Gifts, From the Industry

An updated list of some of the more damning (and thus, beneficial) statements from those within horseracing:

Various direct quotes from those within and around the racing industry…

“Those efforts [reforms] seem to be paying off as the breakdown rate, which soared earlier this year at Santa Anita, has returned to more normal numbers [italics added].” – Bill Finley, racing writer (Harness Racing Update, 12/6/19)

“The horseracing industry runs on a pack of lies, a bunch of swindles, hidden information, and many corrupt and illegal activities for the love of money, not for love of the horse.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 12/3/19)

“I will no longer support a fractured industry of disparate alphabet organizations now guided by greed. You have killed the game for me.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 12/3/19)

“It does not matter if you knew Mongolian Groom. I did not. But I did know horses now buried in infields of racetracks and in Claire Court at Saratoga Race Course. I walked shedrows and I pet them on their heads. Now they are dead. It has happened a thousand times before and will again.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 12/3/19)

“It happened slowly over the past few years as I wrote about rescue, slaughter and drugs. What put me off most is the great number of industry people who favor the latter two.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 12/3/19)

“The game is rigged at every level, with rampant cheating its finest art form.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 12/3/19)

“I am done supporting a sport that kills its stars.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 12/3/19)

“Trust me, there are horses I’ve won on that if I hadn’t used the whip, I wouldn’t have finished in the top three.” – Joe Talamo, prominent jockey (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/17/19)

“Is it possible to reduce the number of racehorse deaths? It is, and I believe that horse racing is already on a path to making it so. But some death is inevitable.” – Peter Fornatale, host of prominent horseplayer podcast (San Francisco Chronicle, 11/15/19)

“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.” – Barry Irwin, prominent owner/breeder (BloodHorse, 11/13/19)

“Talk Veuve to Me still has a lot of racing in her, 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.” – Barry Irwin, prominent owner/breeder (BloodHorse, 11/13/19)

“Part of the problem in horse racing is, we have commoditized horses, and when you commoditize horses, you treat them like livestock because they have a value. As one trainer told me, ‘I don’t like to leave any money on the table.’ But the other side of that is not good, because that means you want to get the last pound of flesh out of that particular animal.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (Town & Country, 10/27/19)

“The status quo is not good enough…horse safety…must be our number one priority, even before winning.” (admitting, of course, that heretofore “horse safety” wasn’t their number one priority) – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, 10/7/19)

“Worldwide, that [fatalities] is a very large number of horses. Many of you in this room, and this isn’t a criticism, are a step away from the flesh and blood of these fatalities. I’ve been there. Many of these fatalities are ugly, very ugly.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, 10/7/19)

“The result [of claiming races] is a culture where horses tend to be treated as commodities…the U.S. racing business model amplifies that.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, 10/7/19)

“[During Santa Anita] the racing press understood that there is a normal fatality rate in horseracing; the non-racing press and public did not.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, 10/7/19)

“There are those who argue that whipping doesn’t hurt horses, but that’s nonsense, and we all know that. Whips are noxious stimuli; they hurt, that’s why they’re used. Run fast or I’ll hit you again.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (International Conference of Horseracing Authorities, 10/7/19)

“[The Jockey Club] will not support a slaughter-free industry because it will cost $120 million per year to fund the care of the 20,000+ horses bred each year.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 8/22/19)

“These aren’t pets. These are machines. People spend a lot of money on these horses to win.” – Synthia Campos, bettor at Santa Anita Park (Yahoo Sports, 6/16/19)

“A lot of people who otherwise don’t pay any attention to this sport are paying attention to its most horrific aspect. And they are asking for answers that don’t exist. The hard truth: Horse racing can’t stop these catastrophic injuries from happening. [F]atal injuries aren’t going away.” – Gentry Estes, sportswriter and racing apologist (Louisville Courier-Journal, 6/13/19)

“A couple of years ago, a friend from Georgia attended Keeneland for the first time. Her family enjoyed the experience. One thing bothered them, my friend told me. The whips. Why did the jockeys have to hit the horses with those whips? That might seem minor for those of us who grew up with the sport. It’s an accepted practice. We barely notice it. But in a society less Agrarian and more urban, using a whip to hit a defenseless animal stands out. People might not be able to see the drugs, or what goes on in the barns, but they can sure see those whips.” – John Clay, sports columnist and racing apologist (Lexington Herald Leader, 6/11/19)

“Covering this game, you’d think you’d get desensitized to the breakdowns over time. It’s a reality of the business, I know. But if I’m being entirely honest, I think it’s getting harder to deal with each time. It’s just crushing.” – Jeremy Balan, writer BloodHorse, after yet another kill at Santa Anita Park, February 2019

