Horse Health

Santa Anita Race Track Concerns: 19 horses die in 2 months

“Horse racing continues to take it’s toll…”

Larry Peal has a 3-year-old filly that was just injured on the track.

“It was running in a race, and then we found out after the race that … it had a fractured knee and chips in the other knee,” Peal said.

He thinks the recent rain could be a factor.

“The track was pretty much like the 210 Freeway. It was concrete,” he said.

Santa Anita is taking the matter seriously enough. They’ve formed an industry committee to oversee track’s inspection. As famed owner Bob Baffert says, even one death is too many.

Crews are essentially peeling back the track’s cushion to examine the base layer, measuring the moisture content and soil consistency on both the dirt and the turf.

When considering Monday’s horse death, keep in mind, more than 100 horses were on the track.

“We have so many horses here, that it’s a minimal amount of horses that this happens to,” Peal said.

Training on the main course could resume as early as Wednesday, with live racing on Thursday.


9 replies »

  1. For every Seabiscuit, there are tens of thousands of racehorses whose lives end in pain and despair, with indifference and corruption that runs rampant through the world of horse racing.
    If anyone has any doubt about the evils of horse racing, read this book: Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption by Jo Anne Normile, Lawrence Lindner


  2. Anyone who refers to his racing filly as “it” can’t be overly concerned about humane care. “It” might as well be just another broken piece of equipment, soon replaced by another. There’s always been a dark side to racing, but that’s not the whole story. We are racing horses to young and with too much emphasis on turning them over for dollars, rather than taking the time to bring champions to light.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oops typo: “too young.”

      There’s also the matter of the closed registry, meaning the genetics in pedigreed thoroughbreds is narrower and narrower. Quarter horses are a bit less since a foal can be registered with one parent being a thoroughbred, but nevertheless this is still narrow, and shrinking.

      I encourage everyone to see the film “Snowman” as it is a true story of a horse rescued from the New Holland sale who later became a champion. While his pedigree is unknown, he was known for having very large hooves — something we are breeding out of our pedigreed horses, especially racehorses. Our wild horses are still being tested in the wild, tuning of genes for good hooves as those with poor ones find it harder to survive. We may need their genes one day to replenish our diminishing domestic bloodlines. After all, it is still true: “no hoof, no horse.”

      Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, the person who calls the filly an “it” also said:
      “We have so many horses here, that it’s a minimal amount of horses that this happens to”? Really? 19 out of 100?? 20%? So if its “minimal amount” that’s ok. That sure does show the attitude towards these creatures – that are responsible for these people making a profit!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yet that same 20% per year is described with hysteria by the BLM and others as an unsustainable birth rate in our wild herds.

        A planned loss in the realm of 20% is not a good business strategy, especially in one with so much churn and disposal of horses to start with.


  3. The film title is “Harry and Snowman” Here’s the synopsis—
    Breed Mixed, see below
    Sire No Records Found
    Grandsire No Records Found
    Dam No Records Found
    Maternal grandsire No Records Found
    Sex Gelding
    Foaled February 29, 1948
    Died September 24, 1974 (age 26)
    Country United States
    Color gray
    Owner Harry de Leyer
    United States Open Jumper Champion 1958 and 1959
    Snowman (February 29, 1948 – September 24, 1974) was a former plow horse of mixed breed ancestry, possibly a cross of Quarter Horse, Morgan, and various draft horse types. He was purchased for $80.00 on his way to a slaughterhouse and became a champion in show jumping in the United States during the 1950s. During his career he was known as “The Cinderella Horse” due to his “rags to riches” story.[1]

    Snowman was originally used for farm work and in 1956 was headed for the slaughterhouse at eight years of age. On that day, Harry de Leyer, a Long Island, New York, riding instructor, attended the horse auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania, looking for school horses. He arrived late, and the only remaining horses were those waiting to be loaded into trucks bound for slaughter plants. De Leyer made eye contact with a large gray horse that he purchased for $80. He first used Snowman as a lesson horse for children. De Leyer recognized talent in the horse after he sold him to a neighbor and the horse jumped high fences to return home. De Leyer then began training Snowman as a show jumper.

    The horse began winning prestigious classes only two years after he was bought off the slaughter truck, and his career lasted five years. He was photographed performing unusual feats such as jumping over other horses,[2] and his calm disposition made him a favorite. He once won a leadline class and an open jumper championship on the same day.

    Snowman also appeared on television shows (Johnny Carson’s for one, where Carson climbed on his back). He was the subject of two books, had his own fan club, and was flown abroad for “guest appearances”.

    De Leyer kept Snowman through his retirement until the animal was euthanized in the fall of 1974 due to complications from kidney failure at the age of twenty-six.

    Snowman was inducted into the United States Show Jumping Hall of Fame in 1992. In 2005, Snowman was made into a Breyer horse model on the Gem Twist mold, which is no longer manufactured. In 2013, Snowman was again introduced in the Breyer line on the Idocus mold. The 2013 model box reads “Snowman – Show Jumping Hall of Famer”.

    Snowman is the subject of the book, The Eighty Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation, by Elizabeth Letts, published by Random House in 2011, a No. 1 New York Times bestseller.[3][4] A documentary movie was made in 2016, Harry & Snowman, that features original footage of his years as an equestrian family member as well as a show ring competitor.[5] Snowman was featured in season 21, episode 8 of Mysteries at the Museum.[6]


  4. It seems that any industry that uses horses to make money does the same. It’s all about ego and the almighty dollar. They’re used, abused and discarded when no longer useful.
    I remember an old trainer who said “the horse that has it the best is probably the family horse that is loved, not worked too hard and has a Forever Home.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Gee it couldn’t be that you are racing BABY horses whose knees have yet to close or their poor baby bones yet developed! NO one cares! All they want is a return on their bull.shit investment! I can’t even imagine a little Yearling being forced into a starting gate and forced out as that frickin gate springs open! They should still be with pasture mates or their moms developing their little brains and learning to be a horse! Its so disgusting what we do to these horses! Tying their tongues to the side so they dont choke when they are pushed beyond their.capacity to breath. Or let’s load them up with lassix so their poor lungs don’t hemorage! What a sick bunch of f…… people! God certainly didn’t give us these beautiful creatures to destroy in this manner! Or to send them down the river to slaughter! Man! The most.destructive creature on Earth! Its NOT about the horses its all about the $$$$!!

    Liked by 1 person

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