The Del Mar Summer: (at least) 14 Dead Thus Far

The latest Del Mar Stewards Minutes reveal two more dead (though unidentified), bringing that track’s summer Death Toll to (at least) 14.

week of 7/11/16-7/17/16, “Deceased: 5”
week of 7/18/16-7/24/16, “Deceased: 6”
week of 7/25/16-7/31/16, “Deceased: 1”
week of 8/1/16-8/7/16, “Deceased: 2”

The names we know:

Presidential Air, July 15, race 6
Dynamite Charge, July 17, training
Pacific Swell, July 21, race 5
Whisky and Wine, July 23, training
Big Book, July 23, training
Dutchessa, July 23, race 2
Fasnacloich, July 24, race 2

images (10)


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  1. Don’t you people have anything better to do there are many more human beings that need help than animals your efforts are misguided

    • Yes Frank there are many wrongs in the world – no doubt.
      People have the right to choose which “wrong” they want to right.
      However, in our very busy imperfect world people must choose what they want to focus on, and the horse racing industry happens to be my focus.
      That doesn’t mean that the other things going on are any less wrong than horse racing is.
      Such uncivilized things like whipping/beating, doping, dumping, and/or dying are not misguided efforts.
      In fact, when women wanted to vote they were often told that their efforts were misguided.
      Or, when slaves wanted to be FREE the slave masters went to war to protect their slavery ring.
      Thankfully – they lost.
      So now that women, African-American slaves have been FREED as legally mandated under the constitution – it’s now time for animals to be freed, and eventually protected under the constitution as well.
      I realize this is no feat, but it will eventually be won.
      Non-consenting, voiceless racehorses qualify as slaves because they are beaten, and doped to perform. They are sold on auction blocks, dumped when not profitable.
      They even DIE in servitude.
      So I don’t see my effort as misguided. I see them as a necessity in order to have a more compassionate 21st century.
      You have a choice to focus on what you see as unjust, but the racehorses have no choice – no voice.
      We will continue to be a voice for them, and peacefully demonstrate as it’s our constitutional right to do so..

      • Spot on gina excellent excellent comment thank you so much for providing your first hand knowledge and experience of this unethical buissness

      • Thank you, Gina, for voicing my personal frustration in words more eloquently expressed. I grew up in the racing world for two and a half decades and can guarantee you ALL of what you write is unfortunately correct. What is happening currently at Del Mar has now surpassed an alarming rate. The first step is to shut down the rest of the season until authorities and animal activists can get finite answers to this absurd death toll; it’s unprecedented.

    • I have a strong sense that you feel threatened by the indisputable facts and truths about horseracing being exposed to the public.

      • Humans have a voice and can address important human welfare issues and make things better.
        The racehorses don’t have a voice and therefore they cannot make things better for themselves.

        I had a conversation the other day with a person holding a not insignificant position in a racing authority.
        He said to me “keep on doing what you’re doing, otherwise nothing will ever happen”.

    • I read comments like yours all across the internet. To me children are as voiceless as the horses, that you see us fighting for here. That does not mean that I cannot fight for both. I can and will fight for both. Those are my battles.

      • This comment and my previous one was meant for Frank.
        You can fight your battles Frank….and still stand with us.

    • We as human beings have the ability to care for more than one cause. Choosing to help animals doesn’t mean that we can’t help other charities. It just shows that we’ve extended our compassion to all creatures.

    • Mr. Derossi, speak for yourself. Only an egotist would tell me that my efforts are misguided and how do you know that I don’t help humans as well as animals? You don’t know anything about me so go peddle your opinions elsewhere.

    • Human beings can get help on their own, there are MANY resources, animals depend on our voice to help them… perhaps it’s you that is very misguided…

    • Frank- your comment demonstrates the mindset that creates this problem in the first place. No life is “more important” than another. Placing value on one beings’ life vs. another is merely a concept, an idea created by humans (how convenient)- one that attempts to justify this sort of thing to happen.

