The following is being sent to every Pennsylvania legislator in the newly-convened 2019 Pennsylvania General Assembly. Please read and share, and also please consider contacting members on your own. Thank you.

I am writing today in the hope that you might reconsider the subsidies being paid to your state’s horseracing industry. I am arguing this on two levels: First, propping up individual industries runs counter to America’s free-market principles. Myriad trades have come and gone in our nation’s history (horse-and-buggy), with winners and losers determined by the merits of, and relative demand for, one’s goods and services. It should not be in government’s purview to keep unwanted – as decided by the market – businesses afloat. To that, here are some pertinent facts:

Horseracing is clearly in decline: Since 2000, U.S. Racing has suffered a net loss of 34 tracks; all other metrics – racedays, races, “fields,” “foal crop,” and, yes, attendance and handle – are also down. The public is speaking – unequivocally – with its wallet.

With the ubiquity of stand-alone casinos and state lotteries (and soon, all-sports betting), Racing has cried foul, claiming that these new businesses are somehow unfair to them. In fact, prior to the advent of lottery products, Horseracing enjoyed a virtual monopoly – for decades – on legal gambling. Now that was unfair.

In Pennsylvania, according to a 2017 report, the racing industry has received $2.6 billion in corporate welfare over the past decade – $239 million in ’17 alone. Referring to this, The Philadelphia Inquirer, in an editorial, wrote, “If multiple billions can’t turn around an industry, isn’t it time we asked how much longer we’re willing to try before altering the arrangement?” (see also, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette editorial)

Far more important, however, is the moral aspect to all this. In short, horseracing kills horses – lots of them. Through my seminal FOIA reporting, I have determined that upward of 2,000 horses are killed racing or training on U.S. tracks every year – easily six per day; to date, I have documented over 5,000 confirmed kills on my website – cardiovascular collapse, pulmonary hemorrhage, blunt-force head trauma; shattered limbs, ruptured ligaments, broken necks, crushed spines.

In addition, likely just as many die from what the industry craftily calls “non-racing causes” – colic, laminitis, “found dead in stall.” In truth, however, these horses are no less casualties than the ones who snap legs on raceday. And perhaps worst of all, the vast majority of “retired” racehorses end up brutally and violently slaughtered when deemed no longer profitable – some 20,000 or more annually. In a word, carnage.

But it’s even worse. While active, life for the typical racehorse is mean and cruel:

From birth, racehorses are pieces of property – chattel. They are bought, sold, traded, and dumped whenever and however their people decide – a stressful, tenuous existence that in and of itself causes pain and suffering: According to the Pennsylvania 2016 FOIA documents, to date the most detailed I have received, virtually every one of the dead horses died with ulcers, most “extensive to severe.”

Racehorses are kept locked in tiny stalls for over 23 hours a day, making a heartrending mockery of the industry claim that horses are “born to run, love to run.”

Racehorses are kept utterly isolated from their peers – an extra layer of cruelty for naturally social, herd-oriented animals.

Racehorses are (obviously) nonconsensually drugged and doped – incessantly injected with myriad performance-enhancing, injury-masking, and pain-numbing chemicals.

Racehorses are utterly controlled and subjugated for the entire length of their “careers.” Indeed, the “race” itself can only be effected through force: nose chains, mouth bits, and, of course, perched humans wielding whips.

In summary, not only is your state diverting much-needed funding for education and other public-good projects to a dying industry, but, in a cruel twist, taxpayers, the vast majority of whom have zero interest in horseracing, are subsidizing unconscionable cruelty and wholesale killing. While we would love to see a day when horseracing is banned (like dogracing), for now we are simply asking that the market be allowed to do what it is designed to do. Please do not fall prey to their talk of lost jobs and economic havoc. Horseracing, unlike, perhaps, some other industries (agriculture, banking), is not too big or essential to fail. And if allowed, failure will bring the added benefit of collective moral advancement, as countless horses will henceforth be spared lives of immense suffering and horrible deaths. Thank you.

Patrick Battuello, Founder and President, Horseracing Wrongs

As I’ve frequently written, much of U.S. Horseracing hangs by a thread. The anachronistic “Sport of Kings” can’t compete with its 21st Century rivals – lotteries, full-service casinos, and now, all-sports betting. And so, because they’re losing the (free-market) fight, the horse people turn to government for what they consider, and promulgate as, redress. (Never mind that for most of the 20th Century, Horseracing enjoyed a virtual monopoly on legal gambling.) And if nothing else, Racing excels at lobbying for state largess – subsidies. New Jersey offers but the latest example.

A WHYY article from earlier this week opens thus:

“New Jersey lawmakers are considering doling out $100 million over five years to prop up the state’s financially-strapped horse racing industry, which has continued to struggle despite beginning to offer sports betting this summer.”

Article quotes from apologists are all too familiar:

“This will be a huge help for the horse racing industry that is an important part of New Jersey’s heritage and culture and a key source of jobs and economic activity.” – state Sen. Vin Gopal, co-sponsor of the bill

“If you look at [the equine industry] as a pyramid, horse racing is at the top and pretty much supports everything from the pleasure industry to the agricultural industry.” – A.J. Sabath, Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of NJ

“Heritage.” “Culture.” “Jobs.” “Economic activity.” Blah, blah, blah.

