How They Died at Los Alamitos, Golden Gate, Del Mar

Through a FOIA request to the California Horse Racing Board, I have confirmed the following deaths at California tracks in 2018. (Please note: The Board redacted the names of the dead horses; any identifications below came via other channels.)

unidentified 5-year-old, July 3, Golden Gate
“On the right hind there are multiple open wounds; largest approximately 10 cm wide. The underlying tissues and skeletal muscle are exposed and discolored dark red to black. Surrounding the wounds there is a large amount of edema and hemorrhage with marked swelling. The tarasal joints are distended by increased amounts of cloudy, yellow synovial fluid admixed with large amounts of free floating fibrin. The subcutaneous tissues are expanded by edema, hemorrhage, and emphysema and the skin is easily sloughed off. On the left hind the entire hoof wall has sloughed off and the remaining lamina and coffin bone are exposed. The findings observed within the lungs and liver are suggestive of a septicemic process, likely as a result of the severe cellulitis.” (Not an industry casualty? Please.)

Magic Mark, July 4, Los Alamitos R
“Poor performance in race; no apparent distress during unsaddling; collapsed and died suddenly at barn.”

Seared, July 8, Los Alamitos R
“Pulled up racing, collapsed on ambulance, pulled from ambulance unable to rise. Comminuted, complete, displaced fracture with compression of spinal cord.”

Seein Starz, July 14, Los Alamitos R (euthanized July 16)
“Comminuted, complete fracture of the carpal III, plus other lesions of the adjacent bones and articular surfaces that are considered chronic.”

Bookofmatches, July 14, Los Alamitos R
“Horse locked up during race [and] fell. Comminuted, complete, displaced, fracture of the L 5 vertebral body, with extensive meningeal hemorrhages.”

unidentified (probably Im Ur Cutie Pie), July 20, Los Alamitos R (euthanized July 21)
“Slab fractures (2 pieces) of central tarsal bone. Extensive acute excoriation and ulceration. Severe hemorrhage of the soft tissue surrounding the tarsus. Circumferential hemorrhage of the suspensory ligament. Gastric erosions/ulcers.”

Cadillac Express, July 21, Golden Gate T
“Left front fetlock – Transverse to comminuted sesamoid bone fractures. Biaxial palmar transverse ridge arthrosis. Right front fetlock – Biaxial focal traumatic osterochondrosis. Biaxial palmar transverse ridge arthrosis.” (just three years old)

Bobby Abu Dhabi, July 22, Del Mar T
“Fracture of the medial proximal sesamoid bone. Fracture of the lateral proximal sesamoid bone. Rupture of the intersesamoidean ligament, longitudinal and the short and cruciate sesamoidean ligaments, transverse. Partial medial tear of the superficial digital flexor and fraying and hemorrhage of superficial and deep digital flexor tendons. Fraying of the suspensory ligament. Body of 3rd cervical vertebra, transverse, comminuted, complete, displaced and fracture of caudal aspect of right transverse process with hemorrhage around spinal cord. Cervical 4 and 5 vertebrae, ventral, left transverse processes, complete, displaced. Moderate to severe gastric ulcers.” (that’s multiple fetlock and cervical fractures – and ulcers, to boot)

Oso Strong, July 25, Golden Gate T
“During arthroscopy of knee, this horse did not have a strong pulse. During anesthetic recovery, did not regain a strong pulse. After prolonged treatment and CPR he died, unfortunately.” (“unfortunately”)

unidentified (probably Provodnikov), July 28, Los Alamitos R (euthanized July 30)
“Comminuted, complete, displaced, bi-articular slab fracture, III carpal bone.”

15 Comments

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  1. Hi, Patrick, I”ve been meaning to let you know that I wrote an article based on your research and philosophy for the Spring/Summer issue of the People for Animal Rights (PAR) newsletter. PAR is an all-volunteer, grassroots organization that promotes animal rights and environmental protection. Let me know if you want me to mail you a physical copy of the newsletter. Thank you for all your work on behalf of the horses.

