“We had some fun with her, made some money, and it was time to sell her so we can do it again with another horse.”

Within Racing, at least the parts that incessantly talk of “integrity,” owner/breeder (with a Derby winner on his resume) Barry Irwin has a stellar reputation. A self-described member of the “hay-oats-and-water crowd” (no raceday meds/doping), Irwin is the proud recipient of the “Equine Savior Award” from a prominent horse rescue. In short, he’s one of the industry’s “good guys,” or so the apologists tell us.

So I read with interest a BloodHorse article Wednesday that says Irwin’s “Team Valor” operation “is phasing out its stable in the United States and will focus on racing in Europe.” Irwin explains: “With what’s going on in America right now, I am not enjoying racing here as much. So I’d rather go to Europe where I can enjoy it.” Or – it’s time to get the hell out of Dodge. But it was this passage that really caught my eye:

“I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve done for it for 30 some years, but it’s reached a point where I’d like my people and me to be in the business as full-time professionals. So the idea is to buy a horse after a start or two, which we have been doing, develop them, and then either sell half of them or all of them for a profit. … I’ve now told people up front that going forward if you want to participate in these partnerships with me that our goal is to sell them and make money. … That’s the bottom line.”

“…our goal is to sell them and make money.”

A sort of template, the article says, is the recently-sold Talk Veuve to Me. “Talk Veuve to Me still has a lot of racing in her,” Irwin said, “but we had some fun with her, made some money, and it was time to sell her so we can do it again with another horse.”

“…we had some fun with her, made some money, and it was time to sell her so we can do it again with another horse.” (By the way, Irwin already did this to his aforementioned Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, who was “sold to Japanese interests last month.”)

Commodities. Assets. Things. Chattel. Slaves. Racehorses, through the eyes of one of the “good guys.” Vile.

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  1. “Commodities. Assets. Things. Chattel. Slaves.” I have read the reference to horses as property which keeps them from the laws about animal abuse. I wonder. If this the reason Slaves are listed here then it makes sense for a lot of reasons. If we could just get the wording changed a little in the laws so the horses are not property, then would we see the money in the industry go elsewhere? Is changing the wording going to be easier than convincing everyone in this industry that it’s bullshit? It doesn’t take near as many folks to change a law.

  2. Good riddance. Bye. Now if he can just take the rest of the “good folks” in racing with him then this country might be taking a step forward towards finding its moral compass again. The level of unconsciousness in human beings is astounding. How can they say “we love them like family” with a straight face? They love them until they no longer make them money and then they are discarded. It is time to get honest here. It is heartbreaking that every day these horses are trained to trust us just to be handed the ultimate betrayal in the end. That would be slaughter if they make it that far. Racing’s dirty little secret has been exposed.

  3. They are not toys, not slaves and not for cruel entertainment. Only the most useless of human would so void of heart and soul. They deserve everything horrid coming to them for eternity.

  4. At it’s core, this is a morality issue, plain and simple,good vs evil. I for one have a clean conscience…I stand for what’s RIGHT. Please people let us all be able to say…we were on the RIGHT side of history.

  5. Thank you, Patrick. Irwin is promoted as a person of integrity in this sorry business. Yet, he admits to the core values of racing, have “fun” with them and then sell them down the river while moving on to the next disposable commodity, the horse. We know it is ALL about the money at every level of racing and that is why there is drugging, running sore and injured horses as well as the cheating and intimidation. And of course, the unspeakably cruel practice of slaughter.
    There is not a dimes worth of difference between the Sipps of this business and the Irwins.

    • The high profile case of running and killing Mongolian Groom in the Breeders Cup when he was off in his hind leg encapsulates what horseracing is : A gambling business where the horses lives are put at high risk for money!
      Further, not even 30 veterinarians and all the other “safety” measures supposedly in place could “save” the horse – the stakes were too high to abort the gamble on this GELDING!

      • These horses deaths cannot be in VAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They DESERVE JUSTICE. I think there’s a law suit to be had here? This goes beyond VILE and HEARTBREAKING. Those veterinarians need to be held accountable,end of story.

    • The Elephant in the room that the pro-racing people are so SCARED of…you look,MOST days at the video from these tracks and there’s hardly anyone there. The only thing propping up this wretched HORROR is tax payers money. Without the prop-up,it would have been GONE long ago.

      • As stated earlier, the new fan base (Millennials) do not seem interested. They don’t play golf, either. Mostly older folk who go back to a time and place when there actually were big crowds (long ago). Casino money helps with the purses and so the show goes on. Sports betting now legal in many states will also pull from horse racing. The drums of change are beating.

