3-year-old Chriselliam, winner of the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf in November, was euthanized Friday in England, unable to overcome a foot infection. With wisdom, owner Chris Wright reminds us that “only the good die young.” Pathetic.
The racing people are greatly offended when a death like this is lumped with an honest-to-goodness breakdown. A horse, they say, who impales himself, gets mowed down by the pace car, or develops a fatal infection just because is not the industry’s responsibility. (Then again, some apologists claim that all racehorse deaths are simple misfortune – you know, “He took a bad step.”) The Chriselliams should not count, at least not on The Big Board.
Two-thirds of the 600,000 soldier deaths in the Civil War were “noncombat.” But in discussions on war tallies, this is almost never brought up. And appropriately so. The men who died of disease were no less casualties than those who took a bullet. The war put them in a position to contract an illness. The same goes for racing. Chriselliam died of an infection in-career. Her death cannot be sanitized; horseracing killed her.