Horse Racing Injuries and Fatalities



  • You've probably all heard that both Winter Memories and Awesome Maria (2 of my most favorite gray girls) have been retired. Big sigh.
    Winter reportedly has ankle problems...'degenerative bone' issues, to which one commenting fan got all up in arms about breeding her with this fault. I think the fan was confused with 'congenitive' vs 'degenerative'.
    The lovely Maria has a tendon thing going on and while she could recover with time off, the plan for her was to retire at the end of this year anyway, so that messes up racing for the rest of the year.
    Both were so very talented and beautiful racers; will be sorely missed. I'll be watching for news on their futures.
  • KetaKeta Member
    Keta Note: Sounds similar to Gemologist's problem
    Glamour mare Mosheen has come through minor throat surgery in good order and could step straight back into her original spring campaign.
    Trainer Robert Smerdon said Mosheen underwent “the most straightforward procedure in the book” at the Goulburn Valley Equine Hospital on Monday afternoon.
    News of the problem shocked the racing world on Monday when it seemed one of the major spring stars might be out of action before striking a serious blow.
    But Smerdon said on Tuesday she is expected to make a swift and complete recovery.
    Mosheen had developed an epiglottic entrapment which was first noticed after she did slow work on Saturday morning ridden by assistant trainer Stuart Webb.
    “Stuart came back and said she had made a noise that she hadn’t made before and she was very worked up and not herself,” Smerdon said.
    Subsequent examination showed the epiglottis was trapped by a fold of skin in the mare’s throat, a condition that can usually be corrected relatively easily.
    “The surgeon who did the procedure said it was a completely straightforward job and she should be as right as rain,” Smerdon said.
  • R.I.P. Typhoon Tracey. One time Australian Horse of the Year and from the same barn as Black Caviar, Typhoon Tracey, died just after giving birth to her first foal by Street Cry.
  • I believe if the racing industry cannot change the way it breeds, trains, races, and cares for it's horses then it is going to start failing. They breed horses that are unsound, and then the offspring are overraced and start having their own problems with soundness, but they have a great pedigree so they are retired to stud. It is a vicious cycle and it needs to be broken, I wish there was someway to make people change, but there isn't. Something's got to give, what is the straw that breaks the camels back?
  • Jimmy, you have some good thoughts, however, I'm not sure I agree with everything you say. Offspring being over-raced IMHO anyway is not the problem. I often make the statement that "It never is just one thing!" There is a combination of factors that I believe causes horses of today to not be as durable or sound as those of the past, some of the factors I bet you or some others haven't even thought of. I read an interesting article by Bill Pressey talking about how American race tracks are constructed with a slope for drainage, and that American horses, racing always "left-handed" develop a "weak side"! Now who would have thought about that except someone who studies horse physiology and was looking at the great hurdler, Aries Merritt, talking about making an adjustment in his training regimen. Here is the link to read this article:

    From the article:
    Horses don’t start from blocks, obviously – but they do run around left hand turns exclusively in racing and in training here in America.

    According to Florida-based racing consultant Earl Ola:

    "America’s dirt racetracks are by necessity slanted down to the inside rail for drainage necessary to facilitate daily racing, plus our banked turns are slanted even more. Slow motion video clearly shows that the right legs of American trained Thoroughbred racehorses always hit the ground before their left legs. This situation is exacerbated by American Thoroughbred’s training and racing counter clockwise (left turn) only. Left turn only racing and training on slanted (one slant) racetracks is the primary cause of our far too high breakdown percentages. Their unbalanced action is further exacerbated by the fact that most American Jockeys and many exercise riders ride acey ducy placing their weight slightly off center on our racehorses back.”

    Interesting stuff. There are many differences in American and European racing. Euro racing: turf, uphill and downhill sloped tracks. Also, most trainers in Europe, and other parts of the world, allow horses to be "turned out" to run around on their own in the up and down terrain on soft turf. They don't allow race-day meds, including lasix. I have a feeling that horses overseas don't stand in their stalls 22 hours a day, either. In nature, horses are always moving, rarely are they still, which is healthy for their hooves. Standing for long terms in their stalls is not good horse hoof management. "No foot, no horse."

    Raceday meds, lasix in particular, I believe has done great harm to our horses, and it has become a training crutch for trainers. Over the last 25 years, lasix has proliferated to the point it is used on 95% or more or runners today. A horse loses valuable vitamins and bone-strengthening minerals in the 25-30 pounds of weight it drops, which have to be re-introduced, which as we all know, is not as healthy as getting these nutrients naturally. In two year olds, I would call it abusive to give a still-developing youngster a drug that leaches out the very bone-building nutrients it needs to grow strong healthy limbs. It takes a horse from two-to-three weeks on average to re-normalize its system after his innocent raceday lasix dose! This is why American horses can't run back on "short rest" the way that Euro horses do. At Royal Ascot, Simenon ran a 2 1/2 mile race and then 4 days later, ran a 2 3/4 mile race (note, that is not a misprint -- it was 2 1/2 and 2 3/4 mi races), WINNING BOTH! American horses can barely manage a 2-week break, let alone 4 days. The great Black Caviar when she was running during the Australian racing season would sometimes run races 5-7 days apart.

