2-year-old Bourbonfuhrme was euthanized after being “vanned off” in the 6th at Belmont Saturday. This, says the witty chartwriter, after “cross[ing] the finish line for the final minor slice of the pot” ($830). According to the NYS Gaming Commission, 103 horses have perished at NY tracks in 2017 (though surely the actual number is higher).

This is horseracing.

By all standards, Abel Tasman has been a wildly successful racehorse. She has won six of ten “career” races – including four Grade 1s; in a little more than a year, she has raked in over $1.6 million for her people. And, no surprise, she is slated for the Breeders’ Cup next month. In short, this 3-year-old filly is a star.

Vegas Vic was not Abel Tasman. Although the same age as her, Vegas had no stakes races on his resume; he had “earned” a mere $58,000. Yesterday, Vegas Vic died – “broke down”/euthanized while training at Santa Anita. But that is no story, at least not for the racing press. What is, and why it got reported, is that Abel Tasman and other Breeders hopefuls were on that same track, Abel concurrently with Vegas.

The BloodHorse headline: “Abel Tasman Avoids Trouble in Breeders’ Cup Work”

The lede: “A host of Breeders’ Cup workers went out to the main track at Santa Anita Park Oct. 22, and one got caught up in a scary moment.”

The quote (Bob Baffert, Abel’s trainer): “That could have been bad.”

The rest of the article went on to recount the other workouts – times and such. Nothing more on Vegas Vic. Racing’s true colors laid bare, yet again.

In the most recent Stewards Minutes at the “Big Fresno Fair,” we learn that 5-year-old Blazing Image was a vet scratch in the 2nd October 12 because – he was dead (from colic, they say). That race, had death not so impertinently intervened, would have been Blazing’s second in a week. Apparently, new “connections” – Blazing was “claimed” for a paltry $2,500 on September 23 – Isidro Tamayo, Greame Chung, and Patrick Hui were determined to get their money’s worth. But alas, it was not to be.

Also: “Jockey Jesus Velazquez appeared to review last Monday’s first race where he finished second on a mule. Jesus used his crop after the wire because he thought the mule might go to bucking. Velazquez was told he was allowed to use the crop to control a rank mount but could not apply it in anticipation of that bad behavior.”

Control a rank mount.” “Bad behavior.” Can these people be any more contemptible?

In the 11th at Parx September 23, 3-year-old Irap finished second. After the race, however, the colt was “vanned off” for an undisclosed reason. But this was no ordinary race, and no ordinary horse. The 11th that day was the Grade 1 “Pennsylvania Derby”; in placing, Irap won his people a cool $190,000. In fact, in 13 “career starts” Irap had amassed over $1.6 million in “earnings” – or about $128,000 per outing. In other words, if they could move this horse, extraordinary measures would be taken (if not to race again then, at the very least, for big-money stud) – measures, it seems, that more often than not fail. They were (taken); they did (fail).

Irap’s injury was a pair of fractured sesamoids – an injury that would have been fatal right then and there to the vast majority of racehorses running on American tracks. But again, pedestrian Irap was not. So, they “fused his ankle” and inserted metal plates. Then things went bad. His owner, Paul Reddam, in BloodHorse:

“Three days after the surgery he got a fever and subsequent infection at the operation site. He was doing better the last week and a half but last night they discovered rotation in the opposite (right) foot.” Death (via euthanasia) yesterday. Death after, in all likelihood, an extended suffering. How profoundly sad.

Irap, post-surgery
(A postscript: Irap’s story began in tragedy. BloodHorse: “Irap was the final foal out of Aaron and Marie Jones’ top producer Silken Cat, as the Storm Cat mare hemorrhaged during his birth.” His “top producer” mother died a few months later.)

In the 7th yesterday at Santa Anita, Warrenscrystalized “broke down and fell in [the] deep stretch” (Equibase) and was euthanized. BloodHorse (only reporting on it because a pair of jockeys were hospitalized) called the break “severe.” Warrenscrystalized was six. Oh, and insult to kill, the chartwriter relays that “[she] broke down on her own.”

Meanwhile, the NYS Gaming Commission reports that Freudian Dilemma was “found deceased in stall” at Finger Lakes Wednesday – “gastric/digestive issues without resolution.” Freudian was nine and had been put to the whip 64 times. His most recent race came just six days prior to turning up dead. A “non-racing” casualty? Please.