Turallure Dead

The Daily Racing Form (11/14/13) reports that 6-year-old Turallure, two years removed from winning the Woodbine Mile, was killed today “shortly after breaking down in a routine gallop at Keeneland…” Trainer Charlie LoPresti: “This is just awful for all of us. Turallure was just like part of my family.” As per usual, racing’s conditioned fans are offering obtuse “condolences to the connections.” But amid the drivel, one brave soul left this on both the DRF and Paulick Report sites (though it appears to have been stricken from the latter): “How come when the 5k claimers break down and are euthanized…they are NEVER ‘part of the family’?” Hear, hear.

Turallure’s last 9 races:

Churchill Downs, 5/5/12, 7th of 11
Churchill Downs, 7/1/12, 4th of 5
Keeneland, 4/6/13, 6th of 7
Churchill Downs, 5/2/13, 6th of 9
Arlington, 6/8/13, 5th of 7
Saratoga, 7/24/13, 2nd of 9
Saratoga, 8/31/13, 4th of 5
Keeneland, 10/5/13, 9th of 10
Keeneland, 10/18/13, 6th of 12

Based on the above, and after winning his “family” almost $1.4 million, one would think that Turallure (pictured below) had earned a permanent respite. One would be wrong, for this, after all, is horseracing, squeezing till the bitter end.

photo credit: DRF
photo credit: DRF

62 Comments

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  1. One of the pat statements when a horse breaks his leg and dies that just baffles the mind…”he was just like a family member”. Who treats their family members like these horses get treated? Certainly not those who cherish their loved ones.

    RIP Turallure…you worked so hard, you were so faithful.

    • OK this is where I speak. You have no idea how people treat their ‘loved’ human family members. Go to any nursing home, look at the dead eyes, the soulless stares, the complete and total lack of dignity present. Smell the urine and faeces, look at the pressure ulcers, the pneumonias, the E-Coli, MRSA, VRE and bugs that make those look TAME. THAT is how “humans” treat their so-called loved ones. Thanks, NO. Let me DIE doing what I LOVE if it is to be. If not, treat me with the love, respect and DIGNITY these racehorses have in a majority of cases. In humanity there are those whose lives are as bad as the lowest level claimer; the sweatshop and child labour workers in CHINA who make damn near everything used today live like that. Let’s shed a little light here…YES there are assholes in racing, but there are assholes in life too. I could tell you horror stories that are 100% true about the atrocities committed by human against human. I am not JUSTIFYING EITHER. What I am doing is standing up for a man who takes stellar care of his horses, and every SINGLE one is like a child to him. Want to know how a parent feels when they lose their child in an ACCIDENT??? I can have you talk to a family whose 5th grade SON was misdiagnosed in an ER and DIED from cardiac tampanaud after a football practice. THAT’S reality. Accidents happen. Brutality happens. Connecting the two has to happen, but it doesn’t ALWAYS happen.

      • Kim Howell MacArthur…you go off on a tangent about how poorly humans treat their family members (to which I happen to agree that too many do) in regards to what I had to say about LoPresti’s statement, “Turallure was just like part of my family”. So are you saying LoPresti treats his family members horribly?..what’s your point? Because when I read a statement like that (and we read them all the time, every time a high-profile horse breaks down and dies…oh yes, they loved the horse like a family member…), I interpret it to mean they truly love their family members, and in turn, want the public to believe they truly loved the horse as well. Then you later state this man takes “stellar care of his horses, and every single one is like a child to him”. Maybe you should read this part of my post again…”Who treats their family members like these horses get treated? Certainly not those who CHERISH their loved ones”…the operative word, cherish.

        And yes, we know about the heinous acts against humans and animals alike..this just happens to be a website about HORSERACING wrongs. This is not a site about the monstrosities of child abuse, elder abuse…or the cruelties of dog fighting or the TWH soring…or ALL of the other evils in this world. They are all indefensible. But one of the identifying marks of a racing apologist is to immediately want to shine the spotlight of scrutiny on another wrong. All that does is put it back into the dark…it doesn’t make it go away.

        You mention the “love, respect, and dignity these racehorses have in a majority of cases…MAJORITY?!?…not true…at all. You obviously have some realization of the cruelties these horses endure as evidenced by your statement “In humanity there are those whose lives are as bad as the lowest level claimer”. Below is what I copied and pasted from another post of mine on this site…

        There is so much that is unhealthy and abnormal about track life for a horse that there isn’t enough space or time here. Or how about these statistics…of the 30 trainers we took in horses for (and mind you, some required we PAY for their horses, regardless of if the horse had a fracture, chips, a bow, end-stage arthritis, etc), 19 of those trainers “gave” us horses that had been training and racing on EXISTING injuries. 19 of 30! Not to mention, some of the trainers never even gave their horses a chance by placing them with us…no, they just gave them directly to the licensed owner/trainer that also happens to be the largest supplier of horses to a Canadian slaughterhouse. Direct line…stable to table. So don’t try to tell anyone here they need to come and visit the backside…it’s enough to make one ill.
        In 2008, a congressional subcommittee held a hearing entitled “Breeding, Drugs, and Breakdowns: The State of Thoroughbred Racing and the Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse”. I provided nearly three years worth of horses’ names and their injuries/euthanasia dates from one small track in Michigan to Jo Anne Normile, who in turn submitted that and additional damning information to this hearing. Now those owners and trainers from that Michigan track moved their stables to other tracks when the MI meet was over…to Tampa Bay, Mountaineer, Penn National, Charles Town, Oaklawn, Beulah, Thistledowns, River Downs, Hooiser Park, Indiana Downs, etc. Those SAME trainers that ran INJURED horses just moved on and repeated their MO all over again. So any argument that this outright abusive behavior was just at this Michigan track is ridiculous. Like I was told by another poster, google it…check out the names and deaths of the horses submitted to the hearing. It’s enough to make a caring person sick.

        And what is the correlation with a parent losing their child in an accident and racehorses dying due to racing injuries? When you ask “want to know what a parent feels like…”, I’m not understanding where you are going with that. Is it that you think we must just accept a “lesser of two evils”?…ie, big deal horses are dying because parents are losing their children? We don’t have to accept ANYTHING that is wrong, unjust, cruel, inhumane.

        And you’re talking to the wrong person if you want to “introduce” me to all of the “horror stories”, or tell me about a child that has tragically died, or want me to know how a parent feels whose child has suffered a horrific accident. I’ve already been introduced…and yet the cruelties racehorses endure at the hands of this gambling industry still exist.

  2. Actually, a $5k claimer IS a part of the family. But no one in the media bothers to write an article about it, or to interview that horse’s family. This is a large diverse industry with a lot of people, and people are different. I’m sure some people are all about business and gambling, but I can tell you from first hand experience, that there’s plenty of loving people in this sport, who spend more time with their horses than with their human family. If one of our horses gets sick, we stay at their side and do everything we can to make them better. I have personally stayed at the racetrack until well after midnight with a sick horse, and his trainer was prepared to stay there all night. If you really think that horses are just a commodity, or that $5k claimers don’t matter to us, why wouldn’t we just put the horse down and move on? Why would I bother standing in the stall, trying to physically hold up a 1000 pound “commodity”?

    • I stay at my horse’s side, as well Kristen…that is a given because I took on that responsibility when I took him/her into my family. But why would anyone in the racing industry treat their ill horse?…you’re planning on racing him again, correct? And when you can drop him into a 5K claimer with a 8K purse, that is a great gamble to take. These racehorses are NOT family…family members stay with family, they don’t get claimed away. We know full well a trainer’s stable does not retire to his farm.

      • I’m just commenting to say sorry, I didn’t realize there was a “reply” button to reply directly to your comment. I left a new comment as my reply. Again, I apologize for the confusion and inconvenience.

    • Kristen, you are smart enough to realize that, when you put a horse in a claiming race, you are putting that horse up for a possible sale. Why would you do that to a “family” member? Also, I sent you a very long reply to one of your posts concerning a FEW of my experiences with the racing industry. It is awaiting moderation but I hope you take the time to read it. I have read all of your posts and you are certainly entitled to your opinion just as I am. .

      • Mary, regarding claiming races, unfortunately they are a fact of the sport. Some people don’t care whether their horse is claimed. However, some people are very upset when their horse is claimed. I have encountered people crying when their horse was claimed. I have encountered people who have immediately offered more money than the claiming price, to keep their horse. And I have encountered people who have kept track of their former horses after they were claimed, to make sure that they are well cared for and safe.

        Also, selling horses is common in other parts of the horse world where apparently you would be more willing to believe in the fact that they are a family member. Have you ever seen a family have to sell a pony because the kid grew to big for it? If you’ve ever seen a kid and their pony, you know that pony is a family member. Yet sometimes ponies have to be sold.

        Mary, I, too, have taken the time to read all of your posts, and I will, of course, read the long one that is awaiting moderation. I have absolutely no problem with people having opinions, and I believe I have been respectful to everyone, and I will continue to be. I only take a stand against unfounded personal attacks, and unnecessary inflammatory or sarcastic comments.

