Running in his very first race, 2-year-old Mr Rabbits broke down and died yesterday afternoon at Finger Lakes, trainer James Acquilano’s 2nd dead horse in 3 days (Magestick Tomahawk on Saturday). The kill allowed Mr. Acquilano to hit his annual average at the western NY track (9 dead since 2009). Condolences to the connections, anyone?

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From the Daily News (10/26/13):

“From Gov. Cuomo comes the welcome news that Aqueduct’s days as a shabby and underutilized thoroughbred track are likely numbered. In its heyday, Aqueduct drew tens of thousands of horse racing fans every day during its meet. Now, with racing’s steep decline and the availability of off-track wagering, it’s a hulking shell onto which has been grafted a video slot-machine casino.”

Although a shutdown would involve Belmont absorbing an unspecified amount of the Big A’s racing, it would still mean one less. Good news, indeed.

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Two of the horses listed on this weekend’s ambulance report are confirmed dead. Again, thanks to NYS’s unique database, we know that Magestick Tomahawk and Irish Lady, both of whom fell at Finger Lakes (where else?), never made it out of the arena.

3-year-old Magestick Tomahawk, an “eased DNF” at Calder in May, “fx LF fetlock.”
6-year-old Irish Lady “faltered unseating rider – open fx bilateral sesamoids and ruptured suspensory – sedated then euthanized on track.”

Irish Lady is trainer Chris Englehart’s 5th death in NY this year and 22nd of his career.

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Finger Lakes 2013: 36 and counting…

A 4-year-old Thoroughbred named Points Offthebench broke his right front fetlock Saturday at Santa Anita. He is now dead. This one, however, was not difficult to find, no scouring of the charts required. For you see, Points Offthebench, having won back-to-back Grade 1s (and 6 wins, 1 place, and 1 show in 8 career starts), was a serious BC Sprint contender. Big news, I guess: ESPN, LA Daily News, LA Times, U-T San Diego, Bloodhorse, Paulick Report, etc., etc. Amazing how “tragedy” is such a relative word.

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LA Daily News (10/26/13): “The horse racing community can be an ugly mess at times. …But when tragedy strikes, like it did Saturday morning at Santa Anita Park when 4-year-old gelding Points Offthebench suffered a fatal injury while preparing for next Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint, the industry pulls together as one.”

Trainer Doug O’Neill: “Our thoughts are with Tim Yakteen and the connections…. We are saddened by the loss of a great horse.”

The horse’s owner, Charles Martin (Bloodhorse, 10/26/13): “He’s been a tremendous horse. He was the nicest horse you would ever find. He had an affinity for Tim’s youngest son. You could just walk up and he’d let you pet him for 15 minutes. He was as much a pet as an awesome racehorse. He brought so much fun to all of us.”

Owner and handicapper Bob Ike (U-T San Diego, 10/26/13): “I’ve loved this sport since I was a little kid and I have been involved professionally for 28 years. This is one of the saddest things I’ve seen.”

Horse Racing Nation’s Ashley Tamulonis: “What an awful, awful month. First Dullahan and now Points Offthebench.”

All of which leaves me wondering: Why doesn’t the industry “pull together” to end the annual slaughter of thousands of “retired” racehorses? Are thoughts and prayers reserved for those who’ve lost million-dollar horses? How many of 2013’s 91 dead in NY were considered “pets”? “One of the saddest things [you’ve] seen”? Why aren’t the three pedestrian Belmont horses who died the same day as Points not a part of the “awful, awful month”?

This industry is revolting.

The following, unless otherwise noted, were “vanned off” American tracks this weekend.

Friday:
6-year-old South West Target, Delta Downs, race 1
3-year-old Business Venture, Golden Gate Fields, race 2
3-year-old Keystone Belle, Mountaineer, race 6 (bled)
4-year-old Despinas Desire, Mountaineer, race 7
6-year-old Ready for Flight, Thistledown, race 7 (broke down)

Saturday:
5-year-old Sin Freno, Calder, race 5 (broke down)
5-year-old Kelyo, Charles Town, race 1
5-year-old My Cousin Eddie, Finger Lakes, race 2
3-year-old Magestick Tomahawk, Finger Lakes, race 3
6-year-old Irish Lady, Finger Lakes, race 7
4-year-old Mikes Fast Dash, Lone Star, race 3 (“went wrong, fell,” DNF)
3-year-old Royal Snoqualimie, Los Alamitos, race 8
11-year-old Meadow Vespers, Thistledown, race 1 (bled)
5-year-old Lucky Leslie, Thistledown, race 3 (“pulled up lame”)
4-year-old Princess Zaneta, Thistledown, race 3 (bled)
4-year-old Mr Corona Blue (after winning), Turf Paradise, race 1
3-year-old Halo’s Iron Loop, Zia, race 9

Sunday:
2-year-old Enhanced (1st career start), Churchill Downs, race 1
6-year-old Music Conductor, Thistledown, race 6
2-year-old Fonzerelli, Zia, race 7

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