I’ve come to believe that horse-racers fall into one of three categories. In the first, surely the majority, are the grinders – those who race as career, for paycheck. Whether they were raised in the industry or came to it later, the bottom line with this group is always the same: It’s just business; the horses, to them, are but interchangeable cogs, resources, means to an end. No declarations of equine love here, just trade and transact – and often, especially in the claiming ranks (the bulk of American racing). And when one goes down, it’s plug another in and move on.
With the second, money, though always important, is not the primary allure. For these – whether blueblood racing families or rich celebrities mired in hollow lives – it’s about prestige, glory, ego. They hobnob and glass-tip and cheer on their expensive pets. Yet where is that obscene wealth when rescues come calling? Better yet, where are their rescues? Truth is, while they play, many of their erstwhile toys are wasting away at the hands of an Ernie Paragallo or some misguided hoarder; more, still, are bleeding-out in Mexican and Canadian abattoirs.
In the last are those who not only believe that what they do is not unethical, but, in fact, is (or at least can be) in the best interests of horses. When questioned, their responses are quick and predictable: “come visit my stable”; “my horses are treated better than many humans”; “horses are born to run, love to run”; “a horse with a job is a happy horse.” Beyond merely protecting, they care – as evidenced by the tears, prayers, and condolences when one of theirs falls. “Members of the family.” All of this, of course, is self-delusion par excellence. Not to mention, repugnant: true loved ones are not whipped, drugged, and sold – repeatedly – to the highest bidder.
In the end, though, the motive (income, hobby) or purported motive (“love”) is wholly irrelevant, for the core relationship between these people and their horses – exploiter-exploited – is inherently cruel; quite simply, it cannot be otherwise.
How can there be just 3 groups? That hurts. From my 1st days at the racetrack until my last, I would never see & not report a crime to a horse. They froze with us on those cold winters in NY & we sweated together @Belmont & most sweaty Saratoga. Think about it, we worried about our makeup & hair & the horses kept sweating. And BTW, I wasn’t in the owner’s boxes, I was just someone with Affirmed
Hi Patrick,I have actually seen this “mindset” among some of the equestrian disciplines. They value their horses for only the trophies and ribbons, and maybe some money, they can bring. If their chosen mounts aren’t making the grade, then the solution is to buy a more expensive horse; a more “finished” horse. Yes, it’s all about ego; never about the horse. I also hear from their mouths, “Oh, he loves to go into the show ring! He gets all excited and struts his stuff!!” (Could it be he gets excited because of his proximity to other strange horses?) When at home they don’t saddle up and ride through the fields spending some quality time with their equine companions. They only mount up and go through refresher training within the confines of a corral prior to show day. Again, going around and around, never getting anywhere. And I sincerely believe that horses, left to their own devices, have no interest in running as fast as they can or jumping obstacles for the “fun” of it, being trailered from place to place (have you ever tried just standing, un-braced, in the back of a moving horse trailer!!!!) away from the comfort of your pasture at home, or going around and around the same ring changing different gaits. Would these same horses do that at home by themselves because they liked it? I’ve yet to see it. But I must say the true professionals in the equestrian world value their mounts over everything else. There are always those extra pats on the neck (and sometimes hugs) upon completing a jumping course. If the horse is performing well, is “off” on a particular day, these riders stop in the middle of the competition, and retire from the ring for the day. They realize that horses, like people, have good days and bad days. And why spoil a good horse’s good attitude by forcing him to perform. It’s all about the horse; not the “points”, the ribbons, or even the $200,000 purse! Sincerely,”Wolfshadow”
greymaregraywolf. Around & around & around they go. A merry-go-round. There is no end and MOST don’t get the Golden Ring. Well said, TY
You raised a very important issue in this article – money. Back in the 50’s, when my family trained, the Purse Money was, on average, $2000 to win. Even when you put that into perspective (cost of living), at that time it was still a very low amount. Consequently, the majority of horse people cared for the horse much more than they do now. It was a way of life. In Canada, racehorses raced for about 8 months per year, and were rested up on farms for 4 months per year. It was very rare for a Owner/Trainer to send their horses South for the winter. I’m not justifying this horrific business in any way because I would like it shut down, but I have noticed a direct correlation between the increase of purse money (due to Casino money) and the increase of deaths on racetracks. The almighty dollar now takes precedence over any resemblance of good horsemanship. I emphasize that good horsemanship translates to the realization that this business exploits the horse to the fullest especially now. That’s why I left. Many Trainers tend to justify this business, and they believe what their saying. However, if they really examined the horse racing business model it equates to a racehorse being used, and abused. To what extent depends on the individual(s), and situation. If this business were to end, and I sure hope it does, there would be BILLIONS available to rescue the racehorse. There are BILLIONS spent at the Sale Auction houses such as Keeneland and Saratoga every year and less than 10% is given back to the racehorse. The amount of money spent in the horse racing industry is obscene while racehorses are disposed of on a daily basis. When I was in this business I found out that the very rich Owners tended to be very cheap when it came to opening up their wallets for rescue. I found that the “blue-collar” Trainer tended to do everything they could to find homes for their racehorses who usually ended up at Kill Auctions. In order for this business to continue racehorses must be exploited, and disposed of which is precisely why I left. I could no longer uphold an industry who exploits such a beautiful horse.
Nicely worded. TY I worked with Affirmed. I know what you say & understand every word typed. I’ve come full circle too.
My Heart hurts. I so loved the racetrack and now? I loathe it.
I admire your acknowledgement of what the horseracing industry truly is, nohorseslaughter ortiz…and the fact that you chose to leave something you loved once you became fully aware of the abuse. Too many folks won’t admit they were wrong about the industry. Or they have acquaintances that remain in it so they betray the horses in order to maintain those relationships. That’s weak…and it’s taking the easy road. Speaking out, standing by the convictions you KNOW are the right ones, the HUMANE ones, is the rough path. But each and every racehorse enslaved in this industry is depending on people with ethics and morals to DO the right thing! So thank you!
Well written article Patrick. So true. People never see their own faults, therefore, will never see themselves in this article. It’s always the other owner, trainer, groomer or jockey, never themselves. Thank you.
Once a horse enters the claiming game it is the start of the finish for that horse. They will either be run into the ground as they are claimed over and over.. And once they can no longer run in spite of drugs and injected joints, the vast majority will enter the slaughter pipeline. Many of these horses were once “loved” and were “members” of families according to many in the business. I would like to hear how these people define “love” and what being a family “member” means to them ?? And I would also like to hear how they justify entering their “loved” ones in claiming races when they know full well what these unfortunate horses are in for ?
Yes, Rose!!…how many times have we asked those who race their “beloved family members” HOW can they put a price tag on their “family member’s head” and leave them unprotected???…and Rose, we have NEVER received an answer to that question from those apologists who comment here! And we won’t…because the “family member” bulls*** is a LIE.
