9-Year-Old Mare Who Hadn’t Been Raced in Over Two Years Killed at Pseudo Florida Track

Even when this industry is running “sham” races, it can’t help but kill. When reviewing the FOIA documents I recently received from Florida, I came upon a death at a track I had never heard of – Oxford Downs. Turns out, what Oxford really is is a cardroom/simulcasting center that runs a handful of Quarterhorse “races” a year in order to retain its license for the lucrative gaming. A quick search brought me to this Paulick article from 2014 explaining how some slimy businessmen have played the system, and how the state of Florida – or more specifically, the oversight agency for racing (which is what makes this an industry kill) – allows it to happen. In any event, here is the report I received on a horse named Hawks Linda Lou:

“On this date [June 14] at approximately 12:14 P.M. before race #3 the horse flipped and fell while being saddled for racing, hitting its head on the ground. The horse was immediately rendered unconscious and shortly thereafter expired. As the track veterinarian for Oxford Downs…I was summoned to the barn area, arriving at the site of the incident within approximately 2 minutes. At that time the horse did not have a corneal eye reflex and was demonstrating postmortem neuro-muscular spasms…the state veterinarian arrived and agreed that the horse had expired.”

Hawks Linda Lou was a 9-year-old mare who hadn’t run a legitimate race in over two years – her last one being a last-of-10 in a $5,000 claiming at Hialeah in February 2015. Vile. And on this, I think even Mr. Paulick would agree.

(While I do consider this an industry casualty, it must be said that Hawks’ death is directly attributable to Florida’s inability/unwillingness to “decouple” animal racing from other forms of gaming. That is, it’s high time that that state stops making it a requirement for license holders – for table games, slots, etc. – to run races that, with the possible exception of Gulfstream, the public cares little about. These racinos – combination racetrack/casino – are corporate welfare for a dying industry. Even if the cruelty part of this fails to resonate, you should be outraged that money that should be flowing to things like education is instead lining horsemen’s pockets.)

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  1. I had read a recent article of the once glorious Hialeah now being such a dump that they are running horses in their teens in Quarter horse match and pathetic races with 3 or 4 horses without a starting gate, and safety crews available. And yet Florida is allowing this to continue. But it sounds like a big sinking ship so hopefully will be closed soon.

  2. This is so egregious that I simply can’t believe that this is being permitted to continue.
    It absolutely sickens me.
    We MUST join forces with other animal groups to get DECOUPLING immediately passed in Florida.
    I can’t stand by, and watch this go on.
    I know that all of you supporters of this blog can’t, and I’m in touch with some groups in Florida.
    We must continue lobbying with a collective voice.
    Please stay tuned.

  3. Yes Gina decoupling MUST be initiated at all levels,no card rooms, poker championships, state supported and encouraged video poker games, lottery games in or on race track facilities etc. Just read of Donna`s Dream being dumped in manure disposal area of Florida track! How disrespectful and appalling way to treat a sensitive and sentient living thing. Even our class B track does not summarily cast away a dead horse in the manure pile! Usually the broken, dead horses are covered with a tarp and placed near the mechanical shop until the owner has a rendering plant come to haul the poor horse away.Sometimes though with special permission an owner picks up the horses body and buries it at their farm.

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