Look, this is not complicated. The masses prefer, by far, the other-than-horseracing gambling options. For proof, go to any racino (combination racetrack/casino), especially ones attached to harness tracks. The slots rooms are buzzing; the track is a virtual morgue. Why, then, does government continue to take extraordinary measures to save Racing? Certainly not because it is too big or essential to fail. Rather, one side, their side, has an almost exclusive access to the political movers and shakers and is able to frame the argument in a way – by invoking jobs and the economy – that practically compels pols to vote in its favor. That’s why it’s imperative we be heard:

– share this and all I’ve written on Horseracing and the public teat

sign this petition regarding the above proposal

contact the NJ Senate Majority Leader and let her know that this cannot stand

Unfortunately, it’s not enough to change hearts and minds, for even if we were to turn 95% of the population against this vile industry, as long as the welfare continues to flow, horses will continue to suffer and die. In short, friends, this is a two-front war.

The following is a sampling of information I annually receive (via FOIA) from state racing commissions. It is, clearly, a list that should sicken all Americans of good conscience, but more important, one that should force a collective introspection: Are we not better than this? Is each of us, are the whole of us, not ultimately tasked with leaving this world a bit kinder, a measure more moral than how we found it? If so, then there is no debate to be had, no other side to the argument. The wholesale abuse and killing of intelligent, sensitive beings for gambling, for “sport,” must end. Now.

Some of the horses Killed in Action on American racetracks:

ZZ Rider: “the horse took a bad step and continued on…the horse put its head down and somersaulted on track; examination showed an open, disarticulated fetlock joint with the MCIII bone sticking out; all collateral ligaments ruptured”

Heza Fast Wagon: “RF ankle was disarticulated from the parent bone and hanging by a shred of skin”

Tempting Eyes: “horse caught reins in rail and snapped neck”

Lady Angel: “collapsed while training with copious amount of blood coming out of both nostrils”

Greatwhite Buffalo: “both front fetlocks attached by skin only, leaving the distal cannon bones exposed, covered with ground-in dirt and severe bruising; gastric ulcers quite extensive”

Goldtique: “this horse was involved in a three horse collision…broken back – death due to vertebral fracture and exsanguination” (she bled out)

Digger’s Jigger: “this horse was involved in a three horse collision [same as above]…found dead in her stall [next] morning – death due to axial musculoskeletal trauma and exsanguination” (she bled out)

Wind Warrior: “horse broke down near the 3/8 pole but continued on to the finish line…examination showed bilateral sesamoid fractures, rupture of the distal ligaments and collateral ligament, disarticulation of the fetlock joint…the bone was exposed”

Cool It: “euthanasia due to shock from large laceration with arterial bleeding”

Johannah Jo: “broke down around half mile pole then continued to run half mile; repeated trauma caused ankle to [become] dislocated and destroyed soft tissues; ran to finish line where she was put down on track”

Baytown Princess: “compound, open, complete transverse fracture of both front cannon bones just below the knees”

Gambler Five: “deep digital flexor tendon completely severed and displaced…dorsal surface of the superficial digital flexor tendon shredded…[multiple] ligaments torn…medial proximal sesamoid bone has a complete mid-body fracture…lateral proximal sesamoid bone fractured into multiple pieces”

Queen Patron: “compound fracture of fetlock…protrusion of metacarpal and sesamoid bones through the laceration…exposed bones are covered in dirt and debris; the mucosa of the stomach contains 53 erosions and ulcers”

Tres Seis Luvbug: “complete compound fracture of the left MC II,III,IV with distal limb attached to the body by soft tissues”

Tizquick: “broke from gate and rider immediately tried to pull horse up – sesamoidean fracture with subluxation of fetlock; rider was unable to pull up until middle of first turn – this may have contributed to severity of injury”

Stand by Your Man: “1/3 of left scapula shattered into multiple displaced pieces…severe damage of the surrounding skeletal muscle and soft tissue including a severed blood vessel and severe hemorrhage; chronic synovitis of the front fetlocks”

Dancing Terror: “left hind limb was swollen…with a puncture wound, through which bone was protruding…eight large pieces of bone (and numerous small pieces) present; numerous small ulcers”

Isutalkintome: “left front fetlock attached by skin only, leaving the distal cannon bones exposed, covered with ground-in dirt and severe bruising; gastric ulcers extensive”

Burst of Fire: “glenoid rim fractured…two pieces of bone pulled away; gastric ulcers extensive”

Kernel Slanders: “sesamoid fractured into three fragments…ligaments shredded; score lines and bruising in front fetlocks are suggestive of repetitive osseous stress syndrome, a common finding in fetlocks of racing Thoroughbreds”

Age of Fluffy: “spine fractured; gastric ulcers are common in horses on NSAIDs, and in training…these were extensive and may have caused the horse to be painful from them during the paddock period…this may have led to the horse rearing and flipping over backwards”

South Philly Magic: “horse had a broken neck and was dead when the veterinarian arrived”

Tyeste: “fractured skull, hemorrhaging from both nostrils and ears”

Star Cover: “upon exam it was both visually and palpably obvious that there was a complete breakdown injury to the suspensory apparatus; both sesamoids were fractured and the ankle was on the ground when attempting to bear weight”

