Another Dead Horse and Busy Whips

The CHRB has confirmed the death of Sunny One at Golden Gate. Apparently, the 5-year-old was found dead in his stall on November 29th, just two days after finishing 2nd in a GG race. His trainer was Alex Sywak, his owner, Ingrid Sywak.

Other notes from the week:

Wednesday at Charles Town (8th), Beau American “was always outrun in the four path, remained under incessant urging throughout the length of the stretch and was vanned off.” “Incessant urging.”

Thursday at Finger Lakes (6th), Speedy Getaway “was whipped to the late stages for the win.” “Whipped for the win.”

Friday at Finger Lakes (7th), Dreamboat “was kept to pressure for the win.” “Kept to pressure for the win.”

Saturday at Laurel (8th), Eighttofasttocatch “pulled away [for win] under relentless right handed encouragement.” “Relentless right handed encouragement.”

Is this what horsemen mean by love to run, born to compete?

And finally, this from Friday’s 2nd at Laurel: Keep Me Informed “was pulled up soon past the three quarter pole then walked off on his own courage.” This is horseracing.

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  1. To RACING SUPPORTERS AND THOSE WHO ACTIVELY TAKE PART IN THIS INDUSTRY…after a “busy” week here at HW, reporting the deaths of young and old horses – raced to death for your entertainment, found dead in their stalls – reporting names of horses the industry used for their own profit but have now gone missing, relaying what takes place when these magnificent creatures are pushed to their limits – enduring lashes from the whip when they’ve got nothing more to give – and ALL this in only six days…RACING APOLOGISTS, please remind us…WHAT about this gambling industry benefits the non-consenting HORSE?

    • Just as I thought…I asked a question of the racing supporters a few days ago, but nothing. Because there IS nothing to be said…there is no answer…there can be no comeback…because racing holds NO benefit for the horse.

  2. This is what I don’t understand. If the industry say that they “love to run” then why the need for whips? Why do you need to “urge” them down the stretch if they’re doing what they love to do?… Clearly the horses don’t “love” it as much as these people think they do.

    • Tracey, the pro-racing apologists always babble that these horses “love to run”. Heck, those immersed in racing will actually tell you, or anyone else who wants to listen, that the horses are doing what they do best – giving their all as they race toward the finish line because they “love what they do”. I have been involved with TB’s for over 50 years and when these horses initially come off the track, and are turned out in a pasture, they do gallop around that pasture for the first day or two. Keep in mind that the racing industry keeps these horses confined 23 hours a day so compare it to a prisoner who has been locked up in jail for years finally experiencing freedom. Yes, the first day or two can be a little dicey, but, soon after that, the horses canter for a few strides and then barely move out of a trot. Yes, there is some bucking and playing, but nothing even close to what occurs in a race.

      I sometimes wonder if racing supporters really understand the mentality of horses. First of all, horses are herd animals. They want to stay with the herd and will run at full gallop in order to do so. They are also flight animals. It is well documented that horses will attempt to stay with the herd even on three legs. Anyone with minimal intelligence should know that the horse doesn’t “love” running on three legs, but, with adrenaline flowing, that same horse will attempt to keep up with the other horses. I’m sure we all remember Eight Belles snapping both front legs and still trying to stand. Heartbreaking, to say the least. Those that commit atrocities against animals will always try to justify the exploitation that takes place and, in racing, that justification consists of trying to convince us that the horses “love what they are doing” so it is okay to put jockeys on their backs who whip the horse “for the win”. It is just another lie perpetuated by an industry that exists for one reason only….gambling.

      • I agree with you Mary Johnson, gambling is the forefront of this industry, the horses are just an added bonus. If they want to use them at least treat them with the respect that they deserve.

      • Mary,

        I totally agree with everything you have said in your post.

        Tragically, there are potentially tens of millions of people out there that think horses “love to run”

        I think That comes from watching movies like “The Black Stallion ” and hearing trainers and owners and sports writers spread that lie in writing and in the media year after year.

        I had NO idea what was going on at racetracks until several months ago after watching a tv show called Heartland from Canada where they talked about drug abuse at the race track.

