How The Jockey Club Under-Reports Kills

When I last wrote about the Jockey Club’s “Equine Injury Database” (EID), I pointed out, among other things, how grossly misleading it is. Today, I build on that a bit: In 2017, according to the EID, Saratoga Race Course, one of the minority of tracks that make fatalities public, incurred six deaths. Anyone at all familiar with this site knows that 2017 was an all-time – all-time meaning from 2009, the year the NYS Gaming Commission began disclosing deaths and, not coincidentally (outcry after Eight Belles), the first year of the EID – high for Saratoga, 21 dead horses. So, what gives?

For starters, the Jockey Club only reports raceday kills. The 11 racehorses felled in morning practice? Not applicable, says the JC. The two young, awaiting-next-race horses who died, likely very painfully, of colic? Disregarded. So, that’s 13 dead horses who didn’t merit a mention in the database. Fine. We already knew that. But at this point you may notice that 21 minus 13 leaves 8; the JC says 6. So, again, what gives?

Here are the 21 dead at Saratoga ’17:

Lakalas, May 28, “collapsed and died after breezing”
Queen B, July 6, “fractured leg…ambulanced to clinic – euthanized”
Wanztbwicked, July 22, “suspensory rupture – euthanized on track”
Angels Seven, July 28 (racing), “fractured leg – euthanized on the track”
Howard Beach, July 29, “fractured leg…euthanized”
Positive Waves, July 29, “fractured cannon [and] sesamoids – euthanized”
Brooklyn Major, July 31 (racing), “collapsed and died after the finish of the race”
Marshall Plan, August 2, “fractured condylar – euthanized”
Fall Colors, August 3 (racing), “horse fell…died on track from trauma”
Munjaz, August 3 (racing), “took bad step…vanned off – euthanized”
Lakeside Sunset, August 5, “fractured leg – euthanized”
Unbroken Chain, August 6 (racing), “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal injury”
Duquesne Whistle, August 7, “was euthanized for abdomen colic”
Sweetneida, August 11 (racing), “took bad step, fractured sesamoids – euthanized”
Meteoroid, August 16 (racing), “[multiple] fractures – euthanized on track”
Sayonara Rose, August 17 (racing), “was euthanized on the track for leg fracture”
Travelin Soldier, August 19, “fractured leg – euthanized”
That Mr. P, August 26, “being treated for acute colic without resolution – euthanized”
Aggie’s Honor, August 31, “fractured cannon – euthanized”
Somekindasexy, September 18, “fractured both sesamoids – euthanized”
Roberta Brooks, October 14, “fractured cannon – euthanized”

Now, I can only surmise that the two missing from the Jockey Club’s accounting are the two who perished in steeplechase races. Yet, both (Fall Colors and Meteoroid) were Thoroughbreds, both, obviously, died on those same hallowed Saratoga grounds, both races pari-mutuel. In other words, there was no rational reason to exclude them. Except that doing so – along with excluding training kills – helps make the Saratoga kill-ratio better, and hence the Jockey Club’s (industry’s) overall national ratio.

And this was no isolated incident:

2016 – the Gaming Commission lists 6 Saratoga racing kills; the EID, 5
2015 – the Gaming Commission lists 3 Saratoga racing kills; the EID, 2
2014 – the Gaming Commission lists 8 Saratoga racing kills; the EID, 6

The evidence is clear: The Jockey Club is not only under-reporting all kills/deaths – no training, no stall – but it is also under-reporting racing kills, rendering (again) its vaunted “Equine Injury Database” worthless. Read my Killed Lists instead.

14 Comments

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  1. Of course it is useless but it is important to see the trail of lies. It is equally important to tell you over and over of our gratitude for everything you have gone through to protect the innocents.

  2. Thanks for the clarification Patrick, and for all your dedication to getting the facts out properly.
    There are still newspaper outlets reporting the deaths at Santa Anita as 23, but I think you posted 25?
    Nevertheless, every racehorse counts and even 1 dying is vile.
    On behalf of all the racehorses who died, who continue to suffer under their slave masters I pledge to be a voice for you because I know that your crying out through your broken bones, and let’s not forget that most of you die on the slaughterhouse floor when they are done maiming you.
    I will continue to fight for what’s morally correct, and that would mean advocating for this vile business to shutter.

  3. Mr. Batuello. I have a real good idea that your followers will be right behind you at the finish line when all is said and done. This Santa Anita issue seems to really have opened a lot of insight to seeing how things are in this quote sport

    • It seems to me with the film available they should be able to pin point where these injuries are taking place, then there is no excuse for them not to make changes. There won’t be any until a derby hopeful breaks a leg.

  4. Besides listing the horse and track and cause of injury or death, I believe the list should also include the jockey/exercise rider or standardbred driver plus the name of the trainer or assistant trainer involved with each horse. Then we will know more about the cause and who is behind it.

    • There you are, 100% right Karen Du Ross, that also jockeys/ exercise rider ,and every one involved with the taking care of the horses should be too, under investigations!!

