Rockinpop and Costly: Bleeders, Twice Over

While preparing my 6-month update on the December casualties, I came across a 3-year-old gelding named Rockinpop. Rockinpop has run a total of three races, all under Jared Cheeks. In his second race, a maiden claiming on December 21st at Gulfstream, Rockinpop, two at the time, was a “bled”/DNF. Three months later – a recuperation period, I suppose – he again ran in a claiming at Gulfstream – and again he was a “bled”/DNF. He has not been heard from since.

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And then there is 7-year-old Costly. On June 12th at Churchill Downs, Costly was vanned off after having bled. In her very next race, last night at Mountaineer, Costly was again vanned off for bleeding. Her current trainer (and trainer for both of these races) is Kevin Fletcher. Perhaps, Mr. Fletcher, this 57-start veteran has earned a cease-and-desist from the whip. But, then again, perhaps not.

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  1. Here in Australia when a horse bleeds from both nostrils for the first time an embargo is placed on horse and it cannot race for three months. When a horse bleeds for the second time from both nostrils horse is barred for life from racing in Australia. If a horse bleeds from just one nostril an embargo is placed on horse and it must gallop 1000m in the presence of a Steward who must be satisfied with its performance and it can then race again.

    Something like 95% of all racehorses bleed (in varying degrees) during a race – studies have been done. A Group 1 winning jockey told me that he could sometimes smell the blood coming from the horse’s nostrils and he opined that the ones that ended up with blood coming out of their nostrils are the lucky ones because it goes on record and dealt with.

    Some horses bleed in trackwork and only very rarely is it disclosed to the authorities.

    • First … I just saw this and was a bit taken back. Rockinpop aka Pops is just fine. As of this very date 11/11/2016 he lives a very pampered life in Maryland. I was the breeder and many people in this industry are responsible and all in the case of Pops are. As soon as he had his second light bleed the trainer reached out and sent him back to me the original breeder and he has a home where he is loved and very happy. He is retired from racing but by no means retired from life. People should have all the facts before they post and write.
      That is all. 🐎

      • Ms. Payne, it’s wonderful to know “Pops” was taken from the track after his second bout of EIPH – he was very fortunate. Sadly, he is an exception – please read the “Killed In Action” lists here, see the names of horses who died running for betting and entertainment purposes. As I said in a prior post, the too few lucky racehorses who make it out of the unnecessary and abusive industry alive will never justify the deaths of countless others.

        And I sincerely hope you give Pops a home for life…any horse that is sold or given away by their owner/guardian is at risk of ending up slaughtered. As his breeder, you are responsible for keeping him safe with YOU until his death.

  2. Ok first … I was the breeder of Rockinpops and after his light bleed I reached out to the trainer and he sent him back to me and to this very day 11/11/2016 Rockinpops aka Pops is doing just fine being loved and spoiled in Maryland. People should not make posts or write stories unless they have all the facts. In the case of Pops all parties acted responsible and took the horses best interest to heart. He is retired from racing but by no means retired from life … he is very happy and very loved by many.
    That is all 🐎

    • Marilyn, that is good news about Pops. However, I take issue with you when you allege that the posts here did not have all the facts and that we shouldn’t write “stories”. Firstly, Patrick’s post was purely factual about Rockinpops including his statement that the horse had not been heard from since and this was in July 2014 about 2 and a 1/2 years ago. Secondly, one comment was posted and that was also factual.
      As a breeder of racehorses you would know the life that these horses endure. And for the benefit of others, here are some facts –
      these huge animals are confined in a cell about 23 hours each day going out of their minds, day in day out, week after week, month after month and year after year;
      racing when carrying pre-existing injuries and/or sore;
      being pushed beyond their physiological limitations;
      being beaten with a whip;
      pumped up with a cocktail of drugs;
      being overraced with insufficient time to recover;
      put into training/racing so very young when their musculosketal system has not fully developed;
      suffering catastrophic injuries; and
      the vast majority end up in the slaughterhouse.
      The above is far from exhaustive and I know more than I’ve ever wanted to know about what goes on with these innocent horses.
      The dark ugly secrets of horseracing continue to be exposed………

    • Marilyn, with all due respect, and with extensive experience within this business, I respectfully request a recent pic of Pops showing his upper lip tattoo.
      I realize you may find this offensive, but so many times people come on here claiming that the horse is just fine, and they can never provide PROOF or FACTS of this.
      You see Patrick does provide PROOF OF FACTS when he reports things it’s only fair that you provide the PROOF OF FACTS as well.
      Until then, I will consider Pops status unknown.
      I make no apologies for my request, but I sure hope you are telling us the truth.
      So please go ahead and forward this evidence so we can put this to rest once and for all.
      Thanking you in advance, Gina, former Trainer.