  3. The other pat statement is the horse “stepped in a hole”. “Stepped in a hole” is a frequent excuse yet no one then mentions they are going to be examining the racetrack surface. In CA, a state that performs necropsies on all horses that are euthanized on the track has reported that 90% of those horses euthanized on the track had pre-existing conditions. Indeed, if there had been holes on the track, the pre-existing condition was caused from stepping in those holes one too many times and having joint injections and drugs masking the pre-existing condition.

    • They step in holes in fields, too; they get cast in stalls, hung up in trees (my aunt’s horse spooked in a storm and jumped into the crotch of two trees. They had to cut him out.)…basically horses can hurt themselves ANYWHERE and if you don’t believe that you’ve never HAD A HORSE…

      • Kim, you are certainly correct. Accidents happen. However, not at the rate that happens to horses in the racing industry. I wouldn’t be so quick to criticize Jo Anne Normile. She is a true advocate for the horses and she has had many horses over the years. September 1st, 2013, at Beulah Park. Two horses break down on the track that day and are euthanized. Their names are Brickyard and Cajun Brad. Sweet William is vanned off that same day and his whereabouts are unknown but what the heck!!! ACCIDENTS HAPPEN!!! NO BIG DEAL!!! Remember your aunt’s horse getting stuck in the tree? Just to reassure you, Kim, I am going to continue to shine a light on racing’s dirty secrets, the secrets that you call accidents!

      • There is no “reply” button on Mary’s comments, so replying to Kim’s comment is the best I can do.

        Mary, no one likes accidents. They are a big deal. I’m certain that Kim did not mean that accidents are not a big deal. Everyone agrees that a horse suffering an injury is a devastating experience, for everyone involved, no matter when or where that injury occurs. Do you really think that the people involved with those euthanized horses didn’t care, that they just went on with their day, that they were happy to free up some cash from not having to bring the horse back to the barn and feed it? If people didn’t care about horses, they wouldn’t become involved in horse racing. I’m certain that each one of those horses’ deaths were traumatic and devastating events. I’m certain that the grooms, trainer, owner, and even the spectators were very upset by what happened.

        I think accidents are equally as common in the racing industry as outside of it, but who reports on accidents that take place outside of the horse racing industry? The lack of reporting makes it seem like there’s not as many accidents, when really there is.

        You say you are “going to continue to shine a light on racing’s dirty secrets”… What secrets? Nothing here is a secret. Everyone knows that horses get injured. No one is keeping it a secret. Wouldn’t there be more value in campaigning for proactive changes? Finding a safer racing surface, researching better testing procedures for checking for drugs, etc. Wouldn’t it be better to organize a rescue effort for some particular horses you’d like to see taken off the track, start your own rescue, start a fund for a rescue. I appreciate proactive changes more than I appreciate negative attacks on people who don’t necessarily deserve it.

  4. Shameful that owner, Donna Arnold wouldn’t offer Turallure his well earned retirement.
    I watched his sire, Wando run & win Canadian Triple Crown. He’s an amazing horse.
    The fact that Turallure won $600,000 2 years ago at Woodbine and then went on to beat the great Goldikova in the BC Mile is even more incredible. I’m sure his Trainer & Breeder/Owner are just heartbroken & sickened by the permanent $ loss $ of their ‘family like’ pet. It couldn’t be Charles LoPresti had been paying more attention to $ Wise Dan $ because after all, we know his Breeder/Owner is also like family too, I’m sure. They are all one big happy family taking the best care possible of closely-knit equine. Little guys or not…yup, squeezing tightly $$$ till the bitter end.

  5. I agree with you on this. I don’t understand the reason to continue to “go to the well” when a horse has certainly earned his retirement and anyone can see he is “off form”.

  6. Joy, in response to your comment:
    “But why would anyone in the racing industry treat their ill horse?…you’re planning on racing him again, correct? And when you can drop him into a 5K claimer with a 8K purse, that is a great gamble to take. These racehorses are NOT family…family members stay with family, they don’t get claimed away. We know full well a trainer’s stable does not retire to his farm.”

    You’re right, it financially doesn’t make any sense to treat a horse, but that’s what we do anyway, because it’s the RIGHT thing to do. It’s because our racehorses ARE our family, and you do things for your family because you LOVE them, and not because it’s good for your finances. When one of our horses gets sick or injured, we’re not thinking about whether or not they’ll race again. We’re simply worried about whether they’ll wake up tomorrow, whether they’ll enjoy the sun on their backs again. They may or may not race again, we don’t care. We’ve treated claimers, and we’ve treated 30 year old retired lead ponies. It’s not about a profit, it’s about the horses.

    Also, everyone that I personally know in racing either retire their horses to their farm, or they find homes for their horses. We keep them at our barn until we find a satisfactory home. I’ve been to several farms to visit horses who were running in claiming races in the last few years.

    Like I said before, I can’t speak for everyone in the industry because there’s good and bad folks everywhere. There are some people out there who are in racing to make a profit, and they make choices with their pocketbook rather than their heart. It’s the same in show horses, and it’s the same in horse “rescues” (we brought animal cruelty charges against a woman because she acquired more horses than she could care for, she quit paying her bills, so no one would deliver hay, and the vets quit coming, but she wouldn’t get help or sell the horses, and apparently she thought it better that the horses should starve and die on her farm than go anywhere else). However, there’s a lot more racetrackers out there who are living in poverty because they’d rather devote their money to their horses than have a better life themselves.

    You cannot take an entire industry, group everyone together, and generalize us as a bunch of greedy, evil, purveyors of animal cruelty. That’s just not how it is. Closing your eyes and pretending that everyone in horse racing is simply seeking a profit does not make it true.

    • Kristen Neiding, I thought you would understand that my question “Why would anyone in the racing industry treat their ill horse” was just rhetorical. Of course I understand why the racehorse would receive treatment, and that is as I said…to race him/her again. So you are in this industry for a hobby?…just for fun?…because you said it’s not about the profit. Interesting. Please share the name of your racing stable so we can be privy to what YOU say is the truth in racing. Let us put your horses in our virtual stables, let us see they are running drug-free, and let us see your horses don’t run in claiming races. Since they are your “family members”, and you never put profits before you family members, you certainly would not put them in a claiming race. In doing that, you would put your “family member” at risk of being claimed by one of those that you admit is racing to make a profit…one of those “bad folks” that you admit are in every industry.
      You make a good point when you state; “there’s a lot more racetrackers out there who are living in poverty because they’d rather devote their money to their horses than have a better life themselves.” That is a problem that I/we witnessed for years…there were people that had no business owning racehorses BECAUSE they were living at the poverty level! You yourself mentioned the rescue person who took on too many horses and eventually couldn’t financially provide for her horses…well, that same thing holds true for racehorse owners that barely get by. The horse gets injured, or suffers a colic episode, or the price of hay skyrockets…and the owner “living in poverty” has no reserves to properly and adequately care for his charges. We witnessed it, and not just a few times. Horses stood for WEEKS with broken legs without so much a radiograph to diagnose and subsequently treat appropriately! No one should have a horse…NO ONE, whether on the track or off…if they are not financially stable and most certainly, way above the poverty line! Sport of Kings?…no, it has become an industry of paupers.
      And there is no pretending here…quite the contrary as it appears the pretending is going on in your own head. You admonish us to not look at the entire industry as “evil and greedy” because “that’s just not how it is”. Then please explain to us why Congress sees the need to intervene?…why is a Congressional panel meeting again this Thursday in Washington DC to further discuss legislation that would give the federal government strict oversight of racing’s drug, animal welfare, and integrity problems? Racing will not make the changes to put the welfare of the racehorse FIRST and foremost…this industry is ruled by a pervasive drug culture. Our eyes are wide open and will remain so.

      • Joy, Like I said, when we have a sick or injured horse, we don’t care whether it’ll race again. We just want it to live, to be healthy, to be a horse. Remember I also mentioned treating an old retired pony? Again, an animal that’s not going to race, who is never going to earn a profit, a horse who is going to do nothing but eat and sleep. Why save him? Because maybe we’re not such awful people after all! Maybe we have hearts! Maybe we don’t deserve to be demonized.

        No, we’re not in racing for a profit. We have other jobs and have horses for the joy of having horses. While they’re young and have the desire to race them, we do. When they get older, we find them a nice home. One day, I’ll have the funds to retrain them myself for a show career. Right now, we’re working with Old Friends to send our stallion there, since finding him a regular second career is more difficult given that he is intact. All the while, we take pleasure on rubbing on them, feeding them peppermints, carrots, and flat out spoiling them.

        Claiming races are part of the sport. If you’re actually running at the right level, you don’t really need to worry about your horse being claimed. If you drop your horse into too low of claiming ranks just to get a win, then your horse has a good chance of getting claimed. Of all the horses running in claiming races, how many do you think actually get claimed? A few each day across the entire country. Also, what are you gonna do instead? Race your claimer against allowance horses, where it’s not competitive, and it’s going to lose every race? That’s not racing.

        I get that you folks don’t like racing. I’m not here to convince you to love it. But if you attack me and my friends, I’m going to defend myself. This nonsense that we’re some abhorrent scum is unacceptable. This accusation that I have some delusions about racing is also unacceptable. This notion that I’m a greedy money-grubbing person who is cruel to animals is so far from the truth that it’s laughable.  Ive had animals all my life and take pride and joy in caring for them, and in all the years Ive been involved in horse racing, I’ve never turned a profit.  This inflammatory propaganda on this site is so one sided that it requires some balancing reason, which is why people like me are commenting in disagreement. You had to know that we weren’t gonna just sit by calmly while you unfairly group us all as bad people.

