Vet Records Provided Voluntarily in Secret Compass Death

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Secret Compass won the G1 Chandelier before breaking down in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Secret Compass won the G1 Chandelier before breaking down in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies

While the California Horse Racing Board has yet to act on a proposal that would make it mandatory to provide veterinary records for post-mortem examination of horses that died at CHRB licensed facilities, trainer Bob Baffert voluntarily turned over vet records on Secret Compass, the Discreet Cat filly who suffered a fatal injury in the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Secret Compass, who five weeks earlier became the first Grade 1 stakes winner for Westrock Stables when she captured the Chandelier Stakes by a head over She’s a Tiger, suffered a lateral condylar fracture, with dislocation, of her left foreleg while approaching the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile Juvenile Fillies. “It is the worst type of injury we get,” said Dr. Wayne McIlwraith, who was serving as the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s On-Call veterinarian at the Breeders’ Cup.

Jockey John Velazquez suffered internal bleeding from the accident and underwent surgery to remove his spleen. He is out for the remainder of 2013.


Bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Brandywine Farm, Secret Compass had won 2-of-4 starts and $216,120 after being purchased by Westrock for $425,000 at the OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training. Donato Lanni bought her in the name of Reckless Farm for $90,000 six months earlier at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

Baffert turned in veterinary records dating back to March, when the filly was purchased.

It was the first fatality in a Breeders’ Cup race since Rough Sailing was euthanized after slipping on the turf during the 2010 BC Juvenile Turf, but the third high-profile breakdown of a Baffert-trained horse at Santa Anita in less than a year.

On Dec. 30, 2012, Tweebster, a 5-year-old multiple graded stakes-placed gelding by Tapit was euthanized after pulling up with an injury following a $12,500 claiming race at Santa Anita. Tweebster, who’d earned $246,968 after being purchased by Kaleem Shah for $300,000 at the 2009 OBS March sale, had finished second in a pair of G2 races in 2011, the San Fernando and Strub Stakes, and had previously run for a $40,000 claiming price.

The necropsy report’s case summary on Tweebster said, “This horse had complete rupture of the distal sesamoidean ligaments of the left front leg. In addition, several chronic, pre-existing lesions were observed in several structures of both front legs. Histology of the ruptured sesamoidean ligaments is under way.” An update later said: “Histology of the distal sesamoidean ligaments of the left front leg showed acute hemorrhage, consistent with the gross observation. However, histology also revealed the presence of large numbers of hemosiderin-loaded macrophages, suggesting that chronic hemorrhage occurred in those tissues.”

On Oct. 17, just over two weeks before the Breeders’ Cup, the 6-year-old A.P. Indy horse Take Control fractured his right foreleg while said to be in training for the BC Marathon. Produced from Horse of the Year Azeri, Take Control had raced just four times since 2009, and finished last of 10 runners in his most recent start, the G1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita won by BC Classic winner Mucho Macho Man Sept. 28. Also owned by Kaleem Shah, Take Control made the record books as a $7.7 million buy-back at the 2008 Keeneland September yearling sale. He sold the following spring for $1.9 million at the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training.

Earlier this year, Baffert turned in veterinary records on seven horses from his barn that died from non-musculoskeletal injuries over a 17-month period from November 2011 to March 2013. The seven deaths, attributed to a variety of internal ailments ranging from heart attack to pulmonary and internal hemorrhage, accounted for nearly 20 percent of all of the sudden deaths tracked by the CHRB’s necropsy program in California during that time frame.

For more than three years, the CHRB has looked into amending the state’s necropsy program in place since 1990, making it mandatory for six months of veterinary records to be provided when horses die. To date it has taken no action.

Owners, trainers and veterinarians have opposed the veterinary records amendment in the past, but Joe Morris, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, said his organization supports the proposal if the records “are provided anonymously and are for science only.”

The original version of this article erroneously said George Washington in the 2007 Classic was the last Breeders’ Cup fatality.

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  • Bryan Langlois (ShelterDoc)

    Not sure I exactly understand the “anonymously” aspect of the reporting. I mean I suppose that means the vet doing the necropsy would have no idea who the horse was or what trainer or vet was involved. I think it shows kind of the dichotomy in owners who may want the best for their horses care wise…but want to win more. Very interesting to see if permission is ever granted.

  • pesposito

    The curious thing would be to know who owned those seven horses that died, or do we already know and I missed it?

    • greg

      most were Kaleem Shah

      • pesposito

        What I expected. Interesting.

      • Biggar

        Where did you find the information on the owners? I doubt that most were Kaleem Shah’s. Ray probably does know because he checked on the insurance of the seven and reported that 6 were uninsured. How do you think the owner contributes to sudden deaths?

        • Knowitall

          The insurance was in the published necropsy reports that Ray linked last week. At least three of the seven sudden deaths were owned by Shah. Two of the three breakdowns this year for BB that RP refers to above were owned by Shah. I hear he is going to name his next horse Shah’s Coincidence.

          • biggar

            I guess that half is most now. Assuming your summary is correct.

          • Knowitall

            Actually most would be defined as more than any other. But 3 is not half of 7, and 2 of 3 is more than half. But all together, 5 is indeed half of 10 in total and far more than any.

        • greg

          you “doubt” and why do you doubt, as you are incorrect

  • betterthannothing

    How much of that information will be publicly released?

    So much could be learned and so many tragedies and losses prevented if everything done and administered to horses from birth and especially to those that go through one or more sales –in particular two year old breeze sales– was verified, recorded and publicly disclosed!

    • Jay Stone

      I would bet that this particular horse was totally clean when x-rayed

    • Roisin

      Those 2 year old breeze sales are outrageous. And people can be fooled by them. I believe The Green Monkey had a very good breeze…

  • milezinni

    Owners, trainers and veterinarians have opposed the veterinary records amendment in the past, but Joe Morris, president of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, said his organization supports the proposal if the records “are provided anonymously and are for science only.”
    Says it all right there……..
    If people knew what these “people” were really doing to these animals, horse racing wouldn’t last 6 months…….
    And don’t give me that “it’s only a small minority” line, just so you can feel better about profiting off these horses misery, suffering and deaths…….I know better…..
    Sad thing is, horses racing isn’t animal abuse, just, horse racing as an industry absolutely is….

    • fb0252

      lots of horses would disagree with u. they love to run and they love to train. like most of us, it’s necessary for them to make a living. If you want to do anything for horses at race tracks lobby for mandatory turn out paddocks at the tracks, and new barns built with turn out paddocks .

    • nu-fan

      But, I am hopeful that there are enough people in this industry to make things better. If I didn’t believe that, I would not support horse racing with the dollars that I bring with me to the track.

    • Janet delcastillo

      THIS WAS A LETTER I RECEIVED FROM EARL OLA…AN ANTI DRUG PROPONENT

      INTERESTING

      I Want Revenge (on my trainer…)

      This pretty well tells the real story about USA horse training and management.

      Old story, but somehow the New York Times was able to get a copy of the veterinary bill for this fantastic equine specimen during last April, the month before his unfortunate scratch the morning of the Kentucky Derby, here is a portion:

      The colt was x-rayed 04/10/09 and remained in training for the KY Derby.

      Colt underwent ultrasound on 04/14/09 and remained in training for the Derby.

      Colt had tendon sheath injected 04/15/09.

      Colt had both front fetlock joints injected with HA on 04/29/09.

      During the previous month the colt also received:

      60 cc DMSO IV jug,

      IV baytril X 6,

      IV liquamycin X 4,

      IM adequan X 2,

      gastroguard paste ($280 worth),

      panacure powerpack,

      naquasone paste,

      injected “enzymes” and “vitamins” X 5,

      lasix X 3,

      dormosedan X 2,

      IV bute X 5,

      IM banamine,

      L-arginine (animo acid),

      robinul (decreases stomach acid),

      and anedotal evidence suggests more was involved but left off the invoice in question.

      Noted vet Dr. Larry Bramlage was quoted as saying this was a typical prescription for all Derby horses.

      I include this info because I have many foreign readers who perhaps don’t allow medications in the countries in which they race. Also, because when we discuss conditioning practices in terms of how far, how fast, and how frequently horses are exercised – we need to realize that there are many factors of which we have zero knowledge about.

      My critics will state: “So what, he was scratched – the vets did their job.” But he wasn’t scratched until the morning of the Derby when he was unable to jog sound – even though he threw a bullet 4F work just 3 days earlier – a work he could have never attempted without multiple injections. We are all lucky he wasn’t allowed to run 10F on Saturday.

