A horse bred for racing and named Admire Rakti was overloaded and overwhipped in the 3,200 metre long Melbourne Cup race today.
The seven-year-old stallion, had just won the Caulfield Cup two weeks before, and so was handicapped by having 58.5 kg in weight, just to even out the betting odds.
On a hot 28 Celsius day, the horse was flogged into the race lead, then his heart gave way, finishing last, collapsing five minutes after the race and then had a heart attack, and so tragically died for sport. The race that stops a nation kills horses.
The RSPCA issued a statement calling for a full and transparent investigation.
The 30 protesters from the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses had gathered around the main gate at Flemington Racecourse chanting “racing kills”. They were right.
The group’s spokesman Ward Young, said Admire Rakti’s death was another example of horses being overworked on the racetrack. “Racing does kills horses and we think a lot more needs to be done to make horse racing safer. These incidents are a lot more frequent than people know about.”
He said in the past year about 125 horses have died during or shortly after a race.
This time, Mr Young said they were letting racegoers know that a horse had died “because last year the only people who knew about Verema dying in the Melbourne Cup were the people who bet on her”.>>
.[Source: ‘Melbourne Cup 2014: Last-placed Admire Rakti dies‘, by Patrick Bartley, Adam Pengilly, Ronny Lerner, The Age newspaper, 20141104, ^http://www.theage.com.au/sport/horseracing/melbourne-cup-2014-lastplaced-admire-rakti-dies-20141104-11gpjk.html]
In Nashville, USA in 2012, a horse bred to be a steeplechase thoroughbred and named Arcadius won the Iroquois Steeplechase over three miles and eighteen hurdles.
He galloped under the pain and fear of the horse whip. His owner won $150,000 from the race.
Immediately after the race, the 8-year-old gelding, breathed hard as he walked back to applause. The humans lined up, the horse was led in to the winner’s circle. Catching his breath now, he stood for the brief ceremony — a sweaty, dirty, hot, victorious athlete.
It was as if he knew he had won. Arcadius stared regally to the distance, ears at attention, and everyone else paused, soaking in the victory. The cameras buzzed. Crowley jumped down, unbuckled the elastic girths, removed the leather saddle, breastplate, black and red cloth with the white 3 on it. The jockey folded it all up on his arm, patted his horse on the back, one more reward for the effort.
Two minutes later, Arcadius was dead — steps from the finish line he had crossed with so much power, so much life.
It was quick, shocking, certainly eerie. After walking from that winner’s circle celebration, while getting the usual after-race hosing and dousing with water, Arcadius stepped awkwardly to his right, raised his head, stiffened his front legs and dropped to the ground on his left side.
Before he fell, his right eye went blank — flashing life, death, pain, something. >>
.[Source: ‘After the Best Race of His Life, a Horse’s Death‘, by Joe Clancy, 20120514, ^http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/15/sports/after-his-lifes-best-race-death-of-horse-arcadius.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0]
 ‘Whips in Racing‘, RSPCA, ^http://www.rspca.org.au/campaigns/whips-racing .
 The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, website, ^http://www.horseracingkills.com/ .
 ‘Animal liberationists call for whip phase out‘, by Sherele Moody, 20141104, ^http://www.suratbasin.com.au/news/animal-liberation-group-calls-for-whip-phase-out/2442357/ .
 ‘Horse Racing – the glitz, the glamour the grim reality‘, Animals Australia, ^http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/horse_racing.php .
 ‘Horse Racing breeds immoral knackeries, ^http://www.habitatadvocate.com.au/?p=19982