Del Mar at (at least) 17 Dead “Athletes” This Summer

According to the most recent Del Mar Stewards Minutes, Hadfunlastnight was euthanized back in the barn after being “vanned off” August 12 (race 3). Dead. The 7-year-old had been under the whip for the 40th time.

The minutes reveal two kills – Hadfunlastnight and Summer Scorcher. With Unusualy’s training death on August 15 (outside the period covered by these minutes), Del Mar, “Where the Turf Meets the Surf,” can now boast at least 17 dead “athletes” this summer. How is this even remotely acceptable in 21st Century America?

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”
week of 8/8/16-8/14/16, “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
Summer Scorcher, August 11, race 6
Hadfunlastnight, August 12, race 3
Unusualy, August 15, training

images (10)


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  1. What do I say?
    Where to start?
    How many more racehorses must DIE for this cruelty circus, and death camp?
    How in the world can this legitimized DYING continue to be accepted by a so-called “civilized” society?
    I knew there would be a public relations release soon. I know this industry all too well.
    Well, it came out today.
    Here it is:

    Joe Harper, President of the Del Mar Racing Club, in conjunction with the CHRB, and The Jockey Club have introduced this “super” testing of racehorses in California.
    I read the full article.
    Whether it’s another smoke and mirror tactic or genuine try to change things for the better?
    It’s probably both, but as far as “caring” for and “loving” the racehorses, that part is very hard to find in this article.
    This entire change is driven by the “integrity of their wagering product.”
    This industry never admits that they are actually responding to the outrage of the general public who has been truthfully informed by animal advocates, and animal rights activists (dare I say that word?)
    They would never want to give the spotlight to the very people who call this industry out for exactly what it is: a whipping/beating, doping, dumping, and/or dying cruelty ring.
    Furthermore, even if this does expose the cheaters it still doesn’t change things for the racehorses because the fundamental business model is the exploitation of racehorses for profit, for $2 bets, for some stranger to scream at them as they are being beaten in the stretch to bring home their bets.
    Then when they do actually catch the cheaters NOTHING is ever done!
    In fact, the top Trainers in this country have multiple drug violations, rap sheets in other words, with multiple racehorses DYING under their care, and they are revered in this industry. Just as recent as last week they indicted Steve Asmussen – who violated multiple animal cruelty laws in his racing stable (but was subsequently exonerated on most charges), as seen on the PETA video. What more can I say? This says it all.
    They continue to send racehorses into the care of these serial animal killers all legitimized by this industry!
    Then there is the mechanical cheating. There’s no doubt in my mind that high technology has made its way into the saddles, and whips of jockeys in order to maintain win rates.
    Anytime any solution is introduced to expose this alleged cheating the industry refuses to implement it!
    There’s no doubt in my mind that whipping a horse when tired, sore and/or trying to protect an injury is a major contributor to catastrophic breakdowns. Now, if high tech is being used to zap them, to increase their heart rate (as reported to me at Del Mar 2006), then there’s some major zapping going on, and it doesn’t surprise me when racehorses are breaking down at this rate.
    So no high tech drug testing will ever catch the “mechanical” cheaters which I think is going on at the highest levels.
    Could it be that they know this, and want to protect this – perhaps.
    Yet, the racehorses keep dying in the dirt, and I don’t think it will change anytime soon.
    I think that the industry has actually bred dope into the breed. I really do.
    Consequently, racehorses can’t continue to train, and race without dope which is the main contributing factor to catastrophic breakdowns.
    It’s not possible it seems, and they need to fill races. In order to fill races, they must run horses – sore or not.
    That’s precisely why they allow multiple “therapeutic” drugs prior to a race to ensure that the race gets filled for the wagering public, and it puts the racehorses in a game of Russian Roulette where many lose.
    This is the dirty world of horse racing.

  2. The NFL preseason is underway. The league looks forward to another successful year. They have worked hard at improving artificial turf and have decided on a new turf formula for this season. They know there will be incidents but believe they should have to put down no more than 15 athletes over the length of the season.
    The league has worked with the horse racing industry to make these improvements to the health and well being of the athletes that take the field. You can’t expect to make billions of dollars without sacrifice but the league hopes to minimize that sacrifice with the guidance and assistance of horse racing experts.

