2-Year-Old Whipped Hard, “Returns Sore”

Just a Gem is a 2-year-old racehorse – on the maturation chart, the rough equivalent of a kindergartner. Her fourth ever race (three previous: 4th, 9th, 6th), last evening at Presque Isle, is described thus by Equibase:

“JUST A GEM…drew clear while bearing out badly into the backstretch…gave way near the quarter pole, was put to strong right-hand whipping throughout the stretch and returned sore.”

For those not familiar with racing terminology, the “sore” here almost surely does not refer to the whipped areas (although whipping is painful, and those areas, too, would be sore); in fact, “returned sore” in racing typically means there was an issue with the leg(s) – lameness. So to fill in the gaps, this young horse was whipped hard while in all probability injured. How can anyone still defend this vile industry with a straight face?

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    • Joyce,

      I feel exactly the same way. Take a whip to all of them and see how much they like it!! I agree with Patrick, they probably sent this horse out injured, which is business as normal for them. It is disgusting and shameful that this abuse is so blatant. These people are void of any morality whatsoever. Racing needs to go!!

      Marlene Thornley

  1. A large fine should be given to the jockey and trainer, this is not training this is animal abuse…

    • Karen, fines and the extremely rare suspensions NEVER HAVE and NEVER WILL stop jockeys from mercilessly beating a horse with a whip. Trainers and owners are just as guilty even though they don’t actually carry out the physical act because they either instruct or approve of their horses being whipped. Victor ESPINOZA was fined for breaking the skin of Stellar Wind after she’d won a Grade 1 Race for the trainer SADLER and owners. She copped a beating from ESPINOZA and the breaking of the skin was indisputable evidence of that. This was prior to American Pharoah winning the Kentucky Derby and look at what ESPINOZA did to him. I’ve assumed that you are aware that AP was mercilessly beaten with a whip by ESPINOZA a total of THIRTY-TWO (32) times in approximately 35 seconds.

      The fine he paid for violently injuring Stellar Wind did absolutely nothing to prevent him from re-offending.

  2. OTRAGEOUS ! Like so many others, this filly is doomed and all the “good people” in the business keep silent. Lets hear from those who consider themselves “good people” in this business of animal abuse. I would love to know what they are doing to curb the outright cruelty. From flogging to drugging to overworking and everything in between, this is racing and as long as it exists this will be racing, period !

  3. Sore is probably an understatement. I have seen horses come back from racing with flanks torn and numerous lacerations.
    I worked at Thistledown (Ohio) in the late 1970’s.

  4. Yes Regina, makes you feel sick when you see it. When i worked at the coalface i would bathe the damaged area from the whipping, try some ice packs and try to relate to the horse that i wanted to help him. Would give them carrots and treats which they loved but the look in their eye would say to me

    “WHY am i being abused like this, what WRONG have I done, why is my life like this?”
    Confused minds they surely had!
    Depression they most certainly suffered!
    Boredom drove some mad!

    It is a breach of the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering to whip a horse on the sensitive flank area.

    The guilt i would feel every single day, the drive in the early hours of the morning to the track, complete darkness, riders getting ready for trackwork, talking about everything else under the sun but the horse except for “how many am I doing?”, giving them leg-ups when you knew that the horse hadn’t recovered from its most recent injury, illegal whips being used and the racing authorities don’t seem to police that, some riders with their hard hands damaging the horses’ mouths through the bit with total disregard for this living creature underneath them. Swearing at the horses and sticking the boot into them when dissatisfied for whatever reason.

    Horses being horses and being punished for normal equine behaviour – that really got to me.

    This is horseracing.

  5. My heart just breaks for this little filly. She let her jockey know she wasn’t up to the task but he beat her anyway. And once again, let’s talk about the “GOOD PEOPLE” in racing – like this filly’s breeder. Helen Barbazon. Oh not her fault, you say?…well, who put this filly on this earth for the purpose of racing? Then Barbazon SOLD her (yes, that’s right…the “good people” SELL the horses they profess to love), leaving Just a Gem unprotected from the “bad guys” all – even racing apologists – admit exist in this business. This industry sets horses up for bad endings and it’s evident everywhere one turns. Just yesterday, another Craigslist advertisement for TB’s the owner “NEEDS TO SELL” – Indiana-bred weanlings. EIGHT of them. “Make offer”. Oh, but they LOVE them so.

    I’m hoping for a good ending for the little bay Just a Gem’s stint at racing – to get the hell out of it while she’s still in one piece. If she still is.

  6. WEANLINGS!!! How bad can it get….. torn away from their mothers far too early.
    These 8 weanlings that Joy mentions were purposely bred for the racing industry. Obviously owner wants to get rid of them. Well what happened here? Owner has a change of mind about racing them? about another18 months of feeding/looking after/training them before they race now not economically viable? they’ve got something wrong with them, there could be many reasons for that but ALL 8 OF THEM? They’d each have a different dam. And what bothers me is that they’re really too young to make an assessment of their suitability for racing. My guess is a change of mind so in lieu of euthanasing ($$$$) them, which is probably the HUMANE thing to do in this situation, it is much easier and more economical for this callous owner to pass them on knowing full well that their futures and endings are highly likely to be miserable and in doing this the owner displays that he/she/they is/are disposing of them like a piece of lifeless rubbish, 8 beautiful baby horses, God’s living creatures! Racehorse breeding is sickeningly out of control and with the racing industry being self-regulated it’s about time the Governments address the unacceptable mistreatment of these animals such as this particular example. Makes me sick to the stomach. DISGUSTING!
    What are the so called “good people” in racing going to do about these 8 WEANLINGS that have in a sense been abandoned – no longer wanted. Some are likely to know about it now, so there’s no excuse for non action.
    And further, Wayne Pacelle of the Humane Society has no power to do something for these 8 weanlings??? Oh I think he has, especially when he thinks racing can be conducted humanely, well now’s your chance Wayne Pacelle to show how much your organisation wants these horses bred for the racing industry to be treated humanely. Here are 8 WEANLINGS (helpless baby equine ANIMALS) in a dire situation, they’ve been DUMPED!

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