Just an excellent post, Patrick…you have got this industry pegged! Those three groups are exactly what I witnessed and precisely who I “worked with” all those years on the backside. Even at that cheap track in Michigan, there were some from that second group – the wealthy owners. Only several of their stable would run at GLD…others were at Keeneland, Churchill, Arlington…depending on the month. And yet those horses would eventually end up in Michigan, running for cheaper and cheaper tags or having been privately sold to one of those in the first group you described. And yes, the horses were/are merely interchangeable cogs. And when their injuries were too severe to continue running, the broken racehorses’ stalls were needed for newly acquired “cogs”. And the vicious cycle started all over again…
Love all the comments here. I would like to address the “Claiming Races,” AKA Claiming Ranks. To somebody who has never been an Owner/Trainer/Wager it’s difficult to explain the entire picture without getting very technical. Here is my Claiming 101 for those of you who are not familiar with horse racing even though you are an animal advocate. The claiming ranks, simply put, are a dumping ground for sore horses who usually have pre-existing conditions. Consequently, there are extremely vulnerable to career-ending or catastrophic breakdowns. The pre-existing conditions are almost always the reason why a racehorse can’t compete at the upper non-claiming levels OR they just are not competitive/athletic enough to run at the upper levels. It’s estimated that approximately 90% of racehorses don’t actually WIN a race. The odds decrease as the racehorse continues to run. For example, a NW2 (non-winner of 2 races) racehorse WIN rate takes a huge plunge after it breaks its maiden (Maiden=a racehorse who has never won). There are a multiple of factors as to why a racehorse decreases its chances of winning a 2nd race. However, it’s estimated that only 5% of racehorses actually win a second race whether claiming or non-claiming. Statistics via Equibase confirm that only 1% of racehorses are actually non-claiming racehorses who compete at the Allowance Level or Higher (Stake Races or Black Type). Out of that 1% only .05% actually win an Allowance or Stake Race. In short, the odds are against you. Throw into the equation the dopers, and cheaters, and the chances of any racehorse surviving this business is extremely low. So they quickly become a financial liability to the Owner and its connections. In order for the racehorse to “earn its keep,” it becomes a working slave for the Claiming Ranks. There are horses running with 20+ starts that are finishing by 10+ lengths that have never won a race. So it becomes evident that this racehorse is either sore, lame, or doesn’t want to be a racehorse, or doesn’t have what it takes to be a racehorses. Let me try to put this into perspective. These racehorses are equivalent to a student failing 10 pre-entrance exams to Medical School, and still trying. It’s blatant abuse. In fact, the cost of keeping, and running a racehorse in the claiming ranks far exceeds any purse money it may earn. Not only is the Owner/Trainer banging their heads against the wall so is the racehorse as it is housed in a 10′ by 12′ stall 23 hours per day while being continuously given drugs via joints, veins, muscle or whatever else they can find. The most vulnerable, and abused racehorse is the one with BACK CLASS (Black Class refers to a racehorse who was a winning racehorse in its prime, often winning in Allowance Races and/or Stake Races when younger). There isn’t anything more disturbing then a former Allowance/Stake Horse who has won $100,000 or more in its prime only to be dumped (usually by the Owners who made all the money) into the Claiming Ranks where the abuse is just starting. Not only are these horses physically unsound, but many are mentally suffering. I have seen it, I have witnessed it, and it’s heartbreaking. During Training Hours out of the Public’s Eyes some of these horses, who were once Champions, are running for a ham sandwich ($5000 or lower), and they are not happy campers. I can’t sit here and tell you what their thinking, but it became clearly evident to me that they no longer wanted to run. Many were sour refusing to accept a saddle on their back, had to be beaten onto the track, beaten into the Starting Gate, and then beaten in the stretch while protecting their sore bodies. It’s blatant animal cruelty, and nobody can tell me different. Moreover, this type of racehorse goes from Owner to Owner as it is continuously claimed. The huge issues with this is that NOBODY knows what their Medical Records are prior to the Claiming. They have no idea how many Joint Injections, Drugs, Feed or anything else about the horse resulting in more abuse. Even if the Trainer has good intentions it doesn’t matter. When I was an outspoken active Trainer I constantly submitted requests for change to protect these horses such as:MANDATORY Medical Records provided for any horse in a Claiming Race. This Medical Record would be similar to a “Used Car,” record. For safety reasons, most jurisdictions in North American require a Used Car Report for the car. It should be the same for a racehorse to protect that racehorse, and the participants in the race. It didn’t surprise me that my suggestion was not only dismissed, but my job was on the line. The sad truth is that they don’t want the wagering or general public to know that many of these horses are running with screws holding their previous fractures together or torn ligaments holding the muscles onto the bones. Talk about an accident waiting to happen! I’m shocked that more horses are not breaking down, and more deaths are not happening. It’s absolute insanity. How can anybody support or carry on a business this way? Only the horse racing industry of course. This is horse racing. If you are on Twitter please follow @notsocloudy. This Twitter Account keeps track of racehorses in the Claiming Ranks. Excellent source of information that confirms everything I have stated here (sadly).
What I do not understand is why anyone would purchase a horse through the claiming game? They get rid of their bad horses through claiming and then purchase someone else’s problems? I don’t get it. Unless, those people who truly cannot afford the racing game buy what they can afford (claimers) and hope to find a winner? But then they end up with a horse who needs medical treatment? I still don’t understand it.
I am originally from Michigan where Michigan is still trying to come out of the economy free fall. I lost my house, bank appraised my house for $125,000 and when the banks failed it was worth only $15,000. Kentucky’s economy was barely hit during that time. I mention this because I have now retired to Kentucky and Kentucky will never let racing completely dry up unless there isn’t a dollar left to bet. Kentucky relies heavily on horse racing and the state being a Republican state the politicians will never let racing die out as Lexington Kentucky is known as the “horse capital of the world”. Kentucky makes billions off of racing and Senator Mitch McConnell, (now is the Majority Leader of the Senate) will block any bill that tries to eliminate racing/showing horse. He successfully blocked the PAST ACT that would eliminate stacks and chains from the sore Tennessee Walking horse and the “Big Lick”. So, unless all race tracks are closed down in the United States, Kentucky will still produce Thoroughbreds and horse racing. Unfortunately, Lexington is the head of this snake.
Thank you so much for this post. That was an excellent explanation of what a “Claiming” race is about. I had no idea it was that bad.
I have never been to a race and never even knew there was such a thing as a “Claiming” race until I watched the television show “Heartland” that is filmed in Canada about horses.
I agree with you that this is absolute insanity and I would add that it is absolutely evil to treat horses this way.
This is blatant animal cruelty.
I watched many “claiming races last weekend on HRTV and many of those horses looked so tired as they were trailing in the back.
I just read your earlier post and I see you were a trainer in Canada. For how long were you in the industry ?
I am so glad that you walked away, I hope and pray more trainers will do the same.
Now that you are out, is there any way to expose these people that are using these terrible whips with batteries
Thanks for your insight Gina Powell. I don’t know much about horse racing and your analysis gave me a clear view about the backbone of this industry. Those horses that go on the track they seem tired and worn out wanting no part in racing anymore. I have a question though you brought up a point about the horses being beaten onto the track and into the starting gate. I’ve seen this happen when the horse doesn’t want to load and some of the gate crew are holding lunge whips and lead ropes cracking it behind them do they actually hit the horse to make them move or do they just make the sound to scare them?
Tracey (and Gina will have more insight and answers for you, too, I’m certain)…I wanted to address your question about getting horses that don’t want to load into the gate. YES…they most definitely strike them to get them in. They also blindfold and spin them (horribly dangerous to blindfold them because if they get away from the handler, they bolt and are then running blind), twist/bend their ears, have 3 or 4 men get behind them and “shove” them in. I watched as a 10-year-old gelding that belonged to a man who lived out of his truck was whipped and shoved and had his ears twisted with great force in order to get him in the gate (the gelding had been GIVEN to this man…this man who could barely afford to feed himself…ah yes, such are the lives of claiming horses). I bought the gelding within the month of witnessing the abuse…he had run 85 times…he didn’t want to load anymore, didn’t even like people much by that point. He’s 25 years old now, has been with me for 15 years…and he still trembles in enclosed spaces so he never gets stalled. His name is Greenwish. He’s a racing survivor.
Thank you Joy for answering my question Its heartbreaking to learn that they go through this on a daily basis. More people should know that this happens before a race. I’m glad Greenwish was saved in time, he deserves a loving owner who will put his wellbeing above all else.
Gina, thank you for delving into the despicable “claiming game”. And as you brought out, it is the backbone of this sorry business. Some of these trainers and owners have made a lot of money on the backs of “claimers”. I heard a well-heeled owner say he could not survive in the business were it not for the disposal system, namely, the claiming game.
i have a question on the subject of claiming races.
there is a “maiden claiming race and an allowance optional claiming race.
Are horse put into a maiden claiming race because the owners do not think they are worth enough to keep or because they have been injured in training ?
Also, what is an optional training race mean. Can the owner choose to keep the horse ?
What you said is shocking to me . I thought they were all sold with medical records.
The fact that these horses are being sold with no medical records is further proof that those that are selling and those that are buying truly do not care about these horses at all or what happens to them.
MArk Case (Trainer who won last years Queens Plate with Lexie Lou) says he buys horses “with his eyes” based on the way they look and he buys a lot of claiming horses.
Has won Sovereign award 6 times as a Trainer – Mark Casse 2013 – 414 starts – 86 wins – 55 seconds – 52 thirds – $5,576,183 in earnings
I wonder how many of these horses he still has.
A five-time winner in this category including the past two seasons in succession,
Mark Casse and his team continued its successful run as Woodbine’s leading stable in 2013. Casse won 85 races at the meeting (and one at Fort Erie: Uncaptured scored in the Prince of Wales Stakes, the second jewel of Canada’s Triple Crown) to lead all conditioners at the Toronto track. Casse won 19 stakes races in Canada, three of them graded events, won by Madly Truly, Laugh Track, My Conquestadory, Delegation, Sisterly Love and Delightful Mary. Laugh Track went on to finish a fast-closing second in the Grade 1 Breeders’Cup Sprint at Santa Anita in November and My Conquestadory won the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland. Sisterly Love, was named Champion Older female in Canada tonight and Delegation, was a 2013 Sovereign finalist for Older Male.
I will email ADLF to see if they will help look into the race horse abuse. they do a lot with dogs.
THey have lawyers on board so they could take it on if they had the time.
They create petitions and lawsuits
More on ADLF from their newsletter
the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has protected the lives of countless animals across the nation.
