Florida’s 73 Dead Racehorses Through June

Through a FOIA request to the Florida DBPR, I have confirmed the following 73 deaths on or at Florida tracks in the first half of 2016. I have included the parenthetical information to illustrate (yet again) how wily – in the very worst sense of the word – this industry truly is. Of the 28 raceday kills, only 5 were indicated – with “broke down” (racing-speak for dead) or “euthanized” – on the official charts – none, by the way, at Gulfstream, Florida’s largest and most famous track.

While it may be true that not all euthanasias are known to the chartwriters at the time of writing, two points: experienced writers know a breakdown when they see one; surely some of the “vanned” were already dead when loaded – euthanized in full view (or at least behind the infamous screen) on the track. Truth is, if not for this FOIA report, the vast majority of these deaths – including, obviously, all training – would have been safely secreted away, the dead simply vanishing from the scene.

Wastin’ Away, January 1, Tampa Bay training – “fractured head”
One Step Salsa, January 3, Gulfstream training
Eye Get the Blues, January 3, Hialeah 7 (a “vanned off” on chart)
Rezoomin, January 6, Hialeah training
Last Romance, January 6, Pompano, “died – perforated intestine, colic”
Jm Lobo Cartel, January 8, Hialeah training
Rocket Boulevard, January 9, Gulfstream training
Shameless Lass, January 9, Gulfstream training
Ac Comando, January 9, Hialeah 3 (a “vanned off” on the chart)
Tm Vendikater, January 10, Hialeah 9 (a “vanned off” on the chart)
Rita’s Wildside, January 10, Tampa Bay training
Native Gold, January 12, Tampa Bay training
Lying Chief, January 15, Gulfstream 7 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Charlie Cartel, January 18, Hialeah training
Spiced Tea (sic?), January 20, Gulfstream training
Handsome Xpression, January 21, Gulfstream training
Pretty Nauty, January 25, Tampa Bay training
Ashwarie, January 30, Gulfstream training
Forged, January 31, Gulfstream 1 (a “fell, vanned off” on chart)
Born Mighty, February 6, Hialeah 3 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Estandarte, February 7, Gulfstream 4 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Mach It Right, February 8, Pompano (harness charts never indicate death)
Obvi, February 10, Hialeah – circumstances undisclosed
Jess Makin Waves, February 12, Hialeah training
Pequena I Love You, February 12, Hialeah training
Enriquillo, February 14, Tampa Bay training – trainer says, “took a bad step”
Scrumpdilicious, February 15, Gulfstream 9 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Flashing Light, February 17, Gulfstream 5 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Gate Crasher, February 17, Tampa Bay training
Kandoo, February 20, Gulfstream 11 (a “fell, vanned off” on chart)
yet-to-be-named 2-year-old, February 21, Gulfstream training
Lilah Bird, February 21, Gulfstream 1 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Dark and Dusty, February 24, Tampa Bay 1
Sweet Rocket Man, February 26, Gulfstream training
Save Rock and Roll, March 5, Gulfstream training
Hy Prince Happy, March 5, Gulfstream 2 (a “vanned off” on chart)
Glamorgan, March 5, Gulfstream 13 (a “fell, vanned off” on chart)
Stardust Abbe, March 6, Tampa Bay training
Never in Trouble, March 7, Gulfstream training – “Location of Deceased: Horse Pit”
Pennetta, March 9, Gulfstream 9 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Imbaracuaro, March 11, Gulfstream W training
Ancil, March 11, Tampa Bay training
City of Weston, March 12, Gulfstream training
Starship Jodi, March 14, Gulfstream training
Arco de Triunfo, March 16, Gulfstream W training
Heatupthekaufy, March 26, Tampa Bay training
Invasion Point, March 26, Tampa Bay 10 (euthanized April 11) (a “vanned off” on chart)
Fivetillmidnite, March 31, Tampa Bay training
Aribelle, April 1, Tampa Bay 7 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
Summer Morn, April 6, Gulfstream training
Diamond Rose, April 8, Tampa Bay 2
Nena, April 12, Gulfstream W training
Polly My Love, April 13, Gulfstream W training
High Native Fly, April 13, Tampa Bay 3
Saturday Special, April 14, Gulfstream 2 (a “fell, vanned off” on chart)
Blessedwithprayer, April 14, Gulfstream 9 (a “pulled up, vanned off” on chart)
It’s Exclusive, April 15, Tampa Bay training
Coronado Street, April 18, Gulfstream W training
Big Paul, April 23, Tampa Bay training
Gran Plata, April 25, Gulfstream training
Senora de Fatima, April 29, Gulfstream training
Congrats to Ken, April 29, Tampa Bay 4
Greatest Lisa, April 30, Tampa Bay 2
Cotton Jenny, May 1, Gulfstream 10 (an “eased up, walked off” on chart)
Chatt Hills, May 2, Gulfstream W training
Miss Dejavu, May 7, Gulfstream training
Ilogico, May 9, Gulfstream W training
Jack’s Comprise, May 20, Gulfstream training
Talk Back Jack, May 22, Gulfstream training
Parole Board, June 9, Gulfstream 3 (a “fell, vanned off” on chart)
Silver Nile, June 11, Gulfstream 5 (euthanized next day) (no incident on chart)
Starlit Malibu, June 25, Gulfstream training – “shattered her sesamoid galloping out”
Criollas Boy, June 26, Gulfstream 11 (no incident on chart)