      • I do take offense greatly… however as you do not know me I will give a little lattatude. I myself being in the racing / breeding business know all to well the horrors out there in every discipline however I did not spend 21/2 years of my life also being assistant barn manager of one of the largest rescues out there as well as many other rescue indevers. I can assure you my Pops is doing just fine and to ask for a picture is fruitless as I know first hand how people can fabricate photos ect from past to make them look as though they where just taken. I follow all my baby’s I have sold or given to someone for a forever home as well as signing contracts of first right of refusal ect. I do my best to insure the care and wellbeing of all animals I come in contact with as they are my passion not just a business. Maybe you aught to
        Get your facts straight before accusing someone like me of not being honest!!!!
        Pops was with Jared cheeks in Florida and as he is responsible and as I follow all my baby’s when I saw that Pops had bled for the second time … I …. not anyone else contacted Jared and asked him to please send the boy back to me at my expence so he could have a new life off the track … and that is exactly what he has!!!!

  3. It seems to me that you still support horse racing despite the fact that you see the results given your experience with rescue.
    This antiquated business model breeds horses specifically to fill races, increase wagering profits, and maybe pick up a check along the way.
    These racehorses are subjected to whipping/beating, doping, maiming, dumping, and/or dying as you well know.
    There are only 2 types of people in horse racing. Abusers or enablers of abuse.
    I’m not going to pat you on the shoulder and thank you for rescuing a horse that YOU brought into this world to be subjected to such horrific animal cruelty.
    The only way to “get my facts straight” is for you to provide a recent picture of Pops with his upper tattoo clearly visible.
    The fact that you take offense to my request is ridiculous.
    I would be more than happy to provide a recent pic of a racehorse rescue when controversy arises unless there is something that is not kosher.
    You can take that whatever way you want, but I’m all too familiar with racetrackers.
    They live a delusion.
    I never accused you of anything. All I did was request something and if you don’t like it – too bad.

    • Right on, Gina. How easy it would be to take a pic of Pops and settle the matter once and for all.

    • Myself and the people in the racing industry I associate with love there horses… and take very good care of them. I do not associate with those on the ugly abusive side period. And there are many many like me who love are horses as family and treat them and care for them and spoil them as they deserve. I am not going to get into a pissing contest with you. It would be nice however to see more stories on the good side of this industry and those of us who do right by are horses … all are animals for that matter. There sadly is ugliness and abuse in so many animal issues i.e.: dog fighting/ greyhound racing/ gaited big lick horse industry/ standardbred harness industry/ dressage/ puppy mills/ the list goes on however there are a lot of good kind people out there who take care and love there animals and when there careers are over they are taken care of and go on to other careers or retire to be pampered and cared for for the rest of there lives.
      I’ll post some videos and pictures when I can …. not to prove anything to you as had you followed this story of Pops then you would have contacted the trainer to find out what happened to the horse and followed the story instead of posting how these horses are gone never to be heard from again ect.
      Maybe someone should follow you and see what good you do for these magnificent creatures …. or is all you do is report the ugly side?
      I’m not disputing that there is a ugly side… there is … and at every chance I come across I step in and do something but I guess I’m fortunate that the circle I travel in is one blessed with kind, loving and responsible horse people… thank God .

      • Marilyn Doetsch…where to start…

        -You’re in the “racing/breeding business” with whom you claim are “many, many like me who love are [sic] horses as family”, YET, you also maintain having been involved with “one of the largest rescues out there as well as many other rescue indevers [sic]”. So, with the “many, many” who love their horses like their own family members, how can it be that there are so many rescue organizations and other rescue endeavors needed? And Marilyn, why are rescue organizations always begging for money?…and have no more room for discarded and unwanted racehorses?

