Preakness Day Will Be Oppressive for the Horses; Trainers Say, Don’t Worry About It

The Preakness, of course, is Saturday in Baltimore. The weather, however, is not cooperating: Forecast calls for high 90s with a heat index well over 100. Will the race be canceled? Not on your life. This is, after all, one of Racing’s high holy days. Still, the weather is/will be a hot topic of conversation. Here are some thoughts (BloodHorse) from participants (no, not the horses, silly).

Saffie Joseph Jr., trainer of Skippylongstocking: “Hopefully that’s to our advantage. He’s accustomed to the heat and has run on very hot days. It’s common in Florida. We can use every break we can get on Saturday.”

Alessandro Sano, asst. trainer of Simplification: “He’s Florida born and bred. Ever since he was a baby, he’s been exposed to the sun and hot days. He ran on hot days at Gulfstream in the summer. He broke his maiden on a very hot day at Gulfstream, so he shouldn’t be bothered by it much. Running in those kind of temperatures is not ideal for anyone but at least having the knowledge that our horse has performed with success in that kind of weather before gives us a little more confidence.”

Wayne Lukas, trainer of Secret Oath: “We’ll have to see. She hasn’t raced in that kind of heat before, but we’ll try to get through it. It will be the same for everyone. It will affect all of our horses but I will say it can affect some more than others, especially those that let their adrenaline base get a little high. Depending on the humidity, it could impact the oxygen intake a bit.”

Chad Brown, trainer of Early Voting: “I can’t predict how it will affect Early Voting. It’s unfortunate, especially for the horses, to have such a prestigious race and big weekend for everyone and to have to deal with such oppressive conditions.”

Craig Fravel of track owner The Stronach Group: “We run into this situation at all of our tracks. We routinely run with temperatures like that in Florida and on occasion during the fall meet at Santa Anita Park we’ll have a day like that.”

Regarding the fans, Fravel added: “We’re going to check with all the proper authorities about back-up generators and the air conditioning. There will be plenty of water around and places for people to be in the shade. There will be plenty of room inside the building if they need to be inside rather than in the sun.”

Oppressive for the horses, comfortable for the humans – that about sums it up. In any event, Nicole and I, MD organizers Jennifer Sully and Peter Herrera, and a host of other HW activists will be there – most definitely and most proudly not in air-conditioned environs.

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  1. If these were humans running a marathon or an Iron Man, it would be cancelled because of the heat. So much for horses being “athletes” and “members of our families.” Running the races in these temperatures is gratuitously cruel. Racing could not be more obvious about how little it cares for it’s slaves.

    • i despise horseracing, but at least they put ice blankets on the horses and hosed them down. did i mention how much i hate horseracing

  2. The apologists are all over this as well, claiming there is no “increased risk” for the horses. YET, racing mouthpieces are encouraging the HUMANS to stay cool and stay hydrated! Telling, isn’t it?

    • Joy, that directive is glaringly indifferent to the horses, but NO ONE in the racing industry truly cares about the horses. Running at top speed under oppressive temperatures can, and often does, contribute to the real possibility of founder, not to mention other heat exhaustion maladies. But, this is horse-racing. I just pray that no horses are lost due to any circumstances. I wish I could be there to demonstrate, but I’m on the “left” coast. I’m still skeptical about the last minute surge of Rich Strike in the Derby. I didn’t watch, but I did review the replay from an aerial standpoint. I think that jockey had a shocking device.

      • oh wow, shocking device….that’s terrible. there must be a reason you think one was used. can you post a pic of it for all of us to see. we need some hard evidence.

        • They use them even on the really crappy tracks. No wonder the horses flip in the gate and get jacked up.

          Sent from my iPhone


  3. Excuses..excuses..excuses. Isn’t true that they have to withhold food and more importantly water for a few hours before the race begins?

    • they have to stop the food a water at least an hour before the race otherwise the horses cramp up. it’s called tying up.

  4. How many running on lasix, already dehydrated with their tongues tied down will suffer terribly and drop?

    • i really think horseracing should be banned, but the good news is that many tracks don’t use lasix anymore and the stakes races they don’t use lasix. it will be banned totally in horseracing by july 2022, because of the implimentation of the horseracing integrity act. apparently their goal is to end racehorse abuse. we will see if they keep to their word.