      As trainer Jeff Mullins stated so eloquently: “People who bet on horses are suckers.” I’ll give the man this, he’s a honest guy.

      How can you bet off of info from Ragozin and DRF when neither of them will give you the vet bills on the horse you back with your money? We spend all of this time and effort handicapping and arguing about surfaces when performances often result from good or bad drug practices.

      I, and my clients, WILL prove that you can win in the US without drugs. I am not anti-drug by nature, if all of this stuff added up to horses running Derby times under 2:00 I would be a big advocate for Lasix, Bute, and others.

      But, we breed the equine Michael Jordans and Marion Jones(track) a million times (80 years X 12,000 times a year) conservatively, and we still cannot run Classic races any faster than we did in 1930. What is wrong with this picture?

      How about we stop the drug use, employ old time training regimens with speedwork twice a week starting at age 2, and use 21st century technology such as interval training, massage, chiropractic, hyperbaric chambers, etc. on horses BEFORE they go lame, in an effort to product the next Secretariat?

      The alternative is to do the same stuff and waste another 80 years of potential development so we can watch the 2094 Derby winner come across the line in a pedestrian 2:03, what a waste of a fantastic animal.

      Earl Ola

      2:48 PM (16 minutes ago)

      

      A horse named Coronado Heights suffered a fatal injury in a January 12, 2012 race at Aqueduct. Between his last start and the start in which he died he was treated with xylazine, dormosedan, DepoMedrol, hyaluronic acid, flunixin, bute, Estrone, Adequan, Vitmain B1 and calcium. Everything done to the horse was 100% legal.

      American horseracing is a sick sick industry run by pro drug people who have no idea the harm they do to our racehorses and to keeping our racetrack stands half empty.

  • Knowitall

    Thought I’d be the first to commend Baffert for doing the right thing.
    Clearly he has nothing to hide here.

    As for Tweebster, who did deserve a far better fate (like going to a 2nd career not down the claiming ladder, Mr. Shah) the chronic issues he had would be shared by the vast majority of racehorses his age.

    • betterthannothing

      “the chronic issues he had would be shared by the vast majority of racehorses his age.”

      That is why racing has a hard time attracting new people from horse lovers to racing fans, ethical owners and sponsors!

      • Knowitall

        Not really. Any athlete of a certain duration would have issues detected in a necropsy. From my POV, investment in education of the reality of the stresses of racing (and all equine performance disciplines) would be the better route. But I am not a vet (as I will be reminded shortly;-) and perhaps a vet would argue upon review of Tweebster’s particular necropsy that he should not have been racing. I already noted that I agree with that in the sense that he should have been allowed to go on to a less demanding 2nd career months before, which as a big beautiful gray he would no doubt have found if sound after rest.

        I am not sure of what to think about Baffert these days, but I am sure he is and has been very aware of the scrutiny he faces for a very long time. The common denominator in far too many of his losses is the owner, Kaleem Shah. More than one of the seven sudden deaths and two of these three breakdowns. Maybe he retires and re-homes many of them and we just don’t hear about it…but we certainly have an open equine death tab going for the man.

        • betterthannothing

          There is something terribly wrong and dangerous when six-figure earners and stakes horses including multiple graded stakes winners on turf end up racing for 5K or 4K claiming on dirt. Everybody knows why they have slowed down yet they continue to drop and run. A young horse (if i remember correctly) ran for 90K at Santa Anita two years ago, maybe three. His next start was for 12K claiming a few weeks later at that same track. Good track, good trainer. No one paid attention to the huge red flag. The horse died.

          Clutch Player was also owned by Shah.

          • fb0252

            lots of big horses have dropped and won and won and won at lower levels. misleading generalizations fail to help horses.

          • betterthannothing

            Of course some high earners can run at lower levels for quite some time otherwise not many would be willing to play the “claiming game”. The bottom feeders like to count on the big, generous heart and will those horses tend to keep despite it all.

          • Jay Stone

            This goes both ways. Starship Truffles ran for 6250 then won a graded stake less than a year later. She then was sold for seven figures a few months later and still runs. Horses with issues can run forever with them while a totally clean 2 yr old takes a bad step

          • Kim MacArthur (Anita Xanax)

            Two words in total agreement…LAVA MAN…

          • Zaffiro

            And he also had issues that required stem cell treatment and is doing great.

          • Jay Stone

            Great pony that never wanted to leave track. Happiest horse in world. Ask Doug.

          • Sharla

            Yes he is, and people are welcome to come see him. Should there be any doubt.

          • Jay Stone

            Saw him on track last winter at Gulf when he was ponying 3 yr old for Doug and he couldn’t have looked better. When people came by the barn he was in it was Lava Man they wanted to see. Great ambassador for the game. Kudos to everyone involved with him because that is the correct way to give back to sport

          • nu-fan

            Jay: “..that is the correct way to give back to sport.” EXACTLY!

          • nu-fan

            Sharla: Perhaps, you know what type of arrangement is needed for a fan to visit Lava Man. Do you know the procedure? I am hoping to fly down for the day to see both Lava Man and Hollywood Park (before it closes this season). Thanks.

          • Sharla

            Yes, send an email to dougoneillracingstable@gmail.com and I will get it set up for you.

          • nu-fan

            Sharla: Thank you! Will do so.

          • Sharla

            Well documented, and restored his ankles. An owner not doing right by the horse??

          • nu-fan

            Zaffiro: But, he wasn’t discarded. He was given the opportunity, with successful treatment, and, now, is enjoying life on the race track but in a different capacity. I wonder how many others would have done the same?

          • betterthannothing

            Lava Man gingerly walked, could barely gallop and never warmed-up after one mile the morning before his last Pacific Classic. Although he still appeared sound on race day and definitely walked better before the race, he could no longer perform as well. Treating a horse that way is nothing to celebrate!

          • Kim MacArthur (Anita Xanax)

            I’ll share this with a friend of mine who works with Doug O’Neill and also rescues racehorses; she’ll be most interested to see this comment and may have something to say about it.

          • nu-fan

            Kim: I also know that Mr. O’Neill has been generous with organizations that are rescuing and retraining them for life after the race track. Unfortunately, that kind of information is not always made public.

          • Sharla

            What does Lava Man have to do with this thread, article or any of the posted comments. Lava Man is sound, happy and thriving EVERY SINGLE DAY as a Pony for our barn! Everyone did right by the horse when he was retired the second time from racing. Lava Man hated being on the farm and excelled as a pony with the time that it was needed to convert him from race horse to pony horse. Lava Man has become an incredible ambassador for the sport and retired Thoroughbreds. Many remark that he looks better now than he did while racing. He is at the track without fail every single day working. So if your “argument” was to lump him in as an unsound, somehow mistreated horse while he was racing….your argument is in fact ridiculous and as I originally stated has nothing to do with the article. I find it offensive. And yet another “dig” at Doug.

            Stick with the subject at hand.

          • Knowitall

            As long as the Bob Bone tastes good. But watch out, someone could always lead the pack to say I’ll have another Doug Chew instead…

          • Sharla

            Riddle me this??! What a nonsense reply.

          • nu-fan

            Sharla: Regarding Lava Man…yes, he is treated wonderfully! Good to see that those, who have been involved with him, do so well in keeping this horse in such a wonderful environment.

          • betterthannothing

            Kim brought up Lava Man’s name.

            “Lava Man is sound, happy and thriving EVERY SINGLE DAY as a Pony for our barn! Everyone did right by the horse when he was retired the second time from racing. Lava Man hated being on the farm and excelled as a pony with the time that it was needed to convert him from race horse to pony horse. Lava Man has become an incredible ambassador for the sport and retired Thoroughbreds.”

            So glad that “everyone did RIGHT by the horse WHEN he was retired” and that he is sound and happy now.

            “Many remark that he looks better now than he did while racing.”

            No kidding!

            “So if your “argument” was to lump him in as an unsound, somehow mistreated horse while he was racing….your argument is in fact
            ridiculous and as I originally stated has nothing to do with the article. I find it offensive. And yet another “dig” at Doug.”

            P. C. words from the NYT:

            “Shortly after Lava Man finished last in the 2008 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar, his owners decided to retire him. It seemed like the prudent thing to do at the time. Then 7, he had lost six straight races and had not won in more than a year. Age and infirmities seemed to have caught up to him.”

            “… Lava Man, a former claimer who went on to become one of the top horses in the country, underwent stem cell treatments. The veterinarian who treated him says they have not only solved his physical problems but have made him stronger than ever.”