Sierra Ancha: “compound comminuted fracture left forelimb…severe soft tissue damage with exposure of several fragments of bone”

Quiet Title: “sudden cardiac arrest; horse fell and broke neck – someone saw blood from the ears”

Must See: “tore whole chest out upon hitting the rail”

Corona Favorita: “fractured left femur, bled out, died”

Apostles Creed: “started race, broke stride, pulled up – laid down and died”

Medalquest: “complete rupture of collateral ligaments – ambulanced to designated area and humanely euthanized”

Indanameofdafather: “while racing between the 1/2 mile pole and the 3/8 pole, this horse dropped dead on the track”

Notta: “lacerated tendons with extensive degloving wound with cannon bone exposed”

Brim: “following the race while walking back to the barn, horse collapsed and, [after] 3 agonal breaths, died on track”

Ruth’s Lotus: “horse fractured both knees at 3/8 pole”

El Bandito: “while racing the horse had open comminuted fractures…the horse flipped in the ambulance, went over the partition and had to be euthanized inside the ambulance”

Shakeyogroovething: “severe injury to LH limb; tearing of the digital veins and arteries bilaterally with severe hemorrhage”

name withheld: “horse died suddenly during morning gallop – marked amounts of white, foamy fluid extend the length of the trachea and up to the pharynx and nasal passages…the lungs fail to collapse, are heavy and discolored purple-red with scattered pleural petechial hemorrhage”

name withheld: “slowed down, dropped to track, instant death – gums white; suspect heart attack or ruptured aorta”

name withheld: “fell after the wire – open fracture of the lateral condyle of the third metacarpal bone…soft tissue damage includes severe tearing of the suspensory ligament throughout the length and rupture of the medial extensor branch of the suspensory”

name withheld: “horse collapsed – severe pulmonary hemorrhage; large amount of bloody froth in the trachea, nasal cavity and within the nares…marked pulmonary hemorrhage, with the right side being more severely affected than the left…large amount of blood exudes from the lungs upon sectioning”

name withheld: “the connective tissues of the distal limb are expanded by a large amount of edema and hemorrhage…there is tearing of both the lateral and medial digital veins…fragments from the medial fracture missing…soft tissue damage is severe”

name withheld: “open fractures of the lateral condyle of the third metacarpal bone and the lateral sesamoid…extensor tendons are torn and there is bone embedded within the suspensory ligament…lateral condylar fracture is comminuted, with multiple missing fragments and spans the length of the diaphysis”

name withheld: “carpus is swollen and unstable, with the joint containing abundant bloody fluid with bony particles admixed…comminuted slab fractures of the radial, intermediate, ulnar, third and fourth carpal bones, with the slab fractures being entirely separated from the underlying bone…severe ligamentous damage, with rupture of a number of the intercarpal ligaments and the collateral ligaments”

name withheld: “multiple fractures to multiple bones; the lungs are mildly edematous and congested, suggesting increased respiratory effort terminally as the result of pain and excitation”

Anthony’s Flyer: “traumatic stifle laceration with joint penetration and patellar fracture”

Call Me an Illusion: “ran into rail; rail into pleural [lung] space”

Trisha’s Trove: “epistaxis” (bled from the nose)

Smokinisashame: “fractured hock – complete, separated”

All Lucky Lynn: “collided with another race animal and rail, severely lacerating/degloving proximal right forearm”

Royal Hard Spun: “dropped dead on main track – possible fracture of cervical spine”

He Can Run: “pelvic fracture that lacerated an artery and precipitated hypovolemic shock followed by death”

Sc Dustychampion: “fractured ankle…went airborne and landed on the entire left side – including head”

Dominant Diversion: “died on track – hemorrhage via nostrils”

Tera Inferno: “horse flipped and hit head after race due to heat stroke”

Eastern Gold: “fell down and died on [track] after race”

Giga Man: “catastrophic collision, likely neck fracture”

Finns Huckleberry: “apparent trauma/fracture of back; loss of use of hind limbs”

Yo Adrienne: “horse lethargic after training…fell and died”

Dream Player: “flipped over inside rail of training track sustaining blunt trauma”

Kibble: “pulled up lame, suspected pelvic fracture, went into shock – euthanized”

Jesse’s Story: “horse fell, sustained severe skull fracture and died”

Iwannabejustlikeu: “fractured leg, surgery; morning of August 20 found in duress, x-ray revealed leg fracture [same leg] – euthanized”

Dontevnthnkaboutit: “ran loose, impaled shoulder on rail, extensive tissue & muscle damage – euthanized”

You Gotta Believe: “unseated rider…ran loose…impaled R stifle on rail”

Blue Sixty Four: “crashed into rail and fell while training; sedated and stood up; ambulanced to barn, treated for head trauma; seized in afternoon – euthanized”

Caixa Eletronica: “suffered a fx skull and died when Six Drivers unseated rider and collided with Caixa Eletronica”

Six Drivers: “unseated rider and collided with Caixa Eletronica – Six Drivers suffered a fractured neck and died”

Boston Chief: “collapsed after workout and died from skull fractures”

Makari: “fell unseating rider after going over hurdle, died on track”

Knockher Off: “stumbled and fell after finish; horse died on the track – apparent neck trauma”

Mizz Quoted: “horse involved in head-on collision during morning training hours”

