A Breakdown Visible From Eight Furlongs Away

4-year-old Faulty Tower “broke down” in the 4th last night at Retama Park; “broke down,” as those familiar with the vernacular well know, almost invariably means dead. The entirety of Faulty Tower’s “career” – all “maiden claiming,” all under the yoke of trainer Charles Haverkamp (who doubled as owner from May 1 till the end):

11/14/15, Remington – last of 9, 15+ lengths back
12/12, Remington – last of 12, 38+ lengths back
5/1/16, Lone Star – 6th of 8, 14+ lengths back
5/19, Lone Star – last of 7, 25 lengths back
5/28, Lone Star – 7th of 11
6/26, Lone Star – last of 8, 41 lengths back
7/15, Lone Star – 7th of 8, 24+ lengths back
8/25, Remington – last of 8, 30+ lengths back
9/10, Retama – “broke down”

So I wonder, apologists, is Charles Haverkamp one of yours or just a bad seed? If the latter, why didn’t the “decent folks” do anything to stop him? Where were the vets (whose ethical responsibility should be to the horse), the stewards, the “good, honest” horsemen? As this hopeless, hapless animal was in the process of being beaten into the ground, right under Racing’s collective nose – silence. To my mind, that makes them – each and every one of them – as guilty as the despicable Charles Haverkamp.


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  1. The reason no one speaks up is because race tracks are private facilities and run by certain individuals that are beholding to the racetrack owners or stockholders. This in some cases becomes an issue of profit. The racetrack can ask the trainers, horse owners, veterinarians, blacksmiths to leave the grounds immediately if they file a complaint: citing they are a private business and can do what they please. This is done often! These people have family and mortgages, kids in school, bills to pay. To relocate or start a new career is terrifying and in some cases an impossibility.
    The HBPA (calling itself a union; really a trade association) is powerless because of something called “Stall Allotment”. This allotment is the stalls to be used by trainers & owners when racing. The more stalls the more potential income earning for trainers and owners. It can also be used as a method of reward or punishment. When you have the entire board, all owners and trainers by the way, financial interest tied up in the amount of stalls they receive; they are powerless when threatened. They are threatened on a regular basis by some (not all) racing managements.
    Usually on the board is what is termed a “house trainer”; someone that passes information about what is said at board meetings to management (receiving more stalls in return for their favor). The horseman that raises a concern at meetings is quietly given the boot from the track. Other board members upon seeing this quit complaining; essentially agreeing with everything management puts forth, track conditions, stable management, contracts, & the entries (that’s a biggie!) It is done quietly and effectively. Racetracks in general have made it an art form in how they apply the pressure.
    So to sum this up the only one having authority is the racetrack owners & shareholders. Everyone else “especially the horse” is not represented. Hence you see such an uptick in catastrophes and no one coming to the defense of the horse. It is my opinion Thoroughbred Racing need outside entities on a Federal level to investigate the behavior of track managements along with the HBPA’s and clean house! This way good horsemen that care can finally gain control and protect their horses.

    • Simple answer: economics.
      The entire industry is based on the exploitation of a racehorse to fill races, and increase wagering profits.
      It’s a very legitimized, and systematized cruelty ring.
      Whether it’s management or Trainers sore horses are entered frequently in order to fill races to placate management, keep their stalls, and access to facilities.
      They accomplish this by using a cocktail of drugs, shock wave therapy, lack of compassion and/or dirty secrets.
      If a Trainer speaks out about what’s going on some things usually happen:
      1. their stall allotment is greatly reduced or even taken away
      2. supporting essential personnel such as jockeys will not ride for you
      3. In my case, they even cut-off my farrier from servicing my horses
      They have bullies in the stable area who even “mock” you if you show compassion towards the horse.
      These bullies often harrass certain people with no repercussions whatsoever even if complained about.
      Women are often called “whores,” and “scum bags” with no repercussions from the racetrack management.
      In short, they make your life a living hell using you as an “example” of what occurs if you don’t fill races.
      The stable area and racetrack environment is a cesspool of cruelty, pain, and/or suffering for both the racehorse and for many people.
      It’s filled with just about every “ism” you can think of: racism, sexism, specieism
      It’s a horrible working environment with cheap wages and high risk of personal injury to both racehorse, and people who work there.
      This industry exploits both racehorse, and people (mainly Mexican labor).
      It’s the racehorses that pay with their lives. They have no voice, no choice, but people that work with them do although their choices are limited due to lack of education in most cases.
      Every time somebody places a bet, they are supporting inhumane policies of both racehorse, and people.
      The best day for society is when this cesspool falls into one big abyss never to return.