            “The owners … sent him to Herthel hoping that he could fix Lava Man’s problems, which included arthritis in the joints in his ankles and a small fracture in his left front leg, so that he would be more comfortable in retirement and could be used as a riding horse. Herthel went to work, taking healthy stem cells from other parts of Lava Man’s body and injecting them into the areas that had been injured. “We think of those stem cells as little paramedics,” Herthel said. “They go in and they help; they enhance the health of the cartilage.”

            “According to Herthel, before-and-after tests taken on Lava Man showed significant improvement in what had been the injured areas. Whatever had been troubling him as his racing career was winding down had been cured. Herthel told the owners there was no reason the horse could not race again.”

          • nu-fan

            Kim: I’m a big fan of Lava Man, too. Hope to make it down to So Cal this season just to see that great horse. And, it is so wonderful to see him still participating as a lead pony.

          • Roisin

            And Chamerlain Bridge. But this is not a common occurrence, however.

          • Knowitall

            I think the point is not that low level horses can obviously improve and rise to the top, but that high level horses shouldn’t be run to the bottom due to obvious physical limitations?

          • Jay Stone

            I think the point is horses go up and down the ladder as they deal with their particular issues. Nobody should argue that once their issues become intolerable to them as racehorses they should be retired and a home found for them. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen as it should mostly due to economics. The gelding that once was a stake horse becomes a claimer due to advanced age and wear and tear. Those of us in the claiming game can cite many examples of horses that once had class but with Injuries became claiming horses and then once they learned to deal with the injury went right back up the ladder. A very recent example is Rio Bobo, a recent major winner at Laurel. Last winter he dropped to bottom at Gulf with obvious problems. The rest is history if you look up his record.

          • Beach

            What sickens me is all the people who do exactly what you just said because “it’s a business”, but yet by no means is it their MAIN business; many of them are independently wealthy, or very wealthy from another source of lucrative income(mortgage businesses, television personalities, just to name a couple in general)–Seems to me that when people are making millions hand over fist from other sources, they could take better care of their horses and find them homes or careers after racing. Most of the time we are not talking about people(especially owners) who are trying to make their actual LIVING out of horse racing. IMHO, THAT is what sickens a lot of the fans. Come on–”I’m already a gazillionaire for other reasons, but ‘this is a business’ and thus I also need to exploit my horse…” Puh-leeze…

          • Chantal Smithless

            Nicely said. Those are the EXACT people that I have a problem with when it comes to these types of situations! I won’t mention any names but I recently organized a group to “rescue” and re-home a horse originally BRED, owned and raced by some VERY prominent people. This 5 year old had fallen into the $2,500 claiming ranks (albeit by other connections) at a very small track and hadn’t been in the money for MONTHS. Numerous attempts to contact them (and not for financial assistance; just for any help they might give the group to try and get our “foot in the door” with one of the various rescue/re-homing/rehabilitation organizations) were never even acknowledged.

            We had already ascertained by a certified vet report and x-rays that this horse was a Monzante waiting to happen…..So we raised the money needed to buy him ourselves and he is now re-homed and learning a second career in dressage.

            NO help whatsoever from the independently wealthy that brought this horse into the world.

          • Beach

            I DON’T BELIEVE IT WILL EVER CHANGE UNTIL YOU(ANYONE) BREAK THE CODE OF SILENCE AND START MENTIONING THE NAMES

            On that score, I will give the PR a lot of credit here for what and who they take on…

            And PS Chantal, kudos to you and yours for what you did for that horse.

          • betterthannothing

            Many of us wish we could name names but we can’t here for obvious reasons.

            An authority must be created solely to protect the welfare and safety of race horses nationwide and collect names of abusers and facts then investigate, punish and ban the abusers accordingly.

          • Chantal Smithless

            Beach — there are certain personal liabilities that have to be considered when you openly state that someone has acted in an inappropriate way or in a manner which could cast them in a less than favorable light. It’s not that my story is untrue or has been embellished in ANY way — I just don’t have the funds to defend myself in a court of law should the person(s) decide that I am guilty of slander. The other problem with naming names here or anywhere in a public forum is that you can get blocked from leaving future comments if the moderator doesn’t feel what you have said is appropriate.

            I have a Facebook page under this name — send me a message and I would be GLAD to tell YOU exactly who the owners/breeders are.

          • Beach

            I am not unaware of the possible consequences; I find it sad that you would even have to defend yourself in a slander lawsuit when you told the truth in the first place. I have heard Michael Blowen saying something similar; that one has to be careful who one badmouths because said people will then stop working with you, ultimately hurting the horses, even more than they already do.

            But this allows the corruption to perpetuate. betterthannothing has a great idea below; I too wish some sort of authority could be created to deal with these sorts of things. What kind of a rich slob does one have to be that he/she won’t even make a PHONE CALL for his/her horse?!!

          • betterthannothing

            Beach, I am with you! To the wealthy involved in the claiming game and its heartless revolving door, owning horses is all about out-gaming others, ego gratification and getting betting tips from the horse’s mouth. One only has to look at how some of them dress to go to the races to realize how little respect they have toward racing and those that risk their lives racing.

          • Beach

            “Yeah, sorry, can’t take care of my horse but I can come to the track in my $8,000 Gucci suit…” Excuse me, where’s the barf bucket?!! I need to expel some hypocrisy on your behalf… :/

          • betterthannothing

            Those who cannot take care of their horses should turn them over to those who can. I was not talking about $8,000 Gucci suits. Anyone with a little self-respect and respect for profession, horses, jockeys, racing people and racing in general can find decent clothes at reasonable prices if needed.

            Based on my experience at the top of European racing and seeing the bottom of American horse racing, I draw a direct line between looking decent and acting decent.

        • Jay Stone

          Very good analysis of the main issue facing racing

        • Beach

          Quick addendum to your 1st paragraph, there are also plenty of people out there who are perfectly happy to have simply a light-riding trail horse or even a lawn ornament, if it keeps these beautiful, hardworking, successful(or even not so successful) animals away from the killers.

    • FEDavidson

      Baffert needs to be commended? Really? The vet records cannot hide the fact that Baffert drilled this filly into the ground, racing five times in four months as a two-year old at very high levels. The chronic hemorrhaging was not a natural event, but caused by the stress the trainer put on this baby. Wake up and smell the death from the Baffert barn.

      • Knowitall

        Well yeah, since he can’t win now, he does deserve commendation. One of the keys to life is to be fair if you want any credibility as a critic, FE. He was asked by Drape in the NYT to release the records, so he gave them to the CHRB. As for drilling this filly, Baffert drills them all. This is news? I would argue that they are so fit they don’t break down as often as some others, but that’s an argument for another day. As is the age old argument that two year olds that race break down less than the ones that don’t. As for the chronic hemorrhaging, that was not the filly, it was Tweebster – a horse with many more years on him. Maybe a teaching moment for the CHRB would be to release the necropsy reports on ALL horses his age with as many starts as Tweebster?

        • nu-fan

          Agree with you except that the CHRB needs to release the necropsy reports on all horses–with no exceptions. To not do so indicates that information is being hidden from any scrutiny regardless if it comes from within the horseracing community or the public.

          • Knowitall

            Agree, the CHRB should post link to them all on their site as soon as they are complete. Which takes a while just like with human autopsies (toxicology.) Better yet, other states should mandate necropsies, too.

          • betterthannothing

            Nu fan I agree with you but even better: control treatments and medications including with surveillance inside barns and vans to help prevent death then make health/medical/chemical records transparent to save lives (and money) before thousands of necropsies are performed. With complete, verified, transparent equine medical records those buying and treating horses, performing pre-race exams and necropsies would know the medical history and could better help prevent death.

      • Swaps222

        Swaps ran six times at two and went on to a record setting four year year. Bupers ran something like 21 times at two, winning the Futurity Stakes and two other races. Secretariat ran ten or eleven times at two. The problem is the unsound sires the commercial crowd flocks to to get farm saving big ticket yearling sales. And apparently the anti inflammatory meds that weaken the horses further, according to mis del Castillo.
        Horses need to be bred to smaller size like Round Table so they can be more durable. And with better temperaments so they have better second career opportunities.

    • Roisin

      “…Shared by the vast majority of racehorses his age”. If that is true then the horses are being pushed too hard at a young age. Horses are not finished growing until they are 5-6 years old and if the vast majority of 5 year olds share the same “chronic injuries”, as you say,it is no wonder so many horses breakdown. He (Tweebester) was dropped in the claiming ranks because he was no longer sound, do you think ?
      When my German Shepard was growing and full of energy I mentioned to the vet I would take the dog running with me. The vet. strongly suggested I should only walk him until he was one year old, too hard on joints. Also,children are discouraged from sustained running because of damage to developing joints. Is the horse so different ?