Sum Special Hum: “heat distress, picked up off racetrack and died at barn”

Zulu Echo: “multiple fractures [of pastern]…unable to bear weight; the left hock was also lacerated and the joint was exposed, most likely caused by right rear leg when horse was scrambling to recover”

Comisky’s Sister: “found deceased in stall” (after finishing second)

Roses for Romney: “clipped heels…fell; horse died of apparent neck trauma”

Saints Be Praised: “suffered fractures to both front legs”

Perfect Spot: “fractured cannon; ankle exposing bone”

Rocky Mountain Guy: “fractured cannon bone – compound, through the skin”

Mystery Taste: “complete comminuted cannon fracture…bone exposed”

Flyingpalm: “snapped leg”

TNT Party: “fractured front legs” (plural)

Tribal Journey: “pulmonary artery rupture”

You Know Juneau: “profuse hemorrhage from both nostrils”

Cali Sue Boo: “broke both knees”

Retrade: “broke both front legs”

Joe Boo Kelly: “horse became unstable during the post parade and then fell and died – no obvious cause of death; the ulceration of the stomach was severe – 90-100 erosions and ulcers”

Fors Fortis: “sesamoid bones badly comminuted…suspensory ligament completely transected and avulsed from the bones”

Rockin’ Rockstar: “comminuted, spiral fracture of humerus, with ends distracted…greater tubercle separated from parent bone; rib fractured”

Bobby McDuffie: “complete rupture of the distal sesamoidean ligaments with hemorrhage; the spleen is enlarged and filled with blood”

Digital Z Tam: “became weak and fell to the ground; horse was having trouble breathing and died naturally within two minutes”

Stef and Me: “tendon attachment ruptured causing [it] to deviate laterally”

Highly Classified: “bled out internally”

Might Be a Eagle: “broke back and neck”

This Kat of Mine: “collapsed and died on track”

Zuma Moon: “skull fracture”

Famous Attitude: “horse collapsed and died on track post-wire; horse reportedly had frothy hemorrhagic bilateral nasal discharge – no necropsy performed”

Parks Wave Dancer: “horse collapsed – spinal cord fracture”

Sendero Six: “horse began to buck before finish line…hit and flipped over inside rail…stood and attempted to jump back over but fell backwards landing hard…attempted to jump rail again but collapsed and became recumbent and went into shock”

Tres Seis Zoe: “bilateral paresis of hind legs…from spinal cord dislocation”

Fancy Zoomin: “heat stroke resulted in death”

The Lefty: “horse appears to have suffered major back injury/fracture after leaving starting gate…continued down the stretch until it stopped near finish line…showed bilateral hind leg paresis prior to stopping – euthanized” (yes, this horse tried to continue running after breaking his back)

Rango B: “catastrophic spinal cord injury with paralysis”

Yagouti: “CNS trauma (spine) – unable to rise”

Fiery Fast Dash: “collided with another horse and rail after crossing the finish line, severely lacerating/degloving right forearm”

Wave Diamond: “flipped in gate with rig…acute death in gate, suspect cervical fracture”

The Knight Arrival: “sustained severe head trauma (bled from ears and nose) from thrashing in the starting gate; collapsed on track where the horse was euthanized”

Oh Carter Go: “right forelimb sustained biaxial sesamoid fractures with rupture of supporting soft tissue structures and open disarticulation of the fetlock; left forelimb had uniaxial sesamoid fractures with rupture of the supporting soft tissues and open disarticulation of the fetlock”

Jazz Track: “fell in race, possible neck fracture”

Wizards Clip: “broken back in spill”

Conference: “collapsed and died [at] finish line – vascular accident”

Concrete Cat: “fractured ribs, punctured lung”

Guybrush: “flipped over on training track, died moments later – suspect a broken neck”

Catching Fire: “collapse – lung bleeding”

Tizfun: “collapsed – bled into lungs”

La Moneda: “exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage”

Red Phone: “complete disarticulation of fetlock – all supporting structures destroyed”

Blondie La Jolla: “compound fracture both cannons”

Genuine Windi Dash: “bled – died”

Pb El Chiltepin: “compound fracture of both fetlocks”

Thunderclap Newman: “trauma in the gate – died”

D E Trubador: “sesamoids shattered”

Lw Wired Val: “collapsed after race”

Happydazarehereagain: “head trauma due to fall when choking down”

Hard to Want: “collapsed [after] workout on the main track…dead upon [vet’s] arrival”

Glitzy: “right hind fracture of its metatarsal, left front cannon bone behind with complete destruction of its long pastern bone”

Five Point Star: “complete open fracture distal limb”

Book the Bet: “open wounds [two] fetlocks, stifle wounds”

Benny’s Diamond: “multiple comminuted carpal bone fractures”

Leucosia: “cardiac collapse”

Seminole Charlie: “sudden collapse and died”

Donna’s Dream: “flipped over and broke her shoulder – euthanized”; “her remains are now in the manure facility”

Hawks Linda Lou: “the horse flipped and fell while being saddled for racing, hitting its head on the ground; the horse was immediately rendered unconscious and shortly thereafter expired”

Wastin’ Away: “fractured head”

Zesty Perry: “backed out of gate during training – flipped and hit head – seizures, severe”

Jmf La Panchista: “broken back during race”

Mezuman: “possible heart attack/ruptured aorta…died on track”