    Linda DeStefano, President People for Animal Rights P.O.Box 15358 Syracuse, NY 13215-0358 people4animalrightscny@gmail.com http://www.peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org

  2. unidentified 5-year-old, July 3, Golden Gate
    “On the right hind there are multiple open wounds; largest approximately 10 cm wide. The underlying tissues and skeletal muscle are exposed and discolored dark red to black. Surrounding the wounds there is a large amount of edema and hemorrhage with marked swelling. The tarasal joints are distended by increased amounts of cloudy, yellow synovial fluid admixed with large amounts of free floating fibrin. The subcutaneous tissues are expanded by edema, hemorrhage, and emphysema and the skin is easily sloughed off. On the left hind the entire hoof wall has sloughed off and the remaining lamina and coffin bone are exposed. The findings observed within the lungs and liver are suggestive of a septicemic process, likely as a result of the severe cellulitis.” (Not an industry casualty? Please.)

    An horseracing industry death this ‘unidentified’ horse most certainly is. I cannot bear to think of the terrible pain and suffering this horse endured. SEVERE CELLULITIS and nobody saw the signs?…. disgusting.

    • looks and smells like a case of severe neglect and callous indifference. If there was any treatment it was woefully inadequate. It is not possible that any veterinarian would allow the horse get in such horrible condition. And “black” tissue sounds like gangrene.
      Obviously it took quite a while for the horse to get in this horrific condition.
      To cause such suffering to an animal is against the law. But we know this business operates outside the law and the basics of human decency. Disgraceful.

      PS The trainer, John F. Martin, should be held accountable but he probably is still operating as a “trainer”.
      Kenneth C. Allison, DVM, should be duty bound to report this cruelty case. His telephone number is on the report. Maybe he would answer some questions….

      • Agree, Rose. I just felt so sick when i read this report – as you say ‘looks and smells like a case of severe neglect and callous indifference’.

  3. What the hell!!
    You say you love horses.?
    What the f. are you ( horse trainer / breeder /,owner”).
    Doing to these babies.?it breaks all your
    Heart ‘s? Bull Shit!
    These horses are only numbers to you
    .Well wake the f -.up.
    They are living breathing souls.-that will do any thing!.( for you. )
    Wow “, any thing .!
    like busting there hearts there legs, ectra,ecetra. Stop over breeding !!.

  4. I am very distressed after reading the accounts of the deaths of numerous horses. I am not an expert on horses by any means, but a number of things pop into my head. 1). The horses may be started racing too young. 2). The horses did not receive adequate care after the race – proper cool down, examining the horses legs for tendon damage, and if damage was found be examined by a registered equine veterinarian. If damage was done the vet may recommend not racing the horse for a period of time. 3). I don’t actually know how much damage can be done by wiping the horse to encourage faster speed/or a win. 4) The ulcers really sound bad, and I’m guessing that comes from bad diet, a genetic issue, or maybe even stress. I believe with these poor horses having an injury and taking time off because of it, does not happen. There is an extremely important race next week and we HAVE to win so the poor horse is pushed past their ability and when they slow down they are whipped to increase speed. So, I would say there is no feeling about the horses, just push them beyond their ability and if they can’t win, euthanize them, buy a new horse and go on. I don’t know how a horse’s spinal cord could be damaged unless it’s from a fall?!! They run horses on wet, muddy, sloppy tracks and run twice as many horses as they should. It’s a wonderful sport to watch but the cost to the horses is just too much!

