“Fuck These Horses…”

The Albany Business Review ran a piece yesterday on the shortage of H-2B visas (for seasonal workers) and how said shortage will impact the upcoming NYRA meets. Says star trainer Todd Pletcher: “This shortage will have devastating consequences on our business and on the racing season as a whole.” First, the obvious, any time “devastating consequences” and “on racing” appear in the same sentence ’tis good. But it was a quote from another famous trainer that really caught my eye.

In bemoaning the fact that, for the most part, Americans are unwilling to do the work that these foreign temps do, Gary Contessa said this: “You have to work with animals that spend the better part of the day trying to put you in the hospital.” Well, Mr. Contessa, if indeed these animals are “difficult” or even at times a bit dangerous, there’s ample reason. How do you suppose your psychology would be affected if you were to be locked in a tiny space for over 23 hours a day – deprived of your autonomy, removed from your kind, your nature utterly negated? But more revealing is the general attitude this comment speaks to. Which calls to mind this post from 2014:

For four months last year [2013], PETA had an undercover investigator working for highly successful trainer Steve Asmussen – at Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course, no less. What follows are some of the investigation’s highlights:

Trainer Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s top lieutenant: “Fuck these horses. These motherfuckers…these cocksuckers. There’s always something wrong with ’em.”

“You ought to see these limping motherfuckers I see this son [of] a bitch out here [Saratoga] jogging every day.”

“You could not believe how many [horses] they hurt and kill before they ever even get to the racetrack.”

Farrier working on 5-year-old Nehro, one of Asmussen’s charges: “That’s all missing! His foot is a little bitty nub. …he lost Z-bars on both feet multiple times until he had bloody holes in the bottom of his feet.”

“He doesn’t even have a pulse in this one, and he’s barely got one in the… Stick your thumb in there. Right there in that frog. …No, it’s been like that for three months…it rotted.” Blasi: “…listen…I know the fucker hurts.” Farrier: “Let me show you this hole. This is treacherous. We’ve tried superglue in that hole.”

Blasi, to Nehro: “Quit being such an asshole. …Aggravating son of a bitch.” A few days after this exchange, Nehro died of colic. Blasi: “I have seen a lot of shit. That is the most violent fucking death I have ever seen.”

Blasi on “shockwave therapy”: “Shockwave therapy is, like, it dead[ens] – it kills pain. That’s why you can’t do it close to [race day]. ‘Cause people used to do it like two or three days out, and then these motherfuckers go out there and snap their fucking leg off.” Then this: “It fucking hurts like hell. I can’t believe them fucking sons a bitches can take it.”

Blasi on electric shockers, which are used for “motivation”: “I’d tell [jockey Ricardo Santana], ‘You got the maquina [shocker]?’ ‘Boss, I got the maquina.'”

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens: “So, long story short, I win the race…and I reach over to pull this off, and I, I shock the shit out of myself [audible laughing around the table].”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “Well, we used to go behind the gate at Ruidoso. And it was just like it was a full-blown orchestra. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Everybody had one [shockers]. Everybody had one.”

Blasi, after losing an underperformer – a “rat” – to a claim: “I could just do a fucking cartwheel right now.”

This is horseracing:


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  1. Wow this just gave me a huge flashback to my time at the tracks. This is the kind of stuff I heard everyday. And more.

  2. My goodness, Im not shocked but hugely sickened by the disgusting attitudes of these bastards towards the horses in their trusted care.
    Wrong on every level, you are dispicable, evil and cretenous and just low lifes who make money out of exploiting innocent animals no matter how sick they are and keeping them in muserable conditions, no wonder they misbehave, if I was in 2 feet of you and your workers I would want to kick your teeth out too if any one is a mother fucker, cock sucker and a rat…..its you mate…you are all sick but the world is now watching!!!

    • Julie Deacon, agree, well put! These lowlife trash caretakers featured in this article, need to be put out of their misery, i.e. 6 feet under!! The horses deserve better!!!

    • I agree so much with every single thing you said. Horse racing is disgusting to me. I know how these poor horses are treated. The owners and trainers don’t care about the horses health and feelings. All they want is that everlasting money. A lot of these awful horse breeders and racers are going to be very afraid when they die and have to account for their treatment of these magnificent animals. God told us to care for the animals that He created, not abuse them and especially not use them for greediness and graft . I too would like to kick those idiots in the teeth. THe trainers, the jockeys, the owners. I want the horse track in Tucson to shut down and Santa Anita too and Arlington in Illinois. I hate horse racing. I hate dog racing. I hate exploitation of the animals.