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15 Comments

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  1. This is heartbreaking.
    This is unacceptable.
    This MUST stop.
    Sad thoughts for all the racehorses who lost their lives for bets.
    Florida please pass Decoupling – PLEASE shut this cruelty circus down.

  2. It is only through such investigations as done by Horseracing Wrongs (and thank you heartily) does the public ever begin to know something about the needless deaths of these magnificent, trusting beings but so many more deaths are still hidden.

    In addition, if the racing industry had any documentation whatsoever so the public could know the number of horses that are maimed and injured while racing and leave the track with their torn tendons, ligaments, fractured joints, spinal injuries, hoof/bone injuries, bleeding ulcers from stress and drugs, the full horror these horses are subjected to would surely bring about the end to the use of horses as disposable gambling tools.

    The racing industry is adept at hiding their injured and dead. There is no transparency in an industry that even uses your public tax dollars to supplement their existence. Call your state legislators. Tell them you want to know how much money is being diverted in your state to prop up horseracing. You’ll be shocked that you are supporting this abuse through your state taxes!

  3. Slots are coming to Jacksonville, Fl Best Bet card room and casino. No racetrack there. When decoupling has a stronghold in FL it’s bye bye dog and horseracing.

  4. Thank you Joanne.
    Thank you horseracingwrongs.
    Grateful to Patrick and Nicole for getting this going.
    It was much needed, and it’s the ONLY watchdog over the dead, and dying at racetracks in the USA.
    “There is no transparency in an industry that even uses your public tax dollars to supplement their existence.”
    Absolutely correct, and people need to start DEMANDING that their government stop financially supporting this industry.
    If enough people start speaking out about it then things will change.
    As for Florida?
    Thanks Astrid for the update.
    PLEASE pass DECOUPLING in Florida.
    Hopefully, this will start a trend, and many other states will follow.
    Dog and horse racing has got to go.

  5. I’ve got nothing…except for this – I look at my own rescued racehorses and realize their names could have been on a list such as this one…and it brings me to my knees.

  6. Never In Trouble: Location of Deceased: horse pit. I want to say something about this for those of you that don’t know. The ‘horse pit’ is were the racetrack keeps the dead racehorses until they are picked up. Please really think about this. Never In Trouble’s last moments were surrounded by death. Put down in the ‘horse pit’, because that would be the easiest way to dispose of him. Otherwise his body would have had to been moved to the ‘horse pit’ after his death. Taking the easiest path, over Never In Trouble’s welfare and last moments. Now is how we treat our family members?

    • Thank you for explaining that for those who are unaware, 20yr+…and no, we don’t treat our family members that way. But as we know, when a racing insider makes that claim – “they are family members to us!” – it’s just a ridiculous lie. Like we’ve responded to that lie time and again, WHO makes their family member (a child, no less) work in a high-risk “job” and then takes the money made from their labors, putting nothing aside for their retirement?…who keeps their family member confined to an area just large enough to lay down for 23 hours/day?…who administers a plethora a legal drugs to their family member?…who SELLS their family member when he/she becomes unable to “work” to their liking or expectation? Yes, absolutely ridiculous to make such an asinine claim.

      I’d like to give some more food for thought about Never In Trouble – when you’re visualizing the gelding at the “horse pit”, like 20yr+ encouraged us to do; Never In Trouble was 4 years old…a dark bay…he raced only 7 months (13 races) before he was killed. He was made to race all 13 races by Dennis Manning for Flea Market Racing. He’s not just a name on this list – he was a sentient creature who longed to be part of a herd…and had a strong will to survive. But a the age of 4, he was euthanized surrounded by dead horses – his death, resulting from his having to entertain fans and bettors. And for Manning’s and FMR’s pocketbooks. Makes me sick….

