Are the Jobs Worth Almost 1,000 Dead Horses, NYRA?

In response to a new Marist poll that shows “91 percent of [New Yorkers] never go to New York tracks to bet on horse racing in a typical year” (Times Union), the ever-slick New York Racing Association (NYRA) spokesperson, Patrick McKenna, tweeted:

First off, his numbers are wildly inflated. But more important, why does that – jobs, “economic impact” – matter? I mean, in the face of pervasive cruelty and wholesale carnage – on-track kills, stall deaths, slaughter – can’t all good, moral people agree that money is irrelevant? Today, the NYS Gaming Commission released the names of two more victims, both at NYRA tracks: Olympico, six, fatally injured training at Saratoga Saturday; Informed Risk, two, succumbed to laminitis at Belmont Aug 16. (While the Commission claims the laminitis was tied to pneumonia, a quick glance at IR’s Equibase profile reveals a training session four days before he died. So…)

The above bring the 2021 Death Toll at the three NYRA tracks to 47. Over the past five full years, it’s over 350. Since the Gaming Commission began disclosing this information (2009), we’re a shade under 1,000 dead horses. That’s almost 1,000 intelligent, sensitive, beautiful creatures sacrificed for Mr. McKenna’s precious jobs and economic impact. Is this 21st Century America or 1st Century Rome?

Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


  1. Well argued. NYRA pathetic defense for the unconscionable deaths of racehorses continues to be ‘jobs and economic impact”. This is a false and immoral argument. Not one horse should die for public entertainment on America’s racetracks. Not one.

  2. McKenna’s a coward. He also tweeted a while back that he’d “welcome the debate” (regarding racehorse exploitation) with Patrick to which he was replied to “ANYTIME”. Still waiting on him…

  3. I’m sick of the horse racing agenda!!! The members of the New York Racing Association are guilty of horrendous ABUSE and TORTURE and killing of horses. Barbarians wearing suits and ties and crying foul because someone else is bringing AWARENESS to their barbarism, that is who these people are.
    Who wants a job promoting the agenda of abusing horses, promoting the societal vices of ANIMAL CRUELTY AND GAMBLING ON RACEHORSES, and pretending to be respectable in today’s society??? Evidently, spokesperson Patrick McKenna is one of those people.

  4. Again with the feeble excuse of jobs and revenue, the latter only obtained through copious government handouts. The human slave trade was a massive industry at one time, but when it was stopped for ethical and moral reasons the people involved found other sources of employment. And let’s be honest, how many shed row workers are illegals anyway?
    I know the apologists will quickly come back with their knee-jerk question of where all these current race horses will go if racing shuts down. Right now the majority of them are disposed of in slaughter houses, even with racing supposedly offering $3 billion in economic impact. Shut racing down, stop the creation of more disposable gambling chips for the morally degenerate, and we will work on finding homes for the masses of broken horses left in the wake of racing, just as we have been doing for years.

    • I agree — as sure as I sit here, I KNOW this to be true : the Horses will be taken in by all Horse Lovers — each every one — besides the “jobs” excuse, “what’ll we do with all the Horses” justification is laughable and absurd.

  5. McKenna needs to get his facts straight – PETA doesn’t want to “destroy” his job – PETA’s “extreme agenda” is to enact changes to lessen the suffering of racing’s slaves. Seems he would welcome those changes – extreme or not.

    • Joy, I remember many of these horse apologists saying anytime anywhere to Patrick. We are still waiting for their response. I am 100 percent sure Patrick would move mountains to accommodate. Fear of being made a fool out of…YES!

  6. I would bet that the majority of these jobs aren’t held by US citizens either, some are illegal, some are here on work visas, but since they are given substandard wages, they, and their families, qualify for public assistance for many of their needs. So is it really such an economic boon?

    • Wow.

      A) Illegal aliens are not eligible for federal public assistance.

      B) If anyone is here legally on a work visa they have to be paid in accordance with federal law.

