2-Year-Old Receives “Hard Whipping,” is “Put to Very Hard Punishment”

Most of the time, the racing industry deflects, distracts, spins, and deceives. But every once in a while, some raw truth finds its way to the surface. Witness this from Equibase’s account of 2-year-old (a child) Sky Devil’s run at Presque Isle Sunday – his first-ever race, by the way:

short note – “hard whipping”; long note – “bumped hard at the start, angled out and rushed between horses, angled out sharply in the final furlong and was put to very hard punishment.” This, for a 5th-place finish, 8+ lengths off the pace.

Rationalize that, apologists.

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  1. The apologists won’t TOUCH this one, Patrick. But if one does, hang on…I’m certain it will be our best laugh yet.

  2. What is your point here Patrick ? That the rider needs fined ? Given days , review films ? Yes Patrick , he needs all the above . But of course you should call the management and demand they close the doors .

  3. I doubt little willy MARTINEZ would be able to ride a racehorse without beating it with his whip. This jockey thought it appropriate to whip SKY DEVIL when he was having his very first race start and aged only 2 years. This baby was “bumped” at the start and appears to have been recklessly ridden (he was the favourite). My interpretation of the chart report is that this colt was whipped multiple times “hard whipped” and “was put to very hard punishment”. This description by the scribe might be his/her usual rhetoric but it tells me that the flogging this young colt suffered was not ignored but exposed. Highly likely SKY DEVIL had welts on his flank/body after his debut. Came home 5th for $750 – might’ve won if he hadn’t been flogged. I wonder how many owners, especially green owners, are aware of their right to instruct their jockeys to only carry the whip and not to use it on the horse and that the jockeys must abide by that instruction.

  4. I just have to share something since I’m certain the HRW supporters are going to appreciate this. I was sent a few screen shots from some pro-racing site. The gal who texted them to me mentioned what’s posted there is ridiculous in their desperate attempts to put horse racing in a good light. These particular comments are about whipping so I chose this post of Patrick’s in which to share them;

    Comment # 1: “In California, the racing whips are padded. I’ve hit myself as hard as I can, and it just is nothing. Noise.”

    This was followed right up with comment #2 by the same person: “[Jockey] won a race for an old guy I galloped for. [The old guy] takes him in the stall and shows him the welts [left from the whip], clear up under this colts [sic] belly.”

    So this commenter – by the name appears to be a female – hits herself with the whip as hard as she can and…NOTHING. The colt gets whipped by the jockey and…WELTS. These were her quotes – verbatim. So this woman either has the skin of a crocodile or is a bald-faced liar. My money’s on the latter.

    • Absolutely laughable isn’t it Joy? She doesn’t feel a thing but only hears NOISE? Wow! no doubt she’d fail dismally in a science study. You’re right on the money Joy – she is a bald-faced liar, no doubt about that. It is incomprehensible that she goes on to say that the old guy points out that the colt suffered WELTS from a flogging and they’re CLEARING UP ON ITS BELLY (no doubt flogged in the very sensitive flank area, which is prohibited under the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Gaming and I have no doubt USA is a signatory to such Agreement). Desperate attempts to put horseracing in a good light? One cannot justify the unjustified.

      Years ago I rang a horseracing radio station, they had a segment where a racing vet would answer questions… well why not phone in and ask “when a jockey beats a horse with a whip, does it hurt the horse?” (what would a dumb female know). I think I might’ve possibly got him off guard because they don’t get that sort of a question (usually about lameness, etc.) Response was “ (LAUGHTER) well of course if you hit it with a whip it hurts”. Ooopsy ooopsy! they immediately put an ad on and cut me off. I’ve tried it myself and my skin went red raw and it hurt like hell. When the so called “padded” whip was introduced here, a high profile jockey went on national television news and was interviewed at a race meeting dressed in a suit that had a generous amount of material in the trousers. For the cameras he tapped his leg twice with the whip (like a child would in pony club to give his horse a signal) jockey said “SEE THAT DOESN’T HURT!” The interviewer looked nonplussed (well I don’t see you whipping racehorses like that!). It was hysterical, I had to remind myself that this wasn’t on the popular tv comedy show which followed the news, this was the news!
      Imagine if Victor Espinoza was asked to hit his right leg (dressed in thin light jockey pants) with whip raised high above his shoulder height, coming down with his usual sickening style of great force, for 32 times in about 35 seconds (as he did on Amercian Pharoah in the Derby). Think he might decline because they’d have to organize an ambulance/doctor to whisk him away to the nearest hospital for treatment which would likely include stitches because his skin was broken (as he did on Stellar Wind).

