Prominent Racing Writer: “A hard fact remains – the sport cannot save its injured athletes at a rate that will ever satisfy the general public.”

The industry quote of the week comes from a recent BloodHorse article by longtime racing writer/apologist Jay Hovdey. The piece began by acknowledging what we at HW have long known (and exposed): not all kills are treated equally. Hovdey:

“I have no idea why, in the scheme of things, those emotionally invested in Thoroughbred racing would mourn the death of one horse to an exponentially greater extent than any other. That’s just the way it is, the way it’s always been.”

Indeed. A $5,000 claimer breaks down at Parx, no one cares. Shoot him up, scrape him off the dirt, stuff him in a van, dump him in a pit, and wait for the “disposal service” to haul him away. A star, or budding star as was the case with Taraz, the subject of Hovdey’s column, and it’s an outpouring of grief – the “black crepe trail,” as Hovdey calls it – “prayers and condolences to the connections,” and excrement like this from Garrett O’Rourke, GM of Juddmonte Farms, Taraz’ owner:

“[W]e felt like she was something special. You live to have a chance to be in the presence of such talent. For all of us here, it hurts to have that taken away.”

But the aforementioned quote, the golden moment as it were, came in a larger discussion on fatal injuries and the fragile physiques that make them so common. Hovdey, again:

“A hard fact remains – the sport cannot save its injured athletes at a rate that will ever satisfy the general public.”

No it cannot, Mr. Hovdey. No it cannot. And with each passing day, the pressure mounts and a groundswell builds. Your beloved industry is living on borrowed time.

14 Comments

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  1. Save it’s Athletes? These poor souls are slaves,being tortured and kept captive. It’s all bad. And a SIN , this is killing of INNOCENTS,and the cornball scumbags who perpetuate this WILL be JUDGED.

  2. It’s too bad these barbaric sadists kill their horses as if they enjoy killing them and then say phony crap afterwards as if they are not responsible for torturing their horses to death. I feel sorry for the horses. These sadistic horse-killing barbarians can go back to hell where they came from.

  3. “She kicks the walls really bad”…Duh,could it be She doesn’t want to be a prisoner,being forced to do something she doesn’t want to do,and Longs to be with her Mama and HERD.

  4. Hallelujah Mr. Hovdey had an epiphany??!! Really? This is NOT A SPORT. A SPORT does not abuse, kill, disrespects and breaks its athletes, Mr. Hovdey! If a human athlete (Who by the way, performs that sport BY CHOICE) even as little as twists an ankle or wrist or you pick the bone/tendon etc. he/she gets looked after, receives the BEST care and treatment there is until he/she recovers. What does this abhorrent industry do? RIDS ITSELF OF ITS “athletes”
    And no, Mr. Hovdy, a claimer SHOULD NOT be more or less important than a “superstar”…the purse is though, in this deluded world of yours. a horse is a horse is a horse…a gentle, beautiful, magnificent being that YOUR parasitic industry destroys as soon as the cash stops flowing. Despicable! I KNOW this industry is on its last stretch…should have been the case a very long time ago.

  5. So, Hovdey states the obvious: racing deaths are not acceptable to the general public. The only reason horse racing is still around at all is that each and every morally-bankrupt human involved has had some past success in HIDING THE BREAKDOWNS.
    These have always been kept secret. Everyone had HEARD of a single breakdown happening, but we were all told that it was exceedingly RARE. We were led to believe they really were “shocked and saddened” when “one-in-a-thousand” had to be euthanized because of a racing injury. Well, now we know better; it happens every day, and it’s getting worse. More gruesome, more sickening, more common.
    If they could make horse safety reforms even remotely effective, don’t we all think they would have done so for Taraz? Never mind the cheap claimers they brutalize day after bloody day at every dumpy hell-hole they call a horse track. Yeah, no problem there, claim the addicts. But the elite filly, Taraz, suffers the same horrific fate, and it’s emotional devastation, as if it doesn’t happen every day in their sick world.
    Secret’s out, racing creeps. You can all finally stop sending out your melodrama and feigned indignation.
    That is, until the next time a “promising” one goes down.

  6. The cheap claimers are the ones I’ve always been most worried about . They get treated the worst,and suffer the most. I can’t stand it when some people post things on social media like- so and so is now in some kind of old friends type situation-BUT it’s always the ones that have been pampered their whole time. What about the ABUSED CLAIMER’S the ones who have left their blood and guts on the fuckin stupid tracks??? THEY are the ones who need the soft landing!!! This stupid bullshit shouldn’t exist…..PERIOD The claiming horses have been treated the WORST, and they are the ones that should be RESCUED FIRST- that’s called F’n FAIRNESS!!!

    • I agree, Bonnie. My heart breaks for the “average” horse that nobody knows about and nobody seems to care about. These horses are just as worthy as any Secretariat to a life of compassion and care, and yet most of them end up used, abused, broken, and shipped off to slaughter. Who mourns them?

      Any person who says the love horses and participates in any way with horse racing is a liar. Period.

  7. And, again at Turf Pairo’deaths (in Arizona, just a short hop from the track to the Mexican slaughterhouse): Dreamcatcher was another DNF/vanned off in race 7. The AZ Dept. of Gaming (who boasted the highest horse fatality rate in the nation just two short seasons ago) won’t release his (likely dead) condition for at least three weeks. They’re too busy with all those new horse safety protocols.
    “Thoughts and prayers” to Dreamcatcher’s loving connections. Sorry you missed out on that $85.00 payout he’d have earned, if only he’d crossed the wire for 10th place. Let me guess: you’re devastated and heartbroken, right?

  8. Every single horse is a beautiful life that deserves to be acknowledged, and not just because some parasitic owner’s pockets were lined. One of these horses is worth a thousand of their sleazy connections in my book – I sure as hell wouldn’t mourn the passing of Steve Ass or ol’ Bob Bluckfert.

  9. Give Jay Hovdey some credit: he writes the cold hard truth that the rest of the industry tries to ignore and keep from the general public. I have found him to not only be one of the better turf writers, but one of the more honest ones associated with the ” sport”.

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