        -Marilyn, you stated you sell your horses…and it’s safe to assume you also put your racehorses into claiming races – but you love them as FAMILY? So you SELL your family members?…and put them at risk of being owned by – and quoting you here – “those on the ugly abusive side”? Guess what, Marilyn, we’ve heard these exclamations of “love” for “family members” before. Many times. And no one buys it because loving families don’t get rid of their beloved family members, putting them at risk of being neglected, abused and even sent to slaughter by the abusers even YOU admit are part of the industry
        -Again, quoting you; “I follow all my baby’s [sic] I have sold or given away”. Firstly, you can “follow” them all you want…follow them right to the last race they’ll ever run, the race where their pre-existing injuries finally culminate with a catastrophic injury that necessitates immediate euthanasia. Or follow them to the kill buyer-attended auction where they’ll be run through with the loose horses and be snatched up by the kill buyer. Maybe they’ll be brought directly to the kill buyer with no chance of being spotted by a rescuer at New Holland or Sugarcreek or Shipshewana or any of the numerous auctions where Thoroughbred racehorses are found every single week. Or Marilyn, maybe you can FOLLOW the kill buyer’s rig with the horse you bred or the horse you raced crammed on it, as it makes its way to the slaughterhouse. “Following” is a joke because the very minute you unload your horse – be it via a claiming race or private sale or giving him away – you are placing him on the path to a bad ending. Do you know how to keep your horses safe?…YOU keep them. YOU provide for them. For LIFE. But that’s impossible for those in racing, isn’t it…because the horses are a means to an end, a simple tool of the trade, “goods” that in a short period of time can no longer produce what you want or expect. You cannot even provide homes for the horses you are responsible for putting on this earth, yet you breed MORE. The picture of irresponsibility.

        -Go to some other blogs where “ugly” and “abusive” “animal issues” are exposed, much like the exploitation, crippling and killing of racehorses are discussed here – you know, those you mentioned…dog fighting, greyhound racing, the Big Lick industry, puppy mills…and tell THEM “it would be nice to see stories on the good side”. And be certain to pose the question as you did here; “is all you do is report the ugly side?”

        • And now we are done…. you can’t even report or comment the facts of what I wrote…. shame on you.
          You claim all racehorses end up at places like newholland … again get your facts straight !
          I guess all those pony club and camp horses are really not there… I guess all those Amish horses are not there ect ect … shame on you
          When I say follow … for the few I have sold that means if they do not work out at the track for whatever reason they come home to me and I find them there forever homes….. again shame on you
          Oh and let’s not get me started on your comments about rescues and how there all off the track…. shame on you.
          Yes it is true some where of the track but if you did your research you would know the sad truth.
          Many where from people who did not know what they where doing and should never have been allowed to care for a animal Le alone a horse/ many are horses Let where disguarded or no longer wanted by the parents that bought them for children who grew out of or grew tired of…. I have even seen cases where divorce was in play and the husband did not want the horse but did not want the wife to have it so he tethered the horse on a dry lot and starved him / we tried to save him when we finally where able to seize him but sadly his organs had already shut down and he crossed the rainbow bridge feeling love …. the list goes on and on. I personally do not go to places like newholland as it sickens me to no end…… oh my horses do not go in claiming races and when one did I claimed them back. You are clearly a uninformed one sided person that refuses to acknowledge the fact that we as a nation have a terrible problem in all aspects of the horse industry not just the racing one I do not know who you are or what you do but it has become clear to me you are not someone I can respect as you do not get facts first and you speak on a whole as the problems only reside in the racing industry. Why don’t you do yourself a favor and get all facts before you condem just one aspect of the horse industry in this country.
          Sadly there is abuse and neglect everywhere you turn in every industry with every bread with every animal but there is a lot of good out there and I choose to be part of the good and will continue to love and care for all animals large and small and help anywhere I can. All I see you doing is pointing fingers …… and not having all the facts. Every horse I could not keep has been given a forever home from Virginia to Maryland and I still see them and talk to the family’s or orginazations that have them and should things not work out they all come back to me and once again I find them that forever safe home.
          That is all
          Marilyn Payne

      • The shame is all yours, Marilyn – I’m not the one who breeds horses for an industry that cripples, kills and sends them to slaughter…and it’s not I who sends my horses that make it out of racing alive to someone else, putting that lifetime of a heavy financial burden on that individual. The truth is hard to swallow, isn’t it.

