The Lie That “Padded Whips” Don’t Hurt – Melbourne Cup Winner Returns With Welts

It appears officials in Australia “missed” clear signs – welts – of animal abuse inflicted on the winner of this year’s Melbourne Cup. In a new article in Horses and People, Cristina Wilkins writes: “Vow And Declare’s post-race whip welts contradict racing’s official line that padded whips don’t hurt. The welts show up on a number of images we have obtained, as a series of blisters (raised skin lesions), grouped into almost parallel linear patterns that match the site of the whip strikes he received during this year’s Melbourne Cup. His jockey did not breach any whip rules. A veterinary pathologist has reviewed the images and says the raised marks were most likely caused by trauma.” Full article – with pictures – here.

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  1. Thoroughbreds hide is more sensitive than any other horse. I cannot even use a curry or stiff brush that all other of my horses enjoy. My OTTBs cringe and drop when being brushed and just use a soft brush nothing more.

    Imagine the whip and how it feels during the moment of adrenaline to pass that finish line?

    • And the jockey revelling in how much fame and fortune will be received as he gets that arm making sure of it!!

  2. And yet we are supposed to believe them when every few years they trot out an announcement that they have “invented” a new whip that does not hurt. It only makes noise they claim because of the padded bat at the end. There is, however, the length of “stick” that is not supposed to make contact but clearly it does and there’s always been photo evidence and physical evidence on the horses themselves to prove them wrong.

    What do they do? Just wait a few months and then yet another announcement of a “new” whip that does not hurt. Even if that were true, why terrify an exhausted horse already giving its all– if not its life –by whipping it with something that makes a frightening noise???? These people have absolutely no credibility and will never put the horse first. Ever. End Horseracing.

    • This gambling business cannot ever and will not ever put the horse first because it would not be financially viable. Putting the horse first and not treating it as a disposable commodity, as is the case, would put racing out of business. Racing will never admit it. That is why there is so much deception. Racing does not care about the horse. Period.
      Padding whips is a pathetic attempt at PR. Nothing more.

      • And if there is any doubt about the greed in this business and how little the horse means, the sale of California Chrome to Japan is disgusting proof. Earnings of almost $15 million was not enough for these money grubbers,
        Oh yes, they really LOVE the horse!!!!

    • Marilyn – those in the industry call that the “racy” look. If you look at many of the rehoming sites, such as Canter or Stoney Hollow Stables, if they show full body shots of the horses, many look like this. If fact, some ads will even say something to the effect of – if you put weight on them, or they “fill out”, can you imagine how great they will look?! Many purposely keep the horses lean like this, because how is a fat horse going to run well? Also, so many of these horses are so neurotic at the track, that their anxiety level keeps them from maintaining weight well. The connections will shrug it off and call them a hard keeper.

  3. The physical pain of whipping a racehorse is clearly documented, but it’s important not to forget the mental/emotional effects of the whip.
    It’s bad all around, and it’s also responsible for contributing to the breakdown of racehorses.
    All peer-reviewed reputable equine studies prove that racehorses will do just about anything to avoid pain.
    Horses are peaceful, gentle giants, grazers by nature, and highly sociable animals who are herd animals.
    Any difficult horse, like children, are usually a result of past trauma.
    The whip contributes to their ability to transition into a new home as well.
    It puts FEAR into them and these racehorse abusers have no problem with that.
    In fact, it’s rather telling that pro-horse racing individuals and entities continue to defend the violent act of beating a racehorse who is, most likely, tired/sore, attempting to save its life, but chooses to run away from the PAIN of the whip.
    This whipping frenzy, which has probably been conducted on them previously, facilitates the breakdown of the racehorses in every sense of the situation.
    If this isn’t bad enough, pro-horse racing entities INTENTIONALLY keep past doping/vet records secret, operate under lack of transparency, while collecting millions in taxpayers/casino money and/or corporate welfare.
    This is a disgusting shame and it doesn’t surprise me that an ex-jockey, Donna BARTON (maiden name), fully advocates for the use of the whip and continues to defend it.
    After all, she is a horse beater herself.
    Her past history as a racehorse beater is clearly seen on such Race Replays as CAT APPEAL.
    On many separate occasions, during multiple races, she beat the crap out of many racehorses a required inhumane treatment of racehorses as dictated by industry standards and all of them do it, not just Donna Barton.
    In fact, on November 5, 1994 Breeders Cup Juvenile, Churchill Downs.
    Now I would like to remind readers that CAT APPEAL was only 2 years old and had been raced HARD 5 times prior to this race – an absolute abomination of their claims to “care” and love them like “family members.”
    CAT APPEAL didn’t want to go into the gate, but that was no challenge for DONNA BARTON (her maiden name) as she made sure the gate crew forced him into the gate, and he was subsequently beaten in the stretch finishing while this poor baby filly BROKE DOWN.
    In fact, the CAT APPEAL WA EASED.
    She wasn’t the only one eased in this race as MORRIS CODE was “eased.”
    Both CAT APPEAL and MORRIS CODE was a DNF.
    Of course this doesn’t surprise me because DONNA BARTON (Donna Brothers) was a regular rider for racehorse abuser and killer D WAYNE LUKAS.
    This says it all because the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
    Now Donna Barton AKA Donna Brothers I could go on and on and provide a plethora of racehorse names that you so gleefully and repeatedly beat and whipped to get them to perform, as well as, racehorses like CAT APPEAL that had to be “eased” due to many issues, but your aggressive whipping certainly contributed to this poor baby filly with absolutely no remorse.
    You have the nerve to get on a horse in front of millions of viewers for NBC Sports and to your “loving” and “caring” racehorse apologists audience, smiling with no acknowledgment of your history as a racehorse beater and abuser – you are a horrible human being to beat a poor 2 year old baby filly.
    It’s a known fact in racehorse insider circles that trained or were stable personnel during D Wayne Lukas horrific racehorse cruelty, abuse, and killing history that you were part of of.
    I rest my case.

  4. Padded whips? Lol. These people need high school physics. If you cover a hard object it’s still hard. Cover your hammer in padding before you hit yourself in the thumb and let me know how that goes. Maybe if you give them pool noodles for whips….

  5. What are we, stupid, all whippings hurt! Maybe owners, trainers and jockeys should test out the whips, just so they know that whips don’t hurt!

  6. My question is, if racing wasn’t under such scrutiny right now, would this have even been addressed? They’ve known for years that whipping is damaging both physically and mentally, and I’m sure race horses have been coming back to the barn with far worse wounds than just welts. Makes me wonder what American Pharoah looked like since he was literally beaten down the backstretch for his Triple Crown win.
    As an unrelated aside, Santa Anita just had a big fundraiser to get an equine MRI at the track. To me, that’s like giving a heart transplant to a dead man. Why didn’t they have a fundraiser to raise money to rehome some of their “family members” that they “laugh and cry with”?

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