    Can you imagine if.other sports were like this?

    • I suppose the difference is that the athletes that get hurt go on the injured reserve, and get paid to rehabilitate. The horses that break down are too expensive and sometimes impossible to rehab so the humane thing is to put them down. I’d like to see the percentages of NFL players compared to horses that are injured. Horses can’t rehab a broken leg like a human…they can’t lie down for an extended period of time.

      • the NFL has “drug rules” – horse racings “drug rules” are use a lot of drugs to train, then use even more to get to the starting gate & when your trainer gives you “extras” o well , to bad , how sad , the horse is DEAD in the sand – BIG DIFFERENCE in a human athlete that can say NO and a horse that HAS NO F-ING CHOICE in what is injected into their veins to make them perform BEYOND THEIR BODIES ‘NORMAL’ CAPACITIES .. so you completely are missing the point . or just dont have any idea what goes on in horse racing , it is OBSCENE the COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF ‘LEGAL’ DRUGS AN ANIMAL IS ALLOWED TO RUN ON. Then the slap on the wrist the trainers / owners dont get when OVERAGES are detected in blood & urine samples ( why do they even bother taking them ????? ) .

      • I guess you dont know how QUICKLY (as in the same night ) that EIGHT BELLS BODY WAS BURNT TO ASH’S so NO FURTHER TESTING COULD BE DONE ON HER BODY when she shattered both front ankles after the derby . THIS SHIT IS OB-F-ING SCENE that is going on with these animals and no one cares ..


  4. It is just so hard to believe this. Thank God for people like Heather Del-Zotto who bring this to light. Thank you for educating us Heather. I pray there is a resolution in the NEAR future.

  5. Some of these beautiful animals do not deserve to be owned by those who repay their labors with death when injured. If this is the result of race horse injuries, the “sport” or “business” should be banned.
    Disgusted with the cruelty.

    • horses who break legs , most can not be “fixed” , horses bones SHATTER into tiny pieces , it is not that a FEW people might save a favorite horse or 2 , but it is that most can not be saved . the problems are the drugs in racing , they use drugs to train & they use more to race , these animals are racing on copious amounts of pain killers & anti-inflamitory agents just to get them to the race , so they are running beyond their natural capabilities , they can not feel that they are hurting -not to mention lasix ( a strong diuretic , they are completely dehydrated before a race to stop them from bleeding ( internally hemorraging) , when 3 -5 cc’s of lasix is a sufficient amount of lasix to prevent bleeding they are given TEN cc’s which is a copious amount , this is something a human athletes would NEVER think about doing , performiig completely dehydrated and this is forced on probably 95% of race horses run on lasix . it is called drug abuse & these animals have no voice. the racing industry knows it couldnt fill the cards (races), if they didnt allow the drugs .

  6. People are up in arms about the poor handling and conditions of whales at Sea World, but completely ignore this travesty. It drives me crazy!!! Years ago I started telling people about how awful horse racing was when I went behind the scenes once and saw how the horses were worked. People continue to turn a blind eye just for entertainment! It blows my mind.

    • It is not just for entertainment. People are making millions at the expense of these poor animals. That, is the problem. Money is the incentive for the continuation of such abuse.

      • Absolutely, Tracey Vivar! – but I believe what Rebecca is referring to is that this industry provides entertainment – for the fans and bettors…it exists merely for gambling and entertainment purposes. But YES, most certainly, MONEY is what drives industry members – a very small percentage make a great deal of money off their horses’ backs, while the majority just eek out a meager living. But for “kings” and “paupers” alike, it’s about the money. And the horses’ welfare be damned.

    • Money, and entertainment – most definitely, but what I find particularly disgusting is the ones who are driven by EGO stroking.
      Let’s face it – wealthy owners don’t need the money so they do it for their ego with entertainment a close second.
      I didn’t realize that watching a “family member” die is entertainment.

  7. Joe Harper = dead horses. How sick are we of seeing his smiling mug on TV, saying basically that this is all too bad?

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