Smarty Jones Winner Mourinho Euthanized After Training Incident, Says Baffert

by | 03.12.2018 | 11:55am
Mourinho seen winning the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park

Kentucky Derby contender Mourinho was euthanized Monday morning after suffering a severe sesamoid fracture in his front leg, trainer Bob Baffert told the Daily Racing Form.

Baffert said the Super Saver colt was going easily in a breeze at Santa Anita and took a bad step.

“Up and down, every day. It's a shame,” he told DRF from the OBS March Sale of 2-year-olds in training in Ocala, Fla.

Mourinho, owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred and bred by WinStar Farm, won two of his five starts, including the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He most recently finished fourth in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes and had collected 11 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings.

Read more at DRF.

  • DeePet

    The infamous bad step.

    • BBFan

      Which has been disproven time and again as just a BS catch phrase with no basis in reality

      • really?

        u r so full of it

        • BBFan

          Reality is uncomfortable for those who wish to ignore facts

        • Bryan Langlois

          Actually..the true tragic misstep is something that likely happens very very very infrequently in cases of injuries on the track, especially catastrophic ones. Necropsies done on the horses almost always reveal a pre-existing injury of some kind many times actually on the opposite limb from the one that breaks down. The trick is now both having the diagnostics and making them affordable enough to be able to catch these injuries and give the horse proper time off to heal from them.

          • Lehane

            Entirely agree.

      • DeePet

        I intended for my comment to be sarcastic, which apparently did not come across to you.

  • Scot Morley

    Very very sad news:(

  • mondatta

    Terrible news.

  • Jerry

    What a shocker – another Baffert horse breaks down!

    What illegal drug caused it this time Dr. Arthur?

    Why does Baffert still have a trainers license?

    He should be a pharmacist!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Marilyn Shively

      charming: a Baffert hater who, instead of expressing sympathy for a horse that had to be put down, has to make allegations without evidence to back them up. nice

  • HappyHarriet

    This was the fate one of our trainers was hoping for for one of our mares who had seismoid problems in both ankles. Fortunately we followed our instincts and removed her, rested her, and she’s more than fine now.

    Seismoid problems are completely diagnosable and fixable. All ya have to do is take an XRAY!

    • Guest

      Microfractures don’t show on xrays (hence the MICROfracture). Although until the necroscopy is done, we don’t know what happened.

      • Ben van den Brink

        Giving the Cal. rules, they will perform necrosccopy, but the results could be interesting from an educational point of view. ( How to prevent this happening)

      • MsMarianne

        a good vet will usually suspect microfractures and a lot of times prescribe shockwave and rest

    • greg

      I don’t understand how your trainer was “hoping for your mare to break down”

    • What track … i had a sim to where other than admit to and tell me there where issued he elected to keep going fortunantly i fugured it out and pulled the horse retired pasture sound (no ammount of surgury could correct the cartilage damage)
      It was the vets responsibilty to have told me (i paid for digital xrays the week before) i did normal xrays and the flotilla of bone chips was impossible to miss

  • Vanessa Nye

    It’s more than a shame. It’s tragic and extremely sad. As an owner and breeder myself I hope and assume that Mr Baffert feels more emotion than this article reflects. Horses are not commodities or machines. They are living beings that work very hard everyday and without them none of us would be in this business. Horse welfare should be the most important issue horse racing faces everyday.

    – Vanessa Nye

    • greg

      While I am sure Bob feels terrible, I put him in the same category as Lukas (at least many years ago) horses are chattel to them, sad for 1-2 days and then “NEXT”
      I was at SA 20+ years ago when Lukas trained for Mr & Mrs. Lewis, they had one break down in the stretch, Lukas (who’s box was in same section as mine) got up looking disgusted, he was heading toward the escalator to the exit, he happened to look over his shoulder and there was Bob Lewis walking quickly toward the steps down to the track, THEN Lukas turned and went down the steps with Bob, had he not seen him he was leaving

      • guest

        Exactly the same category. And all their proteges.


        As a former groom, I lived side-by-side with my horses and formed a bond with most. They have personalities and I would ‘whisper’ to them. I had one that I had known of before getting him and I feared he would kill me if he could. I learned who he really was and we become very close. In my short (3-year) career, I learned a LOT being close to them. Fortunately, I never lost one. Not sure how/if I would have handled that. I was up close and personal to a terrible breakdown, on the backstretch at Bay Meadows. I was hysterical, crying, screaming for help, etc.

