Former Jockey Donna Brothers on Racehorses Being Killed: “We will all die one day. Let’s hope we’re all lucky enough to die doing something we love.”

While I’ve said all I need to say on the-former-jockey-turned-analyst Donna Brothers (here, here), there may be some newcomers to the site who don’t fully understand the depths of delusion we’re dealing with. So here we go again. Follows is a recent response from Ms. Brothers to a statement from our own Joy Aten. (note: Please ignore her ridiculous “safety rate”; it’s a gross deception. The rest speaks for itself.)

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  1. Donna Brothers is sickening, to say the least, and evidently loves her job. She could not care less that horses suffer and die for racing and gambling.

    • What troubles me is how people like Brothers, pro-Abusers, turn a blind eye to all the evidence presented showing the continuous cruelties to Horses – between the doping and isolation, I don’t know HOW they manage to explain it away to themselves — their only justification and defense is, you’re all “bleeding hearts” — this is all they repeat over and over again — “bleeding hearts, bleeding hearts” to everything and anything — these self-serving, abusive people benefit greatly from Horse-Racing — we must keep fighting until we reach the rational, the sane, the compassionate, the clear-thinkers.

      • Yes, mssm8822, you’re right! I absolutely agree with your choice of words! Your point is well made and well taken! It is as you say, “…we must keep fighting until we reach the rational, the sane, the compassionate, the clear-thinkers.”

  2. Donna Brothers (formerly Donna Barton while actively riding) is delusional like so many in horse racing.
    Although her statements expose her for what she is, just look to her past.
    She was one of the main riders of D. Wayne Lukas in his hay day when he was permanently damaging, crippling, and killing racehorses.
    This is the same Lukas bragging and laughing about racehorses getting their tired and sore bodies zapped with electrical charges during the undercover PETA tape.
    He wasn’t alone though because former jockey and TV analyst Gary Stevens was laughing right alongside of him.
    Everybody in the stable area knew how brutal D. Wayne Lukas was to his racehorses and he would only hire jockeys who would do his bidding, keep their mouth shut about sore racehorses that they knew were suffering when they were training them in the morning.
    The late Chris Antley who rode Charismatic knew that Charismatic had a serious issue in his front left leg and told Lukas that as stated, but Lukas ran him anyways which resulted in the infamous picture of Chris holding the broken leg of Charismatic to save his life during the Belmont stakes.
    There are many allegations swirling around Antley’s death, that he knew too much, that he was supposed to make sure Charismatic died and that he wasn’t supposed to jump off and save him, and that he was murdered and didn’t commit suicide.
    Nobody will ever know, but I know this – people can change for the better and it seems obvious to me that Chris Antley had an epiphany that day, that moment, and saved the horse he loved.
    His conscious had caught up with him and he realized, like most of us, that horse racing is so wrong, that it’s horrific, and that racehorses suffer and die for this business every day.
    He no longer wanted to be part of it and paid for his decision.
    On the other side are jockeys and/or former jockeys like Donna Barton who never changes, who never gets a conscious and who, in the light of hundreds of racehorses dying, calls it “sensastionalizing.”
    No Donna, it’s not sensationalizing.
    It’s brutal, it’s inhumane, it’s the forced daily grind on living beings being whipped to perform, doping, dumping, and killing whether that be on the track or on the slaughterhouse floor.
    It’s obvious that you are not capable of emotions or compassion that most of us posses only because you want that big, fat, pay check from the continued support of this blood sport.

    • Gina, spot on. Is there anyway I could use your post as a post on FB? This is probably not possible and most likely a decision from Patrick. You’re all my rock stars and I would love the opportunity to meet those whose voice for the race horse, is so loud and strong. Thank you, Pam Cingano, Beaverton, MI

      The voice in my ‘one traffic light community’. God equips those he calls to be His voice.
      Blessings on all of you who stand with and for the abused.

    • I remember Charismatic when he won the Derby and the Preakness. Chris Antley did the best he could to hold the horse’ leg in an instant after he felt the break. It’s hard to fathom that Charismatic died of a broken pelvis in his stall.

    • What troubles me is how people like Brothers, pro-Abusers, turn a blind eye to all the evidence presented showing the continuous cruelties to Horses – between the doping and isolation, I don’t know HOW they manage to explain it away to themselves — their only justification and defense is, you’re all “bleeding hearts” — this is all they repeat over and over again — “bleeding hearts, bleeding hearts” to everything and anything — these self-serving, abusive people benefit greatly from Horse-Racing — we must keep fighting until we reach the rational, the sane, the compassionate, the clear-thinkers.