  5. What the MOTHER FUCKING FUCK??? I am horrified to read what has been going on and is apparently business as usual. This is such a sad day for me to have a reality check about horse racing. It shouldn’t be a surprise because I am constantly being bombarded by the thoughtlessness and disgusting behavior of humans toward animals and the entire planet. How is it possible for any of us with some sense and empathy for these beautiful animals who dutifully do what is asked of them from the day they are born to protect them from this awful harm that is constantly lurking? These people look normal and somehow are allowed to persist with their gross ways, hiding behind their money and their family names. Gross!! I have so many terrible thoughts toward the monsters who put their greed before the well-being and comfort of their poor owned prisoners. I’m so disgusted.

  6. This is so sad. Horses are raced far too young, nutrition in feed, hay and pastures is not what it use to be. And, they are just another victim in our throw away society. This needs to stop. Not just at the race tracks either. Look at how many horses are crippled, injured and even death from the show circuit. For what ! Money, ribbons, a trophy. Not worth a life in my opinion. I love horses. Have 3 currently and I do what ever I can to keep them happy and healthy. We need more empathy when it comes to dealing with our furred, hooved, feathered and scaly kin. we need to put their well being first instead of trying to figure out how much money we can make off of them.

  7. Yet another horrific list of maimed and/or dead racehorses.
    This is the truth underneath the fancy hats and found in their mint juleps – the broken bones and blood of racehorses.
    If you are outraged about this, as you should be, please educate people about it, send them a link to this blog, most importantly, tell your politicians (who financially support this business via taxpayers/casino money in the billions) to stop giving them money.
    Peacefully demonstrate, sign petitions – do something – anything – just do something for the racehorses please.

  8. I cannot believe “trainers” can a) race clearly lame horses and b) are allowed to let a horse get in such a dreadful condition it loses a hoof how on earth can they keep their licences are there no governing bodies in America to legislate against this kind of abuse and ban them from ever having racehorses on any track or in their care

  9. Let’s be clear.
    The industry calls them “trainers,” but all of their “top trainers,” have multiple drug violations (racehorse abuse), and have lots of racehorses who have died under their training regimes.
    Multiple deaths and no investigations!
    If investigations ensue they are conducted by industry insiders with little to no repercussions.
    Even killing racehorses doesn’t garner any penalties whatsoever.
    Yet, in any other setting in America these “trainers” would be charged on Felony Animal Cruelty charges.
    I say open up the books – their doping/vet records – and the full scope of the abuse will be on display as it was with CORONADO HEIGHTS trained by Todd Pletcher.\
    https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/04/29/us/one-horse-one-week-of-injections.html?_r=0
    VILE business with VILE people who claim to “love their family members.”
    Look at the article link attached here and tell me: is this a person who “cares about their family member?”

  10. Hi Gina I am truly shocked having clicked on your link what ever happened to the “sport of kings”it seems it is now the sport of gypsies tramps and thieves!!!!! It’s also amazing that these “trainers” have unlimited access to those drugs to self medicate those poor horses are there no rules , no drug tests or any industry approved veterinary standards and this is all completely legal !!!!! I cannot believe people go and watch this and even more bet on those poor lame drugged creatures and call it horse racing its more like watching unwilling junkie horses go kill themselves and probably easier to bet on which one doesn’t finish and what injury it has shame on American racing and I hope the people who run it hang their heads in shame that they dare call this “sport” they are a disgrace!!!

    • Thanks Liz.
      They have a plethora of “legal” medications that can be given in-between races and before a race with each drug having a specific withdrawal time (so they don’t test positive) before a race.
      The vets are given a virtual road map to giving drugs and to ensure that they don’t test positive which is precisely why this business fights hard to keep their doping/vet records a secret.
      The kinds of dope used and how frequent has a potential to reveal pre-existing conditions, which is another reasons why they want all their doping records kept secret.
      The horse racing industry would like the unsuspecting public to think that catastrophic breakdowns are a result of a “bad step,” but nothing could be further from the truth.
      Reputable, peer-reviewed, equine vet studies have shown that catastrophic breakdowns are a result of continually masking chronic or pre-existing conditions with dope.
      So any rules, regulations, and/or drug tests appear to be public wallpaper.

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