After ALDF stepped in with a rulemaking petition, the North Carolina Board of Agriculture finally agreed in December to stop using gas chambers to kill dogs and cats in animal shelters. Experts disapprove of gas chambers for routine euthanasia at animal shelters—as it causes great panic, suffering, and a slow, painful death. Yet the state ag board had not stepped up to ban this controversial method until ALDF’s petition.
ALDF also helped South Dakota become the last of the 50 states to make animal cruelty a felony offense. Felony penalties represent a state’s commitment to taking cruelty to animals seriously. 15 years ago, only 30 states had felony provisions, so we created the annual State Rankings Report—the longest-running and most authoritative report of its kind—to draw attention to strengths and weaknesses of state animal protection laws, and urge each state to work harder for animals. Now, finally, all states have felony penalties for animal cruelty.
Hi Gina is there a way that claiming list can be obtained without going to twitter I don’t have an account and would like to see that list
Gina – just on your point about the racehorse having its own medical record. It is wonderful to hear this. I had the same concerns when I was working in the industry and monitoring some racehorses that were being passed on (one horse had 6 trainers in its career) and queried as to why there was absolutely nothing in place, nothing in writing (forget about relying on a trainer informing another about the horse) and I just couldn’t believe it. One horse had some unusual behaviour due to him being a rig (for those that don’t know a rig is a male horse that has been gelded but there was a problem with the procedure so horse ends up not being a genuine gelding) but he was good and I loved looking after him. Turned up one day and he’d gone but the trainer didn’t tell the owner to inform new trainer that he was a rig and there was an explanation for his behaviour (a real handful in trackwork and on raceday). Fortunately, I found him racing on the country circuit and rang the new trainer and gave him a rundown on this horse because I couldn’t bear the thought of him being badly treated because of his behaviour when there was a good reason for it. We do not have Claiming Races here, however, many horses on the gruelling country circuit are not unlike your claiming horses.
About a year ago a colleague and I co-authored a submission to a state government authority (which treated it as confidential given the content) and when requested we gave our permission for such authority to forward a copy to the Australian Racing Board. In that submission we filed 15 Recommendations and one of them was “that all horses have their own PASSPORT which details all veterinary records and movements of all registered racehorses”. Our efforts to have a meeting were futile. However, just a few days ago a racing journalist interviewed the CEO of the ARB and at the very end he wrapped up the interview with
Or maybe the ARB should just regulate by introducting an equine veterinary passport and disclose all treatments all of the time.
Here is the link to the interview in case you or Patrick or anyone else is interested
Gina and Carolyn,
That is terrible that the medical records are not passed on. That is blatant animal abuse. It is clear that they do not want a paper trail of how many drugs these horses have been given.
I saw on interview last night on HRTV with a trainer named Mark Case. He won the Queens PLate last year with a horse named Lexie Lou and he has won the Sovereign 6 times and he races a lot of horses at Woodbine and in Toronto.
Mark said that a lot of his horses are from “Claiming races” He must buy them from the US if there are no claiming races in Canada.
Do you know anything about Mark Case ?
There is a trainer named Todd Pletcher who is at a lot of races in California and I hear he allows a lot of his horses to be slaughtered. I wonder if Mark Case is the same way.
I cannot stand these trainers that come on these shows for interviews and say how much they care about their horses and then send them to the slaughterhouse or into another claiming race when they do not make money for them. To me, They have hearts of stone.
When you think of the barbarism of the human race since the beginning of time, this is pretty mild in comparison. But I would like to say, not only horses, but all animals should not be treated so cruelly. And to dispose of them like trash after making gain or finding pleasure in their suffering is wrong! Owners should be held responsible till they live out their lives.
I have a friend, very beautiful, very sweet. Her husband was a jockey, was killed in the gate on the West coast. He was an award winner. George Wolf, I believe. We met by chance. I was friends with her brother-in-law on the East Coast & he too died on the track. R.I.P. the Pineda Brothers.
Gina, my apologies, i mean’t to say NOT having its own medical record and that it was wonderful to hear someone else having concern about it.
Thanks for the input here. I will try to answer all the queries. First, in response to whether a horse runs in a Maiden Claiming or Maiden Allowance: the decision is usually the Trainers. There could be many reasons why they run them in that spot, but usually it’s due to their morning workout performances that are not competitive enough to put in an upper race. Also, the possibility of a first time starter being claimed in a Maiden Claiming race is next to zero. Most racehorses start in a Maiden Allowance race to protect it (nobody can claim it) to see how it actually runs in a race. Most good Trainers have a handle on where the horse belongs, but also must consider the Owners. Most Owners (especially newbies) have this idea that their racehorse is the next Kentucky Derby winner, and you have to let them down gently. There could also be physical issues that are being controlled via meds, but affecting their performance in an upper level race. Optional Claiming Race means that you can put a price on the horse, and it will be listed in the form. However, you have the option not to race it for a Claiming Price thereby ensuring the horse is not claimed. There are a lot of concerns regarding whips. In the event that the horse is not an easy loader the gate starter will use a whip to “scare” it in without making contact. Usually, when a racehorse has a history of not loading easily then the whip is not so much a beating tool. When a racehorses is a senior with back class, and a long history of repeated Claims, and slipping down low in the Claiming Ranks then the possibility of abuse when loading is much higher. Overall, the Claiming Ranks for a racehorse is usually a do or die situation. There are usually running for their lives, literally, and if they don’t bring back a check their possibility of ending up at a slaughterhouse is greatly increased. In terms of medical records: I’m a strong advocate for a Veterinarian Passport detailing what exactly has been done to a racehorse. The possibility of this ever happening is slim, and this is where the true test of the industry comes into play because in order for a crippled, lame, and sore horse to fill a race they don’t want this information to get out to the public. It puts the entire race field at risk including both equine, and human athlete. It’s unsafe, and unacceptable. The horse racing commissions are supposed to be neutral, and put the well-being of the racehorse first. However, their neutrality is highly questionable, but so is their secrecy. Overall, the racing commissions are a powerful all boys club consisting mainly of ex-jockeys who were once a part of this cruelty circus. I dare anybody to just try to become a Steward. It’s a well guarded community of alleged corruption, doping, and cruelty to animals. As for the big name Trainers such as Mark Casse, Bob Baffert, and Todd Pletcher etc. – did you ever notice something in common? Their horses literally disappear when they are finished with them. They are RARELY seen in the Claiming Ranks. My guess is that whatever drugs they may be using can be tested at an independent lab if somebody were to claim one of their horses, and it seems to me, that they don’t want anybody getting physical possession of their horses once they are no longer Stake horses. This is really strange, and weird that their horses are RARELY dropped down into the Claiming Ranks. It’s as if they are immune to this which is utter hogwash. It’s like they win all the Stake Races year in and year out, and then their horses don’t run in the Claiming Ranks. There’s something very suspicious about this activity. It’s rumoured that a guy working for Casse as a Groom took some hair samples from a Stake Horse, and sent it to an Olympic Lab. It came back with high levels of Morphine. IF this is true, then how can you win against this level of cheating? This confirms that blood/urine tests are probably being tampered with so a Trainer can’t win against these Trainers. They just can’t if this level of cheating is going on. I can tell you from my perspective that there is NO WAY that a Trainer can be winning all those Stake Races unless their doing something that all of us aren’t doing. There is just no way. I don’t see them as big heroes or better Trainers then anybody else. I see them as Multiple Drug Violators with high rates of breakdowns who have rich Owners clamouring for a stall in their barn. They have a huge monopoly on the racehorse market, and I don’t for a moment believe that their horses are as good as they present them to be. At least not in all cases. What people need to know is how pampered, and spoiled these multiple drug violating Trainers are. They usually have CARTE BLANCHE no matter where they go. They have HUGE chunks of stalls while the racetrack denies other Trainers stalls. For example, Casse usually has about 100 stalls at the Woodbine Racetrack PLUS an entire Training Farm north of Woodbine with about 60 stalls. When a Trainer has 60+ stalls they have practically virtual control over the races written, the races that go, and RIG the races basically. While small outfits begged for stalls at Woodbine just to be given a chance, Casse, Stronach got huge allotment of stalls. This creates a virtual BLOCKAGE of any outsiders coming in, and winning races, and the statistics proves this. Moreover, if several Trainers are in it together and have hundreds of stalls between them they can virtually FIX a race, and manipulate the outcome of wagering pools. I found it very disturbing that certain Trainers at Woodbine (and most racetracks) control the majority of stalls. It seems evident that wagering pools are easily operating under the hospices of Racetrack CEO’s or high level connections. A talented racehorse can be lost in the scheme of things if this is happening. This monopolization delivers an dishonest product to the wagering system, and certainly makes the racehorse pay. I prefer lots of Trainers with up to 10 racehorses. During the 60’s this was the way things were run. When there are more Trainers then the possibility of manipulating the outcome of races are much lower. This is my direct observation, and opinion.