  3. Obviously this ‘woman’ is totally brain-dead, heartless, gutless and soul-less. She’s just another one of those so-called owners, trainers and jockeys who absolutely ‘love’ their horses and are so, so sad when one of them gets killed…(racing that they love, sob, sob, sob) But then that’s OK because they can still collect the insurance money or/and the blood money from the slaughterhouse or kill-buyer.

  4. What a disgusting thing to say! It’s not the horse that loves racing, it’s everyone who profits from the win, no matter what happens to the horse!! No respect or caring for such magnificent animals!

  5. Donna Brothers whose husband was a trainer and one of the perpetrators of the horribly unnecessary deaths of beautiful creatures is an embarrassment to the horseracing industry. The fact that she is a representative of the HBPA speaks volumes as to the ethics and mindset of horse trainers in this exploitative industry. Horse breakdowns can be prevented and until that is widely accepted by so called horsemen this is an industry that has to be radically changed or destroyed.

      • You said it, Alan — What troubles me is how people like Brothers, pro-Abusers, turn a blind eye to all the evidence presented showing the continuous cruelties to Horses – between the doping and isolation, I don’t know HOW they manage to explain it away to themselves — their only justification and defense is, you’re all “bleeding hearts” — this is all they repeat over and over again — “bleeding hearts, bleeding hearts” to everything and anything — these self-serving, abusive people benefit greatly from Horse-Racing — we must keep fighting until we reach the rational, the sane, the compassionate, the clear-thinkers.

  6. So the woman is clearly a moron. I don’t know where she gets her numbers but let’s assume 99.847% is accurate. That would mean that 0.153% of starts result in death. I’m sure this is someone’s estimate of breakdowns per start not counting training or other deaths caused by racing.

    Just for comparisons sake consider NFL football. There are 256 regular season games per year. On average a game contains about 150 offensive plays. There are 22 players on the field for a play. So there are about 850,000 player-plays in a season. If those plays result in a death rate of 0.153% the result would be about 1,300 deaths in a season. The NFL would be shut down because there are only about 1,700 players in the NFL.

    Okay, maybe you don’t think that plays are equivalent to race starts (I do) but rather you compare games played to race starts. In a game each team has 11 offensive and 11 defensive players on the field in a game for 22 total. Just guessing here but with backup players rotating through the game and special teams players I would estimate about 40 players on a team see game time so a total of 80 players see time in a game. With 256 games in a season we have about 20,000 player-games per season. At a breakdown rate of 0.153% we still have about 30 deaths per season in NFL games. In the entire history of the NFL exactly one player has died during a game and that was from a heart attack.

    I didn’t even count post season play. I have no idea how many college football games are played but I’m sure there are thousands, possibly tens of thousands. If any human sport had anywhere near the death rate of horse racing it would be illegal. Then imagine sending athletes to slaughter when the season ends. But meh, they’re only horses, right Donna? The woman is brain dead, third grade math would have benefitted her.

    • I like the pro football analogy, but it would be even more accurate if the NFL recruited only the most fragile athletes they could find — I’m thinking skinny, arthritic old-timers with osteoporosis and multiple knee-replacements — then they could “medicate” and purposely dehydrate the players before every game. Then, most plays could be run during Claiming Quarters, in which every player on the field can get traded, and has to move away to a new city if they survive the half. Then…
      Eh, who am I kidding? There still wouldn’t be enough dead “athletes” to top horse racing’s carnage every game day.

      • We are seeing children quitting or leaving sports. The injuries and surgeries are proving too much for human youngsters. When will we realize the same is true for equines?

    • Alan, I love your analogy and great mathematical analysis. I just want to say “thank you” for standing up for those who cannot speak–the “silent sufferers”–the horses. You have a kind heart. I truly wish more decision-makers did. Horse-racing could end tomorrow.

    • Alan, your numbers are so through-provoking. Thank you putting those together and sharing. This article, at, calls for the end to college football, a sport where the athletes have no advocacy, no voice–shared traits with horse racing, as all of us reading these posts know. Although of course horse racing, in using living beings for profit and regarding them as less than human, translates into abject suffering and murder to the horses, all of which is just fine and dandy with Donna, as she so proudly states.

  7. Well, what a heartless evil piece of work this woman is!!
    This type of evil excuse for a human being should just shut up and lock her sorry arse away somewhere and never come out.
    KARMA will pay her and all the other lowlife racing industry morons who only see ££€€$$ and not a precious life that is the racehorse!!!