  6. This fills me with horror and I feel so sad. These magnificent creatures deserve so much more to have a decent life.

  7. Even though Mongolian Groom was at the highest level of the sport under unprecedented scrutiny and with all the proclaimed added safety protocols, he still suffered an agonizing end. Now imagine all the lower level horses and the suffering they endure. If Mongolian Groom is an example of the best care, treatment and love then I can only imagine the unspeakable horrors at the bottom level.

    • Agreed!!!!,Elizabeth, God only knows what HORRORS the horses are subjected to…my mind hates to even think about the animal abuse. I still want an answer…how was Ro Bear found dead in his stall at Belmont? These apologists from the owners,trainers, photographers, people who write for sites…you are all complicit,all of You Apologists. You all are promoting evil ANIMAL ABUSE, and you KNOW it.

  8. Yes — and Irwin is considered one of the “good guys?” — heartbreaking — sad — tragic — I feel so so sorry for the Horses — they have no idea — how I loathe the bad guys AND the “good guys” — they’re MONSTERS — I’m thrilled to learn less & less are showing up for Horse-Racing — let’s SHUT DOWN this depraved, cruel, unconscionable industry — FOREVER.

  9. Well the apologists are out in full force attempting to justify and defend, racehorses dying while some are openly admitting the following.
    Like all in this business Barry Irwin uses, dumps, and sells racehorses like a disposable gambling chip.
    The 2nd truth coming out of former CHRB member Madeleine Auerbach:
    “In my view, the day after Breeders Cup, I think they should have shut it down announced that they were going to put in a synthetic, do whatever they needed to do to make that happen.”
    Sounds so good after all these racehorses died including Mongolian Groom?
    She goes on to voice her concern that the CHRB is being taken over by government people instead of “horse people,” somehow implying that horse people operate horse racing better than those who just don’t know.
    The same old line and the facts speak for themselves.
    Then there’s Donna Brothers, the former jockey who rides a horse to commentate during high profile races receiving a very lucrative contract with NBC Sports.
    Follow the money and they will come out screaming.
    Nevertheless, Donna Brothers made a full on attack of PETA published by Paulick’s Blood Horse.
    I can’t speak for PETA, but I will respond to some of the ridiculous, ad nauseum, claims that this lady made.
    First of all, her article was accompanied by a full blown picture of her, affectionately, playing with Zenyatta.
    It’s important to note that Zenyatta made over $7,304,580 for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, and without skipping a beat, was sent right into broodmare duty right after her last race where she has been turned into a reproductive machine for her owners.
    Needles in and out of her vagina, year in and year out, hormones most likely to manipulate her reproductive cycle, foal after foal torn away from her, and then forced, yet again, into reproductive servitude.
    This is absolutely a disgrace and Jerry and Ann Moss you are a total repulsive bunch of greedy people whom made the choice to forcefully impregnate Zenyatta for your own selfish means after she’s made you over 7 million dollars – now if this isn’t the epitome of greed I don’t know what is.
    I suppose they’ll just keep stretching out her cervix like an elastic band until it can’t stretch anymore.
    You pathetic losers.
    Anyways, the picture sets the tone that depicts just how much Donna Brothers loves racehorses – gag me.
    I would ask Donna just where in the hell she is when all these racehorses are standing at kill auctions?
    Nowhere to be found of course, but what a good photo op you lousy apologist.
    Anyways, in between all her delusional adoration for the racehorses and for herself there’s this little line:
    “and yes racehorses are sometimes fatally injured,” this in the direct context of grouping racehorses into what wild racehorses do – regularly die.
    So you might as well ignore every single claim that she “loves” racehorses because you can’t possibly love a racehorse knowing that it could die from being sent out on a track.
    Then this: “”it’s a gut wrenching event for everyone,” referring to when a racehorse dies, because they are one big family, but what about the horse Donna?
    You know the racehorse that you supposedly love, that’s writhing in the dirt in pain, waiting for the needle?
    Do you think it’s “gut wrenching” for them?
    Well of course I wouldn’t expect you to think about them because all you think about are yourselves, your job, your big fat salary with NBC, and the fact that you are finally going to be held accountable for this archaic killing show that has no place in our society.
    She assures us that the horse racing industry is “getting better all the time.”
    Her attacks then focus back to PETA citing all sorts of reports, anything to divert from racehorses dying.
    Then this, and if you think it couldn’t get any more ridiculous it does:
    She then compares a a dead racehorse on the track to a dead person on the side of the road as a direct result of a car accident!!! – No kidding, but this is horse racing and these are apologists.
    She cites a report that people are 60 times more likely to be killed in a car than a racehorse dying on the track.
    No kidding!
    What a bunch of ridiculous claims that are so illogical that you would think it was coming from an earthworm although an earthworm probably has more brains that her or most of them.
    The entire article is marred by ridiculous claims that only a delusional apologist would have the audacity to claim.
    You know Donna, you can bully the racehorses because they have no voice, but you’re not going to bully us.
    We will continue to expose the truth and the facts about this business because you have absolutely not one valid reason to continue this killing charade and the public knows that and we will vote to shut this down.


