The NYS Gaming Commission’s “report” on 4-year-old Anchor at Belmont yesterday: “horse was found dead in stall.” “Found dead.” In an ethical world, trainer Brian Lynch would be made to answer for this. But this is horseracing; ethics don’t apply.

In the two most recent editions of the Santa Anita Stewards Minutes, four “fatalities” are noted. We know (from other sourcing) that one was Dial Me In on March 23. The other three, it appears, have perished in anonymity.

Finally, the Golden Gate stewards report that trainer Natalie Houle was fined $500 on March 31: “The ruling was issued after Ms. Houle met with the Stewards and acknowledged working the horse Holladay Visit within seventy-two hours of the horse being placed on the Veterinarian’s List. Ms. Houle stated she made a mental error and thought it was a different horse that was placed on the Veterinarian’s List.”

“Mental error; thought it was a different horse.” Vile. Horseracing.

We activists are often asked, “What do you propose to do with all the horses if you get your wish and Racing ends?” It is, of course, a spurious question, a pathetic and desperate attempt to trip us up – gotcha, they hope to say, you have no plan; are you just going to let 100,000 horses starve to death? Horseracing clearly will not disappear overnight; it will (has been, actually) go brick-by-brick – until, at last, not a one remains. Yesterday, another brick fell. A sign at Hazel Park Raceway in Michigan:

Hazel had just converted back to Thoroughbred in 2014. Given that this was the only flat racing in Michigan, a top-ten population with almost 10 million people, this might seem a rather quick and shocking failure. But to those with a working knowledge of Racing, it was not unexpected at all. For you see, Michigan is not a racino state; the horseracing industry there has no slot machines to bail it out. Without the corporate welfare that is so unfortunately common in other racing-states, Hazel’s demise was inevitable – and so too is Michigan’s only remaining track, Northville Downs, a harness facility with but 59 days of racing scheduled for 2018. Progress, folks.


Shuttered tracks since 2000 (37 and counting):

Anthony Downs, Kansas, closed 2009 after 105 years of racing
Atlantic City Race Course, New Jersey, closed 2015 after 69 years of racing
Atokad Downs, Nebraska, closed 2011 after 55 years of racing
Balmoral Park, Illinois, closed 2015 after 89 years of racing
Bay Meadows, California, closed 2008 after 74 years of racing
Beulah Park, Ohio, closed 2014 after 91 years of racing
Blue Ribbon Downs, Oklahoma, closed 2010 after 47 years of racing
Brockton Fair, Massachusetts, closed 2001 after 60 years of racing
Colonial Downs, Virginia, closed 2014 after 17 years of racing
Dayton Days, Washington, closed 2010 after 122 years of racing
Eureka Downs, Kansas, closed 2011 after 108 years of racing
Garden State Park Racetrack, New Jersey, closed 2001 after 59 years of racing
Great Lakes Downs, Michigan, closed 2007 after 18 years of racing
Hazel Park, Michigan, closed 2018 after 69 years of racing
Hollywood Park, California, closed 2013 after 75 years of racing
Jackson Harness Raceway, Michigan, closed 2008 after 60 years of racing
Les Bois Park, Idaho, closed 2016 after 46 years of racing
Lone Oak Park, Oregon, closed 2000 after 67 years of racing
Manor Downs, Texas, closed 2010 after 20 years of racing
Maywood Park, Illinois, closed 2015 after 69 years of racing
Mount Pleasant Meadows, Michigan, closed 2013 after 28 years of racing
Northampton Fair, Massachusetts, closed 2005 after 62 years of racing
Northwest Montana Fair, Montana, closed 2011 after unknown number of years
Pinnacle Race Course, Michigan, closed 2010 after 2 years of racing
Playfair Race Course, Washington, closed 2001 after 100 years of racing
Rochester Fair, New Hampshire, closed 2007 after 73 years of racing
Rockingham Park, New Hampshire, closed 2009 after 103 years of racing
Saginaw Valley Downs, Michigan, closed 2005 after 25 years of racing
Solano Fair, California, closed 2009 after 58 years of racing
Sports Creek Raceway, Michigan, closed 2015 after 28 years of racing
Sportsman’s Park, Illinois, closed 2002 after 70 years of racing
Waitsburg, Washington, closed 2010 after 99 years of racing
Walla Walla Fair, Washington, closed 2010 after 144 years of racing
Western Montana Fair, Montana, closed 2010 after 96 years of racing
Woodlands Racecourse, Kansas, closed 2007 after 17 years of racing
Yavapai Downs, Arizona, closed 2010 after 50 years of racing
Yellowstone Downs, Montana, closed 2011 after 65 years of racing

From the 1st at Parx yesterday: “NEW ROAD hopped at the start, went wrong before a quarter mile then was euthanized” (Equibase). “Went wrong.” New Road was a day shy of turning four; this was his 16th time under the whip.

In the 7th at Yonkers Monday, 8-year-old Pappy’s Pal “fractured [his] right front pastern” and, the Gaming Commission reports, “was subsequently euthanized.”

Two more dead animals for $2 bets. This is horseracing.

The 53rd time under the whip proved to be the killer for 9-year-old Russian Greek yesterday at Mahoning. In the 1st, Equibase writes, “Russian Greek was pulled up down the backside and was euthanized.” Not much detail there, but then again, why would there be? Here was an old (by racing standards) horse running in a cheap claiming-race at bottom-of-the-barrel Mahoning. Speaking of which, this is the (at least) 11th raceday kill (how many more in morning practice?) at Mahoning since the beginning of the year. And state-subsidized (it’s a racino), too. Obscene.

Yesterday on American racetracks:

Getaway Car “was injured nearing the wire and was euthanized” at Mahoning. But it’s all good – before dying, the 4-year-old finished 3rd, winning $1300 for his people.

Castle Bound “vanned off” at Charles Town
Too Much to Do “returned bleeding from the nose” at Charles Town
Model Citizen “vanned off” at Gulfstream
Landwade Lad “vanned off” at Santa Anita
Snowber “fell in the stretch and was vanned off” at Tampa Bay
National Defence “vanned off” at Turfway

This is horseracing.