The following racehorses were casualties on American tracks last week:

El Altanero, Beulah, race 7, broke down
Tanjero, Mountaineer, race 7, vanned off
Hot Little Thang, Turf, race 1, broke down
M Two Forty, Turf, race 6, bled, vanned off

Donnas Dynasty, Sunland, race 9, vanned off

Pure Afleet, Laurel, race 1, “lame,” vanned off
Flattering, Laurel, race 9, fell, DNF
Frontier Warrior, Tampa Bay, race 7, vanned off

Love Contract, Aqueduct, race 8, vanned off

I’m Wide Awake, Aqueduct, race 2, “struck the gate,” bled
Wildcat Thunder, Aqueduct, race 5, bled, DNF
Colonel By, Charles Town, race 2, broke down
Private Prayer, Fair Grounds, race 6, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Eternal Ruler, Gulfstream, race 8, vanned off
J W Blue, Laurel, race 1, vanned off
Ninety Five South, Laurel, race 1, bled, DNF
Finesse, Oaklawn, race 7, confirmed dead
Bulletsinthegun, Remington, race 11, “pulled up in distress,” vanned off
Jess Wave, Sam Houston, race 7, vanned off
Tempting Prize, Sunland, race 1, vanned off
Slew Up His Sleeve, Sunland, race 11, bled

Garden Tavern, Charles Town, race 2, confirmed dead
Pat’s Back, Golden Gate, race 5, vanned off
Royal Gallant, Gulfstream, race 5, vanned off
Diva On Demand, Laurel, race 4, broke down
Troubador Song, Mountaineer, race 3, bled, DNF
Sweetly Put, Penn, race 9, confirmed dead
Sweet as a Rose, Santa Anita, race 2, vanned off
Vagabond Shoes, Santa Anita, race 4, confirmed dead

Vengeful, Gulfstream, race 2, broke down
Letmegetmybroom, Mountaineer, race 3, vanned off
Am Another Lover, Santa Anita, race 9, vanned off
With a Miracle, Sunland, race 7, confirmed dead

Saturday at the races:

6-year-old Vagabond Shoes, running in a $200,000 Grade 2 at Santa Anita, broke down and was killed. Vagabond Shoes (below): jockey, Victor Espinoza; trainer, John Sadler; owner, Hronis Racing.


4-year-old Garden Tavern, running for $11,000 in a $5,000 claiming race at Charles Town, broke down and was killed. Garden Tavern: jockey, Carlos Castro; trainer, Henry Worcester; owner, Worcester Investments.

4-year-old Sweetly Put, running for her third trainer in the past seven months, broke down and was killed at Penn National. Sweetly Put: jockey, Luis Belmonte; trainer, Enrique Arroyo; owner, White Wabbit Wacing.

Young or mature, rich or cheap, stars or nothings, horseracing doesn’t discriminate.

Updates on Uncle Betty and Cooper River:

Through a call to the state vet’s office, Joy Aten (“Shedrow Secrets”) confirmed that Uncle Betty was indeed killed after breaking down March 13th at Charles Town. The 2-year-old filly was ridden by Ariel Diaz, trained by James Locklear, and owned by O’Sullivan Farms.

Cooper River, who was forced – by jockey Yomar Ortiz – to run last Friday at Laurel despite being wrong from the start, is alive, albeit injured and on the vet’s list. Joy quotes the track vet as saying that “the jockey should have pulled [Cooper] up” after he “smacked his stifle” in the gate. Pressed on, the 6-year-old eventually fell.

For four months last year, PETA had an undercover investigator working for highly successful trainer Steve Asmussen – at Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course, no less. What follows are some of the investigation’s highlights:

Trainer Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s top lieutenant: “Fuck these horses. These motherfuckers. They’ll fucking break your fucking heart every fucking day, these cocksuckers. There’s always something wrong with ’em.”

“You ought to see these limping motherfuckers I see this son [of] a bitch out here [Saratoga] jogging every day.”

“You could not believe how many [horses] they hurt and kill before they ever even get to the racetrack.”

Farrier working on 5-year-old Nehro, one of Asmussen’s charges: “That’s all missing! His foot is a little bitty nub. …he lost Z-bars on both feet multiple times until he had bloody holes in the bottom of his feet.”

“He doesn’t even have a pulse in this one, and he’s barely got one in the… Stick your thumb in there. Right there in that frog. …No, it’s been like that for three months…it rotted.” Blasi: “…listen…I know the fucker hurts.” Farrier: “Let me show you this hole. This is treacherous. We’ve tried superglue in that hole.”

Blasi, to Nehro: “Quit being such an asshole. …Aggravating son of a bitch.” A few days after this exchange, Nehro died of colic. Blasi: “I have seen a lot of shit. That is the most violent fucking death I have ever seen.”

Track veterinarian James Hunt on Lasix: “It makes them lighter. …it’s a performance enhancer.”

Blasi on “shockwave therapy,” which is used to deaden pain: “It fucking hurts like hell. I can’t believe them fucking sons a bitches can take it.”

Blasi on electric shockers, which are used to “motivate” horses during a race: “I’d tell [jockey Ricardo Santana Jr], ‘You got the maquina [shocker]?’ ‘Boss, I got the maquina.'”

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens: “So, long story short, I win the race…and I reach over to pull this off, and I, I shock the shit out of myself [audible laughing around the table].”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “Well, we used to go behind the gate at Ruidoso. And it was just like it was a full-blown orchestra. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Everybody had one. Everybody had one.”

Blasi, after losing an underperformer – a “rat” – to a claim: “I could just do a fucking cartwheel right now.”

To the New York and Kentucky commissions who have begun investigations, spare us the false outrage. This is the racing you know, and have always known; embarrassment does not equate to caring. The truth is, you and your entire industry are every bit as corrupt as Steve Asmussen and Scott Blasi. To Nehro and the other victims, we are sorry. But know this, we will not rest until this whole vile house of cards comes crumbling down.

Asmussen and his fellow revelers…

photo credit: Matthew Stockman
photo credit: Matthew Stockman