      • Well said! Horse racing & dog racing is so cruel! They trainers & owners should be forced to endure what their animals do. Hey,if the people are hurt or die, maybe they’d change fheir thinking.

  3. Oh God, that is horrible!! They need to close down every track in the world!!! Too many sick greedy bastards behind the scenes. When you have gambling attached to it, you will always get the scrum of the earth doing their evil deeds.
    These beautiful intuitive horses deserve the trust and Love from us humans. Like I said before these race tracks are not under their own jurisdiction, so why the he’ll isn’t animal control in each city all over these bastards? I am glad the press is finally all over this, but they need to start throwing the criminals that are involved in jail, none of this bullshit of slapping their wrists and letting them go on their merry little way. Shut Them Down!!

  4. All of these assholes are worthless,and the assholes that paritsapte,along with all the assholes that go to watch and bet. All gambling should be outlawed. This is most of what leads to this kind of abuse!!! Because of greed. And there 15 mins of fame. It is soooooo sick,that we have a goverment and law authority that totally side looks all of this. I am truly running out of faith with humans beings. And will voice out for all abused animals that have no rights. Something must be done!!!!! People like that have no right to own animals!!!! They are not a trade or commodity they are living and deserve our protection. But like one commenter said,the only good thing about social media is that these people are being exposed!!! I hopenorwpeoplestand up and start harassing these so called human being. And I’m not ashamed to feel this way. These predator owner,trainers And rider need to be punished severely!!!!

  5. Horrible!!! How sad for horses, how dispicable for trainers and owners!!! Shame on all involved in this cruelty to animals. I hope they all get severe fines n jail time.

  6. These poor horses are in bad condition because of the trainers and owners. If you or others don’t like horses , get off the site. Find the real reason why they limp, or other alements . It’s not their own doings, they need a Doctor. Their abused in so many ways, people only want to make money off of them. Their abused by steroids, and not cared for . So don’t cause them , help them!

  7. These horses are no more than money machines to the chains of folks who serially exploit them. The people who engage in this type of abuse will have major Karmic payback at some point and it won’t be pretty for them after all the carnage they have consciously and cavalierly caused.

  8. **sighs deeply**
    First of all, thank you, Patrick for the work you do to expose the horrific truths of horseracing. I’ve been against horseracing for years, just coming from being a vegan and animal lover, and also from hearing my husband (an ex-farrier) say that horseracing was bad news. BUT….I never had ANY IDEA the level of abuse and true perversity that actually exists in the racing world until just recently. I live near Santa Anita and when the horse deaths started piling up so quickly these last few months I decided to really do a deep dive into researching the truth of horseracing. I can’t believe the levels and levels of depravity that I’m discovering. Just when I think I’ve learned the worst of it, I learn something else…this letter/article being an example. I’m an animal rights activist, but my focus has until now been on the horrors of factory farms. What I’ve learned this last few weeks about horseracing definitely equals the worst of what I know about factory farms. I’m not a religious person, so I can’t say I pray, but my sincerest hope is that the world will soon come to understand the truth and abolish horseracing forever.

  9. And those involved in racing, along with many others. insist on calling it a “sport” !!
    They seem to think calling racing a “sport” lends a certain authenticity and respectability to a a business with no redeeming social value, one that is in fact a orrupt gambling business that drugs , whips, tortures, kills and slaughters it’s athletes with impunity..

  10. We need to stand together and close down all race tracks, just like we did with the dog tracks. These beautiful horses should not be treated in this manner. But I know is all about the money and greedy people. I would like to do the same to them see how it feels.

  11. This is hard to read and harder to accept as the reality of horseracing, which is morally reprehensible. Most people think so. We all cannot be wrong.

  12. You are right Julie, the world is now Watching!! We need to keep constant pressure on these sick bastards!

  13. I am totally shocked and disgusted by everything I read. It is so blatantly obvious that none of these bastards give a shit about the pain, torture, or wellbeing of these animals. All the idiots who get all dressed up for the track should be ashamed of themselves for supporting and condoning these practices. Horse racing needs to be banned!

  14. What on earth is this? How is this horrendous cruel industry even sanctioned? Horses are amazing animals, more beautiful than any other. I can’t understand how anyone could treat them this way. These human beings do not deserve to be around and handle these amazing creatures. They should be reported, charged, tried, and jailed.

