While this page holds that all horseracing is wrong, there is perhaps no more vile form than the steeplechase (“jumps”), the kind of animal competition that comes with an expectation of bodies falling, breaking, and dying. And so it was last week at the Cheltenham Festival 2014 in England. Four days, four kills (one was in a flat race under National Hunt rules): Our Conor (broken back), day 1; Akdam (fractured leg) and Stack The Deck (fractured knee), day 2; Raya Star (fractured spine), day 4.

The meet’s leading jockey, Ruby Walsh, said this after Our Conor’s death (The Telegraph, 3/12/14): “Horses are horses. You can replace a horse.” Walsh, in a bit of poetic justice, would break his arm later in the Festival when his horse, Abbyssial, took this fall…

photo credit: The Telegraph
photo credit: The Telegraph
photo credit: The Telegraph
photo credit: The Telegraph

And this from the RSPCA’s “equine consultant,” David Muir: “If a horse has broken its leg, we have to look at the reasons why and see what we learn from it.” If the RSPCA still has more to “learn” from racing kills, then it should cease calling itself an animal protective organization. Take a stand – work to end horseracing.

And finally, the British Horseracing Association: “Despite the best efforts of all involved, as with participation in any sport involving speed and athleticism, there remains an inherent risk of injury.” More fatuous words were never spoken.

Three more equine youths died Saturday:

4-year-old Concept – who last raced August 2012, finishing last, 14 1/4 lengths back – fractured her left humerus training under Matthew Peebles at Aqueduct.

3-year-old Fardan, trained by Howard Zucker and ridden by Joseph Steiner, went down in the 1st race at Santa Anita.

3-year-old Broadway Peyton, trained by Michael Dini and ridden by Jose Ferrer, snapped a leg in the 6th race at Tampa Bay.

The following racehorses were casualties on American tracks last week:

Monday
Ko Ko Fleur, Mountaineer, race 5, bled, vanned off
Tawdry, Mountaineer, race 8, confirmed dead
La Tonga, Turf, race 4, vanned off

Tuesday
Passport Denied, Mountaineer, race 9, vanned off

Wednesday
Abital, Charles Town, race 1, “came back bleeding from the nose”
Knowing the Fact, Mountaineer, race 3, bled
Honor Spirit, Turf, race 6, vanned off

Thursday
Ask Her Out, Charles Town, race 3, vanned off
Uncle Betty, Charles Town, race 5, broke down
Sunfleet, Charles Town, race 9, “came back bleeding from the nose”
Chickatari, Penn National, race 5, vanned off
Promise Me Pyc, Remington, race 9, “in distress,” vanned off
Tripski, Santa Anita, race 1, vanned off

Friday
Halos and Angels, Aqueduct, race 4, vanned off
Sweet Stuff, Fonner, race 5, fell, DNF
Kenai Warrior, Gulfstream, race 6, broke down
Cooper River, Laurel, race 3, fell, DNF
Bertie, Santa Anita, race 3, vanned off
J Rose Gal, Tampa Bay, race 1, vanned off

Saturday
Dani’s Keyway, Fair Grounds, race 5, “bled after the race,” vanned off
Anskey’shero, Fonner, race 4, “in distress,” vanned off
Rushin’ Rubietta, Hawthorne, race 5, vanned off
Candy’s Jewel, Los Alamitos, race 1, vanned off
Fulmerized, Oaklawn, race 2, vanned off
Fardan, Santa Anita, race 1, confirmed dead
I Can and I Will, Tampa Bay, race 5, vanned off
Broadway Peyton, Tampa Bay, race 6, confirmed dead

Sunday
S S Tribal Girl, Fonner, race 2, vanned off
Fast Fantasy, Gulfstream, race 1, bled
Accelerare, Gulfstream, race 7, bled
Starlight Dreamer, Hawthorne, race 1, vanned off
Next Right, Santa Anita, race 1, vanned off
Heza Mighty Elliott, Sunland, race 2, bled

Yesterday, 7-year-old Jeremiah Englehart-trained Itsagoodtendollars “died from an apparent cardiovascular collapse while breezing on the Belmont training track.” This is Englehart’s 14th NY death since 2009.

Also on Saturday, 2-year-old (actual age, not industry age) Onlyforyou (below) died at a Gulfstream training center. Said trainer Todd Pletcher in a press release: “She had a complex condylar fracture that was displaced and irreparable. …a little bit more than an eighth of a mile into the gallop she took a bad step. Obviously, it’s a sad moment for everybody. The barn takes it hard when stuff like that happens, especially when it’s a filly like that who was perfect her whole career.”

photo credit: Wendy Wooley
photo credit: Wendy Wooley

NY excepted, training deaths are almost never reported. But they are happening, and with regularity. (Of the 99 racing or training deaths in NY last year, 43% were of the training variety.) Invariably, only those involving the most prized of Thoroughbreds hit the media, like the undefeated, multiple graded stakes-winning Onlyforyou. In short, the carnage dutifully published here is far from complete.

The California Horse Racing Board is investigating the death of 5-year-old Standardbred Nutmegs Davey less than 24 hours after he won last Saturday’s 3rd race at Cal Expo. What’s more, owner Ormin Carrera and trainer Dario Solares are, at least for the moment, banned from the track for removing their dead horse without notifying officials. (In California, all horses who die at racetracks, no matter the cause, must be sent to UC Davis for a necropsy.) As an aside, Cal Expo horse owner Walter Peterson told KCRA that the horses “live in what I call luxury suites” and are “treated like kings and queens.”

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Also, Wednesday at Monticello Raceway (NY), another Standardbred, Hickory Louie, died after finishing second in the 8th race. From the Gaming Commission database: “sluggish and unsteady at the half – finished 2nd but died on backside of track after finish – possible cardiac event.” Hickory Louie was trained by Robert Lounsbury and driven by Bruce Aldrich Jr. NY’s 2014 Death Toll: 17.