Jockey Mercilessly Beats Horse at Breeders’ Cup

One of the ways horseracing has been able to survive for so long is masterful marketing – “The Sport of Kings.” But it could not have done so without complicit media partners: numerous Sports Illustrated covers; ESPN naming three racehorses to its list of the 20th Century’s greatest athletes; and in a class by itself, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), which dutifully covers all of Racing’s high holy days. And so it was last weekend at Churchill Downs, scene of this year’s Breeders’ Cup.

In the marquee race, the $6 million “Classic,” with NBC shamelessly presenting with all the drama and flair it would bring to any big sporting event, egregious animal cruelty was unfolding for the cameras – and hence, before our very eyes. In the stretch run, jockey Christophe Soumillon mercilessly whipped 4-year-old Thunder Snow – beat the hell out of him, actually. (Thunder Snow is the #1 horse; Soumillon wears blue.)

Trust your gut, folks – if it looks like animal cruelty, sounds (whack, whack, whack) like animal cruelty, and, simply, feels like animal cruelty, then that’s exactly what it is. Don’t allow yourself to be manipulated. Horseracing is animal cruelty.


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  1. I agree with you 100%. Most of these horses are also too young and undeveloped causing them to break their legs and then having to be put down. It happens more often then people think. We have ended Greyhound racing in Florida let’s put an end to horse racing as well.

    • Greyhounds do not have anyone on their backs whipping them and making them run. And the scale of greyhound deaths associated with greyhound racing pales in comparison to the carnage caused by all forms of horse racing. Approximately 4 horses die every day; 28 die per week; hundreds per month and thousands per year. A horse is a million times more likely to die on the track than a greyhound dog; and horses have riders whipping them forcing them to run by hitting them, while greyhounds of course do not. The best way to get horse racing banned is to get each state with horse racing to put amendments on the ballot and have the voters vote on it. This is going to be very difficult, because there is so much money (and politics and political connections) involved with horse racing – billions. Though the vast majority of people in every state definitely would vote to have horse racing banned, without a doubt. And all should go for the major horse racing states also, like New York, Kentucky, California, Florida, Maryland etc. In 2002, Florida voters also approved a ban on keeping pregnant pigs in crates. Three years later, the Legislature allocated $600,000 to compensate TWO (that’s right, ONLY TWO) farmers whose livelihoods were hurt by the ban. With Fla. voters approving a ban on Greyhound Racing, though, the total amount of damages and compensations will range from $250 million up to $500 million. Greyhound Racing in Florida also has huge amounts of money involved. When you include all revenue from bets ($1.26 billion in the last 5 years) made on Florida greyhound racing, the Fla. greyhound tracks are bringing in more money each year than any of Florida’s professional baseball, hockey, or basketball teams. Only NFL football teams bring in more. To be sure, greyhound racing in Florida is still big business. Not only does live racing generate significant revenue, the Fla. greyhound racing industry also provides more than 3,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs.

      • Jake, jobs and revenue are not excuses for continuing the abuse of animals. So many dogs have suffered and died in this industry anonymously, we will never know the extent of the cruelty and indifference.

        At Ebro track near Panama City 32 dogs were found starved to death, some had duck tape around their muzzles. Three were found alive but severely malnourished. The trainer, Ronald John Williams,” abandoned”the dogs he was supposed to “care” for at the end of the season. This is one horrendous case that came to light because neighbors complained about the stench. This case also highlighted the lack of care and accountability for the dogs at other tracks especially in the off seasons.

  2. I watched this and it is obvious that this is so bad. I am crying as I write this. I am from Derby City and Ilove horses but I am realizing how cruel this sport is now.

    • That makes all the difference, if people like you begin to see this for what it is. For people like me it doesn’t matter as much, I have known and seen for decades, and fought against all animal injustice (a never-ending battle), but every person like you who has previously not realized what this entails, it’s another win for the animals, who need it so badly. Thank you! And please try to spread the word. I know how hard it is. But these animals are helpless, voiceless and defenseless. We must be their voice, or they stand no chance.

  3. There was NO NEED NOR EXCUSE for CONSISTENT whipping . The SIGNS were CLEAR the horse was TIRED, WINDED and put his/her ALL into the race. Animal Cruelty because of GREED and EGO with NO REGARD for the horse/s who did their best. Their legs, fetlocks, hips, hooves, lungs ( that bleed out ) ALL because of GREED and EGO from humans. Animal Cruelty was done on my horses in Wrentham Ma ALL because of GREED from vets/farriers for stupid “games” and prizes with NO REGARD for my horses nor me the owner.

