The California Horse Racing Board has confirmed the deaths of two more racehorses:

2-year-old Stuffed Animal, trained by Adam Kitchingman and owned by Lucas Downs, was euthanized after breaking down in a race at Santa Anita January 4th. It was the colt’s third time under the whip. Six days later at Golden Gate, 5-year-old Big Swig was euthanized after shattering sesamoids training under Jonathan Wong.

Steve Haskin recently penned an article for Blood-Horse in which he recalls a better time, a Golden Age of American racing, if you will:

“Picture a deep blue sky, a slight late winter’s chill in the air, warmed by the sun, and rows of colorful tulips bringing the first images of the impending spring. Picture a kaleidoscope of familiar colors atop noble steeds who have migrated north with the robins. Picture cigar smoke-filled buses and trains arriving one after another from all parts of the city. Picture people leaving work in the middle of the afternoon to participate in an annual rite of spring.

Picture all this and you have merely begun to picture opening day at Aqueduct back in the ’60s and ’70s, traditionally held in mid-March each year. New Yorkers every December went into racing hibernation, building up their funds and their unbridled enthusiasm, counting the days when the glorious sport of Thoroughbred racing returned to the Big Apple. With it came the rush of humanity off the train platform headed for the mutuel windows to get down on the Daily Double.”

Although Mr. Haskin goes on to censure today’s industry – the “carnage,” the drug culture – what stands out, yet again, is the self-delusion. These people, especially the grayer ones, really believe this stuff. Racing, to them, can be good, wholesome, benign – for man and horse alike. It is, of course, unmitigated garbage, garbage made all the worse when wrapped in flowery rhetoric, garbage that must be answered each and every time it’s spewed at a mostly naive and ignorant public.


Allow me, Mr. Haskin, to break down your muse to its very core: Horseracing is the exploitation, abuse, and destruction of sentient beings for $2 bets. It’s what it has always been; it’s what it will always be – there is no rehabilitating an inherent wrong. So, Mr. Haskin, don’t act all befuddled as to what to do (“…no one seems to have any answers”), for the solution is as plain as one of today’s shattered cannon bones: Cease and desist. Find another line of work, another hobby, another human endeavor to wax poetic about. Your “glorious sport” kills horses.

In yesterday’s 2nd at Aqueduct, 4-year-old You Take the Cake finished 3rd, garnering $2,100 for her connections. The chart, however, noted that the Joseph Lostritto-trained mare “fell heavily after the finish.” Turns out, she broke her neck and was euthanized. She is the 17th horse to die at the Big A since the meet began in October.

The Aqueduct 17:
5-year-old Summer Sunset, Oct 31, race 2 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Jesses Giant Dunk, Oct 31, race 3 (ruptured ligament)
4-year-old Knockher Off, Nov 12, race 5 (neck trauma)
9-year-old Cherokee Artist, Nov 28, race 6 (fractured leg)
4-year-old Princes On Thelake, Dec 3, race 5 (fractured cannon)
3-year-old Warrior’s Hero, Dec 4, race 3 (fractured carpus)
5-year-old Half Nelson, Dec 5, race 8 (fractured shoulder)
7-year-old Quick Money, Dec 5, race 8 (neck trauma)
5-year-old Sage Valley, Dec 10, race 8 (apparent cardiac arrest)
5-year-old Ludo Bagman, Dec 11, race 1 (fractured sesamoids)
4-year-old Celebrate We Will, Dec 26, race 1 (fractured leg)
5-year-old Wicked Irish, Dec 27, race 2 (undisclosed leg trauma)
2-year-old Golden Bay, Jan 2, race 6 (fractured leg)
5-year-old Shewreckstheplace, Jan 4, race 5 (fractured sesamoids)
2-year-old Channel of Love, Jan 9, training (fractured leg)
4-year-old Apex, Jan 9, race 2 (fractured leg or ankle)
4-year-old You Take the Cake, Jan 15, race 2 (fractured neck)