    I agree with you that breeding practices are contributing to the increased fragility of our horses. Training methods, too, no doubt play a big part. West Coast horses seem to have more workouts than East Coast horses (the same author of the above article has written about this disparity). Baffert's horses have more recorded workouts, in most cases, twice as many, than others. His philosophy seems to be to bring out any problems in training, rather than on the track, reducing catastrophic breakdowns. Many believe that light training contributes to a horse not being as fit as hoses trained harder. Horses allowed to be turned out while training keep themselves fit.

    As I said above, "It never is just one thing." I believe it is a combination of many factors causing our horses to be more fragile. One thing is not in dispute, and that is: according to the Jockey Club's own statistics, the average annual starts for horses have dropped from 11.3 to just a little over 6 in the past 40 years. Lifetime starts are dramatically down from horses of 30-40-50 years ago, as well. The reasons can be debated, the causes can be debated, but, it doesn't change the fact that this has happened in a fairly short period of time (some want to attribute it to evolutionary forces, however, those take many, many more years than the period of time it has taken for our horses to decline). No, it is man-made, and man has to fix it.

    It never is just one thing.
  • @Ann_Maree Thank you for both articles. Great reads both of them!
  • Ann_MareeAnn_Maree Member
    edited August 2012
    This is an update on the list of horses ON THE SHELF I posted earlier this year, in March. This is by no means complete, just the ones I noted so far this year.
    - through July, 2012.

    This is hard to look at, and hard not to be repulsed and disgusted, but we owe it to our equine athlethes to keep their welfare in the forefront of all suggestions being put forth on what can be done to 'save the sport'. We don't need to go off half-cocked and sling accusations and get caught up in hot rhetoric. This turns people off and it hardens people's positions oftentimes when this approach is taken. My personal reasons for keeping this list include reminding myself that each day a horse is on the track is a gift, that his career can be over in a twinkling, in an unfortunate and tragic accident -- like the great filly, Millionreasonswhy, recently. I can't do much, individually, but we can all support many of the suggestions put forth to support our horses. As stated above, I believe the situation our horses find themselves in is man-made, and somehow, some way, man has got to fix it. Here's the list:

    Bodemeister - unknown issues - being diagnosed as of 8-15-2012
    Went The Day Well - bone bruise - out for rest of year 7-17-2012
    Union Rags - 7-12 - tendon issue - retired
    Caleb's Posse - retired 7-2012
    Mark Valeski - bone chips
    I'll Have Another - Tendon issue (tear) - retired to stud in Japan
    Summer Applause - knee chips (discovered after Kentucky Oaks in May)
    Gemologist - Foot bruise after the Derby - to miss Belmont - 6-24 back on worktab
    Take Charge Indy - bone chip discovered after Derby; Aug. 2012, back in training
    Reveron - fissure in left fore - off for a few months
    Princess Arabella - soft tissue injury - retired (4/20)
    Secret Circle - Sesamoid injury - out for 4 months (4/20)
    Junebugred - bone chip
    Consortium - ankle chip
    Stephanoatsee - pastern injury
    O'Prado Again - Condylar fracture in right foreleg
    Ismene (filly) (Tribal Rule) - ankle chip
    Spring Hill Farm - knee fracture
    Fed Biz - hind end issue
    Algorithms - fractured splint bone in right front leg
    Now I Know (filly) - fractured knee, retired
    Out of Bounds - condylar fracture to left front ankle
    RIP: For Oby
    RIP: Bellacourt
    RIP: Tiz Sunset
    RIP: Millionreasonswhy, filly- died in training accident

    4 yr olds/Older horses:
    Awesome Maria - Aug 2012 - retired - tendon issue
    Winter Memories - 8-12 - retired - degenerative bone disease
    Caleb's Posse - retired 7-12-2012
    Desert Blanc - tendon injury - retired 6-24-2012
    Nehro - sidelined 3 months with ankle chips
    Havre de Grace - Ligament injury right ankle, April 2012, retired
    Shotgun Gulch (filly) - Cracked sesamoid - retired
    Dialed In 4 yo - bone chips
    Thiskyhasnolimit 5 yo
    Animal Kingdom 4yo - hind end issue
    RIP - Yawanna Twist 6-15-2012
    RIP - Giant Ryan 6 yr old - RIP 6-14-2012 - Broke sesamoid bone in True North H RIP - Premier Pegasus - euthanized after injury 5-16-2012
    RIP - Yawanna Twist 6-15-2012-
    RIP - Giant Ryan 6 yr old - 6-14-2012 - Broke sesamoid bone in True North H
    RIP - John Johnny Jak - euthanized due to broken shoulder