        Horse are hard wired to run and to run faster than the horses around them.
        The lions catch the slowest ones.

      • Constance Hartman

        Years ago Mr Lukas said that racehorses are Athelete’s, and they are treated as such, until not.

    • Catherine Parkr

      You have no idea what you are talking about. Mr. Baffert cares very much for his horses. He is one of the very best trainers in the world. Shame on you.

      • BBFan

        No, shame on anyone still defending him after 2013

        • Saundra Seitz


          • BBFan

            I will express whatever opinion I wish, as mine is educated on the subject matter

          • Moe Goldblatt

            You do realize that only idiots and psychopaths use ALL CAPS, don’t you?

          • guest


          • KAY

            Bottom line you have a choice as a trainer. Owners can go to another trainer he can’t enter a horse you have to have a trainer period. Yes another can pick the horse up trainer is the decisions maker about the run or not to run he had a license to make that call. It is on the trainers it isn’t the owners choice in the end. Trainers have the last say about to run work or not to. That’s a fact. Seen it. I have been told if you see a horse that was let go from my barn do not question it. So it is the trainers call and decision on to run or not

          • Minneola

            “IF THE OWNER SAYS RUN THEM THE TRAINER IS TO DO SO!!” No, the trainer has another option: Dissolve the participation with that owner and let the word get out to others as to the reason.

        • guest


      • Vanessa Nye

        If you read my comment correctly you will realize that I wasn’t saying that he did not care. I was simply saying that Horse welfare should be the focus of horse racing

        • talkingman17

          These guys just love to argue. They know it all.

    • GoodnessMe

      You decided how he “FELT” via your inference of an edited text message to a reporter? That’s the real shame. That and 18 up troll votes. He actually was very fond of this particular horse. Now, go find a heart for yourself, Vanessa.

      • Kincsem

        She ended her comment stating that horse welfare should be the number one priority in horse racing. In what universe is that not having a heart? She also never decided how he felt- only that she was giving Baffert the benefit of the doubt in believing that he felt remorseful after his otherwise pitiful statement. Now, go scrape together some brain cells, Goodness Me.

      • StrideBig

        I’m definitely not a friggin troll and I upvoted her comment because of her stating how horse welfare should always be a top priority. I also understood that she was giving BB the benefit of doubt as well and not shaming him.

        Everyone can read a comment and perceive it in different ways. At least that’s what I’m chalking this up to. ~K

  • whirlaway

    Very sad for this colt and sorry to hear this young horse came to this sad end. Up and down every day really BB. Exactly why I keep from getting too excited with all the Derby hype. I knew some would drop off the trail as usual but I was not ready for this as I returned home.

    • Bella

      So very sad…once again the loss of a vital and beautiful horse . I am almost believing this is getting to be too common among these young and innocent horses, and racing is a very uncaring, strictly business attitude , and as said above..the philosophy used today”when the machine breaks down, get another machine” Non caring trainers who just write off the loss and move on to the next one who may be”the one” to make more money. Owners who close their eyes and listen to the trainer and not their own instincts…Rest in Peace, lovely horse, you have many like you in those heavenly pastures to comfort you.

      • whirlaway

        Never gets any easier. Unfortunately the world in general is a throw away society look
        at what people do with children. I know horses will be injured racing it has always been that way and now with all the news outlets we know about many. In the 20’s 30’s 40’s morning break downs would not be as published. May not make any of us feel better but realistically part of racing and other endeavours where any animals are used. Bless police dogs that along with humans work in danger daily. In the 1940’s TC winner Assualt had a 2 yr old full brother named Air Lift that broke down in his first 5 1/2 furlongs race, did not even finish. With social media can you imagine that today. I wish l
        had a reasonable answer but sure do not for much of what we see today in life. I guess
        we just struggle along in a very unfair world.

        • Bella

          I agree. Young children and animals are the innocent victims of us human beings, and it is not saying a lot for us . They are the ones who cannot speak for themselves , the ones who forgive cruelty and abuse by still trusting us to guide their lives. I find too much of it heartbreaking and as I get older, the only thing I feel I can do is be a voice, a contributor to help and a rescuer where I can. I have always loved horses and always will, but my interest in this “sport” of racing is slowly fading away.