“A condylar fracture is a disease of speed. A fracture to the left lateral forelimb is most common in racehorses as they turn the track on a weakened bone and increased loading on the lateral condyle.” – Dr. Robert Brusie, Palm Beach Equine Clinic, July 2018

“It’s hard to win an argument that should we spend this money [racino revenue] supporting the horseracing industry or should we pay our teachers and give them school supplies or fix roads and build hospitals…it’s kind of a no-brainer; we’re not going to win that argument.” – Ray Paulick, prominent racing writer, on the corporate welfare propping up much of the racing industry (Paulick Report, 4/13/18)

“Since the Thoroughbred industry has not significantly corrected this situation, the same percentages – 20% of all horses sent to slaughter from the US are Thoroughbreds – are safely assumed to be correct present day.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 3/28/18)

“A sport that once was the pastime of the billionaire class has devolved over time into a sport in which an overwhelming number of its athletes are slaughtered to become a portion of some animal’s dinner.” – Mark Berner, racing writer/handicapper (HorseRaceInsider, 3/28/18)

“We will continue to try to locate these New York thoroughbred horses; however, the fact that in two years we have only found about half of the horses speaks volumes about the challenges of just how many retired race horses there are out there.” – Ron Ochrym, acting executive director of the NYS Gaming Commission (The Daily Gazette, 8/29/17)

“We breed 20,000 a year, so if we don’t fund the exit plan, we can’t control the arteries from bleeding out.” – Stacie Clark, operations consultant for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (The Daily Gazette, 8/29/17)

“Did I ever ask them to, no. Does it happen at every racetrack, yes.” – Stephanie Beattie, prominent trainer, on jockeys using electrical devices – “buzzers,” “batteries” – during morning workouts and in actual races (Paulick Report, 6/28/17)

“Almost everybody did [illegally drug their horses on raceday]. Ninety-five to 98%. It was a known practice. We wanted to win.” – Stephanie Beattie (Paulick Report, 6/28/17)

“Goodness knows in society there are problems that are unsolvable; this may be one of them.” – Cliff Goodrich, former president of Santa Anita, on Del Mar’s dead horses (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/25/16)

“The anti-slaughter policies, they’re worthless. The track policies are not going to do anything at all. I’m not an extremist, I just love horses, and I have seen what is truly happening to our racehorses. What is happening is what no one wants to talk about. I have sat down with the head of The Jockey Club; I have sat down with some of the biggest owners and trainers in the country. I start talking and I promise you, they start staring at the ground. They do not want to hear it.” – Maggi Moss, prominent owner (Paulick Report, August ’16)

“We accept the risk that comes with it…but that’s part of it. Where you have livestock, you have dead stock.” – John Wheeler, prominent trainer, after three horses were killed in a single day at a New Zealand racecourse (New Zealand Herald, 6/8/16)

“He [a Jockeys’ Guild official who argues that the new more-liberal California whip rule is not abuse] might want to bring that up with my 15-year-old daughter. Brought up in a family where both parents work in the racing industry, she has zero interest in the sport and when asked why said it is because she doesn’t like to watch the jockeys beating the horses.” – Bill Finley, prominent racing writer (Thoroughbred Daily News, 5/27/16)

“The public has changed. We’re using animals for entertainment here. And, all you have to do is look at the circus where they’ve eliminated elephants from the show…look at SeaWorld. We have to do everything possible for the safety and health of these horses because we’re using them for entertainment. That’s the bottom line.” – Ray Paulick, prominent racing writer (Paulick Report, 5/27/16)

“The worst part of it is, we never will really know how good he really was.” (not that he died) – Michael Matz, Barbaro’s trainer (AP, 5/9/16)

“We’ve all heard about the ‘bad step.’ It isn’t true.” – Dr. Lisa Hanelt, track vet, Finger Lakes (BloodHorse, 7/8/14)

“That horse raced and was pulled up with a broken leg, with his leg dangling, and had to be euthanized on the racetrack. It was crushing, because I felt like I had notified people [of a stress fracture in the horse]…and no one seemed to care. Nobody cared and that horse died because of it.” Dr. Kathryn Papp, track vet and racing apologist (NBC, 5/15/14)

“Everything that’s given to the horse is with the main goal in mind, which is having them run well, win races, pay well to the owners and to the trainers. And anything that they can give the horses – whether it be legal, illegal, even non-necessary substances – they will do…in an attempt to have a winner or improve their horse.” – Dr. Kathryn Papp, track vet and racing apologist (NBC, 5/15/14)

