Miss Pink Diva Killed at Keeneland

Kentucky, one of America’s pre-eminent racing-states, is loath to give up its dead, repeatedly denying my FOIA requests on the basis of ignorance – “we just don’t know” – or confidentiality. Further complicating matters is the fact that the death-euphemism “broke down” is rarely (not once this year) found on Kentucky charts. This, of course, does not mean that horses are not dying on Bluegrass tracks, just that using nebulous, open-ended language helps better protect the brand. Just such language was used to describe Miss Pink Diva’s run in the 9th yesterday at storied Keeneland: “went wrong in the first turn, was pulled up and vanned off” (Equibase).

And that – dead or alive? who knows? – would have been that if not for the fact that this particular race was a $500,000 Grade 1. In other words, the kind of race that draws media coverage; much as they’d prefer to ignore such unpleasantries, the industry beat writers are almost obliged to disclose deaths in big races:

“Miss Pink Diva was pulled up sharply in the first turn, and appeared to have suffered an injury and had to be euthanized.” (Paulick Report)

“The Spinster was marred by the fatal breakdown of Miss Pink Diva, who went wrong going around the first turn and had to be euthanized…” (Lexington Herald-Leader)

“I’m a Chatterbox broke alertly and managed to avoid trouble early as Miss Pink Diva suffered a fatal injury on the first turn.” (Thoroughbred Daily News)

Miss Pink Diva – yet another sentient being sacrificed for $2 bets.

This is horseracing.


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  1. So sorry for MISS PINK DIVA.
    So inconvenient for the industry to have Miss Pink Diva breakdown going into the first turn where it could not be downplayed or hidden isn’t it?
    That’s probably what they are concerned about today – the very public breakdown of Miss Pink Diva not the pain, suffering, and DEATH of this beautiful gray mare.
    Miles away, at Belmont, I reviewed the tape of PROTONICO in severe distress just after the finish line.
    He couldn’t leave the track on his own violation – “vanned-off” was the all too common description.
    Again, this was a Grade I highly publicized Stake Race worth $500,000.
    Protonico was right in front of the crowd, almost in front of the winners circle, and in front of media, that made it inconvenient for the camera to not show this.
    Consequently, you hear somebody instructing both the winning jockey, the winning horse, and the exercise rider to chaperon them on the outside rail resulting in a camera angle that didn’t show the suffering of Protonico, and have a path to van him off.
    I also watched as Protonico got whipped/beaten in order to cross the finish line.
    How – tell me HOW – can this be happening in the 21st century?
    The infamous, multiple drug violating Trainer Todd Pletcher, with multiple racehorses who have died in his care disappeared quickly with no comment that I’m aware of.
    Nor will he be held accountable for this, nor has he been held accountable for the other countless racehorses who have DIED under his direct care, and training methods.
    Neither have any of the other Trainers who have a pattern of drug violations, and racehorses dying under their care be held accountable.
    Not one of those Trainers have ever been brought to justice for being directly involved with a racehorse dying.
    This is obscene, morally reprehensible, unacceptable, and qualifies for Felony Animal Cruelty charges.
    This is legitimized animal cruelty, and even DYING still doesn’t bring about change.
    The only thing that should change is that this antiquated business model needs to shut down now.

  2. Dear Patrick,

    I’ve been reading, with great sadness, your emails over the past few months, since I discovered you!

    THANK YOU for all you do to expose this.

    It seems from your posts that there is NO required reporting of horse deaths at the tracks. Is this correct? It seems you find out from other places, not the tracks.

    I am a writer and am working on a essay/book project about my grandfather’s racehorse –decades ago at Suffolk Downs–and also about my OTTB, whom I got from a rescue. And I’m trying to figure out more about what the tracks divulge and what they keep secret. I learn a lot from your posts. But anything you want to tell me about what the tracks (TB and QH and Harness) are and are not required to record/expose, etc. I would be very appreciative.

    Thank you! Lisa

    Lisa Couturier


  3. “Went wrong’ on the first turn. What is meant by went wrong I wonder ! These people will say the silliest things to avoid the truth of a tragic breakdown of a horse. Before the cameras quickly moved away it was clear to see her backend went down and the right side was the problem.

    Further, I would ask what this filly was doing in a grade 1. the only other graded stakes for her was a grade 3. Also, she was the longshot. since there were only 6 horses in the race that may be the answer….the need to fill the card. They killed that lovely filly and nobody bats an eye.

  4. This industry depends on lies of omission. It NEEDS to keep the killing of its horses from the unknowing public – and like Gina mentions, it is incredibly inconvenient for this business when a horse breaks down in a race that is highly publicized.

    Rose, I did see a mention of her right hind being the limb where she suffered her life-ending injury, but the Lexington Herald-Leader stated it was her left hind. That poor filly – the pain and confusion she must have endured…and then to be loaded and transported off the track and back to the barn…makes me sick.