Carlientita: “after work[out], the horse collapsed dead on the track”

Sistriot: “the horse flipped in the paddock; she had difficulty standing and fell again…taken by ambulance to a barn – found dead in the am”

You’re My Favorite: “broke down at 5/16 pole – shattered cannon bone – was euthanized at that spot”

Thirsty Girl: “trained normally, returned to barn – horse became wobbly…placed in a stall when it collapsed and died”

Vasilisa the Wise: “collapsed on track – dead”

Super Nova: “following the race, the horse got wobbly in the tunnel…treated with Delt Cortef and cold water – the horse collapsed dead”

Fitz’s Storm: “horse collapsed dead on the track…administered succinylcholine to end suffering”

Rory Monarchos: “open, comminuted condylar fracture…vet and trainer had to wait for owner to call back, so horse was euthanized [next day]”

Duneside Matt: “horse started pulling up around 1/2 mile then collapsed and died”

Mr. Kasdan: “suspensory apparatus failure both front legs”

name withheld: “flipped into a bench, hit head”

name withheld: “loose horse collision at full speed”

name withheld: “collapsed and died after race”

name withheld: “seizure, cranial trauma”

name withheld: “exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage”

name withheld: “fractured neck”

US Scout: “catastrophic hemorrhagic event”

name withheld: “massively comminuted carpal bone fractures…majority of the intercarpal ligaments are torn”

A Risky Peace: “left forelimb: complete, comminuted fracture of the first phalanx; right forelimb: partial, non-displaced fracture of the first phalanx” (that’s two broken legs)

Langtanz: “basilar fracture of the medial sesamoid, with a second fracture dividing the basilar portion into two pieces…damage to the sesamoidian ligaments is severe, with rupture of the straight, oblique and cruciate sesamoidian ligaments”

name withheld: “approximately three centimeter full-thickness laceration over the medial sesamoid…distal limb is expanded by a large amount of edema and hemorrhage and there is massive soft tissue damage, including complete rupture of the superficial and deep digital flexors and the suspensory ligament…biaxial sesamoid fractures…moderate degenerative joint disease of the carpus in both forelimbs”

name withheld: “right hind medial condylar fracture; right front lateral condylar fracture” (that’s two broken legs)

name withheld: “horse reared up leaving stall and flipped over hitting head – complete fracture of the occipital bone, with complete separation of the occipital condyles from the rest of the skull…massive amount of blood in the calvarium, the oropharynx, nasopharynx, nasal passages”

My Bright Idea: “flipped in paddock – severe concussion and bled-out; large amount of dried blood on the external nares and on the front limbs…nasal passages contain a large amount of blood and there is marked hemorrhage within the connective tissues of the head…skull is fractured in multiple places, with the largest fracture separating the occipital condyles from the calvarium…myriad fractures of the basilar part of the occipital bone and the sphenoid bone…bone fragments are embedded in the meninges and the calvarium contains clotted blood…severe ulceration of the squamous mucosa of the stomach”

name withheld: “complete fracture of the lateral condyle of the third metacarpal bone…medial sesamoid is fractured, with an apical fracture and a second fragment in the midbody…soft tissue damage is severe”

Ten City: “complete, lateral condylar fracture…soft tissue damage is severe, including rupture of the intersesamoidian ligament”

I Am Iron Max: “lateral condylar fracture…extensive soft tissue damage, including complete rupture of the medial extensor branch of the suspensory ligament and tearing of the suspensory ligament itself”

TG Julio: “all 4, hit rail, lacerated”

Museum Tour: “trauma, sudden death”

Candy Man Can: “fractured neck”

Heather Belle: “large vessel rupture”

Siberian Rush: “collapsed and died exiting the track following the race”

Eb Traffic Rock: “impact to the track caused the horse to severely injure both front shoulders”

Here’s the Moon: “shattered carpus”

De Millie: “euthanasia due to a fractured spine which occurred two months ago [at Laurel]”

Steel N Pack: “cardiovascular collapse”

Elusive Cowgirl: “catastrophic racing injury – open, comminuted fracture both sesamoids, with ruptured suspensory and complete disarticulation of left front fetlock”

Hearts n’ Diamonds: “ligaments ruptured, dislocation of fetlock joint”

Patty Del Rey: “suspected lumbosacral [spine] fracture”

Zoomin Effortlessly: “cardiovascular collapse”

Riot Act: “horse in severe pain [broken shoulder] in trailer – drew blood prior to animal being euthanized”

Bar Bandit: “flipped – head trauma”

Blue Over You: “sudden death – possible heart attack”

Wood Be a Bullet: “compound, open, displaced sesamoids; compound, open, displaced carpal; closed spine; DOA of track vet”

Pfinding Jessie: “possible stroke”

Rey Del Mar: “owner believes horse fell from heart attack”

Roll Smash Roll: “fell dead after race”

Bonita Bully: “went down…dead when D.S. arrived”

Hiclass Local: “collapsed and died”

Wise Option: “skull injury – not euthanized, died in paddock”

Hot Dom: “died after post-lasix injection”

Lucy’s Tacos: “stroke”

Gabis Fortune (probably sic): “run off track and hit pole – broken hock”

James Bordeaux: “exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage”

Phyilming: “right front knee shattered”

