Multiple sources have confirmed that Magician’s Bullet is dead after “breaking down” in the 10th at Gulfstream Friday. He was five years old.

Yet again, the Penn National chartwriter offers some uncommon insight: In the 6th last night, Flashy Baron finished last – over 28 lengths back; the writer says “[he] was no factor the whole way despite being hard ridden through the finish.”

“Hard ridden” while hopelessly out of it. Edwin Rivera was the jockey.

Flashy Baron is a 2-year-old who was being raced for the second time this week. Yes, that’s right, on Monday he came in 8th of 9 in a Parx claiming – 18 lengths behind (“far back” on the chart). Wait, it gets worse. The race before that, November 6 at Parx: last, 31 lengths back (with Rivera also atop on this one). October 24: 6th of 8, 18 lengths back. That’s four “career starts” for this pubescent equine – with an average lengths-back of 24. Abuse. Cruelty. Horseracing. The trainer/breeder is Charles Cuprill.

Following “public outcry,” says the racing publication BloodHorse, the case of the miscreant trainer/owner who left one of his horses in a stall with a broken leg for almost an entire month was reviewed by the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and the penalty subsequently changed. Instead of 45 days/$500, Mario Rodriguez now faces a one-year suspension and $2,500 fine. The paper, however, says more may be coming his way because…well, here’s Dr. Kathryn Papp on recent developments:

“One of his horses dropped dead in a stall this morning [Friday]. They pulled out every single horse, and they were jogging every single horse. They came across three lame ones. This horse that had died had been sore for several days with supposedly a really bad run-down. It was treated at 9:30 this morning by a private veterinarian for colic and then it just dropped dead about an hour later.” (Note to Ms. Papp: horses, fully sentient beings, are whos not its.)

Here’s the thing, not only should Rodriguez never be allowed to control (own) a domesticated animal again, he should be in jail for committing wanton cruelty against the most defenseless and innocent among us. But Racing doesn’t think so (nor, for that matter, society at large). And what does it really matter whether it’s 45 days or one year? Is there an expectation of rehabilitation? Can anyone say with a straight face that Mario Rodriguez will come back a changed man? Someone who sees a horse as more than a mere thing to be used? Please. The good bet is he does it again – maybe not to the extent seen here, but abuse nonetheless. And equally likely, Racing, unless accidentally exposed again, will, again, simply look the other way.

(An aside to any veterinarian – someone whose first priority should be the protection of and advocacy for domesticated animals – who still calls himself/herself a “fan” of this wicked business: For shame. For shame.)

(full BloodHorse article)

Penn National again

In the 6th last night, the chartwriter reports this: “MO MON’S COPYCAT…came up tired and appeared to be eased down the stretch but was being whipped through the eighth pole then steadily eased from there.” “Being whipped,” that is, to a last-place, 32-lengths-back finish. The 6-year-old’s most recent eight races going in:

November 19 (2016), Parx – 7th (“For Sale” at $5,000 prior to race)
December 4, Parx – 9th, 20+ lengths back (“For Sale” at $5,000 prior to race)
January 31 (2017), Parx – last, 22+ lengths back (“For Sale” at $5,000 prior to race)
February 16, Penn – last, 33 lengths back (“For Sale” at $4,000 prior to race)
August 11, Laurel – 6th (“For Sale” at $6,500 prior to race)
September 10, Laurel – 9th (“For Sale” at $7,500 prior to race)
October 6, Laurel – 8th (“For Sale” at $6,500 prior to race)
November 13, Laurel – 7th (“For Sale” at $4,500 prior to race)

Again, yesterday: last, 32 back (and “For Sale” at $4,000 prior to). (trainer/owner for first four races: Luis Carvajal Jr; next three: Aparna Battula; current: Wayne Potts)

This is vile. This is horseracing.

On the surface, the recent suspension of a Pennsylvania trainer for failing to provide proper care for one of his charges reads like the racing industry taking care of business – policing and punishing a delinquent. Looks good to the masses. Racing cares and will not tolerate abuse. Then you dig a bit deeper. The story, as relayed in the Paulick Report, is that trainer/owner Mario Rodriguez left 6-year-old Silent Ruler in his stall with a broken leg – for almost an entire month. Imagine that.

According to the article, on September 24, Kathryn Papp, veterinarian, happened upon Silent Ruler while guiding a track visitor who was there to possibly adopt the gelding. Here, in Papp’s words, is what they found:

“From the outside of the stall you could easily see that the horse’s nostrils were flaring, he had a very worried look in his eyes and was covered in drying sweat. He was mostly non-weight-bearing on his right front swollen ankle and was holding it up off the ground. When he attempted to move around his stall he would rock back onto his hind legs, squat down and skip his front end over without using that right front limb at all. The left front limb looked sore and over-taxed.”

Radiographs would eventually confirm that the horse had “a break in the right front sesamoid with multiple fragments pulled away from the bone.” It was obvious to all that Silent Ruler was “in distress,” and, another vet confirmed, “needed immediate treatment or euthanasia.” Bad, by any measure.

Apparently, the CANTER listing said that Silent Ruler “was recently injured in a race” but that “no diagnostics have been completed.” Indeed, SR had been added to the vet’s list after finishing second-to-last (15+ back) in a $4,000 claiming at Penn National August 26. It was at that point that Rodriguez, a bottom-feeder trainer running cheap horses in cheap races at cheap tracks, wanted to be rid of him. But instead of finding the extent of the injury and administering (serious) palliative care, he simply stuck him in his stall and waited for a taker. For this, for leaving this animal (alone, mind you) in pain, in suffering – in, surely, terror – for weeks, this obscenity of a human being got 45 days (less than that actually, as it’s calendar, not racing, days) and a $500 fine. A wristslap for cruelty of the worst order. Good on you, Pennsylvania Racing.

(I would say appeal directly to the AG on this, but the relevant Pennsylvania “Cruelty to Animals” statute, which encompasses exactly what Rodriguez did here – “a person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly illtreats…otherwise abuses…or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care…or deprives any animal of necessary veterinary care” – falls in the lowest class of crimes, a “summary offense” – on a par, I kid you not, with failing to return a library book and “illegal use of shopping carts.”)

(full Paulick article, with pictures)

It appears we have a chartwriter(s) with a conscience. Two weeks after the Penn National writer outed the medical staff in Aspic’s death, these comments for races conducted there Friday night:

race 2: “MISS SPIDERWEB…came up tired and was eased for most of the stretch but was occasionally hit with the whip through the finish.” Miss Spiderweb finished last of 10 in a $4,000 claiming race – 38 lengths back. Jockey: Angel Rodriguez.

race 8: “MISTER OBVIOUS was hustled out of the gate but stayed well behind…was hard ridden through the finish but ultimately outrun.” Mister Obvious finished last of 6 in a $5,000 claiming race – 29 lengths back. Jockey: Christian Olmo.

“…was occasionally hit with the whip through the finish”; “…was hard ridden through the finish.” A combined 67 lengths in the rear. This is abuse. This is horseracing.