“Every day, I almost quit. Every day, I decide I don’t want to see 2-year-olds that haven’t even run yet be euthanized in a dirt pit at the back of the racetrack because somebody trained them too hard, medicated them too much, pushed them too far.” – Dr. Kathryn Papp, track vet and racing apologist (NBC, 5/15/14)

“Our industry is permeated with those who have no regard for the welfare of the horse. The horse becomes only a tool for fulfilling their own agendas of WIN AT ALL COSTS. Most trainers have little or no investment in the horses they train, whether it is financial or emotional. They will run red light after red light in pushing that horse until it fails and then they will call the owner and spin him a story. [T]hose trainers will tell the owner that the horse ‘just took a bad step’ and ‘that’s horse racing.'” – Bill Casner, prominent owner (Thoroughbred Daily News, March ’14)

“The economics of horse racing does not allow for that. Horse racing is on the decline. If a horse needed a year to heal up, they would go to the killers up in Canada or Mexico [slaughterhouses].” – Dr. Phillip Kapraun, Illinois vet, on his liberal use of the banned substance “snake venom” (The New York Times, 9/21/12)

“It’s getting much easier for me to run my horses out East so that I don’t get so personally attached to them. This is a business.” – Maggi Moss, prominent owner, on running “claimers” (The Iowan, July ’12)

“Everybody just wants a horse, and they want him now to race in 10 days. I want a horse today and I don’t want it tomorrow. I’m a businessman. If somebody takes my bad horses, it’s good. This is a game, and we have to know how to play.” – Juan Serey, trainer, on racinos/claiming races (The New York Times, 4/30/12)

“If horses don’t win, people just get rid of them.” – Maggi Moss, prominent owner, on racinos/claiming races (The New York Times, 4/30/12)

“It’s [the racino/claiming equation] strictly self-centered greed of not thinking about the horse but thinking about maybe I can get one more race out of him and get a piece of the game.” – Dr. Tom David, former chief vet, Louisiana Racing Commission (The New York Times, 4/30/12)

“If the public knew how many medications these horses were administered after entry time, I don’t think they would tolerate it.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (The New York Times, 4/30/12)

“It’s hard to watch these poor animals running for their lives for people who could really care less if they live.” – Dr. Margaret Ohlinger, track vet, Finger Lakes (The New York Times, 3/24/12)

“It’s hard to justify how many horses we go through. In humans you never see someone snap their leg off running in the Olympics. But you see it in horse racing.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (The New York Times, 3/24/12)

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  1. Dear Senator Feinstein:

    When will there be a SUSPENSION of HORSERACING? The statements above reveal the modus operandi of the people involved in the horseracing industry. The statements above reveal the true motives of horseracing owners, breeders, trainers, and all of the rest of the horseracing industry workers. The horses are clearly NOT SAFE from abuse, neglect, abandonment, physical injuries and death, not to mention the emotional and mental suffering the horses must suffer and endure. The horseracing industry is a multi-billion dollar business that must not be allowed to continue to make a profit from the inhumane treatment of horses; the horses are victims of cruelty and torture. Please pass legislation that will effectively stop this carnage. ~Wanda Diamond

  2. And yet, horse racing goes on. Openly admitting they are an industry of abuse and exploitation with absolutely no regard for the horses who die every day from practices that are specifically engineered to destroy. If horse racing is allowed to continue, what other forms of animal abuse and exploitation will soon become acceptable, so long as there is money to be made?