In terms of medical records:
I agree with what you said.
” I’m a strong advocate for a Veterinarian Passport detailing what exactly has been done to a racehorse.
…….and this is where the true test of the industry comes into play because in order for a crippled, lame, and sore horse to fill a race they don’t want this information to get out to the public. It puts the entire race field at risk including both equine, and human athlete. It’s unsafe, and unacceptable. ”
There is a group that takes on law suits on behalf of animals. I will see if they would be willing to get involved.
Here is what they say in their newsletter.
Since 1979, ALDF is the only national organization dedicated to protecting the lives and advancing the interests of animals through the legal system.
Help us set legal precedents that recognize animals’ rights to be free from abuse and neglect.
Animal Legal Defense Fund
Couldn’t agree more with your comments Gina. The boys club in racing fete politicians at race meetings. In my State, the Minister for Racing is invited and obligated to attend some of the big race meetings. About 8 years ago I was communicating with the then Minister and he was accommodating and came across as being concerned. Well, when he next attended a race meeting he collapsed (fainted) just when the horses were close to the winning post and being viciously flogged. He couldn’t cope with horseracing and was transferred from that ministerial position. Unfortunately, the Ministers I’ve communicated with since always come back with statements like “thank you for your letter, we have passed it on to the racing authority which is responsible for horseracing in NSW. The Government is independent of this authority so you should direct your concerns to them in future….” “Independent” oh really? In the meantime the Government hands out hundreds of $millions of the taxpayers’ money to support horseracing in this State? Just one example: outdated grandstand demolished and replaced with a $150million new one. $50,000 was spent on five diamond and emerald trophies in the shape of a horse’s head. When these trophies were presented at this particular carnival in 2014, a 2 year old filly died and of course some other horses suffered injuries, viciously flogged with whips, etc. It just makes me want to throw up. If Governments can leave the running of horseracing to racing authorities and not intervene when evidence of animal abuse and cruelty is presented, then why do they think it is appropriate to give the taxpayers’ money to this “industry”? The Government is supposed to represent the people and act on what the people want and the people expect the Government to act accordingly. It is my belief that the Government is a third party to animal abuse and cruelty because it condones, legalizes, authorizes and financially supports the horseracing industry. I believe the great majority of people find animal abuse abhorrent and unacceptable. Self regulation in an industry which exploits animals is toxic.
” Self regulation in an industry which exploits animals is toxic” . Carolyn, I could not agree more.
Thank you so much for that comprehensive explanation and stories about the racetracks..
I have heard that a lot of Todd Pletchers horses have been sent to slaughter for the reasons that you named. They do not want them to know what drugs are in their system and so they do not want to sell them to people who could test them and expose Todd PLetchers abuse.
I have a really bad feeling every time I see an interview with PLetcher and I did not have a good feeling about MArk Case or Bob Baffert either when I have watched their interviews.
Baffert has a website and has a lot of photos on there featuring a number of his horses. They look exhausted and stressed and not at all happy as they run for their lives.
I have heard that Steve Asmussen drugs many of his horses that he trains and he wins a lot of races. I agree that there is major corruption at the race track just like there is with the Tennessee Walkers that are treated with such cruelty as they burn them with chemicals to make them walk taller. Ever after the HSUS expose they still have not stopped this horrific abuse of the Tennessee Walkers.
There is a group that have been trying to stop horse slaughter for years in Canada and I was told that it is an incredible uphill battle because of all the corruption.
I’m continually disgusted (yet somewhat amused!) with the industry’s attempts at “feel good” stories. The Paulick Report is a gold mine of such stories…and once again, they didn’t disappoint.
Owner/trainer Pete Pizzo was the subject of a PR story back in 2013 and again yesterday. While the human aspect of this story is certainly tragic and my condolences go out to the Pizzo family, trying to convince readers that Pizzo “loved” the filly he sold via a claiming race is a joke.
Pizzo purchased Rena Starlight – a 2008 dark bay mare – for 1K and Vision of Liz for $3500 and put them into training. Rena Starlight earned more on the track than Vision of Liz and according to PR contributor Jen Roytz, she “[paid] her way”. Don’t you tire of reading and hearing that?…the horse “paid her way” or “earned her keep”? So must they do it all? Not only are they forced to bear the physical wear and tear of racing on their bodies, but the money THEY earn must provide for their owners/trainers AND themselves?…without a cent set aside for their safe retirement?…typically with aching arthritic limbs?
Oh and according to Roytz, Pizzo just loved his fillies. Right. From the article, Pizzo; “You have to run them where they can win. I’ve got to run them where they can compete, because otherwise it’s cruel to them to run them in too high of company, because they’ll try to keep up and that’s how they get hurt.” Wow…how’s that for straight from the horse’s mouth. So it has nothing to do with getting a check, Mr. Pizzo?…you run them in claiming races only because it’s CRUEL to pit them against more class? But that being said, thank you for acknowledging the cruelty!
So Pizzo puts his “beloved” filly into a claiming race and she gets claimed…and then claimed and claimed again. Rena Starlight runs 36 more races after Pizzo sold her for 20K via the claim in February of 2013. Her last race, a 5K, was this past December. 36 times Pizzo could have claimed the filly he called his “girl” in order to retire her. But he didn’t. No, that required a nudge by a “racing supporter-slash-advocate” who reached out to Pizzo and “shared her concern” about the mare’s “falling down in the ranks, owner to owner, trainer to trainer…and losing interest in racing”. (“losing interest in racing”…such benign words for used-up and worn out…and interestingly, a commenter on this piece offered, “I worked with Rena and she was the most unhappy horse in the barn”)
Rena Starlight has been removed from racing but her future is still uncertain – at least one of the mare’s “official co-owners” is “[toying] with the idea of breeding [her]”.
I can’t take another one of these feel good stories for a while.
I’m quite certain some of you have seen what’s been all over FB the last day or so about 13-year-old ex-racing QH Dr Drip (yes, no period follows Dr). If not, just look at my FB page as I have shared it there. I have NEVER seen such a horribly abused horse – never. I say with all sincerity that I sobbed aloud when I saw the photos of him. And then I looked him up on Equibase.
Anthony Arey claimed Dr Drip in March of 2007. He raced him for 7 years. The bay gelding won 3 stakes races and earned $250K-plus for Arey. Then he put him up for sale – at the age of 10 with 62 starts – in a 5K claiming race in May of 2014. No one claimed him.
Dr Drip was just found – a barely-living skeleton with wounds from withers to tail head. The huge wounds had heavy maggot infestation. The photos of the wounds on his back were horrific…his skeletal body, I have no words for. There is no number on the Henneke scale that could be assigned to his condition. A horse’s body in a “healthy” weight would stand a good chance of wound healing, even the massive wounds that Dr Drip had. But one who is literal skin over bones? – highly unlikely if not impossible. He had no muscle mass. No subcutaneous fat. No reserve at all. Wound healing requires energy/calories beyond those needed to just maintain an existing weight and protein deficiency = poor wound healing. He didn’t stand a chance – and although the rescue organization (St. Landry Parish Animal Control and Rescue) who took him in were going to try, Dr Drip went down and they could not get him back up. From their FB page, this; “we tried to lift but his flesh gave way. We tried to lift with support from tail, it ripped away.” Dr Drip, winner of over a quarter of a million dollars, was euthanized.
Yet even in death, the bay gelding continues to be disrespected by those who support Anthony Arey. According to a Lorraine Hoover, speaking on behalf of the Arey stable, Dr Drip “meant a great deal” to them and they “would have never allowed this to happen.” Well Ms. Hoover and Mr. Arey and all of your “stable” to whom Dr Drip “meant a great deal to”, you DID allow it to happen. By your own admission, Dr Drip was given to his jockey who asked for the gelding…and he meant such a great deal to all of you that you NEVER went to see him? or check on him? to make CERTAIN he was doing well and was being taken care of?
Even the racing apologists who claim to be horse advocates are defending Arey. They come out in DROVES when what Arey did to Dr Drip is questioned and/or criticized. While reading their comments, I’m reminded of what my dear friend and fellow racehorse supporter Nicole says in these maddening instances; “they will step over the body of a dead racehorse to defend the industry that killed him”.
I’m so very, very sorry Dr Drip – your short life and unspeakable death have touched AND broken many hearts. You will never be forgotten in death as you were in life.
Mortified after reviewing the pics of this poor horse – Dr Drip.
Let’s be clear the racing industry did this to him and the enabler of this abuse is Arey (previous owner who made $250,000 when Dr Drip was in his prime).
He dumped this horse, and didn’t give a damn what happened to him.
One of the mandatory operating procedures in this industry is DUMPING.
