Follows is the letter I sent to Mechanicville City School District officials this morning…
Good afternoon. By way of introduction, my name is Patrick Battuello and I am the founder and president of Horseracing Wrongs. I am writing to respectfully ask that you rescind your invitation to racehorse trainer Chad Brown to speak at Mechanicville High’s graduation Saturday. And here’s why:
Through our unprecedented FOIA reporting, Horseracing Wrongs has documented – with names, dates, locations – over 5,000 confirmed kills on U.S. tracks just since 2014. Our research indicates that over 2,000 horses are killed racing or training across America every year. Over 2,000. Imagine that.
In addition, hundreds more die back in their stalls from things like colic, laminitis, or are simply “found dead in the morning.” And in perhaps the worst of it, the vast majority of spent or simply no-longer-wanted racehorses are brutally and violently bled-out and butchered in Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses – some 12,000-15,000 Thoroughbreds alone each year. In short, and written without a hint of hyperbole, the U.S. horseracing industry is engaged in wholesale carnage. Carnage.
Obviously, the “renowned” (your word) Brown is not immune. In New York alone (Mr. Brown plies his craft in multiple states), and at but two tracks at that, he has 16 kills on his record since 2009, with the most recent coming only this month at Saratoga:
Hard To Explain, killed at Belmont, 9/16/09
Tony Manero, killed at Belmont, 10/9/09
Bluember, killed at Saratoga, 8/22/12
Poppo, killed at Belmont, 10/26/13
Ludicrous, killed at Saratoga, 8/23/14
Jay Bird, killed at Saratoga, 5/5/15
Helwan, killed at Belmont, 6/6/15
Defined, killed at Saratoga, 6/30/15
Innovation Economy, killed at Saratoga, 8/1/15
Hadeed Fi Hadeed, killed at Saratoga, 5/30/16
Jonrah, killed at Saratoga, 8/3/16
Puissant, killed at Belmont, 5/7/17
Lakalas, killed at Saratoga, 5/28/17
Wanztbwicked, killed at Saratoga, 7/22/17
Business Expense, killed at Saratoga, 9/13/18
Investment Analyst, killed at Saratoga, 6/7/19
As I’m sure you are aware, largely because of the just-concluded Santa Anita meet, the cruelty of the racing industry and, more specifically, death at the track is a hot-button issue, with virtually every national media outlet covering it. (In fact, I was recently featured on a segment of HBO’s “Real Sports” and, just this week, a CNN expose.)
Clearly, it is becoming increasingly difficult for this industry to find cover under the banner of sport. Truth is, like the dead or dying Ringling Bros., SeaWorld, and greyhound racing, horseracing is but exploitation of a weaker species. It is ugly and mean and cruel, and Mr. Brown is very much a part of that. Is this the kind of person you want addressing young, impressionable minds? Does the Mechanicville School District really want to throw in its lot with a seedy gambling industry that grinds up and spits out thousands of sentient beings annually? Or would it rather project the higher ethics of mercy and compassion? If the last, then there is only one choice to be had: Cancel Chad Brown’s invitation.
Founder/President, Horseracing Wrongs, a 501(c)(3) organization