  3. Thank You to ALL OF YOU WHO LIKE ME ONCE LOVED THE “GAME” WHEN IT WAS A GAME- NOW IT IS LADEN WITH CORRUPTION, COVER-UPS & COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF HORSE DOPING AT THE HIGHEST & LOWEST LEVELS & we ALL MUST HIT THE SHARE BUTTON on this & every article HRW puts out – people are waking up by the thousands all because of HORSE RACING WRONGS – THEY WILL GET THE JOB DONE – either stop the doping – ALL DRUGS IN HORSE RACING- OR SHUT THEM DOWN. Thank You to you all who have been there & are now horrified by the people who cover up this INJUSTICE TO THE ANIMALS & THE JOCKEYS. THE HORSES BODIES ARE SO FILLED WITH DOPE BY RACE TIME, THERE IS NO WAY TO STOP THE BREAKDOWNS- if they can’t feel the pain they WILL RUN, THAT IS WHAT THEY were BORN TO DO. Thoroughbreds LOVE to run, they LOVE to RACE, they don’t like to be so DOPED they cant feel their previous injuries which are countless in numbers & their legs LITERALLY FLY OFF. In the “good old days” when racing was a sport, horses were given the winters off, turned out in pastures, given breaks to be a HORSE, shoes are taken off & turned out in large pastures to roam & play & leap with each other & allowed to grow & become stronger & heal old injuries, NO MORE, now these poor animals are RUN, RUN , RUN, EVERY 2 WEEKS YEAR ROUND, NEVER HAVING A VACATION, they even run ON FRCTURED LIMBS ( YES THEY DO), WITHOUT EVER SEEING A PASTURE, NEVER HAVING SHOES PULLED & TURNED OUT WITH OTHER HORSES, NOW THEY HAVE NO REPRIEVE FROM THE GRIND, either go back & treat these animals the way they SHOULD BE TREATED, LIKE THE FINE ATHLETES THEY ARE, no athlete can keep up the pace of competition, in any sport, now they run a 2-year-old 20 times in its 2-year-old year, back “in the day”, they would run 2 or 3 times, given a little education & then turned back out. this NEVER HAPPENS NOW. they have no way out except by DEATH JUICE AFTER A LIMB FLIES OFF, RACING NOW IS A HORROR OF LAME & SORE & DRUGGED HORSES, NO ONE CARES ABOUT THE JOCKEYS ? ARE YOU KIDDING ME ? THESE GUYS ARE IN THE DARK, MOSTLY about how doped their mounts are, and they risk their lives daily for a “sport” they love. The trainers don’t care about the jockeys or their horses, the owners don’t care about the LIVES of the jockeys or the horses, the VETERINARIANS DON”T CARE about the jockeys, the horses, they only care about their bank accounts, it is sickening. STOP THEM HRW’s. & EVERYONE PLEASE SHARE – EVERYONE- HIT SHARE.

    • I’m afraid you won’t find much sympathy for the jockeys here – anyone who has seen the vicious overhead swings of the whips, or the marks and welts left behind, or knows about the shocking devices they use knows that the jockeys are just as sadistic as the trainers. As far as I’m concerned, jockeys are just animal abusers in fancy clothes – you can’t tell me a person can hit a horse 42 times in a row, literally beating him down the track, and not actually enjoy it. More of those little bastards deserve broken necks.

      • Right on Rebecca,my sentiments exactly. Humans have a choice,animals don’t. I want to say something to you pathetic losers who are in this industry: First of all you F’n Suck,you are pure evil,perpetuating this slavery and abuse on animals who can’t fight back. Are you that much of a drain on society and incapable of doing something with your life? I wish the absolute worst for all of you scumbags,every single one of you are losers. You all will be judged someday for your sins by someone above all our paygrades.

      • Rebecca, I personally believe that jockeys often have two personas…a public one and a private one. I mentioned HOF Gary Stevens in another comment where he is calling on racing to get its act together in yesterday’s PR. That is the “sanitized” version of Stevens. If you read the comments in the PR, there is a poster who talks about Stevens laughing about carrying a buzzer during a race. He was caught on an undercover PETA video. I don’t remember ever seeing this video so I looked it up and…voila!…there it was! Quite embarrassing, I might add, for a guy who projects a squeaky clean image. I’ll post the link here.

      • STEVENS “SQUUEEKY CLEAN” ? A LOOOOOOOOOOONG WAY FROM IT- believe the version when he was caught laughing about carrying an electrical device “plugging in the horses”, he did it probably THOUSANDS OF TIMES, he is what you call one of the jockeys’s who was always “riding dirty” throughout his career. I wouldn’t believe a word he said. he laughs at the horse’s pain. OOOPPPSSS here is the entire conversation caught on hidden camera -THIS is the real stevens & so many others. but he is one that is a real POS.

      • I couldn’t have said it any better Rebecca!! These scummy little penile implants take out their frustration on these innocent animals because they are impotent and pathetic!! I wish these horses would trample the shit out of these abusers!!

    • Lexus, this “game” was always laden with corruption and drugs. I met 2 grizzled, hardened old trainers, both in their 80s, who bragged that “back in the day” (in the 1960s and 70s), they had tried doping their horses with cocaine, marijuana, “milk shakes” (which is an IV solution of a sodium bicarbonate combination), frog juice, and the one said “anything else I could get my hands on that I could inject, put in their joints, veins, or muscles.”
      And I don’t know why you seem to think the jockeys are so innocent. They certainly do know they are riding sore and doped horses, and if you watch the races from areas where there are no whip rules, they even beat the hell out of horses that they are “easing”, or, like a few I saw last week, had taken “bad steps, vanned off”, and the jockeys were still beating them as they were pulling up! Or they are 20+ lengths back, with no hope of catching up, and there’s these malicious little jerks beating the crap out of them. There were a few that used to ride my horses that offered to “plug them in”, which meant carry a shock device, in the mornings or during races. I was almost talked into it, but ultimately wouldn’t let them. They are far from innocent. If they don’t ride, and WIN, they don’t make money, which is why a lot of them corruptly throw races too. Any way to get money.

