If the Thought of Jerry Hollendorfer Claiming Your Horse Makes You “Cringe,” Why Have Him “For Sale” in the First Place?

As all familiar with this site know, I estimate that upward of 2,000 horses are killed racing or training across America every year. One of the factors affecting my estimate is the missing data on morning training (some states claim that those kills are not reportable events). As if to confirm my assessment, a racing fan whose wife works in the industry took to Twitter a couple weeks back:

Ironically (though other adverbs apply), this guy cautions the industry about these things – dead horses in the morning, that is – going public, publicly. Wow.

In a recent CNN piece that, for the most part, zeroed in on wayward trainers, racehorse owner Scott Herbertson had this exchange with journalist Nick Watt:

Watt: “When Jerry Hollendorfer claims one of your horses?”

Herbertson: “You just cringe.”

Lost, I’m sure, by practically all casual viewers, and further buried by the controversy of Hall of Famer Hollendorfer being banned from Santa Anita the day after CNN first ran the story, is the fact that this whistleblowing would-be good guy had his horses, including the now-dead Kochees, up “For Sale” in the first place, leaving them utterly vulnerable for anyone, including Racing’s current persona non grata, to snatch up. Above all else, it is this, the claiming race – where every horse is on the market prior to, and by far the most common type of race run in the U.S. – that exposes the lie of “they’re like our children.” In other words, there’s no meaningful difference between the Hollendorfers and Herbertsons of the racing world. Exploiters, all.

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  1. I thought the exact thing when I saw the video. Why put a horse in a claiming race? Complicit actions are just as guilty as the criminal actions.

  2. From Scott Herbertson, racehorse owner and professional gambler, this:

    “And he points a finger at Hollendorfer, who in the last eight months has bought three horses that he previously owned. Two of them are now dead. They were badly injured in training or a race and were euthanized.

    “He has a special memory of a horse called Kochees, who would sway his head in acknowledgment when offered a carrot. ‘Smart, sweet horse,’ Herbertson said.
    Hollendorfer and a partner bought Kochees after Herbertson entered him in a ‘claiming race’ where the horses are offered for sale at a certain price and must be sold if someone wants to buy them.

    “Herbertson says he was about to give the 8-year-old horse — a veteran in racing terms — a break but decided to enter him in the claiming race in November. ‘He definitely had some nicks and needed time off,’ Herbertson told CNN.

    “Kochees died after a race at Santa Anita on May 25.”

    https://www-m.cnn.com/2019/06/21/us/santa-anita-horse-deaths-inquiries/index.html?r=http%3A%2F%2Fm.facebook.com

  3. This is not in defense of Hollendorfer, but the horse American Currency had something wrong since its first year racing as a two year old in 2017…the horse was claimed twice for $80k in September 2017 and November 2017; both times the claim was voided by vet exams.

    So the horse was given a “rest” for most of 2018, then offloaded in a $12.5k race at the end of 2017.

    Through several claims and trainer transfer American Currency made his way to a $25k claim by Hollendorfer, and ran horribly in his first race at Santa Anita under Hollendorfer. The horse probably should not have had a rider on him after that race and should not have been allowed to train, let alone race.

    Interesting is that the horse never ran with bute, the pain med, only lasix. What kind of chronic or progressive injury did this horse have for 2 years, but never ran with bute….or was he given some other more powerful “cocktail” that was masked by testing through the use of Lasix?

    • Typo correction: Horse was offloaded @ end of 2018 in $12.5k race…

      And the horse probably should have been retired in 2017 after the two failed vet exams, well before he got to Hollendorfer…

  4. I didn’t miss Watt’s response because it is more real and repetitive than most know. The claiming race is like the boogeyman, but for real.

    The big question is – what gives the abusers equal access? It is hard to say, why would known abusers be allowed, by anyone who knows them,to get their hands on any horse? The list of what makes an abusive ownwr/trainer who they are and build a reputation is long and takes time. Racing is NOT a vacuum.

    BUT when one of those abusers (and again, they are all known and watched), gets a horse through claiming – they cringe.

    Yep, he said it.

  5. If “their like our children “ statement is true , gives you some insight as to the type of person that they really are!!!

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