The Baffert Suspension is a Sham. How About Punishing All the Killing, Churchill
An Animal Rights Article from

June 2021

Want to really impress me, Churchill? How about suspending the licenses of those involved in deaths at your track? Punishing the trainers and owners of horses who were actually killed on your track?

horseracing kills

“Reckless practices…that jeopardize the safety of our equine and human athletes or compromise the integrity of our sport are not acceptable and as a company we must take measures to demonstrate that they will not be tolerated. Mr. Baffert’s record of testing failures threatens public confidence in thoroughbred racing and the reputation of the Kentucky Derby.” – statement from Churchill Downs Inc. Wednesday

By now, most of you have heard that the split-sample from Medina Spirit confirmed the presence of betamethasone on the day of the Kentucky Derby; accordingly, trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended from racing at Churchill for two years.

Look, I’m no apologist for Bob Baffert, but this is clearly just a dog-and-pony show. Horseracing has been under steady siege for a couple years now. With more bad press after its biggest race, it had to do something. And Baffert, the most successful and conspicuous trainer on the planet, makes for an easy target (see also: Jerry Hollendorfer during the Santa Anita crisis). But let’s not pretend here. This is a relatively inconsequential drug positive; Medina Spirit did not win the Derby because of betamethasone. Want to really impress me, Churchill? How about suspending the licenses of those involved in deaths at your track? Punishing the trainers and owners of horses who were actually killed on your track? Or, for that matter, how about suspending yourself, shutting Churchill down for “investigation”?

So, in that spirit, here are 27 of Churchill’s dead just from last year. (The “connections” of the horses killed training were as of most recent race. But you get the idea.)

Alittlevodka, killed racing May 31 – “comminuted fractures”
owner: Bob Lothenbach; trainer: Neil Pessin

Bold Esther, killed training Jun 13 – “sudden death”
owners: Lawrence Kahlden, Brett Wiener; trainer: Matt Shirer

Gold Credit, killed training Jul 3 – “sesamoid fractures”
owner: Michael House; trainer: Philip D’Amato

Censored, killed training Jul 22 – “humeral fracture”
(connections not listed)

Chainsthatbindyou, killed training Aug 21 – “tibial fracture”
(connections not listed)

yet-to-be-named 2-year-old, killed training Sep 8 – “MTIII fracture”
(connections not listed)

Kowalski, killed training Sep 10 – “comminuted sesamoid fractures”
owner: White Birch Farm; trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

Glissando, killed training Sep 12 – “sudden death”
(connections not listed)

Urbana, killed racing Sep 17 – “[multiple] fractures, massive soft tissue damage”
owners: Lawana and Robert Low; trainer: Steve Margolis

Tour Spuzz, died in stall Sep 26 – “laminitis”
(connections not listed)

Lucky Asset, killed racing Sep 26 – “fractures, tearing of tendons, rupture of ligament”
owner: James Spry; trainer: Pavel Matejka

Tormenta, killed racing Sep 27 – “[multiple] fractures, severe soft tissue damage”
owner: Sandra Nava; trainer: J. Larry Jones

unidentified, died in stall Oct 8 – “neurological”
(connections not listed)

Pow Wow Indian, killed training Oct 18 – “[multiple] fractures”
(connections not listed)

Uncle Robbie, killed training Oct 31 – “[multiple] fractures”
(connections not listed)

Sir Winsalot, killed racing Oct 31 – “fracture, large amount of hemorrhage”
owners: Sherri McPeek, Tommie Lewis; trainer: Kenneth McPeek

Rebuff, killed racing Nov 5 – “multiple open, disarticulated fractures both front legs”
owner: Juddmonte; trainer: Brad Cox

Here Comes Josie, killed training Nov 7 – “comminuted P1 fracture”
owners: Wayne Sanders, Larry Hirsch; trainer: Brendan Walsh

Juggernaut, killed training Nov 7 – “[multiple] fractures”
owner: Big Chief Racing; trainer: J. Keith Desormeaux

Uni the Unicorn, killed training Nov 8 – “[multiple] fractures”
(connections not listed)

Winning Impression, killed racing Nov 12 – “comminuted fractures, hemorrhage”
owner: West Point Thoroughbreds; trainer: Dallas Stewart

Binge Watch, killed training Nov 14 – “open, disarticulated fracture”
owner: WinStar Stablemates; trainer: Rodolphe Brisset

Tenace, killed training Nov 24 – “P1 fracture”
(connections not listed)

Night Candy, killed racing Nov 27 – “comminuted fractures, severe soft tissue damage”
owner: Jerry Caroom; trainer: Thomas Vance

Alexander Hamilton, killed training Nov 29 – “fracture, ruptured ligaments”
owner: JSM Equine; trainer: Norm Casse

Eclipse the Moon, killed training Dec 12 – “tibial fracture”
(connections not listed)

Sharp and Strong, killed training Dec 16 – “open fracture”
(connections not listed)

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