct, etc…
        There does seem to be more breakdowns than in the past. Doping may be the case, more likely too much inbreeding for speed.

      • Yes Rose it only stands to reason that dope crosses into the placenta just like humans.
        Horses are mammals and there is extensive scientific documentation that proves this.
        It affects everything from the bones to the immune system resulting in an overall weaker horse more than likely.
        Joe, I also agree with you that inbreeding plays a part.
        There’s no single factor that can account for racehorses dying.
        Rather, it’s a combination of things with dope playing a major role it seems.
        The onset of huge purse money fueled by the casinos has only exacerbated this issue.
        It’s all about greed, and exploitation at the expense of the horse.
        The billions in profit has not translated to a better situation for the racehorse.
        It’s done the complete opposite with rampant irresponsible breeding, and more intense exploitation.
        It has only increased the number of horses being dumped with little or no money available to ensure a soft landing after they are done maiming them – if they make it out alive.
        You may not agree with me, but you would have to be delusional to not consider these factors.

      • They are also trained and raced far too early, before their skeletons have matured, The rule of thumb is you shouldn’t back a horse until they are at least 3-4 yrs to allow their bone structure to become mature enough to carry weight, These horses are backed and trained by the time they are 2 in order to race in 2yr old races. They’re skeletons break down because they’re not physically mature.

    • The horses are dying because the morphology of the animal is not a design for running at top speed for long distances. Horse racing is cruel. I think the author wanted to state facts and leave the rest up to the reader.

  2. Yes Gina, I believe you are correct. Drugs and alcohol consumption have well documented negative effects on human offspring . It follows that it is the same for the horse.
    Shame on the veterinary profession for Ibeing silent on this and the many abuses of this gambling business. It says nothing good about the integrity of the profession.

    • Quite the contrary Cynthia.
      They rush to put the needle into their veins to end their misery.
      It’s called humane euthanasia.
      After all the horse is laying there with, more than likely, multiple compound fractures of their limbs.
      Although some fractures can be repaired the complications arising from those repairs can put the racehorse at great risk of death anyways (laminitis,colic)
      Furthermore, the high cost of vet bills directly related to fractures, recovery, lay-up time, and very little chance for a home seals the fate of these racehorses as they lay suffering in the dirt.
      It’s more an economic decision than a moral one it seems.
      A condylar fracture of the cannon bone surgery including average lay-up time is about $10,000.
      The majority of racehorses are running in the claiming ranks for less than $10,000 so do the math.
      Simply put their life is not worth saving.

    • It is a business …they put horses down when they are no longer useful… if a horse will cost more to save than make they put them to sleep or give them to someone to take care of. If the person they have given them to decides they do not want the horse they must put them down or give them back to be destroyed..they tattoo their lips and if they end up at the killers (meat market) the owner/trainer on record get fined or their reputation suffers. They breed indiscriminately a lot of times and IMO are trained(ridden) too early…their body is not ready to handle heavy training… leg injuries are all over the place..it is sad. I know some horses really do love to race and their hearts are in it but many others don’t …it is just a sad business.. as with all things if there is money involved …there will be abuse.

  3. We were at my first and last race, years ago when this happened during the race! I was devastated and have never had the desire to go to another race.

  4. The racing industry breeds horses to die. They aren’t bred for stamina and durability – just speed, Then they start training and racing them too young. This industry either needs to make drastic changes or go out of business. The horses are paying for tindustry greed with their lives.

    • Judy the industry has done little to nothing to make the changes so it needs to go.
      Furthermore, there are no changes this industry could make because they have reached the point of no return.
      The only thing that needs to happen now is that this business dies in the dirt just like all the racehorses.

  5. This appears to be epidemic. I certainly hope there is an investigation FINALLY to begin. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE!!!!!

  6. I just don’t understand why they have to be killed. Can’t they have surgery somewhere and go to a great rescue somewhere? Why do they have to be murdered?

    • max, if it’s a valuable racehorse, the owners will go to great lengths to save the horse for future income/profit whether it be from more racing or in the breeding barn. You might remember BARBARO. It would be remiss of me not to mention the insurance money on valuable racehorses and it’s to be noted that some insurance companies have specific conditions that are required to be met before they pay out on a claim. Some valuable racehorses are kept alive when it would be humane to euthanase them. In these cases, the insurance company requires veterinary evidence that everything has been done to try and save the horse but at the same time the insurance company, the connections and veterinarians turn a blind eye to the ongoing suffering of the innocent equine. In some cases it’s clearly obvious that the horse will not survive despite being given the best veterinary treatment available. The much adored international racehorse, Red Cadeaux, broke down in the Melbourne Cup in 2015 in Australia. He suffered smashed sesamoids and the chances of him surviving to live a comfortable retirement in a paddock were close to nil (and of course he could never race again). They operated on him and in about 2-3 weeks they euthanased him. He was a gelding so no future in the breeding barn, he was 9 years of age, had done a lot of racing and should’ve been retired earlier. At least 12 months before his death there was a worldwide petition imploring his owner to retire him. All the signs were there, it wasn’t a matter of if he would have a catastropic breakdown – it was purely a matter of when. He earned over $8million in prizemoney alone let alone the punt.