Zenon’s Star: “cut LH to coffin bone”

Smiling Seen (probably sic): “got loose, slid on pavement, hit rail and died”

Mo Valiant: “end of race – died in van”

Grace Victoria: “hit rail”

Gallant Version: “hit rail”

Flyin Fish: “horse collapsed [and died] after race”

Chappstick: “tumbled headfirst – died acutely, suspected CV rupture”

Jaretts Royal Dream: “sudden death prior to race”

Happy Humor: “dropped dead after race”

Felicias Prettylucky: “flipped in paddock, cracked skull and died”

Chicks Luv Roses: “shattered both [illegible] – put down on track”

Reality Cat: “flipped in saddling paddock, hit head, massive hemorrhage”

Intoxication: “busted front left leg”

Dynastys First Call: “horse died post-race – collapsed – died quickly”

Perry Point: “severe EIPH [exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage]”

A First Class: “death – immediately post race – on track!”

Eyesa Llano: “suspected severe EIPH”

Design by Who: “apparent heart attack – dropped dead during gallop”

Mac’s Posse: “fell…several attempts to stand unsuccessful; severe traumatic back/pelvic injury – euthanized on track”

Flatterfly: “fell, stood up and ran loose; fx RF leg – euthanized on track”

All Class: “flipped and fractured its back”

Mere Aglise: “horse collapsed and died on track”

Classy Chris: “ran through rail, sustained fx LR leg”

Lakalas: “collapsed and died”

Sporty Big Boy: “collision with another horse; fx RR leg”

Non Stop: “rider attempted to pull up but jumped off, horse ran loose, caught, vanned to barn; fx RF sesamoid with ligament rupture”

Ed’s Dream: “died on track after race – possible heart problem”

Fashion Delight: “shattered pastern – euthanized on track”

Brooklyn Major: “collapsed after wire…and died – suspected CV event”

Fall Colors: “horse fell at second fence and died on track from trauma sustained in fall”

Cougar Hanover: “collapsed and died after race – suspected aortic rupture”

Love You Bad: “collapsed and died in stall after racing”

Hot Cajun Sauce: “ran off track over embankment, sustained spinal injury”

Wanna Rock N Roll: “horse collapsed and died in barn after lasix administration”

Alpha Dance: “pulled up…exited track – collapsed and died”

Momma’s Moonshine: “condylar fxs both front legs”

Wild Target: “collapsed and died after breezing – suspected cardiovascular event”

Report For Duty N: “fell to the ground, chest compressions and meds administered unsuccessfully – suspected ruptured aorta”

Copper Forest: “collapsed and died while galloping out after breezing – suspected cardiovascular event”

Ideal Brandi: “collapsed and died on track, possibly bled internally or heart condition”

Hypnotist: “died on track after race – suspect cardiac event”

Tug River Dylan: “collapsed and died on track after race – possible cardiac event”

Soho Highroller A: “collapsed and died after race – possible cardiac event”

Feels Like Magic N: “shattered pastern”

Indian Nobility: “ruptured ligaments”

Prince Corredor: “collapsed and died after breezing – cardiovascular event”

Git On Bob: “collapsed and died”

Desert Trial: “collapsed and died – suspect cardiovascular”

Its Only Fair: “collapsed and died after breezing – suspect cardiovascular event”

Flaming Fever: “hard collision out of gate, fractured sesamoid”

Sinistra: “pulled up after breezing – collapsed and died”

Senso: “unseated rider and ran loose, ran into rail – possible pelvic fx”

Fashion Shark: “collapsed and died on track (artery rupture)”

Lunar Tales: “collapsed and died after breezing”

Jay Bird: “collapsed and died on the training track – sudden death, pulmonary hemorrhage”

Sunshine Bliss: “suffered injury to LR limb…non-weight bearing; overnight in obvious distress”

Fancy Pancy: “collapsed and died on track after workout”

Icprideicpower: “collapsed and died during morning workout, suffering a catastrophic cardiac event”

Soul House: “collapsed after being unsaddled, vet administered medication; horse died – cardiovascular collapse”

Marked Bills: “collapsed and died while breezing – investigation continues”

Flynn Bug: “collapsed and died after breezing – cardiovascular collapse”

In Haste: “collapsed and died after jogging on training track – cardiovascular collapse”

D Terminata: “horse fell and died on the track”

Blooper: “collapsed and died – investigation continues”

Hickory Louie: “sluggish and unsteady at the half, finished 2nd but died on backside of track after finish”

Itsagoodtendollars: “died from apparent cardiovascular collapse while breezing on training track”

Liberty Cruise: “found down in stall…after [pre-race] Lasix administration”

See the Music: “collapsed at the 3/16 pole and died – to be continued”

Lemon Sundae: “behind in race, eased up, finished race…collapsed and died enroute to test barn”

Dalglish: “crossed finish last; collapsed and died at paddock gate”

Michonne: “broke through gate and ran into rail fracturing leg”

Missy Zelliott: “collapsed and died while training”

Double Gold: “spooked unseating rider, ran loose and fell over rail suffering paralysis both hind legs due to trauma to lumbar spine”

Lavender Road: “collapsed on horse path leaving track; treated for heat exhaustion with no resolution; sent to vet hospital where xrays revealed a fx to the 7th vertebrae – euthanized next day”