  2. As for your coment on ” more important issues facing our society “… I will quote Mahatma Gandhi ..” The greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated ”

    Something MUST be done !!!

    Mary Frances Newton

  3. My apologies for not providing a link but the following are some excerpts from my document on heat stress for horses on raceday. Just Google Prof. Michael Lindinger and you’ll find the following and more.
    Professor Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explains: “It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels. That’s three to 10 times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”
    And the effects can be serious. If a horse’s body temperature shoots up from the normal 37 to 38 C to 41 C, temperatures within working muscles may be as high as 43 C, a temperature at which proteins in muscle begin to denature (cook). Horses suffering excessive heat stress may experience hypotension, colic and renal failure.
    Horses are more susceptible to heat for several reasons, explains Lindinger. First, they are larger and have a higher percentage of active muscle than people do during exercise. When muscles are being used, they produce a lot of heat.
    Horses also rely to a significant extent on sweating to cool them off. They can sweat 15 to 20 litres per hour in cool, dry conditions and up to 30 litres per hour in hot, humid conditions, but only 25 to 30 per cent of the sweat produced is effective in cooling the horse by evaporation.
    “Because so much more sweat is produced than can be evaporated, the rest just drips off the horse’s body,” says Lindinger. “By comparison, up to 50 per cent of the sweat people produce is evaporated from our bodies during exercise and helps to cool us.”
    The salts in horse sweat are also four times as concentrated as in human sweat. As the liquids evaporated from the ground, the soil surface was left white because of the salt in the horses’ sweat.
    “Those salts have to be replaced,” he says. “Just giving the horse water will not rehydrate a dehydrated horse. When horses drink plain water, it dilutes their body fluids, and their bodies respond by trying to get rid of more water and more electrolytes.”
    Horses also pant to dissipate heat, but Lindinger says this is effective only if the air is at least five degrees cooler than the horse’s body temperature.
    His tips for protecting horses from the harmful effects of summer heat begin with teaching your horse to drink an electrolyte solution (water with the right proportion of salts dissolved in it) to replace sweat losses. “Start with a small amount in the water, allowing the horse to get used to the taste, and gradually increase it over days and weeks until you have reached the manufacturer’s recommendation.”

    In my experience as a strapper, on any given day no matter what time of the year, on raceday, the vast majority of horses are close to dehydration. Sure they’re given some electrolytes but sometimes there are stuff ups like forgetting to give it to them or not giving enough. I witnessed a top class mare who raced on a hot day and was so close to death from heat stress post race, she had the top industry vet along with a few others working on her and she survived but not much racing after that and off to the breeding barn. Apparently someone stuffed up with the electrolytes.

    Racehorses are deprived of food after being given an early breakfast and then deprived of water for a significant number of hours pre-race. I would have a horse in the first race and I’d give him water immediately we got back to his stall but his mates cross-tied beside him were in races 8 and 9 and it was awful for them watching the raced horse being given a drink. With the white frothy saliva around their mouths accumulated when waiting to race, I was told to run a hose over the horse’s lips/mouth to be rid of the white saliva purely for a good look when parading pre-race. Never allowed to give the horse a drink whilst doing this when he was screaming out for it. Often (depending on who was around) I would give them a drink.

    The above link should take you to a photo of a racehorse that suffered badly from heat stress in the middle of summer. He survived but only had a few more starts and then disappeared.
    He was well bred and had 27 wins out of 63 starts – 27-8-3 earning $469,137.
    This horse was sweating up badly and quivering when parading before the race – the vets must’ve had blindfolds on!

    Racing horses in very hot conditions is INHUMANE!

    • I am curious to know if you are talking about thoroughbred racing and if so, which part of the country are you in?