        I am all for making positive changes. I don’t have all the answers and I don’t pretend to. I’m glad that Congress is having a hearing. Perhaps someone will come up with a good idea that can bring a change for more safety for the horses. Congress is stepping in to racing like they have in other sports, to review the rules and better enforce them, to inquire into training methods, review the use of drugs and medications. The government is reviewing horse racing like they reviewed baseball several years ago. It’s what the government is supposed to do… Govern. The government has played a role in horse racing before and they will again. Several years ago, the California legislature decided that synthetic tracks were safer, and required tracks to install them. That was a positive change. Positive change is good, and we welcome suggestions for improvement, and new ideas are important for improvement. Negativity does not bring positive change.

        You are absolutely invited to come to our barn and meet our horses, trainers, grooms, etc. Unfortunately, our meet just ended, so you’ll have to come to our farm, but I’d be more than happy to make the arrangements, if you’re serious about being open to acknowledging that our horses are happy and healthy, and that we are actually decent hardworking people. Private message me on Facebook with your phone number and a good time for you to visit.

      • Patrick, I have read several articles on this website, and have found them to be very biased. Propaganda, as google defines it, is: “information, esp. of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.” The website reports nothing but negative articles, with emotionally charged language and pictures, and is designed to attract followers to your cause, that is, to make people hate horse racing, and everyone who is involved in it.

        You can advance your cause and still post more objective news articles, rather than leave it to a few brave souls like myself to report the other side of your articles in the comments (where you’d have to predict that your followers are going to try to rip us to shreds). All of the facts that you post reflect negatively on the racing community, and you leave it to me to comment with the facts that reflect positively on the racing community.

        As an example, you posted an article about horse racing not being a sport, because sports have fans, and horse racing has gamblers, not fans. Clearly, this is an extreme statement. Fact: Horse racing has gamblers. Fact: Horse racing has fans. You can be persuasive while being more objective. An example of a more objective article, while still persuasive, would be: “”For the most part, only the highest levels of horse racing have fans; that is, graded stakes horses, trainers, jockeys, and owners. However, the highest levels of horse racing are a very small percentage of the total amount of horse racing activities that take place across the country each year. While fans attend races at major racetracks on weekends, there are many more races taking place (smaller tracks, weekday racing, etc), and this represents the bulk of the horse racing industry. The people attending those races are typically gamblers, not fans. Since the vast majority of horse racing is attended by gamblers, not fans, it is more of a gambling venture, than a sport. For that reason, we should not recognize horse racing as a legitimate sport.”” While I, personally, would still disagree with that argument, I would respect it as a valid argument, and would not call it propaganda. A horse racing fan who encountered either argument would feel disagreement, but my argument would produce a more mild disagreement, while yours produces a severe and jarring disagreement.

        I am not saying that everything on this website is wrong; I am not saying that the entire website should be taken down; I am not saying that some of your goals are not worthy. I am saying that the facts that you choose to showcase only show the negatives of the industry, and are designed to bring more followers to your cause, rather than to encourage a constructive discussion, or motivate people to change something. That fits the definition of propaganda.

        I’m trying hard to be objective, and to offer constructive criticism. As I explained more fully in a comment yesterday, extremism breeds resistance. When you say that everyone in the racing industry are all very bad people, it’s going to make people mad, and they aren’t going to want to listen to your ideas and work with you at all. Communications break down into fighting and insults. Nothing good is ever produced through fighting and insults.

        If we are ever going to produce a positive change in the horse racing industry, that is going to do something good for the horses, we’re going to have to work together.

        • Perhaps, Kristin, you do not fully understand my intent here. I am not at all interested in reforming the horseracing industry. Being exploitation of an intelligent, sensitive, naturally autonomous species, racing is inherently wrong. No amount of supposed progress (and why is it that a 150-year-old industry must turn to the federal government for parenting?) can change this. Propaganda? Misleading information? Your beloved industry, unlike every true sport on the planet, uses non-consenting animals and calls them athletes.

          Facts, as John Adams once observed, are stubborn things. And here is a giant one: If gambling were removed from horseracing, it would vanish overnight, including the Churchill Downs, Saratogas, and Santa Anitas where, it is rumored, true fans (those there just to watch) abound.

          I fully understand your defense mechanism. I imagine that you were raised in and around racing and were taught that horses are born to run, love to run, are natural competitors. It is difficult to liberate one’s mind from years of conditioning. But conditioning it is. Exploitation is wrong, no matter the form, no matter the species. So while I appreciate your tutorial on the finer points of communication, perhaps it is you who should stop and reflect.

      • Again, Patrick, your response is a lot of rhetoric.

        Before I get into the substance of my comment, it would be appreciated if you could spell my name correctly. I realize it’s only one letter, but it’s a small courtesy, but sometimes small courtesies go a long way. Anyway…

        Your imaginings about my life history are incorrect. I was not involved in horse racing as a child, and I think the first time that I watched a horse race I was 20, and I actually couldn’t have cared less. It was the 2004 Belmont Stakes and Smarty Jones was going for the Triple Crown, so my mom wanted to watch it before we went out to a restaurant for dinner. I was hungry and bored, and I believe what I said to her after the race was something along the lines of “see, the stupid horse didn’t even win the race.” So you can package up all your notions about me having years and years of pro-horse-racing ideas thrust into my head at an early and vulnerable age. And how my brain is merely befuddled by my “conditioning.”

        Your dramatic and eloquent presentation of a “giant” fact dwarfed the fact itself. Of course gambling on the races is what is funding the racetrack that’s hosting the races themselves. No one would deny that (except I believe the Dubai carnival of racing has no betting at the racetrack since gambling is outlawed in the UAE, although there is international betting on the race). Nothing to be stubborn about here, unless you’re campaigning that gambling should be outlawed, in which case, good luck.

        What is left here is our disagreement of the deepest and most fundamental principle: whether or not humans should make use of an “intelligent, sensitive, naturally autonomous species.” Apparently, it would be wrong, not only to race a horse, but also to ride it, jump it, take it to horse shows, restrain it in a stall or pasture, and for that matter, trim their feet, float their teeth, give them dewormers, or provide them with veterinary care, because all of these would violate their autonomy. Presumably, the only thing that we could do that would be right, is open their stall doors, and send them on their way to do as they please. Certainly, we would need to remove dressage, eventing, and show jumping from the Olympics, which cannot be sports, as they are also exploiting another species. All of this must be inherently wrong. Extrapolating that to other species, restraining dogs inside homes, and training them to participate in things like agility courses must also be inherently wrong.

        Even ignoring all of that, and focusing only on horse racing, the change that you are seeking is so drastic, such a complete reversal of history, that it would be impossible to achieve and implement. Horse racing has existed for millenniums. It is popular on every continent on Earth, except, of course, Antarctica. I have read, and understand, your mission statement, which is to abolish horse racing within your lifetime. The only misunderstanding here, is why two groups of people who have such similar concerns (the welfare of the horses), find themselves at such odds.

        If we could each set aside our fundamental disagreement, we could work together to help our beloved equine. But, as you said, you have no interest in reform. And, since compromise has to go both ways, you and I can never work toward a mutual goal. It’s a shame. Sincerely, it really is a shame.

        • “Again, Patrick, your response is a lot of rhetoric.” What does that even mean? All of this is rhetoric. Anyway, some questions: Have you, or any of the good people you know, ever had a horse break down or euthanized back in the barn? Have you, or any of the good people you know, ever entered a horse in a claiming race or otherwise sold one? Can you, and all the good people you know, attest to the well-being of all former charges? Can you, and all the good people you know, guarantee that none of your former runners went to slaughter? Didn’t think so. Family members? You insult us.

          So here it is, you believe it acceptable to exploit horses for personal gain; I do not. And yes, I extend that to all domesticated animals. It appears, Kristen, we are at an impasse.

      • Oh, Patrick.

        Rhetoric, as defined by Google: “language designed to have a persuasive or impressive effect on its audience, but often regarded as lacking in sincerity or meaningful content.” What that even means is this… you certainly have a talent for eloquent writings and grandiose ethics, but the meaning and your desire to bring change and do good in this world is all lost in your extremism. For example: “You believe it acceptable to exploit horses.” The use of the word “exploit.” I ride horses too. I have pets. I’ve felt the connection between animal and human when we join together in a common task. And yet you call this exploitation. Ha.

        To answer your questions:

        Have you, or any of the good people you know, ever had a horse break down or euthanized back in the barn?
        No. Of the horses I’ve had interaction with over the years, 3 have died. One died of a mysterious, and fast moving infection. It started on a Tuesday morning, we called the vet to the barn, he couldn’t identify the cause, but gave him medications, told us to keep an eye on it. It spread. We put him on the trailer to take him to the best vet clinic in the state, and he died on the way there. Even paid to have an autopsy done, and it didn’t show the cause. The second was an older grey thoroughbred mare (in her late 20s, not sure of her exact age). She had several melanomas that burst, which is a common condition in grey horses, as I’m sure you’re aware. The third was a 30 year old lead pony who suffered a bout of colic while in his pasture. We worked on him all day. Gave him fluids, rubbed his belly, stopped him from rolling, etc. We gave him every opportunity, but he couldn’t get better. It was one of the hardest days of my life.

