Two “Athletes” Killed on Same Del Mar Day

At “where the turf meets the surf” yesterday:

In the 1st race, 3-year-old Trixie Topper “took a bad step” and was “vanned off” (Equibase). Broken leg, according to The San Diego Union-Tribune – “put down in the barn area.” The chart, by the way, carried this twist-of-the-knife addendum: “Trixie Topper was the cause of her own trouble.” “The cause of her own trouble.” Vile.

Four races later, 3-year-old Trump Diesel also snapped a leg (“broke down,” says the chart); he, too, was “put down.”

Horses killed for entertainment. This is Del Mar. This is horseracing.

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  1. Interesting how the stewards also stated another horse who lost its rider was “also the cause of its own trouble” What idiot would use calks? It has been proven in studies that the use of caulks places a TREMENDOUS level of stress on a horses muscles ./ tendons. How can a horse that has been trained well be a source of its own trouble.We just learned yesterday via various Facebook postings that our local track has had a film recently made about a horse person finding redemption at a hard luck track. Which our track most surely is.They won`t allow anyone to rest or take a nap in a chair in any tack room and even have security patrols to prevent it. This is also clearly written in all their overnights printed or shown online. This business is cruel and inhumane to both people and horses alike.We were told in May 2004 not to EVER return to the “devils den of iniquity full of evil people and that you could not trust anyone” This was told us by a clean up crew worker employed by the track after we experienced a most devastating event. We were riding a horse from our own farm which we had trained as a saddle horse who we had thought of placing in training with a trainer we had been galloping horses for at the time.That worker drove us home with our horse in our old truck / trailer and earlier took us to be tended to.medically.We after recovering, were threatened about riding/ training our own horses again. We will never forget the lies, mistreatment of both people/ horses we saw. We have and NEVER will go back! We hope the place closes down soon.With us the evil people could not get to us through legalities or entries, as we were only a exercise rider hoping to become an assistant trainer at the time.They could only get to us through our own horse which we made the mistake of leaving alone for 5 minutes as we used the one of the few functioning flush toilets on the backside.Our horse was stabled in the receiving barn next to a private vets office out of sight. Yes, we should have not been so trusting of those people!

    • Pardon my ignorance, Joan and Fred but what are caulks?
      And what happened to your horse when you left him for only 5 mins?

  2. So TRIXIE TOPPER was the CAUSE of her own trouble according to Equibase?
    How low can they go?
    This repugnant statement on the death of yet another juvenile horse sacrificed by the horseracing industry is not only disgusting but clearly a downright LIE!
    And a public statement such as this one is clearly misleading the public.
    This statement is typical behaviour of this industry which constantly attempts to relieve itself of any responsibility for the destruction and killing its “much loved” horses.
    They loved TRIXIE TOPPER so much that they forced her onto a trailer (vanned off) with a broken leg when she was in excruciating pain, in fear and shock IN LIEU OF euthanasing her immediately on the track to put her out of her misery.

    • Stacy…Carolyn is from Australia with a background in the horse racing industry there…and they use different terms…she is in no way, shape or form “under informed”.

    • Also, the rules and regulations of horse racing is different in other countries.
      For example, caulks are not allowed to be used for racing in certain jurisdictions.
      So I did my research and I found the answer on the Register of Nationally Approved Gear in Australia Horse Racing, and here’s what it says:

      (6) Heeled plates or caulks are not permitted in flat races. Cutting
      plates, grippers or any other form of plates or tips which in the
      opinion of the Stewards may be dangerous are not permitted.

      So the horse people in Australia would probably not know what they are because they have NEVER been permitted to use them. That would explain Carolyn’s question.
      However, this also shows the lack of concern over racehorses here in North America.
      There have been multiple reputable equine studies that have proved that caulks and toe grabs are a huge contributor to lameness, and unsoundness.
      Yet, trainers like Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert are not only regular users of these types of shoes, but many racehorses have been lamed and/or killed while under their direct training methods.
      That’s not to say that caulks/toe grabs are the sole contributor to racehorses breaking down, but it’s certainly a contributor to it.
      In fact, both Wayne Lukas, Bob Baffert, and then members of the CHRB put a fight to STOP the regulation of high toe grabs, and caulks. It’s in the records.
      So despite the fact that racehorses were becoming lame, and broke down in their care, and despite the fact that they were aware that these types of shoes contribute to unsoundness they still put a fight to have them either banned and/or regulated.
      That tells you right there what these Trainers really care about it.
      Of course the commissions are nothing more than the enabler of the abuse.
      I was part of the meetings at the CHRB that was trying to BAN them.
      Of course I fought hard to get them banned, but in California everything is a compromise to the detriment of the racehorse.
      So they still permit them in most American racing jurisdictions with some changes.

      Carolyn, thanks for the question.
      Stacy, shame on you.

  3. Wow, Stacy. Talk about being RUDE! Remember, there are NO stupid questions. I don’t follow racing anymore because of all this BULLSHIT that goes on. Had NO idea what they were either ‘miss high and mighty.’..