        I Have never been to a racetrack in my life and had No desire to go but I had no idea these horses were badly abused to make them run or that they were being Brutally slaughtered by the millions. 4 million and counting since 1989. Those stats are for the US. The world horse slaughter rate is much higher.

      • Tracey, the majority of those in racing are NOT going to treat the horses with respect. They view the horses as “machines”, not as living, breathing, sentient creatures. Treating a horse with respect means allowing them to just be horses and that includes plenty of turnout, downtime when injured, no drugs constantly being forced into their bodies, and allowing them to be fully developed before they hit the track, etc. Most of those in racing are NEVER going to allow horses to just be horses because it costs MONEY to do so.

        Over the years, I have heard people describe the TB as “wild and crazy”. However, I will dispute that “myth” until the day I die. Get them away from the horrors of the track and they quickly turn into different animals. There isn’t anything “natural” about the environment in which these are horses are expected to perform. Everything is artificial starting with breaking them as yearlings and racing them as two year olds. It is criminal, in my opinion.

        Also, for those that want to “clean up” racing, how is that working out for you? Not so good, is it? You keep trying to “clean up” an industry that is filthy to its core. In fact, I personally believe that the drugs are actually getting worse as those immersed in racing resort to cheating in order to pay the bills. You would think that all those good folks that are trying so hard to make things better for the horses would be smart enough to know that it can’t be done. If racing wanted to change, it would have done so by now. Seems simple to me but, for some, that is a difficult concept to grasp.

        • Agreed. I was that “good” Owner/Trainer. I was going to change things for the better – boy was I naive! Things that seemed so obviously destructive to both the equine, and human athlete were never resolved. That left me in a doping, cheating system of Trainers whom I simply couldn’t compete against (at least not in a natural way). All this talk about cleaning up the system! Heck, they’ve been talking about it for years, and it’s still just lip service because the top Trainers in the country have multiple drug violations, and are still being treated with kid gloves. It’s utterly ridiculous. It’s like running against a bunch of Lance Armstrongs! It’s a known fact that batteries and/or electrical shock devices are being used in whips. The last time I was in California I overheard allegations that the top jockeys & their cohorts had developed a microchip that could fit into the whip with zero detection, but powerful zapping results. I attempted to bring in a scanning machine that would be placed at the jockey scales so that every whip would be scanned. I was drowned out, and it didn’t even make the minutes. I was onto something. With the BILLIONS that the racing industry brings in and with the advent of sophisticated, relatively cheap, technology isn’t ut funny how nothing is ever used??? To install surveillance cameras in barns that could be monitored by one individual on the frontside would put an end to all this speculation, and alleged cheating! It would cost a pittance in comparison to what they pull into the wagering windows. It’s as if they don’t want it because the doping, and cheating must go on at the expense of the voiceless racehorse. Purchasing a scanner that could easily be placed at the jockey scales for very little money could show if whips contained electrical devices or chips. Easy to implement, but they don’t want it. It became Brits to me that a select few are winning all the races at the expense of many: both human and equine athlete. There’s no such thing as being good in this business it’s more like complacency with is one of the many reasons why I left and took my horses with me so they couldn’t be abused.

  3. What’s the difference between whipping a slave or whipping a horse? Absolutely nothing. Slavery was abolished in America, and so should horse racing be abolished. It’s a horrific cycle of doping, joint injections, whipping, breakdowns, dying, dumping at kill auctions, and the slaughterhouse. This is going on everyday. I swear if I had the money I would hire an attorney and file charges against jockeys who excessively whip horses (of course I would want it banned altogether) because any jury who would watch a videotape of a horse getting whipped would declare it animal cruelty! No doubt in my mind, and it would set a precedent. Nobody has EVER brought these horse beaters to court! They hide behind the mysterious Jockey Club, and have the Racing Commissions falsely proclaim to protect the horse by fining the jockey. It’s outrageous. It’s cruelty to animals.

