Unpublicized Death of Young Horse at Belmont Tarnishes Triple Crown Luster

By Sarah V Schweig as published on TheDodo.com
Forward by R.T. Fitch ~ Pres/Co-founder of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Okay, my fin is up and ready for a fight.

Yesterday (click here) we wadded back into the turbid, bloody waters of the horse racing crowd and comments from a select few align perfectly with the bulk of pro-horse slaughter deviants complete with insults, threats and foul language.

Fortunately, for both us and the horses, Karma has been pretty effective in removing several of the wanna-be leaders of the perversion but the remaining few who revel in the illusion of consuming the bodies of companion animals continue to do the only thing they know how to do when confronted with truth, science and sound facts; they lash out in a most horrific and primitive way.

So today we will share more truth, facts and common sense so as to further increase their frustration and to make former twisted leader(s) roll over in their/his/her tortured grave(s).  Success, fueled by truth and honesty, is always the very sweetest revenge.” ~ R.T.


Bradley Weisbord ‏@BradWeisbord Jun 6 Bradley Weisbord ‏@BradWeisbord Jun 6 RIP Helwan. These horses and jockeys put their lives on the line for us. Thanks for giving us everything you had 💔

“He was making a perfect run,” said jockey Jose L. Ortiz about Helwan, the horse he was riding on Saturday at the Belmont Stakes race. “He made two jumps and then switched [his] lead [leg] and broke down. There’s nothing else to say about it.”

But some people think there is a lot more to say about Helwan — a 4-year-old colt from France making his first run in the United States — who was euthanized after he broke his left cannon bone during the race.

Helwan, who was owned by Al Shaqab Racing and trained by Chad Brown, participated in eight races during his life, and won three.

People are divided about what Helwan’s death means. Commenters on social media argued about whether the horse could have lived a good life after suffering from a broken bone — sadly, it can be very difficult to rehabilitate horses with bone injuries. Others questioned the ethics of the horse racing industry altogether: “When horse racing goes well, it’s a beautiful art. But when a broken bone has to lead to death, it makes me wonder why we even consider it sport & not animal cruelty,” wrote Stephanie Lariccia on an article posted to Facebook. “Stop racing horses! Then this wouldn’t happen,” wrote Maureen Clifford Reid on the same post.

“Man and animal alike love to do what they were created to. Racehorses love to run,” Vivian Grant Farrell of The Horse Fund told The Dodo. “But some even go so far as to believe that race horses love to compete. Perhaps, but not in the way a human being does. In the instance of horse racing, too often humans project insatiable appetites for money and glory onto the performance of these magnificent animals.”

Newsday ‏@Newsday Jun 6 Newsday ‏@Newsday Jun 6 A 4-year-old colt was put down at Belmont Park after an injury #BelmontStakes http://nwsdy.li/1KTL67t

Farrell added that horses are commonly given drugs to mask pre-existing injuries so that they can “run through the pain.” This compromises their safety, Farrell said.

An article in The Atlantic last year highlights the controversies, even within the industry. “The rampant use of drugs on horses [along] with claims of animal cruelty,” Andrew Cohen wrote, “has been understated even among reform-minded racing insiders.”

To argue that many trainers are not cruel to their racehorses still ignores the fact the industry’s very foundation is built on using animals for profit. The argument does not answer the questions that come from people concerned about horse racing as a whole: whether the highly competitive horse racing industry, as it currently exists, is good for horses at all…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment on The DoDo

13 comments on “Unpublicized Death of Young Horse at Belmont Tarnishes Triple Crown Luster

  1. I can see your point to a degree. Having worked in the industry, I can say the good horses have all their needs well attended to. As horses who are not as sucessful or making their way to the end of their careers, not so much. However, that being said, their suffering pales by comparison to today’s show horses who truly live a life of pure hell! Pick the breed, pick the discipline, if your heart burns with hatred for someone….wish them to come back as a show horse! Race horse moves thru the industry quickly. The show horse is there for a long, long time! They suffer physical torment and abuse but they also suffer herendous mental abuse. Ever notice how prevalent ulcer treatments are nowadays??? And the more beautiful they are, the more closely they embody the breed standard, the worse they have it. Racing, while not perfect, at least moves the horses thru and are cared for while there. The show horse suffers a far and away worse fate.

