LA Times, Dr. Rick Arthur: Kill-Free Racing Is Impossible

I have in the past been critical of the Los Angeles Times for its coverage (or lack thereof) of some of the more sordid aspects of horseracing. Lately, though, things have improved, as evidenced by a board editorial two days ago: “Fewer racehorses are dying — but still too many.” While the numbers they use do not tell the whole story (no stall deaths), and despite their continued use of the word “spate” (it wasn’t) for the Santa Anita ’19 spring meet, I was heartened by the board’s broader view:

“Of course, tracks can and should be more vigilant to make sure trainers and vets are complying with all the rules. But there is an inherent risk when a 1,100-pound animal runs nearly 40 mph on relatively small feet and lean legs. That risk can’t be reformed out of existence.”

Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board (and someone whom I’ve also been critical of), was even more stark:

“Racing is always going to be dangerous for horses. They are high-speed. They race at the limit of their ability like Formula One cars.” (Except they’re not like cars at all, are they, Dr. Arthur? Quick review: Horses are fully sentient beings – intelligent, aware, sensitive, loving, affectionate, the capacity and desire for pleasure, the capacity for and aversion to pain and suffering. Cars are not. Full stop.)

The editorial ended thus: “If track owners and trainers want to keep racing horses, then they need to keep them from dying in the process.”

Last year, in an extraordinary editorial, The Washington Post called for an outright end to horseracing. Now, if we read between the lines (re-read the above quotes; follow the logic), it appears the LA Times is on the cusp of doing the same. Imagine that.

(full editorial here)

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  1. YES – Arthur’s acknowledging racing is and always will be dangerous for horses is one of the several self-indictments made by the racing-employed over just the last week. More nails in the coffin. And I see that Vitali is back at the cesspool Turf Paradise – the (PR) article’s comments, by PRO-racing folks, are gems. They’re gonna run out of nails if they don’t all zip it. But I LOVE IT…just keep talking, morons.

  2. That’s interesting that the figure of 40 mph was used in the statement. The figure of 45 mph was used in a film about horses which aired on PBS. The subject of training Thoroughbreds to run at 45 mph for a distance of one mile was discussed in the film. (I didn’t even drive my car that fast when I lived one mile away from the nearest grocery store.) At a certain point, the blood is out of oxygen and can no longer get enough oxygen in the blood without stopping to rest. In the case of horses, they need to walk rather than stand still. When a horse is so completely winded and gasping (violently gasping) to get their wind back, a horse cannot stand still exactly.
    I believe the numbers of horses killed are manipulated so as to show less than the actual number of horses killed as a consequence of being raced. It has been discussed in previous posts here that the members of the racing industry (including the Jockey Club) have a mathematical formula to use in order to make it appear as though there are fewer numbers of horses that die based on the number of starts rather than the number of actual horses in order to create confusion.
    It is evidently becoming more and more difficult for the members of this barbaric rich man’s industry to get away with this manipulation. Confession is good! They just need to follow through and change their ways and their occupations!!!

  3. Wow. Someone says racing is dangerous to horses. Duh!
    Given the way thoroughbreds have been bred over the past few centuries, racing will always be dangerous to horses. Inbreeding has made once rare traits such as weak joints and deformities more common. Their bodies are not only bred to be larger, thus capable of carrying more muscle, these horses are fed growth hormones and steroids in many cases, as they are growing. Their legs, however, have not increased in bulk or strength, to carry those muscled up bodies.
    So, I don’t think it would matter, if horses were kept on the farm, trained like dogs to walk quietly while on a line, to come when called by name, to allow themselves to be groomed, maybe to do some tricks, just to keep them occupied, and to prove how intelligent they are. A 5 or 6 year old horse, racing for the first time, would still have those thin legs with poor blood supply that hinders so many horses in healing from injuries, and small feet ( hooves). They’d still have those muscle heavy bodies. They’d still have those horrible genetics; this breed has had no new DNA since the days of the Godolphin Arab, the Byerly Turk, and the Darley Arabian. Even zoos and animal conservative areas, have to import breeding age animal from other areas, from different gene pools, to keep a population from becoming inbred. This hasn’t happened, with racehorses. No new Arab blood has been introduced. No other horse breed has donated its genetic material to the thoroughbred in nearly 300 years. The breed is genetically stale.

    I wonder, how many foals are born with life ending birth defects. I wonder how many stillbirths are found with organs outside their bodies, missing limbs, extra limbs. How many ultrasounds reveal genetic based defects in fetuses, which are then aborted?
    How many mares or stallions, whose offspring too often have genetic birth defects, are sent to slaughter?
    Horse racing has seen its day. That day is over. This “sport” needs to end. There’s many reasons why raving is cruel to horses, and the very modern make up of their bodies, is just one reason.