  4. I want to return the favor until I can longer lift my arm. On the jockies,”breeder”,owners,trainers and all others who are paticipants. NEVER once in all the years I had my horses did I ever even raise my voice to them. I was priveleged to have them in my care,I adored them,I waited a lifetime ti finally have them. I can’t imagine ever even thinking of something so awful. May they all rot in Hell.

  5. They should be able to race without beating them. If they can’t don’t race. It is cruel to beat a horse just to win a race. I would like to use a whip on that jockey!

  6. OMG what a loser this jockey is and what in the hell is the matter with the owner/trainer that put that bastard up on his/her horse. We raced horses for many years and would never in a moment have used an abusive jockey on any of our horses. This bastard should no longer be allowed to ride in the circuit and should be banned from all horse racing. He needs to have the shit beat out of him until he drops to the group and then just keep on with the beating until with any luck he is left dying on the ground. No horse should ever ever have to endure this type of abuse – these are God’s creations not man’s – you will have your judgment day!! In the meantime get out of the horse racing because you are not worth the ink it took to put your name on the program. Shame on the owner and trainer for putting you on that poor horse as well. This is definitely not a Sport of Champions it is a Sport of Abuse with all the greedy bastards waiting for their big “CASH OUT” on the back of the poor horse. Horse Racing should be banned everywhere because like everything else humans have no idea of the cost of the torture to win a god damn race. It;s all about the money like every other god damn thing in the world and the price to get to the finish line most people have no idea of what goes on in the background – very very scary and abusive things take place that should never ever have been allowed. I Thank my Dad (who was a war vet) for teaching me the ability to be a horse whisperer no matter where I might be with my horses – no abuse was ever levied on them then or now.

  7. I am SOOOO with you, Mary Porter! Thank you to the one who posted this petition and brought this disgusting event to the attention of all of us in the world that truly do love all animals and are doing whatever we can to stop this horrific “thing”. Thank you to all of who who will sign and support stopping these events. These jockies, horse owners, and attendees are dispicable. Their karma will be great, for they will not escape it!

  8. I’ve watched slowed footage of a jockey beating a horse with a whip, it’s shocking to see the impact on a horses body & flesh, why they are allowed to carry a whip, beating an animal that lines the pockets of people who use the animal as disposable in it’s time of need/injury, nothing but greed. Ban the whip, reduce the fence heights & shorten the distance, racing is no pleasure for horses

  9. Let me have that damn crop & 5 minutes with that abusive jockey, hope the horse kicks him in the head one day !

  10. Horses, God Bless Them, always do what is asked of them. When these B………ds of so called people whip these magnificent animals just to line their greedy pockets I wish I could do the same to them. HORSE RACING IN INHERITANTLY CRUEL AND NEEDS TO BE ABOLISHED FOREVER, let these horses be horses and live their life without whips and cruel owners, trainers, jockeys, etc.

  11. After watching the video you can hear the whip hitting Thunder Snow; just think if you didn’t feel like running that day and you lose the race(s) you are then sent to slaughter. I think pictures of horses going to slaughter should be shown at racetracks. Appalling. those people make me sic.

  12. my horses come when i call their name. i have never once hit an animal to make it come faster or go faster. this is clearly animal cruelty. not to mention, death by over-exertion, snapped bones, heart attacks, the list goes on – then sold for slaughter when they are no longer useful in making money. how very sad, what greed will make a person do.

  13. I am so in agreement with all these correspondents. California recently put a stop to killing dogs in the name of greyhound racing-now this! Ban it and pursue a sport worthy of real men- not abusing animals, that’s for cowards and pathetic wimps-with money! Bet on something else -so much choice- number of lentils in a jar- how long a snail takes to climb a wall- the list is endless and it’s fun- no one hurt.