  15. First. It is s fact that must illegal workers(or work visa workeds) will not stand up to and may resort to abuse if itmeans losing your job If they will not so what the trainee or owner wants. Second the black groom and riders were AWAYS the best handlers and got the very best try and best discipline. Out of their charges. There is no shortage of black horsemen.

    This argument for the need for foreign handlers is bogus

    Third the abusive practices took OFF with the consent of frightened underpaid illegals and work visa employees.

  16. My Horse 7even
    Purchased @ Camelot
    Labeled a Rat by the KB’s
    #77 -Returned coined
    A hair off . I purchased
    my Beloved For $ 235
    He would have been
    Returned to New Holland
    For Disposal
    Stop This Barbaric
    Tortorous Non
    Compassionate Charade 🚫

  17. That ugly, morally bankrupt son of a bitch should never be able to find a job again. What owner in his right mind would hire anyone with such a malignant attitude of contempt for living creatures? Of course, they are ALL corrupt bastards, from the owners on down, so why should I even be surprised? This creep sounds no different from the low workers on the kill lines in slaughterhouses and we have all seen the undercover videos how they abuse their helpless victims.
    I hope all of these people die writhing in pain, in their own puke and excrement, and that they suffer long and hard before shoving off to Hell. If they were on fire, I wouldn’t piss on them to put them out.

  18. Yet more #USAAnimalCruelty. Trying to become the animal abuse capital of the world from what I read day in day out.

  19. If the owners and trainers continue to violate the rules, why the hell are they still allowed to enter! The barbarity inflicted on these animals purely to make money is appalling.
    Why is it allowed? Surely one violation and your banned for life! Don’t America have bodies that support animal welfare ? What bloody century are we in.

  20. This is a disgrace. If animal abuse is a federal offense in all 50 states it should apply to these POS too!!!!!!! These poor horses I never go to a track and there is one 20 miles from me. These people are making money off abuse. I cannot wait until it is banned for good.

  21. My heart has broken. If I was a horse, the only place I would want to run is far, far away from humans. Horses are beautiful, majestic and intelligent animals. They are treated like a worthless piece of garbage and that is how these owners & trainers have proven they feel about them. These despicable humans exploiting the horses to satisfy their narcissistic, greedy and cruel tendencies are the real garbage here. It’s time to put an end to horse racing and save these poor souls!

  22. Pathetic and disgusting!! These people are evil. I hope one day they receive the same type of care for themselves.

  23. Absolutely disgusting & shameful. These beautiful horses served there purpose & this is how they are rewarded. These low life vermin need to be stopped, punished & prosecuted 🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬🤬

  24. As a rescuer, I’m appalled anyone in this country breeds dogs, cats, and for that matter, horses should be thrown into this conversation, because if you ban racing, breeding would have to stop. We have an overpopulation of animals. Millions of dogs and cats are killed in shelters every year, tens of thousands of horses are shipped to slaughter. Yes, the fancy pants dogs you breed too. They get old, sick, people get tired of them, don’t have the time. Contracts aren’t worth the paper it’s written on. I know of reputable rescues who’ve experienced tragic results with adoptions under contract. No dog, cat, or equine is too good not to end up abused and unwanted. If the racing industry were deemed illegal today, the border would be backed up for miles with truckloads of thoroughbreds bound for Mexico. Dog fighting is illegal, but it goes on. Horse racing would just continue somewhere under worse conditions with no oversight. Do you think banning horse racing would just end it all? Happily ever after for all the ponies? Animals will suffer as long as they are forced to share the earth with people. They will continue to be hunted, butchered, exploited, and abused, because human beings are a flawed species. Whether horses are being run into the ground racing, left to starve in a field, sent to slaughter, or tortured to their demise as poor Dr Drip was, America has turned her back on equines. Every piece of legislation we can get passed to better the lives of equines is a victory, because the brutal truth is, most people in this country do not care about horses, or animals in general. You take that reality and work from there. I also implore you to consider the hidden consequences of breeding and rethink it.

    • Who here needs to “consider the hidden consequences of breeding and rethink it”? – from what I can see in the comments here, no one is supporting the out-of-control breeding.

      Will horses continue to suffer exploitation and abuse when horse racing finally dies? – of course they will. Ending one industry that abuses animals will not end them all. We have our work cut out for us – and I’m convinced, to our graves.

      We either care enough to DO SOMETHING or we give up and turn away. We, Horseracing Wrongs, care enough.

    • Everythkng you said here is what I feel every day. I wish I could make everything rite for ALL animals.

