Going to the races might seem like harmless fun. But hidden behind the glitz of racing are hundreds of dead racehorses. This is the story of just 5 of them.
‘Almoonqith’ – Sydney Cup tragedy
Almoonqith was a 7-year-old gelding, who started his racing career as 2-year-old in America.
After being brought to Australia, he ran a very successful racing career, making almost $1million in prize money.
However, on 8 April 2017, Almoonqith broke his off-hind cannon bone while running in the prestigious Sydney Cup, and was killed right there on the track.
‘Harmonic Lass’ – raced as a baby
Harmonic Lass was a 2-year-old filly running in the Wellington Boot. It was just her third time on a racetrack.
During the race, she fractured her near fore fetlock and was killed. Unlike more prestigious racehorses, her death was not spoken about as she had only made around $4,000.
Her story highlights a huge welfare concern in the Australian racing industry – racing horses at just 2 years old.
Putting young, underdeveloped racehorses on the racetrack is absolutely culpable. And if they do not suffer catastrophic injuries at a young age, it still pre-disposes them to cumulative injury further on down the track.
‘Finke’ – literally bleeding to death
Finke was a 5-year-old gelding who had been racing since 2 years old. After a relatively successful racing career, making over $300,000 in prize money, his life abruptly ended at Morphettville on 25 Feb 2017.
Finke pulled up from his race distressed, and collapsed in the mounting yard. A necropsy found that he had ruptured his aorta – suffering a massive internal bleed.
‘Wheeler Fortune’ – the face of jumps racing cruelty
The annual Oakbank Carnival is renowned for it’s cruel jumps races – which regularly result in the deaths of horses. This year was no exception – with Wheeler Fortune falling over the final hurdle right in front of a crowd of racegoers, including young children.
A photo of him standing with a dangling front leg injury (which was reported to be a break to his near fore cannon bone) shaped the image of the rest of the Easter Carnival, and once again renewed calls for the ‘sport’, which is 20 times more dangerous than flat racing, to be banned.
Wheeler Fortune had race as a 2-year-old, and was brought to Australia from New Zealand.
‘I’m Captain Oats’ – never made a race
If I’m Captain Oats had have died in any state but New South Wales, we would have never known about his death.
The 2-year-old colt died while in trackwork on Hawkesbury racetrack, suffering a comminuted fracture to his off fore metacarpus (a catastrophic front limb injury).
New South Wales is the only state in the country that reports deaths in training and trackwork in their stewards reports. If I’m Captain Oats had have been training anywhere else, his fate would not be public knowledge. Presumably, this is the case for many other racehorses dying outside of official races in every other state.
‘Surface To Air’ – first and last jumps race
Surface To Air had never run in a jumps race before, and his first try was his last.
The 5-year-old gelding commenced his racing career in New Zealand, and after coming to Australia for a short stint in flat racing, he was moved into a jumps career.
However, during his first ever jumps race at Murray Bridge, he fractured his fetlock and was killed on the track. His death highlights a combination that can never be made safe – jumping and racing.
These horses are just 5 of 137 racehorses who have died on Australian racetracks since the 2016 Melbourne Cup. And they are five good reasons to never place a bet again.
Wondering what you can do on Melbourne Cup Day without funding this cruelty? We’ve got you covered.