The Abuse of Seeking Bliss

The 5-year-old mare Seeking Bliss has been put to the whip a total of 8 times – all under breeders/owners Donald and Kenneth Ferguson and trainer (excepting one race) Jesus Mendoza. The results are as ugly as the industry that enslaves her:

Del Mar, Aug ’13: last of 9, 40+ lengths back
Santa Anita, May ’14: last of 9, 35+ lengths back
Santa Anita, May ’14: 8th of 11, 23+ lengths back
Golden Gate, Jun ’14: last of 7, 19+ lengths back
Los Alamitos, Sep ’14: last of 7, 30+ lengths back
Santa Anita, Oct ’14: last of 10, 58 lengths back
Santa Anita, Oct ’14: last of 8, 32+ lengths back

And most recently – Santa Anita, Dec 28th: “SEEKING BLISS refused to break, came out far behind the field and was ridden out to the wire a quarter mile behind the field. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the start before ruling SEEKING BLISS was the cause of her own trouble.” “Refused to break,” “cause of her own trouble.”

And apparently, they are not done with her yet, having worked her out January 2nd.

Follows is what I believe to be an applicable (to Messrs Mendoza, Ferguson, and Ferguson) section of the California Penal Code:

“Except as otherwise provided in subdivision (a) or (c), every person who overdrives, overloads, drives when overloaded, overworks, tortures, torments…any animal, or causes or procures any animal to be so overdriven, overloaded, driven when overloaded, overworked, tortured, tormented…and whoever, having the charge or custody of any animal, either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to needless suffering, or inflicts unnecessary cruelty upon the animal, or in any manner abuses any animal…or who drives, rides, or otherwise uses the animal when unfit for labor, is, for each offense, guilty of a crime punishable pursuant to subdivision (d).”

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  1. I am being kind when I say that the owners and trainer of Seeking Bliss are monsters. Anyone, with minimal intelligence, should realize this horse does NOT want to race.

    • And isn’t it perplexing, Mary, that with ALL of the “good folks” in racing, not ONE of them has stepped up and taken her from this abuse! It’s not like there haven’t been enough opportunities for the “good folks” to privately purchase her OR claim her if the owner won’t let her go!
      This POOR mare…once again, this gambling industry shows its disgusting lack of caring for the welfare of their “athletes”.

  2. Absolutely Patrick. They are in breach of the California Penal Code, no doubt about that!

  3. Pretty much everyone on here knows I support racing – I love the sport, I love the thrill of competition – but even I can see that this mare just does not want to race any more – I mean she has been last or close to last in her most recent starts. When one of our mares started to lose her competitive nature she was retired – as she is as happy as can be being a trail horse!

    • “this mare just does not want to race anymore”
      Since when do racehorses want to race? They are trapped and are forced to race, they have no choice.
      From my experience I have never seen a racehorse displaying animal behaviour which indicated, even remotely, that it wanted to race. In fact my research on animal behaviour in racehorses over a period of 5 years evidences that racehorses are so stressed pre race that they have virtually run the race before they jump out of the barrier stalls.

      • Carolyn,

        I Totally agree with you.

        I have Never ever seen horses in a pasture racing at breakneck speeds for extended periods of time to beat the horses running beside them.

        I do not believe for a moment that horses have a “competitive nature”

        it is the people hat have the “competitive nature” who own the horses that force them to run at a young age when their bodies are not even fully formed with a whip and with drugs and with electroshock.

        Horse race owners, trainers, and all those that make a living from this cruel “Sport” and all those that gamble on these magnificent animals have the “competitive nature” not the horses.

      • Exactly Carolyn…horses in this industry are forced to race…they did not choose it. Racing apologists claim the horses want to race…I guess it makes them feel better about the enslavement they make the horses endure.

    • Britto5,

      I have asked you questions before and you have not answered. i will ask you questions again and see if you will answer with the truth or if you will storm away and once again not answer.

