Young Blood: Fatal Breakdowns of Juvenile Racehorses

Uploaded by officialpeta on 08.09.2011

Every spring, at the Two Year Olds in Training Auction, young thoroughbreds are whipped into
sprinting, at excessive speeds to impress potential buyers. These events are called
“under tack shows.” Here, buyers are hoping to identify the next Kentucky Derby winner.
The juvenile race horses are forced to run one-eighth of a mile in times faster than
they will ever run in their future racing careers. Many of the horses at these under
tack shows are still yearlings. They are physically immature with underdeveloped bones and muscles.
Sprinting at these dangerous speeds, especially at such a young age, generates immense force
and a catastrophic breakdown. Doctor Sheila Lyons, a prominent equine veterinarian, who
has been featured on the Blood Horse magazine, wrote “Pushing these immature two-year old
horses for speed before they have reached physical and mental maturity is recklessly
dangerous and systematically damaging for the animal while also proving to be unreliable
for the prospective buyers as a predictor of future racing ability.” At an under tack
show in May 2011, this Philly suffered a gruesome breakdown on a sloppy track. Witnesses describe
the breaking of her cannon-bone as sounding like a rifle shot. In slow motion, you can
see bone fragments explode out of her lower leg, leaving her foot to dangle.
At an under tack show in June 2011, this colt, named Merciless Cat, suffered a fatal burst
aorta. The temperature on the track was over one-hundred degrees. Dennis Brida, a former
trainer and past executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders called these “idiotic
speed tests.” And said “we are butchering these horses.” Conducting intense speed
trials with vulnerable and erratic juveniles puts the lives of both horses and jockeys
in jeopardy. Please go to to send an email demanding that the four major thoroughbred
auction companies end this carnage. Thank you.