    Some of the comments by racing fans on Bradley’s (trainer of Miss Pink Diva)) FB page are sickening, as well; “bad step” (the most over-used, ridiculous and insulting excuse for horses breaking their legs while being made to race for bets!); “sad part of the business” (SAD?!?!…a filly is DEAD and it’s merely SAD? How about inexcusable? totally unnecessary? barbaric?); “a sad day in horse racing” (to the ignorant individual who made that comment, since we can assume it was “sad” because a horse was injured and died, it follows that EVERY day in horse racing a SAD DAY).

    And how about this comment, posted to Mr. Bradley; “So sorry to hear about Miss Pink Diva. She gave me such a thrill cashing a ticket on a 90-1 shot. Loved her.” LOVED HER?…you didn’t love HER…you loved the “THRILL” and the extra cash she gave you when she was raced (and her life put at risk) by her owner, trainer and entire damned industry.

    Miss Pink Diva, you deserved so much more. I am so sorry.

    • Joy, considering the shocking abuse of these horses one would think there were no animal cruelty laws in the country. Transporting fatally injured animals in a van so that can be euthanized “out of sight” is beyond the pale. It is nothing short of animal torture. There is absolutely NO justification for subjecting the doomed horse to even more pain and suffering loading and bouncing along in a van and then unloading. Yet, it is done all the time for the sake of appearances and nobody in the business raises an eyebrow because nobody in the business gives a hoot about the horse.

      The trainer and owner of Miss Pink Diva ought to be ashamed that their horse’s suffering was exacerbated and prolonged for God knows how long and they obviously went along with it.

      • Of course, Phil Donovan, there are injured horses vanned off whose injuries are career-ending, not life-ending, and making them walk back to the barn would not only be horrific to watch but likely further damaging to the wounded animal – those are the horses they van off in hopes of saving. But compound fractures? – that filly was put into the van for one reason only and it WASN’T to possibly save her life.

  5. The industry strives to keep many secrets – dead racehorses are just some of those secrets. Several days ago, I was alerted to a FB post by a former jockey. By the time I read the post, there were about 160 comments – before I mention what the post was about, read these comments; “Something you should NOT have n definitely not post on Facebook Imfao”; “Ya I would delete this post as fast as hell”. Yes, there were a few individuals who were uneasy with what was being shared and so widely commented on. But the majority of those who offered their experiences and observations? – They were flippant and downright callous.

    The post was a photo of two small “gadgets” and a question/statement; “Horsie friends what are they? Origin is Rockingham Park [race track]”. The answers came quickly and numerous…they were devices used to deliver an electrical charge/shock to a running racehorse to make them go faster. Called buzzers, batteries, machines, short-sticks – illegal but seemingly widely used.

    Here, some comments by racing insiders and supporters who found shocking horses to be humorous;

    “For scootin and bootin and ahlectracutin”

    “Lmao wow”

    “Oh yea!!! Do they still work?”

    “Haha…Machine, Joint, Rig, buzzer, hot whip…take your choice”

    “Its for an electrifying ride. lol”

    “Are they for sale”

    “I knew a guy with a horse that was addicted to electric shock”

    “If you wasn’t cheating…you wasn’t trying”

    “I sat on one that I had in my pocket hurt like hell”

    And those are just several. There were a lot of “lol”, “Lmao”, emoji’s of laughing faces and the like. A big joke to them…and I bet none of you reading here are surprised.

    • They have no shame, Joy. These people are sadistic creeps. The horseracing industry has known for decades about the use of these cruel devices and allows it to continue……speaks volumes.

    • Joy, and another poster states that he has “seen horses bolt into another or into the rail”
      and then adds that “Dad and I never used them, very inhumane.” Sounds like a ton of fun…LOL! Oh, and the owner/trainer of You Got The Silver, Tito Rivera, weighed in, too. He insinuated that if people didn’t like the posts, then they need to be electrocuted. Great suggestion, Rivera, but not surprising coming from a piece of scum that ran a horse with an open/infected wound in his side!

      • TITO RIVERA …..mmm….. the mongrel bastard of a trainer who abused YOU GOT THE SILVER in an inhumane cruel manner and highly likely that hapless horse got zapped with a buzzer……. it makes my blood run cold.
        And that racing apologist who claimed that TITO RIVERA took good care of his horses?

    • Thank you Joy for sharing. We left racing in 2005 because of so much abuse we had seen and experienced.We can hardly wait to see and celebrate the closing of our local leaky roof B circuit track.

    • This is disgusting! These people just get lower by the minute. Straight up animal abusers! All of them. And the betters I wonder if they know that the whole thing is rigged. There is no integrity in this cruelty ring. Anyone who believes it is gullible.

    The aggravated cruelty inflicted upon this mare continues. On Oct. 10, 2016, she came home 34 LENGTHS last at Parx Racetrack in a claiming race with the sale price on her head at $7,500.
    The fear and terror she is experiencing is inexcusable.

    was in the same race as Jill’s Reflection but she didn’t come home so many lengths because she died an excruciatingly painful death in the race.
    According to equibase.com
    “broke down, euthanized”

    The HORROR story of horseracing is ongoing and those who have the power to stop this abhorrent killing of innocent horses do NOTHING!