      • nu-fan

        My physical therapist is also a youth soccer coach. He loves winning with his team but, first, in his priorities is that young people need to play sports so that they do not injure their growing bones and muscles. Also, a young lady that I knew many years ago was a fabulous athlete and played many sports; and, she got scholarship offers for more than one. Took the one for basketball. However, by her sophomore year in college, she only got to play a few minutes in each game. Her legs were bandaged and braced. All those years playing volleyball, softball, and basketball took their toll. Never played the full four years of her scholarship because of the physical injuries that she sustained when playing too much and too early.

        • Knowitall

          So I will just presume that all the major college athletes and pro players did not play Pop Warner or pick up a ball until they were 18? Maybe Miss Basketball’s problem is she wasn’t fit enough and didn’t train hard enough to be an athlete?

          • nu-fan

            Knowitall: You really need to get grip here and lessen the snarky comments. You know ziltch about so much regardless of your handle. Know it all? Not really.

          • Knowitall

            The “handle” is meant tongue in cheek for that very reason. In fairness, I would have been stunned if you had picked up on that. Although, it is not always snark directed at you as I genuinely have a hard time following your lack of logic in many of your comments. But I can back off the comments to you since it is pointless.

  • Knowitall

    Headline could read, “Baffert Provides Vet Records For Secret Compass” – just to be sure no one thinks that PR is anything but fair and objective. Besides the name Baffert is worth at least a hundred hits;-)

    • betterhannothing

      I agree, the headline should say: Baffert provides…

      After basking in PR glory, I think Baffert is having a tough time with negative publicity right now. I noticed that he had an assistant answered press questions following one of his BC wins.

      • betterthannothing

        answering

      • Beach

        In fairness, I think he was very upset after the loss of Secret Compass. Were I him, I would not want to answer questions publicly either if all I was going to do was sob. If I needed to, I’d pay the piper some other time–instead of having to do it immediately after a very raw tragedy. Give the man a break–he’s human, too.

        • nu-fan

          No, he does not get a break. If he cannot handle this, he is in the wrong business. “Can’t stand the heat? Then, get out of the kitchen!” It comes with any position of responsibility.

          • Knowitall

            Aside from the fact that I do not recall him not being present for interviews after both of his wins at BC, who the hell are you to determine how another human processes grief or sadness? Seriously?

          • nu-fan

            Yes, seriously! People in positions of authority and responsibility understand that they do not get to self-indulge at all times. They know that they need to step up to the plate and be held accountable. If they cannot do this–process their grief at their own whims–they need to find an occupation that is of lesser responsibility. He seems to have had a habit of letting others to the difficult talking for him. Wow. What a yutz!

          • Knowitall

            Ah. So even though Baffert did nothing wrong nor did he duck that I recall (he did choke up on NBC camera about the filly after his first win), you are spraying venom like a wounded snake? So you want the sport’s participants to be all warm and fuzzy about the horses for the fans, but only when it suits you? Otherwise, nut up? If all the sport has left is nu-fans like you, it should just fold its tent now.

          • nu-fan

            And, you are representing what? A growing industry? No. Horseracing needs to understand that society has changed and with that a change of values and expectations. As far as Baffert, I am not in the minority in my opinions of him. It also comes from those I know, personally, in the horseracing industry. Perhaps, you can do Baffert a favor in the future and hand him a hanky. Talk about “warm and fuzzy”: That is what you are suggesting that we allow of those in the racing industry.

          • Knowitall

            I like to think I represent a fair, possibly devil’s advocate POV on the sport – to weed out the narrow minded nonsense directed at far too few- with a smidge of snark for flavoring.

            if I could make sense out of anything you spew, I’d say more, but alas…I can only guess at how much you would have liked Bobby Frankel after he lost a race.

          • Birdy2

            Baloney. You’ve obviously never met the little twerp. Is he crying about all the ones he’s discarded along the way, horses like Mayor Marv? Hell to the no. Training on garbage juice and then acting like he’s broken hearted when one of his accidents waiting to happen breaks down before he can dump it on someone else. Sincerely, LJ Broussard, racehorse owner.

          • Roisin

            nu-fan, I have one word, YES !!!

          • Beach

            You don’t exactly read for comprehension, do you? I never said he shouldn’t take responsibility, but I would have no desire to torment the man just after a very raw tragedy. You wouldn’t get very many coherent answers to your questions, either, if all the poor man could sit there and do, at the time, was sob. I think he cared for that filly, and I don’t think it untoward that he sent the assistant to answer questions re: his Breeders’ Cup wins.

          • Zaffiro

            You are right. I know this filly and the entire barn loved her. She was the sweetest of all of them. Everyone was heartbroken, Bob included I know for a fact!!!

          • Beach

            I am so very sorry for all of you. It’s hard enough to lose any of them, let alone the sweet ones. I could see all the heartbreak, still do, and feel it too. Prayers for all, including Secret Compass…

      • Knowitall

        The filly was a bit of a pet at the barn and his wife and staff were devastated. And Bob is a lot of things. Unaware of the blowback coming his way on the big stage when he loses a horse isn’t one of them.

        • Beach

          I don’t know them personally, but Jill Baffert had on dark glasses every time I saw her that day and a red swollen face, despite her beauty and pretty navy-blue dress. It wasn’t hard to “read” that that filly’s loss, any horse’s loss, was devastating for all. I am still so sorry, and I cried every time I saw either of them after SC’s breakdown and death. And I would have felt the same for any other horse, or any other trainer. I know that BB has a position of responsibility, and may have to answer questions and take heat–but tormenting people in grief just isn’t my thing.

        • Zaffiro

          You are so correct about this filly. I was there and talked with several of the staff.

  • Beach

    Rough Sailing was euthanized in 2010 after breaking a shoulder in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf

    http://sports.espn.go.com/sports/horse/breederscup2010/news/story?id=5772095

    • Knowitall

      Excellent point after the BC apparently conveniently parsed the stat of last death since he wasn’t euthanized on the track?

      • Beach

        Yes, sadly he got up and ran off after that injury, probably making it worse. To quote one of the vets, “If only they would just STOP…” :/ RS was vanned off, and euthanized a little later. Rosie was shaken at first, I believe, but luckily unhurt.

  • Hamish

    Is there a link to the vet records here in this piece? I must be unable to locate.

    • RayPaulick

      They were provided to CHRB investigators voluntarily. They were not made public.

      • Horsewomann

        Why is it made a big deal for him voluntarily submitting SC vet records? he submitted the vet records for the 7 fatalities in his barn didn’t he? In the end nothing will come of this just like nothing came of the necropsy report for the Baffert Seven Baffert is untouchable and the beat goes on

      • Hamish

        If the records are not “certified” or otherwise verifiable, I suppose they make no real difference. So, if these records could at best be questionable, why the need to keep them secret?

        • betterthannothing

          You nailed it.

  • GB Flanagan

    It’s not correct that this is the first fatality in the BC since 2007. Rough Sailing slipped and fell in the juvenile turf in 2010, fracturing his shoulder. He had to be euthanized.

  • Patricia Jones

    to survive the problems must be solved lack of integrity is unbelievable

  • fb0252

    My Q: is there a procedure now for investigation? injuries including fatal one’s are 75% trainer negligence. Many breakdowns would be avoided by mandatory investigation on morning and afternoon breakdowns and suspension in case of negligence. The other thing that needs changing is to use latest pre-race diagnostics for televised races

    • Knowitall

      Oh, good to know we only “care” when it happens on TV. And this particular case is highly unlikely to be negligence, although applying sheer logic to the facts would make for less conversation.

      • nu-fan

        Glad to see that you noticed that comment about “televised” as well. Too often, when a horse breaks down, the van pulls out strategically blocking the view from the grandstand and the cameras. As if we are not smart enough to know what is going on! But, to add insult, the whole thing is glossed over with a “let’s pretend we don’t know what we are seeing” atmosphere. The industry wonders why horseracing is declining? One big reason: Fans do not like to see the horses or jockeys injured! But, too many in the industry seem to subscribe to the thinking that this is just part of the sport. And, then, wonder why fewer people attend racing, tracks closing, etc.?

        • Knowitall

          Actually the sport is very well aware of the issue you bring up and trying to mitigate it and has been for 15 years. And I’m not sure what races you watch, but when the screens go up it ain’t good and I think everyone knows that by now. How do you feel about NFL concussions?

