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.