      • PEGGY= Star. I’m going to thank you right now,from all of us who truly Care. Your knowledge and insights are beyond immeasurable. Always one of my most favorite voices to hear. Thank you again Peggy,all the best.

      • Way back when we did not have cell phones or personal computers or the internet, I read some things about the dark side of horseracing in books and magazines. One of the things I read was that, in order to fix a race, change the outcome of which horse would win or lose, someone would sponges in a horse’s nostrils so that he couldn’t breathe good enough to run fast enough to win. That upsets me so much! I cannot imagine what kind of person would do that to any horse but it was done for a payout at the pari-mutuel window.

      • yes, there has always been a problem, I totally agree, but it was nothing like it is now. Not even close, the more of the great old-time trainers we lost, the worse it got. when it went from horseman training horses to businessmen “training” horses- everything went belly up, But Horses did get reprieves when they were hurting, they got the winters off almost routinely, If they were sore, they were turned out for rest, a horse was run maybe 10 times a year, now, a horse runs at least double that if not 2 & 1/2 times that, it is INSANE, no athlete human or animal, can keep up with this bodily abuse. So I still stand that it was a much world for throughbreds back then, a totally different world, then it is today. I has been so long ago, once I kept seeing more & more “businessmen”, who didn’t know one end of a horse from the other & the veterinarians became the “trainers”, the worse & worse abuse there was to the animals, I would even fight from the inside, but back then, 1 person meant NOTHING & If you dared to ask questions like “why are their dead horses in the shit pile?”, I mean why did no one else ask these questions? or why does the kill van sit at the end of the track, why is this allowed? a teenage young lady had as much voice as the horses, NON, But I was one to question these things, thinking it was horrible, You would have Pinkertons on you like white on rice if you opened your mouth& you were taken in to see the head of security & openly threatened, that “it is best to keep this information to yourself”, & it continued to get worse & worse until it is what we have today, If they still piled the horses up in the shit pile, you would have very little shit & VERY MANY BODIES. all i know is it NEEDS TO BE STOPPED.

    • The good old days were 200 years ago when people would bring their buggy horses down to the commons on Saturday and race their neighbors. Racing has been crooked since the day purses were offered.

  4. Rebecca, I agree that the jockeys using instruments of cruelty and torture (electrical shocking devices and whips) deserve no sympathy whatsoever. At the same time, the owners and trainers that choose to push the horses beyond their limits not only put the horses’ health, safety and well-being at a much greater risk of injuries and death, they put another human’s life at greater risk of injuries and possibly death. Of course, the horses suffer to a far greater degree than the jockeys and the jockeys do make their own “contributions” to these catatrosphic breakdowns of racehorses. The idea that it is “okay” to put lives at risk for fame and fortune is a very toxic and dysfunctional idea but worse, not only an idea but a daily routine in practice at any racetrack.

  5. The reveal indeed.
    Here are some recent quotes on racehorse aftercare from pro-horse racing insiders:
    1.David Brown, president of the Finger Lakes Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, said the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program, which is funded by a combination of private donations and a percentage of purse money, has room for 18 horses at a time. He estimated 150-200 horses leave the Finger Lakes backside each year, many of which are not sound enough for re-training.
    “We can’t take horses with significant problems,” he said.

    2. Dr. Scott Palmer, a past president of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the chair of the task force investigating the breakdowns at Aqueduct Racetrack last winter, noted that in 2007, approximately 1,800 race horse retired, 78% of which were lame.
    “That’s a death sentence in the retirement business,” he said.

    Their mantra should be: “use, abuse, exploit, dope and dump – let everybody else take care of them when we ruin their life and limbs for $2 bets.”