  7. Actually Joy, we DO treat our own this way. Look at modern nursing homes. Most of them are full of elderly or mentally challenged people that are being warehoused until they die. I’ve seen all too often elderly people sitting and staring blankly because NO ONE visits. The families are just waiting for them to die so they can inherit. These people didn’t choose to end this way, they are made to live there, out of site out of mind. Until we can treat our parents better, why should we expect anyone to treat other animals better.

    • Emily…”we DO treat our own this way” – no, not those of us who love our family members and treat them as cherished, beloved family members. I surely believe people who treat animals poorly do the same to humans – absolutely, I do. And I also agree there are humans who live out their lives lonely, isolated and abandoned…as a health care professional for nearly 30 years, I’ve witnessed it. But just as my family and I took care of my dad – at home – while he was dying, I expect others to stay by their loved one’s side while terminal and actively dying. Will they?…will most?…or too few? – I don’t know nor do I have any say in the matter. But choosing to NOT speak up for the voiceless and defenseless, based on your theory, is not acceptable to me. The world is full of injustices, but doing nothing for even one needy being because so many others’ needs aren’t being addressed is not how I choose to go through life. And I’m grateful for the others I know who choose the same – because of them, a great number of equines see the end to their suffering – suffering that comes at the hands of humans who claim to “love them like family”.

    • These elderly people that you refer to were not born to be raced in circles, confined for their healthy life years, beaten to perform, doped to perform, and put up for sale to the first buyer like racehorses.
      This is part of the life cycle not a forced human-made disaster like racehorses are who end up maimed,and killed by this industry.
      You people go to no lengths to defend the maiming, and dying.
      You are getting awfully creative in your attempt to justify this cruelty circus, and death camp.
      Shame on you Emily.

