Dear Governor Cuomo:

Facts, as John Adams famously said, are stubborn things, and the fact is that the New York Racing Association’s (NYRA) “demonstrably safer racing” is a lie. When we compared 2017 to 2013 – the year the “safety/welfare” recommendations from the task force that you convened were implemented – we found that deaths, both raceday and total (including training and stall), at the three NYRA tracks actually went up. Yes, that’s right, deaths increased from ’13 to ’17. What’s more, the Saratoga ’17 season was the worst on record (since 2009), with 21 dead horses. But that’s not all.

This summer, in the wake of unprecedented media coverage of racehorse deaths (Santa Anita), Saratoga saw 16 horses lose their lives. 16 – which is two more than its historical average. And now, Belmont, since returning for its Fall Meet, has notched 8 kills in 16 days – and 30 on the year. Look at it this way: If they can’t stop the killing when their very existence as an industry depends on it, they can’t stop the killing. So it falls to you, Governor Cuomo, and state government to stop it, and the only way to do that is to shut these racetracks down.

In a landscape that abounds with myriad other gambling and entertainment options, has not the time at long last arrived for us as a supposedly advanced society to stop gambling on and being entertained by the suffering and death of sentient beings?

End the cruelty. End the killing. End horseracing.

38 Comments

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  1. I rescued a horse who was one subject of a major 2013 investigation in the state, and that investigation led to what were billed in 2018 as sweeping reforms. Your piece compares 2013 to 2017, and I would be interested to know if your research shows improvements beginning in 2018.

    • The “reforms” came in 2013 – after the task force issued recommendations in 2012. No, no improvement. This is not complicated: Horseracing is inherently cruel; horseracing is inevitably deadly. No reforms, no compromises – horseracing has to go.

      • I invested substantial money over many years, in memory of my late husband, in working to make life better for as many racehorses as possible. And you are telling me that my efforts are totally worthless. I admire your work, but I feel that is a very callous thing to say to me, and makes me think less of you, your organization, and your work. Also the dates don’t add up.

      • Of course I was not saying your efforts have been worthless. If you’ve helped any one horse (or many), you’ve done good. But if you’ve (thoroughly) read this site and you still think reform is possible, then there’s not much more to say.

    • Which state are you refering too new york or pa? The reforms happened in new york in 2013, as you can see by patricks lists very little has been reformed same issues in 2019,2018 as there were in 2012,2013.
      If you are referring to pa, basically same story without the task force, and safety recommendations. Add to that the last two known trainers of charlies quest, are still training horses. I commend you for rescuing that horse, but the horse racing industry has little will to change, and everyone just kind of goes along with it.

      • I have done much more than rescue that horse. My husband died in an accident. I sold the car that killed him, and the property where he died, and donated all that money to promoting animal rights in his name — with a major focus on racehorses, which had been my husband’s passion in the final 16 months before his death. I was considering adding Horseracing Wrongs to my list of grantees — but given these callous, dismissive responses, I have changed my mind.

    • I don’t think he said they were worthless. Although, he might say they’re worthless in response to this. He is unequivocally for the end of horse racing, not reforms. In his eyes, if I understand correctly, there is one and only one solution – end horse racing. He doesn’t seem to consider anything short of that a move in the right direction. But I’m sure I’ll get corrected if I misconstrued something, in which case, I offer apologies to the author.

      But if you rescued a horse, you’ve definitely made a difference in the life of that horse, and I see value in that, personally. I looked at your link and a couple of the reference contained therein, can you send a link where the “proposed” changes indeed ended up granting the preliminary approval? That way there it at least establishes further that some sort of action was taken? Though, as I’m sure many of us have experienced, I know of rules that are worth less than the ink they are written in, and I’d be curious if there’s actual enforcement (but I can look for that after a link).

      Be well.

    • If I may interject, there is a misunderstanding. Patrick is referring to the task force created in NY in 2012 to make recommendations on racetrack safety and welfare while I believe you are referring to the 2013 PA investigation into the racing of one horse which you referenced in your link.

      I am also a supporter of rescue but the sad reality is that for every rescue there are hundreds of slaughters or breakdowns. That will not change until racing ceases to exist.

      • If you seriously expect to help racehorses, you have to show just a tiny bit of appreciation to people like myself who have been working for animal rights in general and racehorses in particular for years. Why will you not take the time to watch the videos and read the many blog posts I have made on my website, representing five years of work and substantial financial contributions to the cause?

    • Alysoun Mahoney: yes, I did go to your links and read what was there.
      I applaud you in your efforts to rescue racehorses like CHARLIE’S QUEST on behalf of your late husband Greg – my condolences to you.
      However, there are a few things missing on your site that I would like clarified.
      Firstly, you don’t make your stance clear on horse racing after you witnessed first hand what they do to racehorses like C.Q.
      Do you want horse racing to shut down?
      PETA has never advocated for horse racing to shut down, but instead wants reforms.
      It should be obvious to yourself and to PETA that reforms won’t change the fact that this business is built on the exploitation of sentient beings and when considering their motto it seems clear to me that they should be firm and demand the shut down of this business as supporters of HRW are.
      Also, I read the thread and the responses by Patrick and others.
      It doesn’t seem like you were being treated callously at all.
      It’s just facts and taking a strong stance that is necessary in light of such brutality.

