3-year-old Accolade being punched – yes, punched – repeatedly (I count four plus a shove for good measure) for “acting up” prior to the 5th at Delaware Park yesterday:

Accolade’s Equibase note, by the way: “ACCOLADE was fractious in the gate then bobbled at the start, was forwardly placed then weakened.” Yes, “bobbled” from being beaten up. After having “weakened,” he finished second-to-last but, Delaware Park being a racino, still took home $125 for his “connections.”

The track made this announcement via Twitter: “[Delaware Park] in no way condones the mistreatment of animals & has immediately suspended the asst starter involved in an incident before the 5th race today. The incident has been referred to the DTRC, which will investigate & hold a special hearing on Saturday morning.”

The miscreant should – but won’t – be arrested for animal cruelty (Delaware’s relevant statute here). It’s ugly, it’s vile – but then again, it’s horseracing.

Horseracing, of course, pounds horses into the ground as a matter of routine. It’s what they do. But every once in a while, I come across a case of such egregious abuse that a separate post is practically compelled. The horse named Bank of Dad is currently laboring in Ohio and West Virginia. He is 13 years old, and this past Monday he was put to the whip for the 127th time. Please take a moment to allow those numbers to truly register: 13 years old, 127 races. And how, you may ask, is he “faring” these days? At Thistledown Monday, he came in last of 11 in a $5,000 claiming race; the race before that, a $5,000 claiming at Mahoning, 9th of 10.

In what is most certainly not a coincidence, the bottom-of-the-barrel tracks Bank of Dad is being raced at are racinos, meaning the slots cash keeping the racing operations alive also allows first-through-last paydays. In other words, his current people have every incentive to keep running him out there because all he has to do to “earn” is cross the line. And if he dies in the process, well, he was old (by racing’s standards) and worth only about the going price of meat anyhow.

Look, this is abuse – pure and simple. But like all things racing, this is not about an isolated bad apple. Yes, Bank of Dad’s trainer/owner for the past 18 months and 24 races, Sara Stanoszek, is rotten to the core. But what of the stewards at Mountaineer, Mahoning, Thistledown; the vets, private and track alike – men and women who are supposed to be bound by medical ethics; his many prior trainers and owners; the jockeys? All, to a person, complicit in this tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

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.