          • whirlaway

            I had a close friend that like most of us with no tolerance for cruelty would say if
            “we do not speak up now who will be their lawyers”. I was just sick yesterday when I saw a video that had been set in a room to catch a nurse mistreating a very old WW 2 vet. It was beyond disgusting and a jail sentence may be in order.
            This man went to war for our freedoms and this is how he ended up being treated. There are many wonderful care givers and nurses that are angels but to
            this person if she can’t take the heat get out of the kitchen. She was removed from her job.

          • Bella

            I will never know how these people live with themselves.

          • whirlaway

            Nor do I. But I wish for our TC prospects as with all horses is safety which might be impossible but hopefully will be the hallmark of the spring classics first and foremost. In the end the most important is the horses.

          • Bella

            As long as the welfare of the horse is not the primary concern, they will never be safe in the hands of trainers. I showed horses many years ago and left that world for the simple reason I found they will do anything to win. Ego gets in the way, fame and celebrity gets in the way, compassion is thrown to the wind. Unfortunately it is not just racing.

          • whirlaway

            As you did i showed horses and showed dogs over 40 yrs so like you have seen plenty. When people wanted to breed to my dogs ( most of them not keeping dogs up to my standards) I was the bad guy because i turned them down but no problem I knew puppies from my dogs would not be in a situation I did not feel good about.
            At least when competing with animals you want to make every attempt to cover all
            the basis safety and care wise.

          • lowflyer

            Thank you for being a truly responsible and caring breeder.

            I am 110% spay and neuter, for any and all domestic pets not specifically evaluated and identified by a professional, as a valuable contributor to the improvement and development of the specific breed.

          • whirlaway

            Thank you, I actually had one of the sighthound breeds and these are not an easy breed to find proper homes for. You almost have to have a love for the breed to want one. They are very sweet dogs but independent, really not into romping and playing with children much and you need proper fencing and sizable property for them to run and exercise as they can run 35 miles or a bit more. I would breed a litter every 6to 7 yrs with a close friend in a partnership that I kept the males she took the females and occasionally a proper home would allow me to place a dog but it was very infrequent. I had a couple of champion males that I also would not breed as just because a dog is a champion does not mean it is a breeding dog. I showed dogs over 40 years and I have seen some sad situations. I no longer show as eventually I was burnt out campaiging dogs and traveling. I currently have a King Charles Spaniel
            and even though she is show quality and I keep her in beautiful coat she is spayed
            and never had a litter.just because it is a pure breed assures a dog nothing in life and
            each breed has rescue groups, too much breeding and sorry inexperienced back yard breeders are not needed or breeders that just want to sell dogs. If you are doing breeding correctly you will not be making money. It may make me unpopular
            but we need more geldings and less horses constantly going to stud often with just
            a few starts and retired young due to injury. Just my personal philosophy. Thanks again, I really did try to be conscientious with my dogs.

          • Ida Lee

            When I moved to the country some years ago (and I mean really, really country), the attitude in the county was ….”neuter my pet? then they won’t be boys anymore”…we had homeless animals everywhere….many landed outside my door and I kept most of them….but my husband and I joined with others and eventually got a free/low cost spay/neuter clinic in our county and before long, had satellite clinics in other counties….now you hardly see a homeless animal and only very sick and unadoptable (vicious)t animals are euthanized in our shelter……

          • Ida Lee

            I also saw that incident in the news …. My mom is in a skilled nursing facility because of dementia … I see her and the other elderly people there who are so helpless, most physically and mentally helpless…. the really sad part is that after a while, the patient’s trust is 100% with the caregiver…not with the family….so the betrayal of trust is just unspeakable ….I’m with my mom often and check her whole body for anything suspicious …. she’s in a very nice place but you can never assume everything is OK ….

          • whirlaway

            Unspeakable, my sister kept our Mother home for quite sometime with demetia and as you say once she had to be taken to a home you must check constanly if possible. Our Mom was far along and died within 90 days of going there at 89. The family doctor had told my sister she kept her home a bit too long. Watching is a must although my sister luckily lived close and would
            make a point to go there for her meals to help be sure she would eat every day and drop in unexpected. She was very happy with the staff and they never made my sister feel unwelcome but sadly many family members could not or would not be so dedicated as my sister was. Very tough for all in a caring family.