    Peter Miller another “trainer” with a killing record has done something right for a change.
    Could his conscious be catching up with him? – probably not, but I will give credit where credit is due.
    STORMY LIBERAL – a racehorse that he claimed for his owner for $40,000 went on to win over 2.2 million under his training regime.
    This 7 year old gelding has struggled to finish his last 5 starts and it’s obvious to anybody that he has issues.
    Stormy Liberal is done with horse racing.
    Peter Miller knows this, he brought in the vet and, collectively, they told the owners of Stormy Liberal that the horse needs to be retired.
    Peter Miller has released a statement on his Twitter account detailing the situation.
    He feels that the horse has given “everything he’s got” to his owners and that he deserves a safe retirement.
    He has been attempting to get Stormy Liberal a permanent home at Old Friends, but they have a waiting list.
    So now the owner took Stormy Liberal out of Peter Millers’ barn to run the horse in Florida.
    This story shows how horrible this business is because it doesn’t matter if you try to do something right, try to do right by the racehorse because when you have a horrible owner they will just pull the horse from you, and find another trainer who will take this horse with open arms, continue to dope and abuse him.
    The owner, Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch, deserves special mention here because he epitomizes the abusive, sadistic characteristics of people who go into this business to abuse and kill racehorses.
    Gary Hartunian showed up at the CHRB meeting at Santa Anita to say this:
    “The horses need to be medicated,” Hartunian said after the elder Stronach advocated for stricter medication policies. “They gotta have whips.”
    Industry insiders say that he doesn’t give a damn about Stormy Liberal, has an equine insurance policy on him for 2 million and would rather have him drop dead in the dirt than have to pay for his retirement.
    Unfortunately, this is the mentality of many owners in this business, which is why many champion racehorses get dumped and live a horrific life of abuse, neglect or end up at slaughter.
    The industry does nothing and this shows that the psyche, the widespread systemic cruelty, abuse, beating and much more is all part of this business.
    Also, Gary Hartunian told Frank Stronach that when Santa Anita shut down he should pay for his training bills and all the bills for the owners who have racehorses stabled there.
    Nice dude huh?
    Presently, Gary has bought out all partners on the horse and now owns Stormy Liberal 100% – poor horse.
    He’s claiming to send the horse to a vet clinic for a check-up so that he can run him.
    Gary Hartunian you are a true parasite in every sense of the word not to mention an asshole.
    There shouldn’t even be a question, another vet exam, this racehorse made you over 2 million dollars and that STILL isn’t enough to take care of him.
    Your retirement plans are dead in the dirt or on the slaughterhouse floor you evil human being.

    This is where everybody in the industry should collectively ban the horse from running, but we know that will never happen.
    It never does and it never will because there have been plenty more before Stormy Liberal that these parasites watch them run into the ground until they drop dead.
    That’s why reforms are a total waste of time.
    This vile business needs to be shut down.

  6. I have made this statement over and over and over…Those of us who speak out against horseracing never have to incriminate the racing industry because that same industry is perfectly capable of incriminating themselves and they NEVER fail to do so. Here is just one example. In a recent Paulick Report, Gary Stevens, a prominent Hall of Fame jockey, states (in regards to national racing reform), “It’s time for a revolution to save our sport. And it has to happen ASAP!”

    And Stevens continues…”We have been making the same mistakes for decades in our industry. It’s time to correct that and take responsibility for our mistakes and right the ship we are sailing.”

    Making the same mistakes for DECADES? Again, for DECADES? Any industry that ignores the “mistakes” for DECADES when horses’ lives are at stake shows a blatant disregard for the welfare of the animals and that is why the industry must cease to exist.

      • Gary Stevens and D. Wayne Lucas were the ones in the under cover video on YouTube that I watched. Gary Stevens laughed about the fact that he accidentally shocked himself. He laughed that the sound that the shocking devices the jockeys were using on the horses in the starting gates made a rhythmic sound resembling a classical music melody/tune by ??? (Mozart or someone else that composes classical music), I forgot the exact name.
        I don’t know where they get these shocking devices, who sells them, who manufactures them, if the devices are manufactured for the specific purpose of shocking horses or if the jockeys are using stun guns on horses that are only legal to use on assailants, a human being physically attacking you. Stun guns used legally for the purpose of stopping an assailant from doing bodily harm to another human being are advertised as being non-lethal and yet have 18 million volts to 20 million volts of electricity. I honestly don’t know if that many volts of electricity is non-lethal. I have not yet seen the proof but I have heard of law enforcement using a shocking device, probably a taser, on an out of control person refusing to calm down and killing him. So, I wonder how much these shocking devices that jockeys use on racehorses affect these poor horses and how many volts of electricity can a horse take before It drops dead. Not that I want to find out the hard way, I just wonder.

      • Let’s not forget that one of D. Wayne Lucas’s regular jockeys was, yours truly, Donna Barton (AKA Donna Brothers) who had no problem beating a sore/tired racehorse including babies.
        The proof is on her replays and to associate with D. Wayne Lucas says who you are.
        Birds of a feather flock together.
        I saw so many racehorses go into his care in pristine condition, and come out in wheel chairs if they made it out alive.
        It’s no secret that Chris Antley was so deeply disturbed over the treatment of Charismatic that it, most likely, drove him to suicide.
        Chris Antley jumped off Charismatic to cradle his shattered leg that so many more racehorses experienced under the abuse of “trainer” killer D. Wayne Lucas.
        Chris was often cited as saying that he didn’t like whipping racehorses – he had somewhat of a conscious.
        Nevertheless, the business got the better of him because to participate in this business you have to be a cold , heartless, son of a bitch parasite.

