Protests Planned at Saratoga August 7

Horse Deaths at Saratoga Prompts More Protests

Six horses have died at Saratoga Race Course this year after Domestic Warrior “suffered a fatal musculoskeletal fracture” and was euthanized Monday. Horseracing Wrongs is the latest equine advocacy group to call out the industry on what they believe is a inhumane sport. On Sunday, August 7, they will lead protests with dozens of protesters at the Saratoga main gate.

“Six deaths are nothing,” said Nicole Arciello, an animal rights activist who heads up the local protest. “Usually, 11 are killed per summer. So many people who go to the track are unaware that horses die.”

She’s a little off on your stats, as the state Gaming Commission takes note and investigates each death, and it calculates that in 2015, 13 horses died at Saratoga. In 2014, 14 horses died. And in 2013, the number was 10. These include horses racing and in training.

Lee Park is director of communications for the Gaming Commission. He notes that “New York state is well below the national average rate of equine fatalities.” The national average of horse deaths is 2.1 horses per every 1,000 starts, and New York has 1.1 deaths per 1,000 starts. .

Horseracing Wrongs is opposed to more than the deaths. The group feels the horses are relegated to stalls for too many hours of the day, are whipped to run faster and retired to slaughterhouses.

“They don’t live out their life in a field,” said Arciello, who writes an Animal Rights blog. “They become food for dogs, for Europeans and the Japanese who use the meat in sushi.”

Protesters will hand out materials at the rally. This is the group’s second Saratoga demonstration this summer: 40 took up placards against horse racing on the track’s opening weekend, when two horses were killed. Horseracing Wrongs is in its third year of rallies at the track.

“A lot of people see it as all glitz and glamour,” said Arciello. “It’s not. We will be there to educate.”

Information on racing-related equine deaths can be found here The deaths are searchable by track, year, type of racing as well as other factors.

Spendthrift Farm Sells Two Stallions

Second-crop sires Wilburn and Victor’s Cry have been sold by Spendthrift Farm and they will both be relocated from their current home at the stallion station near Lexington. Victor’s Cry was purchased by Holden Farm near Greenfield, Indiana. Wilburn has been retired to stud and purchased by Rockin’ Z Ranch near Beggs, Oklahoma.



Spendthrift had originally purchased both in 2011 and they were part of their “Share the Upside” breeding incentive program. The program gives breeders the opportunity to earn lifetime breeding rights in exchange for supporting a stallion in their first two years at stud.

“We were exactly at the right place, at the right time, and had money to do it,” said farm owner Arv Holden, speaking about Victor’s Cry. “A horse as fast as he was at 6 1/2 furlongs, a mile, and a 1 1/16 miles fits in the wheelhouse for most breeders. I think he is as a good as has stood in Indiana.”

Victor’s Cry’s best season was 2010, winning the Shoemaker Mile Stakes (gr. IT). He entered stud life in 2012 and will stand for $10,000 next year. His progeny have earned over $415,000.

“We have a lot in the pedigrees of our mares that are going to cross well with him,” said Holden said when discussing his 50-head broodmare band.

Wilburn is the 16th-ranked leading second-crop sire whose progeny have earned over $855,000. He stood at Spendthrift in 2016 for $3,500. Selling both horses was part of Spendthrift’s mission to always evaluate and upgrade their bloodstock.

Exaggerator Explodes to Win Haskell Invitational

Exaggerator Storms Down the Sloppy Stretch to Win $1 Million Haskell

Exaggerator’s connections knew they needed to run in the Haskell Invitational if they wanted to win 3-Year-Old-of-the-Year honors. So they bypassed the Jim Dandy and the move proved prophetic as Exaggerator stormed down the stretch and blew past Nyquist and American Freedom at the eighth pole to finish strong in the slop and win by nearly two lengths.

Rain pelted Monmouth Park throughout the day Sunday, and while it held off during the Haskell, the track was considered sloppy as the field hit the starting gate.

But like his big burst in the sloppy conditions in both the Santa Anita Derby and Preakness Stakes, Exaggerator and Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux would show a tremendous closing kick again.

“It felt like deja vu, it really did,” said Desormeaux. “I secured a spot after the first 100 yards and felt like that was the fastest go-around. Unfortunately, another horse cut right in front of me and we were getting terrible spray (of mud) so I moved him out from behind the other horses and kept them seven lengths in front of me. I just looked up at that point and said, ‘Wow, this is incredible, the inside’s trying to push out, the outside’s trying to push in, and they’re making an Oreo cookie out of the one in front.’ And I’m like, ‘wow, I’m dreaming again. This is deja vu.’ ”

Exaggerator went off at 5-2 odds and paid $7.20 to win while covering the 1 1/8th-mile distance in 1:48.3.

“The difference between him in the mud and the others is he doesn’t care,” Desormeaux said. “He’s floppy eared and he cruises along like it’s another day in the office. That’s the difference.”

American Freedom held on for second in front of Jersey-bred Sunny Ridge, who closed late to nip Nyquist. American Freedom lodged a complaint following the race, but the steward’s inquiry held up in favor of Exaggerator.

“When (Desormeaux) came around me, he crossed me a couple times,” said American Freedom’s jockey, Rafael Bejarano, who protested the result. “I had to change my course in the stretch and then let him run again. I’m completely disappointed. We are hoping everyone had a clean race, in such a prestigious race, and he definitely crossed my lane and I had to change my course.”

Exaggerator ran second to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby, then handed Nyquist his only loss in the Preakness Stakes. Exaggerator finished 11th in the Belmont Stakes in his most recent start until he regained his form to shine again in the slop and win the Haskell.

Exaggerator has now won six of 13 starts with over $3.5 million in earnings with the $600,000 first place prize in the Haskell.

The victory also secured a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic for Exaggerator, as the Haskell Invitational was a ‘Win and You’re In’ Breeders’ Cup race.