          • Ida Lee

            I too waited too long to seek professional help …took care of my mom for 13 years…but no matter how much you try, you just don’t know the special care required for dementia….it’s almost like taking care of babies and of course animals….except that animals never grow up…no matter what their age or if they’re a house pet or a world class athlete, they depend solely on you for their well-being….any mistreatment or neglect is the utmost betrayal of that trust …. I for one can’t stand to think I’m not doing the best I can to care for those most vulnerable who depend on me for their security …..

          • whirlaway

            I think caring is what causes keeping a loved one home a bit too long. I was 3,000 miles away so my poor sister was on her own she had friends that helped but as you say a big responsibility. After our Mom died she came to visit us in NH for 3 months including winter she was 68 at the time and loved it here as I do. 4 months later she moved back here and she, my husband and I got along great and had so much fun. She had her own place and sadly she passed away unexpectedly at 81 in Oct 2016 which left us reeling as she was not in bad health. We still miss her and the fun we had but in almost 15 years of living here we showed her many great times and memories because she truly deserved it for what a great daughter she was to our Mom. Every day we think of her but have great memories.

        • lastromantribune

          good post….and “Unfortunately the world in general is a throw away society” is so sadly so true.

          • whirlaway

            I realize not all people but too much of the throw away society especially with animals but even children are not immune from it either. Tragic the situations we see of neglect.

      • thisismyonlypostonthesubject

        “Bless the beasts and children, for in this world they have no voice, they have no choice..”

  • missedgehead

    Poor horse. :( RIP

  • chasingfiringline

    😞 about poor Mourhino. Wish there could’ve been a different ending.

  • David Worley

    This is a horrible loss and I hope the horse did not suffer after he went down. Mourhino was quite a talent with a bright future ahead of him. My condolences to his connections.

    • guest

      If you have ever been present, up close and personal, next to a horse fatally injured, whether standing or down, they suffer terribly. Even when euthanized right out on the track, it takes time for the vet to get there to do what has to be done.

      • David Worley

        Yes, I should have been more precise. I hope he was able to be put down quickly. I have been on hand for several large animal euthanizations.

        • guest

          I Understand. Have been on hand too many times myself.

  • Jack Frazier

    More than two decades ago a trainer in New York who won many, many races said “A horse is a machine to make money. When the machine breaks down, get another machine.” This seems to be the philosophy used today. Very sad. He was a very nice horse.

  • Don Martello

    In horse racing everyday is a stress test, that’s why in 1987 after six races I took my horse home, had him for twenty- five years. When I went to the jocks room Julie Krone was there I told her what I was doing and she said ” I don’t blame you’. Sorry to hear the passing of this young colt and so many others we loss throughout the years, tough game.

  • Maurice B. Quirin

    More than just a shame. Condolences to all of the sweet Mourinho’s connections. Makes you second guess love for the sport but not love for these courageous equine athletes.

  • Jim Fields

    Wow!!! How can anybody, think BB doesn’t hurt, deep, deep down, when something like this happens, but, it’s the lowest part of training race horses. He could have made the same statement, if it had been a good friend, because, death is the every day down, and having friends and good horses, is the up. I’ve cried real tears, when I lost horses due to racing injuries. It is a REAL down, even to Bob Baffert.

    • BBFan

      Wow! Because we know better

  • Michael Castellano

    Reminds me of a 3 year old race I watched at Belmont on the same day as the Belmont Stakes in the 1980s. Halfway through the stretch the horse broke down, with part of his lower leg (pastern area?) hanging off. The poor animal screamed loudly in pain in front of the large crowd. It seemed like an eternity before they got there and drew up the curtain and put him to rest.

    There must be a better way to see evidence of preliminary damage before breakdowns happen.

    • Bryan Langlois

      There is. Advanced CT imaging can pick up some of these issues. They even do have prototypes that are small and basically can be portable to be brought to the horse. I think they are in the study phase now of proving accuracy in diagnostics. I think the next step with the idea is then to somehow figure out a way to mandate every horse gets scanned, and there is a mandated “down time period” or “vets list” time when horse cannot be raced till the scans show improvement. Hard to implement I know but that would be the best way to do it.

      • guest

        Read the post a little ways down from Guamo about U.C. Davis’ extensive study. Being a veterinarian you will probably appreciate the details.