    • In the UK, a jockey is allowed to whip a horse seven (7) times during the race.
      In Australia, a jockey can whip a horse eighteen (18) times during the race without being in breach of the whip rules.
      Why does racing have whip rules if the whip doesn’t hurt the horse, as they’re always alleging ? An Australian study scientifically proved that the nerve endings in a horse are much closer to the skin than that of a human. Therefore it can be argued that the horse’s skin is more sensitive than that of a human. If we humans were struck with a whip with the force that a jockey uses on a horse, we would likely require medical treatment for the injury.
      The racehorses suffer in silence.
      Whipping horses is barbaric and clearly an act of animal cruelty. Whipping pushes the horses beyond their physiological limitations which sometimes results in the horses suffering serious injury and death.
      I watched some horrible whipping in the recent Melbourne Cup carnival here. The jockey, Kerrin McEvoy, who won the MC excessively whipped the horse and was fined $3,000 (chicken feed for jockey/connections) and the jockey, Hugh Bowman, who rode the second placegetter (it was a close finish) was suspended from racing for 4 weeks for his horrible excessive whipping, careless (abusive) riding and he’s appealing his suspension.
      As a commenter mentioned above, whipping an animal is in breach of animal cruelty legislation and the perpetrators should go to jail. Absolutely.
      Which begs the question, why are jockeys all over the world exempt from such legislation ?

  14. This “jockey” Christophe Soumillon has no right to call himself anything but an animal abuser, torturer and even murderer. These horses do all the work, toil, suffering, and dying for these people’s tremendous gain. The jockey Christophe Soumillon should try a real sport where the people go through grueling training and have an amazing amount of discipline in order to be the fastest at their sport. They don’t become the fastest by beating and torturing a defenseless and enslaved animal to death. Mr. Christophe Soumillon could never make it in a REAL sport. He and anyone else involved in these egregious crimes must be put in jail!! How can people still attend these barbaric events??? The public needs to stop feeding this EVIL!!!

  15. There should be a law against the jockeys being allowed to even carry a whip. Personally, I think if the jockeys were whipped even though ” they tried their best “, they might better understand; these are horses doing their best for the ridiculous demands of abusive people. Animals deserve better!!

    • Recently in South Africa, the officials of South African Horse Racing conducted a race where the jockeys were allowed to carry the whip only and not allowed to strike the horse. And of course there was a winner along with 2nd and 3rd placegetters.
      My understanding is that there will be further trials by SAHR.
      The reason they’re doing this is because of public pressure – people don’t like seeing an animal being hit. I believe that the British Horseracing Authority is looking into this as well.

  16. I thought there were rules for and when they can use the whip during a race. When Russel Baze went to Europe to race he agreed to the whip rules etc. then turned around and over whipped his horse and he was sent Home. some times it is the mere sound of a whip is all that is needed. A horse is only going to run so fast. Horse racing, the drugs, the poor babies born then the mom taken away, and nearly half of the horses end up at slaughter. Who Can REALLY have fun at a Derby or Breeders Cup? The rich.

  17. Denise Larkin and others involved with this post:
    Have you thought of starting a targeted campaign to pressure various groups to end horseracing? You’d need to select key sectors that profit off of the industry and target specific people with detailed, fact supported letters. Horseracing is an extensive industry with many claiming a piece of the pie. You’d need a new concept (that’s profitable) to replace it. What would it really take to end racing? What would it take to shift the notion of owning horses in general? Horses are easily forgotten and discarded regardless of racing. There needs to be a shift on many fronts towards how we approach horses with respect. Should horse ownership be singular or spread out amongst groups that can better support an animal financially? Should there be sanctuaries in each state? There’s so much involved here. This is all worthy of many conversations in an effort to draft goals. There’s lots of existing groups that could eventually come together to support one another and a new, respectful, vision for horses.


  19. Fuck all of you sleazebag who profit from and sickeningly enjoy animal torture. You should all be beaten with whips, daily, until you stop your evil ways.

  20. There is no popular sport that involves animals that isn’t cruelty. Toxic masculinity on display — and usually for money and fame. Disgusting.

  21. Horrific, and blatant animal cruelty.
    Horse racing is systemic, widespread, organized legitimate animal cruelty – end of story.
    The monster who beat THUNDER SNOW whacked him 30 times minimum from what I counted.
    This racehorse abuser will not be fined because Kentucky has no whipping laws – none whatsoever.
    You can beat a horse into the ground in Kentucky with no repercussions whatsoever.
    All this considered, it’s blatantly obvious that they are not treated like “kings,” as the industry proclaims.
    Rather, they are chattels there to be used, abused, and exploited for $2 bets.
    It’s so disturbing to watch a sentient being like Thunder Snow get beaten when he is giving it all.
    For Thunder Snow, and for all the others, I pledge to be a voice for you.

