“Horse Racing Has Outlived Its Time” – Thank You, Washington Post

For the second time in less than two months, The Washington Post’s editorial board has decried the U.S. horseracing industry. While the first, back in January, left the door ever so slightly ajar – “Does a sport that gambles with the lives of horses really belong in our world?” – this one, published yesterday, leaves no doubt as to the feelings of this esteemed board: “Horse racing has outlived its time.” My highlights follow. (Note: I spent quite a bit of time with one of their writers Wednesday. I’d like to think the influence of our work, our message, is apparent.)

“IN THE aftermath of federal indictments that charged more than two dozen people in or associated with horse racing in ‘a widespread, corrupt’ doping scheme, the industry rushed to put on a good face. The arrests, said the head of the Association of Racing Commissioners International, show that the system works, and that will have ‘a cleansing effect’ on racing. ‘Let’s face it. It’s like any sport,’ said one leading horse trainer. ‘We’re no different.’

“Let’s be charitable and chalk up such comments to self-delusion, because anyone who thinks horse racing is like any other major sport is lying, ignorant or kidding themselves. No other accepted sport exploits defenseless animals as gambling chips. No other accepted sport tolerates the cruelties that routinely result in the injury and death of these magnificent animals. The rot in horse racing goes deep. It is a sport that has outlived its time.

“That one of those indicted, trainer Jorge Navarro, openly embraced his nickname as the ‘Juice Man,’ speaks volumes about the indifferent attitude of racetrack operators and regulators who allowed the abuses to flourish. That some of the conversations caught on the federal wiretaps are eerily similar to the callous way horses are discussed and discounted on an undercover video taped by PETA in 2014 make clear that for all the talk about the love of horses, they are just commodities that are used and abused until they are sent off to the slaughterhouse.

“Increased attention to the deaths of racehorses, on average nearly 10 horses a week [our data, of course, says it’s five times as many], has shined a spotlight on horse racing’s dark side that is changing public attitudes. Activities involving animals that used to be tolerated — even revered — like circus elephants or killer whale shows ended as people learned of their terrible toll. Horse racing awaits a similar reckoning.”

My heartfelt gratitude, Washington Post. This is bold, courageous, and most important, right. Thank you. Thank you.

25 Comments

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  1. Horse racing contains animal cruelty, animal abuse, animal torture and animal murder. All horse racing must be shut down forever. Big Bruno

    • Bless you Bruce (aka Big Bruno). Years ago I too was one that enjoyed the races. In fact my husband and I use to go to the races weekly. We loved it. We always had dinner (up style) and would watch through the windows. It was awesome. What I never realized was the abuse or care of the horses were trifling. I think you get the picture but just wanted to tell you “thank you” for sharing all the news about cruelty to animals. I’ve learned a lot.

  2. The tide has turned. Thank you Patrick!! You were the right man at the right time to make this possible. I had given up hope years ago. When you see so many suffer and die and nobody around you cares or even blinks, it’s easy to give up. It takes a special person to stand up, say ENOUGH!! and then do something about it.

  3. Ecstatic is how I am feeling this happy Saturday after reading this. When all you hear is doubt, uncertainty and fear HW provides light and hope!
    THANK YOU, Patrick, Thank you HW and of course, THANK YOU Washington Post!!!
    Indeed…Horse racing HAS outlived its time. Next step…abolish the damn thing and put all the criminals and abusers out of “business”. THANK YOU, THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! ❤️❤️

  4. Thank you., Patrick, for being on the “front line” of this effort.
    Like so many others, I despaired as I watched the cruelty and indifference to the welfare of the horse. All the deceit and the promotion of a squalid business went unchecked as thousands upon thousands of horses were brutalized and died year after year.
    Finally, there is progress in the unmasking of this travesty – the beginning of the end. It is inevitable.

    P.S. All this as the spectacle of the Derby approaches….

  5. If animals are being abused for human entertainment then yes, it should be abolished. Fox hunting is already illegal, rodeos dispose of tens of thousands of animals via slaughter.

    You are delusional if you think there are just a few bad apples.

  6. Welcome news! The tide is slowly turning as people become more aware of what goes on. Keep talking about it with people who do not understand the backstory. Stay compassionate. Thank you for all you do Patrick.

  7. Again, the dinosaurs still in horse racing just don’t understand; eliminating animal racing is NOT an “extremist” position anymore. Pre-Patrick, sure, maybe. But the used-to-be is long gone now. The tide turned, and it’s now the informed general public that is done with this barbaric insanity.
    Bye bye, blood sport.

  8. Thank you, Patrick Battuello, and everyone who makes HORSERACING WRONGS a real thing on the internet and on the ground including everyone who donated funds to keep it going. Thank God for something to go right amidst the horrible wrongs!!! Thank you to everyone at the editorial department of THE WASHINGTON POST! Hats off to you…❤

  9. It’s really interesting how everybody is closing because of the coronavirus except for you greedy motherfucking race track owners and politicians.

    • It’s really interesting that you don’t understand that the thoroughbreds need care and exercise whether there is a coronavirus or not. In order to help pay some bills-a total of three(3) tracks have decided to bring in extra staff and conduct a race meet with reduced purses. Three judges, an official timer, an official photographer, and a couple of more riders. The rest; gate crew, some jockeys, maintenance crews and trainers are already there every day. It has nothing to do with greed and everything to do with integrityZ

      • #Endhorseracing
        End the cruelty and torture of horses exploited for racing! End the forced confinement of 23 hours a day, the forced exercise for less than one hour a day, the doping, the shocking, the whipping, the brutality and the excessive force!!!!!! End the lack of regard for the horses!!!! Horseracing uses and abuses horses for wagering handle and government subsidies a.k.a. corporate welfare.

