From KARE11 (Minneapolis) Tuesday:

Rusty Shaw was rounding the corner for home on Saturday when Canterbury Park officials say the horse he was riding, Classy Star, suffered a leg injury and sent both of them to the ground. “I wasn’t even too sure that I was even going to make it off that racetrack,” Shaw says. “Right now I know I’m lucky to be alive.” The horse, alas, was not as lucky: 3-year-old Classy Star is dead – euthanized for her injuries.

Following a recap of Shaw’s previous injuries, the article notes that “none of those injuries have stopped him from doing what he loves.” Shaw elaborates: “The rush from leaving a set of starting gates and going thirty five miles an hour around a race track with twelve other competitive jockeys and horses, there’s just something about that rush that just drives in you. Absolutely I think I’ll ride again.” A “rush.”

As yet another fully sentient being is killed for $2 bets, this station, at least, decides instead to focus on the “triumph of the human spirit.” Never mind that the human in question was directly involved in the kill, “courageous” people sell, dead racehorses not so much. What a sad commentary on our 21st Century media – and the public it so dutifully feeds. (full story here)

On December 10, Sage Valley dropped dead of an “apparent cardiac arrest” in a race at Aqueduct. At five, he was only just reaching the tail-end of puberty. Turns out, there was a drug “violation,” which may or may not have contributed to the horse’s premature death. This week, Sage Valley’s trainer, Rudy Rodriguez, received the following “punishment” from the NYS Gaming Commission:

“You are fined $3000.00 because on December 10, 2014, the horse ‘Sage Valley’ that you trained competed in the 8th race at Aqueduct Racetrack after having been administered glycopyrrolate (e.g. robinul) within 96 hours of the scheduled post time of its race in violation of New York State Gaming Commission rule 4043.2 (g) (6) and 4043.4. Having waived your right of appeal the fine is reduced to $1500.00. This penalty is reflective of the findings from the investigation.”

Apparently, the vet, Greg Bennett, was fined the same amount. In a statement, Bennett said, “Rudy had quite a few horses coughing and snotting in the barn, and he was near them. I was under the assumption it was a 72-hour [drug]. It was an error in judgment on my part…” “Coughing and snotting” barn-mates.

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By the way, Rudy Rodriguez is no stranger to the Commission, having just been fined and suspended in February for violations involving two different horses. In all, I count 13 suspensions in NY over the course of Rudy’s career. 13. And yet still allowed around horses. Surprised? Shouldn’t be – this is, after all, horseracing.

The jockey who mercilessly beat American Pharoah in the Kentucky Derby has been fined in California for similar abuse. According to Blood-Horse, Victor Espinoza “was fined $300 by the Santa Anita Park stewards May 8 for ‘causing a break in the skin’ with his whip on Stellar Wind during her 5 1/4-length victory in the Santa Anita Oaks April 4.” Last Saturday, you might remember, Espinoza whipped American Pharoah 32 times down the stretch – animal cruelty played out in full view of cheering millions:

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This is horseracing.