In the just-concluded three-day Grand National meet in England, three horses were killed: Forest Des Aigles and Crucial Role Friday, Up for Review in the main event yesterday. Said a Jockey Club Racecourses director, “As a sport of animal lovers, we wanted every horse to come home – and sadly that’s not been the case…” (BBC).
“Animal lovers.” Contemptible. Anyhow, I came across the following article written by a former bettor and Racing enthusiast. In it, he recounts his transformation from part of the problem to part of the solution. (The article was penned and published prior to the most recent deaths.)
“The day I realised everything about horse racing was wrong”
The most recent Golden Gate Stewards Minutes report the euthanasia of a horse, Montana Sunset, on March 23 for “Equine Herpes Virus Neurotrophic Strain” – whatever that is. Of course, nothing new about another dead racehorse, but I thought this a good opportunity to (again) point out the deception of the “non-racing” death.
Growing up, I was taught that roughly 620,000 soldiers died during the American Civil War. That’s a fairly well-known number because it has often been said that it matches (or almost matches) the fatality-count from all other U.S. wars combined. But what most don’t realize is that roughly two-thirds of those soldiers died of disease. With that knowledge, when have you ever heard someone try to make the case that those deaths were in any way less significant, or more to the point, could somehow be disassociated from the war itself? Doesn’t happen – nor, obviously, should it.
As the above clearly shows, time, place, circumstances, and context matter. So, too, with the Montana Sunsets of the racing world. In other words, they’re not allowed to absolve themselves here, to write this off as an unfortunate event that could have happened anywhere. Every death in the horseracing industry is by the horseracing industry – every one of them, whether it comes via snapped leg, ruptured ligament, cardiac collapse, pulmonary hemorrhage, or “Equine Herpes Virus.” And that’s that.
Cathedral Reader is dead after breaking down – “pretty severe[ly],” says vet – in the 8th race at Keeneland today. She was not quite four years old. While sad, the real tragedy, it seems, was gaiety interrupted. Pity, for example, Marty McGee of the Daily Racing Form, who tweeted: “Cal-bred Spiced Perfection out-games Amy’s Challenge to win the Madison [at Keeneland]. Well back to Late Night Pow Wow in 3rd. 5-4-6-8-9. Race marred by the breakdown of Cathedral Reader near the eighth pole.”
Or Keeneland president Bill Thomason, who lamented: “On what was an otherwise spectacular day, our celebration is tempered due to the catastrophic injury sustained by Cathedral Reader during the running of the Madison.”
“An otherwise spectacular day”; “our celebration is tempered.”
The NYS Gaming Commission has disclosed a pair of training kills at Belmont Park:
Monday, Pretty Enuff “suffered a fracture to her right front leg…x-rayed and euthanized.” Pretty Enuff was five and was being prepped for her 36th race.
Thursday, Luz Mimi “suffered a fracture to her right front leg…x-rayed and euthanized.” Luz Mimi was also five; she was being prepped for her 27th race.
Both notifications came with the perfunctory “investigation to follow.” Allow me to save them the time – horseracing kills horses. Full stop.
Arms Runner, who was killed this past Sunday at Santa Anita, was said (by Equibase) to have “taken a bad step.” But how did that “bad step” – which, by the way, is one of this vile industry’s favorite euphemisms – translate visually? Well, here it is, dangling ankle and all. And yes, it is very difficult to watch.