        Have you, or any of the good people you know, ever entered a horse in a claiming race or otherwise sold one?
        Of course horses go in claiming races. Of course when horses retire, we find them new homes. And of course other parts of the horse world sell horses too, and for quite a bit more money than we ever have. Have I ever made a profit off a horse? No… They have cost me far more than I have ever earned off of one.

        Can you, and all the good people you know, attest to the well-being of all former charges?
        Yes. I know exactly where all of my former racers are. I have visited them. I do know how well they’re being cared for.

        Can you, and all the good people you know, guarantee that none of your former runners went to slaughter?
        Yes, see previous answer.

        “Didn’t think so. Family members? You insult us.” — Inflammatory statement. And I think I’m more insulted than you. It must be a lonely place, sitting at the moral high-ground all alone, while you watch everyone fail to perform to your standards.

        Patrick, you have no idea what good or bad I’ve done in my life, and yet here you sit, behind your computer screen, judging me, personally attacking me. And it really is a shame, sir, that you would prefer to stick to your extreme ethics and your judgmental nature, when you really could do some good for animals in this world. If you peta people would ease back a bit and work with us spca people more, combining our numbers could give us a better advantage. Yes, I, an evil horse racing participant, am also an spca member. Not only that, I’ve worked on animal cruelty cases, and worked on the prosecutions of these people, and am part of the reason that some of them are behind bars. And yet I “insult” you. We’re not much different you and I.

        • rhetoric: The art or study of using language effectively and persuasively. (The American Heritage Dictionary)
          rhetoric: the art of using speech to persuade, influence, or please; oratory (Collins English Dictionary)
          rhetoric: language skillfully used. (Random House)

          I think it’s time you peddle your specious rationalizations elsewhere. Horseracing Wrongs is committed to the end of horseracing. We have no common ground.

  7. Kristen, great idea to start a rescue! Since you support this industry that drugs horses, races them with injuries, and hands them off for slaughter, why don’t you start a rescue and I’ll contribute $50 towards the first horse! How does that sound? I just rescued 4 horses out of a low level track here in Ohio in early August. Can I count on you to help? They had to be “gone” immediately! Where were the racing enthusiasts? Nowhere to be found! Dirty secrets? Too many to mention including illegal drugs. Don’t kid yourself. Some tracks don’t report breakdowns. Can you work to change that?

    • Yes, Mary, one day, when I have the funds, I will be more than happy to have a rescue where I can take other people’s horses. Until then, we will continue with keeping our horses until we can find good homes for them. One day, I will have the funds to do what some of my friends have done, and start a business of retraining OTTBs for show careers, and find them good homes after that.

      No one that I am associated with allows their horses to go to slaughter. The number of thoroughbreds in show careers is proof that racehorses do not go straight to slaughter. We do not race our horses if they are injured, we don’t drug our horses to keep them going. I have said many times that there are bad people in racing, like there are bad people in showing and bad people in rescues. But attacking the good people is not the answer.

      Breakdowns aren’t really a secret if they’re posted right there in the equibase chart. Racetrackers will be the first ones to tell you that racing is dangerous, that horses get hurt, and they fear having a horse come back from a race injured. All of this is out there for everyone to know. That’s hardly a secret. The fact that horses are tested after races for illegal medication is also not a secret. The fact that horse slaughter exists is not a secret either.

      I’m thrilled that you saved a bunch of horses this year. I fully support that. I just don’t see how criticizing people on the internet is in any way helpful. If there were specific people that you were criticizing, and had actual facts of things they had done wrong, and were campaigning for their license to be revoked, then I could support your efforts. But I cannot support an effort to generalize and demonize everyone involved. And since you reassured us that you’re going to continue, I’ll reassure you that whenever anyone is posting one sided arguments with inflammatory rhetoric, I will counter with a more reasonable balanced argument.

      • Many pro-racing enthusiasts profess to “love” their horses and I’m sure some of them do. An example of a “loved” horse is Cuban Carmen. She was “loved”, especially when she was winning. However, by early August, 2013, she was no longer “loved”. She was a three legged horse and had been destroyed by the racing industry. I stepped up for her and found her a safe place to go. I “loved” her even though I hadn’t made a dime on her and I contributed $100 towards her shipping costs to her new home as a pasture pet. She is only 7 years old. Shameful? Yes, but not unusual.

      • And, Kristen, Cuban Carmen is ONE of racing’s dirty secrets. There are hundreds more. I would never want to publicly criticize those that damaged her. Heck, she was like a member of the family!

      • Mary,

        The blurb that you have posted about Cuban Carmen is not responsive to my comment, and suggests that you are more interested in provoking me to fight with you than in having a productive conversation.

        You can post all day about bad people in horse racing hurting horses, implying that horse racing in general is bad, including everyone involved in horse racing. I can post all day about good people in horse racing helping horses, proving there are good people in the sport. I can also post all day about bad people outside of horse racing hurting horses, proving that there are bad people outside the sport. Is that helping anything? Is that changing anything? No. It’s just two people having an argument on the internet. Like I said in my previous comment, I don’t see how that is in any way helpful, so I am not going to waste my time having such a squabble with you, or anyone. Having a constructive conversation about the strategy of making changes in horse racing is one thing. Having an argument with no constructive end is another.

        Regarding your comment, “I would never want to publicly criticize those that damaged her,” I would like to reference you back to this statement from my previous comment: “If there were specific people that you were criticizing, and had actual facts of things they had done wrong, and were campaigning for their license to be revoked, then I could support your efforts.” You should absolutely criticize the specific people who damaged Cuban Carmen, and, as I said in my previous statement, I would support your efforts to campaign to have their licenses revoked. However, criticizing me for the wrongs done to a mare that I never met, and who never even set foot on my racetrack, and whose owners I’ve never seen or spoken to is not appropriate. As I said, I will not support your attempts to generalize and demonize everyone in the horse racing industry based on individual cases.

        I have countless times admitted that there are bad people involved in racing. The racing connections of Cuban Carmen clearly did not treat her as a family member, but that does not mean that all horses are treated this way. It certainly does not mean that my horses are treated that way. And it absolutely does not mean that my horses are not loved members of my family. As I have offered before, should you like to have an open mind about me, my friends, and our horses, you are more than welcome to come verify that our horses are healthy and happy, and meet the good people who care for them, better than they care for themselves, since they are members of our family.

      • Kristen, I’m sure you are sick of hearing from me by now but I continue to mull over what you have said concerning the need to focus on the positives rather than the negatives when it comes to racing. You have also stated that there are no “dirty secrets” in racing. I find that statement very troubling. I am going to state my thoughts here and the way I view the situation and I want you to comment with your thoughts. There is NO doubt in my mind that racing insiders know that horses are drugged, raced with injuries and, either directly or indirectly, handed off for slaughter. You certainly know that to be true because you have said so. However, if you were doing a survey with mainstream America, and you asked 100 people what happens to horses when their racing days are over, I would bet that 80% of them would say that the horses are retired to the owner’s farm. If you asked if horses ever run with slab fractures (significant injuries), I would bet that the majority of the general public would believe that horses do NOT run with injuries and are given time off to heal from injuries. As we both know, the general public is virtually “clueless” when it comes to what goes on behind closed doors in racing. I have shared with many people that our beloved racehorses go to slaughter, and, even those who know it happened in the past, now believe that it has stopped because the plants here in the states were shut down a number of years ago. Now, if the public, in general, doesn’t know about what really happens to many of our horses, then it would seem that they are in the dark and I firmly believe that the racing industry wants to keep it that way. Racing enthusiasts do NOT want the truth out there because that is very bad for business! In other words, let’s keep the atrocities a SECRET from the public. A perfect example would be the two billboards that we put up at Mountaineer after Deputy Broad went to slaughter. The Mountaineer officials were horrified that the truth was told on the main road leading into Mountaineer and leading away from Mountaineer. You want to focus on the positives but, unless you showcase the negatives, there is NO reason for the industry to change. In other words, it is business as usual. If the public is educated to the point that they are nauseated about what really happens, they will stay away from the tracks and not gamble on the horses. Without the gambling, racing would go away. Therefore, I disagree with you that there are no “secrets” in the industry, especially dirty ones because, if people really knew what transpired, they would begin to put pressure on the industry with what counts the most – MONEY! You are very proud of the way you take care of your horses and I have no doubt that you provide for them extremely well. I’m sure they get the best grain, hay, supplements, etc., just as mine do. You have no secrets. You are an open book and have invited Joy to visit the barn where your horses are kept and I applaud you for that. However, we both know that not everyone is like you. For the thousands of horses that don’t have you as an owner, how can we get the word out there about their plight in life? I have always thought that there should be a billboard close to every track in the country. Let the public know the truth and then have confidence in them to make the right decision to either gamble or not gamble. I could share example after example with you but I’m not sure you would ever change your mind but I do know that shining a light on the “dirty secrets” has made the public more aware and I have no intention of preventing that awareness.