    • I commend you for your action ms, your money is yours do as you please, i dont feel as anyone here has been rude in anyway. The simple facts are thoroughbreds are dying weekly racing, and all the while being shipped to canda and mexico, or to be dumped at a rescue weekly for decades on end with little to no reform by peta or anyone else for that matter. There are plenty of horses just like charlies quest still racing daily.

      • Mr. Yiengst you too have obviously not bothered to read the text and watch the video on my website, if you dismiss me as having done nothing more than rescue one horse! Shame on you! Shame! Shame! Shame!

    • Alysoun you should be calling the racehorse abusers, exploiters, and dumpers shameful not people who advocate to shut down the very shameful business that causes all the misery.
      Furthermore, your not the only person who has ever rescued a racehorse, put out lots of money, and fight on their behalf.
      I rescued 22 and I didn’t put up a website nor demand that people read it.
      I got busy launching investigations that led to nowhere.
      There are no reforms or changes that will stop the ongoing widespread suffering and carnage that this business is solely responsible for.
      It should seem obvious to you that advocating for the shut down of this vile business is the only way.

    • There are many people who rescue animals and donate money to help them without insisting on having their efforts appreciated. I think it is somewhat childish to say that you would have supported Horse Racing Wrongs had you gotten more recognition and appreciation, when the main focus should be on saving horses. If you are more concerned that people know what you did over actually doing it, then maybe you need to reevaluate your priorities. I’m not going to visit your website. Shame on me.

    • I’ve read your comments and I’m sorry for your loss, but throwing money at a monster does not stop it. Patrick works endlessly with Congress, ESPN, and many more to bring awareness. I like many people rescue the horses as we can, but it’s like chasing our tails. It’s about awareness, education and being there to help any group wanting to end this barbaric Carnage. Patrick has nothing to gain but to stop this intolerable killing. These horses are used and abused with no real protection.

  2. I have always loved horseracing but I never wanted to face the realities of beautiful well bred horses dying in such awful circumstances and the most wealthy racetracks refusing to implementvany changes to protect the horses and punish the so called trainers. I used to go to Arlington Park when it opened in the spring. In one year the first week had 7 horses die by breakdows. I thought that was rare. Now I know better.

  3. Please help us find out what happened to To the Victor the fabulously bred Street Sense gelding that broke down on the track at Parx today in the first race. 11 trainers in 7 years. All users not caretakers. 9/23/19

    • I’ve started to look but see only that a pro-racing group that lists racehorses they feel should no longer be racing (figure that one out!) has had To the Victor on their list.

      For his last place finish – being eased and taking a “bad step” at the finish line – (trainer) White and (owner) White were handed a $250 check.

      • Joy. Parx replays showed him coming in at 7th place. Last of the field.

        Not the usual dnf if he didn’t cross the finish line
        Guess the jockey made sure that happened and the owner/trainer got his cash

      • Nancy, yes…correct – To the Victor finished the race and came in last/7th – a $250 check for White & White. Crossed the wire even though something was amiss according to the chart.

        Thank you, Gina, for providing To the Victor’s story of abuse. And how TELLING when this particular pro-racing group – with their list of racehorses they feel need to retire! – has To the Victor included. Says a lot about the industry they support, doesn’t it.

    • The ongoing egregious abuse and inhumane treatment of TO THE VICTOR follows:
      Started at 2 years old long before his muscoskeletal system was fully developed.
      Claimed by Robert Reid 08/29/15.
      On 12/18/15 “eased” to the wire. This term means that the horse was in some sort of distress barely finishing.
      07/27/16 Claimed by Gary Contessa.
      09/25/16 Claimed by Randi Persaud.
      03/26/17 Claimed by Ralph D’Alessandro.
      01/16/18 Claimed by Juan Vasquez.
      03/26/18 Claimed by Python Pat (Patricia Farro).
      Ran once for Python Pat and was “finished after the 1/2.”
      04/28/18 Claimed by Mertkan Kantamaci.
      06/30/18 Claimed by Louis Linder Jr.
      07/28/18 Claimed by Scott Lake.
      12/3/18 Claimed by John Rodriquez.
      1/29/19 Claimed by Michael M Moore.
      4/2/19 Claimed by Donald R White.
      5/28/19 DNF. Was in such distress he was unable to finish the race.
      7/9/19 Finished last by 20+ lengths. “showed nothing.”
      9/23/19 TO THE VICTOR “lagged far behind (some 20+ lengths) and was being eased in the late stages while taking a bad step at the finish.”
      Fate unknown but it’s reasonable to assume that he’s dead.
      Every single one of the human parasites listed above (all 12 of them) used, abused, and dumped this gelding with a big heart.
      He made money for every single one of them and all they did was continue to suck his blood dry.
      During this time he was being shipped from track to track with no doping/vet records following him.
      I can’t imagine the hundreds of times he was injected, given shock wave therapy, flushed down his throat with meds and roughed up by hotwalkers getting paid peanuts to take care of him.
      The changes in feed, care, and surroundings would have been stressful in and of itself.
      He made over $300,000 the hard way and not one of these morally bankrupt people took him off the track and gave him the decent home that he ran his ass off for.
      It’s not only the direct abusers, but all the people who saw his PP’s, saw him struggling and continued to place $2 bets on him.
      I’m heartbroken and so disturbed about what’s going on in this vile business that sometimes I just want to scream.
      I can’t stand it please shut this down.
      It can’t come soon enough for the racehorses.