  • Guest

    Any chance that these veterinary records may have been ‘Doctored’? I have a troublelittle

    • Jay Stone

      All x rays are now time stamped with name of horse and vet. Deception would be tough considering records go back to OBS sale

  • Rockbarton

    There is no way that these veterinary records could have been ‘doctored’, because none of the people involved have anything to hide.

  • greg

    let’s see if he does the same for the other 8, he won’t, why, this filly was clean, the other 8 weren’t

    • Knowitall

      He did turn over vet records for all seven of the sudden deaths to CHRB earlier this year.

      • greg

        I don’t think so, do you have a link plz?

        • Knowitall

          I could link this story above us here, or you could, you know, just scroll up and actually read it;-)

        • Lexington 3

          Hey greg, you could also try the “up arrow” key on your keyboard if you don’t get the scroll working.

  • MNS

    It should be common sense and also mandatory to turn over veterinary records of each and every horse which ends up as fatality.When horses break down on race days, mostly the necropsy reports show that the horse ‘only’ had ‘legal’ amounts of medications in their systems. But they also mostly reveal many other long term deficiencies in bones, joints, ligaments and even in some internal organs. All of these deficiencies in horses of young ages, before their growing process is finished and they are mature at the age of approx. 5, are most likely caused by the medications given to them throughout their lives, while in race training. There are way too many drugs with way too many long term side effects given to them in America’s ‘Drug’ Racing Culture, not deserving the name ‘Horse’ Racing anymore.
    Yes, in this sport horses can break down and need to be euthanized, and this happens worldwide. Same applies to their riders, who can get severely injured (or die) while performing in this spor.
    But if a horse’s break down is caused through either incompetence or negligence by owners, trainers and/or veterinarians, there needs to be considered that with each break down several human lives (jockeys and exercise riders) are in great danger as well! If people refuse drugging their horses in order to have them live healthier, maybe they should think of refusing to drug their horses in order to have all riders live a healthier life.

  • Janet delcastillo

    Having been in racing for the last 35 years, I have seen the change in this industry. I used to be able to buy two year olds in training and turn them out for month and then continue training. In the last few years when I have purchased them, I have had to wait as long as six months before I can continue training as they turn out to have problems that would become major if I “treated” them with anti inflammatories and joint injections to get the illusion of soundness. This happens to many of the two year old purchases. The legal meds can keep them going but eventually the “medical therapeutic support” catches up with them. With that in mind I went to the yearling sales, thinking I might have more luck…even though it means more than a year of carrying and feeding before beginning training. I had a little more luck but one filly, from a large breeding farm, even after time to grow, would have problems being trained. I had a very knowledgeable vet check her and she said that the filly had ovaries that were the size of walnuts and very hard. She surmised that the filly had been given anabolic steroids to grow for the yearling sale.( Did you know that there is a pellet given to cattle when weaned to have them grow faster …it has been used to push the growth of young horses also.) I had the filly monitored and when the ovaries were soft and normal sized, a year later, she then became trainable. The point of this is to remind owners that the “Therapeutic”meds given along the way in the training, do build up and the ultimate result is breakdown. While I understand the plight of trainers with owners wanting quick results, what has happened is a complete ruination of our business. We are looked upon as evil as we “run the horses to break down and death.” There are many caring and competent trainers out there but it is hard to win playing by the rules. In the old days a good horse could run for years. Now it is get in, run a few times, and on to the next horse. I am unable to see these animals as “disposable” and strive to find them another life after racing. There is hope, that as we control the medication issues, perhaps following the guidelines in other countries and eliminate the cheaters, racing will survive. Right now the bills that Senator Udall is pushing would help with the testing of the horses and put teeth into the punishment of those cheating. It is a long way to go but if we don’t change the ways of racing, it will cease to be. It is really easy to train without drugs…you just train when horse is sound and give time for minor problems when he is not right…you can’t know how your horse feels if he is constantly on medications. The majority of the anti inflammatories will cause other problems…such as ulcers, etc
    Owners! read your Vet bills; ask your trainer why a horse needs tons of medicines in order to run. You pay the bills. You can learn cause and effect of what goes on.

    • nu-fan

      Best comments I have ever read on the Paulick Report! You, also, have the kind of values and standards that we should all admire. Wish that you represented the majority of those in this industry. Do you see yourself in the minority in your viewpoints?

      • Janet delcastillo

        I have been in the minority for at least 25 years…when I finally realized that meds like Lasix may have a short term fix but do not heal the underlying problem. And may cause other issues…
        Since 1992 when i wrote the first edition of my book, BACKYARD RACE HORSE, i have campaigned to educate owners as to cause and effect of “therapeutic ” medications…and how so much of what they were paying for was a short term fix for long term disaster. (Book now in fifth edition)
        In the nineties, I wrote the American Association of Equine Practictioners, to ask to do a presentation of typical vet bills of some leading trainers. I did this with hopes of making the association aware of the misuse of many drugs. I wrote specifically to the WELFARE committee that allegedly supports horse welfare. The only answer I got was please use the term ” Medications” instead of “drugs”! No comments about the trail of breakdown that could be seen when the medication bills were presented. ( i.e.: X-ray of left front ankle, injection of left front ankle, race, fracture of left front ankle.)
        Unfortunately all of this misuse of medications is catching up. I still hope we can alter our future and enjoy the sport of horse racing.

        • Convene

          Part of the problem is that even therapeutic meds have other effects besides the desired one – and some of them are cumulative. (i.e. NSAIDS tend to cause bleeding). Those additional effects have to be considered when deciding about racing the horse. Nice post from someone who knows the science.

          • Beach

            You’re on the right sheet of music–even think about “yourself”: Horses and humans have similar physiology; they’re both mammals. If you exercise too much and your knee aches one day, do you take, e.g. FOUR different NSAID’s(non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) at one time, or even within several days of each other?!! Not unless you want a good GI bleed, you don’t… :/

        • Roisin

          Janet, you are so right in what you say. You are, however, a voice in the wilderness at this time. It will be a long hard road to change the drug culture of racing.
          I admire you so much for being the voice that may inspire people in the business to take a stand for the desperately needed changes. The drug culture is sooo entrenched it will be a long hard battle.
          Your book is amazing and anybody who is interested in training horses would be well advised to read it.
          What is being done to yearlings and especially to 2 year in preparing them for the sales is so very, very wrong.

        • Beach

          Thank you for what you have said here and I wish everyone was like you. As a human health care practitioner I am sickened to read your comments re: the AAEP–I know that not all vets practice like that, but for some it’s time to get out of bed with $$ and get into bed with integrity. “Welfare” should mean WELFARE.

          Anyone who has ever played competitive sports could even simply view this with common sense. Say an Olympic track star sprains his ankle on the track–will there be ice packs, anti-inflammatories, eventual joint steroid injection, wraps, etc.? Yes, OF COURSE–BUT, there will also be REST. One does not follow the treatment and continue training on an injury–DUH!! Sure, somebody might get wrapped or take a painkiller to get through the end of a game, e.g., but a human is equipped with a brain that understands “informed consent”. And, if the human chooses to continue play while hurt and hurts himself worse, he is not going to end up dead/put down as a result of the injuries, most likely.

          Come on, people–please think of the horse AND the future–early steroids may have made for a bigger yearling, but what did those steroids possibly do to that filly’s fertility or future ovum quality/breeding potential? But, what does the seller care, right, as long as he/she has made the sale. Yet it’s a hard case who doesn’t care that they may have hurt an animal long-term, and/or sold someone “damaged goods”…And yes, this is not the kind of stuff that fans want to read…

          • LL

            We bought a sweet filly privately. She could never comfortably go more than 4 furlongs. Luckily our trainer was smart enough to send her away for some testing. It was a heart issue. Now, did the breeder know this and offered her anyway? We’ll never know. She did go on to a dressage career but was the heart issue something hereditary????

        • nu-fan

          Janet: Thank you for your reply. As you can see from others who have posted comments to yours, you may find that there are many who share your viewpoints and that you are not alone and may, some day, not be in the minorty. However, I wonder how you manage to stay involved and hopeful about the future of horse racing? Many would have become disillusioned and left but you have stayed in there. Perseverance is another human quality that is to be admired. Thank you for that.

    • Knowitall

      Awesome sense post. And that last invitation to owners is exactly where the crux of the problem lies. Start punishing the owner’s and their horses with suspensions along with the trainer and vets, and the game will be sparkling clean in no time.

      • nu-fan

        I agree with you regarding that owners also should share the consequences, when warranted. Why just the trainers? Owners have leverage–their money and the income that others in horse racing are so dependent upon. Puts the “others” in a tough spot at times.