    • I admire your courage Gina for all the years you stood up to this industry on your own. The road less travelled is appropriately named. Unfortunately, it seems as if you do the right things in this world then you will be walking alone a lot of the time. The wrongs in this industry are simply not defendable. It took the general population hearing about it to offset those within the industry who have somehow convinced themselves that it can be justified when it cannot. The only thing those supporting this industry are concerned about is their personal wealth and ego. I wish the funding that is propping up this business could be used for education, mental health and substance abuse. All things that are greatly needed by the participants in this industry. The horrors they have witnessed are traumatic and would adversely affect even the most callous of people. Perhaps funding could be provided for vocational training to give these people hope of a better way of life. There will never be hope for them as long as their existence is dependent on the suffering of another being.

      • Elizabeth, I hate to say it,but, I do not think ANY of the sub-humans involved in this train wreck, NONE of them,no matter what aspect…photographers,writers,owners,trainers,track announcers, you name it,if it Truly bothered them that much,they would have gone. NONE of them are feeling or caring enough.

      • Hi Bonnie, I think there are a lot of people born into this world who do not have much of a chance at life. They have never been taught or shown kindness and therefore do not know how to be kind. There are many people on this website who were in the industry at one time. It is a very difficult thing to turn and face ourselves. I recently finally decided to take a good hard look at myself and it was not a pleasant experience. Our egos make it very difficult to admit we are wrong. There was a time I would have become very defensive if I was confronted for following horse racing. The facts Patrick has presented are indisputable. It took a while, but I finally had to admit this is wrong. Maybe there are people currently in the industry who are one more catastrophe away from admitting that it is wrong and walking away. People are followers. Those in the industry have really never known any other way because everyone went along with it. I would like to think that when most people know better and are taught better then they can and will do better. I am no better than any of them. I once was them. I hope they too can find the peace and well being I have by taking inventory of my own life and finally making changes to become a better person. The end of racing may be the best thing that ever happened to these people. They can get out of an environment that has no respect for life. A whole new world may open up for them. I would not be opposed to using horse racing funding to actually help these people. It really is tragic how hopeless some people are. It is no wonder they are unkind. That is all they have ever known.

        • We ARE all different, Elizabeth — it’s nice to talk and learn about these differences — you make so many points as to why it’s difficult to admit to others, to ourselves, the wrongs we accept — this is what I do : I listen to that little voice — then I analyze it — then, I ask this question — how would I like it if I were abused? — How would I like it if I were forced to DO all this horrific, painful stuff against my will? — notwithstanding we are not Horses — but we are Living Beings, meaning Animals & Humans share many qualities that make life worthwhile — WHY would I put an innocent, vulnerable Animal through misery, pain, torture, sadness? — if I were to do so, I would feel terrible about it, hence I would STOP — I could not go on with inflicting the pain — do I have a choice, you may ask? — the answer is Yes — I always seek to live a HAPPY life — putting innocent, vulnerable Animals through brutal misery does not make me happy — so there, issue resolved, Elizabeth — what do you think? — can it all be that simple? — if it’s more complicated for you, I want to know what those complications are.

      • Thank-you Elizabeth and to all HRW supporters.
        I will continue to be a voice for the racehorses, and I will also continue to advocate for its shutdown.
        There are no excuses, no justification whatsoever for this antiquated business model to continue – none.

      • Well said, Elizabeth. You are so right about the toll this industry takes on the humans also. I saw rampant alcohol abuse, gambling addictions, drug abuse, (I was told I would be amazed at the drugs in the jockeys rooms because of pain control, weight management, and some to deal with the emotions of having grown up in the industry, and as you said, knowing nothing else but callousness and heartache). I saw rampant infidelity, saw prostitution, (mostly to pay for the drug and alcohol habits), and neglected families, due to this being all encompassing in their lives. The broken people at the bottom levels would scrounge any way they could to stay in the industry. And the horses suffer for all this.