  22. This P.O.S. Christophe Soumillon a too short, uneducated neanderthal oxygen thief, needs to be held accountable for his crimes. The piece of filth owner for allowing this abuser on his horse needs to be taken out as well. Karma will ultimately take them both out, until then this disgusting low life “sport” needs to be banned as soon as possible.

  23. Why is this horrible crime against horses still going on?? this breakes my heart to know that these cowards are taking their anger out on an innocent animal. Put these cowards in a race for their lives & if they slow down or get hurt, give them a taste of their own medicine. Please put a stop to this horrible cruelty. Money is not worth the harm cowards are causing these animals. Put an end to horse racing!!!

  24. Ive been around horse racing my entire life and as a trainer I can tell you that if that jockey hadn’t used his whip as he did he would have lost the mount. They all use the whip down the stretch. Go put on aleather coat and whip yourself with a jockey’s bat. You can barely feel it. Now. go look at the stuff that goes on behind the track during the week. I could list the atrocities. Whippping these horses in that way is not. Then go to horse shows where they use tack sticks on open jumpers and drugs are rampant there as well as on both Tbred and harness tracks. So bad that foreign markets will not buy horse meat from us. Get your priorities straight and stop wasting time whining. Racing curelty is serious and needs to be cleaned up.

    • Skyelav- we know all about the other things going on at the tracks! That’s why we are fighting to end it ALL!! The whipping is the obvious abuse- in front of the public. And please don’t tell me that whipping is that benign. A wonderful group of ladies that support this site claimed an old warhorse by the name of Bank of Dad that the owner/ trainer refused to retire so she could milk every last bit of money out of him, no matter how unsuccessful he was. He was 13! The jockey was also his OWNER – and ya know what? He hit that horse so hard he had a bloody welt on the sensitive skin on his underbelly that was still visible a week later!! And that horse was beaten by 23 lengths! What’s the need to hit him at all- much less that hard?? They have the pics to prove it, too.
      None of us are whining- we are advocating for the horses- because no one in the business, who full well know the atrocities on the backstretch- seem to be able to do that for the horses., even though we often hear they are treated like royalty and loved like children and family. What falsities those are. The reality is more the likes of Dad who got his ass beat hard no matter how far back he was.

    • skyelav, how odd that you comment about an animal being whipped, claiming “racing curelty [sic] is serious” – in short, you’re dismissing horses being whipped as not “atrocious” enough to be mentioned. BUT!…there are other atrocities you could list!

      To one with reasonable intelligence, it’s clear this site provides near daily facts about those other atrocities that even you can list – YET, where are you on those posts? In support of the truths Patrick provides?

      Whining? – clearly that is you…here…defending whipping an animal…because the industry demands it. And that is even more barbaric than had it just been a sick decision by an angry little jockey…

    • With all due respect,if I read this comment correctly about the leather coat,this has to be on David Letterman’s top ten ignorant comments.After reading this comment,I thought this is a typical comment coming from a typical common “horse trainer”.I’m still thinking,I really did not read this about putting on a leather coat and whipping myself with a whip or “BAT”as you Cowboys call it.How can you compare a dead treated piece of leather being whipped to a live horse with hair,sensitive nerve endings,sensitive skin,blood,muscles,bone and feelings.Something you obviously don’t have a clue about.Ya make me sick COWBOY your comments alone make you “POSTER BOY”for your common,ignorant trainer.

  25. horse racing shoudl be shut down. lets have human races and bet on them. that would make sense. they know why they are out there. horses dont. this is increadibley cruel. human scum are into beating horses for this moneygrubbing

  26. Many may remember the hue and cry when American Pharoah was whipped excessively during the 2015 Kentucky Derby. Officials in Kentucky deemed the approximately 30 lashes in quick succession acceptable.

    And now another high profile colt is brutally beaten at the same track in a state that rakes in billions yearly from the racing industry and does nothing to protect the horse.

    Officials just brazenly defend the indefensible cruelty and wait for the out cry to die down. It works every time!!

  27. The love of money Christophe Soumillom stood to earn 330,000 for his take in the owners purse if Thunder Snow won for a little over 2 minute of riding probably would have beaten his wife with a whip for that!! If someone given him a base bat and said you could use it he probably would have used it on the horse. What dose the horse earn some high supplement horse feed, and a couple of carrots.

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