      • Deborah D Thornton, the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority and the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act will NOT protect the horses from being INHERENTLY abused. It’s a no-brainer that horseracing is INHUMANE TREATMENT OF HORSES and inherently CRUEL to horses. Anything that appears to be less abusive to the horses (because of HISA) is a sad and cruel joke! Horseracing is sadistic to the horses!!!! HISA is meant to protect racing, the racing industry, and not the horses.

  5. By all means, the show of indifference to the horses must go on! Humans gotta have their tradition and their fix of horse abuse for the second leg of the Triple Crown that no horse running is eligible to win anyway. How will the horse-abusing degenerates explain it away after they’ve killed their racing slaves??? Of course, they will use the same ol’ same ol’ tired worn out excuses from their worn out list of phony excuses! They’ll tell us the bullshit lines in their perverted attempt to make it sound like they did the horses a favor to force them to suffer and die in such a “prestigious” race. Thoughts and prayers for all of your blood-thirsty, horse-killing, narcissistic, money-grubbing, power-mongering stakeholders after their horses dropped dead in the dirt. Boo-hoo… boo-hoo… boo-hoo… boo-hoo! You activists are so mean right now!!! You have no idea how bad we feel about our horse dying… boo-hoo…in the dirt!!! You don’t know anything about horses, you snowflakes, so just go away… boo-hoo… boo-hoo… boo-hoo… Have some sympathy for us racing industry humans because “we did the horse a favor to treat him like a used car!”

      • They will select a replacement to replace the one(s) that “blew up” in the heat with another model from their unique line of Thunder-bred used cars fresh from the factory farm for the big hoopla in 2023.

  6. Thank you for demonstrating for the horses. Racing them is awful, in the heat projected for Saturday is just torture. Of course the horses will be whipped to run faster and faster. There is absolutely no regard for the horses.

    • what about those whip rules some of the tracks and states have implimented. i care about the horses so much. some have talked about a no whipping rule, or reduced whipping, although i heard that the whip has a foam tip. that makes me feel better about it. i hope it’s true.

      • No whip would be ideal. I saw a guy drive two stallions with a mare in the middle using just his voice and dragging the whip across them (not hitting them) but as a reminder. We truly and some other countries as well have no idea what real horsemanship is.

        Sent from my iPhone


      • “Deborah D Thornton”, don’t feel too much better – whips that leave visible injuries to racehorses’ sensitive bodies are still being used (you can easily find a number of articles re: Sonny Leon’s suspensions where mention of a racehorse’s injuries left from a whip is provided). And of course, considering the crippling and killing of so many racehorses, being whipped is the least of their worries, isn’t it.

  7. The comments just reinforce what these people are about. It is amazing they would make their distinct lack of concern for their horses so public – not a mention of postponement!
    And Luckas says “We’ll try to get through it”
    Is he planning on running as well !!!

      • Darrell Wayne Lukas is 86 years old. He could run-in-place inside the air conditioned room.

      • I don’t know, but I’d love to see him fitted with blinkers, tongue-tie, harsh Dexter ring bit, figure 8 noseband and have a mechanical monkey on his back beating the crap out of him. If these perverse pieces of excrement were FORCED to run, I’ll bet there’d be monumental changes put forth. Humans are a deeply-flawed and cruel specie!

    • Rose, that was my thought exactly. Why doesn’t Lukas run around the track too? We’ll see how he likes 100 degrees…

  8. Patrick, I’m in the meteorological field and I can tell you this will be the more then oppressive. Living in Florida we haven’t seen heat like this this season. The high will be 93/97 in Baltimore on Saturday. Winds will be coming in from the SW ahead of a cold front due in there on Sunday. Because it’s the first heat day of the year the Horses, I don’t care if they’re from Florida or not will not be ready. Let Saffie Joseph run a mile in it and see how he fairs. Just my 2cents. Ken

    • But who will Stop it? They just don’t care About the horses. I am quite sure when it was that oppressive and horses were used for labor they got rests i. The middle of the day and water as well. The teams still working when I was young working very lightly on extremely hot days. Or cold for that matter. Now even the horses in NYC labor on oppressive days. This was work years ago because they needed I it but today it’s all such a farce with overinflated egos and fat heartless morons at the for front over money and an excuse to get drunk