  8. Thank you Joy and 20+ Insider.
    Del Mar 2005. Associate Steward CHRB.
    When racehorses were snapping their legs off, and obviously needed to be euthanized they were vanned-off out of the public’s eyes in some cases.
    In 2005, the “hospital” for the maimed, and dying was an old, rickety, maintenance shed in the stable area of Del Mar – hardly a facility for multiple fractures, a 1200 pound racehorse in distress, that required emergency treatment, and humane euthanasia to put it out of its suffering.
    The racehorse, hardly able to stand in extreme distress was usually unloaded off the van.
    Now anybody who has loaded a healthy horse off a van knows that they must back up, and navigate a narrow passage with precision in order to unload safely. This is often a challenge for a healthy horse that is not distressed.
    The majority of ambulance vans on tracks requires the horse to load on forward and back-off. Many are not equipped with a feature that lowers to the ground, which is helpful, but doesn’t take away the pain, and distress.
    However, the ambulance at Del Mar in 2005 was inadequate.
    So many times the horse would sustain additional multiple fractures or additional injuries attempting to load or unload with catastrophic injuries, and being doped up usually on the track.
    It was heartbreaking to watch this play out as I witnessed it.
    Once I started complaining to Harper’s cohorts about the situation demanding that they provide a proper facility for racehorses who were in distress or required humane euthanasia I was banned from the shed.
    Right then and there I knew that, despite their billions in wagering profit, nothing was done about it.
    I was then informed by vets there, ones that were quitting the track, that they had been complaining FOR YEARS about proper ambulance, and hospital facilities there.
    This has got to be the ultimate disgrace, and its COMMON on racetracks not to have modern equipped emergency vans and/or proper vet facilities for severe injuries.
    So racehorses are often loaded onto a van and trucked-off to the nearest vet if they survive.
    However, the most disturbing part (as if it’s not all disturbing) is that I would sometimes follow the horse who was severely injured off the track, and they were not brought to a vet.
    I would complain about that, but was told the racehorses are “private property” so I had no business following through with connections to find out if the horse got proper vet treatment.
    One would think that they would want their “commodity” looked after, but once a horse was deemed non-profitable or that the vet expense exceeded their income, their fate was sealed.
    They were now disposable commodities, and I’m certain that many didn’t get the vet treatment needed and were vanned-off to either a kill auction or somewhere to be disposed of.
    This was long before social media like Twitter, and the dumping was not closely monitored by animal rights groups, and advocates who often expose this.
    Anyways, to think that Harper or anybody there really “cares” about the racehorse is a joke.
    BILLIONS in wagering profits, millions in high level salaries, and YEARS LATER, and still little or no money going to make racehorses comfort and safety a priority because the DYING still continues.
    They can blah, blah, blah all they want, but NOTHING has changed.
    Back in 2005 they blamed the track surface.
    Fast forward 11 years, and it’s still one big excuse for the ongoing cruelty circus, and death camp to continue.
    It’s not only Del Mar – this goes on at the MAJORITY of racetracks.
    The MAJORITY of racetracks don’t have proper ambulances or hospital facilities on-site.
    In fact, when they purchase a “state-of-the-art” ambulance they boast about it as if it’s the best thing they have done.
    This should be MANDATORY – not a privilege for racehorses, and any racetrack that doesn’t have a “state-of-the-art” ambulance or proper hospitals on-site should be immediately SHUT DOWN.
    To add salt to the injury, these tracks are now receiving MILLIONS in wagering profits, and little has changed for these racehorses as many have not upgraded facilities or bought properly equipped ambulances.
    Moreover, the “B” tracks where the majority of racehorses are sore, lame, and/or crippled, where many breakdown – they are usually the ones who don’t have the proper ambulances or facilities.
    I visited the San Luis Training Center in California in 2005. I was asked to go out there to assess the situation because they were getting in many complaints.
    The complaints evolved around a racehorse that broke down on the track, and the ambulance was not running. So the horse endured extreme pain, and suffering for hours while they tried to find a private horse van to come and van the horse off the track. Some neighbors in the surrounding residential area caught wind of this, and complained about it.
    At the time, the facility was bought, and owned by Frank Stronach – you know the guy who “cares” about racehorses and treats them like “family.”
    He currently owns Gulfstream Park, and Santa Anita among his many talents.
    When I began my investigation the records of the ambulance disappeared so I had to rely on witness statements.
    I went to look at the ambulance, and it was disgusting to see what they deemed an ambulance.
    It was a 20 year old 2-horse trailer, rusted with holes on the side, and a divider in the middle to boot (making it almost impossible for a racehorse with broken limbs to load onto).
    It would sell for about $500 on Craigslist.
    At the time, it wasn’t hooked-up to a truck so nothing had changed since the incident that I was investigating.
    Keep in mind, this is where champion multimillionaire AZERI was stabled.
    Her Trainer, Laura de Seroux, was one of the people I interviewed.
    I asked her why she would stable there knowing that there were was no ambulance there if something happened to her.
    In typical delusional fashion: well I have my own private trailer that I could van her to the vet clinic if she needed it.
    I later found out that a private trailer would not be allowed on the track because it was not insured so a horse with broken limbs would have to be forced to walk about 1/4 mile, depending on where it broke down on the track, back to a waiting private trailer, and then vanned to a clinic miles away.
    No doubt in my mind that many racehorses suffered horribly at San Luis Training Center with little or no oversight.
    I was met by the manager of the center upon arrival. I was told that she would relay any information to me, and that I was not to talk to anybody.
    I really didn’t need to talk to anybody because it was so obvious that this center was solely inadequate for any racehorse to be trained on or even set foot on.
    There were a multitude of problems that I noticed, and asked about including drainage problems, sewage problems, track surface problems etc.
    There were no environmental assessments conducted despite numerous complaints of manure refuge, and smells coming from the residents immediately surrounding the training center.
    I finally got somebody to talk who was leaving this business.
    They asked to remain anonymous, but they said that these problems had been going on for YEARS, had been brought to the attention of the CHRB FOR YEARS, and nothing was ever done because it was considered a “private training center” although the CHRB certified it as an “official” training center for workout times to be published.
    The certification rubber stamped with little or no oversight.
    Moreover, it was, evidently, part of the purchase deal that Stronach’s Magna International was supposed to rectify these issues that they were well aware of, and was supposedly disclosed during the discovery process of purchase.
    It’s important to note that this information is directly based on my experience, and observations since 2005. I have never returned to California since then as I felt unsafe to do so.
    Therefore, I’m unable to confirm whether anything has changed either at Del Mar or San Luis Training Center.
    I would also say, with utmost confidence, that the taxpayer funded CHRB would probably not answer any direct questions regarding the ambulance at Del Mar, whether they are still using the maintenance shed knowing that in 2005 both were inadequate.
    As for the San Luis Training Center I’m told the only thing that has changed is the fancy sign there hanging out at the entrance, but I don’t know.
    I also don’t know who currently owns it – if Frank Stronach does or not, but my visit there confirmed that Mr. Stronach was aware of the incident, and had visited it. Between his visit, and my investigation was a time frame of 6 months, and nothing had been done despite the immense suffering of a racehorse(s), and inadequate facilities there. Heck, the $500 “ambulance” had not even been replaced at the time.
    I have referred to my notes for these comments – notes that I kept since my brief stint as a steward there.
    Whistle-blowers are not welcome in the CHRB. The only steward who sued them under Whistle-blower laws finally got an undisclosed settlement which she uses to rescue, and re-home OTTB’s.

