Good, Clean Fun: Jockey Playfully Hops Aboard Horse Who Had Just Collapsed and Died; Others Laugh

Just a couple days after this picture made the rounds, another example of industry callousness surfaces. The following video is of Irish jockey Rob James mounting a 5-year-old mare who had just collapsed and died while training in 2016:

For his part, James said this to The Irish Field:

“I have become aware of a video circulating of me on social media. I would just like to apologise for my actions which were wholly inappropriate and disrespectful to a lovely five-year-old mare, who unfortunately suffered a sudden cardiac arrest while at exercise earlier that morning, April 30th, 2016.

“To try defending my stupidity at the time would add further insult and hurt to the many loyal people that have supported me during my career. I have caused embarrassment to my employers, my family and most importantly the sport I love. I am heartbroken by the damage I have caused and will do my best to try and make amends to those hurt by my conduct.”

My take: It’s not the specific act here – the horse is already dead; it’s the attitude. The laughing. The indifference. The casual disregard. That’s what enrages. But make no mistake, this is horseracing. For further proof, I refer back to this 2013 undercover video of (Hall of Famer) Steve Asmussen’s barn (at Churchill and Saratoga, no less):

And the transcript:

Trainer Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s top lieutenant:

“Fuck these horses. These motherfuckers. They’ll fucking break your fucking heart every fucking day, these cocksuckers. There’s always something wrong with ’em.”

“You ought to see these limping motherfuckers. I see this son [of] a bitch out here [Saratoga] jogging every day.”

“You could not believe how many [horses] they hurt and kill before they ever even get to the racetrack.”

Farrier working on 5-year-old Nehro, one of Asmussen’s charges:

“That’s all missing! His foot is a little bitty nub. [H]e lost Z-bars on both feet multiple times until he had bloody holes in the bottom of his feet. He doesn’t even have a pulse in this one, and he’s barely got one in the [other]. Stick your thumb in there. Right there in that frog. [I]t’s been like that for three months…it rotted.” Blasi: “Listen…I know the fucker hurts.” Farrier: “Let me show you this hole. This is treacherous. We’ve tried superglue in that hole.”

Blasi, to Nehro:

“Quit being such an asshole…aggravating son of a bitch.” A few days after this exchange, Nehro died of colic. Blasi: “I have seen a lot of shit. That is the most violent fucking death I have ever seen.”

Blasi on “shockwave therapy,” which is used to deaden pain:

“It fucking hurts like hell. I can’t believe them fucking sons a bitches can take it.”

Blasi on electric shockers, which are used to “motivate” horses to run faster:

“I’d tell [jockey Ricardo Santana Jr], ‘You got the maquina [shocker]?’ ‘Boss, I got the maquina.'”

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens:

“So, long story short, I win the race…and I reach over to pull this off, and I, I shock the shit out of myself [audible laughing around the table].”

Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas:

“Well, we used to go behind the gate at Ruidoso. And it was just like it was a full-blown orchestra. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Everybody had one [shockers]. Everybody had one.”

Blasi, after losing an underperformer – a “rat” – to a claim:

“I could just do a fucking cartwheel right now.”

As I wrote at the time, and certainly remains true today:

From calling them “rats,” to laughing at electric shockers, to casually discussing a horse’s deformed foot, to casually discussing that same horse’s excruciating death, some prominent racing people at some prominent American tracks betray what the racing-horse represents to them – a means to an end. Respect for intelligent, feeling beings with intrinsic worth? Please. In fact, Asmussen says the sole reason Blasi was fired is because he disrespected an owner. (Blasi was, of course, rehired shortly thereafter.) So to me, it matters not a whit what the investigation concludes (no charges were ever brought against either Asmussen or Blasi); horseracing’s true colors have, yet again, been put on full display for all to see.

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  1. This picture and the one of that trainer should be on the Horseracing Wrongs billboards.
    And this jockey’s pathetic mewling about how sorry he is sounds exactly like some of the serial killers who stand there with tears in their eyes and tell the families of the victims how they will have to live with what they did, as if they honestly cared. If they hadn’t been caught, they wouldn’t be sorry.
    But why should any of us be surprised that these people treat a dead horse like this – look at how they treat them when they are still alive.

    • Rebecca Paquette…your last two lines say it all. for those of us who have a heart, news and images like this cut to the core

  2. The jockey’s comments, to me, were not his own. More public relations at work. Do I hear them say — Oh, we hurt your feelings? Oh, we are sorry. We did not mean what we did or said. Their words do not reflect their reality. As usual, the animals are always the ones most at risk, and the ones that most suffer. Money, money, money! Shallow little humans who have no center; all they think about is their precious dollar. If I didn’t dislike this so much, I would almost feel sorry for the money hungry jerks who have sold their souls.