  4. Wouldn’t it be nice if horses didn’t need to be “rescued” in the first place because they weren’t being ABUSED,EXPLOITED,TORTURED,kept in SOLITARY CONFINEMENT!!! I’m so F’n pissed off tonight,I can’t stand to see helpless sentient beings Killed….for asshole humans GREED.

  5. March 2018 A Fleet Attitude made it across the finish line at The Big A with his right foreleg flopping around. Trainer David Canizzo and Ivery Sisters,the owners picked up a third place check. His leg broke quite a bit,like a sixteenth to go,before the finish line.Sickest thing I ever seen. I loved that 8yr. Old gelding so much, beyond words.

  6. OMG Shamrock Road has just come home 6th place by 30.5 lengths at Mountaineer today, a racino track.
    The two horses behind him Overcriticized and Accusing, came home 33 and 34 lengths.
    In my experience, when a horse comes home by such a distance it usually occurs in his first start and there is usually something wrong with him e.g. a health issue, hasn’t been trained appropriately for racing or simply cannot cope with the high speed exercise/stress of racing.
    These three horses were NOT having their first start.
    SR has had about 57 starts and the other two have had 12 and 24 starts.

    Shamrock Road has had 3 starts in this current calendar month, he also has yet another new trainer but the same owner, Dream Ridge Racing. I’ve been monitoring SR since he began his career as a 2 year old and 5 years on he’s still being raced into the ground. He has of course had numerous owners and trainers during this period. I’ve noticed that he’s been racing poorly for quite some time now and showing all the signs that he cannot cope.
    I have a red flag up on Shamrock.
    Today he earned $71 for 6th place for his callous owner who obviously doesn’t give a damn about the welfare of this horse and who keeps sending him out to race knowing that he’s at high risk of breaking down.

    WHY are the racing authorities allowing Shamrock Road to race when he is clearly uncompetitive and not fit for purpose?

      • Carolyn, I’m not 100% sure, but I may have some good news about Shamrock Road in the near future. Please send positive thoughts his way. You are one of the few people that still inquires about him.

    • “WHY are the racing authorities allowing Shamrock Road to race when he is clearly uncompetitive and not fit for purpose?”
      The same reason why many racehorses are clearly uncompetitive and not fit for purpose because they need to fill races so that they can continue to fill the wagering coffers and their demented egos.
      This will never change so why does this vile business still exist?
      Why do politicians continue to financially support a business that has not been legally, financially, and/or morally sustainable for years?
      Why is taxpayers/casino money going to support this instead of our communities?
      Why doesn’t this entire business, all of its widespread pain, suffering and carnage shut down into a hellish abyss where it belongs?
      It’s the only way to stop the horrific business practices that will always be present in this vile business.
      Why do people continue to place $2 bets while watching this horror play out right in front of their eyes?
      Why does even 1 racehorse with his leg snapped and hanging-off not shut this down forever?
      Even 1 dead racehorse should be enough.

    • Carolyn, today I reached out to one of my racing contacts concerning Shamrock Road. I can’t go into much detail here on the blog but I do believe SR isn’t in any imminent danger of ending up in a bad place. Last night he didn’t race on Lasix, only bute, which is a positive, at least to me. Yes, he could still break down or be claimed because he is “for sale” but please trust me that you don’t have to worry about him too much at the present time.

  7. Horses are not fully mature until the age of 7. They race them at 2 and start them at 1. If they raced them at 7 there would not be as many fatalities and injuries. Another thing that is hard to report is the number of race horses that have minor lameness or are not fast enough who end up in the kill yards are sales. Most Thoroughbreds end up dead before they reach 7.

  8. Thank you to all the knowledgeable Commentators, who are against this BRUTAL RACKET of Horse-Racing — continue to FIGHT — continue to expose all information regarding this evil industry — I hope Alysoun Mahoney changes her mind about HRW — with all the facts disclosed, there can only be one conclusion — SHUT DOWN HORSE-RACING — FOREVER.

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