I have confirmed that 4-year-old Unabiding Citizen is dead after breaking down in the 6th yesterday at Thistledown. Some relevant facts:
…this was Unabiding Citizen’s 19th race of the year, almost all at the claiming level
…in that span, he was raced twice in a week two different times
…owner Jonathan Stodghill was also UC’s fourth trainer in 12 months
Exploited, exploited, exploited – killed.
Well, I do not see how anyone could see this horse succeeding at this pace. Why not give him time out to regroup? Where is the motive? This is what I don’t get. Is there insurance, or tax advantage to running him into the ground. And the kind fellow kept giving until he could no more.
Bad trainers and owners have gotten away with this shit too long…. Floating Ballerino…..Zo Sophisticated…. Unabiding Citizen….among others….back to back.race entered multi state….probably thrown on trailer before even cooled out… guess Jonathan Stodghill thought his 4yo enjoyed travel scenery enroute to PID Sept 4th,
Thistle Sept 10th, PID again Sept 25th, then back to Thistle in Oct…
8 weeks…Jonny gets abt $30,000….his horse gets dead stock pickup
It’s all about the MONEY… the horses be DAMNED. I just read this comment, by a Neil Hecht, who is a racing owner or trainer (or both)….and I quote Mr. Hecht: “Race your horse as a 4,5 or 6-year-old and you constantly risk injury.” He then goes on: “I claimed a 4-year-old filly in 2005…by the middle of her 5-year-old season, I was offered 1 million [dollars] by a group who wanted to breed her. Naturally, I sold her. Who’s going to risk injury to an equine money machine like that. Breed them and watch the money roll in.” Spoken like a true racing insider. It’s all about the money.
RIP Unabiding Citizen.
The owners/trainers can race a horse as often as they like since there are no rules prohibiting a horse from racing frequently. A perfect example is Pass Me A Drink. Look up her race record. Her trainer, David Hunt, raced her twice within two and a half days, once at Beulah Park and once at Turfway. She raced poorly both times, but who cares when there is a buck to be made.
The racing industry is a “rogue” industry. Many of those involved do whatever they can to “hit the board” because they need whatever money the horse can win in order to live. There is a real dichotomy to racing. On one hand, you have the glamour of the Breeder’s Cup and, on the other, you have people living in their trucks on the backside of tracks. When someone can’t afford to feed themselves, it is safe to assume that their horses will suffer.
A racing official, here in Ohio, told me that, in order for a horse to pay its way (and make a little money), that horse would need to win one race a month at lower level tracks. Well, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that rarely happens. Therefore, the majority of these horses lose money for their owners/trainers over time. They are raced hard, and often, and are running injured the majority of the time yet. Again, for those that truly love these horses, not just the glitz and glamour, there is no reason to be a racing supporter. There is nothing in racing that benefits the horse – nothing.
This is the area that doesn’t make sense. Horses that are in training, feeding, barn space, entry fees, shoeing, tack – all take money. Where does the money come from if the horse isn’t bringing in big money. There has to be something we are not aware of for why law enforcement, and political pressure is not happening? Where is the favor?
An owner/trainer told me, several years ago, that racing is a sport for “dreamers”. It is like playing the lottery when the jackpot is $20 million. People breed a low level mare to a low level stallion with the hope of hitting the “jackpot” and they race their horses with the hope of “hitting the board”. Here, in Ohio, stalls are free at the track and it doesn’t cost anything to enter a horse into a claiming race. I can’t tell you how many neglected horses I saw at a low level track day in and day out yet the horses were expected to run well. Over time, it really gets to you and your heart aches for the horses and for the people who are struggling to survive. Such a sad situation.
Many of the low level trainers also ponied horses in order to make ends meet. Some trainers charge a day rate but many wouldn’t charge the owner anything but would take a percentage of the purse if the horse hit the board. The racetrack gives new meaning to the phrase…struggling to survive.
The horses referred to as “claimers” by those in the business do not stand a chance in the hands of these abusers. The owners are complicit in the cruelty. It is very clear the industry is an accepted form of shear animal abuse at every level. There are no rules to protect the horse because nobody gives a damn about the horse and it may cost money !!! Any measure of human decency is sadly lacking. But even worse, there is no sign of any meaningful effort from those who have the power to make a difference in the sad lives of these animals. It is a disgraceful sub culture of lawlessness in a so called civilized society.
Back in the mid-60’s, my mother bought me a TB by the name of Bit O’ Scotch, Bitsy for short. He was purchased from Meshewa Farm which was located in Indian Hill, Ohio. Bitsy became my top junior hunter and equitation horse throughout the mid to late 60’s. Before we purchased Bitsy, he was the stablemate of Jay Trump who won the 1965 Grand National which is considered the greatest steeplechase of all time. The Grand National is the Derby and Breeder’s Cup Classic rolled into one. I’m posting the YouTube video of the 1965 Grand National. I just watched it again and it was extremely hard for me to watch. Horses plummeting over fences, jockeys on the ground with horses jumping on top of them, horses racing/jumping without a rider. I watch this now and can’t imagine that this is still allowed in a civilized society. Jay Trump does win the race and he is buried at the Kentucky Horse Park near the finish line of the steeplechase course.
Watch this but I’m sure you will be shocked and nauseated, just as I am.
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