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    • You are so right. When I was young I dreamed of being a horse trainer. I worked very briefly at Saddlebred show barn and the abuse I saw there scared me away from ever thinking that being a horse trainer is a good thing.! Like you said name a breed they all are abused to get that win!

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    • Two wrongs don’t make a right … two wrongs (animal abuse behind/in the show ring and animal abuse behind/in the race track) is still two wrongs. Animal abuse is animal abuse whether it is in a professional stable or in a pasture somewhere.

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  2. The bottom lines is these are BABIES!!!! Their young bones are not yet formed and totally solid. You can pump all the drugs and vitamins you want into them, but they ARE still babies. Just because you might have a tall or large tottler, would you ask that child to run a marathon? Racing is no longer a “Sport of Kings.”. For many young horses it is a means to death! The Kill Pens are LOADED with young horses who are thrown away like TRASH! Then the ones that break down and do survive are sold as hunters or they put them out as companion horses for someone else to take. What about the responsibility of the owner? Horses give their hearts and their minds to us. Is this the way we repay them? Some people seem them as nothing more then a commodity just as the BLM. I’m sure if we were to see the number of horses put down on race tracks daily, it would freak us out! The racing industry is the most vusiable if you can say that. But all the other disciplines and breeds are just as guilty. I am told it is a common place to whip Arabian halter horses by some trainers. In past times if whip marks were visible they were called on it. Now they just throw a sheet/blanket to prevent marks. I am appalled at this and have spoken to committee members about this. No horses should ever be terrified in order to look beautiful or to do their job. I make no bones about going to a show steward and bringing this forward. The horse industry all around has let are horses down!! Have you seen some of the western pleasure horses lately?? They are crippled by the age of about 6. We need to stop training, racing and showing horses until they are ready. If the breed associations did there jibs and not worry about the almighty dollar our horses would be healthier and happy. My question is, just what are they going to do when this new bill passes? Where will they dump them all? Perhaps then people will have to take responsibility for them instead of throwing them away like TRASH!!!

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  3. It’s such a tragedy that humans are so capable of compassion and yet many, or most, times exhibit none, except for our own kind. *shudder*

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    • This horse did not run in the Belmont Stakes. That is correct. Again…addressing journalistic integrity….all horses running in any stakes race are subject to a pee test, a drug test, prior to the event. The top three horses in any race are also subject to drug testing after the race. A positive test will disqualify a horse. When a horse comes to the paddock, he is inspected – quietly – by the track vet. If the vet notices anything untoward, he can have the horse pulled from the race. I have shown horses, and worked the backside at the track. Racing is a lot “cleaner” in most resects than top showing. But it is my belief, that most horse owners try their best to see that their horses are trained well, and kept well.

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  4. Horses are raced at a very young age now. Their bones have not finished growing. I would suggest that no horse under the age of 31/2 to 4 years old be raced.

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  5. For every horse lover there is an opinion and most of them are not only genuine but correct. As a young girl I loved horses. At 72 I still do. Through TRF I was able to own two wonderful thoroughbreds — Affirmeds Ace and Deweycheatemandhow. Both had raced. Affirmeds Ace owner and trainer cared. When Ace’s racing days were over he was given to TRF and then to my therapeutic riding program. I know because Ace showed me, in everything he did for my athletes, that he LOVED TO COMPETE. Until his death he was a special champion in so very many ways. Deweycheatemandhow was one magnificent horse that had been campaigned too young. The arthritis in his knees (a likely result of his early racing career) eventually caused him to become a pasture horse. In his mid life he was a superb therapeutic riding horse with so much to give back to so very many riders. At maturity Dewey could easily have been labelled a heavy hunter due to his massive skeleton.

    In every field there are those who are unscrupulous and those who are entirely ethical. Allowing a horse to suffer needlessly is just a cruel as “training” with brutality. As one of the earlier comments stated – healing a horse with a broken leg can be very difficult. Since horses can’t operated crutches like humans do, they need to spend time in a sling to prevent other serious medical complications while healing the leg. For the horse a sling can be as traumatic as waiting at the slaughter house. Racing stables provide the action and race growers provide the monetary incentive for that action.

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