Two Kills at Los Alamitos; Jockey Fined Only $100 for Inflicting 10 Straight Whip Lashes

From the most recent Los Alamitos Stewards Minutes: “Post-time favorite Bookofmatches locked up behind and bobbled badly with an eighth of a mile before the finish [of the 5th race July 14]…humanely euthanized.” Bookofmatches was two; this was her fourth time under the whip.

In the very next race that day, Jockey Cesar Franco “used his riding crop ten consecutive times in the final eighty yards.” The “rule” in California, of course, is no more than three lashes in succession “without giving the horse a chance to respond.” For striking his horse TEN straight times, Franco was fined but $100 – and this was his second offense within 60 days. Wow, but not really.

The following week, the Los Alamitos stewards declare, “one equine death was reported due to racing injuries.” That dead animal, however, was left unidentified.

This is horseracing.


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  1. A paltry $100 for beating an innocent voiceless animal with a whip TEN times, one strike after another, without giving the horse a chance to respond.
    Utterly unconscionable.
    $100 is chicken feed for these hoops who most of the time are given slings by the connections to give the horse plenty of stick in a brutal and cruel manner.
    They claim they love their horses like they love their children. Would they allow their own children to be inflicted with 10 consecutive strikes of the whip? Not likely.
    Any person who strikes an animal with a whip is committing an act of cruelty upon an animal and is usually dealt with in a court of law. It’s beyond belief that jockeys, the connections and the racing industry think that they’re exempt and above the law.

  2. The fine condones merciless beating of a tired/sore racehorse who is slowing down to protect himself.
    This vile business, and the delusional apologists that participate/support it are disgusting people.
    Jockeys are horse beaters – end of story, every single one of them.
    The commissions, who are comprised of ex-jockeys, have beaten horses themselves so they condone this.
    It’s an entire system of legitimized racehorse cruelty with meaningless rules, endless committees, lip service, and never ending investigations that all lead to absolutely nothing.
    This is all public wallpaper and so are there stupid empty claims that they are “family members.”
    Just who are they trying to kid?
    Which brings me to another point – the stewards who comprise the racing commissions are ALL industry insiders.
    They are merely a management arm of gambling profits and they ensure the abuse, cruelty, and dying to continue.
    They immediately squash any mention of outsiders sitting on the commissions.
    It’s one big scam with the racehorses paying with their lives.

  3. I m new here. So please bear with me. Would there be any advantage to the owner if their horse died while on the racetrack? Insurance wise. Just a newbie asking.

      • I need to clarify a few things here.
        It’s NOT ONLY the big money earners that are insured.
        Rather, any horse that goes through the sales ring for a 6-figure sum (and there are plenty of them) is almost always insured right after the sale for the purchase price BEFORE even knowing how they will perform on the track.
        For example, a horse purchased for $700,000 at Keeneland will be insured for that amount.
        The amount will increase ONLY IF the horse performs on the track called an “upgrade.”
        If the horse doesn’t perform on the track the policy is downgraded.
        So here’s where a possible scenario can appear very suspicious:
        A racehorse is insured for $700,000, (equine insurance policy in place), then doesn’t perform in the first 3 races due to a physical ailment that ONLY the owner/trainer knows about (of course the SECRET medical/doping records doesn’t reveal this).
        So they know that if the horse doesn’t die then they will not only lose their purchase price, but the cost of keeping the horse in training up until that point.
        A pattern emerges – racehorses dying (usually during training hours when there is less scrutiny) to collect insurance money knowing that the racehorse is a non-performer or has a physical ailment that will prevent it from performing at the high levels required to maintain the insurance policy.
        If they continue with this horse, knowing that they must drop it into the claiming ranks, then the equine insurance policy will be downgraded or not worth paying for.
        It’s important to note that most all racetracks don’t report deaths during training hours!
        Some are not even reporting the NAMES of racehorses that are dying especially in California where Frank Stronach owned racetracks have plenty of racehorses dying on them.
        Racehorses who die with “cardiac events” are highly suspicious because nobody knows what was given to that horse before it was sent to the track, and we know (based on facts) that the same trainers have multiple racehorses dying under their “care.”
        As mentioned, most racehorses are claimers, but people who spend big bucks buying racehorses want that money back if the horse doesn’t perform and they seem to always send their horses to the trainers who have a record of racehorses dying under their “care.”
        Who in the hell would want to send another racehorse to a trainer who has already killed one of their other racehorses??
        Well, perhaps somebody who knows that they will recoup their huge purchase price no matter what??
        Killing racehorses for insurance money has been going on in this business since its inception, and I think (based on my observations/records/informal studies) that it’s still going on.
        Lack of transparency is the cornerstone of this business and there’s a reason for that.

    • Tawanna – as Carolyn mentioned, only big-money earners (stakes horses) are insured – if they become unsound, it certainly wouldn’t hurt the owner’s wallet if the horse died racing/training.

      The majority of horses in the racing industry are the claimers and they are generally not insured. Apologists will often argue that an owner wouldn’t race an unsound horse because why would he risk the death of one of his horses that makes money for him? – firstly, races with “racino-subsidized” purses pay out first through last, so even a horse finishing in last place will get a check. Why not risk it? – a horse standing in a stall isn’t going to make a dime. Secondly, a racehorse that has become non-competitive or injured isn’t worth any more than what he can bring at auction – there is no significant monetary loss when a “cheap claimer” breaks down and dies. In fact, the loss of such a horse saves on their feed and farrier bills.

  4. Regarding use of the crop (WHIP), jockey Alex Birzer struck his filly (Shes Our Fastest) “at least 25 times down the stretch” in a race at Prairie Meadows on July 27. Birzer received no fine, no suspension.

    Struck 25 times…in just the stretch run. And nothing. Sickening.

  5. As far as I know, not alone are there no regs in terms of the number of strikes as well as the force, the whip itself is not regulated as far as length etc, so jocks can reach the most sensitive areas and believe me they do !!!

  6. oh a hundred and this is not the first time. he should be not allowed to race for the summer.. oh and that poor horse dying seems this happens all the time at all the tracks.

  7. As I’ve always maintained: there is no bottom when it comes to this vile business.
    Beating a tired/sore racehorse 10 times is not enough because the other day a jockey beat a filly 25 times consecutively and wasn’t even sanctioned!!
    Blatant animal cruelty that would clearly qualify for Felony Animal Cruelty charges in any other setting except for horse racing.
    Shut down this death and corruption pit.

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