        Finally, you made a point that the person, or persons, that destroyed Cuban Carmen, Wakiwickedwarrior, Ruby Red Breast, Bionic Brine, Shanty Hill Road, Brave Miner, Slade and on and on and on, should be punished for his or her deeds and I couldn’t agree with you more. However, you obviously have no knowledge of low level tracks. If we threw everyone off the backside of low level tracks HERE in Ohio who ran their horses into the ground, there would be no racing! That would be a happy day for me, but there are people who would be mighty unhappy about that. Several years ago, I was having a conversation with a lady here in central Ohio about all the horses racing with injuries. I guessed it was 60%. She said she believed that it was closer to 80%! Even if it is only 50%, it is shameful and you should be embarrassed to be part of an industry that has so little regard for the horses that put money into the pockets of those that own and race them. I am now asking YOU and your colleagues who support this atrocious industry to stand up for the horses. YOU should go to the racing officials and DEMAND that things change. RACING IS YOUR INDUSTRY. IT ISN’T MINE! The freaking racing industry won’t listen to me. I am a NOBODY because I don’t put a dime into their coffers but they will listen to YOU! Without people like you, the industry goes down the tubes! It isn’t enough that you take care of your own horses. You have a responsibility to help all the other horses, too, because, anyone with half of a brain knows that the racing industry depends on the low level, broken down horses to keep the wheels a turning. I am calling on ALL the “hot shots” in racing to get into the trenches and help me help the horses. As you can see, Kristen, this is a VERY emotional issue for me and I am at the end of my rope with the freaking racing industry. Today I got a call about a 5 year old TB gelding that is “done” racing and needs a place to go and here comes Mary Johnson, the “sucker” yet the little girls that post on HW FB page keep telling me how all those horses get “good” homes with “good” people. Really, girls? This horse has raced 30 times and has won $3500. Therefore, I would call him a “low level” horse but, in my eyes, he is just as important as any other horse at the track and he is just is just as important as any of your horses. Therefore, let’s continue to get the dirty secrets out in the public domain so that we can educate people on what really goes on and let’s get people, such as yourself, to step up for ALL these horses that have nowhere to go. Can I count on you to help?

  8. Sorry, Kristen, the racing industry will never change unless forced to do so. I’ve played “nice” for years. It didn’t work so I am done with that.

    • Kristen, no, you did not damage Cuban Carmen and I’m sure you can figure out the culprits by looking her up on Equibase. However, a trainer can’t lose his or her license for running a horse with minor injuries which become major injuries yet it happens all the time, especially at the low level tracks. No one is punished for damaging a horse beyond repair. Yes, you might say, it is just one horse, but one is way too many, in my opinion. You want to change racing for the better? How do you propose to do that? Do the “hot shots” in racing listen to you or anyone else?

      • Mary, I, by no means, intended to downplay the significance of Cuban Carmen. Of course I agree that mistreatment of “just one horse” is too many. While Cuban Carmen may be “just one horse,” to the mare, herself, her treatment is all the difference in the world. What I am saying is that you can’t demonize me for the treatment of a horse who I never met. It’s the same as demonizing all people who drive cars because some people drive drunk. It’s irrational.

        Yes, Mary, yes, I want to change racing for the better. I always have, and I have said it all along. Do racing’s “hot shots” listen? The answer, as always, is both yes and no. There are a few members of racing’s elite (owners, trainers, organization leaders, etc) that I, as one small person, could contact, and have a conversation with. There are also those who would not be willing to listen to one person, but would take notice of hundreds of racing fans who are all asking for the same thing (there is power in numbers, after all). Then there are those people who would refuse to change, until forced to do so by rules implemented by the racetrack or the racing commission.

        There have been several improvements in racing over the past decade. The racing industry:
        – Experimented with synthetic surfaces to see if they prevented injuries.
        – Implemented the safety alliance where the NTRA reviews each racetrack’s safety.
        – Declared that people selling their horses to slaughter will be ruled off the track.
        – Banned anabolic steroids.
        – Improved the jockey’s whip to prevent excess pain to the horse.
        – Improved medical treatment of racehorses, healing injuries that were once a death sentence, through means such as stem cell research.
        – Funding research for a cure for laminitis.
        – Created the Fan Advisory Counsel to provide fans a stronger voice in the governing of horse racing.
        – Instituting and expanding thoroughbred aftercare programs. For example, Three Chimneys has a fund to save horses that once had a connection to their farm, that are found in need, like your Cuban Carmen.
        – Set several precedents with lengthy suspensions, to give people the message that violations of the rules will not be tolerated, and will be severely punished.

        Is that enough? No, of course not. We can always be making improvements. The industry is currently weighing the costs and benefits of banning lasix, and the Breeders Cup experimented with a lasix ban. Progress moves step by step, and things don’t go from bad to perfect overnight. But we are making progress.

  9. Kristen, I appreciate your response which to me feels sincere and genuine. I truly would like to communicate with you about issues in racing. I have said this before on this website and will say it again…I used to love horse racing. But I don’t anymore…and that about face did not happen overnight. Your responses have not been inflammatory which leads me to believe I could ask you honest questions…pointed questions…regarding what is truly good and kind and humane for the horse and how I cannot come to grips with racing being any of those things. Thank you…I will look to find you on FB at some time soon.

    • Joy, I thank you for hearing me out, and replying with a calm, rational, and reasonable response. This is certainly a heated issue, and brings out the tempers in both sides, which often causes a constructive discussion to dissolve into fruitless name calling. Some of my friends are guilty of this, just as some people that I’ve had arguments with are guilty too. I, personally, find arguing for the sake of arguing to be very exhausting. I will stand up for myself, my friends, a cause that I believe in, etc., but I prefer to do so calmly, with facts and reason, rather than personal attacks and insults.

      It is my belief that both sides have something to offer, and if we actually worked together, we may be able to achieve some actual change. No good is going to come from either side alone. You have the extreme pro-racing folks on one side, and the extreme anti-racing folks on the other side. The extreme pro-racing folks are not going to initiate change, and the anti-racing folks are trying to initiate such an extreme change, that they’re going to meet with nothing but resistance, and consequently, will achieve very little.

      I made a comment on facebook today likening this horse racing argument to a dog with fleas. Here is the more in depth analogy. On the one hand, the pro-racing folks give too weak of a suggestion (“lets just put a flea collar on the dog and it will be ok!”); on the other hand, the anti-racing folks give too severe of a suggestion (“well, we’ll just kill the dog, that’ll get rid of the fleas!”). Obviously, neither side is actually going to be successful. A flea collar will not be enough to kill the fleas, and what’s the point of killing the fleas if you killed the dog too. Furthermore, if you have very stubborn people on each side suggesting such extreme views, they’re both going to roll their eyes at each other, and tell each other that their ideas are stupid. Then people get offended, everyone gets defensive, no one is able to reason with each other, and people start shouting and throwing insults.

      We all should rally around what we have in common, which is the welfare of the horses. We pro-racing folks need to make concessions, we need to agree to abide by rules and restrictions, we need to accept changes even though they may seem like inconveniences, because they may bring positive outcomes. You anti-racing folks need to agree to take things one step at a time, be patient with us as we transition, and accept that while we may not be heading for a total abolition of racing (which is the end result that you’d prefer), that we are heading for a better and safer version of racing. While you need to remember that racing has made changes in the last several years (we tried installing synthetic tracks to make the surface safer, tracks have outlawed slaughter and declared that people who are caught sending their horses to slaughter will be ruled off the track, we have outlawed the use of anabolic steroids, etc), and we need to remember to keep moving forward, to zealously enforce our rules, and to accept new regulations.

      As a proponent of the pro-racing side, the main initiative that I would take is something that I’ve never seen one of you anti-racing proponents suggest. That is: I don’t think that they should be able to breed stallions who are 4 or younger. It has become increasingly common these last few years to race a horse for only 5-10 starts, and rush him away to the breeding shed. Sometimes, people retire a sound horse, but often times, the reason the horse is retired is because of an injury or a soundness issue. For some reason, people breed their mares to these sires despite the probability of inheriting a genetic predisposition to injuries or soundness issues, and what we have ended up with is a seriously weaker breed. Look at the breeding popularity of Big Brown. Here’s a horse from an unethical ownership group, from an unethical trainer, with the worst inbreeding I’ve seen in a major stallion in years, who was admittedly the biggest steroid freak this century, and who had some of the weakest feet around. Yet people are still paying big bucks to breed to this horse. Compare our racehorses to those from 50 years ago. Our horses don’t have as long of careers, they don’t race as often, they don’t race the kind of distances that they used to. It’s because of a lot of factors, but a major contributor is that we bred them wrong. And now that we’ve weakened the breed, all the drug restrictions and safer surfaces that we make are not enough to prevent injuries. Requiring the extra year of racing will help fish out which horses are deserving of being sires, and which ones had a couple flashy races as 2 year olds, then fizzled out, or which horses couldn’t remain sound long enough to have a real career. Implementing this rule would give us the added bonus of seeing our 3 year old heros perform into their 4 year old year, so this would be good for the breed and racing. It seems like a no brainer to me, but I’m a little guy (or girl, as it were), and I don’t exactly know how to make this happen on my own. Apparently, the standardbred industry (harness racing), has already implemented this rule, and have seen their 3 year old stars return to racing as 4 year olds.

