From the “Radnor Hunt Races” (Malvern, PA) website:

This year you can watch the racing excitement at Radnor Hunt in Malvern as the 86th Radnor Hunt Races are held on Saturday, May 21. Picture yourself standing in the middle of the beautiful Radnor Hunt countryside and having a party with friends and family watching horse racing so close to them that you can feel the ground shake as they go by. Many families have multiple generations enjoying what has become a springtime tradition in southeastern Pennsylvania.

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Come and enjoy the racing over the rolling hills of Radnor Hunt in Malvern. You will experience an exciting and beautiful step back in time and maybe start a spring tradition for your family and friends.

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And now, here is how the “event” unfolded (Equibase)…

In race 1, two of the horses were “pulled up, DNF.”

In race 2, one was “pulled up, DNF”; one “was difficult to control, pulled out of race.”

In race 4, one “hit top of a hurdle and fell, DNF.”

In race 5, one “fell at the final fence, DNF”; three others were “pulled up, DNF.”

In race 6, the last-place horse finished 56+ lengths back.

And – in race 3, 11-year-old Brother Sy – who had just been raced six days prior (also a steeplechase) – “fell fatally over a jump during the first mile.” Dead.

We animal advocates walk a very delicate (emotional) line. On the one side, soft: it’s a call for mercy, compassion – a campaign for hearts. Please, we say, let the animals be. But on the other, hard: it’s anger, contempt – a war against those seemingly without hearts. What you do, we say, is wicked and wrong; we demand that you stop. Problem is, this approach often just results in higher walls.

Still, when confronted with the “Radnor Hunt Races,” how can fury not rule the day? A product that enslaves, and abuses, and hurts, and, yes, sometimes kills animals sold as entertainment. Worse even, it’s entertainment packaged as pastoral: “rolling hills, beautiful countryside, a step back in time”; socially responsible: proceeds benefiting a conservancy – “open space, clean water”; fine: “gentlemen wear sport jackets (tie optional) and most ladies wear dresses,” “luncheon in the clubhouse”; festive: “tailgate parties”; and wholesome: “start a spring tradition for your family” – Boy Scout ushers.

It’s vile; it’s disgusting. And I seethe.

(With Brother Sy, there are now five confirmed kills on Preakness Day.)

Aintree Races