      Sent from my iPhone


      • The main way to stop this insanity is for our elected politicians to END the millions of dollars in subsidies.
        Horse racing hasn’t been financially sustainable for years and it’s not getting any better for them.
        Their total dependency on taxpayer-funded subsidies is clear and their claims about jobs are artificially inflated.
        What good are jobs when everybody else is paying for them?
        That’s not the only thing that New York taxpayers are funding on their backs, but super wealthy elite people who buy racehorses for $100,000 or $1 million or even more don’t pay sales taxes.
        We can thank the politicians for that as well because they rubber stamp this sales exemption every single year and that amounts to billions, over the years, of dollars that should have gone into the public coffers.
        This business is a parasite and killing business.
        These people are parasites who live off their voiceless defenseless hosts until they mangle or kill them.
        All the while they live off of taxpayers and it’s our politicians that approve this with little to no input from New York residents most of whom have no clue what’s going on.
        So although the racehorses are the biggest losers so are the taxpayers and casinos that are forced to support them.

        • I would like to get the opinions of people who are more racetrack savvy than am I. These “jobs” that are so frequently used as a talking point for those who would like to keep racing going: what sort of jobs are they? What do they pay?

          From the few backstretch areas I have seen, the living conditions do not seem great, and the jobs appear very labor intensive. Are these workers, the ones who clean the stalls, feed the horses, hot walk, groom, etc., ever offered a chance to better themselves? Do they recieve benefits or a chance to advance? Any educational benefits? Health care? What happens when they are too old for the job? Injured?
          It reminds me of the ante-bellum south: a very stratified society, with the very rich at the top and the laborers at the bottom. Then there are the horses. The slaves: inanimate objects to use and then throw away. But this post is about the “jobs” thing. I’m really curious what kind of jobs we are talking about.

          • In addition to the backside track workers, the other jobs such as track employees that don’t need to sleep in a tack room because of not high enough wages for standard housing; I think the industry stakeholders want to project employment in other related industries and agricultural jobs as well, such as feed and tack manufacturing & processing and stores, hay growers, farriers, breeding farm employees, transportation for race horses and other things that might be either directly or remotely related to horse racing and Pari-Mutuel wagering. The jobs they claim would be lost are not necessarily as essential or even a part of reality as they want the politicians and the uninformed public to believe. But, of course, we should cry a million tears for someone that has worked with broodmares and foals for 40 years and woe, woe, woe is me and thee!!! What else could they possibly do…???? Sorry, not sorry. Boo-hoo.

          • Good question, Teresa. These are unskilled laborers and the majority get “on the job training” – ie, they aren’t equine knowledgeable. The jobs are low-paying. Hours are long and from what I witnessed at the track, they work 7 days a week. No benefits.

            The Economic News Release on May 3, 2022 by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported there were 11.5 MILLION job openings. Available jobs are ABUNDANT.

            Another point of interest on this subject are the racing trainers who are negligent in paying their workers – they violated minimum wage requirements. Several that come to mind; Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown, Kiaran McLaughlin, Linda Rice, Jimmy Jerkins. “Elite” trainers not paying their workers who struggle to make ends meet – makes one wonder about those who work at the cheap tracks.

            • Frank Stronach and Kenny McPeek are also among the greedy people who have been known to refuse to pay their hired help while profiting from this hideous cruelty to horses.

    • Saffie Joseph wouldn’t be able to run his fat ass down a driveway much less run on a track. But I’d pay to see it!

  9. If there is”no increased risk to the horses” according to the all knowing all seeing apologists, then why did three horses suffer heatstroke at Keeneland this April ???

    • Evidently, the brilliant “horsemen” at Keeneland didn’t use the super-safe, specifically-formulated, highly-scientific combination of magic dust that they have in Baltimore.

    • You’re absolutely right, jean pubilee!!!!!!!!
      All of the routine cruelty and torture of the horses should be stopped even in temperatures lower than 90°F but that will take more effort and time. I appreciate everyone’s commitment to the cause of STOPPING the ABUSE, BRUTALITY & CRUELTY to horses which is synonymous with horseracing!!!!!
      WHEN people leave their pets and/or children in their cars while they go into the store “real quick” to buy groceries or anything, there will be some LOSS OF LIFE in those HOT CARS!!!!!!! CAN YOU IMAGINE temperatures of 110°F to 140°F or even higher inside the car???????

  10. HORSE RACING supporters & workers are vile, sadistic, unconscionable and cruel — also, immoral — they only care about raking in the money and to do so will torture, abuse and kill Animals — what kind of Society ALLOWS this?!

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