    • Suzanne

      You are exactly right! I commend you for your honesty. If we do the right thing for the horses the sport will once again thrive.

    • betterthannothing

      Bravo, Janet! Needed: sanity encouraged by verified, transparent equine health, medical, chemical records from BIRTH, so ethical and toxic commercial breeders, owners and pinhookers are clearly exposed and weanlings, yearlings and two year olds can look and act their age again at sales. Well managed horses can train and race without drugs as I have personally witnessed during several years at the highest level of racing. Now that race horses have been pushed just about as far as they can be with drugs, the breeding and racing industry needs to find ways to encourage and handsomely reward transparency and drug free appearance and performance before the average number of starts falls to 4 and average age of stallions dying of infirmities of old age, falls to 18.

    • Greg Jones

      Bravo Janet, wonderful post, thank you

    • Mimi Hunter

      Absolutely fantastic post. I wish your views were shared by more people in the industry. Another thing I would like to see added to the list of problems within the racing industry – It is not a good idea to consistently retire crippled horses to the breeding shed. I know that would be a hard thing to stop doing, but breeding unsound horses to unsound horses is not the way to produce sound horses that can have long racing careers. We have bred the ability to reproduce unaided almost completely out the Bulldog. We have bred almost all of the maternal instinct out of Holstein cows. I remember back in the ’50′s or ’60′s that one of the larger TB farms had problems with wobbles because the foals tended to grow too fast and screwed-up the spinal cord. When you don’t select for something it tends to disappear. And there is at least one university researching bone scans and MRIs to find abnormal bone and joint wear. They are working on a standing MRI that can be done with lower radiation on a horse who is awake – given a sedative instead of being put under anesthesia. We could probably eliminate a large portion of the routine drug usage, and maybe a bunch of the breakdowns.

    • Olebobbowers

      Ms. delcastillo, As a lifelong horseman, I am absolutely blown away by all you say! I’m a retired trainer/farm manager, etc. and I had no clue that there was another human on Earth that shared my thoughts and feelings pertaining to these wonderful creatures that are placed under our care. Personally, I refused to train for clients that cared for dollars more so than the welfare and happiness of their horse. That limited me to a one and two horse stable most of the time, well, except that my abilities were recognized by my peers who would send me their overflow to care for at the ‘off track’, as I seldom got stalls at the track that was currently running. Being a ‘trainers trainer’ yet not sought after by owners was somewhat puzzling. I particularly enjoy that you recognize how good it can be for a horse to be stabled at a farm, as I managed a farm/training center in N. San Diego County here in Ca., and loved watching the horses flourish as I brought them along at their own pace, then sent then in to the track for one or two more serious works before being ready for the winners circle! I’ve said it so many times, but I know you will agree, that being ‘Happiness is the best drug in the world.’

  • Nayrod

    That was very nice of him to have those records forwarded. How much of that information provided is accurate. How much information was left out. I know this game between these trainers and vets. It’s reality and very questionable on his honesty! Especially since he is known for not being too honest.

    • Guest

      I agree. How come the records were not produced until now? Many hands have treated that horse since OBS, and I don’t mean just xrays. There are a multitude of pain/performance altering treatments that won’t show on an xray. If a treatment or two or three plus injections were hand-selectedly pulled from the report, who would know?

      • Nayrod

        Exactly, many hidden secrets in this game of racing.

    • Knowitall

      If the vet records include any tests – blood, rads, scans, it is highly unlikely they aren’t accurate. I’d also point out that vets charge owners directly and like to be paid for every little thing so those records should be relatively accurate, too. You know, Nayrod, not every injured or dead horse is by Conspiracy out of Corrupt.

      • Nayrod

        Really, we’re talking about a trainer that has been caught using severe drugs. I’ve been in this game a long time. I’ve been in the veterinary aspect of it just as long. I know the ins/out of hushing it up. This market is about money and money only. Everything done in this business is a conspiracy because it’s all about money. I truly love this sport but not enjoying the direction it’s going.

        • Knowitall

          Really? Are you a horse vet? What severe drugs has Baffert been “caught” using?

          • Greg Jones

            Excessive amount of the drug CLENBUTEROL, and Morphine, oh yeah, thrown out YEARS later, lol.

          • Knowitall

            List his clenbuterol overages. And the morphine positive was thrown out right along with Bobby Frankel’s test. Literally.

          • Greg Jones

            03/29/2003 “Kafwain, trained by Bob Baffert, has been disqualified from the second-place money he earned in the Louisiana Derby because ofan excessive amount of the drug CLENBUTEROL. Baffert, who was fined $1,000, did not contest the ruling because doing so would have made Kafwain ineligible to race during the appeals process. That would have kept the colt out of the Santa Anita Derby, a major prep for the Kentucky Derby.”
            Kafwain ran in the Santa Anita Derby 04/05/2003. HE FINISHED 3RD AND NEVER RACED AGAIN. Another young horse ruined by Baffert.

            As far as Morphine being thrown out? Shows what money and good lawyers can do, just ask O.J..

          • Knowitall

            I am not making any excuses. You miss my point, which doesn’t surprise me with your bias. THAT is the point. Be fair, not so biased, and admit so many trainers have or are pushing the limits on meds and don’t JUST focus on high profile guys that piss people off like Dutrow did and Bob often does.

            Good work on digging up Kafwain. I won’t parse whether Clenbuterol is a “severe” drug like demorphin because I loath the abuse of it and many trainers were doing so for a long time until some states backed up the withdrawal time. Won’t get into the “ruined” another horse with you since you don’t understand how the business works if you make that statement or that Baffert, along with Lukas, Zito, Pletcher, et al. are hired to find top 3 year olds with quick ROI that then go to stud, like Kafwain did to Darley and I think he is still at stud in California now (the ruined horses are the ones you never hear about unless you watch two year old work tabs in the summer – and they sometimes go to far worse endings than even your biased mind would conjure as well as good endings as a teenager’s H-J – again try to see the world for just one day without your blinkers on.)

            On morphine and poppy seeds – I don’t think he or Frankel used morphine nor back in the day in the early 90′s when other very well known trainers got dinged for it either.

          • Horsewomann

            Bias? Do Lucas,Pletcher Dutrow et al have the body count of 7 dead horses in 16 months? Have you even read the necropsy reports? The 2 year olds detailed drug analysis is mind blowing. 7 different drugs found in a destroyed body.Can you even imagine the chemical soup that the heart lungs and intestines were swimming in? And just a baby too.After reading that report all thoughts of accidental deaths should be dismissed Poor Bob who even has his own PR person to speak for him For the sake of the horses and jockeys this must end

          • Knowitall

            It is Lukas, not Lucas. You don’t even want to know the body count pre internet. Yes I read the reports. I can assure you those very same meds would be found in 90% of racehorses and in all of the aforementioned trainers’ horses. And are those horses dead? No, so something else that is apparently not detectable was going on there with those 7 and it isn’t for me to know what, although I have ideas, and I am not a fan of Bob for how he has responded to it. Again, it is NOT Poor Bob, it is why do people like you direct your venom specifically at him (and triggered by a very sad breakdown that has nothing to do with negligence) and let the rest of the game off the hook. Lukas was known as a butcher of 2 year olds, just imagine if that filly was his and it was 1997. Pletcher has served a long suspension for a positive and even had one at a recent Breeders’ Cup! THEY are not the problem. The lack of federal regulation and strict single medication policy is the is the problem, as are the breeders that breed them on and pump them full of crap and realign their limbs before selling them.

          • Horsewomann

            Could you live in the present not the past? Poor Bob is a hall of fame trainer is he not? This is not going to go away Bob is being handled with kid gloves and it is the horses,exercise riders and jockeys who pay the price.How can you just gloss over the necropsy reports just like the CHRB did? Secret Compass just took a bad step? Open up your eyes and see the truth

          • Horsewomann

            Could you live in the present not the past?Poor Bob is a Hall of Fame trainer is he not? He deserves the extra scrutiny. How can you gloss over the necropsy reports like the CHRB did? That chemical soup costs a lot of money so I doubt that 90% of all racehorses run with that amount of drugs. Are you seriously disputing what I wrote by saying federal regulations and breeders are the problem?

          • Knowitall

            Huh? You toss out those trainers and then call it the past when I point out the fallacy of the comparison? How do you think Bob got to the HOF, or Lukas? And Pletcher to be? I didn’t gloss anything, I just live in Realityville where I know almost every necropsy report would show the exact same damn thing. Yet most horses don’t drop dead. As for cost, newsflash, it’s an expensive sport. If you want to target the top guy, then you should be comparing his horses to the very ones they run against, right?