  2. It doesn’t make sense to me. Unless this horse was used just to fill the race for a small field to please management; which is unfair to the horse, and taking unnecessary risk. If this horse had been mine it would have been sold for a riding horse or given to a good permanent home a long time ago.

    • AH, you must know this happens all the time – at the “cheap tracks” where the “cheap horses” run – the majority, the backbone, in this industry.

      Jo Anne Normile and I saw what you admit to taking place in this unnecessary gambling and entertainment industry week after week at Great Lakes Downs in Michigan. Sore horses, thin and uncared-for horses, horses the trainers admitted had a chip or tendon being made to race – and no one did a damn thing. The voiceless, suffering horses waited for help that never came from those who benefited from them filling races. Jo Anne and I, between us, watched this for 20-plus years. And nothing has changed. The abuse of horses exploited in this industry – and that is what it is…abuse – must end. And that will only happen when this abusive industry ends.

  3. Another case of a poor, non-competitive horse run literally into the ground. Until there is some national industry legislation concerning competitive performance, there will continue to be these cases. I can’t believe that the minimal purses associated with last place finish is enough to sustain the care(?) and feeding of these horses. Furthermore, why would anyone but a desperate gambler bet on a horse with this performance history?

    • It isn’t enough to sustain “care” and feeding, Glen – at least not PROPER care and feeding. But like I said in my previous post, this happens all the time at the abundant low-level tracks. A trainer who has rent to pay and who needs groceries for his family has his “cheap” string of horses with sore limbs and tired bodies – and those horses shouldn’t be running. But since they are worth nothing except what the “in-house” kill buyer will give for them, there’s no reason NOT to run them and get even a small check – what’s there to lose?!?…the horse? He/she is a dead horse walking anyway…

      I’m surprised that racing insiders don’t seem to get this – a small check is better than no check. A dead, racing-with-injuries racehorse is better than an injured horse who requires hay and bedding and his/her pre-race Lasix. We witnessed this Every. Single. Week. – for YEARS.

      • Thank you Joy.
        Like you I witnessed it for YEARS, and I rescued lots of racehorses for YEARS at MY expense with NOBODY in the industry giving me one damn DIME for these horses.
        In fact, I got nothing but aggravation and nasty name calling, and track management did NOTHING thereby condoning this behaviour towards people in their working environment.
        Like you there is NOBODY looking out for these horses – NOTHING has changed.
        The reasons why NOTHING has changed is because DYING in the dirt, and DYING in their disposal system (the slaughterhouse) is a necessary built-in aspect of this business model.
        I’m so fed up, sick and tired of it – I can’t stand it anymore.
        About 2 months ago, the farm where I boarded found another victim of this industry at a kill auction here in Canada, and begged for donations to save the horse.
        I did what I could, but resented it. I had to keep reminding myself that it’s not the horses fault, but for every one saved, there are hundreds going to slaughter, and this despicable industry, PLUS the participants in it are ALL, as a whole, responsible for racehorses DYING in the dirt, and DYING at slaughter.
        Of course none of these “caring” people send money – of course not.
        They are onto their next victim.
        So I’m at the point where I actually feel like an enabler of their irresponsible dumping behaviour when I help out a racehorse standing at a kill auction steps away from boarding the slaughter truck.
        Then again, I remind myself that it’s not their fault. They are victims.
        The racing industry relies on bleeding hearts like us to clean up their mess, and it’s a MESS.
        The multi-million dollar wagering companies?
        No surprise that they give little or NOTHING in most cases towards racehorse aftercare.
        Yet, they ensure that they pay little or NO taxes while the tracks get millions in either taxpayers money and/or casino money.
        It SICKENS me.
        Wake up people. Wake up government.
        STOP supporting this cesspool of cruelty, pain, suffering, and DYING.