  4. Thank-you Joy – well said.
    I will also add this:
    Marilyn if it wasn’t for breeders like you then there wouldn’t be a need for rescue and/or slaughterhouses.
    There are thousands of OTTB’s without homes or are in neglectful situations all due to this deplorable vile antiquated business model.
    Despite the fact that the industry makes BILLIONS in profit they contribute little or nothing to the very product that they use, and discard.
    Yet, you have made a choice to support such blatant animal cruelty.
    Who do you think your fooling?
    You may want to fool yourself under a delusion that is common among racehorse supporters, but you are not fooling us, and certainly no longer the public as they become educated to the truth.
    Also, the other disgusting animal exploitation examples that you mention?
    I never said they are not bad.
    In fact, horse racing is the same as dog fighting.
    There is the cruelty ring where all the action takes place.
    This is preceded by doping, intense confinement, over breeding, and animal abuse; the results of which are maiming and/or killing.
    Sound familiar Marilyn?
    Horse racing and dog fighting is the same thing – animals used, and abused for gambling money.
    The victims are different, but the one big difference is that dog fighting is Felony Animal Cruelty Charges.
    Horse racing connections get awards, accolades, and the maiming and/or killing is legitimized.
    At least the dogs have some sort of justice – the racehorses have no justice as they are being maimed daily and/or DIE in the dirt for this despicable business.
    The one thing that you horse racing supporters/breeders fail to realize is that you are being exploited just like the horses.
    They use, and abuse you to fill races to make them filthy rich because in order for the animal abuse to occur there must be a human element, and that is people like you Marilyn.
    You are all either direct abusers, or enablers of the abuse.
    Your comments make it clear that you are an enabler of the abuse by breeding, and providing racing stock to this despicable, and vile business.

    • Gina Powell….. go get some education and get all the facts … not just some!!!!!
      Anyone in the industry you are bashing will tell you my love for all animals far supersedes that of humans…..
      all you seem to be able to do is throw insults ect… again shame on you.

      • Marilyn you either love racehorses or you love horse racing. You can’t love both.
        All this talk, and comments coming from you.
        Yet, still no evidence that you actually have Pops safe, and sound at your place.
        There are iphones and other gadgets that work very easy.
        You probably have one.
        When you take a pic of Pops upper lip tattoo it will have a time stamp on it.
        It takes seconds to do.
        I suppose your busy rescuing all the discarded racehorses that are no longer financially viable.
        I’ve just been contacted about BREAK THE ICE.
        If they don’t find a home for this gelding then off to the slaughter he will go.
        They are BEGGING for somebody to take him.
        All the “good” people in the industry are nowhere to be found.
        While the sale is going on right now in Kentucky there are owners spending MILLIONS buying racing stock.
        Bobby Flay spent 1.6 million on a broodmare while some of his former racehorses are being squeezed dry in the claiming ranks.
        Stonestreet Farms – Barbara Banke – just spend millions buying more racing stock.
        After all, there have been many of her racing stock maimed and/or killed so time to buy another.
        Sickening. They make me sick.
        While BREAK THE ICE is described “kind” by his handlers.
        They can’t get ONE DIME from this business to save him, to get him out of harms way.
        The sale just posted record profits of BILLIONS while their discarded, the ones who can no longer give one more ounce of sweat, are standing in a vulnerable situation about to be loaded onto a slaugherhouse.
        You have the audacity to come on here and defend this?
        Poor BREAK THE ICE is 12 years old – get this – 139 starts for this VILE business called horse racing.
        He made his $121,000+ the hard way.
        When he could no longer compete in the upper levels his slavery in the claiming ranks begun.
        Nothing more than a number, a slave to fill races for the wagering companies to make obscene profits.
        He raced up until last week when his bones and body could give no more.
        Through some miracle he made it out alive.
        He can no longer give one more drop of blood, sweat, and tears to this despicable industry full of idiots that support this ongoing animal cruelty, and abuse.
        You call yourself good?
        You can’t be good, and support this legitimized animal cruelty.
        If your so good, if you love horses so much, then stop breeding, stop defending this despicable business.
        There are no excuses for this Marilyn – none.
        So SHAME ON YOU, and to all those who support this cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit.

