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Killing Phar Lap: A Forensic Investigation

If you like true crime podcasts, this one involves the murder . . . of a race horse.

Writer, produce, and documentarian Kerry Negara’s true crime podcast, Killing Phar Lap: A Forensic Investigation, has been released. It’s the nine part story of the death of Phar Lap, the legendary Australian race horse who may, or may not, have been whacked by the prohibition-era mob.

Phar Lap isn’t as much a house-hold name in the United States as Secretariat or Seabiscuit, but he is arguably the most successful thoroughbred of all time, and certainly profoundly important in race history and Australian culture. Phar Lap died under very mysterious circumstances in Atherton, CA; conspiracy theories have revolved around the death ever since.

I had the privilege of being Kerry’s primary researcher in the Bay Area, working to dig up records relating to Phar Lap, his owners, and the vets who treated him and performed his autopsy. It was work that took me to the archives of UC Berkeley and UCSF, as well as several city halls, county archives, and other locations. Phar Lap’s story is tragic and fascinating, and I was thrilled to be able to contribute to this project. I’m also mentioned in the podcast!


Chris S. Burns

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