      • Alan, I’m afraid you’re quite ignorant to the fact that being paid “in accordance with federal law” has been gotten around in very clever ways ALL THE TIME in MANY DIFFERENT OCCUPATIONS – and the race tracks are probably one of the prime environments for these criminal offenders who break the law every day of the week and get away with it. And even if someone IS here on a work visa and IS paid in accordance with the law, those wages typically ARE sub-standard in the respect that they won’t support a large family, which many aliens have, hence: federal public assistance becomes a necessity. But Alan, you say Marie’s comment is offensive…I’m sorry Alan – no offense meant here, but you are very wet behind the ears because your words prove that you really don’t know what’s going on. Illegals get state and federal government assistance ALL THE TIME. Haven’t you read all the stories about the MILLIONS of dollars that have been handed out to illegal aliens? “By mistake”??? Our government systems are seriously a joke when it comes to handing out money to aliens – legal or NOT. There are a lot of statistics about this problem if you feel like doing the research.

        • I have not read the stories, but I would need evidence to back it up. I would not rely on social media to be informed because there are certain factions that spread misinformation. The spreaders of misinformation cry foul as in “censorship” if they are taken down on social media. They don’t care about the saying that it’s not okay to yell “fire” in a crowded theater when there is no fire. Lying and spreading false information is not freedom of speech; it’s dangerous in many ways.

          • Guys, please. Let’s get along.
            There is a federal mandate that states that employers cannot discriminate against illegals even if they are using illegally obtained identification (ie, stolen SS #s, ID, etc) and HHS does provide for them receiving social welfare; food stamps, housing assistance, utilities assistance, Medicaid, and cash assistance benefits even if not legal citizens or on a work Visa. Read the federal workers provisional posters that must be posted in any place of employment.
            There is no defense for the horse or human abuse and absolutely no justification for so much public money going to prop up horseracing OR the people in it.

        • Since we’ve deteriorated to name calling you’re an idiot. Stop watching Fox News. Illegal immigrants do not get federal aid. People here on work visas must be here for five years before they qualify. But hey, let’s blame the brown people. I’m surprised Patrick hasn’t deleted this thread.

  7. Alan, I know that most of these poor folks from other countries aren’t making minimum wages at the tracks. And I worked at a community hospital by my local track, and yes, the folks from the tracks came in with no insurance, and their kids were covered by Medicaid, so who foots the Bill for that? Shoot, even many of the Americans involved in racing at my local tracks are so poor they are covered by Medicaid.
    If you read paulick report, they will often post stories of programs to help the workers on the backsides of tracks, such as food collections, school supplies for kids, and such.
    And famous trainers have gotten penalized for withholding payments from their workers.

    • Again, illegal aliens are not eligible for federal benefits. If someone came into the hospital with Medicaid they were here legally. People working full time and being eligible for assistance is not a problem of illegal aliens, talk to Walmart. Your comment was offensive.

      • If a licensed trainer hires an illegal immigrant/alien, the trainer would provide fraudulent documentation to make it appear as though the immigrant is legal. The Hall of Fame trainer, Steve Asmussen, was exposed in an undercover video by PETA doing a lot of different things and defrauding the government by doing this was part of it. The different government agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, the INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Social and Health Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the Social Security Administration, ETC. should crack down on the horseracing industry. If Patrick McKenna ever does a debate with Patrick Battuello, he should have at least one of his attorneys present.
        (How many of the jobs in HORSERACING are for attorneys?
        (Doowee, Cheat’em, and Howe)

        • That’s not quite how it works. The employer has to provide the SSA with a valid SS number of a living person in the database and still pay the taxes, they can’t just invent a person because that person wouldn’t have a valid SS number and wouldn’t exist in the database. Usually a third person loans or sells the employer the use of their SS number and collects the retirement credits earned by the illegal alien working. It appears that person works more than one job. If the sum of the wages plus taxes paid is less than what they should be paying then the employer saves money. The real holder of the SS number collects more credits and increases their retirement benefit. The illegal alien working is still not eligible for any federal benefits because they’re illegal, that was the point I responded to. It’s a common misconception that somehow people who are in the country illegally can collect benefits. They can’t.

          • How do the rich people that hire immigrants continue to take unfair advantage of illegals? I suppose that the laws are not intimidating to the people who have the funds to pay the fines.

  8. All of horse racing is offensive. As a whole, the way the entire industry (mis)treats and exploits its largely immigrant backstretch workers is similar to the ways in which it mistreats and exploits the horses themselves:
    The “Kings” routinely underpay the only people in their sick game who DON’T actively endanger the horses’ lives and well-being. Of course, they try to justify the low pay with what they call “free employee housing” — sticking workers and their families in freaking barn stalls and tack rooms that may or may not have been converted for human living.
    When the shit hits the fan (voters get sick and tired of all the state-sanctioned animal and human abuse that IS the Sport of Kings), the same benevolent royalty trots the poor workers out in public to plead for the salvation of their jobs. (Can’t blame the workers for trying to spare the Kings’ bloody anti-sport from extinction; they’ve been threatened with joblessness AND homelessness should their “generous” employers be forced to find a non-horse-killing hobby.)