      The jockeys KNOW that the horses suffer pain and injury when whipped. For anyone to suggest that it doesn’t cause pain is ridiculous, and for argument’s sake, if it didn’t, why would jockeys use whips in the first place?

    • I just got off the phone with Joy. I had asked her to take a look at the screenshot she received concerning the use of whips in racing. The person, who contradicts herself from one statement to the next, is Ms. Darlene LaRochelle. First she says that the whip “encourages” the horse much like American Pharoah was “encouraged” 30-some times coming down the stretch in the Derby. Then, a sentence or two later, she mentions another jockey that caused “welts” on a horse’s belly. Wow! First a whip only creates “noise” but then can cause “welts”. Even the pro-racing person, who sent the screenshot to Joy, thought Ms. LaRochelle wasn’t the sharpest tack in the box. The racing supporters, in many cases, are either incredibly stupid or delusional. Even Equibase states that Sky Devil was put to “very hard punishment” and Equibase reports FOR the racing industry. I wonder if LaRochelle will now resort to some “twisting and spinning” of the truth and state that the “hard punishment” was actually just noise!

      Oh, and it is my understanding that AP wears ear plugs. Therefore, how does AP hear the “noise”? Someone had better reach out to good ole Baffert and tell that guy that whips are just for creating “noise”! And people actually wonder why racing is in trouble….SMH….



    Transcript – recommend one goes down to the dialogue between Dr. Lydia Tong and Dr. Jonica Newby re the horse’s flank re it could be argued that the horse’s skin is more sensitive than the human’s skin. In the video brave Jonica gets a former jockey to whip her leg….. and the CEO of Racing Australia, Peter McGauran, when questioned re evidence that whipping hurts the horses, states “Oh, I definitely, definitely…. You would further restrict it, or ABOLISH it. You can’t say you believe it does not inflict pain and then, if evidence was to the contrary, you continue. Of course, we would do away with the whip.”

    Shortly after this Catalyst program was aired nationally, Racing Australia did a complete backflip on McGauran’s statement……?


    The above link is “A Critical Analysis of the British Horseracing Authority’s Review of the Use of the Whip in Horseracing”.


    The industry claims that because it is “padded” (and that’s really stretching its description – just a piece of thin vinyl over only part of the hard shaft of the whip) it does not hurt/cause pain to the animal. Just who are they trying to kid – one doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that when a living creature whether it be a human, dog or horse, is hit with a whip that creature will experience both physical and psychological pain. The seam (stitching) on both sides of the whip is extremely harmful and some jockeys have been known to deliberately angle the seam to make contact with the horse while vigorously whipping away. Horses often get hit with the non-padded section of the whip. The jockey’s whip is used to make the horse run faster despite the fact that the horse is suffering fatigue and is going as fast as he can.
    Some horses when being repeatedly beaten will duck in and out and they can lose ground when they do this and if rivals are nearby it can also cause a potentially serious incident. Jockeys will then desist from hitting the horse with the whip but in lieu will put whip right up to the horse’s eye and this is when the horse is seriously fatigued and being pushed beyond his limits, his central nervous system is telling him to slow down to prevent him from suffering injury/death but he can’t escape the whip and the “urging” from the cur on his back.

    Blatant animal abuse, act of cruelty and in breach of animal welfare legislations, all of which is in full view of THE PUBLIC EYE.

    For how much longer are we going to allow this abhorrent practice to continue???

    • TY for the links/info, Carolyn. In the whole scheme of things, the whipping the racehorses endure is the least of their worries!…sad to say but true, I’m afraid. That being said, for the industry to claim whipping doesn’t HURT them?…then why the rules regarding whips and why the disciplinary (although toothless) measures for jockeys who break those rules? After all, it’s just a little noise!

  7. “Put to very hard punishment”. For what? Being a baby forced to run? Jesus, what a sick world.

  8. Victor Espinoza got in trouble and was fined for advertising Monster drink or some such beverage on his boot but he can brutally whip horses as he did AP in the Derby and the Travers and it’s “ho- hum” with the racing “officials”.

  9. Please put the blame on the trainer.He gave the Jockey the mount.And telling the jockey not to use the whip on the horse would be the trainers decision not the owner. The problem with racing is the owner wanting to tell the trainers when and where to run the horses.I have been married to a horse trainer and
    A jockey and I was A owner and breeder. But no more after 50 years in the game I have had enough.