  4. Thank you, Joy and Gina – I was curious, not only because I’ve never heard of “caulks” but there was no indication as to what part of the body they were used on the horse.
    I’m in disbelief that they’re permitted to be used in some jurisdictions there despite the evidence that they are so harmful to the horse.
    Couldn’t agree with you more, Gina. In my experience, most racehorses are running on dysfunctional feet contributing to many breakdowns. I see some good farrier work but I also see far too much bad farrier work. A colleague and I were at a race meet and we were doing a pilot survey on the feet that day. We spotted a horse that had shocking feet parading pre-race and the farrier work was atrocious, I thought he’s going to break down, went down to the home turn where it would likely happen due to the stress of manoeuvring a tight turn and sure enough he suffered a fetlock injury but due to the momentum he was travelling, he didn’t pull up for another 300 metres. Big crowd for this Cup day meet and right in front of the finish line a trailer comes out and they couldn’t get him on. The dreaded green screen is put up and I expected them to euthanase him but no they didn’t do that they forced him on when he was in agony. I was watching his feet and they tried many times to get him on. Screen comes down and trailer drives off with an announcement along the lines that he was okay – big cheers and clapping from the crowd. I went around the back and a contact informed me that he was DEAD euthanased him when they got him off the trailer. And of course no announcement to that effect.
    The matter was taken further. I lodged a formal complaint to the relevant racing authority who had not disclosed his death. In a subsequent Stewards’ Report his death was revealed. My colleague also took the matter further in relation to his feet providing indisputable evidence of his shocking feet. There was an investigation by the racing authority who, to their credit, stated in writing that the condition of his feet contributed to his breakdown. One would’ve thought that after this admission things would change for the standard of feet/hoof condition and farrier work but sadly for the horses it hasn’t! The relevant trainer continues to use the same farrier with no improvement that I can see and all her horses constantly perform poorly – wonder why?
    And let’s not forget racing needs the numbers to make up the fields for each and every race. They don’t give a damn about the horses.
    SHAME on the horseracing industry.

    • This issue brings back so many memories when I was an owner/trainer/steward.
      I equate the wearing of toe grabs and/or caulks to a racehorse wearing high heels running at 45 MPH.
      Does it help with traction? Probably.
      However, the downside to this is that it actually sticks into the surface very similar to a pair of cleats in soccer.
      With a racehorse they require fluid forward motion in order to maintain proper balance.
      I feel that this sudden stoppage of fluid movement, although momentarily, stuns their forward momentum, throwing them off balance (which may not be visibly noticeable to most), and puts undue stress on other areas of the lower limbs. This can result in secondary lameness.
      As for toe grabs?
      They are 100% a major contributor to hoof and foot issues.
      Studies have proven this.
      They are more popular in quarter-horse racing so most TB Trainers that have switched from QH’s (Baffert, Lukas) use them quite frequently.
      Toe grabs completely, and instantaneously change the angles to the hoof and how it strikes the ground.
      Bad news for any racehorse who is forced to wear them.
      Some Trainers would argue that they win races with these antiquated devices.
      Maybe so, but it also causes lameness and I usually see these horses go on a rapid decline to lameness after wearing them.
      It’s also a great way to pull ligaments and tendons in the lower limbs.
      Both toe grabs, and caulks alter a horses performance to the point that they have to announce the equipment change in the entries to inform gamblers.
      Studies have shown that they cause quarter cracks and both aforementioned Trainers have a steady stream of quarter cracks, but that still doesn’t get them to stop.
      I suppose my point is that with all the studies, with all the breakdowns in horse racing, they STILL PERMIT Trainers to unilaterally make decisions to utilize both caulks and toe grabs – VILE.
      Nothing, I mean nothing, is ever passed to increase their chances of making it off the track alive.
      We fought, we argued, we provided evidence, and the big name Trainers won out.
      They ensured that they could continuing crippling horses with these ridiculous decisions.
      Racing jurisdictions like the U.K and Australia specifically state that they don’t permit these to be used because it’s dangerous for the horse.
      Yet, the U.S. continues to use them.
      Another thing I need to say is that Del Mar seems to have an unsafe track surface.
      That is so obvious.
      Why and how is unknown, but the most reasonable study I was privy to is that the ocean tides affect the track surface shifting it, and causes unsafe footing for the horses.
      Since the ocean tides change frequently throughout the day this emphasizes just how unsafe the surface is (IF the study I saw was correct).
      If true, the worse thing a Trainer could do is further imbalance the horse by adding these torture devices in my opinion.
      So when you add up the toe grabs, caulks, possible unsafe track surface, liberal shock wave therapy regulations, permissible doping cocktails, whipping when tired,= recipe for disaster.
      It’s the summation of many factors that are contributing to these massive amounts of catastrophic breakdowns.
      That said, anytime, I mean anytime any of us attempted to eliminate even one of these potential contributors to catastrophic breakdowns we were met with strong opposition.
      We knew we couldn’t eliminate them all – that’s far too progressive for this antiquated business model.
      If we could of slowly dismantled it then it’s very possible that less breakdowns would have occurred.
      There’s absolutely no central leadership that can change things for the better – the infighting among members of this industry is beyond description.
      It’s almost impossible to change things for the betterment of the racehorses.
      This discombobulated mess, this cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit is so beyond repair that the racehorses are DYING and nothing is done to even increase their chances of survival.
      The main reason for this seems to be their relentless goal to fill races, increase wagering profits, and placate supporters of the business.
      This “sport of kings” is going to hell in a hell basket, and nobody can tell me differently.
      That saddest part of this entire scenario is that the racehorses are paying with their lives.

  5. Yes Gina, racing is going down to the tubes fast.We recently discovered a site called Thoroughbred Rulings.com that lists most all the violations a participant in racing has in the US. Makes for most informative reading! The ridiculously low penalties for medication violations is appalling. We appreciate the insights you provide to us all.We have also seen caulks / stickers made by the bending of a horse shoes heels down towards the ground surface too.

    • Joan & Fred – thanks so much for providing and posting the site Thoroughbred Rulings.com.
      It was a stark reminder of the ongoing abuse, and the enablers of the abuse.

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