  8. This individual is the personification of the ignorance, corruption, vicious cruelty and deception that is the core of racing.
    The fact she is a “spokesperson” for racing is mindboggling!!! Are they really that stupid and desperate to put her out there? Makes no sense.
    In a way, I feel a little sorry for her not having a clue as to her lack of brain power and integrity.

    It is too easy and hardly fair to take apart her laughably ridiculous statements.
    Donna, you are in a hole, you think you should stop digging?!!!

  9. Who’s we… you may like it but I’m not so sure about the horse.
    Did you ever ask the horse….I’m sure they wouldn’t say that…cmon lady really


  11. If “racehorses” love what they’re doing so much, why bother whipping them? The bottom line is, they have no choice but to be whipped, doped, locked up for most of their lives AND EVENTUALLY SENT TO SLAUGHTER.
    Yup, that sure sounds like love to me.

  12. Yes, Donna…when you only count the deaths that occur on the racetrack the numbers are high but statistically to the industry not horrible. Take in account all of the horses that are sent to slaughter before during or after their “career” because it is too costly or time consuming to treat injuries or retrain them and the numbers become staggering. Then add in the ones that are quietly swept aside and remain in the “back pasture” with little care, food or shelter that just die of “natural causes” (ie neglect) Even if there was any validity to your statement dying doing what they love…starving, languishing in pain all your life from untreated injuries or being sold for slaughter can hardly be considered “dying doing what you love!”

  13. Donna Brothers is an asshole who doesn’t respect the horses she is utilizing! Respect the animal, respect the life of the animal. You, Donna, may be having fun, your ass is sitting down. The horse isn’t having FUN. The horse is being abused, tortured, and drugged!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you??????????????

  14. “lucky enough to die doing what they love” ??? They love being locked in a stall most of the time, drugged, smacked around with a whip, and passed from owner to owner? I guess maybe she means breaking down during a race is better than dying in a slaughter house? What a monster.

  15. How dare she — there are no words — Jockey Donna Brothers’ FLAWED, MURKY thinking is all over the place —- well, what is clear is that it’s all about her — Donna Brothers — as long as SHE benefits, that’s what it’s all about — SHAME on Donna Brothers for pretending to be stupid — let’s SHUT DOWN this depravedly sadistic industry — we MUST PROTECT the HORSES.

  16. Wow. Has anybody ever asked any of the horses if they “love” running themselves into the ground? All the horses I ever owned would’ve put up a fight to keep from being whipped down a track to the finish line.

  17. OMG!!!! You really believe what you think is the truth? Stop killing race horses you fricking idiot. Its Ppl like YOU that’s the problem. You will pay for what you have done to Gods precious creatures. Your what’s wrong with horse racing.

  18. Ms. Brothers,
    If this horrific picture which captured the brutal last moments of this horse’s life “does not move you”, what does ? Your indifference to pain and suffering of this living FEELING BEING is shocking. In fact, it may indicate sociopathic personality disorder. You may want to consider getting yourself tested.

  19. Is is this Donna woman for real. I think not! Those of us that buy your trash and nurse their emotional state back to health, are then left with endless leg issues. Your day of reckoning will come.

  20. Well unfortunately Donna you are still alive and have not met “your day” yet – too bad!!
    As far as your sickening comment about let’s hope we all die doing something we love – WTF is the matter with you anyways – do you think that the horses that you and your trainers have killed off were doing what they wanted to do and loved? Jesus H Christ you are a real piece of work – you obviously have never experienced the love between a human and a horse and I don’t think you will ever in your sickening lifetime. Your comments are so far off the game it is pathetic. Your 99.847% of the time for catastrophic breakdowns is because 99.847% of you idiots have no idea how to race a horse or when to start a horse – you are all just pumped with your god damn glory of yourselves and it is never about the poor horses. You are one piece of work – lady and that is not in a good way either!!

  21. Did she ask the horses if racing was something they love and are they willing to die for it? No, horses can’t defend themselves from racing.

  22. What a load of trash you speak! These horses do not elect to race for someone’s gain, nor can they refuse the drugs they are given that ultimately serve to break their bodies down. You are living in an alternate reality, Ms. Brothers, one that apparently prevents you from seeing the corruption and truth evident in the horseracing business.

  23. I would hope that this idiotic piece of trash, Donna Brothers, and all like her – be they trainers, jockeys or owners – reincarnate as racehorses and suffer everything that they put their poor horses through…..except that I also hope that this God-awful “sport” will be long ended by that time.