Sir William Bruce: “pulled up without incident, collapsed after unsaddling and died”

Regretless: “pulled up, collapsed and died on track”

M B and Tee: “won race, collapsed after finish – died on track”

Major Battle: “fell and died while breezing – case continues”

Ego Friendly: “galloping on training track, collapsed and died”

Saint Kris (probably sic): “collapsed and died while breezing – pulmonary hemorrhage”

Zo Sophisticated: “collapsed and died while galloping”

Quick Money: “fell after clipping heels, horse died on track due to neck trauma”

Half Nelson: “fell over fallen horse [above], fx L shoulder”

Sage Valley: “fell after finish, horse died on track”

Rita’s Resort: “fractured proximal sesamoid bones, ruptured fetlock joint and flexor tendons”

Mary’s Vow: “slab fracture, multiple pieces”

Sky Kerridge: “collapsed and died”

Chick Meter: “collapse – sudden death” (after winning)

Snap To It A: “horse collapsed after the race of a heart attack”

Jailhouse Jessica: “collapsed in paddock post-race – died naturally”

Northern Rail: “heat stroke – [broke] shoulder”

Trueville: “heart failure during practice – died instantly”

Unclear: “collapsed while training on main track and died”

Olivia My Girl: “died on track”

Campeona: “horse expired in stall shortly after leaving test barn”

Exceptionalism: “acute, complete, severely comminuted sesamoid fractures with partial ligamentous tears, joint capsule disruption, and regional hemorrhage”

Have Faith Sister: “acute, complete, mildly comminuted sesamoid fracture with complete intersesamoidean ligament tear, partial suspensory ligament tear, and regional hemorrhage”

Truly Amazing: “cause of death was Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage”

Maxwell’s Hammer: “severe tendon rupture”

Notaria: “sesamoid bones fractured into multiple, displaced fragments…suspensory ligament severely frayed, with near complete fiber disruption”

Little Louella: “fractures of the third and radial carpal bones, mild to severe osteoarthritis; stomach: severe, chronic, focally extensive ulcers; spleen: severe congestion”

Surfer Chub: “shattered knee – multiple, acute carpal fractures”

Bracket Buster: “heart attack – dropped after finishing race”

Quietly Prim: “collapsed and died on track following 1/2 mile work”

Landry Jack: “horse collapsed – sudden death”

Hooked On the Lady: “horse collapsed and died just past the finish line”

Widow’s Jewel: “exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage”

Cowabunga: “traumatic head injury”

Vision of Romance: “possible aneurysm”

Huff’n Hughes: “collapsed and died on track”

Trekas: “trauma to femur leaving gate”

Perry Dash Back: “horse collapsed on track post-workout – unknown cause”

Carters Regal Eye: “horse collapsed and died”

Final Time: “sesamoid fractures [both front legs] with open luxation of fetlock”

Carving Hearts: “horse colicked and died during training”

Jump for Pie: “sudden death”

Fudge Bar: “condylar fracture – euthanized due to economic reasons”

Ziddle: “died suddenly on track…vanned for removal…no necropsy performed”

Twelfth Fan: “skull fracture”

Pretty Darn Good: “neurological”

Madam Machen: “contact with manure dumpster”

Do the Nae Nae: “collapsed and died”

Bullet Bobby: “died after involved in spill – internal injuries”

Turkey Creek: “collapsed and died”

Nofinancingneeded: “collapsed and died”

He’s a Delight: “flipped in paddock, cranial fracture – dead on arrival”

Da Big Dawg: “sudden death” (10 years old, 82nd race)

Purses Galore: “sudden death after race”

Mrs Loud Mouth: “MCIII open fracture – shattered”

Nite Thunder: “sudden death during race”

My Mans Out West: “sudden death”

No Problem Paddy: “fell, died on track – neck fracture?”

Full Moon’s Mass: “carps shattered”

I Got a Headache: “sudden death prior to race”

Helton: “pastern shattered”

Acceptance Letter: “broken neck”

Mr. Reattatude: “flipped in paddock, fractured skull – DOA”

Fiddlers Elbow: “sudden death during race”

Country Warning: “sudden death”

Big Dividend: “sudden death”

Blue Book: “sudden death”

Song for Krismike: “sudden death”

The Caller: “head trauma – died”

Chigoe: “sudden death after race”

Hrh Burning Corona: “collapsed and died – aneurysm”

DD Twist N Shout: “horse fell, cannon fracture – outcome fatal”

Taras Ruler: “collapsed, cannon to knee fracture – outcome fatal”

We posted the following petition yesterday on We see this as another effective tool, a fine addition to an already formidable arsenal (protests, tabling, speaking engagements, media interviews, editorials, and, of course, this very website). And the beauty here is in its simplicity – sign and share. That’s it. Sign and share…

For far too long, horseracing has been given cover under the banner of sport, indeed “The Sport of Kings.” In truth, however, it is no such thing. If you dig deeper, if you look beyond the mint juleps and bugle calls, you’ll see that horseracing, at its most basic level, is but a simple vehicle for gambling. $2 bets. The “pampered athlete,” too, is a grotesque lie, for life for the typical racehorse is ugly and mean:

Commodification: Racehorses are literal chattel, pieces of property to be bought, sold, traded, and dumped whenever and however their owners decide.

