Summer on the American racing calendar is about Saratoga and Del Mar, Del Mar and Saratoga. Save for the occasional big race (“Arlington Million”), the only attention given between the coasts, between those two iconic tracks, comes from the “players” (hardened bettors). From the advocate side, most of the focus has gone to Saratoga, but for an altogether different reason – 17 dead through yesterday. That said, Saratoga has no monopoly on the killing, and we can’t lose sight of the fact that there are a whole bunch of pedestrian tracks out there where horses are dying daily.
Yesterday, at Thistledown in Ohio, two racehorses were killed on the same card. In the 4th, 7-year-old Ronson “was injured,” says Equibase, “just past the seven sixteenths pole…euthanized.” Back in April, Ronson finished 1st at Mahoning but was disqualified “due to a positive test.” No word on what that was. Subsequent to that, he finished second-to-last, second-to-last, second-to-last, last. His final four races, including his death run, were $4,000 claiming races – the bottom of the barrel. All this under the watchful eye of trainer/owner Guy Tauzin.
Four races later, another 7-year-old (in fact, they were born three days apart), Dreamy, “was injured before the half mile pole, pulled up…euthanized.” She, too, was being “offered” for $4,000 prior to dying. It was Dreamy’s 63rd time under the whip and 9th in less than five months; those nine were all cheap, racino-subsidized (which pay first through last) claiming races. Trainer/owner, Bart Barnes.
The stories above render obscene the common apologist claim of “treated better than you and me.” For their lives are no anomaly; they are the lives of most (by far) racehorses: deprivation; abuse; suffering; premature, often painful, death. End it: no more betting, no more attending, no more patronizing racinos. Please, for the horses.