      You talked about when one of your mares started to lose her competitive edge you retired her. As stated in my email to Carolyn, I believe it is the person that owns the horse and those poised to make money off the horse that have the competitive edge. I have never seen horses in a field race to win against each other. they may love their owner and want to push themselves because they want to make their owner happy even if they die in the process but they do not race against other horses because they enjoy winning.

      My questions to you.

      Did the jockeys use a whip on any of your horses to make them run ??
      Did the trainers use drugs on any of your horses ??

      I would like to see if you have the courage to answer those questions because you have not answered any of my other questions.

      • So I am lacking courage for not answering? I do follow this website and will insert a comment here and there but as for having debates on here I don’t want any part of – they are incredibly one sided. I am willing to propose a compromise but no one wants to even begin to think that their could be another view

        As for the horses – don’t own them I have never owned a horse due to the financial strain they would put on my budget – but have been involved in the racing industry since I was in my early teens (and no, I’m not employed by the racing industry either). I have a few very good friends who own a few racehorses – they aren’t in it for the money, just the love of the sport and any horse under their care receives the best treatment possible. And to answer your questions – yes they are “drugged” but only with Lasix and yes, they are whipped, but not any more than necessary – when the horse stops responding to the whip, they are hand ridden to the finish. Like I have said before, when they are done racing – the effort is taken to find them second careers – the effort is made to make sure they are sound, healthy & fit before going onto their new careers and they also receive weekly updates on how their former charges are doing. I hope I answered your questions.

      • Britto, what “compromise” are you willing to propose? Remember, this blog is Horseracing Wrongs, not “Let’s Compromise When It Comes to Horseracing”. Also, I take offense to your statement that “no one wants to even begin to think that their (should be “there”) could be another view”. Anyone with minimal intelligence knows that there are “other views” within the racing industry. I have had racing apologists tell me that their horses race “clean” when, in fact, the horses are racing with Lasix. Therefore, those individuals are either ignorant or they are liars because we all know that Lasix is a drug. As you and your “very good friends” know, bute isn’t reported when a horse races here in Ohio but the majority run on bute. However, even if bute was reported, I’m sure there would be those that would babble that their horses race “clean”. Those folks have “other views” on the definition of a drug or perhaps they are comfortable lying. My view is that very few…yes, very few…horses race “clean” but you are free to have another “view” on that subject.

        Patrick did a story, last October, on a TB by the name of Funky Country. Funky died in the dirt in his last race. It is heartbreaking when any horse doesn’t make it out of racing alive, but what was especially troubling about Funky’s death was that he had a place to go upon his retirement. However, his owner/trainer wanted to squeeze another few dollars out of him before he was allowed to leave racing. My view was that Funky needed to be retired but his owner/trainer had “another view” and that was to race Funky “one more time”. I was told, in a private message, that Funky raced “clean” but that was just another lie emanating from the mouth of a person immersed in racing. I challenged this individual on her lie but was then called “vicious”. Wow, is all I can say. I will write more on that situation when I have time, but, for right now, I just want to reassure you, and your good friends, that I do realize that there are “other views” out there when it comes to this gambling industry. However, please remember that I spent years on the backside of a low level track and galloped racehorses in the 1960’s. This isn’t my first time up to “home plate”, if you know what I mean.

        I have to give you credit that you are able to recognize that the comments here are “incredibly one sided”. Again, Britto, for you, and your colleagues, this blog is called Horseracing Wrongs. Patrick reports deaths. Got it? How is that one sided? He reports exploitation. Got it? Surely you don’t think that what is being done to Seeking Bliss is a good thing, do you? Do you have “another view” on her exploitation? If so, post it publicly. I have been told for years and years and years, that there are “many” good people in racing. If that is true (and I personally believe that is one of the biggest lies that the racing supporters babble), then reach out to all those good people and rescue this mare. Claim her!! Find her a good home. She doesn’t deserve to be run into the ground by the racing industry, and for every horse like Seeking Bliss, there are 100 more just like her. That is my “view” and I’m sticking to it.

      • Britto,

        Thank you for having the courage to answer my questions. I did not think you were going to.

        Just so that you understand my point of view I will share this with you.