  10. And he’s supposed to be one of the ” caring ones”. Lord give us a break. Horses to this man are just a Business. He could care less where they end up, as long as he makes money off of them. There has to be stricter rules regarding how horses are disposed of. Magnificent animals such as these deserve much better than to end up at slaughter houses.

  11. I had to sell my horse. I did not want to, but had to. Prospective buyers came highly recommended by friends and were thoroughly vetted. I cried for days when they came and got him. My horse did not earn money. I never expected him to. My horse enriched me far more than money ever could. If there ever was an animal with a sense of humor, it was he. He was smart and playful and downright beautiful. He was never a commodity. He was a companion and a friend, just like my dogs and my cats.

    • How beautiful — a sense of humor? — he sounds intelligent — playful and smart — how beautiful.

  12. I admire your self reflection,Elizabeth. I feel though most sensitivity, compassion,empathy,we are born with,that doesn’t mean people can’t learn,but admittedly I’m a sceptic, if after Seeing all this evidence and seeing what happens with all the Slaughter…..it’s not like it’s hard to find the evidence and see it. Speaking for myself, I was sooooooo sensitive as a child,I couldn’t even watch Lassie on Sunday evenings. I know for me, I was born this way, my whole family said it was “there” from the time I was born.

  13. I think we should at least give this human parasite credit for honesty – he didn’t claim to love his horse, didn’t say she was like his child, didn’t launch into the crocodile tears and “no other choice” routine. He came right out and admitted he used and exploited this horse, and then easily passed her off to someone else like a second hand sweater. I don’t know why people in the racing industry even bother to pretend anymore; they should just have an app loaded on their phones that instantly starts playing all their favorite lines as soon as one of their “beloved family members” “has an unforseen tragic accident” on “a day that’s gut wrenching” “for everyone in horse racing” but “the safety of the horses has always been a top priority” and “there will be a full investigation”.

    ” We had some fun with her…………”
    Could you people be anymore soulless and disgusting? (And no, that’s not a challenge).

  14. Just something to think about…maybe some of the people who get into this god awful evil,in whatever aspect,do so because they aren’t compassionate,sensitive souls? Just something to think about ….. Again, I’m not making a blanket statement, about everyone. Like not everyone could work at a meat processing plant.

    • Interesting point — clearly, they’re probably not — so what do we DO about these people who are NOT compassionate, sensitive souls? — (Let them push us around?) — I think we should direct them in another direction — AWAY from Animals — AWAY from the innocent & vulnerable — I believe there’s a place for all of us — there’s probably a place for those who are NOT compassionate and sensitive — I’m thinking out loud here : what line of work should they go into? — what professions require qualities that are merciless, unemotional, unconscionable? — again, you make a good point.

  15. Thank you, Peggy and Elizabeth, for what you said. Racing is a though and ugly business all around.
    And the apologists using the loss of jobs as one of the reasons racing should continue just shows what racing is all about – a business where the “elite” make their money based on the horrible exploitation of the horse, the workers and the gamblers, many addicted to the game of handicapping.

    We know such exploitation would not be tolerated in any other modern day business. It is time to but this dinosaur to rest.

    • And, the thing is it’s not like there aren’t a million other things to gamble on…..can’t use lack of gambling options as an EXCUSE.

    • Using “the loss of jobs” defense is absurd and laughable — think of El Chapo and his cartel – I wonder how many “JOBS” — employees, independent contractors — he’s created — I bet you the number is high — if we demolish his cartel, we’d be demolishing so many jobs — “what are we to do with such a terrible loss of jobs?” (sarcasm).

      • Perfect! We need to help these honest and hard-working folks on the backstretch to understand that there are still going to be jobs for them WHEN racing ends.
        Horse racing will not survive, but they (and their families) will thrive.

        • Yes — AGREED — I, too, hope a good future for them — it would be wise for them to start job searching NOW, whether they’re employed or not.

  16. Barry Irwin had a drug positive for a lasix alternative drug not to long ago- so he is not all hay oats and water.

  17. Barry Irwin a “hay-oats-and-water” guy? – my understanding was that his racehorses get Lasix. So I did a quick check of the last 4 or 5 starts of TV’s horses – they all were given Lasix.

    Looks like Irwin is a “do as I say and not as I do” kind of guy.

  18. “We had some fun with her…..”
    Isn’t it ironic that it sounds like something a serial killer would say about his victim?

  19. Actually, although all animals are considered property, the anti-cruelty laws apply to them all. The problem isn’t with the law, it’s with enforcement. There are “Peace Officers” at all racetracks who can and should be making arrests for the whipping, drugging and forced running of two year old horses, but they do nothing!

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