5-year-old Finally Together, reported as “broke down in mid stretch” Monday night at Mountaineer (race 9), is confirmed dead. In 27 months and 23 races, Finally Together was handled by five different humans: John Charalambous (6), Martin Sandee (3), Heather Hollahan (4), Kathleen Parker (3), and Charles Kieser (7, including the fatal run). And, bought and sold several times over, with market value declining along the way. (His final owner, Wesley Singleton, bought him for a mere $5,000 last July.) A common slave in life, an already-forgotten claimer in death. This is horseracing.
5-year-old Music Maid, reported as “broke down after the finish” of Belmont’s 2nd race Sunday, is confirmed dead. The filly was ridden by Rosario Montanez, trained by David Smith, owned by Madeline Cohn, and bred by Edward Cohn. Belmont’s ’14 Death Toll: 21.
While preparing my 6-month update on the December casualties, I came across a 3-year-old gelding named Rockinpop. Rockinpop has run a total of three races, all under Jared Cheeks. In his second race, a maiden claiming on December 21st at Gulfstream, Rockinpop, two at the time, was a “bled”/DNF. Three months later – a recuperation period, I suppose – he again ran in a claiming at Gulfstream – and again he was a “bled”/DNF. He has not been heard from since.
And then there is 7-year-old Costly. On June 12th at Churchill Downs, Costly was vanned off after having bled. In her very next race, last night at Mountaineer, Costly was again vanned off for bleeding. Her current trainer (and trainer for both of these races) is Kevin Fletcher. Perhaps, Mr. Fletcher, this 57-start veteran has earned a cease-and-desist from the whip. But, then again, perhaps not.
A reminder: Virtually all of the “broke down” and most of the “vanned off” are killed.
Princess Marcela, Delaware, race 5, vanned off
Ill Be Honest, Parx, race 9, fell, DNF
Star Lookout, Parx, race 9, fell, DNF
Easter Glory, Parx, race 9, fell, DNF
Primmensity, Mountaineer, race 1, vanned off
Coffee Man, Mountaineer, race 2, vanned off
Back Talking, Mountaineer, race 5, broke down
Miss Aisle Band, Penn, race 8, vanned off
Kissnatalie, Presque Isle, race 7, “stopped badly in the stretch”
Cool Cat Tale, Belmont, race 7, “hit the near side stall at the start tossing his head,” DNF
Grand Pro, Belterra, race 8, vanned off
Taps Lady, Charles Town, race 9, vanned off
Our Deputy Express, Delaware, race 2, confirmed dead
Integratee, Delta, race 10, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Lynn’s Image, Gulfstream, race 2, “faltered when she bled”
Hip Ninety Three, Lone Star, race 3, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Dark Timbers, Los Alamitos, race 3, vanned off
Apollyon, Belterra, race 8, vanned off
Storm Off, Ellis, race 8, vanned off
One Survivor, Evangeline, race 5, vanned off
Equal Parts, Indiana, race 8, vanned off
Shesalittlelady, Lone Star, race 4, fell, DNF
Call Me Big E, Louisiana, race 7, vanned off
Go Go Giovanni Go, Thistledown, race 5, bled
Chief Barker, Arlington, race 9, vanned off
Lone Star Sizzler, Evangeline, race 7, broke down
Princess Reyana, Finger Lakes, race 8, “hit the rail,” DNF
Brother Kevin, Los Alamitos, race 6, vanned off
Chewies Atthe Cosino, Retama, race 3, bled
Shug’s Spirit, Ruidoso, race 5, vanned off
Music Maid, Belmont, race 2, broke down
War Prince, Emerald, race 1, vanned off
Ruler of the Tribe, Emerald, race 5, vanned off
Ivalreadygone, Los Alamitos (Q), race 5, vanned off
Best Ransom, Los Alamitos (T), race 4, vanned off
Blazin Flyer, Ruidoso, race 2, vanned off
A 2-year-old unraced colt by the name of The Lucky Dream was “found dead in [his] stall” Thursday at Finger Lakes. Dead in his stall. At two – or roughly the equivalent of a human child. This being horseracing, especially at one of the cheaper tracks (that is, the bulk of American racing) and especially involving a horse who had yet to register a blip, it is almost certain that the questions of how and why will remain unanswered. But I have a hunch that trainer Michael S. Ferraro – who also lost Michonne a week ago Friday – may have some insights. By the way, that’s 14 dead at Finger Lakes thus far this year.