        I do not Ever think it is “necessary” to whip a horse. i think it is abusive and cruel. Horses should run as fast as they are comfortable running and not should not be whipped to make them run faster.

        I do not Ever think that is is okay to use Lasix. It is a very dangerous drug with serious side effects. Horses that live out their lives in a natural setting do not need Lasix. it is only when they are being forced to run at top speeds and risking their lives are they given Lasix. Only on rare occasions do they need it otherwise. Now it seems that practically every horse that races in the US gets Lasix on race day even though it is banned in other countries. Why is it banned in other countries ? IT is banned because it is a dangerous drug.

        This week I was deeply concerned about a horse Called “Tough Sunday” this horse was born blind and deaf and on Wednesday they discovered that he was injured and could not run with his shoe on but they forced him to race on Saturday anyway in the California Cup Derby and he came in last even though a month ago in the same setting he came in first. Greed overpowered their concern for this horse and it could have cost him his life. The owners got 5,000. They could have lost their horses and they could have damaged him permanently by making him run on a sore foot. No doubt, they loaded him up with Butte and other drugs so he would not feel his pain.

        I have never watched HRTV on DIsh Network before but I kept the racing channel on all day and recorded it so I could see if they were going to race Tough Sunday because they had decided to wait until race day to see if they could put his shoe back on with the hurt left foot.

        I watched in horror as race after race the jockeys hit their horses over and over and over to make them run faster.

        Here is an article about this amazing horse that could have died on Saturday but thank God did not die.

        In USA Today. the following was said after the race. The article is entitled “Mischief Clem wins California Derby in photo finish” 1/24/2015

        Tough Sunday, a colt who overcame being born deaf and blind after being abandoned by his mother, finished last in the seven-horse field. He was coming off a 6 1/4-length win on the same track last month. Sent off at 7-2 odds, Tough Sunday was second at the half-mile pole before fading under Tyler Baze. Luxury car dealer Nick Alexander bred and owns Kluszewski and Tough Sunday.

        The one (Tough Sunday) kind of got in trouble out of the gate and that kind of changed the complexion of the race,” winning trainer Bob Hess Jr. said. “I thought the one would go to the front, the two would lay second, and I thought we’d be third. When the one broke slowly and got blocked, then it became more of a jockeys’ race.”

        This is the only Website that I have seen that is devoted to “Horseracings Wrongs” To see the other side you only need to turn on HRTV or follow the Paulick Report and countless other pro racing websites.

        I think Horse racing is Wrong and I will never change my view on that. I agree with what Mary Johnson has said and what Patrick has said and what Carolyn has said and every other person that has spoken out against the horse abuse that is so rampant in the horse racing world.

        Horse racing leads to the abuse and death of tens of thousands of horses every year so I cannot never be for it.

        For the first time in my life, on Saturday, I watched race after race after race in horror as these horses were forced to run for their lives at top speeds. No, I see nothing enjoyable or positive about horse racing.

        The horses i observed over a ten hour period on Saturday did Not look happy or like they were enjoying themselves in that carnival atmosphere of corruption and greed and gambling. Each horse had another horse and rider by their side to keep them in check til the race. There were horses drenched in sweat even before the race began. I wonder what kind of drugs they were on.

        One horse stumbled badly and threw it’s rider and followed the rest of the horses around the field. there was no competitive edge going on with that horse. He was not trying to beat the other horses, he was just following along behind. He was not running to beat the other horses because there was no one on his back beating him over and over to make him run faster.

        Albert Einstein said, “The indifference, callousness and contempt that so many people exhibit toward animals is evil first because it results in great suffering in animals, and second because it results in an incalculably great impoverishment of the human spirit.”

      • Mary,

        I loved your post. Thank you so much.

        I had no idea that you galloped racehorses in the 1960’s. I would love to hear more of your story.

        Some people on this list think that those posting do not know what they are talking about in terms of what goes on at the racetrack. I personally have never been to a race track or even watched a race except replays. I watched my first live races this past week end on HRTV. So i admit i know very little about what goes on behind the scenes.

