- “Practical Move” was returning from a morning gallop before it suddenly collapsed
- PETA released a statement calling for stricter testing for horses or an end to racing
- DailyMail.com provides the latest international sports news
It was dark and cold, but despite everything we could see them galloping. A work morning during Breeders Cup week is special and Santa Anita was everything you wanted before dawn.
Down at Clockers Corner we had gathered to watch the phalanx of competitors emerge from their barns. When a horse runs in the Breeders’ Cup, their names are sewn into their colorful saddle pads: Practical Move, a contender for the Dirt Mile, was easy to spot as he trotted by.
He moved powerfully and gracefully. This was a horse with a great reputation who might have been the winner of the Kentucky Derby if a fever hadn’t struck in May. With a good record of five wins from eight races, a Breeders Cup victory was not out of the question.
We continued chatting and waiting for the European runners to get their first look at the course. But then, as quickly as you can flip a switch, the mood changed: A siren sounded four times, the kind of alarm you might hear in an ambulance or a fire station when something has gone wrong.
And something had gone wrong. As we tried to figure out what had happened in the excitement, one look up the straight quickly told us everything we needed to know. A horse had collapsed near the running rail and there were no signs of life. It was Practical Move.
A horse named Practical Move has died while preparing for this weekend’s Breeders’ Cup
No matter how long you have been in racing, no matter how aware you are of the pitfalls and the possibility that something can go wrong, the catastrophe of one of these beautiful animals slipping away from you will always leave you with a feeling of emptiness.
For those closest to him, the pain is a thousand times greater. Practical Move’s uninjured work rider was injured when he had to carry his saddle, reins and name scarf back after his stricken partner was removed. Coach Tim Yakteen was bereft.
In a statement, organizers said: “Each year, leading up to the World Championships, the Breeders’ Cup works closely with its host track, the State Racing Commission and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) to implement strict safety and integrity protocols.”
“These processes are designed to protect the well-being of our human and equine athletes, and the Breeders’ Cup is committed to continually improving the ecosystem of care surrounding each horse.” “The horse was immediately attended to by veterinarians.”
This caused little stir among those opposed to racing. In a statement, PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo said:
The horse had just returned from cantering when it was believed to be suffering from a cardiac event
“With the Breeders’ Cup just days away, PETA is deeply disturbed by the carnage in California horse racing.” “Just this morning, Practical Move, which was scheduled to compete this weekend, collapsed and died, and so far this year at least 71 horses died.” While California has led the way in adopting measures to protect horses, it has far from accomplished all that is needed.
“It must begin with the immediate suspension of the trainer when a horse dies and the installation of low-radiation, standing CT imaging machines that can be used to examine horses. “Either the fatalities end or racing must end.”
There have been some harrowing episodes in the Breeders’ Cup over the years, and watching racing on dirt surfaces is guaranteed to leave you with a knot in your stomach.
The last thing needed leading up to the event dubbed Racing’s World Championship was an incident that caused the world to view racing in a negative light. Practical Move – and the sad fate that befell him – changed all that. Darkness remains.