  10. Judy, I understand exactly what you’re saying but at the end of the day the jockey chooses to flog the horse. He/she actually commits a breach under animal welfare legislations. I’ve been in enclosures listening to trainers telling jockeys to give it plenty of stick. Owners have the right to instruct the jockey not to whip the horse and in my family (racehorse owners) two certain jockeys always abided by that instruction, when they hung up their boots they couldn’t get another jockey to just carry the whip and spare the horses suffering from being cruelly beaten.
    I couldn’t agree with you more about the pressure that many owners place on trainers. Having said that, many owners also leave it up to the trainers. I’ve seen trainers send horses out to race when they’ve already explained to the owners that the horse desperately needs a lay-off or has a foot problem or blood tests weren’t that good or has only just recovered from colic, and the list is endless. In the end the trainer goes along with it because he wants to keep his owners happy and the cheques coming in and then sadly the horse’s welfare is seriously compromised. I have to say that there are plenty of trainers who don’t let the owners know the truth about their horses’ health and there have been some civil court cases in that regard.

    The following is something I came across when researching the whipping of racehorses.
    The horse in this race was fifth in the market, 4 other horses were favoured, Stewards not happy about jockey’s ride and drag her over the coals post race. Where I am “pressure” is the equivalent to “urging”. More acceptable language for the public than “flogged”.

    “When questioned regarding her riding of …………rounding the home turn and in the straight, rider ……….. stated she was instructed to hold the gelding up until the final 200m and to place it under minimal pressure in the run to the line if and where possible. She added in her opinion placing ……………under heavy pressure where the whip would be applied behind the saddle has the ANTITHESIS effect on the gelding and the gelding has shown in previous performances that it is not inclined to perform to its optimum in these circumstances. She added for this reason she only placed ………… under minimal pressure over the final 200m and she did on several occasions use the whip forward of the saddle. Trainer ….. confirmed the instructions issued to ……. and added these instructions were not dissimilar to those issued to her at ……… previous four starts. He added in his opinion ……….. resents being placed under heavy pressure and responds better to being held up and placed under minimal pressure in the straight. While Stewards were cognisant that …………. was riding to instruction, she was nevertheless advised she should always ride her mounts in a manner which would not give cause for query….”
    This horse was not being pulled up and yet the Stewards come out with this pathetic statement!
    The horse came home 2nd by 0.1 of a length (a nose) extremely close to winning.

    Thank you for your post Judy, you obviously have an enormous amount of knowledge and experience in the horseracing industry.

  11. And then this ten-year-old that endured the whip – Cusack, a 2005 dark bay gelding who has labored long and hard. His nearly 125K in earnings has been and continues to be done the hard way – in cheap claiming races. This overworked slave has been raced 95 times and in his latest race for owners Ryan Brady and Marilyn Boggs & trainer Mark Maddox at Presque Isle on September 15 in a 5K claiming race, Cusack was “put to early whip”. But I bet he got a peppermint when he got back to the barn…

    • Joy, we have both been told many, many times that horses just “love” to run, and they are “bred” to run. If those statements are true, why do horses need to be whipped by the jockeys who ride them? Of course, we know the answer. The whip is used in an attempt to force the horse to race faster and faster with the hope of “hitting the board”. The connections of Cusack do care about one thing…the money.

      Oh, and I’m sure in addition to peppermints, Marilyn Boggs will run her hands lovingly up and down Cusack’s legs and perhaps will even babble that the whip was “lovingly” used on her horse who is just like a member of the family. Just another lie emanating from the mouths of the pro-racing exploiters.

  12. I don’t think the issue is whether it’s the trainers, the owners, the jockeys in terms of fault. I think the whole system is broken. When you force animals to perform so that you can make money there is a problem. There will be casualties, there’ll be abuse, there’ will be cruelty.

    The bottom line is racing is wrong. Animals are not ours to abuse or use or profit from. Period.

  13. “Oh, but horses have thick skins, and don’t feel it,” they say as I watch my horse’s skin flinch from a fly landing on it.
    No feeling right?
    The entire system is built on abuse, and exploitation of a racehorse.
    The owners, trainers, jockeys etc. are conduits of the abuse.
    They uphold the system.
    You can’t stay in this cruelty circus, if you don’t support the cruelty either directly or indirectly.
    The only people in horse racing are the abusers or enablers of the abuse.
    It’s just that simple.
    Putting together animals, gambling, and money is a toxic mix where the racehorses (greyhound dogs, pit bulls,) are the losers.

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