      • Dadnatron

        My suspicion is that Nuclear medicine would be a better choice. Albeit, more costly. The real issue is that so many of these injuries occur in horses which are otherwise showing no signs of lameness. I’m not saying there aren’t those which are ignored, however, it can be very difficult to find something which isn’t noticed on exam or in training. I’ve often thought, should I have a horse being ready to enter a big race… would I request a ‘prophylactic Nuc scan’. The real issue is, however, that looking for something which isn’t showing to be a problem, can result in finding MANY things which otherwise, would not be a problem.

        About 10 years ago, there was a big push in Human medicine to do ‘Full Body CT scans’ just to ‘find things early’. We found TONS of things… which caused massive heartache, cost, and stress. Things which, once found, had to be further examined and dealt with, VERY OFTEN, to have been benign (nothing significant).

        It is a tough call… and I wrestle with it often. What if I had a KD runner… and did a scan which showed a little uptake at the fetlock? It could be something… it could be nothing. I would then be getting an MR, CT, etc. All in an otherwise ‘sound’ horse. It would be great if it showed a real potential issue. But, as with Humans, I suspect there would be a MUCH HIGHER majority of false positives.

        It is a question… without a good answer, at this time.

        • Bryan Langlois

          I agree and I think that is why the studies on the newer advanced CT technologies are still being done to determine the true sensitivity and specificity of this modality. With the computer imaging that can be done via this CT now, though, and the detail and sectioning that can be done, it would be far better than just a nuclear scan where an area would just show up as a “hot area” that would then need more examination by other means.
          What is interesting about the horses “not showing lameness” is that the problem is often on the other limb from where the injury occurs, so the horse appears sound because it is off on both front limbs and so appears normal. It is more of a problem in horses that change hands frequently, so the connections are not familiar with the way the horse normally goes and so can’t pick up subtle differences. There are some great youtube videos from NYRA and Dr. Palmer in the trainer CE session that was held at Saratoga this past summer that talk about this, and why the CT can pick these things up.
          I do agree no great answer right now, but I do think if they can get this CT thing figured out, it will be the modality of the future to pick up some of these subchondral issues and other bone bruising that can dictate true need for rest vs not something to worry about.

          • Billy

            Check out microfracture surgery on nfl and nba players…..theres a plethora of information out there….dan marino had microfracture surgery in 1986 rod woodson had it in 1991 the information and technology is there i just dont think its being translated to racehorses

  • BBFan

    Every year his hard, fast, “the good ones stand up to it” methods take the careers and sometimes the ultimate sacrifice of these young horses. My criteria for a good horseman includes compassion for the horses.

  • Learning to Fly

    And he’s at a 2 year olds in training sale… where they’re working 2 year olds in 10 seconds or 20 seconds… utterly ridiculous, NTM beyond stupid. These sales shouldn’t be happening until at least June. Give these horses a chance at getting fit & healthy before working them in such stupidly fast times. How many of the ones that he buys this week will end up like Mourinho? I’m all for training & even racing 2 year olds, but by the tried & true method of “slow & steady.” Long, slow gallops for at least 45 (if not 60) days before working. And the works being a nice, easy 25 or 26 seconds for the first 1/4 mile work., and certainly never trying to get them to go in 20 seconds! And I never work them before their actual 2nd birthday.

    • guest

      Yes. That empty stall will be filled very quickly.

    • Bryan Langlois

      I agree completely with this. While the “market” will dictate otherwise…there is absolutely no…NO reason to have these types of sales. You will never be asking a horse to go that fast in its life. No reason to push it to that level when its body is not ready for it or serving some useful purpose of any kind.

      • guest

        If you remember back long enough, you will remember how drastically TB racing changed, which trainers entered the industry and their background and why these ridiculous, lightening fast 2 yr. old in training sales evolved. Those babies have to be started as late yearlings to be ready to “work” in a sale this time of year. Many of them are not even 2 yrs. old yet.

        • Bryan Langlois

          Yes…and todays owner or owners have changed in a lot of ways too. Gone are the days of the big family names in racing and single owners who realized most times they were going to lose money on it and did it as a hobby. Here are the days of “investor” type group syndicates and partnerships where their bigger concern is getting something for their investment, and I’m not talking about just the love of seeing their horse run. Oh…and it has to be a quick return on investment too.

          • guest

            Very, very well said.