    • The sleeping-in-a-stall and/or tack room is a lot less expensive than getting a motel/hotel room by the week for anyone working as a groom of racehorses, as you know. So that is really disgusting when you think about actually having to go without a shower or a bath for who knows how long (in the Sport of Kings). This is a reality for legal citizens employed by a racehorse trainer. I can’t imagine what anyone that has immigrated and doesn’t have valid and legal identification goes through to get their basic necessities/needs met. This whole thing of grooms never getting a bath or shower was brought to light some decades ago on at least one of the major television networks. Grooms going without a shower or bath for six-months is a repulsive reality.

    • No one — NO ONE — NOT a SOUL — gets treated WORSE than the HORSES – no one, I tell you.

      • I know. That’s why I wrote “similar to…” about mistreatment/abuse of workers and horses.

    • I truly don’t care about the backstretch workers. PERIOD. They will survive…..the horses won’t. END this amoral torture NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! NOW.

      • The workers will find other jobs — and housing that doesn’t involve living and raising a family in a freaking STALL that isn’t even suitable as animal accommodations. To that end, I DO care about the backstretch workers. They’re just trying to get by, and seem to genuinely care about the horses’ well-being and need for companionship.
        It’s everyone ELSE in racing — officials/regulators, vets, owners, trainers, bettors, jockeys, chart callers, agents, racing press members, breeders…You know, the Kings and Queens of the sickest biz in this country — whom I have true disdain for. Not that they care; they’re too busy covering up all the carnage they generate to consider what I think of them.

  9. You can tell McKenna for me that I, nor anyone I know, has ever been to a race track for the joy of watching horses being beaten and broken for “sport”. because we respect and love horses. None of us can tolerate seeing even one of these noble animals being whipped and forced to perform for profit. Horses were never meant to be slaves under tortured. McKenna must be a member of organized crime or he wouldn’t be such a brazen liar!

  10. SIGN SHARE — SHAME ON YOU — this POOR justification for continuing with HORSE torture MUST STOP — think of ALL the JOBS El Chapo — the DRUG Dealer — created with his enterprise — off the cuff : manufacturing, distribution, tunnel makers, security People — yet, we abhor his business with all of its destruction — the same with HORSE RACING — we MUST PROTECT our Horses and ensure their well-being is prioritized.

  11. I worked for the EPA before I retired. i went to Belmont Racetrack (horror) as am inspector. I inspected with Nassau County, good people. One horse with damaged forelegs was in a stall, just like Patrick says. Poor horse was so in need of a friend, that he came over.
    I also noticed that illegal aliens were hired to “take care” of horses. They hosed the horse down with water, and then put the poor equine victims in a stall, with no walking, first, to get the moisture off. Wrong!!!

    • 1) How would you know if the backside track workers were illegal? 2) Do you have proof that they were illegal? 3) Or, are you just making a broad assumption that anyone who looks like an immigrant from South of the United States border is an illegal alien?

      • Odd how as soon as the phrase “illegal alien” gets mentioned we get several trolls who’ve never commented on this website.

        • I would like to see the end of horse racing!!! In any event, the FACTS are what truly matter! The argument that HORSERACING “creates or provides” jobs should be proven or disproven with the facts, not lies or hearsay. In order to prove that the jobs that the HORSERACING people say that their industry creates or provides is not a valid claim must rely on people who can be trusted to be credible to relate the FACTS, NOT FICTION.

          • When horses are being murdered,tortured,crippled,and maimed….jobs DON’T matter!!!!!!!

            • Thank you, Bonnie! I totally agree!!! In some people’s minds, horses are considered something that is killed for meat anyway. So their prevailing attitude is not to enforce the illegal killings of horses. I’m thinking specifically of a report in the State of Florida when someone was killing horses belonging to different private parties and killed and butchered without permission on the horse owner’s property possibly during the night. It’s horrible and should not be tolerated.

              • *the laws against killing horses, at least horses belonging to someone and the person (or persons) who killed the horses was trespassing, doing an illegal butchering, stealing….

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: