The 21st Century Slave Block

From the Paulick Report: “Fasig-Tipton’s one-day November Sale took place on Monday evening, when 23 horses sold for seven figures.” 4-year-old Princess of Sylmar, a Pletcher-trained multiple graded stakes winner, topped the bill at $3.1 million. (The “broker” says that owner Ed Stanco “was not at the sale, as he felt that it would be too painful to see the horse go.”)


The Thoroughbred auction is a modern-day equivalent of the slave block – you know, the kind where strapping bucks and pretty wenches were gathered and traded in the center of town. (As it’s a good bet that virtually every animal activist on the planet would have also embraced 19th Century abolitionism, no need to apologize for the parallel.) But the horse buyer can’t even claim economic survival – he subjugates as a hobby. This is horseracing.

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  1. No apology expected, the analogy is true. I hope this owner who couldn’t bear to watch his horses go reads this comment, you know their future, their handling is uncertain, thei risk for them to suffer is high – you know that, we know that. Your pain, while good for effect, is telling and hollow. You might as well have handed their lead rops to the kill buyer but being the “caring” owner you allowed your “broker.”.

  2. Princess Of Sylmar is going to Japan to be a broodmare. Its not like they are selling them to slaughter.

      • What a response…thank you, janwindsong. Unfortunately, some folks want to continue in their “sleep state” and while asleep, they betray the horses that never consented to these unnatural lives. And for what…it’s so sickening.

  3. Thats not how it always is. Look at how they treated Sunday Silence and War Emblem. WE is a picky/shy breeder yet they still see him as valueable and keep on trying. Sunday Silence was treated as a king and changed the breed there in Japan. KY Derby and Preakness winner, Ill Have Another, is living a good life at Big Red Farm along with Roses In May and others. Big Red Farm gives updates via videos and pictures for the fans on facebook. Ill Have Another has a buy back clause for when he is pensioned he will be brought back to the US. And recently Silver Charm is being sent back from Japan to the US after being pensioned. So no, its not always horrible news.

    • You are either a master manipulator or misinformed. Since Ferdinand was slaughtered, the Japanese lied upon nquirof his whereabouts, just about every owner/breeder that ships to Japan has a “return upon end of use” clause (or words to that effect. Those horses you mentioned are lucky, their foals and racers sent over without return clauses will be slaughtered. Raw horse meat is a delicacy for that sick culture. Foals from America are shipped live for slaughter, like chickens in the immediate vicinity of the purveyor, huge Belgians are placed into containers and flown from Canada in huge transport ships to be slaughtered for the sashimi trade. I’m popping your bubble lady. The world the horses deal with thanks to fantasy land affirmations is evil and cruel. Speak the truth over these beings who are our companions. I apologize for my rudeness, but it is infuriating to think hundreds of thousands of horses die unspeakably cruel deaths and torture before due to ignorance which is complicity.

      • You are absolutely right ! The world the horses deal with is evil and cruel. People who do not acknowledge this cold hard fact are in denial because they can’t handle the truth. The status quo and worse will continue because it is tolerated by too many.

        PS China is now showing up at the Thoroughbred sales !!

  4. Rachel? I have a chihuahua that I named Ferdinand for a very special reason, as that’s a big name for a little dog. Have you heard of the Kentucky Derby winner of the same name? Beautiful, sent to Japan for stud duty. Didn’t perform well. Was served up on plates in sushi restaurants. You say “not always horrible news.” ? Use your search engine. Look up foal sushi. I have spent years at the major tracks in this country and have now turned on the whole sport. Ever hear of Affirmed? I knew him intimately in case you think I’m a fly by night. If you want to stick up for breeders & the whole filthy business, that is your choice. It is no longer mine.

  5. Affirmed died in the US of laminitis. He never went to Japan. But just cuz that stuff happens to other horses does not mean it will happen to these horses who were bought in the sales.

    • Rachel, are you saying you are OK with “that stuff” happening to thousands of horses and foals as long as there is the chance “that stuff” will not happen “to these horse who were bought in the sales” ?

      Those who send their horses to Japan know what their fate will be unless they have a “return clause” or something to that effect. Even then, there needs to be follow up and enforcement otherwise these “return clauses” are just window dressing !!

    • I know how Affirmed died! I worked with him. I mentioned him to let you know that I’m not just jumping into this thread with no knowledge of racing. And search Exceller while you are at it. And yes, foals from the U.S. are shipped to Japan for sushi. They ship them to Canada, then fly them via Fed Ex.

  6. Ignorance is bliss Rachel, do your research. Seriously, you need some education before you speak of an industry you so clearly know nothing about. Horse racing is about nothing other than using horses as a commodity. You probably think all these horses just love, love, love to run. Let me tell you something, they don’t. They may love to run in a paddock, feild or in the wild but not on the track. They are forced to do that. Ferdinand was sent to Japan and when he didn’t perform they sent him to slaughter because he wasn’t making money. Then they tried to hide it from the US. That’s a fact. Do you think they tried to hide it because they knew it was the right thing to do? He was a champion, they hid it because they knew the outrage that would follow and that they would be far less likely to aquire our champion’s in the future. They knew it was wrong and that horse could have been sent back to the States very easily. Nohorseslaughter was referring to having worked in the industry when they spoke of knowing Affirmed intimately. I see you couldn’t read between the lines on that one. It was making the point that he/she knows the industry well enough to see it for exactly what it is. It makes the point that this person has seen it, lived it, is educated and knows what they are talking about, unlike you. Japan gave themselves a big black eye with Ferdinand, they have no choice now with the send back disclaimer, otherwise War Emblem would have likely been slaughtered years ago. They are being watched and they know it. American racing and racing in any other country is exactly the same, you just won’t likely see a champion sent to slaughter if they don’t die on the track first. While our champion’s are coveted, those who don’t perform die, whether it’s slaughter, being raced on injuries, being run so hard they have heart attacks or breaking down…or I can put it into words you’ll understand “these things just happen” or my personal favorite “freak accident” . You want to defend and support racing as you plug your ears to the truth like a little kid that doesn’t want to hear the word No, that’s your choice. However I will plead for you to do the research and educate yourself. This blog is an excellent place to start. Have you even noticed there are posts daily on here about more dead horses? Go check out Sheadrow Secrets, those stories are heartbreakingly cruel. You may have a change of heart. I know I have. I will never bet, watch or support the racing industry again. It’s animal cruelty, nothing more and nothing less. I did my research, that’s all it took to open my eyes. And yes, because it happens to other horses means that it absolutely will happen to every single one of those 23 horses bought at that sale that do not make their owners money. They are all at risk, every last one.

      • Rachel, where is the “lashing out” in what Nicole stated? Again and again, racing supporters come to this ANTI-RACING blog, they spew their pro-racing rants, then wonder why they receive the responses they do…just what are you expecting here? What do you have to offer folks who despise an industry that kills horses every day?…and we certainly have nothing to offer someone such as yourself. “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” – Thomas Paine. So applicable here.

  7. At least the well known winners with the desirable pedigrees have a chance of not ending their days at a slaughter plant,IF they stay in the US. It would very bad PR for racing if these horses were sent to slaughter and the word got out ! However, that is not the case in Japan. Horse slaughter is the norm there and is widely accepted.

  8. The farms in Japan where these horse will go are constantly posting updates on all of the horses they brought over from the U.S. – it’s to improve their breeding programs to develop a quality racehorse – something we should consider doing to improve our breeding programs over here. All horses that go overseas – where ever it may be – have a Ferdinand clause to be brought back over here when they are done breeding. It is because of Ferdinand that we have these types of clauses in place – we have not forgotten him!

    In other news – I was sickened to see a 2yo filly by Tapit IN FOAL that was sold at the Keeneland sales yesterday – now that disgusts me! That has greed written all over it!

    • A 2yo? I thought that you weren’t supposed to breed them until at least the age of 4? Aren’t 2 year old’s still babies? This is ridiculous there should be rules placed in for breeders.

      • I know that in the wild it is commonplace for a filly that young to breed…but not a TB, thats just ridiculous

      • Yes, Tracey, a two year old is still a baby. A three year old is still a baby, too, but pro-racing folks, who babble about how much the racing owners “love” their horses, seem unable to grasp that concept. A two or three year old should NOT be bred but they shouldn’t be raced, either, but horseracing isn’t about the welfare of the horses. It is a gambling industry based on money, greed, and profit.

    • Thank you guys for clearing that up for me I’m new to all of this. I started watching horse racing when I fell in love with a beautiful chestnut name California Chrome but soon learned what these majestic horses have to go through for this “sport.” Mary Johnson I agree with you, these people who abuse and exploit these beautiful animals should have no business in the horse industry. Its sickening how low they sink just to make some money.

      Britto5 I have a question I’m new to horses and was wondering if there are differences between the bone structure of wild horses and TB’s because you said that its common for a wild filly to breed that young but not a TB. Thank you for taking your time out to answer my question.

  9. Too painful to see the filly go? You are a FRAUD, Stanco. I bet that 3 million eased your “pain” in a big hurry. The GREED of these people just astounds me.

  10. Here’s another example of slave trade in horse racing – the three-year-old chestnut filly, I’m a Chatterbox. Mind you, she’s made 1.3 million.

    From the article – breeders/owners Fletcher and Carolyn Gray tried twice to sell her, as a yearling and then again as a two-year-old.

    Carolyn Gray; “I’m fairly sure that she will be a broodmare for someone else. I’d love to keep her, but it’s kind of the same way we felt about My White Corvette. We hated to sell her, but we probably can’t afford to keep her.” (FYI…the Grays purchased My White Corvette for 90K and sold her for 825K) OF COURSE, YOU CAN’T AFFORD TO KEEP HER! – IAC MADE JUST A MERE 1.3 MILLION AND YOU SOLD MWC FOR ONLY 735K MORE THAN WHAT YOU PURCHASED HER FOR!

    Gray goes on to say; “I’m a Chatterbox is going to have a value that we probably don’t need to take a risk on.” THAT’S RIGHT, MRS. GRAY! – YOU FOLKS ONLY RISK THE LIVES AND LIMBS OF CHEAP HORSES.

    Make them, use them, sell them. No longer your responsibility and not your problem when they age and deteriorate. SLAVE TRADE.

  11. Yesterday I was “tagged” in the comments of a Facebook page – the Thoroughbred Stock Exchange – by a horse supporter. I have no interest in dialogue with the pro-racing crowd and certainly not with a racehorse-ownership organization. But out of consideration to the individual who asked me to comment, I did. In the brief conversation I had with the “mouthpiece” of TSE, I found their justification in using horses for entertainment and profit to be just like that of other pro-racing individuals; “the sport has been around for centuries and many people enjoy it.” How’s THAT for a humane and reasonable defense…

    I was incredibly sickened reading their website –I had wondered who their trainer was and as it turns out, they have a number of them. Doug O’Neill is one. But the really sickening part is the way they make inanimate objects out of sentient, living beings. From their website…“We allow our members to buy shares in our Thoroughbred racehorses and encourage people to enjoy all of the perks of ownership with none of the hassle.” And this…“the thrill of racehorse ownership can now be felt by anyone and anywhere on any budget.” We know horse racing isn’t the “Sport of KINGS”…it’s neither. So in an industry that’s already full of paupers who cannot afford diagnostics, treatment for injuries, and humane retirements for their racehorses, TSE wants to offer racehorse ownership to ANYONE on ANY budget! (White-faced Fort Candy is a mere $12 a share, is what I gathered). Sure, let’s get some more people OWNING horses that can barely afford their own rent.

    And their “claiming options” had a disclaimer; “The benefit of claiming horses is that it allows for the addition of horses currently running and that will continue to run on a 4-5 week basis (assuming they stay sound with no injuries).” No warm and fuzzy feelings here – run those equine machines every 4 or 5 weeks but keep in mind there could be a breakdown. But never you mind!…because there are people that enjoy it!

    • Joy, in the past, I have spoken to a contact who was a 10% owner in a horse with Drawing Away Stables. He admitted to me the frustration he experienced when he felt the horse shouldn’t be running or needed more time between races. There was absolutely nothing he could do beyond voicing his concerns. When you own a very low percentage of the “product”, those owning the majority of that same product call the shots. It is unbelievable that TSE is offering shares in their horses for $12 a share. That is a miniscule amount and is laughable, at best, but think of what you could tell your friends…”I own part of a racehorse…an incredibly small part!”

      These syndicates/partnerships are even more horrific than traditional ownership because you have absolutely no say in what happens to the horse.

  12. PS…when I mentioned Fort Candy in my previous comment, that’s not his name. But Thoroughbred Stock Exchange calls him by that name SIX TIMES in their paragraph about him – the one where they’re trying to sell SHARES of this five-year-old gelding for $12. That can’t get their horse’s name right (it’s Fort Cady) – how’s that for respect and caring for their “athlete”, who BTW, is entered in a 4K claiming race at Golden Gate on 5-20. Nothing but objects.

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