As the racing world mourns another dashed Triple Crown dream, we remind that the lives of at least six Thoroughbreds were snuffed out on American tracks this Belmont weekend:

4-year-old Sweet Teri K, Saturday, Belterra, race 4
5-year-old Lemon Sundae, Saturday, Finger Lakes, race 1
4-year-old Tebows Big Play, Saturday, Golden Gate, race 9
5-year-old Stormdefrere, Saturday, Penn, race 3
8-year-old Lobo Del Norte, Sunday, Parx, race 5
5-year-old X Country Girl, Sunday, Parx, race 7

Five of the six had yet to blossom into full maturity; the sixth, an 8-year-old, was barely a quarter through his natural life span. (Not that that phrase matters – there is nothing natural about the life of a racehorse.) But the wreckage doesn’t end there:

Ferrari One, Friday, Calder, race 5, vanned off
Terrific Treasure, Friday, Churchill, race 6, vanned off
Interest Please, Friday, Evangeline, race 4, vanned off
Nava Nataly, Friday, Golden Gate, race 6, vanned off
Power Boots, Friday, Indiana, race 7, “stumbled badly,” DNF
Karla With a K, Saturday, Arlington, race 8, vanned off
Shakin It Up, Saturday, Belmont, race 9, vanned off
Stormin City, Saturday, Charles Town, race 7, vanned off
Tiger Mike, Saturday, Fairmount, race 3, vanned off
Adriatic Son, Saturday, Golden Gate, race 9, fell, DNF
Storm Haboob, Saturday, Gulfstream, race 5, vanned off
Swilcan Burn, Saturday, Indiana, race 3, bled
Tricky Ricardo, Saturday, Indiana, race 5, vanned off
Really a Hero, Saturday, Eastern Oregon, race 2, vanned off
Devil’s Mistress, Saturday, Penn, race 4, bled, DNF
Between Dreams, Saturday, Presque Isle, race 7, fell, DNF
Here It Tiz, Saturday, Ruidoso, race 2, vanned off
A First Class, Saturday, Ruidoso, race 6, collapsed after wire, vanned off
Tomorrows Wildcat, Saturday, Suffolk, race 5, heat stroke, vanned off
Old World Order, Sunday, Belterra, race 8, vanned off
Fiaker, Sunday, Louisiana, race 6, “took a bad step,” hit the rail, DNF

All, for $2 bets.

To those who wager on horseracing, we implore you to reconsider. And ultimately, you hold all the cards: no more bets, no more races; no more races, no more kills. And – no more separating foals and moms, no more abusing unformed bodies, no more confining, no more whipping, no more drugging, no more doping, no more buying and selling and trading and dumping. No more auctions, no more kill-buyers, no more transport trucks, no more abattoirs. No more pain, no more suffering. No more.

In a landscape that abounds with other gambling options – real sports involving autonomous human beings, casinos, lotteries – hasn’t the time at long last arrived to let the racing horse be? You, the bettor, have within the capacity for mercy. We ask only that you exercise it. Please. For the horses.

This weekend’s casualties:

Friday
Ferrari One, Calder, race 5, vanned off
Terrific Treasure, Churchill, race 6, vanned off
Interest Please, Evangeline, race 4, vanned off
Nava Nataly, Golden Gate, race 6, vanned off
Power Boots, Indiana, race 7, “stumbled badly,” DNF

Saturday
Karla With a K, Arlington, race 8, vanned off
Shakin It Up, Belmont, race 9, vanned off
Sweet Teri K, Belterra, race 4, broke down
Stormin City, Charles Town, race 7, vanned off
Tiger Mike, Fairmount, race 3, vanned off
Lemon Sundae, Finger Lakes, race 1, confirmed dead
Tebows Big Play, Golden Gate, race 9, confirmed dead
Adriatic Son, Golden Gate, race 9, fell, DNF
Storm Haboob, Gulfstream, race 5, vanned off
Swilcan Burn, Indiana, race 3, bled
Tricky Ricardo, Indiana, race 5, vanned off
Really a Hero, Eastern Oregon, race 2, vanned off
Stormdefrere, Penn, race 3, confirmed dead
Devil’s Mistress, Penn, race 4, bled, DNF
Between Dreams, Presque Isle, race 7, fell, DNF
Here It Tiz, Ruidoso, race 2, vanned off
A First Class, Ruidoso, race 6, collapsed after wire, vanned off
Tomorrows Wildcat, Suffolk, race 5, heat stroke, vanned off

Sunday
Old World Order, Belterra, race 8, vanned off
Fiaker, Louisiana, race 6, “took a bad step,” hit the rail, DNF
Lobo Del Norte, Parx, race 5, confirmed dead
X Country Girl, Parx, race 7, confirmed dead

In the span of an hour and a half yesterday at Parx, two horses died on the playing field:

In the 5th race, 8-year-old Lobo Del Norte, claimed for $12,500 prior to the gun, “clipped heels and fell before the half and was humanely euthanized.” To add insult to death, Lobo Del Norte “was disqualified and placed last for interference on the backstretch.”

Two races later, 5-year-old X Country Girl “broke down…in her left front and was humanely euthanized.” Sunday afternoon at the races – good, clean family fun.

In addition to Stormdefrere, at least two other Thoroughbreds were killed in action on one of racing’s most celebrated days:

5-year-old Lemon Sundae died after the 1st race at Finger Lakes from a “possible heat stroke.” This after “[losing] contact with the field and [being] distanced.” The mare was ridden by Jose Baez, trained by Joseph Marino, and owned by Old First Ward Stable.

4-year-old Tebows Big Play snapped a leg in the 9th at Golden Gate. The complicit: jockey Pedro Terrero, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, and owner Tommy Town Thoroughbreds.

4-year-old Sweet Teri K broke down in the 4th race at Belterra. A confirmation call to the racing office proved fruitless, but we can presume the filly dead. She was ridden by Perry Ouzts, trained by Joe Woodard, and owned by various members of the Hays family.

An open question to Art Sherman, Perry Martin, Steve Coburn, the 100,000 fans in attendance, the millions more watching around the world, indeed, all who were seduced by NBC’s shameful coverage: How to explain, justify, defend this?

(pick up around 2:50 mark; California Chrome has the white stripe)

3-year-old California Chrome received roughly 20 hard lashes within 15 seconds. Said celebrated jockey Victor Espinoza: “I noticed something as soon as he came out of the gate. He was not the same. By the 5/8ths pole he was just empty.” So, he beat him – mercilessly, while the horse ran on an open wound (below). In truth, Mr. Espinoza should be arrested for animal cruelty under Section 353 of NY’s Ag and Markets Law: “A person who overdrives, overloads, tortures or cruelly beats…any animal, whether wild or tame, and whether belonging to himself or to another…is guilty of a class A misdemeanor…” Anything, racing apologists?

photo credit: AP
photo credit: AP