Horse Dies In Infuriatingly Avoidable Accident At Churchill Downs


From: Deadspin
By: Barry Petchesky

never-tell-lyndaUnless you reject the idea of horse racing, you have to accept that horses break down and are destroyed. It’s an unfortunate part of the sport, and lots could be done to minimize fatalities, but it’s always going to happen. At Churchill Downs yesterday, five-year-old mare Never Tell Lynda did not need to die.

Never Tell Lynda was not racing, but was getting a walk-through of the track. She was walking back toward the paddock when something startled her—she reared up, fell backward, and struck her head on the ground. “I could see it in her eyes,” said her trainer, Kenny Wirth. “Blood started gushing from her nose and mouth.”

She was quickly put down by a track vet. “It was quickly evident that this horse was in the process of expiring,” said Kentucky Horse Racing Commission chief veterinarian Will Farmer, who speculated that Never Tell Lynda may have crushed bones in the back of her skull. “To ease her suffering, one of our veterinarians euthanized her.”

Her trainer knows what startled her—the sound of a starting bell and a starting gate slamming open in a commercial on Churchill Downs’ new, massive video board.

“We teach horses to break from that,” Wirth said. “And you’ve got it on a loud speaker that everybody in a two-city block can hear. Well, what’s she going to do? She thinks she’s supposed to take off. And that’s what she did. And when she did, she lunged and she lost her balance and went down.”

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AUTHOR: Amber Barnes
  • Mary Anne Gardner


    May 24, 2014
  • Mary Johnson

    Amen, Mary Anne, and we know how to STOP these “accidents” from happening. STOP betting on the horses. Bet on baseball instead.

    May 24, 2014
  • When this happens my heart is broken, without knowing or being there to access the circumstances, to me this sounds like a horrible accident that will tear your heart apart but accident can and will happen, I cannot condemn Racing it houses thousands of Horses , where in the hell would they go if there wasnt Racing !!!!?????? 85% of trainers and owners Absolutely Love their Horses , and take excellent care of them, give them food and Vet care , even before they themselves eat !!!!!! Its the other 15% that need to be ousted ………… I know I owned thoroughbreds, I loved each one of them with all my Heart, and took care of them exactly like they were my children ……. not one ever entered the Race Track to jeopardize themselves or any other Horses or Jockeys, this is how it is suppose to be !!!!!

    May 24, 2014
  • Shane Destry

    “Unless you reject the idea of horse racing, you have to accept that horses break down and are destroyed. It’s an unfortunate part of the sport, and lots could be done to minimize fatalities, but it’s always going to happen.”
    Here is the problem right here in the opening paragraph: it is the fatalism that as long as there is horse racing horses which are described as if they were machines will “break down are are destroyed” notice the use of language to disguise the reality that they suffer injuries and are killed. You describe a horse as if it were a machine, not a being with a will-to-live, and then wonder why horse racing will continue to disregard such things as running them at too early an age on the track. The story then contradicts itself by saying it is inevitable that horses will be killed in horse racing but this horse’s death could have been prevented. No once you condition people into thinking that it is inevitable that horses die in training or on the race track itself, you can hardly expect people so conditioned to start caring about those who aren’t saved. By analogy if you say that wars are inevitable, you condition people into accepting battlefield deaths. The only way out is to stop telling people that wars or deaths on the racetrack or in tracing are inevitable!

    May 24, 2014
  • Sue

    As of 2005, there were approx. 850,000 horses that raced. Let’s just pretend racing is abolished tomorrow. What happens to those horses? Can YOU step up and take a couple?

    May 24, 2014
  • Robynne Catheron

    I despise horse racing, always have, even as a little girl. It is a cruel, corrupt, drug-ridden, and greedy “sport” focused on power and profit at the expense of the horse. For every one compassionate owner/trainer who puts the horse first, there are a thousand who don’t.

    May 24, 2014
    • In Life there are many accidents , Life is a gamble in all areas,the only thing that can be done is to insure that everything has been done that is possible for safety for all,no one can control what happens ….. I wont try to change your mind but if you truly Love our horses, you would want them to have a purpose, they need that just as you and I do…I have been with Thoroughbred Horses all my Life , yes you are right there are many owners and trainers who are there for the money, and their Greed…. But by far the ones who are there out of Love of the horse and the Sport out number the ones that are there for self glorification !!!!! We cannot STOP Horse Racing where would they all go???? But we can certainly clean it up, They need this Venue…….. what are they going to do, stand around and just look beautiful??????? (although that would be enough for me,,) the Horses would not be Happy just doing that !!!!!

      May 25, 2014
  • Lobolady

    Sue: That’s a ridiculous notion and is always what pro-slaughter people say as well. As though it’s OUR responsibility to rehome all those overbred breeds that are used up and tossed away like garbage! These horses go to slaughter when they “break down” unless loving rescues take them (often times). They are started at 2 years old — way too early — and many don’t make it past 3 or 4. It’s not a question of whether anyone will “take them”; it’s one of when will people STOP BREEDING all of them and throwing away those who don’t cut the mustard! Someone at that end must take responsibility.

    May 25, 2014
  • Over breeding starts and ends with the AQHA>>>>>> STOP THEM < THE PROBLEM ENDS !!!!!!

    May 25, 2014
  • Callie1983

    I have rescued too many off track horses and I know the abuse starts before they race. The overbred racehorses of any breed, including Quarterhorses and Standarbreds as well, can be dealt with by selecting the breeders that bring them into the world and charging them with RICO violations. This would automatically include the Trainers and basically anyone that touched the horses bred by the breeders.

    We have never gone hard on the horse racing INDUSTRY as we have done in Baseball and other so called ‘Professional’ Sports. Drugs interfere with Gambling and I know from my own experience with these off track horses that they are damaged and will never be the same.

    I detest racing and I do not agree that some horses love to race. Horses have a great work ethic but I don’t think they love the noise, the travel, the strange places all the time.

    On Memorial day we also have to remember the Equids that served in the Wars. They are far more noble than we allow them to be.

    May 25, 2014