      • Chris Antley was one of the VERY BEST, very UNLIKE the 2 faced political garbage jockey previous mentioned in these comments.

      • Thank you for your comment, Gina Powell. I remember watching that race and the jockey jumping off of Charismatic to hold his broken leg to save the horse’s life.

        Watching the videos is upsetting to say the least. Horseracing is full of evil people. It’s too far gone to be reformed. Most of the people should be in jail for all the criminal activity that is going on now and has been for decades. Factory farming of racehorses needs to be stopped.

      • Thank-you Wanda.
        My journey was a 100% participator and supporter of this business having grown up in it.
        When I got the job on the CHRB as an Associate Steward I was so excited because I saw this as a opportunity to actually make a difference in the day to day life of the racehorse.
        I wasn’t out to get anybody despite the fact that Bob Baffert’s team of vets would often file complaints against me that I was discriminating against Bob Baffert.
        One of his main vets even accused me of following him around while he was doling out needles after needles in the stable area.
        I responded in writing and reminded him that I was merely following the alphabetical order of the trainers and with Bob’s last name being in a “B” he was often one of the first barns that I visited in the morning.
        It had nothing to do with discrimination unless you consider the last name of birth a discriminatory practice.
        Nevertheless, I plotted on.
        Meeting after meeting, lip service, public wallpaper and nothing ever changed – nothing of any meaningful value for the racehorse.
        I tried to bring in substantive changes that always either got blocked, not put onto the minutes, or just completely ignored and I wasn’t the only one trying.
        As soon as Santa Anita caught wind that I was somebody who meant business, a different government taxpayer funded NEUTRAL employee that knew her horse business unlike the “dumb asses” that they would often laugh about claiming something like “if you are not involved with horse racing than you just don’t know.”
        Well all that’s changed now, but I truly believe had they adopted some or all of the changes requested, got really serious about taking care of the racehorse it would have saved lives.
        I’m now 100% convinced that there is nothing that this business can do, no reforms, that can prevent racehorses from dying because they are mere victims and the genetic result of years and years of doping them, not caring, not fighting for or implementing obvious humane changes because, after all, they are just disposable gambling chips to be beaten doped and exploited for every last red dime that they can squeeze out of them.
        Then they dump them with no remorse, no fiscal or moral responsibility whatsoever in the light of billions in sales and wagering profits.
        This business is in free fall and it’s their own fault as they continue to blame sites like this, PETA, any animal advocacy group and any American who sees this for what it is, is now realizing that this business is widespread cruelty, abuse, pain, suffering and dying.
        Make no mistake about it, the horse racing business needs to take a good hard look at themselves and I’m sure that they Horse Racing Integrity Act is their current “go to” solution now for it all.
        Unfortunately, this will not change things as the time for change is long past and the bus carrying any meaningful reforms has already left the depot.
        The American racehorse is now a walking, talking dope factory with an industry that has done little to nothing to change this and they STILL to this day fight hard to keep all the abusive business practices in place.
        My goodness I’ve known they’ve always been a delusional bunch, but this takes the cake and it clearly shows an industry full of participants who want to carry on business as usual while they are collecting billions in taxpayers/casino money.
        They indict themselves as they make it clear that racehorses are their private disposable gambling chips.
        This needs to shut down.

  7. Wow interesting and coming from a former handicapper. Everyone should see this. I wrote to Senator Feinstein as well and have always in the past and she has done a lot for horses. She wrote back stating that she is trying to get the governor on board with all of this. I hope it works. Lots of prayers!

  8. That woman laughing in that video sounds suspiciously like Caton Bredar. I’ll bet you anything it’s old Caton. That laugh is the giveaway.

  9. Love your posts, Bonnie. You make me laugh. I mentioned that in the old days many of the top horses were owned by tycoons like Vanderbilt and Whitney, among others. You wrote in response that was “corny ass old money” and was now history. True, these blue bloods are largely gone and the game has changed dramatically. And you may be right to suggest that just because they were super wealthy it doesn’t mean that the horses were treated any better. A big part of the breakdowns now are the result of the breeding of speedballs who look good. The horses of days gone by were more durable. I do not bet but used to. Forego, Seattle Slew, many of these top horses were tougher than the newer ones of today. Just an observation, not a defense of racing.

