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In Memory of Ruffian





Racing Cruelties:  The Horror behind the Glamour

Racing Cruelties: Photos & Videos

The Slaughter of Racehorses

In Memory of Ruffian



Campaign against the Expansion of Racing in Israel

Help Stop Expansion of Racing in Israel

Horse Abuse & Rescue: Overview

Help Stop Horse Abuse in Israel

Premarin Horses



Slaughter at
the Racetrack

Slaughterhouse: Exposť of Horse Slaughter in the UK





This exquisite filly, Ruffian, dramatizes the terrible exploitation in the world of horse racing and the risk of death that thousands of racehorses commonly face.


Ruffian completely dominated her sport in a way that put her in a class by herself. As a two-year-old, she won each of her five starts by a huge distance, before her season was cut short when she fractured her right rear leg. In spite of already having broken one leg, she was raced as a three-year-old, again winning every race she entered. The winner of the American Filly Triple Crown, Ruffian was also known for her sweet personality.


Her perfection as a racer was her downfall. Because she had won every race for fillies, the decision was made to enter her in a two-horse match race against the leading colt of the year. "Feverishly promoted as the equine battle of the sexes," the race, held in New York on July 6, 1975, was worth $250,000 to the winner, a huge amount of money at that time.


In front of a live audience of 50 thousand and a national television audience of 18 million, Ruffian, who was leading, stumbled, shattering two bones in her right foreleg. She continued to run, driving her broken leg into the ground before she was pulled to a stop and, eventually, led into an ambulance. Veterinarians tried to save her leg, but when she came out of anesthesia she thrashed about wildly, further damaging the leg. At that point she was euthanized.


For an untold number of profoundly shocked people, Ruffian's last race was the last horse race they had the stomach to watch. Jack Whitaker, the host of the live CBS broadcast of the race in 1975, stated: "Nothing can take away the horror of seeing a horse break down. It's like seeing a masterpiece destroyed."


This beautiful, fragile, and sweet-natured horse died at three years old, another victim of the racing industry.