  • Yeah....At this point I doubt we'll ever see a horse with enough in him to even pull through the Triple Crown.
  • KetaKeta Member
    Bodemeister at Winstar Farm & to undergo diagnostics at Rood and Riddle
    Rood and Riddle Equine Equine Hospital post on Facebook
    We are always happy to have another superstar in our presence!
  • Believe You Can 8/15/2012 they say overwork and being freshened.
  • Andrew Bensley talked with Vinery General Manager, Peter Orton regarding Typhoon Tracey's orphan colt. Peter described Tracey's death as the lowest blow he has experienced in his years in the industry, but said the cause of her death is not uncommon for maiden mares. The colt is doing particularly well, and has been put to a half Clydesdale mare they have used before, and who has taken well to the little fellow. He said that he is a good size and has a good length of leg, and they are very happy with him . He said the entire team is still in shock and very disappointed that with around 40 foals on the ground, they had the tragedy of losing Tracey. Gives one a lot to be grateful for though, with Zenny foaling so well, and now the successful weaning of her little boy, so I guess it's just time to look on the positive and for his future carrying his Mum's genius.
  • KetaKeta Member
    Kathy, thank you for the update on the colt.
    That is good news in a very sad situation.
  • Acclamation is now out with ankle inflammation
  • KetaKeta Member
    Gemologist not in, but not out, of Travers
    August 8, 2012 at 1:52 pm by Tim Wilkin, staff writer
    SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Travers still isn’t out of the question for Wood Memorial winner Gemologist, but it’s more likely he will stay in trainer Todd Pletcher’s barn on Aug. 25.
    Trainer Todd Pletcher said Wednesday morning that he was not going to rush the colt, who finished last in the Haskell in his first start since the Kentucky Derby. After the Haskell, it was found that Gemologist had a lung infection.
    “It’s not impossible that we could make it, but we’re not committed to it yet,” Pletcher said outside his barn on the Oklahoma Training Track.
    Last week, Elliott Walden, the president, CEO and racing manager of WinStar Farm, which owns Gemologist, said it was a “long shot” that Gemologist would make the Midsummer Derby.
    The horse had been treated with antibiotics since the Haskell.
    “We are not going to push anything,” Pletcher said. “We’ll let him tell us as he proceeds forward.”
  • RachelRachel Member
    edited August 2012
    Zo Impressive, during the alabama she finished 4th but was vanned off with a lateral condylar fracture of her front leg. It's not life threatening but could be career threatening depending on what the x-rays show. She was able to walk on and off the ambulance by herself.
  • I heard about this too right after watching the race and was very relieved that it wasn't life threatening. What a beautiful gray she is. Am so sad she likely will never race again.
  • Jackson Bend was in a training accident but not seriously injured. Here is the link to the article it sounds really scary!
  • Acclamation is actually out with a ligament strain. They say it doesn't currently appear to be a career ending injury.
  • What makes me really mad is Yawanna Twist being euthanized, completely preventable. He had surgery for ankle chips, the broke a femur waking up from anesthesia. If he had been in a recovery pool this never would have happened.
  • What makes me really mad is Yawanna Twist being euthanized, completely preventable. He had surgery for ankle chips, the broke a femur waking up from anesthesia. If he had been in a recovery pool this never would have happened.
    Yes that makes me angry too. I don't think the recovery pool should be an option, cuz u never know how horses will react coming out of anesthesia.

  • RachelRachel Member
    edited August 2012
    I was on youtube the other day looking up videos of silence suzuka, cuz i had no idea he died after breaking down during a race. Well i came across a few other related videos of break downs at japanese tracks and they didnt euthanize the horses, they made them wait til the trailor came and they would walk the horses to the trailor knowing they were in pain. No green screens either. It was quite sad. I was wondering if they believed in putting them down in front of the crowd there.
  • Whats even more sad is that if they'd had recovery pools 30yrs ago we never would have lost Ruffian
  • I still cry about Ruffian sometimes =(..... I simply try to find pieces of her in champion mares today.
  • It's not that the Japanese don't want to put a horse down in front of a crowd, but they really care and want to make sure putting the horse down is the last resort, sometimes allowing the horse to load into a trailer is the last dignity the horse has, they are supreme athletes, maybe the owner won't have any other choice than to put the horse down, but the horse was allowed that last dignity to leave the track under their own willlpower and maybe I'm fantisizing the whole thing, in some ways I doubt we'll ever know the reasons for some of the things other countries do outside the US, but I'm not God, nor do I want to be.
  • RachelRachel Member
    edited August 2012
    I had seen another clip of a horse with a broken front ankle that did not want to walk on it but they still insisted that he/she load onto the trailor. The horse was rearing and kicking with its hind leg and pulling back away from the people. U could tell in was in pain. I thought that situation should have involved euthinasia
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