Subjugation: The horse people thoroughly control every moment of their assets’ lives – control effected through, among other things, lip tattoos, nose chains, metal mouth-bits, and leather whips. Force and power; domination of a weaker species.

Drugging and Doping: Racehorses are injected, legally and otherwise, with myriad substances to enhance performance, mask injury, and numb pain. The horseman’s credo: Keep ’em earning, by any means necessary.

Confinement and Isolation: In perhaps the worst of it all, racehorses are locked in tiny stalls for over 23 hours a day, making a mockery of the industry claim that horses are born to run, love to run. As if not enough, these naturally social, herd-oriented animals are, as babes, forever torn from their families and, except for brief moments on the track itself or while in transport, kept utterly isolated. In a word, heartrending.

Death: Since 2009, when the Gaming Commission began to make these things public, over 1,300 racehorses have died at New York tracks – an average of 138 every year. But that’s just onsite. How many more of the “catastrophically injured” were euthanized back at the owner’s farm? How many more, still, killed at private training facilities? Nationally, Horseracing Wrongs, primarily through our unprecedented FOIA reporting, has documented over 5,000 confirmed deaths; we estimate that over 2,000 horses are killed racing or training on U.S. tracks annually. Pulmonary hemorrhage, head trauma, “sudden cardiac event.” Shattered limbs, ruptured ligaments, broken necks, crushed spines. What’s more, countless other still-active racehorses succumb to colic, laminitis, “barn accidents,” or are simply “found dead” in their stalls.

Slaughter: While the industry desperately tries to downplay the extent of the problem, cunningly flashing its hollow zero-tolerance policies and drop-in-the-bucket aftercare initiatives, the truth is, the vast majority of spent racehorses are brutally and violently slaughtered – over 15,000 Thoroughbreds alone each year. In short, it is no exaggeration to say that the American horseracing industry is engaged in wholesale carnage. Again, not hyperbole – carnage.

Horseracing is in decline, and has been for some time: Since 2000, U.S. Racing has suffered a net loss of 34 tracks; all other metrics – racedays, races, fields, “foal crop,” and, yes, attendance and handle – are also down. Moreover, a majority of tracks – including 9 of NY’s 11 – are being wholly propped up by subsidies – corporate welfare. Clearly, lotteries and independent casinos are winning the market, but politicians, swayed by industry talk of lost jobs and economic havoc should it be allowed to fail, keep sending lifeboats. It is unfair and horses continue to suffer (and die) for it.

Sensibilities toward animal exploitation are rapidly changing, most especially regarding entertainment. Ringling Bros. is no more; Greyhound Racing will soon be; SeaWorld, owing mostly to the film “Blackfish,” has ended its captive-breeding program for orcas; and, as you know, it will soon be illegal to use elephants for any form of entertainment in NYS. Why can’t, why shouldn’t, racehorses be next?

Governor Cuomo, be bold, set an example for the rest of the nation by moving our collective morality forward. End the cruelty. End the suffering. End the killing.

End horseracing.

Citing a survey that named “animal welfare” the number one cause in America, Ray Paulick, in his eponymous Paulick Report, sounds the alarm (not for the first time) among his fellow apologists: we’d better start taking this stuff seriously or trouble will follow. To help win the issue, Paulick points to the example of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, who, after investing in some “field conservation,” rebranded itself, in the words of its CEO, “one of the world’s largest animal welfare organizations.” Co-opting 101. Paulick: “[make] the public’s No. 1 cause [your] cause, too.”

But to be clear, this is not “animal welfare” for the animals’ sake. Rather, it’s about perception. To illustrate, he presents three recent incidents from Pennsylvania:

At Penn September 28, “Miss Swisher [whom I wrote about]…refused to run a few strides after breaking from the starting gate. Jockey Julio Hernandez could be seen on video striking the horse excessively in the neck or shoulder area with his whip as she pulled herself up, lifting his arm over his head before striking her.”

Same track, same day, “a 2-year-old filly first-time starter named Keltoi was fractious behind the gate…the filly then reared up and flipped over backwards. Nevertheless, she was loaded in the gate and [raced].”

At Parx October 7, “Georgia Bonnet [whom I wrote about]…was racing just off the rail at the top of the stretch and began to lug in. Jockey Tyrone Carter switched the whip to his left hand and, according to Equibase footnotes, hit Georgia Bonnet repeatedly on the left side of her head through deep stretch.”

Terrible, all. But for Paulick, it’s the terrible “optics”: “[These incidents] are troubling to me in what they convey to the public and how they can shape a negative image of the sport. …actions – or lack thereof – will have an impact on how the public views our sport and help them form an opinion about whether we are treating or mistreating their No. 1 cause.”

When the racing people put their true feelings out there so blatantly, I can’t decide whether it’s arrogance or stupidity. Either way, it only goes to confirm what we already knew: “Equine welfare” is a ruse, a base marketing tool. But Paulick is right about this: The animal rights cause is strong and will only get stronger. And eventually, change (Ringling, SeaWorld, dogracing, horseracing as we speak), for in the end, moral progress is irrepressible. And, Mr. Paulick, know this: When the final chapter on “The Sport of Kings” is written, history’s judgment of those who promoted the exploitation, ignored the mass killing, and spun the cruelty will not be kind.