  25. The vile words of racehorse abuser Scott Blasi are NOT an anomaly and, we know, neither is all the maiming and/or dying.
    This is a widely deeply ingrained abusive system that is either “covered-up” or “condoned” at every level.
    Now the horse racing business has a vested interest in keeping these horses going at all costs (as wrong/horrific/vile as it is), but who the hell are we as a society to condone this, to permit this to continue?
    I’m grateful for HRW and for Patrick’s dedication to obtaining and showing the Death Facts/Death Lists.
    I would like to quote Martin Luther King: “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase” and I see HRW as doing this – taking the first step, the unequivocal position that the only way to stop this carnage is to shut it down.
    I support this position, will be here as a voice for the racehorses, and I will support when I can.


  26. Finally you are including the names of the humans responsible for horse suffering. Finally your work will lead to reforms in the treatment of horses used for racing. Please ALWAYS include the names of trainers and owners connected to the dead horses. Thank you.

    • While I do on occasion identify individual trainers or owners, that is reserved for what I consider extra-egregious abuse. But more to the point, your entreaty to “always name” is but another apologist diversion: It suggests that if only a few bad apples were removed, if only all those wonderful “reform” ideas (Lasix ban) were enacted, racing could be made palatable. But you can’t fix wicked. Horseracing is animal exploitation. Horseracing is animal cruelty. Horseracing kills animals as a matter of course. So, Horseracing must end. Full stop.

      • Naming ALL the trainers who are killing the horses will cause ALL of the other trainers to immediately start protecting themselves by immediatly protecting the horses with more humane standards and practises (banning toe grabs for one would instantly start saving hundreds if not thousands of horse’s lives ) . Most Trainers will not suddenly start caring about horse welfare on their own but you can make them care about their own welfare by including the names of the trainers and owners of ALL dead horses. A FOIA request of the CHRB’s list of the names of the trainers of over 6000 horses autopsied in their Post Mortem Study will reveal that many big name trainers like Bob Baffert are serial killers. By keeping their names hidden such trainers carry on without a care in the world and are, in fact, encouraged to endanger their horses in order to win.
        Even if the Sport is on it’s way out, with your help the remaining, current Horses used for racing can be better protected and more carfully, humanely managed-the healthy ones DO enjoy themselves and often live long happy lives- but the prevailing standards and practices of horse racing have strayed far off the path which includes horse welfare. Help guide them back and help the horses currently in their hands by ALWAYS naming names. Thank you.

    • Gail, the horse racing business and its supporting publications (Daily Racing Form etc) go to no lengths to include every single statistic under a racehorses’s name, such as owner, trainer, and even win, place, and show statistic for every single trainer – money earned for all of course.
      They even include the date of birth, the extensive breeding, the sales price if sold at auction.
      However, when it comes to including a racehorses’s name when they drop dead on their tracks many exclude their names and they die in anonymity.
      They even strip them of this dignity.
      Furthermore, with every single statistic included for the “connections” of the racehorse there is one obvious statistic that is always excluded and that’s the DEATH STATISTICS – the percentage/numbers/ and names of racehorses who DIE under these trainers and the owners.
      This is so obviously an intentional distraction from a statistic that should be included on all accounts given the details of what they do include.
      Again, true to industry form, they are controlling the message to the public and it’s a deceptive one.
      So I would suggest you make some phone calls to these publications and ask them WHY they intentionally exclude these statistics?
      In the meantime, Patrick will expose the real statistics, the truth underneath the blood-soaked puddles of their dirt tracks where their slave profits have dropped dead.

  27. I’d love to see horse racing come to an end everywhere! The KY derby is death trip! It makes me sick to see so many people go to “celebrate” these animals torture!! These F*****s deserve to receive the same treatment they dish out!!

  28. These people should not be around any vulnerable creatures or people. They should have blown whistles instead they hide the problems. They are just as guilty as their employers.

  29. Fuck these people and the whole horse racing and breeding industry and rodeos too while we’re at it!!! Fuck anyone and everyone who doesn’t love and respect horses and abuses them in any way, shape or form!!!

  30. I remember years ago seeing footage of a horse who’s leg(s) broke horrifically during an race and she just kept trying to run. It broke my heart, it was the kind of thing you never forget. I’d never heard of shockwave therapy before this article. It’s the same as the animal ag business…when there’s money to be made at the expense of an animal, abuse ensues. Not always, but so so heartrendingly often.

    • Sylvia, here is some information on extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT). The link to the entire article for you is in my following comment.