      • You’re 100% correct, Gina…Bobby Flay bred the racehorse One Hundred Laughs – but after 40 races and stats of 0-0-6, he was running for tags as low as $2500 and came in over 26 lengths behind in his 40th and final race at cheap Beulah Park in December of 2012. Here is HIS story from the Saving Baby Equine Charity Success Stories;

        “Some Thoroughbreds just have that pedigree…a regal lineage that virtually predicts a spectacular racing career. One Hundred Laughs had such parentage. His sire, Distorted Humor, was a Multiple Graded Stakes Winner and is currently a leading sire at WinStar Farm with a stud fee of $100,000. One Hundred Laughs’ dam is Wonder Again, a Multiple Graded Stakes Winner herself, including a win in Saratoga’s 2004 Grade 1 Diana Handicap, and a 3rd place finish in the 2005 Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf . Wonder Again had 24 starts for earnings of 1.5 million dollars, raced until the age of six, and is now a member of Darby Dan’s elite broodmare band. Yes, One Hundred Laughs’ ancestry was stellar, and one could likely expect a successful racing career for the chestnut horse.

        But expectations did not turn out to be reality. When Saving Baby Equine Charity founders Jo Anne and Joy became aware of One Hundred Laughs, the 6-year-old horse had accumulated 40 starts but had not a single win…in fact he had only 6 third place finishes for his efforts. In his last race, a maiden special weights with a purse of only $4500 at Beulah Park, One Hundred Laughs came in a dismal last, more than 26 lengths behind. He needed someone to ensure he would receive a safe retirement, and his owner/trainer was not one to do that. Many previous dealings with this owner/trainer had Jo Anne and Joy extremely concerned for the horse’s current welfare and impending future, so their first phone call to a prior connection was made on January 9, 2013. Without a moment’s hesitation, everyone receiving a call for assistance in getting One Hundred Laughs off the track and into a safe retirement responded positively…only eleven days after our first plea for assistance, he was purchased and transported to the Kentucky farm that will be his lifetime home. The swift response to our call for help was most appreciated, as it was reported to us that One Hundred Laughs needed “a lot of groceries” and was “really hungry”.

        After several months of good nutrition and loving care, One Hundred Laughs was healthy enough to be gelded. He has settled into life on the farm, simply being a horse, and Jo Anne and Joy are looking forward to visiting him this fall. One Hundred Laughs may have never won on the track, but a victory prevailed when it counted the most…he won the most important race of all, the race for life.

        Saving Baby Equine Charity thanks EVERYONE who so kindly and graciously worked quickly to ensure One Hundred Laughs a safe and happy retirement!


        On September 28, 2013, SBEC co-founder Joy Aten visited One Hundred Laughs at the Kentucky farm where he is retired to. During the visit, the farm manager spoke of the day the chestnut horse arrived. Although we were aware One Hundred Laughs was “thin and hungry” when he left the track, the severity of his poor physical state was unknown to us at that time. It was horrific to hear that One Hundred Laughs literally “fell out of the trailer”. The vet was called immediately, and after an assessment and evaluation, it was determined his emaciated condition was due to one thing-lack of food. One Hundred Laughs had a body score of 2 and he was “fighting just to live”. When Joy asked the farm manager if he happened to take any photos of the starving horse, he replied, “All I could think of was that if he made it, I never wanted to look back at what terrible shape he was in. My assistant cried when he saw him.”

        Eight months later, he is healthy and well. Thanks to the great care at the farm of his former connection and now his retirement home, One Hundred Laughs is truly a winner at last! Thank you, once again, to all who had a part in giving him back his life!”

  5. Are Marilyn Anne Doetsch and Marilyn Payne the same person? Seems like a spoof or a wind-up. Doetsch is a MD breeder, Payne a NJ dressage instructor.

    • Kent, I’m assuming Marilyn, Marilyn Payne and Marilyn Anne Doetsch are one individual. In this thread, Marilyn Payne claims she bred Rockinpop and Equibase identifies a Marilyn Anne Doetsch as his breeder.