    • Gina,

      I Totally agree with you and with Mary.

      that is why we need more people aware of what is going on and who are willing to help financially so we can take these people to court with lawsuit’s. That is what these nonprofit groups like HSUS and ASPCA and a few other nonprofit groups do. They have lawyers on their payroll and they file lawsuit after lawsuit after lawsuit dealing with dogs and cats and puppy mills, animal drug testing, animals confined in cages, etc. but they are Not taking on this issue of horse racing and its rampant abuse.

      it is slavery and it is abuse and it does go on every day. Many people have no idea that everything that Mary has said in her post is the truth. These horses run because they are forced to run. Not because they love to run.

  4. I agree with both Tracy and Joy.

    I do not think they love being forced to race. Their bodies are not built for this kind of abuse and that is why there is rampant drugging and beating of horses to force them to run faster and faster til many of them suffer from injuries and then end up dead. Death at the racetrack or death at the slaughter house..Rarely do they escape this nightmare and have rest and peace in their lives.

    • Kathleen your right, they aren’t built for this kind of abuse, they are actually very sensitive animals and I hope more people start to understand it.

      • Tracey,

        That is why I want more people to find out about this website and learn what we know about these horrible deaths and terrible abuse to these magnificent animals and then share it with everyone they can.

        The amount of deaths that are happening on the track are so hidden from the public except for this website that is Horse racing wrongs because Patrick works so hard to research and find out who these horses are and then reports back to this group so we can know the truth. tragically, there are many more horses dying at the track that we do not know about because people at the track delete the videos and are covering up their deaths.

        It should be mandatory that every state report the deaths that are happening at the race track like they do in California and New York.

        There is a website called horseracing kills in Australia that goes into depth about how horse’s bodies are not built for this kind of abuse. They report that their bodies are still forming until they are six years old.

  5. The racehorse (AKA Thoroughbred or TB) has become a disposable commodity. When I was training on the track for many years I often heard Owners/Trainers say that they wanted their horse to drop dead because it wasn’t making money for them anymore. I witnessed highly suspicious circumstances surrounding the deaths of MSW (Multiple Stake Winners) during training hours out of the publics eye. Some research revealed that they had insurance policies that paid out huge sums. Then I found out that in order to collect, most equine insurance policies reimburse based on lifetime earnings and/or the average of their last 3 starts. So the minute these MSW’s are not up to par it actually pays to have them die before they slip into the claiming ranks. I also found out that these policies only pay out when the horse dies on the track either during Training hours or during a Race. I have witnessed MSW’s who were otherwise well-mannered suddenly run through a fence like a lunatic that seemed under the influence of something resulting in broken limbs, and euthanasia. In Canada, one of the most high profile cases involved WAKE AT NOON. (WAN) What a trajedy this was! This horse made 1.66 MILLION Dollars! He was Horse of the Year. His Owner (whom I thoroughly disrespect) is Bruno Schickedanz. Typically this Owner Claims horses in their Prime and within a short period of time – they go down.. He often has MSW’s running at 10 in the lowest level of Claiming Races then they disappear! He’s a multimillionaire residential developer in Toronto, and RARELY keeps his horses even though he owns 2 farms: one outside of Toronto, and one in Florida. Back to WAKE AT NOON. Bruno was still running him at 10 years old after he made almost 2 MILLION. It was rumoured on the backside of Woodbine that the horse was sore, tired, and sour. FYI, sour is a term used by horse people that means the horse Doesn’t want to be there – they’ve had enough! He was called into the Stewards office and ordered to take WAN off the track. Bruno, who often hires high priced Attorneys to fight multiple violations over the years allegedly threatened the Racing Commission to dispute this rule citing that he still wanted to run WAN!! When most Owners would have retired him and given him a lush green pasture Bruno had to be ordered to do that! Anyways, he out WAN at stud, but he was shooting blanks, and it quickly circulated that he was semi-sterile. Well Bruno was not done squeezing the lemon dry. Some people have often heard him say “they are not pets,” and allegedly hated the fact that WAN was costing him money on the farm instead of making him money. So he decides to arbitrarily (against Ontario Racing Rules) to put him back in training to eventually run him in cheap claimed at Mountaineer). He snuck WAN (under false pretenses) into Woodbine Racetrack for a workout despite the fact that the horse had not been in formal training on any track so one could logically presume UNFIT, old, and now a Sire! People witnessed the horse being BEATEN & WHIPPED to get it onto the track! By the time it was reported to the office – it was TOO LATE for Wake At Noon. He had a fatal injury and died in the dirt on the track. Of all the years I’ve been on the track this had to be one of the most tragic, and heartbreaking. An investigation ensued. True to form Bruno hired high priced Attorneys, and eventually wiggled his way out of it! This is horse racing! I have published the full article on my FB page if anyone cares to read it, and verify what I said here.

