How Racing Shows a Horse Is Special: Sell Him 9 Straight Starts

Even having been at this for years, the racing industry’s capacity for tone-deafness continues to astound me. A Daily Racing Form (DRF) article from Tuesday is a perfect example. The piece is meant to celebrate the Standardbred Dream Out Loud N. But along with feel-good facts like he’s “a Down Under import” and a “$1 million earner,” the DRF presents his advanced (for racing) age – 14 – as something to fete. To the rational, objective observer, however, it’s nothing of the sort. That’s 14 years of unremitting servitude and all that that entails (confinement, drugging, whipping, etc.)

But even worse is the article’s central topic and its blithesome treatment thereof: “The gelding also owns the odd distinction of being claimed nine straight starts as a 14-year-old. While 14-year-olds do get claimed…seeing any horse claimed nine straight times is somewhat rare. So what is so special about Dream Out Loud N?”

Attaching the word “special” to the cruelty of being incessantly – nine straight races – bought and sold is, in a word, vile. Come to think of it, perhaps tone-deaf is too generous. In any event, one of Dream’s many trainers, Brandon Presto, admits what we can all easily infer about a 14-year-old racehorse: “He has some old injuries but he tries hard and overcomes them.” That’s right, push through that pain, Dream.

There was, still, an even blunter truth offered by another of Dream’s trainers, Scott Davidson. In decrying the fact that claimed horses are no longer required to “move up in class” next race out, Davidson says: “It becomes like a rent-a-horse and some people don’t take care of the horses because they know they will get claimed next week.” Shocking, huh? (By the way, this would be the commodification I talk about in “The Inevitability of Dead Racehorses.”)

Davidson also confirms something else we all know to be true. Looking ahead to the end of Dream’s “career,” the trainer worries: “I don’t have a lot of money, but if something happens that he is done racing, I hope he finds a nice home because he is a really good horse. As long as I have him, he won’t end up in a bad spot, but sometimes that does happen and I’d hate to see that happen to him.” He’s talking about slaughter (or the Amish, or neglect and starvation), folks.

(Dream Out Loud N was due to race Thursday at The Meadows but was “scratched.” Must have been some of those “old injuries” rearing their ugly heads.)

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  1. The morally depraved know no bounds. Is there any possible way that this 14-year-old Standardbred can be rescued from more abuse and neglect or saved from the slaughter pipeline?

    • If he could be rescued I would support it by a donation, its the only thing I can do…

      • Elke, that’s awesome of you, but first, a horse needs a place to go. That usually means a charity rescue group. I don’t know the names of all of them, but there’s one in Virginia (USA) that is full and has a waiting list. They need qualified people to be foster homes for some of the rescued horses they have in order to accommodate some of the horses on their waiting list.

  2. They are on a roll with all these older big money horses needing rescued, retired….
    yesterday was the story about Conquest Big E, and how this big money horse bounced from person to person, track to track, and ended up at that shithole fonner park in 3500 claimers.
    Boy the racing supporters were in an uproar over that! The retire now cry went up, and he was so mercifully bought for 6500 to be retired. I’m sorry, but just because he was a big money horse doesn’t make him any more deserving of a retirement than the lowly horse in PR on his 100+ start only earning a measly 80,000 for all that hard work. (There’s no way the connections are remotely drawing even on that much in earnings so they must just get off on torturing the poor old horse!) Wheres the retire now cry for him?? Why aren’t you stepping up for that one, Donna Keen??
    There’s a race at a track this coming up week, 2 horses are 10, 2 horses are 9. Why aren’t they retired??
    Horse racing supporters are such hypocrites.

    • Marie, I think the people in that business of racing, whether they turn a profit or not on one particular horse, have a modus operandi that resembles having a disease; they don’t know anything else. I think the owners/trainers could make money with the horse on the gambling aspect. They know what is going on with most of the horses by being there everyday, so they know which ones to bet on to win, place, or show.

    • Marie, I’m confused – WHY would they want to take Conquest Big E from such a great life? – a life of “royal” treatment (you know, they’re treated like kings and eat better than you and I!)? My goodness, he was LOVED like one of their own children and certainly LOVED his job! And dropping down to a cheaper and cheaper tag? – that’s just to build his confidence (at least that’s what we always hear)! That poor gelding – the racing life, SUCH a great life, and they took him away from it.