  4. Thanks to my herd of humane voices: Billy, Carolyn, Joy, 20+ Insider, the Booths, and everybody that comments when they can.
    Carolyn, thanks so much for this great piece on heat stress – amazing.
    While I was reading it I couldn’t help to think about the Lasix injection directly into the jugular vein 4 hours prior to racing.
    Lasix, in my view, accelerates this entire heat stress physiological process because it’s a diuretic that flushes out the necessary electrolytes, and completely washes them out prior to racing. Moreover, most Trainers conduct an inhumane policy of withholding water from racehorses at least 4 hours prior to racing.
    Imagine that in 100+ heat with humidity? Dehydrated even before they run.
    There are so many things Trainers do to a racehorse that have absolutely no scientific evidence to support the inhumane process of withholding water prior to racing. NONE!
    Yet, like a flock of geese they all do it, and if you question it or do something different then your considered an outsider, one who needs to be ridiculed, and ousted.
    Some even tie their horses to the wall depriving them of everything including free movement which is so inhumane for an animal that must continue to move in order to stay physically, and mentally healthy.
    Anybody who can stand there and deprive a racehorse of its most basic needs is not somebody who “loves” them or “cares” for them.
    They must justify this inhumane process by living a delusion – a deliberate delusion.
    I’ve seen racehorses DIE from heat stress after a race in the stable area, out of public view, and isn’t reported.
    This is the wonderful world of horse racing.

    • Thanks, Carolyn, for providing Lindinger’s piece – excellent. But even if we just use a little common sense and compare what a HUMAN runner does!!…they HYDRATE HYDRATE HYDRATE!!! Like Gina mentioned, these “trainers” just do what all of the other “trainers” do – mindless, no knowledge of what truly keeps equines healthy and happy – the blind leading the blind.

      Just an FYI that speaks AGAIN to how racehorses are treated with such callous disregard to their comfort, well-being and their FUTURE…I was sent a screen shot regarding a race mare (No It’s Not Me, a 2010 chestnut) up for sale through Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds – the following is an excerpt from that ad;

      – “in her most recent race in mid-July, she came back sore on a knee that had chips in it (which she had successfully raced on). So now it is time to retire her, and she will need time off to rest her knee. Her owner has not had it x-rayed since the recent race.”

      Can you believe this CRAP?!?…well, of course you can because it is PAR for the course for these abusers! NOW it’s time to finally retire her?!?…NOW?!? They raced her, KNOWING she had chip fractures, but HEY, she was still “successful”! But finally she’s LAME so NOW retire her! But then don’t bother to diagnose the poor mare by spending some of that money she earned running with chips in her knee on x-rays!…hell no, now they want to SELL her and let the buyer pay for diagnostics and treatment! Or the other option…she’ll be sold to some cheap backyard breeder and get neither – diagnostics OR treatment. I just get so sick and tired of the NORM for this industry. And of the “rescuers” who coddle and accept these abusers.

  5. Yes we have seen horses tied up for hours without water when we were grooms. When no one was around and before the day of cameras we would give the horses water! If they were going to win they did anyway.It is extremely cruel to deprive a horse of water in high heat/ humidity. We don`t work very well in such conditions. These stupid owners / trainers should race themselves against each other and leave the horses out of it! Yesterday in our area we hit102f. We had to quit doing yard cleanup work as it was just too blasted hot. Can`t imagine racing horses in that kind of heat. We were lucky, we had humidity of around 18 or 20% but still to hot to load yard debris or load bark much. The use of Lasix we have been told by a prominent breeder / veterinarian is not needed. He would not mind it not being administered anymore as he feels it is not needed. So many training methods we have seen at the track are just hocus pocus and based on stupid obsolete traditions that make no sense such as limiting how much water a horse may drink after they race or have a workout.

  6. I went to the Del Mar races today and an animal rights grpup was standing outside, and honestly I wanted to join them, but I didn’t. I’m going back next Wednesday to see how I can join in the being a voice for the horses, and I won’t be going to any horse race again unless I am one of the people who are standing at the entrance as a voice for the rights of horses against horse racing….

  7. Frank- your comment demonstrates the mindset that creates this problem in the first place. Placing “value” on human lives vs. an animal’s life is merely a concept, an idea- one that attempts to justify this sort of thing to happen. No life is “more important” than another.

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