          • Audrey Gulla

            I’ve often thought how lucky Man o’War was to have had Sam Riddle as his owner. He lived like a king obviously treated with love & admiration. Even as a stallion his breeding was limited……contrast that with today…

          • whirlaway

            That is certainly spot on. Not mentioning any names but my husband that is not the big fan predicted how long one of that type of owners would stay a few years ago in racing and he was so right. Here today with some good success gone tomorrow, good riddance. Still am a fan of the Phipps one of those families that have been around for years and their long relationship with Claiborne.

          • Lehane

            So very true.

  • larry outlaw

    R.I.P. big guy, so sad you will be missed.

  • Beau Geste

    The article, even the longer version in the DRF, does not go into enough depth for me to make an assumption about Mr. Baffert’s feelings. I do know from experience that certain jobs require you to be a professional even while your heart is breaking.

  • GL Hobbs

    Horse racing is nothing more than gambling combined with animal abuse.

  • Ida Lee

    Just a baby….it’s hard enough when you lose one after they’ve had a career, but to lose them when they’re just starting…will it ever not hurt so bad ??? RIP Little Boy …so very sorry we lost you so soon….we hardly got to know you….

  • NMBird

    RIP beautiful sweet boy…

  • Dan Danny

    BAFFETT doing what he does BEST! Keeping the rendering man in business!

  • BBFan


    • guest

      How come these posts do not show up in order of posting? Many people could be educated on the protocol for injuries/breakdowns/etc.

      • Old Horse

        I know what you mean. Last night I posted and now it doesn’t show up. Guess I was censored?!

        • NataliePR

          Hello Old Horse, Your comment was not deleted. For reasons that are not clear to me, the moderation system automatically flagged it as spam and moved it to a different folder in our system. It has been restored.

          • Old Horse

            Hi Natalie, Thank you for your help! Was in contact with Ray and he also was trying to find my comments. The miracle of high tech! Really do like the Paulick Report along with your responses! I share your articles verbally with others who don’t have computers but have had ties to horseracing in the past. Thanks for finding my comments!

  • Guamo

    Posted a short while ago:

    Interesting read.

    “A necropsy is performed on all horses that die at California racetracks and is conducted by veterinary pathologists at the California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratory System at the University of California, Davis.”

    Pg. 20 “Regions of increased porosity and discoloration identified grossly within the fracture faces of fractured proximal sesamoid bones represent pre-existing lesions, which weaken and predispose the bone to catastrophic fracture. Hypothesis Implications and Relevance Catastrophic fetlock breakdown injuries involving proximal sesamoid bone fractures comprise approximately 50% of racehorse deaths in California annually. Identification of predisposing factors is an important step in reducing catastrophic fetlock breakdowns in the racehorse.”

    “Enhanced ORTHOPEDIC Postmortem EXAMINATIONS The enhanced examination is focused on identification of preexisting lesions that promoted the catastrophic injury. These lesions provide valuable insight into the events that precede catastrophic breakdowns and provide opportunities to find clinical diagnostic methods for early detection of affected horses. Affected horses can often be rehabilitated and returned to racing.”

    • OopsyDaisy3

      So is the answer sir, to x ray every beginner horse which races?
      I never like the ‘took a bad step’ saying. Which could possibly be the
      condition of the track i would presume. Linda

      • guest

        If you take the time to read the entire report, that is also covered. Many medical professionals are constantly trying to find ways to help race horses avoid catastrophic injuries. Many well known universities and equine medical hospitals are racing the clock every day trying to learn more to avoid injuries and fatalities. They have made great progress in determining certain possible causes and new diagnostic tools readily available. This study is very detailed and revealed some eye-opening information.

        • OopsyDaisy3

          I was curious if x rays, etc. BEFORE they race, could possibly show a proclivity for a weakness?

          Thank you, Guest.

  • the buzz23

    Not sure anyone here should be proud of their comments. It’s one of the saddest elements of the sport, and as many have communicated – a highly emotional time for those who work closely with them every day. Many here have been prosecuting Mr. Baffert for years on this and other thoroughbred blogs. My concern is that this kind of vitriol also taints all those associated with the trainer, including the owners. I would hope that the industry continues the work initiated by this year’s BC to ensure both the safety of these thoroughbreds, and the confidence of the betting public central to any industry business model.

  • Barbara Timmel

    Two year olds have no business being raced .. accidents can happen but two year olds babies should not be racing. There are horrors that go on in the Thoroughbred industry. The horses are a disposable commodity that keep getting patched up when possible & when they no longer can be raced a great number are shipped to slaughter.