      Again, Joy, thank you for listening. I much prefer this approach of having a constructive discussion, to the nonsensical insulting arguments that I have seen thus far.

      • Kristen, I wanted to respond to your post but I needed some time to get my thoughts together. I have no doubt that you love horses and consider them members of your “family”. I have repeatedly said that there are some good people in racing, not many, but a few and you could very well be one of the “best”. I don’t know you so I can’t really say either way but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and will say that I agree with Joy. You seem genuine, at least here on this blog. However, I am offended by your comment that several articles on this site are “biased”. Patrick states the truth. Stating the truth is NOT being biased and, if you believe that, then we obviously have different definitions of the word. There are many pro-racing enthusiasts who are unhappy that the “negative” stories are told and not the “positive” ones. However, I am now going to share with a TRUE story that is, once again, negative. If you read it, you will better understand why I despise the racing industry.

        It is in the spring of 2008 and this story takes place at a low level track in West Virginia – Mountaineer. There is a group of horse lovers who are working together to prove Mountaineer horses go to slaughter. Of course, at that time, the contract kill buyers are allowed to freely work the backside of the track as they are allowed to work the backside of every track in this country. Ryan Goldberg is filming a special for HBO and he is involved with the undercover investigation. Just to be clear, there are many people involved who are attempting to shine a light on racing’s “dirty secrets”. I think you have said that they aren’t “dirty secrets” in racing. I hope this story will convince you otherwise.

        The story has a main character – No Day Off, a TB mare that recently ran at the cesspool track – Mountaineer. The film crew follows her as she is handed off to the kill buyer on the backside. This wonderful horse, that I’m sure was loved by her “family”, loads onto the truck and the video shows her being beaten. The truck is followed to the slaughter house in Canada and it is documented that she is “processed” at the plant The HBO documentary is shown throughout the country and Bryant Gumble is the host of the documentary. Now, I’m sure you will say that the “goals” of the HBO documentary aren’t “worthy” because they focus on one of racing’s dirty secrets – slaughter – but the documentary does state the truth.

        It is interesting to note that it is because of the HBO documentary that Mountaineer initiates a “no horse to slaughter” policy. It is very “positive” and looks wonderful on paper. However, as everyone knows, unless a policy is enforced, it isn’t worth the paper it is printed on. We must also realize that Mountaineer initiated this new policy because they go caught with their “pants down”. I am sure that the “hot shots” at Mountaineer were devastated that they lost No Day Off who, I am sure, was like “family” to them! If you believe that, then you are drinking the racing industry’s “juice”. The policy was initiated in an attempt to do damage control. They needed to keep the money rolling in!!!

        Now, wouldn’t you think that, after the documentary is shown throughout the country, “positive” changes would come about in racing? I think anyone with minimal intelligence would agree with that, but, unfortunately, that doesn’t happen. Fast forward to July, 2011. I get a call from one of my contacts at Mountaineer who is concerned that a horse, Deputy Broad, has been handed off to a trainer by the name of Danny R. Bird. Bird is known to hand his horses off for slaughter. I immediately jump into action and reach out to my contacts in an attempt to save Deputy’s life. I actually speak to Bird on the phone. He tells me Deputy is with Fred Bauer. I am desperately trying to save Deputy’s life and I am overcome with fear that I might be too late, I am on the phone with Bauer, a contract kill buyer here in Ohio, and I tell him that I will pay $5000 if he will sell the horse to me. I am crying uncontrollably. Bauer calmly replies that Deputy was “processed” the day before at a Canadian plant. At that point, I turn on the racing industry with a new vengeance.

        Of course, we have to remember the “positives” and one of the “positives” is that Mountaineer has a “no horse to slaughter” policy so I am comforted that Bird will now be served up in a skillet! He will be ruined for what he did to Deputy and I am determined to make that happen.

        I contact Ms. Rose Mary Williams, Racing Director at Mountaineer. I share Deputy’s story with her and I insist that she abide by HER track’s rules. She is somewhat cordial on the phone and asks for documentation. I provide the documentation that she requests. The “hot shots” call Bird into the racing office. Williams asks him if he sent Deputy to slaughter. Bird says “no” and then Williams asks him to sign an affidavit attesting to that statement. He signs and goes his merry way. I am enraged to hear this. Bird has lied and Williams covers for him. Of course, one of the “positives” in racing is that they need to fill the race cards so, even though Bird is involved in slaughter, the races need to go on.

        When Bird is allowed to go his merry way, I call Williams and I speak to her on the phone. I ask her if she knows that Mountaineer horses go to slaughter. She replies that she has no evidence that they do so. I ask her if she remembers the story of NO DAY OFF, and she calmly tells me that she doesn’t remember the HBO documentary. Now, Kristen, this documentary was shown throughout the country and it is BECAUSE OF THIS DOCUMENTARY THAT MOUNTAINEER INSTITUTED A NO HORSE TO SLAUGHTER POLICY!!! Therefore, I know that Williams is either lying or she is incredibly stupid, perhaps a bit of both. I tell her that she is a liar and she has Deputy’s blood on her hands. She denies that she does and promptly hangs up on me.

        Within months of Deputy being “processed” at a Canadian plant, a group of us are able to put two billboards up close to Mountaineer property. They have a stock photo of a bay horse (Deputy was a bay) and they have a message…ASK MOUNTAINEER TO ENFORCE THEIR NO HORSE TO SLAUGHTER POLICY. Of course, the “hot shots” at Mountaineer want to keep everything “positive” so they approach Lamar, the billboard company, and apply pressure for Lamar to take the boards down. Bad publicly is NOT good for the track. Remember – only positives! .Mountaineer is Lamar’s biggest advertiser in that part of West Virginia and Lamar abides by their request and takes both boards down. They have been up for about a week. It is interesting to note that we actually had some racing supporters that were thrilled by the billboards, but then we also had some pro-racing enthusiasts who, just like you, viewed the boards as being “negative”. I guess you shouldn’t tell the truth if the truth is “negative”. One girl, who is a member of a WV racing family, tells me that I need to be “patient” when it comes to shutting down the slaughter pipeline at the tracks. I ask her TWICE how long I should be patient – 5 years, 10 years, or 20 years? She never responds.

        Fast forward to May 4th, 2012. I get a call from one of my contacts that Cactus Cafe and Canuki have “disappeared” from Beulah Park. They were handed off by their owner/trainer, Ms. Barbara Price, for $150 a piece. She had sold them to Mr. Mark Wedig, a kill buyer middleman and he had hauled them off the track on Tuesday afternoon, May 1st. I had found a rescue to take them and I had planned on picking them up on Saturday, May 5th. I knew the horses were in danger because a contact at Mountaineer had told me that Wedig was a kill buyer middleman. NOW, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT MOUNTAINEER HAS A NO HORSE TO SLAUGHTER POLICY IN PLACE YET A KILL BUYER MIDDLEMAN IS STILL OPERATING ON THE BACKSIDE OF THE TRACK IN 2012. There are many of us who worked feverishly to “save” those two horses and a track official at Beulah Park provided documentation to the Canadian plant that BOTH horses were filled with drugs. By the way, Kristen, that is another “dirty secret” of your industry – drugs!! In the meantime, the “star of the show”, Ms. Williams, calls Wedig into her office and asks him if he sent Cactus and Canuki to slaughter. Just like the Bird man, he lies and says “no”. Williams asks Wedig to sign an affidavit attesting to the fact that he hasn’t sent the horses to slaughter. Wedig signs and goes on his merry way, By the way, does this story sound familiar to you? However, now the story takes a “positive” turn! Both horses are INSIDE the plant but, because their drug history has been documented, they are rejected by the plant! WOW! Now Williams is caught with her “pants down” and she is very upset. Wedig lied to her! How could that be? The Wedig guy is now in deep shit. Williams doesn’t care about the horses but she does care about Wedig making a fool out of her. There is much more to the story but the horses are sent back to the states and they are now both safe. In fact, I own one of them. Wedig lost his license in WV and Ohio and will probably be banned for life, although I don’t know that for sure. The irony is that Wedig isn’t the only kill buyer middleman at the tracks. They are all over but he is the one that got caught. I guess I know more about the “dirty secrets” of the racing industry than you thought I did.

        I am going to provide you with the links to the story of NO DAY OFF. Did she deserve to be slaughtered just because she wasn’t a Zenyatta? No, she didn’t. Therefore, you are free to call what I have posted here “propaganda” but it is the truth. I never was crazy about horse racing even as a kid. I was always worried about the horses breaking down but I did tolerate it. However, I have seen too many horror stories and if you really think that these horses are “family” members, then you are living in the enchanted forest.

        .
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04mvw6tTHrs

        I want to thank you for taking the time to read my “story”. I hope you better understand why I will never be deterred in my attempt to shut down racing for good

  10. By the way, Kristen, I personally know Becky Care who is in the first video. You should realty talk to her sometime. She worked at Mountaineer for quite some time and I’m sure you could fill you in on some of the “negatives” at the track. Oh, I forgot, We only want to focus on the positives!

