From the most recent minutes released by the California Horse Racing Board.
At the Alameda County Fair at Pleasanton, July 3: “While horses were in the Starting Gate for the first race Czechoutpappyscorona flipped; [she was] scratched for being down and trapped in the gate stall.” Same day, race 4: “Nice Blaze [fell]…multiple scrapes and a hematoma developing on her right hip.”
At the Los Alamitos Thoroughbred meet, July 3:
“Apprentice Jockey Victor Flores was in our office to answer to a complaint. The CHRB filed the complaint when Safety Steward Paul Atkinson photographed a welt on the horse The Last Ruler…after the sixth race on 2/23 at Santa Anita. Mr. Flores apologized. The following ruling was issued: Flores is fined $300 for violation of rule #1688(3) (Use of Riding Crop – causing welts or breaks in the skin).”
$300 – for open, transparent animal abuse.
Same track, July 4: “Trainer Gary Mandella was in our office to participate in a formal hearing…. Mr. Mandella’s horse tested positive for the drug Phenylbutazone on 2/15 in the eighth race at Santa Anita. Mr. Mandella stated he could have accidently [sic] double-treated the mare. After hearing all the facts and entering all the exhibits, the hearing came to an end. The following ruling was issued: Mandella is fined $500 for violation of rules #1843(a),(b), and (d) (Medication, Drugs and Other Substances).”
“Accidentally,” huh? The race in question was a $200,000 Stakes. The horse, Zusha, finished 3rd, “earning” $24,000 for Mandella, et al. She remains under his control.
Same track, July 5: “Jockey Assael Espinoza was in to review yesterday’s fifth race…. Mr. Espinoza’s horse ducked out sharply from left-handed urging at the eighth pole. The BOS and Mr. Espinoza placed the blame on the horse and Mr. Espinoza was not issued a penalty.”
He whips (“left-handed urging”) his horse (Magnificent Q T) causing her (of course) to “duck out sharply” and the horse is to blame? Vile. Magnificent, by the way, finished 2nd, “earning” $3,400 for her people, including Espinoza.
And finally, just two days after the aforementioned Flores “welt on the horse” hearing, that same jockey was back to answer for another whipping violation – “excessive use of the riding crop” – from the previous day on 3-year-old Mr. Vitamin. The Stewards: “Mr. Flores agreed he should have stopped using the riding crop and stated he was sorry and had no excuse.” Again, a mere $300 fine, nothing more. Causes a welt and lives to ride (abuse) another day. You can’t make this stuff up.