      BUT racing folks and apologists, if his starts (34) seem excessive to you, his age (8) too old to race and $3500 just too cheap a tag, well ya’ll better get real busy buying racehorses for retirement because there are a s***-ton of them with more starts, running cheaper AND older than Conquest Big E. Buy them all! Let them all “be a horse” (a rather odd comment coming from the racing-employed about Conquest Big E now that he’s retired – so don’t they get to “be a horse” while racing?)! But please don’t ask us to cover the costs…we’ve got our own we’re being responsible for and none of them ever made us a dime.

      • Joy, at least he didn’t get sent to certain death much sooner,I suspect it is ONLY because he is a tapit. You all KNOW it. Ooooh tapit. Give me a F’n break.He doesn’t deserve it more than OTHERS,just cause he is a tapit 🙄. What the F ever. 🙄 They all DESERVE to get saved.

        • Bonnie, anytime a racehorse gets to leave racing I’m THRILLED. So yes, “at least he didn’t get sent to certain death” – I agree wholeheartedly.

          Maybe the point of my comment was missed – two points, actually. 1), it’s telling when industry members feel the need to RESCUE a horse from their own industry and 2), that when they do, it’s never a horse that’s always been just a “cheap claimer”. They go nuts when a stakes winner drops to 5K (well unless they’re the one doing it) – but how many racehorses are being run that cheap (and cheaper) every damn day yet there are no rally cries for them?

  3. Patrick, thank you for sharing the link (in blue letters) to one of your previous blog posts: “The Inevitability of Dead Racehorses.” That is definitely an excellent reference material to remove all doubt that horseracing is inherently bad for horses. For anyone that says there are good people in horseracing in order to suggest that horseracing is okay and that it is just bad actors that make the industry look bad, they can refer to this particular article and read it and study it like a fourth grader until it sinks in.

  4. Horse racing has to be completely banned as the animal-abusive industry and gambling facade it is. Although some state-elected officials act concerned by introducing “band-aid” legislation (“see how much I care”), horseracing is a sick, horse-abuse activity that depends on, is supported by, and is a gateway to gambling addiction. Until legislators recognize greed-driven, brutal horse treatment, gambling, corruption and so much more, then strict, governance legislation may be a second option but only if, for starters, it includes:
    1–A ban on racing any horse (a) BEFORE he/she reaches an exact age (six years?) and passes a rigorous, independent veterinarian exam with no ailments; and (2) AFTER he/she reaches a specific age (nine years?) or has any type of physical condition or illness that requires treatment as determined by an independent veterinarian exam, or exhibits behavioral issues that require force to compel (reluctance to enter starting gate, etc.).
    2—A ban on the use of straps, whips, crops, lashes or any other implements used to hit, beat, or other methods to inflict pain in a race or in training.
    3—Violations must be classified as felonies and prosecuted as such. Penalties for conviction must include substantial fines and a permanent ban from contacting, owning, training, working with any horse(s), or living in a residence that has any horses on the premises, which includes boarding.
    There are more potential stipulations, such as MINIMUM daily pasture access hours (with specific forage) and MAXIMUM stable confinement hours.
    Also, horseracing abuse needs to be framed in the context of the well-established LINK between animal abuse and human violence.

    • Marilyn, that is a nice fantasy that you describe. It would UNDOUBTEDLY & UNFORTUNATELY NOT WORK IN THE REALITY OF THE REAL WORLD. Horseracing is too well established and too entrenched in our society. It’s horrible abuse and killing of horses for certain, but the rich people would fight drastic changes as much as they do very slight changes. So as long as we are going to fight to BAN HORSERACING, there is no point in compromise!

  5. Patrick I must directly respond to this statement: “Even having been at this for years, the racing industry’s capacity for tone-deafness continues to astound me.”
    You’ve been a beacon in light in my struggle to end this killing business and although I realize you’ve been at it for years, but for me it’s been a lifetime.
    Since you’ve started acquiring the facts it’s like a huge piece of the puzzle has come together because before this they called me “crazy,” and even when I was in the business they grew to loathe me because I showed feelings towards the racehorses and that’s discouraged via negative labels.
    I openly admit that sometimes when I comment here it might seem extreme to some, but there is no extreme when it comes to this despicable business and after a lifetime of watching these parasites suck off their voiceless victims “tone deaf” is a very pleasant way of defining them.
    Horse racing is like a circus full of misfits who prey on something less weak then they are and when it comes to racehorses they are no shortage of people crawling out of the woodwork to exploit and abuse them.
    These sadistic abusers know that there will be zippo repercussions and, in fact, the system condones it.
    Anybody who supports, participates and/or defends this business has a piece of their brain and heart missing. They are all in a deliberately delusional state of mind in some capacity and I was once one of them.
    Nobody that claims a horse in the business claims it to do the right thing, take care of the horse, remove it from the track to ensure it gets a soft landing.
    We’ve had countless examples on this site and I’ve watched countless examples over the years of such beautiful champion racehorses precipitously decline in front of my eyes and it’s heartbreaking.
    VERNE’S BABY was 1 racehorse that I will never forget and the story behind his demise and deliberate killing, as far as I’m concerned, clearly shows the parasitic slime balls at Woodbine Racetrack.
    The Stewards on the Ontario Racing Commission did nothing to protect this horse and so many more like him.
    VB I will always remember you and I will continue to be a voice for you and so many more.