      • “Thoroughbreds need…exercise” – yet you (or the industry you defend) keep them isolated and confined for 23 hours a day. Are you one of those racing owners who doesn’t know squat about equines? – an owner who can’t use their own brain to learn what enriches an equine’s life or what RISKS it? – an owner who simply believes what their racing trainer tells them is GOOD for horses (while taking your money)? Or maybe you’re just one of those fans who feels important having racing industry friends and believes their lies and misinformation? We here at HW are frequently accused of knowing nothing about horses, not sharing our lives with horses (like THAT matters? – I don’t share my life with orcas but can readily acknowledge they don’t belong in pools for entertainment and ticket sales, and therefore will advocate for stopping that cruel exploitation) – the ironic thing is those same individuals who use that flimsy attack know NOTHING about what a horse needs and actually craves – but because they are an owner or show a leased horse, they think they are experts when they only have swallowed the horseracing lies hook, line and sinker.

        But enough about your delusions; racing horses during the pandemic has to do with INTEGRITY, you say? – oh no, maybe we’re still addressing your delusions. HERE’S a thought for you – how about those owners and trainers take their horses home? – give them that “care and exercise” you reminded us that racehorses, as living creatures and dependent on humans (we might have never figured that out!) need – be RESPONSIBLE for feeding them – providing them with shelter – addressing every single need they have and caring for them like…like a dependent FAMILY MEMBER – like WE do every single day with our equines…out of our OWN pockets and with the money WE have earned. Oh but wait – most racing owners/trainers don’t have their own farms and they expect their horses to “pay their own way” – to labor, risking their limbs and lives, and get a check. But their horses are like their own children?…geez I feel sorry for their “human kids”.

        And you mentioned grooms in reference to the “love” racing folks have for their horses? – yes, those poor grooms (in more ways than one) – probably the only individuals involved in this industry who have genuine feelings for the horses (at least some of them) they care for as their job. Their meager pay and having no say about the horses that constantly come and go? – how miserable to have no other options to support oneself.

  10. Thank you for your great work. I get a chiill down my back thinking of your compassion. May we soon succeed!!! Do you have contacts on the appropriate House and Senate committees? That’s where it starts. One good friend there.

  11. I have always been an animal lover, and have always been blown away by the magnificence of the horse. Years ago, I toured the track in Kentucky and oohed and aahed over each beauty I saw. I also assumed the people involved were horse lovers. Over time, however, I learned about the treatment of these horses, their injuries, the many deaths. I could no longer watch a race on tv, nor condone the so-called sport. I’ve been paying lots of attention to the circumstances for the elephants and whales in captivity, and hope all three species will soon be free of humans’ tyranny.

  12. Bob Baffert is quoted on the Paulick Report as saying that ” horse racing is in a crisis. We need immediate drastic federal help.”

    Not that as a community the racing industry should get its sorry shit together and stop the meaningless exploitation and wholesale killing of living sentient beings. Not that they should step up and clean up an industry that is a cesspool of abuse, torture and corruption. Not that they should admit that the general public is no longer interested in watching sadistic little wastes beat horses around a dirt track, and that horses suffering inhumane catastrophic injuries on a daily basis isn’t just a inconsequential inconvenience to their parasitic lifestyle. Not that they intentionally breed and dispose of THOUSANDS of horses every year in the most horrific way imaginable: the slaughterhouses.

    Nope, its just ” sign that Horseracing Integrity Act so we can get our asses bailed out of this shithole that we’ve been digging for ourselves for decades”.

  13. Go backside with a groom and his horse before you make assumptions about the love that people involved in the sport have for the beautiful thoroughbreds and each other. If you don’t, your just a mouthpiece!

    • The injured and dead horses speak volumes. The racehorses sold at a livestock auction usually get bought by a killbuyer who then usually ships them to slaughter in Mexico or Canada. How does the love that a groom may have for his or her charges have anything to do with the dead horses???? They enable the rest of horseracing as a whole. The wagering handle is “king” not the horses. The horses are expendable in horseracing.

    • Here we go again.
      Amy, many of us who comment here were once supporters and particpators of horse racing.
      So you’re making the assumptions here.
      You obvious have not taken the time to read the posts from very informed people that previously worked in the industry.
      At least we came to the correct conclusion maybe you will someday.
      Your fooling yourself into thinking that the horrific things going on all around you are okay.
      Their not okay.
      There are so many things wrong about horse racing, but to just zero in on one: dying.
      There are racehorses dying every day on racetracks and training centers all over the country.
      If they happen to make it out alive then most end up dying on the slaughterhouse floor.
      Watching a racehorse die and then continuing to support it in some capacity is not love.
      If you think it is then you are deranged in some capacity or just plain sadistic.
      If you love racehorses so much then go to the kill auctions.
      There you will find all the dumped neglected racehorses that are desperate for a home.
      They are the true faces of horse racing – the disposable gambling chips that don’t get saved because the industry that you support won’t send one dime to rescue them.
      Again, that’s not love and this public butcher show full of life sucking parasites is not a “sport” as you claim.
      It’s a freak show that should have ended a long time ago.

    • Every time someone stumbles on this site they make the same stupid statement. I spent a dozen years in racing. Many of the most active people on this site spent more time than that. We are here because we know racing. Take the BS elsewhere.

    • I have been backside at tracks. It doesn’t look like a great life to me, but that aside, how can anyone who loves their thoroughbreds stand to be involved with horse racing? Doesn’t it continually break their hearts to have horses break down and killed, claimed in cheap claiming races, drugged, locked in stalls all day, sent to slaughter? I don’t get it. They want to be part of that?

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