    • Bryan Langlois

      Actually..the studies that are shown demonstrate just the opposite. There is a higher rate of catastrophic injuries in older horses that did not race or be heavily trained at 2 and maybe started their careers as 4 or 5 year olds. The stress proper training and racing puts on bones when they are younger is beneficial. I will agree often 2YO’s are probably pushed too hard or too fast in their training, but when it is done right it can lead to long careers.
      Also completely agree with your thoughts on horses to a lot of people being thought of as a disposable commodity.

  • OopsyDaisy3

    This is an owner’s worse nightmare, to lose a horse they have taken in to raise and train and watch grow. I am so very sorry for Mourinho. And his connections. Just doing what he
    was supposed to do, out for a morning breeze and does not come back to his stall.
    Just very sad for him and for all who love this sport. Rest in Peace Mourinho, your life was taken away much too soon. Linda in Texas

  • ShirleyUJest

    I love racing…truly a lovely sport but 2 year olds are too young for racing them like they do. It’s cruel – far too many injuries in these young horses.

  • William McAlevy

    Horses are very fragile, Baffert has his share of runners that broke down. Unfortunately if a horse has this injury there is nothing they can do. It happens everyday in this industry, so for all the horse lovers out there it’s a shame and sad. Rest in peace Mourinho.

    • Billy

      Nothing they can do bs….look up silent ruler…..most are euthanized due to not wanting to spend the money because the horse will never race again

  • Courtney

    Before the 2 year old race (40+ years ago) we used American thoroughbreds for polo, fox hunting, jumping, etc. Now, they pretty much go straight to slaughter. We get the ones that we can but honestly, Japan is getting a lot of them. And, the US feed lots change coggins info from thoroughbred to QH just to skew the numbers. Racing has become a nightmare with amatures in the game. It all needs to stop in my opinion. People like Baffert make me sick. Every time I pull a TB from slaughter it makes me want to slap everyone.

  • Larry Ensor

    My sincere condolences to the owners and caretakers. Esp the caretakers and all those hands on people who were there from last cover to his first time in the gate.

    I wish people would stop with the “2 year old” diatribe. The majority have no idea what they are talking about. Understandable but is purely subjective. No snark intended.

    Any horse regardless of age by and large are susceptible to encounter a catastrophic sesamoid injury. These are not much different in scope and size than a human’s ankle bones. Quite amazing they “hold up” for a horse just galloping across the “open range”.

    Please do not take/think my above comments lack empathy. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a hands on horse guy it is just as hard for me to read about. As it is with any multitude of tragic events I have experienced personally. Horse and human.

  • kramhslew

    The weekend mud at SA turns into a treacherous training strip in the ensuing days.

  • larry

    In what way is a trainer any different from a doctor? you can t get caught up in the emotions of it all with all the problems you deal with to the point where you can no longer do it.

  • Old Horse

    Everyone linked to the business is trying to find “answers” as to why the horses are breaking down, how to prevent the breakdowns, etc, etc. After many years in the business in many capacities and lastly as a breeder/owner, taking care of my horses humanely/compassionately, never losing a horse to a catastrophic breakdown, the answers became simple–limited gene pool, too much too soon, rampant use of harmful drugs by many and mainly, horseracing realistically is a brutal sport. It comes down to survival of the fittest in every sense. My partner and I trained and raced our own horses, treating them as the athletes that they were and gave them the best conditioning and care we could, as well as down time, when we could see they needed a turn-out and time to just “be a horse”. As time progressed, racing began changing in big ways, with simulcasting coming in and racinos emerging offering large purse monies. With large anounts of money comes corruption. Again, let’s be real and acknowledge this does exist. Costs to keep race horses begin rising because of the large purses up for grabs. Competition is fierce to stay in the business. All personally involved with the horses know it’s tough to win races. And winning is a necessity if one wants to continue to run racehorses. All these things lead to the “perfect storm” in racing–make that horse win no matter what it takes! More and more TBs with bad genetic tendencies (again, limited gene pool) continue to be bred. The breeders know which stallions are passing on weak knees, ankles, breathing problems, etc. Oh, but those things can be “fixed”. Fixed? No, masked. But these genetic problems will continue because there is no going outside the thoroughbred breed to “try” for some hybrid vigor by crossing with other breeds who don’t have spindly legs and “flapper” problems. So the breakdowns continue and will only get worse with time. Economically no breeders and owners can “wait” and give their babies some growing time for their supporting structures to attain some strength to be able to carry 1100 lbs. plus a rider. The money is waiting. This week the particular 2 yr old is sore on his shins but there’s a new medication the vet knows about to use and speed up the “healing” process. The owners will be happy to hear that and don’t care what it costs–to them or the horse baby. There’s a race in 2 weeks and he’ll be “ready” by then. That purse money is looking better and better. Let’s see, will this horse be able to get a work or two in the next couple weeks? Even if there’s still a little soreness this horse will work good with some medication on board. Brutal? Nah–he’s a horse. He can take it. People perform in sports all-the-time when they’re sore. Not without medication they don’t. Or physical therapy. Or sitting in a tub of ice. Or sports wraps. On and on and on. I had to get out of this business and thankfully enjoy every day taking care of the last group I bred and ran, some of them in their twenties now. I rarely even watch horseracing now nor do I go to the track 3 miles down the road. I really can’t stomach it anymore knowing what these animals endure every day–if they live to see another day. I finally did see the light and know I did the right thing by my animals with leaving the racing industry and I won’t be back. Racing is a brutal sport as is football, bull riding, rodeo, or any other sport where animals AND humans put their lives on the line for the entertainment of humans. How many more of all these hard-working, brave, exploited animals and/or people have to die before humans start showing more humane, compassionate behavior toward each other and animal-kind….