    • I’m sorry Mary, but I seem to have gotten lost somewhere in your train of thought. I’ve looked back through the comments here, and I can’t figure out what video you’re talking about. I don’t know a Becky Care, and I don’t typically frequent Mountaineer.

      If you’d like to fill me in, perhaps I could respond, and continue this intelligent and constructive conversation, or we could do so when you come to meet me and see that my horses are well cared for, and that we aren’t bad people just because we are involved in horse racing.

      Oh, I forgot, you’re not interested in constructive conversation or in having an open mind, only interested in demonizing me and making sarcastic comments!

      • Kristen, would you mind if I shared my “story” with you on FB privately? My comment is so long that it is awaiting moderation but, if you read it, I hope you will understand a couple of the reasons that I have turned against racing. I NEVER said that you didn’t take care of your horses. There are some good people in racing, but not many. I have made that comment hundreds of times but no one seems to comprehend what I have stated. Please let me know if I can copy and paste to you privately. The links are included. I guess I was a bit long winded!

      • Kristen, my post is now available for viewing. It is very long and I do apologize for that but the story I have told is the truth although it is hard to read if you truly care about our beloved horses. I am asking you to read it in its entirety and I hope you will understand why I feel the way I do. When No Day Off and Deputy Broad were slaughtered, the racing industry should have gone crazy. They should have joined forces and marched on the tracks. The “hot shots”, including Jerry and Ann Moss, should have told the tracks to clean up their act or they were leaving the industry. None of that happened. It is all lip service. Again, I am NOT saying that you would send a horse to slaughter or your friends send them to slaughter, but, when a horse travels downward through the claiming ranks, many wind up in a very bad place. Approximately 20,000 TB’s are slaughtered every years. That means that about 70% of the foal crop will eventually end up in the slaughter pipeline. I find that horrific. I hope you do. too. I also think you need to understand that I have been involved with TB’s for over 50 years. This isn’t my first time up to home plate.

    • Mary, I’m happy your “story” has been posted more. Thank you.
      Every MPP in Canada needs to see it and hopefully support Bill C-322
      Personally, I no longer care what a lot of people from pro racing try to argue.
      Liars and Thieves everywhere. Ya know, when Patrick put up the ‘Sports have Fans,
      Horseracing has Gamblers’ piece, it got me thinking even more about Ontario TB that leave here each winter for Beulah Thistle Finger Lakes Penn Charlestown Mountaineer etc.
      For instance, right now one of the many, many horses I have on my watch list include
      T D Bob … He was bred by Osprey Stable, and doesn’t really want to be on the track. Currently at Parx, 22 starts Maiden Claiming. This gelding finished 10th, 10th, 8th, 6th, 8th and again 8th in last races. The broodmare of T D Bob is or was named Thoughtful Deed….owned by KINGHAVEN FARMS and Tracy Attfield. Her total race earnings amounted to a whopping $53 I wonder if this is a unusual example of what David Wilmot, former CEO of Woodbine has passed while collecting $1 million or so ? …annually

      • Jo-Anne, is the horse running in claimers? If so, do u have the money to claim? If not, get the trainer’s number from the racing office and call him/her and tell them you want the horse when it is “done” racing. Where do u live? If you get the horse and need a place to stash it for a couple of weeks, I can help. I am in Ohio. Are u on FB? I can try to friend you.

      • Jo-Anne, I am within driving distance of Parx. I tried to find you on FB, but couldn’t. If u want to connect privately, I’m sure Patrick would facilitate.

  11. Yes, Mary email would be great. Patrick doesn’t mind!! I’m wishing a safe landing for quite a few sore/tiring thoroughbreds.Of course, at disposable lowest level claiming races.
    Another Parx based gelding named D’Wild Affair is a half-brother to my mare.
    He is 8 yrs old with earnings of $249k A while back, I talked to trainer before new claim
    and told him not to let this horse in the wrong hands after he is finished running.
    It is so difficult to find good caring,honest people in the horse industry overall.
    I understand that Canadian meat plant contract buyer, Brian Moore lives a 20min drive
    from Penn National. I’m sure you’ve seen his handy paperwork posted online.
    No falsified EID right? And good old Penn Gaming is tied with Casino Rama here in Ontario. rip turallure…money is root of all evil.Hope his past owner is feeling guilty now

    • Jo-Anne, I privately emailed you my phone number. Here in Ohio, we have Fred Bauer, the contract kill buyer who sends his horses to Richelieu. He is within an hour of Beulah and 3 hours of River Downs and Thistledown. He told me and my husband, a few years ago, that his men make a weekly trip through Lexington to pick up horses. I wouldn’t be surprised if the barren TB broodmares are loaded on his trucks.

      • And Jo-Anne and Mary, as you know, here in Michigan we have one of the largest suppliers of horses to a Canadian slaughterhouse…Jaron/Jaroslav Gold. Gold not only is a huge supplier of horses to slaughter, but also a licensed racing TB owner. A few months ago, Gold claimed a filly at Churchill. Amazing, eh??…a track that exclaims its zero tolerance of slaughter allows a well known, “prominent” kill buyer to take a filly from their track! What a tragic, sick joke.

      • Thanks Mary, I got your email. Talk soon.
        Also, Joy….I think most Canadian taxpayers do NOT wish to provide funding for Meat Inspections on (Churchill Downs horseowner/kill buyer) Gold’s OTTB

    • Joy, yes, I remember Jaron Gold from the kill auction we attended in Shipshewana in March, 2008, and he is a licensed trainer but has been involved with slaughter for years and years. The racing enthusiasts must be “mighty proud” to have him as part of their industry. By the way, you have to go to the Paulick Report and read about the trainers at Penn National who have been accused of fraud. They have allegedly injected illegal drugs into racehorses! Can you imagine that! I thought there were only “good” people in racing but I guess I was wrong (LOL)!

      • I haven’t been following along on this conversation, and still have 9 emails marked as unread that I need to read, but an email notification for this was just delivered to my inbox and I accidentally clicked on it and read through it. The only comment I care to make is that this comment (“Can you imagine that! I thought there were only “good” people in racing but I guess I was wrong (LOL)!”) is completely unreasonable. No one said there were only good people in racing. No one.

        Clearly you get a kick out of making fun of me. That’s nice, I hope it gives you a warm fuzzy cuddly feeling inside. Especially when I’ve been kind and respectful to you.

  12. Kristen, you have been sarcastic to me in your comments, as well. Also, you said that Patrick was publishing propaganda. That is NOT respectful nor is it kind, In addition, it is untrue. You also told me that there were no “dirty secrets” in horse racing. A perfect example would be the “dirty secrets” that were exposed today at Penn. Yes, injecting horses with illegal drugs needs to be kept behind closed doors in order to keep it a secret. Therefore, your comment was untrue. Sarcasm doesn’t bother me but lies do.

    • My assessment of this website is that it is propaganda, and I was very respectful when posting the definition of propaganda and explaining how this website fits that definition. Expressing disagreement with something does not mean that you are being disrespectful of it. You can simultaneously disagree and be respectful.

      Everyone knows that there are things wrong with horse racing. Horses get injured, bad owners let their horses go to slaughter, bad trainers drug their horses, push them beyond their limitations, and sometimes injure them beyond repair, bad jockeys will push a horse too far, etc. My assessment is that these things are common knowledge, and therefore are not secrets. You are more than welcome to disagree with my assessment, but you can do so without twisting my words, and accusing me of lying.

      You know full well that I never said that everyone in racing is “good.” In fact, you’ll find several instances where I admit that there are bad people everywhere, including in racing. You also know that I have been personally targeted for wrongs done by other people in the industry, under the theory that since I am in the industry too, I must also be a wrongdoer. Did you really expect me not to stand up for myself?

      Mary, we are both rational adults. I would think that two rational adults would be capable of having an intelligent and reasonable debate without the sarcasm.

  13. Kristen, I have stated repeatedly that I believe you take good care of your horses. I have also repeatedly said that there are a few good people in racing, not many, but a few. You could be the best of the best. You don’t have to post a definition of propaganda. I have a BS degree and an MBA. It isn’t as if I quite school in the ninth grade and I need help defining a fairly common word. There is no need to “put me down”. I don’t know everything there is to know but I don’t need to be patronized. A couple of days ago, I posted a very long message to this blog with the hope that you might try to understand why I despise racing. The stories are not propaganda. They are the truth. You got back to me and said you were busy but would read what I had said when you got a chance. That is fine with me. I am busy, too, and I do work full time. You are also correct that you did admit that not everyone in racing is a “good” person. You also stated in one post that there are no “dirty secrets” in racing. I disagree with that. If there weren’t “dirty secrets”, the trainers at Penn would have injected illegal drugs into their horses in front of many people and would not have been concerned with covering it up. If there weren’t “dirty secrets”, the kill buyer middlemen would work the tracks openly instead of secretively. Again, Kristen, I have been involved with horses a LOT longer than you. This is NOT my first time up to home plate.