    I am sure I must have read a more moronic statement than Donna’s comment to Joy, but I really can’t remember when. The fact that the terrible photo of the dying horse elicited no feeling from her whatsoever speaks volumes about the woman and her cold evil. SHAME on her.

  24. Hey, Donna. Only THREE horses vanned off at Parx today. Injured, lame, bled. Good thing for you racing creeps Pennsylvania tracks won’t willingly release any horse injury info, right? That means y’all can continue to not talk about any of their non-stop carnage.
    Then again, if any — or all three — don’t survive, you can still rest easy that they died doing…well, you know, what they were beaten to do.

  25. Horses don’t love dying….like all creation they love living. And if that means running around some circle to satisfy owners they’ll do it. I went to one horse race and said “never again.” Ditto one dog race. The horses are bred to race but breeding yields imprecise results and the horses suffer. Suffering creation, horses and all the rest of creation, bruises my soul and I ache over it. We are called to husband and oversee creation not to destroy, mutilate, or exploit it. It’s sad to think of all the unloved animals corralled and managed by humans…..and there are so many.

  26. These poor horses aren’t doing what they love they’re doing what they are forced to till it kills them. What a heartless cold blood b**ch Donna Brothers is.

  27. When ‘sport’ crosses a line into manipulation and the death of its innocent animals, then it is no longer a sport. The horse racing industry has had ample time to stop the use drugging and stop the Massacre of horses. It has failed. It is another example of greed over any responsibility. You blew it. Now you deserve to lose the sport.

  28. It’s all about money. It is blatantly obvious that these poor magnificent horses are just used by these greedy people, and then just chucked away as if they are rubbish.

  29. Last evening, I was going through some old screenshots and I came across a FB post where a Louie Gallo made a comment. To be fair, I don’t know Gallo from a bag of pretzels but I do know that Gallo is a supporter of an industry that cripples, maims and kills DAILY. Here is a quote from Gallo from October, 2019.

    “Until horsemen can get the public to come to realize that catastrophic breakdowns are part of the business and that it is heartbreaking for all the connections to the horse, the sport is doomed. The media will continue to report the inevitable breakdowns week after week. It’s a sad reality of racing that the public will have to accept or else.”

    Or else what, Louie? If the public doesn’t accept the “inevitable breakdowns,” will the industry go belly up? We can only hope!

    What I can tell Louie Gallo is that the public will NEVER accept the catastrophic breakdowns nor should they. To think otherwise is simply idiotic.

    • Here, here, Mary! The public HAS never “accepted” breakdowns because nearly all of these horrors have been so purposely hidden; so what was not to accept? We were all deliberately led to believe that they were, literally, one-in-a-THOUSAND occurrences. Too bad for racing creeps it’s all out in the open now.
      So, say sayonara to your beloved blood sport, Louie. If there’s one thing the American public won’t ever accept, it’s the inevitable, drug-fueled-bloodbath-shitshow of animal carnage that is horse racing.

  30. Well, if we all will die someday, doing what we love, then I hope she dies under the whip.

  31. Unbelievable! Yes it’s true that we’re all gonna die one day, but shouldn’t it concern this disgusting mouth-piece for the racing industry that the level of carnage among two and three-year-old horses is staggering! And the fact that so many have suffered truly horrible fatal injuries due to lack of basic care and respect for the poor animal? It’s always amazed me to see comments like this. We are constantly admonished not to “anthropomorphize” the pathetic factory farmed food animals because that would bring undue scrutiny to the horrible farming practices rampant in our nation. But when it comes to exploiting racehorses, it’s completely appropriate. Even if horses could speak, I seriously doubt they’d ever admit to “loving” being a racehorse. Shame on Donna Brothers! Shame!

  32. ONE death is ONE TOO MANY when all any being has is ONE life!

    Who are humans to play God with ANY being’s life? And for disgusting reasons of glory and profit?

    Uncountable amounts of horses are bred and discarded, abused and slaughtered, while looking for that ONE IN A MILLION winner.

    What if we did that to our children? Used up, neglected, abused, killed, slaughtered and ate the ones that couldn’t race, dance, paint, perform, conform to our ideas of top financial profit and glory?

    A horse doesn’t ask for this. Those pencil thin legs aren’t made for this.

    Bless the poor horses who fall into the wrong hands, or who are cursed being born as thoroughbreds. 💔

  33. I’ve been getting e-mails every day about the deaths of horses in a most horrific way. I was totally unaware of the suffering of these beautiful animals. Donna, are you brain dead? If you really cared about the horses, you’d make a switch to save them. However, you’re like a lot of greedy, disconnected human beings who are in charge of these amoral industries. Maybe you’ve injured part of your brain that is no longer functioning.

