The 4th at Aqueduct yesterday, as relayed by Equibase: “Big Mischief…suddenly became detached in the general area of the half mile pole after suffering a fatal injury, was pulled up then after being examined by the track veterinarian, was euthanized.” Big Mischief was three; this was her fourth time under the whip.

Then this for the 3rd at Penn Saturday: “SALT IT HERE set the pace while under constant pressure from the inside…drifted out through the whole stretch run after the rider switched to left handed urging…held on to win while being struck over twenty times in the stretch.” “Over twenty times” – but then again, the jockey, Angel Rodriquez, was just doing his job, as the $6,000 win-take was there for the seizing.

This is horseracing.

Animal abuse at Penn, again. From Equibase: “ANNA RAE had a comfortable lead most of the way while cruising in the two and three paths, came up empty at the quarter pole all while being struck by the whip thirty times inside the five sixteenths pole.”

“came up empty all while being struck by the whip thirty times”

Anna Rae is a cheap (she was “For Sale” at $4,000 prior to this race) claimer who was under the whip for the second time in a week. Her exploiters and abusers: trainer, Timothy Kreiser; owner, Chris Brent; jockey, Emilio Flores.

Charles Town, again. Take Your Chances in the 8th last night, as relayed by Equibase: “suffered a fatal injury shortly after the start and had to be euthanized.” The 4-year-old is the third horse to be killed at the “Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races” this week. Which reminds, if you care about animals, if you do not wish to be a party to cruelty and murder, do not patronize racinos (combination racetrack/casino) like this one, for a seemingly innocent night at the slots or poker tables (without so much as a glance toward the racetrack) still goes to support this awful industry – indeed it’s the only thing keeping it alive in much of the U.S., including West Virginia. By all means, gamble if you’re so inclined – just not at racinos.

Say what you will about chartwriters (yes, they are very much a part of the industry), but at least the one(s) at Penn National is honest – brutally so. From yesterday:

race 3 – “MR. TALENT had the early lead while running in the two path, stopped at the three eighths pole and was whipped sixteen times in the stretch despite being well behind the next horse.” Mr. Talent finished last, 17 lengths back.

race 4 – “BOLD STROKE…was able to pass tired rivals down the lane while being hit by the whip eighteen times in the stretch. MY ONLY SUNSHINE…was taken up a bit at the seven sixteenths pole and faded steadily from there, was kept to task [was whipped] through the finish.” My Only Sunshine finished last, 17 lengths back.

race 6 – “SPEAKER JOHN…lacked a rally despite being hit by the whip seventeen times in the stretch.” Speaker John finished second-to-last.

This is horseracing.

The most recent minutes from Los Alamitos reveal “one equine death due to racing injuries” for Nov 16-Nov 18. While the identity of the dead horse was not disclosed, we can, based on the charts, fairly surmise it was either Arizona Icon, “injured, vanned off” on the 17th, or Vip Firm, “vanned off” the next day.

In addition, among several “excessive whipping” (funny, huh?) violations was this one: “Jockey Cesar Franco is fined $300 for…[striking] his mount approximately twenty times in the final one sixteenth mile of the race.” Yes, that’s 20 blows in 1/16th of a mile. $300. And worse, ’twas his third “offense” in the past two months. Imagine that.

And finally, this: “Jockey Marcial Ramirez was in the office this evening in response to a complaint filed against him by the Board…according to the complaint, Mr. Ramirez was observed on the backside appearing to be under the influence of drugs. His eyes were bloodshot and his coordination was suspect. The investigators attempted to obtain a urine sample from him, but when that did not work an oral swab was used. The test confirmed the presence of Methamphetamine. Mr. Ramirez gave conflicting versions of Methamphetamine use, stating that he had used for several years, then…the day he tested positive was the first time he had used.”

Why is this noteworthy? This is the same Marcial Ramirez whom I wrote about just last month – the chronic animal-abuser Marcial Ramirez. Given all that, one would think Racing would forever ban this man from being around its horses. One, of course, would be wrong. For you see, Mr. Ramirez merely received a two-month suspension and ongoing probation. Horseracing’s “integrity” laid bare for all to see, again.

One of the ways horseracing has been able to survive for so long is masterful marketing – “The Sport of Kings.” But it could not have done so without complicit media partners: numerous Sports Illustrated covers; ESPN naming three racehorses to its list of the 20th Century’s greatest athletes; and in a class by itself, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which dutifully covers all of Racing’s high holy days. And so it was last weekend at Churchill Downs, scene of this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

In the marquee race, the $6 million “Classic,” with NBC shamelessly presenting with all the drama and flair it would bring to any big sporting event, egregious animal cruelty was unfolding for the cameras – and hence, before our very eyes. In the stretch run, jockey Christophe Soumillon mercilessly whipped 4-year-old Thunder Snow – beat the hell out of him, actually. (Thunder Snow is the #1 horse; Soumillon wears blue.)

Trust your gut, folks – if it looks like animal cruelty, sounds (whack, whack, whack) like animal cruelty, and, simply, feels like animal cruelty, then that’s exactly what it is. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated. Horseracing is animal cruelty.