    • You are so on point!!,MAL. The aspect of horse racing that I ❤️‘d was the modestly bred “cheap” horses who would beat all those blue-blood horses,who cost millions and millions. My FAVE of all time is and will always be The Plucky little Superhorse…Afleet Alex. Watch his Preakness victory,nothing will EVER come close to that mind blowing feat of athleticism,his nose and knees scraped the ground. Everything about that video is pure,like something out of Hollywood. But, I absolutely adore those ones like John Henry, Seabisqut, Page Mckenney. #UnderdogsRule I love it in the video when Alex’s trainer Tim Ritchey says “Ohhh son of a bitch” when Scrappy T veers right into Alex.

  10. Given that these people are all talking about intelligent living beings who spend a short lifetime of nothing but suffering, their statements are utterly nauseating on so many levels. When human beings have devolved to the point that they can talk about severe injury and death with such nonchalance, when nothing matters but the money, then this needs to be shut down. There is no other argument.

  11. Gina,also Garrett Gomez…always struck me as a tender sensitive soul. What a sad tragedy for both families. Wish both of them could have found help.

    • Bonnie i also think Edgar Prado is decent as they come. You do remember when Barbaro got hurt and he jumped of and cradled him. He also visited the horse at New Bolton
      How manyof themdo that??

    • The great Garrett Gomez and I became good buddies during my short term stint at Del Mar.
      He was a decent human being that confided in me in the early morning hours in the stable area at Del Mar.
      Why did he confide in me?
      He told me that he saw in me a person who really wanted to change things for the betterment of the racehorse, and he encouraged me to go forward and not to let them destroy me like they did him.
      I asked him about “whipping” and how he felt about it.
      He told me that he hated whipping/ beating a racehorse, but was often ordered to beat the crap out of them by owners and trainers.
      He acquiesced them in order to feed his family because the jockeys that come from other countries, most notably Mexico, are here on work visas that either the tracks or commissions sponsor so if they don’t do what their told (including holding a racehorse back for bets) than they are threatened to be sent back to their own country where they will starve.
      This is continually held over their head and in many cases foreign workers are not getting paid as we see now with Chad Brown and with Steve Asmussen.
      He told me that he wanted to “blow the whistle” on the deeply ingrained corruption going on and he had the names, places, horses, and detailed incidences where he was forced to “fix races.”
      I truly believe that faced with those decisions to live “poor” or to continue to uphold this game with all its abusive and corrupt business practices he chose suicide.
      That’s how bad it is.
      I was deeply disturbed when I read about his “suicide” because I knew that he was facing some tough times no matter what decision he had to take.
      Then there’s Noel Turcotte.
      Not many of you don’t know who Noel Turcotte is accept perhaps you recognize his last name.
      Noel Turcotte is the brother to Ron Turcotte (Secretariat) and Rudy Turcotte (Angle LIght).
      Noel, like his brothers, was a gifted rider, a hand rider that hated using the whip which is why Dad used him as often as he could to ride our horses.
      Noel became very good friends with Mom as he often stood up to the “no woman in the stable area” policy of the 70’s at Woodbine and the other Ontario tracks.
      By the time he came to me for a “hotwalker” job back in the spring of 2001 at Ft. Erie he was a former shadow of himself.
      Noel, Mom and me would often sit on the bales in the early morning hours talking about this business, the decline of the business, and the widespread disrespect for the racehorse.
      Noel, on his own admittance, was an alcoholic and he told us that he turned to the bottle to ease his personal pain of having to beat racehorses for years.
      It weighed heavy on his conscious and that’s why he said he loved to ride for us because he was never instructed to beat the horse especially if it was tired in the stretch.
      He openly admitted that he couldn’t kick his addiction and that the horse racing industry, with all its money, (at the time Woodbine was getting 345 million per year of taxpayers money) wouldn’t provide proper support and counselling for a mental addiction that the industry caused and this made so much sense to me.
      He said he had to turn to our socialized medical system in Ontario (paid for by taxpayers) to stand in line of a very long waiting list that would take years for him to get the proper help he required.
      Not only do they not take care of their racehorses, but they dump the very people who support this industry.
      Yes, I realize that people have voices, but it just shows a horrible business that has no place in the 21st century.
      On the morning of August 8, 2001 Noel didn’t show up to the barn.
      I was really busy getting Wolfie ready for the Puss N Boots stake race and I really wanted Noel there because his gentle handling of Wolfie was so greatly appreciated.
      I was frantic and tired calling on his cell over and over.
      I ordered Mom to go to his apartment to pick him up and bring him into the stable area.
      Mom arrived at his apartment, knocked on the door no answer and his neighbor said that it was unusual for him not to walk his beloved dog in the morning before heading to the track.
      Mom tried the door, it was open, and there hanging from a leather belt tied around his neck was Noel Turcotte.
      Dead – another victim of this vile business.
      Racehorses are dying and so are people while this business doesn’t seem to care.

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