Monday, a (barely) 3-year-old racehorse named Shamrock Road was put to the whip in a maiden claiming race at Presque Isle Downs. Nothing unusual here, except: This race came a mere 6 days after his last one – which came 8 days after the one before – which came 10 days after the one before – which came 14 days after the one before – which came 12 days after the one before – and on and on. In all, 10 races since mid February. Must be a horse who “thrives on frequent work,” right? Or perhaps his chief exploiter – breeder/trainer/probably owner (Equibase has owner as “The IRA”) Edward Charles Sexton – has a book deal in the offing: “How to Grind Your Pubescent Racehorse into the Ground Before His 4th Birthday.”
In all seriousness, while I place little stock in legal remedies for exploited animals, should this horse break down anytime in the near future, prosecutors in the state where it happens would practically be obligated to file criminal charges (against Sexton, yes, but also against the relevant jockey, stewards, and track vet). Currently, Shamrock is in Pennsylvania. That state’s “Cruelty to animals” statute reads in part: “A person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly illtreats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care…” That said, the next time a prosecutor files cruelty charges against a racer would, as far as I know, be the first. This is horseracing.