    • OopsyDaisy3

      Thank you Old Horse. Just thank you for your truthfulness as seen up close and very personal. I truly believe that 2 years old is way too early to put a growing and forming horse through the rigors of the videos made for the buyer’s sales.
      Linda in Texas

      • Old Horse

        You know, Oopsy Daisy3, I’ve been wrestling with the “truthfulness” for years while I was participating in the business. I tried to trust others early on to take care of my horses and every single time was thoroughly let down and disappointed. One example, I specifically told the trainer I wanted NO drugs used on my horse, esp in those days anabolic steroids. A month later I’m receiving the vet bill with repeated Winstrol injections I was to pay with the trainer telling me “your horse wouldn’t eat so the vet had to give him something.” I paid the vet bill, picked up my horse, paid half the training bill and refused to pay the rest, challenging them to try to collect it. I never heard from those people again. This trainer’s mother was a prominent breeder in this state, and the mother wouldn’t even allow her daughter to train for her! (I learned this later on…) Unfortunately, the Triple Crown trail and early TB sales are what dictate that 2 yr olds must begin running so early in their lives in order for the connections to recoup the expense of raising these babies for two years until they move them thru the market. Never have agreed with starting these horses so young…Thank you for your caring spirit and keep up the good fight for the horses–they are in need of humans like us….

    • Bella

      Everything you have written here is exactly what I have been feeling for some time, have seen , have felt and know to be so true. Your reasons for leaving the industry is following your heart for the love of these incredible horses. The same reasons I left the show world.When the reality of how much more important it was to win money or fame, I realized the welfare of the horse was the last thing considered. My horses came home and lived out their lives also, some into their 30’s ..they were a blessing every day, and I still miss the ones I lost years ago. Seeing the loss of such young , vibrant horses is sad and devastating when you know how long a horse can live.

      • Old Horse

        Thank you for your caring and humane support of the horses, Bella. You are my kind of human. How come so many others can’t see the light yet? Because they don’t want to….

  • Reign222

    I was at the track we had to leave until the horse was loaded then we resumed training the track was horrible after all the rain. Because of who the horse was we were all amazed he was out there at all conditions were not the greatest.

  • KAY

    Was it his front right?

  • Michele L.

    In case you didn’t realize it, Baffert was so upset over this horses’ demise that he threatened to pull all of his horses from Santa Anita. To him their safety is most important!

  • Ross Black Isle and Dublin

    Mourinho was a top colt… Performance, bloodlines and the rest… His last performance was not about winning and he was one of the reasons Futures Field Pool 3 closed as the favorite. There was more to come from him and we’ll all miss that.

    I’m always amazed by the scenes in movies where horses are ridden off a cliff. They’ll do that… they’ll do anything for us because loyalty and courage lives within them and has chosen their form. It been that way for thousands of years. Sometimes this embodied ethos lasts for only moments… and then it’s gone.

  • JoeJoe

    Why was the horse training on this track when its widely known its a poor surface for a few days after heavy rains?

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