    • Gina,

      Can you tell me the name of the article so I can send it to a friend of mine who is a journalist. She is working on a story regarding race horse abuse.

      • Hi Kathleen, there were numerous articles written on this tragedy. Google WAKE AT NOON. Many will come up. Here is a link to one of the articles: This is so sad, but the rich Owner managed to get it swept under the rug when all the coverage died. He was supposed to be suspended for 10 years, but his high priced Attorneys took care of that probably with money that WAKE AT NOON made him! This is horse racing where justice is bought, and sold on a daily basis. If a small time Owner/Trainer did this (like me) they would probably have been suspended for life. Hell he even saved his ruthless Trainers fanny!

    • Oh yes Gina – I remember this. What a guy – Bruno Schickedanz – most definitely another racing puppymiller-
      Purchased himself more broodies at the cths mixed sale nov 29th. Even back in 2008, a longtime trainer at woodbine told me – at one point earlier in time – rumour had it – that 2 of Bruno’s older mares just rotted away in the wee back acres – at schickedanz farm property. Apparently, they were found dead in the spring after all the snow melted. While trainer – Tom Marino was supposed to have Wake at Noon under his careful watch it was not the case.

  6. Patrick,

    With a name like horse racing kills, and all their posts I thought they were completely against horse racing. So sorry to hear that they are not.

    It makes No logical sense to be for any kind of horse racing when these horses are suffering the way they do
    because of it.

  7. Gina,

    Speaking of Hell. I hope that trainer that did this to WAKE At NOON goes straight to Hell.

    I do believe in Reincarnation so I do believe their karma will return to them (all those that abuse and kill horses and elephants and all animals who suffer at the hands of mankind). I just hope it returns to them in this lifetime.

  8. Gina,

    It says he was 13 when he died. How old are horses allowed to race ? That is abuse as well to force a 13 year old to run.

    “The articles described the horse as “old by equine standards.” The Star acknowledges there is a debate on the fitness of horses to perform at various ages, and that older horses have been racetrack fan favorites. ”

    That terrible trainer “had plans to send him to race at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.” because he was “acting like a three year old”. Then he said that “the horse was my friend”

    That is unbelievable that he could say all that and that Jennifer Morrison ( the writer) let him get away with it and apologized to the trainer like he had done nothing wrong !!!!

    The Media plays a huge part in allowing this abuse to go on because they Refuse to tell the truth about the rampant abuse.

    Full article .