      • Joy, I vividly remember having a phone conversation with Anna Ford who is the Program Director at New Vocations here in Ohio. I said I would guess that 60% of the horses that were running at Beulah, when it was still operating, were running injured and Anna said that she would guess that it was closer to 80%. It is irrelevant whether the percentage was 40%, 60%, or 80%, the numbers of injured horses being put under the whip is staggering, but, of course, necessary in order to fill the cards. Just one of the many reasons that I continue to applaud the precipitous decline of the racing industry.

  4. The death of Faulty Tower was predictable. The industry and everyone in it are complicit in this very visible form of cruelty and death. There are no “good people” in racing because, if there were, they would speak out about what happened to this horse and countless others day after day. Horses are literally raced to death and NOBODY in this business does anything to stop it, nor will they. Racing is horse abuse and horse abuse is racing.

  5. It’s not just the cheap trainers or the cheap tracks there’s a trainer named cody beattie son of Todd and Stephanie beattie. Todd has earned 25 million Stephanie 18 million training per equibase now cody has a 10 yr old named PARABOLA this horse has raced numerous times on 6,7 days rest why for what horses like COPING AWAY stakes horse ran in the Florida derby check out his pp this horse didn’t sell was a rna so into racing he went look how many times this horse raced and how frequently he’s 3 yrs old NO horse is immune to anything in this buissness not one of them and I’m so fuckin sick of hearing they love to run that’s what there bred to do why is it upwards of 70 percent never see the track go watch horses currently racing that are kept in pasture away from the track and see what they really love to do

    • Billy, I did check out both PP’s on both racehorses.
      It sickens me!
      I despise these animal abusers.
      Both horses have been repeatedly run on 5 days rest!
      PARABOLA is such a sad, and blatant example of racehorse cruelty.
      This 10 year old chestnut gelding started at Woodbine, racing sometimes with 3-5 days rest!
      This was all happening at the premier racetrack in Canada, with horse people that supposedly “care” about their “family members.”
      104 starts later, and $442,000 later, he’s still being used, and abused by these low life scum bags.
      Only now he’s been shuffled to Parx now running for bottoms – $5000 claimer after earning over $400,000.
      His last race?
      He picked up a $200 check.
      He’s now running for his life for this despicable person.
      Anybody who participates, and supports this industry is supporting the ongoing cruelty, and abuse of racehorses like Parabola.
      You are parasitic scums – ALL of you – every one of you.
      Rich or poor you are either the abuser and/or enabler of the abuse.
      There’s no good, just a delusional evil.
      We will shut you down – one racetrack at a time.

  6. I see parabola racing a lot of seven days apart but not 3-5 days apart. seven is bad enough, no need for the exaggeration on days in between.

    • Neither me nor anybody else needs to work with any of these racehorses to see the ongoing abuse, cruelty, maiming, and dying because it’s blatantly obvious unless your delusional.
      To draw an analogy neither you nor I has to work with pit bull fighting dogs to know this is blatant animal abuse, and cruelty often resulting in maiming, and death just like racehorses.
      I think that’s one thing we can both agree on.

  7. You know, all this talk from the apologists claiming there are good people in racing – that the entire industry shouldn’t be viewed as exploitive or cruel just because there are some “bad” owners and trainers. Firstly, the “good people” claim is simply not true…the “good folks” race their horses too young, their horses receive drugs, they confine their horses to stalls and deny them a herd of their own, and they buy and sell horses like they are nothing more than a race CAR and not an animal that craves routine. And that’s just for beginners.

    Case in point – the 2009 bay gelding, Donoharm. Graded stakes placed, 44 starts with earnings of nearly 387K, and last raced at Remington Park on the 15th of this month with a price tag of only $6250 on his head. He finished 6th of 8, “empty”, and was SOLD once again. He, in fact, has had at least 5 owners in less than 4 years. The “good” Maggi Moss was one of those owners – she claimed him for 32K and got rid of him for 20K.

    Where is Donoharm going to end up? – with one of the “bad” owners even the “good” owners admit exist? It’s not their problem, now is it…

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