  6. Marilyn, you must have the patience of a saint. The vitriolic comments pointed in your direction can only indicate a lack of intimate familiarily with the whole industry. These commenters apparently have had contact only with the nasty side of the industry….admittedly a very large side, but by no means totally representative. As a racing official and former professional rider and trainer, I know many very good racetrackers and breeders who provide living care and happy lives for their horses. There are many bad apples and many somewhere in the middle. The industry needs LOTS o of changes, and many of the folks in it would certainly agree and support such changes

    • Thank you Nancy,
      I am only one person and I do all I can. I appreciate your comments very much.
      My intention when I came across this story where Rockinpop was mentioned was to simply inform those few that he is very much alive retired off the track and living a pampered loved life… oh boy did I step into a big puddle of c….p !
      There is a lot to be done but I feel good that I am on the right side of things. The big problem I have is that there is a massive problem yet for those that bring this up time and time again they do not seem to get all the facts about specific cases they just lump us all togeather.
      Again thank you

      • Marilyn – the picture thing remember?
        About 5 comments ago I politely requested that you provide a pic of Pops upper tattoo with a time stamp on it.
        Very easy to do.
        Yet, you still haven’t provided it.
        I sure hope Pops is with you, but with no FACTS/EVIDENCE I consider his status unknown.
        Time and again, there has been people come on here and claim that they have a particular horse safe, and sound.
        Yet, anytime I’ve requested a pic NOTHING is ever provided.
        It’s very easy to make claims, but FACTS is much more concrete.
        The DEATH STATISTICS AND FACTS provided herein are indisputable.
        The only time that they are ever disputed is by pro-horse racing people as a result of the industry itself unwilling to provide detailed information regarding the DEATH of a racehorse, most notably, the name.
        Yes, the industry that you support, in some racing jurisdiction,. REFUSES to disclose the name of a racehorse who DIED in the dirt for this despicable business.
        There are many reasons why they don’t disclose the name, but one reason is “protecting” the connections of the racehorse.
        In other words, they are protecting the killers/abusers of a racehorse who DIES in their care.
        Now it doesn’t take a dummy to see that they are not giving one form of justice to a racehorse who dies on their track.
        One of the biggest owner/operator of racetracks Frank Stronach’s Magna who owns Gulfstream Park, Santa Anita and others are notorious for lack of transparency when it comes to their maimed and/or killed even to the extent where Replay Videos are omitted when a racehorse catastrophically breaks down – that’s DEAD Marilyn – DEAD in the dirt.
        This clearly shows total lack of compassion for the very product that they exploit.
        If they really “cared” about racehorses DYING then they would implement measures to hold the connections responsible.
        Instead, they cover it up like a nice neat napkin thrown over the supper plate of discarded food.
        IF people in this industry really “cared” about their “family members,” then they wouldn’t exploit them to begin with.
        So we wait with baited breath for that pic of Pops.
        I don’t expect it to arrive anytime soon.

    • Nancy, most of us ex-insiders commenting here are all too familiar with this antiquated business model.
      You racing apologists always remind us that there are “good folks” in horse racing – pleeeezzzze.
      There are only 2 types of people in horse racing. 1. Abusers/exploiters. 2. Enablers of the abuse.
      Many of you live a delusion that you are the “good” ones who “love” their “family members.”
      Oh, I forgot the other line – treated like “royally.”
      If whipping/beating, doping, maiming, dumping, and/or dying is being treated like “royally” because you “love” them the they need to redefine that word because every single active racehorse, rich or poor connections, are subjected to these operating procedures.
      While multiple drug violating Trainers with multiple racehorses DYING under their direct care, and training methods, get inducted into your Racing Hall of (S)hame the “good” folks in horse racing have no problem with this because the beat goes on.
      That makes you an enabler of the abuse, and the dying.
      So you can fool others, but the general public is really catching on to this cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit.
      We will continue to educate, you can continue to maim and/or kill or support it because you “love” them, because you are the “good” folks in horse racing.
      Since your so good I invite you to help out a gelding, one of thousands, that has been discarded by this business because he can no longer give one more drop of sweat to your wagering windows:
      While Keeneland is posting record profits at this sale in the BILLIONS us non-supporters are begging for just $20 to help this poor dude out.
      Have at it Nancy.

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