  9. Kathleen, thanks for your input. I respect your beliefs of Karma, and can only hope its true. Anyways, I would like to answer some of the questions you raised. Racing Commissions all have different set of Rules & Regulatiins depending on where they are located. By and large, the R & R’s are the same with some unique twists. Woodbine Racetrack is located in Ontario, Canada so falls under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Racing Commission. They have a 10 year Rule which states that any 10 year old horse who has not won a race is no longer eligible to enter, and run in Ontario. Wake At Noon was eligible for this Rule, but it’s important to note that most Owner/Trainers don’t need this rule applied as they retire their horse prior to this. Bruno had to be ordered to take WAN off the track citing this rule. Second, most (if not all) racehorses have what Trainers refer to as the “wear and tear,” factor. All racehorses (like any athlete) have wear and tear on their bodies. The extent of that wear and tear is contingent upon many factors: how the individual horse responds to training and racing, track surface, training techniques, drugs used etc. I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that any high level horse running in stake races are giving it their all. They have big hearts and run their butts-off. Wake At Noon was such a horse. From what I recall he did have a prior injury which I think was his Rear Right leg (the one that snapped-off or broke during his fatal workout). Anyways, these horses have a built-in time factor some handle the injuries better than others, and injuries can range from minor to major across the spectrum. I would go so far to say that most racehorses are running with some type of injury or chronic issue that is managed via drugs. Many reputable studies have confirmed that career-ending injuries and fatal breakdowns are a result of chronic issues not acute issues. That’s why it’s so important to eliminate drugs (including Lasix) on race day so that these chronic injuries are not masked resulting in less breakdowns. Anyways, WAN had made 1,66 MILLION and had chronic issues. Any caring Owner/Trainer would have retired him. Any good horse person knows that once a horse is a Sire in the breeding shed they have no interest in returning to racing. He had a taste of retirement and loved it. Even Bruno admitted that he was running around like a 3 year old. The idiot didn’t realize that the horse was happy to be off the track. Returning WAN to training would be like returning Wayne Gretzky to hockey now. Absurd, ridiculous, and an accident waiting to happen. He claims they were training him at the farm. First off, I think he’s lying, but even if he wasn’t no amount of training on a farm for a 13 y.o Retired Stud, with past chronic issues, and no regular training in 3 years would do good back in training or racing. In my view, he wrote his death sentence that day. He’s a cold, heartless, ruthless person. To think he was going to run him in Claiming Races at Mountaineer makes me sick. Jennifer Morrison is nothing more than a puppet for the HBPA and Wioodbine CEO’s. It’s rumoured she’s developed quite the gambling habit, and this is what they want. If true, an addict can always be controlled, and they bonus her with a generous in-house gambling account apparently. So she will do just about anything for that next “fix,” and it’s no different than a drug addict or alcoholic. At the beginning of her career she was much more neutral, but not anymore. Anything that comes out of her mouth now is not neutral. The HBPA and Woidbine CEO’s make it their mission to control people while being financed by the Ontario Taxpayer. Any outspoken Trainer (myself included) is denied stalls essentially, and deliberately blocking them from making a living. It has many effects, but the one I’m concerned with is lack of horsemanship. Rich Owners like Bruno and Stronach can buy their Trainer. They couldn’t buy me. The true Trainer with good and knowledgable horsemanship skills are rare now at Woodbine because good Trainers will always place the health and welfare of the horse first,. If my horse was sore it would be rested, and there’s no rich Owner that would tell me what to do. So I got a reputation as being crazy, and not complacent. If you don’t do what your told then these rich Owners pull horses from you. It’s that simple. Generally speaking, the Rich Owners are the worst because they have HUGE EGOS, and will do anything to get into the Winners Circle. Well they won’t tell me what to do. In my barn the horse will always come first not their fat wallets or egos. It becomes a delicate balancing act for Trainers who are torn between doing what’s right for the horse while appeasing the Owner who foots the bill. Plus, a rich Owner has the money to buy good racing stick Fr you to Train. If all my years of Training for both Rich and Middle-Class Owners that buy about 2 per year? I’ll take the middle class Owner any day because they pay their Training Fees on time, and actually care about the horse or finding a home for it. At least that’s my experience. For Tom Marino to do this exemplifies the situation. He should be banned for a minimum of 10 years, and was supposed to be. Bruno’s high priced Attorneys took care of that. Back in 2002-2004 Bruno had a string of 20-30 horses at Fr.Erie Racetrack with Trainer Layne Giliforte. The horses didn’t even have BEDDING! Or had such minimal bedding it was hard to see. Many times they were standing in their own excitement for days. Yet, they hailed Bruno and Layne as Leaders in the industry! Can you imagine that? It was rumoured that Bruno was notorious for being late paying his Trainer Fees. The Trainer Fees are essential for a Trainer to run a good race stable because it pays for the feed, bedding, and stable help. Layne had a high turnover of Stable help because they were allegedly not getting paid. So the rich and cheap Bruno was essentially making the horses pay for his cheapness. Even worse, while these horses were “negkected” due to late or non-payment he would claim a horse at Woodbine for $50,000!!It was outrageous. Anybody that would speak out about it (myself included) would suddenly have all sorts of problems. This is horse racing where you are rewarded to keep your mouth shut over horse abuse and/or neglect as long as those races are being filled. In my view, Bruno is nothing more than a hoarder. He’s a modern day horse hoarder that buys, sells, breeds, dumps at his own whim. This is horse racing.

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