  7. JILL’S REFLECTION – just noticed that the Chart says she “stopped abruptly” which causes concern for her welfare.
    Perhaps an injury?

  8. Considering JR’s brutal and inhumane racing history I’m amazed she is still able t walk. As I have said, this poor mare is tough but this sick business will eventually maim her even
    beyond the ability of their illicit drugs to keep her running. They may kill her and we know that . And nobody in the business will intervene on her behalf. Without intervention she is doomed.

  9. MISS PINK DIVA had her left rear foot fetlock area stepped on by the number 5 horse GENRE with his/her left rear foot this happened entering the first turn while MISS PINK DIVA was at full extension in her stride and GENRE was in The middle of stride placing his/her rear feet to the ground.

    • Oh Billy…that poor filly. It had to be glaringly obvious – no radiographs needed! – she was fatally wounded. To make her ambulate into a trailer and ride back to the barn…THEN get back out of the trailer JUST to “spare” the fans her death behind the shield. No one can convince us the horses mean more to them than the lie they need the public to believe.

      • Those were my exact thoughts joy……once again the horse suffers for human decisions on thier life…like I’ve said before this does not happen in any other recognized sport but it happens in horse racing

  10. Tight racing, galloping at fast speed, whilst being beaten with whips is deadly for these horses. Clipping heels is a common occurrence often resulting in horses suffering an injury and sometimes death. These horses are running around in a circle and this is so bad for them particularly in relation to their musculosketal system. It sickens me when I see horses being placed under so much pressure on the home turn when they’re desperately trying to manoeuvre it and maintain their balance. Horses are often whipped at this stage of the race with jockeys vying for a certain position to the line. They don’t give a damn about the horse.
    In Australia last week, the famous mare Winx who has won all of her 12 starts, got into trouble on the home turn and this was a 3 horse race, there was no contact with the other 2. As expected she won but her jockey spoke up about it as she lost her balance and changed leg. She had surgery on one of her front fetlocks several months ago. The track is notorious for its terrible tight turns but the show will go on with its huge prizemoney races.
    In an earlier race, the winner of last year’s Melbourne Cup, Prince of Penzance, was in a long distance race and on the very same turn he was severely interfered with by another and there were gasps from the crowd fearing he was going to fall. The offending jockey got a short suspension.
    P of P pulled up with a fractured leg, has had surgery with screws inserted and his racing career is over. During his career this gelding suffered a serious colic attack, a twisted bowel and other injuries but they kept on patching him up and sending him out to race.

    This is horseracing.

  11. Mr Donavan, I watched a replay of the race again. The comment was an “awkward move by Miss Pink Diva who has dropped out of the race” It was obvious the horse was mortally wounded as her back end dropped to the dirt before the camera moved away and we got on with the important stuff !! Further, the decision to load her on to a van had little to do with “SAViNG” her and everything to do with with “SAVING” face.
    I still wonder what she was doing In a grade 1. Her past performances were not at that kind of level. Could it be that such a big purse and only 5 horses there was sure money to be made ? And also help fill the race card .- big considerations to which the horse takes a back seat in this business.

    • Rose. racing turns a blind eye to a horse whose back end drops to the earth so that some freaks can be entertained and enjoy a day of gambling. Where else would this horrific occurrence be tolerated besides horseracing? Nowhere…

      My dear departed mother’s words were so prophetic…”ignorance is bliss.” For those immersed in the delusion that racing protects its beloved family members, we aren’t turning a blind eye. We are speaking the truth. If the truth is upsetting to those who support animal exploitation, I personally don’t give a damn.

      • What this business does to the horse is just plain wrong. The fact that there are efforts to coverup and minimize the plight of so many of these horses and their deaths says volumes about how callous and exploitive these people are. They have sold their souls and their humanity for money.
        They take a beautiful creature nowhere near maturity and subject it to a brutal life of racing, whipping, drugs and confinement. It is undeniable, these horses are dead, injured, and sent to slaughter before or as they reach maturity. Anybody not in denial or with a conscience understands how wrong this is.
        I know I’m repeating myself when I say my 14 yr. old nephew summed it up when he said “racing is immoral”.

  12. People die everyday from going to work. These animals are beautiful and entertain us with there speed and excitement. I know when an animal has to be euthanized it is terrible and hard to understand but this sport has been around for a longtime. Again there are way more humans that die a year at there jobs than a horse does at the track.

    • I’m in disbelief….. you are using the analogy of people dying in the workplace with horses being maimed and killed for GAMBLING, greed, profit and big egos. How utterly pathetic.
      So you are “entertained” by horses racing for their lives for $2 bets with many of them suffering disclosed (and undisclosed, I hasten to add) injuries including, but not limited to, bleeding (EIPH = exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage) broken limbs, pelvis, neck, spine and head traumas and DEATH.

      You are a sadistic creep and a gutless wonder in not providing your real name.

      No doubt about you racing apologists limply attempting to defend the indefensible.

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