            And hell yes I am saying that if YOU and others really want to correct the medication problem in racing the only answer is uniform federal regulation and if you want to improve the breed and make them less dependent on medication that is up to the breeders. The Bashing Bob Game ain’t gonna get ‘er done. Past or present.

          • Horsewomann

            I am beginning to seriously question your reading comprehension 1997 was a long time ago. The mega barn trainers are the present not Frankel which is the past,Lukas et al are the present too.you say most horses don’t drop dead but a lot of poor Bobs did.Realityville what does that mean? Every necropsy report of poor Bobs did not show the same thing.Like I said before you either did not read the reports or your reading comprehension needs work.Lets deflect the issue of Poor Bob onto the seriously delusional federal medication policy yeah let’s involve the government that’s working well in other areas! You must be the PR person Bob hired LOL

          • Horsewomann

            You are either a troll or part of the damage control for poor Bob. You are too pressed to not have a vested interest in this topic of Poor Bob.All the posts you have made disputing and deflecting from the REAL ISSUE really? I guess Realityville for you is a paycheque to troll

          • Horsewomann

            Going for post number four to be deleted Your the moderator/troll/let’s not say anything /damage controller.Genius.from playing dumb to claiming supreme intelligence.Too bad others aren’t onto you.YET

          • Knowitall

            I haven’t deleted anything, nor do I moderate, but some of your posts do repeat. I haven’t played dumb and I haven’t replied to your last two posts at all. But you seem like a very sad, bitter person and I don’t think we are getting anywhere so I will just wish you well and leave it at that.

  • Richard C

    Baffert is obviously feeling the heat — since he is the arrogant poster boy to how games HAVE been played….and the spotlight on him is forcing debate on tangible change on any number of issues.

    • nu-fan

      Richard: Agree with you. If this was a small time trainer, who would notice?

  • zchairman

    Baffert does exactly what Ray Paulick says he should do by voluntarily turning over vets records on Secret Compass. Then what happens, Mr. Paulick turns something positive (full disclosure), which he has repeatedly asked for, into an ongoing indictment of Baffert, further damaging the sport of racing we all love in the process. Mr.. Paulick doesn’t even give Baffert
    credit (by name) in the headline and makes it sound like some ‘unknown entity’
    turned over the records.

    IMO, Mr. Paulick does more damage to the sport of racing than any other human on earth. Why all the sensationalism and personal disparagement? In all probability, to get a few more eyeballs on his site so he can personally make more money by selling ads at higher prices. If he would spend as much time explaining to people that sadly, very sadly, in spite of all trainers and owners best efforts, there will be catastrophic injuries from time to time. I HATE that fact, but it is a fact and ruining racing for personal gain instead of educating the public to help racing through tough and often times unavoidable situations is something Mr. Paulick should be ashamed of.

    Someday soon, if Mr. Paulick doesn’t stop
    disparaging people and start fairly reporting the facts, he may be on the receiving
    end of the nastiest lawsuit he has ever seen. People will only take so much
    unfair reporting and personal disparagement before then they hit a
    breaking point and begin to defend their reputations. Remember Ray, the people
    whom you are continually condemning via your style of reporting and systematic reputation
    destroying, including this story, have careers which depend on their
    reputations.

    If people are really doing something wrong,and it is confirmed by independent third parties, then torture them unmercifully because they deserve it. But Ray, you are on thin ice by being both judge and jury over things about which you know very little and certainly don’t have all the facts.

    .

    • Greg Jones

      Your whole comment is a complete joke, but this was the kicker:. “Mr. Paulick does more damage to the sport of racing than any other human on earth”. Yes, forget ALL about Baffert’s horses that die while under his care, that doesn’t do any damge to the sport.

    • nu-fan

      If you are in the horseracing industry, you represent all that is wrong with it. You would shoot the messenger rather than asking for verification. But, wrongdoings do need to be exposed and inspected. You would rather keep a shroud over everything. Lastly, would Baffert have voluntarily turned over any reports if he had not been publicly questioned?

      • Knowitall

        What wrong doing occurred here? A valuable Gr. 1 winner 2 year old filly went wrong at the 3/8ths pole…and…so that means, what? That people who have barely pet a horse much less ever looked at an equine vet bill are experts that need to peruse vet records for a young healthy racehorse?

        And since no one else is asked to turn over vet reports when a horse breaks down, not sure if Bob would know the new peanut gallery protocol. Send him a rule book.

        • nu-fan

          That’s the point. Don’t you get it? Take a look at the other posts. They do expect rules to change. But, that shouldn’t stop anyone from stepping forward and providing information that shouldn’t have anything to hide. When did our responsibility to others always need a “rule” attached to it? I would hope that most of us would do so because it is “the right thing to do”. Some don’t get that concept. Bye for now.

    • Lexington 3

      Ray has a limited audience of internet devotees, though. Not widespread. Plus, just ignore his opinions (like on Baffert) and stick with the consolidated links to news on other sites that he shares. That is the site’s bread and butter.

    • Kim MacArthur (Anita Xanax)

      I do believe you’ve been threatened, Ray! Poor showing, that.

    • swaps222

      I fail to see how and why Paulick should be an issue here. He is providing information. As for Baffert, a lot of wealthy people turn over their collector art horses to him for developing, so they must feel confident he is above average. Yes, all drugs should be banned from the sport….but it would take decades for the commercial breeding farms who do make money from the sport several generations to come up with sounder horses instead of the flashy fragile five start wonders that win a million bucks and far more in breed fees for a few years. It may just be that the drive to breed and buy and own and sell the really big horse was and is self destructive in the end.

      • Kim MacArthur (Anita Xanax)

        Perhaps a thought for the stud farms would be to begin viewing mares whose offspring have shown they can race without Lasix (read this as any raceday medication) in a higher standing; those whose produce bleed through Lasix should be culled to retirement facilities, NOT slaughtered!!
        *Horses who prove they bleed through Lasix should be desexed, regardless of performance.

        *Non-Lasix users through their careers should be given first choice, lowest fees/best mares and choice advertising cost reductions.
        *Premiums in purses for non-Lasix users, an additional 5 points added to their Derby points if raced/trained completely without Lasix.
        *Monied/Graded stakes limited to those racing without Lasix
        How fast do you think they’d change THEN??

    • betterthannothing

      ZChairman, this tragic series of facts gathered by Mr. Paulick is troubling, even depressing, however, I cannot imagine why anyone with a clean conscience would feel threatened by those facts and prompt someone to warn the messenger that he “may be on the receiving end of the nastiest lawsuit he has ever seen.”

      Racing accidents and deaths can and do happen out of nowhere, no one is perfect and hindsight is 20/20. Healing could come from Mr. Baffert sharing with all concerned what he has learned, honestly, from every injury and death he has suffered in his barn which could turn a negative into a life-saving positive.

    • Jay Stone

      I believe Mr. Paulick serves the interests of all parties in this industry fairly. He points out the facts and allows a Public forum to debate them. He uses his journalistic skills to go places the mainstream media will not enter. You say he knows little about what he writes and for what it is worth I think he has a very good understanding about his topics.

  • Mike

    Wow. I had no idea Baffert horses were being forced through training with all these ailments. Goes to show that not all that glitters is gold.

  • Ben van den Brink

    At the end the audience and the bettors are paying for the show. Better an naural show, than one consisting of medications.

  • delmarla

    Agree with you Janet….having been in racing for 35 years and having worked for several Hall of Fame trainers who in the old day turned horses out to grow and develop before they went on with them. That is not done nearly enough any more and they don’t stop on these horses even when the horses are letting them know they don’t want to run any more. Listen up owners and trainers, those who continue to push give the business such a bad reputation!

    • Janet delcastillo

      You know how different it is now…the chemical push from the time they are weaned is just the beginning of the future unsoundness. A competent trainer easily monitors the young horses legs while in the training process. If no anti inflammatories (steroids, bute etc) are given, then the youngster tells you when you have been training too hard. Heat, lameness, and swelling are the first signs. Rest for a few days usually resolves the problem. Or longer if necessary…being young, these minor issues heal. If you medicate, then you stack the problem and the result is worse. For years i have encouraged training on the farm and shipping in for those able to do it. That way, a few days of turnout are not costly and the young horse heals with the natural movement. Most trainers feel that it is a detriment…to ship in. True for some horses but many learn the routine and do well. Tampa has a huge about of ship ins as Ocala is pretty close. There are many ways to train and I wish the tracks would be more user friendly to those who want to run “off the farm”.

      • betterthannothing

        I agree with DelMarla and Janet.