    • The King Ranch in Texas (USA) bred many American Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. I don’t know how much inbreeding they did with the Thoroughbreds, but their inbreeding with the Quarter Horses is atrocious. It’s like they wrote the book on “inbreeding for permanent genetic defects” in Quarter Horses. It is appalling. I believe the King Ranch is as PRO-SLAUGHTER as the Jockey Club and the American Quarter Horse Association are. There are books published by the “The Western Horseman” magazine that show photographs of the most well-known Quarter Horses and pedigrees of the most well-known and influential bloodlines including sprint racing and that includes Thoroughbred sires of Quarter Horses of which THREE BARS was one.

  4. Gina, a Mike Maker dumpee , catastrophically died today,first race after being dumped. Mike Maker,mega killer. Good ole Mike dumped him to another trainer. They really know how,and WHEN to dump them. #StopThisKilling. Just f’n stop it. Pure evil bullshit.

      • Nancy, his name was Private Union. I totally blame Mike Maker. He knew. It happened at Parx. Mike Maker,and his ilk get “talked up” and praised by such as Caton Bredar on tvg(big supporter) of Mike. This has got to stop. Really… they are ALL complicit. Caton, and her ugly husband, and that obnoxious Flo the jock, her agent husband’s “guy”. I can’t stand ANY of them. Brad Cox, “Flo”,…..they are all unlikable evil scum. Shut this mf’r down, to save the horses.

          • Yes. Mike Maker who had this horse ,I have no idea how he ended up with this Parx trainer, who actually is a pretty careful,conscientious man. I don’t know how he ended up with him?????(no claim),maybe private sale?

  5. Ok, I just now looked up the sale history of said horse…he was offered up at the December “mixed” sale. This death MUST end. If this was people dying at this rate, people would be pitching a fit,AND storming the capital. Now think about what I just said… this horse,just a few weeks ago,was SOLD.

    • Bonnie, I am trying to follow your trail on this conversation about this trainer and this horse (among other things). While I don’t watch TVG (I don’t pay for any channels so I don’t get TVG), I try to look up horses on Equibase.
      Horse: PRIVATE UNION [Indiana-bred]
      Last trainer (?): Mike Maker
      Sold at auction in (what state?)

  6. Dumping racehorses like PRIVATE UNION is par for the course.
    PU was a baby, a 2 y.o baby for 4 out of 5 starts that obviously had issues.
    Mike Maker most likely knew this and it was time to get rid of his disposable trash by kicking it out to the claiming curb.
    Trainers like Mike Maker make a living out of claiming, dumping and killing racehorses with zippo remorse, accountability or responsibility facilitated by an industry full of enablers.
    In fact, he’s been busy claiming racehorses such as DONTPUSHYOURLUCK on 1/1/2021, BARLEEWON on 1/3/2021, KING OF ROCK on 1/3/2021 and MISSION POSSIBLE on 1/3/2021.
    The claiming cycle that racehorses are forced into ensures their ongoing pain and suffering, which is usually facilitated by private vets who regularly administer doping cocktails to keep them going and flipping a buck. These treatment records are intentionally kept secret and don’t follow the horse as they exchange hands time and time again exacerbating pre-existing conditions that usually lead to them dying or be dumped at the claiming curb for yet another round of abuse.
    Other Trainers who regularly subscribe to this modus operandi is Linda Rice who recently claimed SPITBALL who finished 2nd last by 24+ lengths so this is a racehorse who is suffering and will continue to suffer.
    Then FAMILY BIZ 1/3/2021 whose made $270.858 in 4 years and that’s still not enough to ensure his safety and a well-deserved retirement because there will always be parasites like Linda Rice.
    Speaking of parasites there’s Python Pat AKA Patricia Farro who takes claiming racehorses, abusing and/or killing them to a whole new level.
    This killer “Trainer” has been claiming, dumping and killing racehorses on a massive scale over the years.
    She’s right back at it again now that PA tracks are up and running.
    COLLOQUIUM was claimed by Python Pat yesterday where he finished dead last by 37 3/4 lengths hardly a happy, healthy horse who will now continue to be tortured until he gets claimed again or dies.
    These trainers are all parasites who live off of their host, the racehorses, suck the life out of them, and then go on to their next host facilitated by a vile industry who cares nothing about their voiceless victims.

  7. It’s sad that no one will stop racing when so many horses are dying. They are a throw away commodity for owners. They can be replaced with another. You see many racers at slaughter. They give them drugs to race, doesn’t sound like they give a crap about the horse just the win. Time to hang up racing for the good of the horse!

    • They should NEVER be allowed to send them to slaughter!!!!! That should be charged as a FELONY…..period. These animal torturers/abusers need to be in jail,and out of society, for a long time. Anyone who draws a paycheck from this evil needs to look their ugly ass face in the mirror.

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