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?
5-year-old Stormdefrere, making her third start in 21 days, broke down and died in tonight’s 3rd race at Penn National. The trainer/owner who pushed the not-yet-fully-mature mare to her breaking point is Varsamis Barbalios. This is horseracing.
Today, California Chrome will be lavishly feted in NBC’s pre-Belmont coverage as he (ludicrously) “chases immortality.” On the other side of this odious spectrum lies a horse named Call Tiger, a 9-year-old gelding with 87 career starts. Nine years old, 87 starts. In all, this pathetic creature has been handled by 13 different trainers (and 3 of those had two separate turns with him) and owned by at least 9 different men. Unsurprisingly, his sale tag – Call Tiger has been laboring almost exclusively on the claiming circuit for five years now – has steadily decreased with the passing years: The first claim on 7/3/08 was for $50,000; six claims later in May of this year, he went for $5,000.
In his last three starts – covering a mere 20 days – Call Tiger has failed to finish twice, the last time just this past Tuesday at Parx. This abuse, not the romantic rhetoric gushing forth from Bob Costas’ silver tongue, is horseracing. Enjoy the Belmont.