Whether that’s into the claiming ranks, kill auctions, or into neglectful situations.
You Arey and all you apologists are responsible for this horse ending up like this.
There were 2500 comments on the thread with the majority of them outraged as they should be, but then there were the comments from pro-horse racing people.
They absolutely sicken me.
They immediately ran to the defense of this despicable business by saying that the horse had changed hands long after his racing career, and that they were not responsible for his condition, and subsequent death.
You apologists are a demented delusional bunch whose comments are inexcusable.
Whether it’s Dr Drip or the thousands of other racehorses who end up standing at kill auctions after serving your sick delusions YOU are SOLELY responsible for this.
It’s reported that this horse was ridden about 2 days prior to his death.
I hope they find these people and throw them in jail.
Just to think about the excruciating pain, and suffering that this horse went through tears me up every time.
It’s just absolutely outrageous that people defend this industry!
The eyes revealed a spiritually broken horse.
Right beside these horrific images is a horse in his prime, in the winners circle, with all the connections smiling.
You apologists are absolute idiots, horse abusers, enablers of the abuse and/or all of this.
NOT ONE of you kept up with this horse, and the previous owner Arey throw him away like trash into the claiming ranks while he sunk lower and lower.
Evil lurks in people all over the globe, and whoever did this is pure evil.
The entire racing business is pure evil.
You can’t be good and continue in this business while watching horses like Dr Drip end up like this then turn around and actually defend this evil.
“they will step over the body of a dead racehorse to defend the industry that killed him”.
You know what you fu**ing racing supporters?
I look forward to the day that we will step over the deserted shut down bankrupt racetracks as a result of people seeing this for what it is – legitimized animal cruelty.
For every racetrack that shuts down I will rejoice and step over the very dirt where hundreds of horses died for you ungrateful animal abusers.
Dr Drip – so sorry for you buddy. Words can’t explain how I hurt for you.
“I’m reminded of what my dear friend and fellow racehorse supporter Nicole says in these maddening instances; “they will step over the body of a dead racehorse to defend the industry that killed him”.
Joy, is your dear friend a racehorse supporter?
I’m assuming these words are in error?
“fellow racehorse supporter Nicole”
Could you please clarify for the many followers on this blog?
My mistake Joy – sorry.
I interpreted “racehorse supporter” to mean one that supports horses who are racing.
You mean she supports the racehorses, but not the industry most likely.
Wow, I suppose I’m just very upset about this situation, and I’m reading things in error.
Please accept my apologies.
No need to apologize, Gina – I can now see how “racehorse supporter” could be interpreted as supporting the racing OF horses! And yes, as a “racehorse supporter”, one supports the horses exploited in the racing industry AS OPPOSED to supporting the racing industry itself. I really don’t like to use “anti-racing” as it holds a negative connotation in my opinion…and there’s certainly nothing negative about advocating for any animals used in entertainment industries – including racehorses!
I think a better choice of words is racehorse advocate…I believe I will use that from now on. I’m glad you said something, Gina – I want no question when it comes to my stance on this subject.
The latest on Dr Drip:
Former owners gave the horse to the jockey who rode him during his prime – when he made all the money.
They told him that they would take the horse back at anytime if need be.
You can say what you will, but the dumping started right here with the owners.
They didn’t keep up with the horse, and they didn’t spend 5 minutes or $20 in gas to go see their STAR horse who made them $250,000.
They should have never given him away to begin with.
So their cute little story is the same broken record that we hear from pro-horse racing people over and over.
So to the jockey Dr Drip went for some “riding.”
Jockey , Danny, has just released a statement:
“I had no idea that this horrible thing happened to Dr Drip. If I had, it never would have happened. Anyone who knows me knows that. I loved that horse. I had in trusted him to who I though was a reliable friend to keep him until I had a place for him. When I found out about it I called him to see what happened. He said that he let someone have him for a trail horse without telling me anything about it. I would have never let that happen. I would have picked him up. I blame myself for not checking on him. I’m am devastated about the whole thing. I’ve been in touch with animal control, they told me that they have the name of the guy who did this but they haven’t gotten him yet. When they do, I hope they put him under the jail although he deserves much more.”
As the broken record continues to play out, from the owners to the jockey they all FAILED this horse and they are all the enablers of the abuse – handsdown.
He probably gave it to his friend to look after because he couldn’t afford to, and he doesn’t state that he got in touch with the former owners.
They were probably well aware that the jockey “gave” him to somebody.
Yet again, NOBODY – NOT ONE of these people looked out for Dr Drip.
They only looked out for him when he was in the winners circle making them money!
Typical racehorse people.
They dump these horses and they wash their hands of the responsibility until they are caught red-handed then they start with these sympathy stories and how they were so concerned about their horse AFTER THE FACT.
Yet, they did nothing to ensure that this horse lived out his life in a safe manner.
He took good care of them, but they certainly didn’t take care of him.
Dr Drip, Redneck Margarita, La Galerie etc etc are all TYPICAL outcomes for MOST horses that give their all in the racing industry whether that’s quarter-horses as in this case, thoroughbreds or standardbreds.
A never ending cycle of breeding, beating/whipping, using, abusing, exploiting, dumping, and/or dying.
If you participate, and/or support in horse racing then you are an enabler of this abuse and these very disturbing endings for racehorses like Dr Drip.
How ironic that his name is Dr Drip, because in the end he didn’t have one DROP of sweat, fat, or blood to drop onto the hands of the people who failed him – you rotten bastards.
Perusing the comments on FB.
This one is from a vet called Nancy Bohnhoff associated with the Louisiana Racing Commission:
“A big part of horses ending up in this condition is the loss of a humane slaughter market and the racetracks have caved to the groups that are anti equine slaughter and taken it off the table. Why can people not understand that this is the frequent end if someone cannot afford to feed a horse but is not allowed to send it to slaughter. Slaughter of horses, done correctly, is NOT inhumane. Allowing a horse to be in this condition definitely IS.”
Needless to say I gave her a piece of my mind, but this just shows that ALL horse racing apologists are enablers of the abuse just like Dr. Bohnhoff who has derived her living in the last 30 years off the bones, backs, and lives of racehorses for the most part.
She attributes situations like Dr Drip, and the entire unwanted horse racing issue on the fact that the government caved into animal “rights” “advocacy” groups to stop horse slaughter.
These are the vets who are, most likely, injecting racehorses everyday to keep them going so that wagering companies can make BILLIONS.
Then when they are done exploiting them, and evidently can’t feed them the perfect solution is sending them to the slaughterhouse!
Well this says it all.
Follow the money and you find out what’s going on.
Dr. Bohnhoff has made a very comfortable living off of racehorses and feels perfectly fine with sending them to slaughter when they are “done” with them.
This is the real world of horse racing.
TY for continuing with developments in the tragic abuse and death of Dr Drip, Gina.
I found something on DD’s longtime racing owner/trainer Anthony Ayer’s FB page today – he had posted a comment, asking folks to share about where horses he had sold to them were and what they were doing…he received three responses. One, from a Hector Valdez, was eye-opening – Valdez thanked Ayer for the “bunch” of horses Ayer sold to him…and most of the “nice running horses” are in Mexico.
So how often can we assume Ayer checks up on those horses of his he sold? – about as often as he checked up on his multiple stakes winner Dr Drip?
I believe what I copied and pasted was cut off and if so, the comment by Valdez that most of his horses from Ayer are in Mexico cannot be seen. If you go to my FB wall, you can see the screen shot of his comment there. Sorry. And TY.
Joy, thank you for providing the screenshot, and I also visited FB.
These Ayer folks are so typical of horse racing people.
They will dump a horse like Dr Drip, who made them $250,000, while they continue to irresponsibly breed, sell, and dump other horses.
Just look at what happened with PRESS EXECUTIVE.industry modus operandi.
The Ayer’s are still selling on their FB page as of this morning unless that has changed.
Selling horses to Mexico clearly shows they don’t give a damn because their next step is most likely the slaughterhouse where knives are used to sever the spinal cord of the horse.
It’s a gruesome way to go down.
When these types of people get caught red-handed, like Dr Drip, the Kleenex comes out.
Everything is AFTER THE FACT when it was 100% preventable if they would have kept him and gave him a decent life that he so deserved, but don’t they all?
I’ve seen, over the years, this type of scenario play out time, and time again because this is part of the horse racing business model: breeding, exploiting, and dumping.
I think that the Ayer’s knew full well that this horse was given to somebody, and the fact that they never checked up on him makes them the root of the problem.
Shut down this brutal dirty inhumane industry!
It’s rotten right out of the starting gate right up to the finish line, and beyond.
There’s not one redeemable factor to horse racing – not one.