  34. I’m gonna have to say Ms Brothers has a strange concept of “doing something you love”.
    For the sake of argument, let’s dispense with the fact that the horses have no choice whether they “love” racing or not. Last time I checked, they must run whether they are sore or not, whether they want to or not, and they must perform well enough to earn their feed and even keep their stall at the track. They then must have performed well enough that they are considered valuable enough to enter the breeding shed to avoid the risk of entering the slaughter pipeline at all.

    Somehow that doesn’t match up with the definition of “doing what you love”, as the horses have no choice in the matter.

    But that’s secondary to my main point, which is:

    Ending up at a low-level auction (or directly into the possession of a kill buyer straight out of the racetrack barns), where they are likely being handled much more harshly than they are accustomed to, then onto a LONG, sometimes several day cramped trailer ride with dozens of other strange terrified horses milling around untethered, where falling down means being trampled to death, and no food or water or even rest during the journey, then on into the slaughterhouse itself. Into the holding pen, probably with even MORE strange and possibly hostile horses, then on into the queue for “stunning” where your “beloved” racehorses can see, smell, and hear what awaits them next, and finally into the stun box itself, where it will likely take multiple attempts to supposedly render these horses insensible to pain and fear, though we’ve been shown time and again that there’s a decent chance that these racehorses, who were cheered down the stretch and celebrated athletes just days before, will begin the actual slaughter process fully aware and fully capable of feeling their throats slit, their hooves cut off, and their skin being removed… all this, and not a stroke of kindness, compassion, or empathy during this entire journey, not even a last meal or a painless easy send-off via the prick of the euthanasia needle to the once-valuable and prized horses that ran their heart out TO LINE YOUR POCKETS, not theirs….somehow I just REALLY don’t think that fits the definition of “dying doing something you love”.

    And I have a real problem with every single part of that, from Brothers’ callous and heartless (and, quite frankly, disgusting) comment, to how disposable broken down or non-competitive racehorses are, to just how ingrained into the very fabric of the horse slaughter pipeline abuse is.

    The nasty business of the horse slaughter industry, from the moment the kill buyer takes possession of a horse all the way through to the kill floor has proven, time and again, that it is unable to function without disgusting greed, u abuse, wanton cruelty, sand absolute disregard to the horses who are directly responsible for enabling civilisation as we know it today. Without the horse, mankind would never have made it to where we are now.

    The abuse the doomed horses suffer on their way to their demise is absolutely endemic to the slaughter industry, it cannot function without it.

    And to Ms Brothers:
    This isn’t a good look for you. Maybe, just maybe, you should have a little bit of RESPECT FOR THE HORSES UPON WHOSE BACKS YOU HAVE MADE YOUR LIVING.

    Those horses whose lives you so carelessly dismiss are the ONLY reason you have any relevance at all, and are the only reason you have been able to pay your bills. It is frankly DISGUSTING that an animal professional (I am one myself) will publicly go on record and state how little you care for the lives and well-being of the animals who got you to where you are now. Without them you are nothing.

    You, and your fellow racetrackers who share your sentiments regarding the fate of the thousands of “also-rans” a year is EXACTLY what is wrong with the racing industry. Attitudes like yours are why so many people feel racing is a dirty, sleazy, skeevy sport and will have nothing to do with it. Once the country’s most popular spectator sport, it’s bleeding more fans every single year. The complete disregard for the welfare of the racehorses, the breakdowns, and the total lack of concern and accountability for what happens to them after they leave the track are what drive millions of potential fans away, and it’s attitudes and mindsets such as yours that enable this nasty racetrack culture to thrive.

    To see an animal professional (I am one myself) publicly state how little they regard and value the lives of the horses they are responsible for is jarring, and is quite frankly DISGUSTING. These same horses whose lives you dismiss so easily are also the same horses upon whose backs you have made a successful living. They are the ONLY REASON you have had a career; everything you have you owe to these animals. Maybe it’s past time for you to be grateful for that, and accord their lives some respect and gratitude for all they’ve given you.

  35. Seriously??? How would you like to be worked to death and end up in an early grave??? These horses should live at least 15-20 years. Yet, they are dead in 3-4. And if they don’t drop dead, after their usefulness is used up, they are left to rot in a field or be sent to slaughter. Where is the “joy” in that??? Guess you can be glad you are part of the “99%” you claim don’t go through this torture and not the so-called “1%” that do – and pray you never reap what you sow.

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