        Sorry for repeating myself but an authority should be created to purely protect the welfare and safety of race horses (and by extension their riders) nationwide, under the same rules which would also solve many problems. One of the very first rules should be to authorize regulatory vets to mandate rest and retirement of horses as needed to protect spent, sick and injured horses and also caring trainers from being fired by ruthless owners.

  • Sean Kerr

    So
    the ‘owners’ in California are willing to submit veterinary records
    ‘anonymously’? Is this the same idea as “Narcotics Anonymous” or
    “Alcoholics Anonymous”?

  • Granbar

    when will the public realize that the big boys–particularly Baffert and Asmussen–run death barns. Use the horse up plenty fast, pump with drugs, produce money fast. They have so many horses in so many barns in so many places that they run a machine, not a barn filled with beautiful equines. Aren’t too many John Sherriffs or Graham Motions around to handle all the
    TBs huge farms generate, like Darley…wonder what happens to all those horses Darley breeds that don’t make the cut. Too many TBs breaking down lately, the result of breeding for speed and an early breeding career and from too many chemical substances that are eating away at horse’s bones. What other explanation can you give for all these horse deaths and accidents.

  • Roisin

    The question concerns pushing 2 Year old horses too much and the damage it can cause. Regardless of the inherent speed of the species, too much too soon can cause damage to joints and the supporting structures. That is why young mammals do not train hard at a young age, with the exception of horses in racing. I could not access the article but thanks for the link. I subscribe to the magazine but do not remember whether joints as well as bones were included in the research. The bone remodeling occurs in most, if not al mammals with weight bearing exercise.
    The question I still have is, what damage can occur to developing joints and the supporting structures.

  • Janet delcastillo

    THIS WAS A LETTER I RECEIVED FROM EARL OLA…AN ANTI DRUG PROPONENT

    INTERESTING

    I Want Revenge (on my trainer…)

    This pretty well tells the real story about USA horse training and management.

    Old story, but somehow the New York Times was able to get a copy of the veterinary bill for this fantastic equine specimen during last April, the month before his unfortunate scratch the morning of the Kentucky Derby, here is a portion:

    The colt was x-rayed 04/10/09 and remained in training for the KY Derby.

    Colt underwent ultrasound on 04/14/09 and remained in training for the Derby.

    Colt had tendon sheath injected 04/15/09.

    Colt had both front fetlock joints injected with HA on 04/29/09.

    During the previous month the colt also received:

    60 cc DMSO IV jug,

    IV baytril X 6,

    IV liquamycin X 4,

    IM adequan X 2,

    gastroguard paste ($280 worth),

    panacure powerpack,

    naquasone paste,

    injected “enzymes” and “vitamins” X 5,

    lasix X 3,

    dormosedan X 2,

    IV bute X 5,

    IM banamine,

    L-arginine (animo acid),

    robinul (decreases stomach acid),

    and anedotal evidence suggests more was involved but left off the invoice in question.

    Noted vet Dr. Larry Bramlage was quoted as saying this was a typical prescription for all Derby horses.

    I include this info because I have many foreign readers who perhaps don’t allow medications in the countries in which they race. Also, because when we discuss conditioning practices in terms of how far, how fast, and how frequently horses are exercised – we need to realize that there are many factors of which we have zero knowledge about.

    My critics will state: “So what, he was scratched – the vets did their job.” But he wasn’t scratched until the morning of the Derby when he was unable to jog sound – even though he threw a bullet 4F work just 3 days earlier – a work he could have never attempted without multiple injections. We are all lucky he wasn’t allowed to run 10F on Saturday.

    As trainer Jeff Mullins stated so eloquently: “People who bet on horses are suckers.” I’ll give the man this, he’s a honest guy.

    How can you bet off of info from Ragozin and DRF when neither of them will give you the vet bills on the horse you back with your money? We spend all of this time and effort handicapping and arguing about surfaces when performances often result from good or bad drug practices.

    I, and my clients, WILL prove that you can win in the US without drugs. I am not anti-drug by nature, if all of this stuff added up to horses running Derby times under 2:00 I would be a big advocate for Lasix, Bute, and others.

    But, we breed the equine Michael Jordans and Marion Jones(track) a million times (80 years X 12,000 times a year) conservatively, and we still cannot run Classic races any faster than we did in 1930. What is wrong with this picture?

    How about we stop the drug use, employ old time training regimens with speedwork twice a week starting at age 2, and use 21st century technology such as interval training, massage, chiropractic, hyperbaric chambers, etc. on horses BEFORE they go lame, in an effort to product the next Secretariat?

    The alternative is to do the same stuff and waste another 80 years of potential development so we can watch the 2094 Derby winner come across the line in a pedestrian 2:03, what a waste of a fantastic animal.

    • larryburndorf

      I’m not trying to pick on you but at the end you seem to be giving training advice to the whole nation when you have won 59 races from 1976 starts.

      • Janet delcastillo

        Larry-you are absolutely right…I have a whole chapter in my book titled “If you’re such a good trainer why are your stats so bad?” Briefly, the day my horses can work five furlongs in 1:04 at Tampa Bay Downs and have their gate card, I look for a race. They are fit enough to begin the process of learning to race. Because they ship in they need more seasoning than horses stabled at the track. I use at least four races to find out whether they want long, short, grass or dirt…My first four races are like the last four works for track trainers. I have had to ignore stats in the process of learning if theses horses look like they can pay their way. My owners are not kept another six months waiting for horse to start and then find out he can’t earn his way. The majority don’t pay their way. My goal is to try the horses and then move them on to another life if they have no ability to race. Depending on owner and how horse performs, I generally keep them in high claiming or MSW until we are convinced they can’t make it at that level. There are many theories about how horses should be trained and I am the first to admit that my way is not attractive to everyone. Generally the owner does not want to put them in cheap claiming and then have horse not eligible for grass…in case they turn into another kind of runner on grass…at Tampa you can’t run cheap in maiden claiming and then get into a grass race…there are many logistics that govern why a horse is put in a particular spot.
        I have had to endure and try my horses at various tracks to see if the surface will move them up etc…when you have put two to three years into making a horse sound, you don’t want to quit til you’re sure theres no hope. Believe me, you can only train up to the horse’s personal best…and my haven’t had much talent. Some how Ive managed to stay afloat in spite of the odds and have once again a group of fillies this time (my last group of about 5 to 7 geldings turned out to have NO talent…and that’s after breeding some and growing others up from weanlings and yearlings..). Once again I’m training the new group…three two year old fillies and have hope that maybe…this time… one or two will have talent!
        Maybe this year….:)

        • larryburndorf

          I’m sorry but your success rate is 2%. If i had a child going to college and the graduation rate was 2% at the school he chose i wouldn’t bother paying to let him go to college any where, and question his high school how they gave him a diploma in the first place.

          • Janet delcastillo

            Statistics are a funny thing…you can really present many points of view. As you have noted, those stats are why you would go to a leading trainer with great stats. I would too, if I knew no other way of judging trainers. What you don’t see are the stats for the horses that never make it to race after spending thousands or that race once or twice before being broken down. The leading trainers protect their stats by not starting a horse until he is close to or ready to win. That may take a year or more of day money and vet bills…ask any owner who has had horses with leading trainers. I am not critical of how they choose to train. I am just trying to teach owners, who are paying the bills, to understand and protect their “investment.” If you look closer, you will see that the majority of my horses race at least twenty times before we find another life for them. Hopefully they retire sound and may have helped to pay their way in the process. Even when you don’t win, you do earn something along the way. One horse I had, that we bred, ran 49 times and earned 36k before breaking his maiden in MSW which made our earnings much more…He lived at the farm and the only cost was feeding him and taking him to run. He raced around 80 times and was claimed around that time, never ran well for new connections and a friend bought him back and retired him. In the last five years, I have not had “talented” horses (all geldings) but have trained them and given them every opportunity to run. I can train a horse to his personal best, but I can’t give it that extra gift of speed and courage that a true runner has. Now, once again, I start the saga of getting these little fillies to the races…I have had them since weanlings so l do have a lot invested and will take the time to give them every opportunity. Maybe this time…

        • larryburndorf

          Further, I know a man who claimed a horse for 5k and had quite a bit of success with said horse, but his training methods would be described as unorthodox at best. That one single horse loved his weird little routine, but since that horse the man has claimed tens if not hundreds of horses with pretty pathetic results. He just keeps on throwing money at it like he is blind to any of the results of what he has done since that horse. My point being he found one horse who fit his program from a large sample size does that one horse make his training regime noteworthy? Not in my opinion.

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