  3. The jockey should be banned from ever working in the industry and he should be hit with an animal abuse ticket and serve community time. But, most importantly he should be banned from every working in this industry EVER!

  4. Assmussun needs to be jailed forever along with the others behind the scenes
    that constantly needle etc. the horses to death. This is full blown torture!Horse
    racing must end. Disgusting words you hear and this is certainly not a game
    but a game of continued torture. Lets’ start drugging the owners, jockeys,
    and see the results.No more racing.Hear breaking to say the least.

  5. Horse racing is an act of cruelty in Itself so it is no surprise that jockeys and other people involved act cruelly and disrepectfully. The poor horses are there for them to profit from after all. Shame on everyone who ”enjoy” horse racing and on everyone who profit from it.


  7. Sadly these kinds of abuse above also take place in the saddle horse industry as well! We know of 1 track vet who now that the 1 mile oval track in our state has been redeveloped into warehousing / trucking dis[path center, that vet is now doing “leg work” at a so called recreational young peoples “cowboy ” ranch. This vet we saw use carpal joint injections illegally on a horse we were galloping in the mornings at our now defunct track.We have seen this vet punch a horse as hard as he could in the face when working on its teeth due to his impatience in allowing enough time for the sedative to work while floating a horses teeth.We fell for all horses that are just being used for big profits in the equine industry. These pictures of abuse of this jockey & the trainer earlier should be distributed far & wide so that people really know the truth of what goes on!

  8. This is all too disgusting and disturbing!!!! It shows what kind of people make up the industry of horseracing and proves that horseracing needs to be ended completely as much as is possible in this world!!!

  9. These people are true evil and unethical individuals who will pay a very heavy price.

  10. We have heard in England via the BBC that he has been suspended for this appalling and sick behaviour? Can any one confirm this please?
    What is needed is a secret fly on the wall video made along with the sick bastards comments with them and a supportive broadcaster to air them at peak time.

    Their behaviour is typical of the callous and uncaring people who work in this horrible industry and should be told to leave those who attend racing or the betting shops.

    • The trainer has been suspended from racing in the UK until the investigation has been carried out, the jockey picture has only just hit our headlines…..

    • PS Check out the UK site – Animal Aid – they also report on horse racing deaths on the UK tracks and there is a petition out on their site about these two disgusting POS.

  11. Everything is THERE…..for the whole world to SEE. This is why animals and gambling are a TOXIC mix. Listen to me gamblers….you literally have an UNLIMITED amount of options to bet on whatever you choose. Leave non-consenting living breathing souls out of it. Humans, you CAN bet on,because they have the ability to speak and consent.


  13. Most people are calling to BAN “Trainer” Gordon Elliott for life.
    Most people are calling to BAN “Jockey” Rob James for life.
    I understand the outrage, but the real solution is to BAN this dirty, rotten, abusive, corrupt, killing business.
    Behind these sadistic sociopathic parasitic monsters are a whole bunch more supported and condoned by an industry that cares nothing about these magnificent creatures.
    All they care about are the profits and their inflated human egos over the detriment of the racehorses.
    This is their fundamental business model and operating procedures that require daily abusive business procedures perpetrated on their voiceless victims.
    This has never changed nor will ever change.
    These pictures are the TRUE FACES of horse racing.
    Don’t forget them and use your voice to shut this vile business down.

    • Gina, have you seen the advertisements for weanling Thoroughbreds for $250,000 and $280,000? Spendthrift is (obviously) in it for the money and the ego. How much they actually enjoy the INHUMANE TREATMENT of these foals to be exploited for racing, I can’t say. But, knowing that racing is a sadistic activity by its very nature, I would say the people at Spendthrift Farm enjoy the abuse as much as the money!!! Most of these weanlings that are being offered by Spendthrift for a quarter of a million dollars and up most probably will not survive the daily grind of abuse and will suffer egregious injuries and death before they live long enough to be considered mature at SIX-YEARS OF AGE!!!! The lives of these foals from SIX-MONTHS to however long it takes for the SADISTIC SOCIOPATHS OF HORSERACING to kill them is going to be A LIVING HELL UNTIL THEY ARE DEAD at the hands of horseracing sociopaths!!!!!!
      Our government must stop the approval and the funding of these EGREGIOUS ABUSES of horses!!!!!

  14. No, Rob James, being stupid (although probably true!) is not a valid excuse for your primitive and dehumanizing behavior. You just demonstrated the attitude of racing toward the horse, no more and no less.
    Your business is a hotbed of animal exploitation and cruelty.
    Not only do you and your cohorts have zero respect for the horse, dead or alive, you have no self-respect, no dignity.

  15. I just cry… I just hope one day this is something in the past as greyhound racing is becoming something of the past…

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