  5. So putting an end to horse racing is what you are trying to do, correct? Please explain to me what would happen to all the horses that are currently racing, being trained to race, bred to race, etc? Horse rescues are already at their max right now, and since every owner, trainer, jockey, etc. Are all heartless and care nothing about the horses, then the only thing that would happen is all of them would go to slaughter. Not only the horses that are running, but there would also be no need for the studs and broodmares either. So all of them would also go to slaughter. So how is that helping the horses? I agree that something needs to be done to stop the breakdowns, but putting a stop to horse racing is not the answer unless you can explain to me how to do it without killing thousands of horses.

    • Horseracing will not suddenly come to a close overnight. It will contract – or to be more precise, continue to contract: I have documented a net loss of 35 racetracks in the U.S. just since 2000. The Jockey Club’s annual “foal crop” – the number of baby Thoroughbreds being registered each year – is roughly half what it was in 1990. All other relevant metrics are also down – racedays, races, “field sizes,” etc. See, contraction.

      Now, as to your question of where those horses who are left will go, I turn it back on you – where, pray tell, do they go now? The vast majority – 15,000 or more annually – of “retired” racehorses are brutally and violently slaughtered at the end of their productivity. Yes, that’s right, this multi-billion dollar industry, littered with loads of obscenely wealthy people, is sending most of its erstwhile “family members” to the abattoirs to be shackled, slashed, bled-out, and butchered. So you see, Kathlene, your question is grossly misdirected.

      • Patrick, thanks so much for your accurate response supported by facts.
        It’s incumbent on the horse racing industry to take care of the horses that they specifically breed and exploit for $2 bets.
        While they have no problem spending and making millions off a racehorse, via obscene wagering/sales profits, they have every problem contributing money to take care of their “family members.”
        Their 2 disposal systems are the claiming ranks and the kill auctions.
        So if people in this industry are so concerned about what will happen to all the racehorses, if this business is shut down, then don’t breed to exploit them to begin with.
        Stop the problem before it even occurs.
        By supporting this industry you are complacent in every single racehorse that dies on the slaughterhouse floor.
        Knowing this and continuing to support it qualifies you as a racehorse abuser and killer.
        I realize that this logic is difficult for the delusional apologists to comprehend, but shutting it down will be turning off the tap and will finally end this public butcher show.

    • So it appears, Kathlene, that you feel horse racing – an unnecessary gambling industry – should continue – it should continue to kill horses in racing and training (because even industry members admit the deaths WILL happen – see Ritvo’s statement in the April 1, 2019 LA Times) and it should continue to send tens of thousands of its unwanted, crippled and used-up horses to slaughter. It should ALSO continue to place the responsibility of countless unwanted racehorses onto the public – the public that is constantly being begged for funding and homes for the horses BRED by the industry and USED by the industry…but never supported for life by the industry.

      Every racehorse will become unwanted by their racing owner and trainer – every one…and most before even reaching an equine’s prime age. As long as horse racing exists, the animals used in it will need homes for the 20 +/- years after the industry is finished using them for what they were bred for – MONEY – PROFITS. And it’s not the industry giving them homes and providing for them for the remainder of their lives.

      So WE continue to scramble, helping as many discarded racehorses as we can – digging into our own wallets, desperately trying to find loving homes – putting bandaids on a massive hemorrhaging wound. And THIS while the industry exists.

      Why would anyone who professes to love the horses used in racing want that for them? – use that admittedly causes such “wear and tear” that even apologists beg for 9, 10, 11-year-old’s still racing to be retired? – use that fans and supporters feel the need to “pray for safety that all finish safe and sound” when raced? – use that kills thousands? – use that deems so many to a life of “pasture-sound” only? – use that comes to an end on a bloodied slaughterhouse floor?

      Senseless.

    • Simple answer to your question…pass the safe act and make transportation for horses to slaughter illegal….then. hold the racing industry and the state governments accountable if they werent all concerned about the almighty dollar something might actually get done…everyone is in such an outrage over santa anita, but how does nobody mention all the other tracks? Racing is trying to play damge control, while the owners, trainers, industry committees and such try n maintain their status quo because drugging horses is all they know, some are so delusional they will break the rules and cite how they were just trying to help the horse…..you say something needs to be done this industry needs to be held accountable for all they have created, change aint comin from the inside they have shown theres no will for that……you either stand for the horses or you stand for the industry theres not much middle ground any longer

    • Peggy, Kathlene’s thinking is just so bizarre! – keep crippling, killing, discarding and sending horses to slaughter because otherwise, horses will be sent to slaughter! WHAT?!?!?

      A racing “fan” said this in a comment on a pro-racing site – I think he’s seeing the light?; “That settles it. The racetrack is clearly the best place for a thoroughbred to die…”

  6. Race horses,are right now,sended also to South Korea,for food! Mares with foals,too! This is the thank- you for making them( owners)win big bucks! Shame on you,that do this! Poor beautiful and intelligent creature, what an end! This is happening,now, in U.S.A.

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