        What I do see are the lists of deaths being reported on this website and the abuse and reports of the abuse of horses constantly being whipped and drugged. What I do see are the stats on how many horses are being murdered that were once race horses including famous race horses. What I do see is YOU Tube videos of horses being brutally murdered while still alive and horses being shot in the face and beaten to death) in Canada and Mexico and IN Russia and in Japan for food.

        You, on the other hand, along with quite a few others that are part of this list have actually been part of that world and not just hanging out with your friends in the barn or betting on horses but actually being a part of the industry and seeing first hand on what goes on.

        I would love to hear more of your story of what you saw when you were at the race track.

      • Kathleen, I galloped racehorses for a friend of my mom’s back in the 60’s. Her friend had a farm, outside of Cincinnati, and he would take his horses to his farm for lay-ups or when River Downs was closed. There was a training track at this farm and I would hang out there during the summer months. Just to be clear, I never rode, or galloped horses, at an actual racetrack. I was a very good rider back in the 1960’s and got my first horse, an OTTB (Sunlin), in 1963, so I have been around TB’s for 50 years.

        Years later, I volunteered for CANTER-Ohio at Beulah Park. Even after CANTER no longer had a presence at Beulah, I still spent time at that track in order to help the “discarded” horses from racing since many of them were in danger of going to slaughter. Although I am anti-racing, I do have close friends in the racing industry. I currently have seven horses…all rescues…and that includes four Thoroughbreds and three Standardbreds. However, I have directly helped, or been involved with helping, many more horses over the years.

        I used to sincerely believe that I could be instrumental in cleaning up the racing industry but I now realize how naive, and ignorant, I really was. The problems in racing are multi-faceted and, if racing could be “cleaned up”, someone would have done so by now. Whenever you mix money and animals, in a gambling industry, the animals always end up losing.

  4. You are spot on Kathleen. The horses don’t know that humans have invested in them and bet money on them to win….. as if……! But the racing industry would have the public believe that their horses just love to race. And some people actually believe it!
    So true about horses in a natural environment, i have seen a herd of 15 former racehorses galloping across a field on a large property in their element. Slowed down when their bodies told them to, did not come into contact with one another, kept just enough space around one another so there was no danger of clipping heels and a horse coming down and under no stress. It was wonderful to see them enjoying one another, each horse with his/her individual personality and traits and the one at the tail end, happy to follow his family (the herd). He was at the bottom of the hierarchy.

    • Patrick,

      Question for you.

      Speaking of Tough Sunday the horse. I found out the y were going to have the race on HRTV and I discovered that HRTV is on Dish Network.

      I just watched my first horse race on TV. Not a good experience. I could not stand watching those jockeys hit those horses over and over and over.

      I turned it on because they announced that Tough Sunday may be in the race at 3:30 p.m. today even though he has a bruised foot. that is very upsetting to me if they risk this horses life after professing to care so much about this horse who was born deaf and blind..

      Question to you. How can they have these live races on tv and cover up the horses falling and dying on the track.

  5. Yes Joy and it never ceases to amaze me when a trainer, jockey or owner, when accepting a winning trophy and a cheque, declares that this wonderful horse just loves to win races everyone! Did you see him prick his ears when he got close to the finish line? They don’t even know that when a horse pricks his ears it does not necessarily mean the horse is “happy”. It usually means that the horse is focusing on something that has caught his attention. I’ve seen horses racing on their home track and when they sight their stable complex
    just past the finish line, they prick their ears and i believe it’s because they’re focusing on getting back to their stable. One horse copped a flogging and past the winning post spotted his stable, dumped the jockey (broken collarbone), jumped the outside rail and the horse was found standing in front of his stable.

  6. California Cup Derby. 1/24/2015

    Even though Tough Sunday had a bruised foot on Wednesday of this week, this owner/trainer forced him to run today because they cared more about money than they did for this horse and he lost and came in last. Very dangerous to race this horse when he was injured on Wednesday.


    Tough Sunday, a colt who overcame being born deaf and blind after being abandoned by his mother, finished last in the seven-horse field. He was coming off a 6 1/4-length win on the same track last month, and was sent off at 7-2 odds.

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