To all you racing supporters/participators/apologists:
WARNING GRAPHIC PICS OF DR DRIP
Everything is so incredibly disturbing about this poor horse’s decline that I don’t even know where to begin.
The sores seen here are actually SADDLE SORES according to the on site vets.
These animal abusers were actually putting a saddle on this walking skeleton and riding him!
Heartless, pure evil low life bastards!
He actually had saddle marks on when he was rescued from the field so they estimate that he was ridden just days before these pics were taken if you can imagine that!
My heart is heavy today, I’m heartbroken over this.
How DARE the former connections defend this, and defend this business that uses, and dumps these beautiful creatures after they have given every last drop of sweat.
Unfortunately for Dr Drip he didn’t even have a drop of sweat left – just bones.
Every single ungrateful asshole who made money off this horse should be held accountable,including the wagering companies.
Collectively, this business makes money off them and not one single entity gives little or nothing back to them when they are done using them.
This is all going on while they are making BILLIONS in profit.
We on this blog know all too well that this industry supports the ongoing abuse, and dumping of horses (thoroughbreds or quarter-horses) in order to fill races.
Dr Drip I will not let you die in vain.
I will continue to educate, and be a voice for these racehorse exploiters, dumpers, and killers.
You didn’t deserve this fate. Your life was a living hell because of this industry, and they made my life a living hell for speaking out about it. We have something in common Dr Dirt.
As long as people continue to support this, via bets/taxpayers money, this will continue.
Please, I beg you, I implore you to STOP supporting this legitimized animal cruelty.
Where does it Say that the Horse Dr. Drip died ?
A couple of other things regarding Dr Drip:
1. in some of the pics he has plates on and his feet were done in the last 4 weeks. So WHY IN THE HELL did the farrier NOT report this????
2. The field where he was located was visible from the road and many cars drove by and probably saw his condition and said NOTHING. It took one person to stop, get out of their car, and check out the situation which resulted in this being reported. This example shows how SILENCE is a killer!
3. He had sores inside his mouth. There were many reasons for the sores, but it looks like its the result of RUBBING. So he was not only ridden but either the bit was ill-fitted, he spit out the bit (which I don’t blame him) or he was roped in the mouth for long periods of time.
I can’t imagine the PAIN this horse went through.
So sorry for you Dr Drip – so sorry.
Just confirmed that BATTERY ACID was poured on the withers and down the spine of Dr Drip!!!!!
I would bet that the sores in his mouth were caused by battery acid or by tying this horse up while he was getting abused!
Also found out, that the multiBILLION dollar horse racing industry didn’t step up to the plate to give even ONE DIME toward the vet care of Dr Drip!
Further to this, the owners that made $250,000 off of him, in his prime, has not given ONE DIME towards the vet bills or towards the investigation process – not so far as we know.
So much for the “caring” and “loving” folks of horse racing!
Thank you for Posting this. Did not see it Before. Sheer Evil !
I would like to express my profound sadness and disgust over the news of Dr Drip. I’m aware of the sentiment on this page, but I need to say, Dr Drip was tortured and abused because of people, not racing .He is one of countless equines who are abused and starved in this country, and more needs to be done to stop it. Someone must’ve seen Dr Drip in his deteriorating condition. No one spoke up. This isn’t about horse racing as much as it’s about people who don’t give a damn about animals, cruel, uncaring human beings. The sport didn’t kill Dr Drip, but his suffering and the tragic end he met is unforgivable and heartbreaking.
Oh, just who are you trying to kid, Karen Sweatman? And before I go any further, your reference to the ‘sentiment’ on this blog needs to be addressed. It’s all about facts that we speak about here, from Patrick’s meticulous fact finding on the breakdowns, the vanned offs and deaths to Joy’s hands on invaluable experience and rescues in the shedrows along with Mary Johnson. Rose’s knowledge about the horseracing industry and her rescues and Gina’s experience in the industry as a former trainer, owner of racehorses as well as having been a steward in California. Plus ‘industryinsider’ whose comments on this blog have been invaluable along with ‘billy’.
Last, but not least, you state “this isn’t about horseracing”. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The horrific suffering and torture of Dr Drip
IS all about horseracing – FACT.
This horse was bred PURELY for horseracing – FACT.
Therefore the racing industry is SOLELY responsible for the ethical treatment of each and every racehorse that it breeds for its industry from foaling date to the remainder of the horse’s life – FACT.
Excellent response Carolyn
Excellent, Carolyn. Thank you.
Karen, go stick your head in some manure for starters.
Horse racing is comprised of people.
People who participate and/or support horse racing are collectively responsible for Dr Drip and for the all the racehorses found standing at kill auctions, and are subsequently sent to slaughter.
Prior to their trailer trip to kill auction, they are used, doped, whipped/beaten, maimed and/or killed in action on racetracks all over America.
In order for this legitimized animal cruelty to continue, apologists like you must participate in this cruelty to some degree because ALL racehorses are subjected to these necessary operating procedures.
You are 100% delusional if you think otherwise.
The ONLY way to stop the ongoing using, abusing, and dumping of racehorses is to shut this business down.
Horse racing is not a sport.
It’s a cruelty ring, death camp, and corruption pit.
Every single person that participates/supports, and derives pleasure out of watching a racehorse get beaten/whipped/maimed/dumped are either animal abusers, enablers or the abuse or both.
You quality for all of them by submitting a ridiculous comment that further shows just how delusional you people are.
Of course it was humans who killed Dr Drip, Karen – I am certainly not going to debate that. Just as humans exploit and neglect and abuse and torture and starve other defenseless beings of all species, humans were responsible for Dr Drip’s death.
And it goes without saying, the individual – monster, I’m sure we all agree – who was responsible for Dr Drip’s daily care is guilty of his torture and subsequent death. Without question.
In addition, other guilty parties include his racing people – the jockey who supposedly took him to retire him…and without a doubt, his longtime owner/trainer Anthony Arey.
I’m not going into it all again – I’ll just say I am so disgusted with those who want to absolve Arey of any responsibility in the horrific, slow and agonizing death Dr Drip endured. I look at his photos again and again – those of him racing, all four feet off the ground – to those of him where he is so weak and debilitated that he wouldn’t have been able to lift a single foot. He didn’t go from point A to B to C to DEATH without someone opening that door and walking him through it. RACING to death. Dr Drip didn’t choose that course.
WHO handed him off to that jockey? – Arey. The same Arey who pocketed thousands from Dr Drip’s labors…the same Arey who put the gelding up for sale – DONE with Dr Drip…the same Arey who didn’t follow-up to make absolutely sure the gelding he now claims he loved was getting the best care. Because isn’t that what someone does for those they love?
Arey handed him off and didn’t look back. Love?
Perhaps the horses would be better served if you advocated for more people to read this page. When you hurl personal insults and angry responses, no one wants to participate. There are actual horse lovers in the sport. I don’t care if you believe that or not. This blog should be read, everyone should read it, but thanks to a rather hostile environment, people won’t. That’s sad. Horse racing has a very dark side, it’s called greedy uncaring human beings. I can tell you horror stories going back over 90 years. I consider myself a bit of a historian of the sport. I don’t race horses, but I was raised in the sport. If racing were banned tomorrow, do you really believe it would stop? There would be no oversight, no regulations, worse conditions for the horses, probably moved to obscure areas in Mexico, rural America. There’s always Canada. Your anger needs to be redirected into channels that can produce a feasible, positive outcome. Thinking the abolishment of the sport from a legal standpoint will end horse abuse in it’s entirety is ridiculous. Some devil poured battery acid on Dr Drip. That was not “horse racing”. That was an evil human being who needs to be punished. That’s my focus, that should be your focus. Have you signed any of the petitions, wrote a letter, a phone call? I don’t care how Dr Drip got to the farm, as much as I care who’s hands hurt him after he got there. It was a personal, up close act of viciousness by a wicked person. Saying horse racing is the sole reason the dear horse died, is excusing his tormentors. This is about individual accountability. Don’t paint it with broad brush strokes. Also, you might try promoting this blog, and stop going after newcomers as if they were shark bait.
You are wrong Karen.
Dr Drip was bred for racing. He won many races and was a champion. Once racing was finished with him he was dumped and never checked on again. The owner/trainer, Ayer, got plenty of money from this horse and that was all he wanted. There was no commitment and certainly no accountability on his part.
Well Karen racing IS responsible because these horses are bred for the racing business and once their short racing careers are over there is no plan, no money set aside, and no thought given to what happens to them
I really don’t wish to argue with the good people on this blog, but “horse racing” did not pour battery acid on Dr Drip’s back and withers.
The apologist Karen Sweatman:
“I really don’t wish to argue with the good people on this blog, but “horse racing” did not pour battery acid on Dr Drip’s back and withers.”
HOW do you know that the person who poured battery acid on him wasn’t part of the racetrack idiots?