      The horses that are not valuable or uninsured are simply to be discarded. Connections don’t waste their money on trying to save them preferring to use their money for the next horse they buy. And of course some horses are so badly injured that they cannot be saved.

      Only a small percentage of racehorses are rescued. I don’t have any statistics on this, the reason being that the horseracing industry doesn’t have such statistics – how convenient. In my experience, i estimate something like 15-20% of finished with racehorses are re-homed but some are not forever homes and they end up in the slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico.

  7. Membership in PETA obviously costs one’s intelligence and reason. Look beyond they pseudo gore of this report and​ see that colic causes more of these deaths than do racing injuries. Trainers are not callous or malicious, nor would they last in this sport if they didn’t have owners who entrusted them with their multi-million dollar animals.

    • Researchers have found that racehorses have a high rate of colic attacks and deaths compared to non-racehorses.
      Dr Chris Whitton, an Australian veterinarian scientist, has come across some injuries (musculoskeletal) in racehorses that have not been found in non-racehorses. At a recent lecture he made recommendations for racehorse trainers.
      Personally, I doubt the trainers will heed his advice because they’re only interested in pleasing owners (whether it be a valuable horse or otherwise) and will do whatever it takes to get good results. This of course involves such things as doping, joint injections, shockwave therapy, whipping, over-working tired and sore horses and failing to give them sufficient time to recover, rest and repair.
      And you say that trainers are not callous?
      Only yesterday, I spoke to a trainer about one of his horses collapsing and dying after its race. I also let him know of my disgust with the way in which another of his horses was viciously whipped at least 22 times and it was her very first start. His response was callous and typical of a racehorse trainer. They don’t give a damn.

  8. I am life long serious equestrian. I studied years under Olympic rider, and international riders on jumping and dressage. In other words, I say this not in total ignorance of the horse world. My best horse is usually related to thoroughbreds that are on the track as he came from track royalty. Grandson (generation several down) of man o war. Bold ruler, nasrullah, American flag, sunshine Nell… I could go on, but you get idea. Any death of animal before their time, sad, just as with us. Similar to death of child as they need protection. However, please be aware that there are those that not only want to end horse racing, all horse racing, they want to end your ownership of your horse. Also close zoo’s, pet shops, Yes they are extremists. Yes, their desire to put a end to people owning horses, dogs, cats, and so on may never happen. I just always look at things deeper than surface. Changes, good or bad usually happen slowly over time. Maybe that is OK, maybe people will have been slowly conditioned to not want to have pets, and those like myself and other who love to ride, and have a service dog will be long gone. I am just saying to look deeper, think past surface message. Great strives have occurred across all animal worlds. That would not have happened if people didn’t voice concern, need for change. I do not want majestic animals dying. Just get worried that sometimes complete picture not seen. Some animal “reduce” just money making and surprisingly high euthenasia rates. Eyes wide open people, ear to the ground!

    • “However, please be aware that there are those that not only want to end horse racing, all horse racing, they want to end your ownership of your horse. Also close zoo’s, pet shops…” Yes, exactly. And some day all this will come to pass. Get on the right side of history – end all animal exploitation.

  9. Leave horse racing alone if you don’t like it don’t go . They’re going to put down 40 thousand wild horses be worried about that .

    • Oh, we are worried about wild horses too. Don’t leave out the fact that they will be slaughtered along with thousands of racehorses. We work for all animals. If you don’t want to acknowledge the cruelty and death that is horseracing and help the industry hide it instead, then this isn’t the place for you.

    • Ms. McMaster, I despise horseracing and I would rather stick needles in my eyes than go to a track to “watch” horses being exploited. However, I am NOT going to “leave horseracing alone” just as I’m not going to stop speaking out against puppy mills, dog racing, bull fighting or the atrocities committed against our wild horses. You get the picture, right? Remember….Silence never helps the oppressed. It helps the oppressor.

  10. I’m wondering if all of you who commented in 2017 realize the article is from last year (2016). I only see one death at Del Mar for 2017 at this time,

  11. I enjoy the races. I understand why people don’t, but then again, most of us that go don’t give two shits about any of the “truths” you talk about. The Truth is money is more important than anything. It’s not just the track that makes money off the horses, it’s the the hotels in the area, it’s the restaurants in the area, it’s the retail stores in the area, its the people that rent there house out for the season, even all the of hookers that come out here because of the track are making tons of money. I know you think this is a battle you can win, but it’s definitely nothing but a waste of time.

    • Dog racing was once untouchable especially in Florida.
      Now the largest dog track in Florida is shutting down, and 2 of the largest and only dog tracks in Alabama are shutting down the end of this month.
      I’m told that many more are going to be shutting down including Arizona which is a huge supporter of dog racing or once was.
      In 2001 Grey2k set-out to educate the public, and to shut down dog racing just like this blog.
      They were told that it was a total waste of time – it wasn’t because once people know what’s really going on, the truths behind the public facade they will stop supporting it.
      Dog racing shutting down now all over the country, and horse racing is sure to follow.
      It’s just a matter of time.

      • That’s exactly correct. I didn’t realize how bad the problem was until I saw it happen at Del Mar last year. Once I educated myself, I was all for shutting down horse racing.

  12. This is absolutely horrible.
    Boycott Del Mar horse racing.
    8 dead horses in 2 weeks
    14 so far???
    Makes me sick😢

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