  9. The horse racing association its self must be held accountable for letting these horses be doped and loaded with who knows what, for a few seconds faster. And the vetenarins who condone and administer the drugs. And…the person who orders it done. All should get heavy fines, jail time and bared from owing horses again.
    If you want to have a race horse…see if the horse wants to be a race horse. Just because it’s bread to be fast…doesn’t mean , it…wants to race.
    A true racing horse…that wants…to run, without whips or spurs, is a true race horse. And NO other objects to get it …faster… Should be allowed. If it wants to run…It will .

  10. Gulfstream Park, Florida. The “premier” winter racing destination for the super wealthy, the “rich” racehorses, and the high profile connections like Todd Pletcher.
    Owned by Frank Stronach’s Magna International who spent millions renovating the property shortly after purchase, gets millions in casino profits, and has a retail division as well.
    Don’t know how much the huge Pegasus statute cost, but sure looks good.
    Interwoven between this vision of opulence are racehorses dying in the dirt.
    So all you racing apologists can talk all you want about rich racehorses, and their connections – how they are treated like “royalty,” how they “care” for their “family member.”
    In the end, it’s all the same.
    All racehorses are subjected to the operating procedures of whipping/beating, doping, maiming, dumping, and/or dying.
    A racehorse lying in the dirt, suffering – waiting for the needle is the same whether laying on a “rich” “prestigious” racetrack or a “B” track like the hell hole called Finger Lakes.
    Despite the fact that Stronach can change things for the better with a wave of his pinky finger, very little has changed for the racehorses.
    I recall him once being asked about this during an interview, and he said that racehorses are “private property,” and that it’s up to the owner to change things. (sic)
    In many cases it’s true – unfortunately.
    However, there are many things that have not changed on his track that could make a huge difference in the health and welfare of the racehorse including rest times in between horse races.
    The Stronach owned wagering company called XpressBet financially benefits from large fields that are filled with racehorses who may be tired, sore, lame and/or sour.
    This is no different than any other track, but the inaction to change this is mind boggling.
    The most recent example is horrific:
    http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/vitali-license-reinstated-despite-record-includes-complaint-cruelty/
    Keep in mind, that I know of numerous good Trainers with clean records (no drug positives), and no history of racehorse abuse that are continually denied stalls, and access at Gulfstream.
    It’s the same Trainers year in and year out that monopolize the stalls, and facilities at Gulfstream.
    These Trainers, for the most part, have direct links with wagering companies.
    Stronach should have denied this Trainer stalls, and access to the property.
    He had every legal right to do this.
    They do this to honest Trainers, who are outspoken about the corruption all the time at many tracks throughout the U.S including Woodbine in Canada.
    Yet, they allow Trainers with drug rap sheets, and in this case, racehorse abuse to not only be re-licensed, but to have access to Gulfstream Park.
    This example says it all, and speaks volumes about a man who supposedly “cares” about racehorses.
    There are pro-horse racing people who are outraged at this decision, and have expressed it in the link provided.
    However, if supporters are not perpetrating the abuse, they are the enablers of the abuse by continuing to support this industry.
    Another thing, to all you horse racing supporters who express anger with this situation – why in the hell would you want to be in a business that permits this to go on?
    How could you possibly think that you have a fair shot at making a living at it when this is going on?
    Think about it because you are sending your racehorses into this exploitation, and corruption pit even if you try to protect them. Your crazy to stay.
    Wayne Purcell of the USHS – Shame on you!
    You are watching this go on, and even permitting an alleged horse abuser to continue? Shame on you.
    So obvious that there are dark, and dirty secrets going on behind this Trainer, and the “Premier” track supports him by allowing this to continue.
    Another thing, while hundreds of Trainers are starving, struggling to survive, this Trainer miraculously can afford high-powered attorneys to cut a incomprehensible deal?
    It seems somebody with lots of money, power, and influence is behind this dude.
    It’s one thing to get reinstated, but it’s completely unacceptable for Gulfstream Park to allegedly allow this Trainer access to their property.
    There is no bottom to this industry – no amount of sleaze is off limits.
    The bottom keeps getting deeper, and the racehorses keep on paying with their lives.
    This is the dirty world of horse racing.

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