If you know that for sure than we should send the police over to your house because they are looking for the guy right now as we speak.
Horse racing made hundreds of thousands of dollars off the bones, backs, and sweat of Dr Drip.
The very owners that made $250,000 DUMPED him!
The wagering companies that make BILLIONS off of racehorses do LITTLE or NOTHING for these horses, and in fact not one entity of the horse racing industry gave ONE DIME towards the vet treatment of this horse so that says it all right there.
It doesn’t matter if he went to the former jockey or the Queen of England – he was DUMPED!
His decline started with the very owners that used, abused, and DUMPED him.
They are part of horse racing.
They are the exploiters of racehorses when they make money and DUMP them when they are no longer profitable – that’s horse racing.
Just ask the Queen of dumping – Maggi Moss who claims to be the “good” folks of horse racing.
We all know here, backed up with solid evidence, that it’s laughable just like your statements herein.
Secondly, the jockey will probably go back to the track plying his trade where he will be received with OPEN ARMS by his fellow abusers, and enablers of the abuse.
The racetrack is an ENTIRE culture of abuse as evidenced daily by the PP’s of most racehorses, the maiming, and of course the DYING IN THE DIRT!
Just refer to our Death List at the beginning of all blogs.
Finally, all the people who exploited Dr Drip gave him away and didn’t bat one eyelash nor did they spend $20 in gas to go see how he is, nor did they pick up the phone and find out where he is.
They are irresponsible low life scum bags in my opinion and these are the people you categorize as good?!
So these are the folks of horse racing that fall into the category of abusers, and enablers of the abuse.
I will argue with you any day Karen, I have no problems defending animal cruelty, and abuse.
I’ve already paid the price, and I will not stand silent in the shadows of racehorses dying for this despicable business.
It is difficult to believe humans responsible for the horrific abuse of this defenseless animal were probably going about their lives as though they were normal members of society. It is also difficult to believe those that saw this horse did not lift a finger to help him. He was, evidently, quite visible to the public and not hidden away. The original owner/trainer reports he gave the horse to a “friend” and never checked on him again. And this “friend” never told Ayers that he gave the horse to someone else. The truth is Ayers wanted to rid himself of the horse because he was finished with him and, of course, he never checked on him because he did not care. Like so many racers, he was dumped. Watch what these people do and don’t listen to what they say because most in this business of animal abuse only tell the truth by accident.
Actually, there are lots of finger prints all over this dehumanizing crime.
Yes Rose, there is much blame to go around. Poor Dr Drip, and to think there are others out there suffering a similar fate. It’s hard to wrap your head around.
No, racing did not pour the acid or starve Dr Drip but racing did dump him and never attempted to check on him again thus racing facilitated the unspeakable cruelty that may have never have come to light but for the person who made the call. Further, racing hands off the used up horses that manage to survive the rigors of training and racing to slaughter via “middle” men. Everyone in the business knows these horses are not only finished at the track but their short lives are essentially over either at the slaughter house or neglect as well as hands on cruelty, most of which never comes to light. And you and others say racing is not responsible.
Over the years , especially in this country, racing has evolved into a corrupt business where winning is all that matters and the horse matters only when he is winning. I won’t even go into the drugs, the sore horses, the breakdowns and the despicable claiming game as well as the lack of even the most basic of rules to protect the horse.
Everybody is ASSUMING that the person who poured battery acid on Dr Drip is NOT part of horse racing.
HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU KNOW THAT?
DO YOU HAVE EVIDENCE OF THIS?
Please tell the police if you know who did this because it just may be a horse racing person or part of the little horse racing gang.
I wouldn’t put it past them.
Nevertheless, the horse racing entities including the Trainer are SOLELY responsible for the horrific and brutal treatment of Dr Drip because he should have been in a grassy paddock with the people who made all the money off of him.
He should have been given a safe, and secure place for the rest of his life.
He deserved it, but don’t they all.
Shut these hell holes down called racetracks.
It may not happen in my lifetime, but the younger generation will make sure it’s shut down.
Here’s an active petition for DR DRIP – PLEASE SIGN.
When i first read Joy’s report on Dr Drip, just the description in Joy’s words left me numb with anger. I cannot go to facebook and look at the photos. But, when i signed the petition, there was a photo of Dr Drip and i really cannot express the uncontrollable anger that i felt. Beside that photo there was one of Dr Drip racing – it said it all.
Gina, thank you for all you’re doing for Dr Drip.
Thank you, Gina.
Also want to say you are right, Gina, we do not know who tortured Dr Drip and that person(s) could very well be connected to the racing business.
Please post any updates re this case when you can
I’ve been expressing my strong opinions on the St Landry Parish Animal Rescue FB page.
This is the group that was ON SITE rescuing Dr Drip.
The story is in details and there are more pics.
Get out your Kleenex box.
I can’t even sleep tonight thinking about what Dr Drip went through and finding out that he was RIDDEN days before these pics were taken.
I would never hurt anybody, but it’s times like this that I really think the only way to get justice for this horse is to do unto the monster(s) who did this as they did unto Dr Drip.
Jail is too good of a place for abusers like this – just my opinion not something I would ever do.
There are actually people who are defending the idiot owners, who made $250,000 of Dr Drip, and the horse racing industry as a whole.
This one person Nicole Navarro went into a big long explanation that horses change hands so many times that you can’t possibly keep up with them.
Of course I responded to her stating that Dr Drip should have never been given away in the first place, and that the horse racing industry does this all the time – DUMPING is standard operating procedures.
She disagreed of course, and then I went onto her FB page and saw this posting:
“I have a request, if you can find a way to help Gulf Coast Thoroughbred Network. There are 20 tbs being fostered across the state,many of them are soynd, been let down and ready for a new job,but then there are others like Blues Museum on stall rest due to a small,but fresh bowed tendon,Cost Variance that needs a lot of groceries over the coming weeks, satin,who is not a racehorse but closely linked to those in the industry and will need care while her leg cares, agave cat came body sore,foot sore and lame but 6 months of great farrier work by Patrick Mathieu lots of rubbing,massaging and stretching and he is now ready for an easy job…and there are many others. Here is my request, contact Brandi McGovern or Melinda Moriarty and find out what you can do to help ,simple things like old but still usable halters and ropes,old but still usable wraps, gift cards to feed stores, offer to but a bale or two of hay or alfalfa… go to the website and donate $5,if you can’t donate then please call and ask if you can help with hauling,when you have an open slot call and ask if they have a horse that needs a ride. I know that Gulf Coast Thoroughbred Network is incurring a lot of expenses with the ones at my house. You can get a tax donation receipt for any do at ions made.. I know the two at my house are going to need lots of alfalfa in the coming weeks..consider donating to Gulf Coast to network”
This girl is a stupid idiot.
She actually defends this industry and then posts this message about 20+ OTTB’s who are in desperate need of care, and funds or whatever else anybody can send.
WHY are these people so ignorant?
How can they defend a multi BILLION dollar industry that dumps horses when no longer profitable, who gives not ONE DIME to these rescues, and then spends her time cleaning up their mess?
If she condemned the industry and advocated for the industry to shut down then I would be fine with that.
Instead, she defends the people who DUMPED Dr Drip while scrambling to help this rescue.
I swear there are stupid people in this world.
Yes, Gina…I’ve been attacked by several of Arey’s supporters because I named him and called him out. And most of these individuals – maybe all – claim to be horse advocates. I was called names – yet I do what I can to HELP horses. Arey was called “blameless”…”not guilty of anything but trusting the jockey he gave Dr Drip to” – and he dumps horses…
They HATE that their betting entertainment is being exposed – as evidenced by their attacks on us. We are making a difference.
Thank you Joy, Rose, Carolyn and all supporters of this blog.
I’m so heartbroken over this I’m still sobbing.
I grew up around racehorses, I’ve spent my life as an equestrian both at upper levels when younger, and then many other hats as I got older.
I’m so distraught over this, I’m so angry – I just don’t have words.
I spent the entire night last night going over, in my mind, what Dr Drip went through.
I lived his pain in my memories only because there is no amount of pain that can equate with his.
I’m attempting to piece together what happened like a puzzle.
I suppose I’m playing investigator in my attempts to ease my mind, to try and find a glimmer of hope during the last 3 years.
Based on the information, the pics, and whatever else I could find I’ve come up with this:
The owner who made all the money off of Dr Drip – Arey’s – are the sole people responsible for this.
No doubt in my mind.
It’s now 2014. Dr Drip has made over $250,000 for Arey, and was no longer performing.
He needed to be dumped.
I found out, via a ex-racetracker, that Arey bought a $100,000 live-in luxury RV and begin to buy, breed, and sell horses off the money that Dr Drip made.
