A Kill at Thistledown

The 2nd at Thistledown yesterday, as relayed by Equibase: “MAJOR HIT…fell past the quarter pole due to injury and was euthanized.” Just another young animal made, exploited, and killed for $2 bets. How profoundly sad, America.


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  1. Horses like Major Hit suffer and die in anonymity all the time in this callous gambling business and, as Carolyn, said it is just “business as usual”. Racing is just “legalized” horse abuse.

    Once in a while one hears rumblings of attempts at “reform” but even an agreement to ban the use of Lasix in 2yr. olds could not be reached, for goodness sake. How telling is that when it comes to horse welfare in this industry !

    One of the biggest impediments to any kind of protection for horses is the lack of a central governing body like the NFL or NBA to make and enforce a nationwide set of policies.. As I have said before, this is by design. If it is a national “sport”, as is claimed, and horses cross state lines all the time to compete why no national set of rules ?
    I believe Australia racing has a central governing body. Is that so, Caroline ?

    It would be nice to hear from those who say and believe racing can be reformed when there is no central governing body and no national rules to protect the horse – both are fundamental to “reform”.

    • Apologies, Rose – I’ve only just come across your comment. Yes, we do have a central governing body, namely, Racing Australia, that sets the general rules in horseracing. Here’s the link to the Australian Rules of Racing –


      The Racing Australia rules cover issues like whip rules, prohibited substances, horse registration, etc.
      The AR rules 175(n) and (o) are in relation to animal cruelty. Under Definitions, “cruelty” is defined as including any act or omission as a consequence of which a horse is mistreated.

      We do have Local Rules in addition to the AR rules in the various states e.g. in New South Wales there are rules relating to licenced racetracks, appointment of stewards, veterinary permits, penalties, appeals by trainers and jockeys, betting and prizemoney.
      Here’s the link to Racing NSW’s local rules. The Australian Rules of Racing (AR) are listed first then the Racing NSW Local Rules (LR) follow on.


      Late last year, Racing NSW introduced a new rule in relation to animal welfare. However, to my knowledge to date, Racing Australia has not included this LR rule into its AR rules. If you go to LR114 Equine Welfare you’ll see this new rule. Personally, I don’t see how it can be properly monitored and enforced. LR114(5)(e) for instance is being breached on a regular basis – there is evidence of horses still being sent directly to the abattoirs and knackeries, as has been the case for many decades.

  2. Honey C, an 11yr. old mare will make her 116th start at Belterra on June 3rd. This mare has averaged over 15 starts per yr. during her 8 yrs. of racing – no time off. She had 16 starts as an 9 yr. old and 15 starts as a 10 yr. old. She has “earned” a total of &108,060 the hard way.
    She is now owned and trained by Jphn Wayne Tapp and was bred by Jpe P. Williamson, foaled in Kentucky on 25 April 2007.
    This mare illustrates the common practice of grossly overworking these “old track warriors”. And I’m sure there many others in the same situation and worse..
    This abuse is very common for the warriors that manage, somehow, to survive year after year of brutal schedules.
    This is not only sad, it is outrageous that this business absolutely condones this abuse. Sick.

    • An 11 year old MARE has already had 115 race starts….? Rose, this is outrageous animal abuse. Hate to think of the state of her fetlocks, her joints, her whole musculoskeletal system and highly likely she’s suffering from arthritis/osteoarthritis. And i feel so sad for her mental state as well.

      Shame on John Wayne Tapp, you miserable cruel creep.

  3. Yes , Carolyn, an 11 yr. old mare about to make her 116th start and NOBODY in the business says STOP. It is left up to the “trainers” – classic buck passing !
    Translation : the John Wayne Tapps in racing are free to abuse and kill horses with impunity..

    PS Thank you for the links. It will be interesting to review the info.

  4. Thank you, Carolyn. Very professional in that the relevant rules were cited and it was also identified the trainer was not keeping records of treatments and medications on his other horses. So, it looks like the positive on his winner resulted on a close look at his whole operation.

    • Yes, that’s right, Rose. The stewards taking a closer look at the trainer’s stable usually follows when a positive finding is found in a horse. There are also random visits on a trainer’s stable to check the records for the treatments/medications for the horses and if not in order are usually fined and if they come across a bottle/container that is unmarked they usually get fined.

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