    • Five O Wonder was the horse that made me think over this “Crooked , Crummy, Gamboling game” I taught Five O Wonder to be ridden at all gaits bareback at 1st without any use of whips, spurs, stock saddles. Eventually I was able to ride her bareback with nothing at all but our hands & legs at the farm. Later after I saw her at the track, I felt so badly for her as she was in the hands of a trainer who only cared for the win photos she generated! Not caring for the mare at all! I attempted to rescue her but the owner & trainer team would have none of it. She later I found out was located to a farm to the south of the track but badly damaged from racing`s abuse with 1 eye gone & badly damaged legs from our local tracks hard surface which I know of in a very personal way! I`m so glad that the track is gone & now developed out to warehousing / trucking dispatch operations.I also proved my point to the entire breeders association membership when they held a meeting at the farm where I was working by galloping on the farms training track Five O Wonder & her 1/2 sister together at the same time bareback & with only a halter & lead rope.I used no bit, bridle.I galloped both mares by myself together in front of all the breeders & owners & trainers after 1 of the trainers tried to influence the farm owner to fire me & have his own rider work with the horses! Later I found out from the rescue farm that the owner / trainers who trained poor Five O Wonder were some of the most notorious med.users on horses in racing!! I will never forget you Five O Wonder! You deserved better life than what you received.

  6. Mr Davidson, HOPING Dream Out Loud N will find a nice home is useless. You need to get up off your derrière and find that home for him.
    He is at the mercy of a bunch of merciless exploiters and you are right, he will wind up in that “bad spot” unless some human intervenes. Are you that human, Mr Davidson ?!

  7. Scott Davidson.. wow!! Hey Scottie, instead of hoping Dream “finds a good home” when you are done exploiting him, how about YOU do the right thing by him, retire him and find him that good home??? He deserves it, you heartless, conscienceless prick! I see how this goes in your and those in this wretched industry’s deluded minds.. you abuse, you earn and people with a heart are rescuing the gorgeous horses you ran into the ground?! And you..well. You wipe your hands clean with your pockets full. Not a penny towards aftercare! Disgusting human beings!

  8. I have downloaded an article about this horse. They in no way are treating him with respect. They stated that can be claimed many more times before November” and they hope he gets a good home after retirement if he makes it. Sick in my opinion. Is there any way to keep an eye on this horse for a rescue after they dispose of him?

    • Autumn, finding a place for a racehorse-to-be-rescued to live out his remaining years off-track is necessary and also challenging. If you know of any person or group of people who is/ are responsible and qualified to provide a proper home for a horse, please share that information. If he has a place to go, his trainer might be willing to let him go (for a price) so that he can be relieved of the responsibility of taking care of a horse that isn’t productive in racing anymore.

  9. It says a lot about the twisted mindset of the racing industry that they consider a horse “special” because he has traded hands nine times in a row. I wonder if Dream knows how special he is as he is shuffled from one barn to another after every race?
    And of course, moving right along with their rhetoric of how their horses “love to race” comes the asinine statement “he tries hard and overcomes” his old injuries. Like he has a choice. As long as this poor horse can make it to the track you disgusting parasites will continue to live off of him. Aside from needles in the neck, what extra care are you giving this horse for the pain he is in daily after a lifetime of being exploited?
    At least we have his connections’ heart felt hope that he will find a good home after they are finished living off of his pain-racked body, right?

    • Rebecca, WHERE IN “LA-LA” LAND does this “trainer” Scott Davidson live?!?!?!

      • Somewhere to the left of willful idiocy and the right of moral putrescence.

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