He never put any money aside for Dr Drip, and made it clear to his fellow racetrackers that he had no intention of keeping him and/or giving him the life that he so deserved – typical racetracker!
She sent me a picture of him posing inside his luxury trailer which was on his FB page, but all his social media has been shut down.
One only needs to look at this dudes face, and it says it all.
It’s a face of a cruel individual that cares nothing about the racehorses whom he exploits.
At least that’s my take on it.
The abuse continues when they give the horse to the ex-jockey for “riding,” in 2014 shortly after he came off the track.
It’s my understanding that they only kept him there for up to 3 months and complained that he was costing them money!
Again, typical racetrackers.
The Arey’s don’t even go to visit their star horse again washing their hands of the responsibility.
Typical racehorse transaction.
The jockey is equally responsible for Dr Drip’s horrific decline as he NEVER once went to visit this horse after he changed hands claiming that his friend gave the horse away for riding.
Didn’t ask WHERE the horse went, but I’m also told that the only reason why the “friend” of the jockey gave the horse away was because NOBODY was giving him money to feed the horse, and he, evidently, contacted the Avery’s for money for his upkeep and they ignored him.
He had a horse on his hands, and he couldn’t afford to upkeep him or didn’t want to.
I believe this to be true.
This is TYPICAL racehorse folks, and this is typical racetracker modus operandi.
It’s important to note that the multi BILLION dollar horse racing business gives NOTHING to people like this, and they even have them CONVINCED that the racehorses is NOT their responsibility after its generated hundreds of thousands of dollars in wagering intake.
Even worse, they have people like this defending their irresponsibility towards the very racehorses that generate their profit!
This is the part that I WILL NOT CAN NOT AND DO NOT understand – how people can be so ignorant!
I can’t find one ounce of good coming out of this story prior to his rescue – not one.
They should have used this story to expose this industry for what it is NOT defend it.
Anyways this is where it goes cold for me.
How long did Dr Drip stay with the jockey’s “friend” after the jockey took possession of him?
How many months in 2014?
The reason why this is important is because it seems obvious that his care stopped there.
He wasn’t getting fed back in 2014 or if he was it was minimal at best, and that’s when his suffering, and decline started.
Even the on site vets have cited that his decline and suffering was going on for years with the worse treatment coming towards the end when he could no longer sustain the abuse.
Now he’s sent to a person who wants to “ride” him.
How long was he with this person after he was given possession of him from the “friend.”
Did he change hands, and if so with whom?
No matter what he was found on Private Property so that person is indeed the person who needs to get charged and thrown in jail, but it’s not only this person whose responsible.
It’s the Arey’s, the jockey, the “friend” and the people who had him since 2014 – all people.
When you look back on this typical racehorse scenario you often find that it is MANY people who remained silent and just kept passing the buck when we find horses in this state.
Another thing, he had SHOES on and they were recent so even the FARRIER should be charged for not supporting this.
How in the hell can a farrier see a horse in that condition, know that he’s putting plates on for riding, and NOT report it?
Dr Drip sustained MASSIVE pain, suffering, cruelty, and inhumane treatment from these humans.
It’s examples like this that clearly shows just how callous and non-compassionate these racetrack people are.
It’s a business full of demented delusional HOARDERS who breed, buy, sell, use, exploit, dump, and kill so many racehorses it’s outrageous.
For this reason alone this business MUST and WILL shut down.
It’s the only hope that these racehorses have.
I just found this link and there is an interview with the actual guy of the rescue who describes just how bad the situation was for Dr Drip.
He’s 70 years old and says he has NEVER seen anything like it.
WARNING DISTURBING GRAPHIC VIDEO of Dr Drip:
I’m so upset. I can’t stop crying.
I understand, Gina, this case is so awful and it is so difficult to realize this cruelty was at the hands of so called
Also, it is more than likely the person(s) responsible for this heinous crime is guilty of other inhumane acts because, like drunk drivers, they are very rarely caught the first time. Also, but for the phone call made by a concerned person this crime may have never been exposed – Dr Drip would have just gone down in that field and died quietly. I hope and pray the criminal(s) are found and brought to justice – they are too dangerous to be loose in society. It is a well known fact that this type of behavior escalates. A lot of people could be implicated from what has been reported, so far – sick, sick so called humans
Like I said before, there are a lot of finger prints all over this crime.
Gina, to add to your investigation of Dr Drip, I wouldn’t be surprised if the following took place –
Dr Drip was a good racehorse and earned significant prizemoney for his owner/trainer. It had been just under 2 years since he’d won a race but in his last 5 starts he’d placed 2nd twice and 3rd twice. As I understand it, his regular jockey retired from racing when Dr Drip did – was that a coincidence? I think not. My observations have been that unless a jockey has done very well in racing and set themselves up for after racing, they mostly stay in the industry in one way or another. This jockey would’ve known DD very well and I suspect the plan was to buy DD and have a go at training him himself. DD could race for at least another 2 years earning money but the plan went pear shape, at what stage, for what reason and when, we do not know. Was the jockey unsuccessful if he applied for a trainer’s licence? The jockey alleges he passed DD on to a friend. If I’ve understood correctly, the trainer/owner, jockey and the friend lived not too far away from one another and, you can’t tell me that the jockey and trainer/owner were totally unaware of Dr Drip’s suffering. That horse did so much for these two and it would be abnormal not to mention how DD was going.
I also suspect that the trainer/owner woudn’t have let go of Dr Drip unless a decent price was paid for him or some sort of deal was done.
The above is just my opinion only.
Gina, as horrific as this case is, one positive is the fact that it was reported and good decent people went to his aid. It’s tragic that he couldn’t be saved but the kindest thing these people could’ve done for him was to put him out of his unspeakable misery. No more suffering for Dr Drip.
This case must not be closed until the Police arrest the mongrel bastards who committed this atrocity. Justice must be done for Dr Drip.
Actually Carolyn your comment is very accurate based on the recent statement released from the Sherriff’s department handling the investigation.
They have assured the public that they know who the person(s) is, and that they hope to release an official statement today.
They also said that they are making sure they follow all necessary legal steps to make sure the person is brought to justice, and they have asked for patience while they continue/complete the investigation to hand it over to the D.A’s office who is very anxious to get their hands on the case and pursue it to the full extent of the law.
There was an anonymous poster on the statement released that said the following:
1. I was present when we went to seize Dr Drip and I must remain anonymous.
2. The pics don’t begin to reflect the suffering that Dr Drip went through as we could hear the maggots eating him alive as we approached and the smell of the rotting flesh was beyond description.
3. The jockey, Danny LaVergne, is the main perpetrator of this pain, and suffering.
4. Danny LaVergne along with the trainer down the street forced this horse into “backyard” training.
5. The farrier knew exactly what was going on and didn’t report it either.
So it looks like the ex-jockey Danny LaVergne is the alleged perpetrator of the abuse, but it’s the Ayers who made $250,000 off of him that are responsible as well although I don’t see any legal repercussions from their morally reprehensible acts of irresponsibly and failure to ensure that Dr Drip had a SAFE retirement at their farm.
Nor did they ever physically go to check up on Dr Drip which I find disgusting.
Of course the horse racing industry that facilitates the irresponsible breeding, using, doping, maiming, dumping, and/or dying of active racehorses are the real root of this continuing problem.
Dr Drip is but one, there are so many others.
While this horse racing industry makes BILLIONS in wagering profits off the bones, backs, and lives of these racehorses they give LITTLE or NOTHING to aftercare.
They are the root of all evil.
The parting words of Danny LaVergne upon retirement:
“God gave me a gift of having a good rapport with horses, and I want to continue to work with them,” he added.
Utter disgust that religion is once again a crux for just an another animal abuser.
So to all you people who previously claimed that the people responsible are NOT racetrack related people – think again before you speak.
The entire sphere of people involved with these egregious acts of violence against Dr Drip were racetrack people, and this doesn’t surprise me one bit!
As for the person who poured battery acid on Dr Drip?
Evidently, Danny couldn’t afford to buy proper medication so he poured the battery acid on him to get rid of the maggots so that he could saddle him up and continue riding him!?
Of course the facts will eventually come out, but this allegation seems right in line with Danny boy.
This is the sick, demented, delusional sphere of most racetrack people.
This is yet another extension of the horse racing business just because it didn’t take place on a racetrack, it doesn’t make it right, and it doesn’t recuse them of their responsibility to their profit slaves.
SHUT DOWN horse racing!
To KAREN SWEATMAN: you are an idiot to come on here and immediately defend the abusers of this crime by stating that it was not horse people that poured battery acid on Dr Drip.
Your WRONG SO WRONG!
This entire horrific abuse perpetrated on Dr Drip was done by racetrackers, ex-racetrackers who claim to “love” and “care” for racehorses.
Go shove your stupid head in some manure where it belongs.
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