  14. Kristen, you had listed several things that you see as “improvements” over the last decade in racing in this thread. I’ve been catching up on the posts here, and wanted to address these “improvements”;
    – Experimented with synthetic surfaces to see if they prevented injuries. What a farce. How about the industry admits to the obvious, that is, the pervasive use of injury-masking and performance-enhancing drugs? According to Dr. Rick Arthur (obviously as you know, pro-racing and CA equine medical director): “We did an analysis at Hollywood Park and found that the average horse got 5 ½ injections after entering the race before they got their Lasix shot.” According to the New York Times as many as 90% of horses that break down had pre-existing injuries. Racing on 5 feet of cotton balls is not going to help injured, drugged horses reach the finish line in one piece.
    – Implemented the safety alliance where the NTRA reviews each racetrack’s safety. I’m surprised you even mention this absurdity! “At its best the Alliance is little more than a symbolic message to the public that the sport of horse racing is indeed – finally – serious about cleaning up its act.” And I quote Alex Waldrop, regarding the Integrity and Safety Alliance of the NTRA: “It [the NTRA, being a marketing and lobbying organization] has no power to enforce the rules. The market will determine that it’s valuable to be accredited [with the Alliance]. We can’t make them do it. But if they don’t they’re out of the alliance.” Big deal. Even if the Alliance via the NTRA had authority to demand changes for the welfare of the horse, each track still decides IF they want to be accredited. Even so it means nothing, and it does nothing for the horses. I find it tragically laughable that Churchill Downs, one of these wonderful accredited tracks, allows a known kill buyer – and a kill buyer that is the Midwest’s largest supplier of horses to a Canadian slaughterhouse – to claim a filly from their “esteemed” track. Jaron/Jaroslav Gold claimed Take Interest on 6-13-13…the filly last raced for Russell/Gold at Thistledowns on 10-19-13. “Safety” alliance for whom…certainly not the horse.
    – Declared that people selling their horses to slaughter will be ruled off the track. And how is this policed?…are there appointed racing industry “folks” staked out in numbers at the auctions? Checking the loose horse pens? Flipping lips of the HUNDREDS of horses at Shipsy and Sugarcreek and New Holland and etc, etc? Checking the kill buyers’ trailers for the injured “no-sales” that skip the run through all together and just get loaded up? Or how about when there is a licensed racing owner/trainer whose money-making business is bringing horses to slaughter…who is there to see the horse go directly from its stall on the backside into his trailer, and then wait with all of the other washed-up racing TB’s in his enormous pen out back until his weekly run to the slaughterhouse? No, it’s not racing industry folks that perform this heart wrenching task.
    – Banned anabolic steroids. Seriously?…when there are SO MANY other drugs that just utterly destroy the horse?…we are going to “HURRAY!” because of this? I won’t even begin to list them all, but one I must bring up here is the devastating intra-articular corticosteroid injection. Horse after horse after horse that we took in had joints/bones that looked like Swiss cheese on radiographs. It would take pages to discuss the massive drug problems in this industry…and to realize the horses are the non-consenting victims of this abuse!
    – Improved the jockey’s whip to prevent excess pain to the horse. Prevent EXCESS pain?…enough said.
    – Improved medical treatment of racehorses, healing injuries that were once a death sentence, through means such as stem cell research. They would not need these questionable and investigational treatments had they not been raced in the first place…and see below.
    – Funding research for a cure for laminitis. A foundered horse is not going to race again. And the racing industry proclaiming its involvement in laminitis research is like SeaWorld claiming it is assisting the orcas then educating the public about them. Again we say “Big deal”…research whatever you want for whomever you want…just stop maiming and destroying horses daily.
    – Created the Fan Advisory Counsel to provide fans a stronger voice in the governing of horse racing. Really…FANS are going to have a voice in GOVERNING horse racing. Do you realize that Congressional hearings on the same topics (that were just discussed this past Thursday) were first held in 1982? It has been 3 decades of steady decline, and now they come up with a Fan Advisory Counsel to save the sinking ship…[head shaking].
    – Instituting and expanding thoroughbred aftercare programs. For example, Three Chimneys has a fund to save horses that once had a connection to their farm, that are found in need, like your Cuban Carmen. Kristen, are they putting all of the horses that had a “connection” to their farm in a virtual stable, so they can follow them to pits like Penn and Beulah and Mt. Pleasant, etc, etc…not to mention that even a virtual stable will not help when the horse falls off the radar to a “bush track”? Just like the racing industry is unaware of their horses that end up at auction UNTIL the non-race horse “activists” (I see we’ve been called PETA freaks, too) find them discarded in the auction pens, the same is true of these farms such as Three Chimneys. They have NO IDEA until one of us “freaks” finds their horse in a literal life-threatening situation. It’s great they have a fund…now just be responsible and follow every single one of your horses.
    – Set several precedents with lengthy suspensions, to give people the message that violations of the rules will not be tolerated, and will be severely punished. Which precedents are you speaking of? The only “lengthy” suspension I know of is Dutrow’s 10-year. It should have been life, and it should have been handed down long ago. Other than that, and this from Sheila Lyons, DVM, Founder and Director of The American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and witness to the congressional hearing this past Thursday (and I might add, a racing supporter): “Today most trainers are allowed to serve their short suspensions for repeat drug violations at their convenience while assistant trainers continue to operate their training business and race the horses without interruption.”
    No, the industry is not making progress. Horses are racing less, breaking down more. Once again, from Sheila Lyons at the Congressional hearing: “It has been estimated that 24 horses die each week on American race tracks. This calculation came from the comprehensive review of official racing charts. While this figure is extremely disturbing and intolerable in a society that values the humane treatment of animal, the numbers are actually much higher. The omission in this statistic comes from the fact that many horses suffer catastrophic injuries which are not fully realized until the horse has returned to its stall following training [or racing]. Many of these fatally injured horses leave the track in private vans and simply go missing…”.

    Lastly Kristen, we are, as Patrick stated, at an impasse. I cannot remember your exact words, but in one of your posts you said that sometimes “the pony must be sold” as its owner had outgrown him. THAT does not reconcile with the pony being a family member…we value our family members for who (and what) they are, not for what they can do. I imagine your thoughts about the outgrown pony extend to the racehorse that can no longer perform to your expectations. Unfortunately for my horses, they are domesticated…there is no letting them out of their pastures, no going without trimming their feet or floating their teeth…that would be irresponsible. What I can do for them is make their lives, their environment, their small herd, as much like what nature intended. And I can commit to caring for them their entire lives, regardless of what they can or cannot do for me. Racehorses do not receive that compassionate consideration.

    • Joy, I agree with everything you have said and you stated it very well. ALL of it is true. Kristen talks about Patrick’s statements being “propaganda”. I firmly believe that the racing industry is into full blown propaganda and Kristen is one of their satisfied customers. There are many others. You are right that the racing industry is not making progress unless you count “lip service” as being progress. I constantly hear how some of the tracks have instituted a “no horse to slaughter” policy. Even one of the pro-racing enthusiasts, who posts on HW’s FB page, made the statement that horses aren’t going “directly” from the track to slaughter but they are going “indirectly” from the track to slaughter. TB’s are NOT showing up in kill pens in great numbers anymore and the racing folks are saying that is a good thing. It is a good thing for the killers who don’t want to get caught. Cactus Cafe, Canuki and Deputy Broad went “underground”. Deputy was “processed” but Cactus and Canuki are doing well. The two latter horses won the lottery and didn’t even play!!

      I firmly believe that racing will never change unless forced to do so. I am a “nobody” to the industry since I don’t put blood money into their coffers. However, I can impact the industry to a very small extent. My mission is to convince people not to bet on the horses. That is Business 101. Without the betters, racing would die a quick death. It can’t come soon enough for me.

  15. I have been mulling over the use of whips in the “sport” of horse racing. I would like for someone to answer my question and it is a sincere question. I don’t care if you are pro-racing or anti-racing. I have heard over and over that TB’s “love to run”. They are “bred to run” and they “enjoy” running. If those statements are true, why do jockeys even carry a whip? If the horse is in the stretch, couldn’t the jockey use body/hand/leg movement to encourage the horse to extend a little more? Why do jockeys need to cause any pain, whether it be mild, moderate, or severe?

  16. Well, I believe it’s used to “ask” the horse to run faster…as simple as that. Of course, the horse is likely already giving the jockey everything he’s got.

    I’ve had a racing supporter say “it’s a big horse and a little whip!…it doesn’t hurt the horse!” To which I reply that if I take a whip to a 200-pound man or a 500-pound man, they are both going to feel the pain…weight has nothing to do with painful sensations when the skin is struck. And to that I add…the 1200-pound horse knows when a house fly lands on him and wants it gone. Whipping the horse’s sensitive skin hurts. The whipped horse is attempting to move away from the pain. Maybe others think differently, but as I said, I believe it’s simply that.

    • Thanks, Joy. I would think that these horses give their all since they are bred to race, so I do have a problem with the racing industry implementing a rule to alleviate excessive pain. Why should the horse feel any pang whatsoever?

  17. I still haven’t had time to read anything here since last week, but I wanted to come by and say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We may disagree, but were all people, and I hope you’re spending today with loved ones.

    • Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, Kristen. Thanks for the holiday wishes and I sincerely hope that you enjoy the day with your family and friends.

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