      “One effect of shock wave therapy is a transient numbing of the nerves in the treated area. The numbness begins almost immediately after treatment and subsides slowly during the next two to four days, with some loss of nerve conductivity still detectable up to three weeks later. Professionals worry that horses raced or shown during this pain-free period may suffer more serious injuries, possibly falling and endangering riders and other horses. Subtle movement changes caused by pain or injury are often a jockey’s clues that a horse needs to be eased or pulled up before the injury leads to breakdown. Jockeys have voiced serious concerns that horses racing within a day or two of ESWT may not exhibit these telltale gait changes.

      A number of states already have regulations banning racing within seven to fourteen days following ESWT, and Minnesota has completely disallowed its use. Enforcement is difficult, however, because horses show very little evidence that this therapy has been performed. While many tracks require trainers to register shock wave machines and report all treatments to the official track veterinarian, there is virtually no way to be certain of how much time has elapsed since therapy was performed on a particular horse.”


      • You’re right, Joy, how to enforce? And what’s to say that people aren’t treating the horses at home with swt, then trailering them back to the track to race? Easy way to get under the radar- like so many other unscrupulous parts of racing.

      • Any method or means to keep sore/maimed/lame racehorses going, to fill races, to fill their wagering coffers is the name of the game.
        The fact that racehorses die is a stubborn fact that they only address when it’s exposed to the public and bad for their image.
        We all know, once anybody is actually caught their penalties/fines are usually a slap on the wrist or so minuscule that it, more or less, condones the behavior.
        Just like dope, SWT and any regulations implemented will be intentionally ineffective to keep racehorses going, and that’s one of the many reasons why racehorses will continue to die.
        Joy, you are all too familiar with their “no stalls” policy to trainers who are caught sending their racehorses to kill auctions – the doping/SWT regulations are no different than their public wallpaper surrounding slaughter.
        I want this horror show, public butcher shop, and total waste of lives, resources, and money SHUT DOWN NOW.
        I can’t stand it anymore, and it’s so disturbing when even one racehorse snaps its leg-off and dies.

      • We have seen ESWT used on a mare everyday for two weeks up to and including the last day of that current meet of racing at our local track. She broke both forelegs in that 2nd race from such ESWT use that the trainer could apply as he had his own machine that was stored in a suitcase! Of course no one knew about the machine because of its clever disguise as a suitcase.The jockey was to receive an award for being the best older rider of our meet but of course he was on his way to the hospital from the severe injuries he incurred when the poor mares front legs both broke! To the riders credits they refused to ride the trainers next 2 horses entered in the next race so he had to take them back to his barn not raced. We knew the rider well as we had galloped many of the same horses for the same trainers in the past.Shortly after that we quit due to threats spoken to us by other trainers who were afraid we might ruin their crooked , crummy , gamboling game! At the time we were completely unknowing of the analgesic effects of EWST. We learned of the effects later by the reading of several articles.

  31. I notice many people, while commenting, refer to horse racing as a “sport.”
    It’s not a “sport” – never has been never will be.
    It doesn’t qualify as a sport.
    It does, however, qualify as a death, cruelty, and corruption ring.

    • Magna wave therapy is another treatment that many are doing at the tracks. I’ve even noticed Amish guys advertising that they will bring the units to your farm to work on your horse. The unrealisitc part of the advertising on magna wave is that it can heal and fix fractures. And I’m sure some of the less than Intelligent folks in racing (of which there are many) will think that this is a quick fix. While it may be helpful, what a horse with a fracture really needs is time off or retired. But then that is money lost.

  32. Unbelievable — this breaks your heart — they’re BLAMING the HORSES — give me a minute while I hurl — The history of mankind is carried on the back of the horse — All horses deserve to be respected and protected no matter what a man says they’re worth — THINK ABOUT THIS: doomed Thoroughbreds who are racing’s collateral damage — & that’s before you include the 750 who die on track per year, average of 2 fatal injuries per day — The typical Race Horse is kept tightly confined in a stall for over 23 hours a day is drugged, whipped, bought, sold, traded & dumped like a disposable product — Horse-Racing is a relic of an UNENLIGHTENED past & ITS TIME HAS COME — END this national tragedy — Learn the truth at HORSE-RACING-WRONGS — For some reason, though, media WON’T talk about this HUGE pile up of DEAD HORSES — They’re too busy covering the FUN & INVESTMENT side of racing, like partnerships, tax deductions, etc. — DEPRAVEDLY DESPICABLE industry — better yet, DEPRAVEDLY DESPICABLE people in this industry, whose lives are supported by these magnificent horses.

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