Bad Joke of the Day: Harness Driver Won’t Watch Football Because It’s Too Violent

While doing a search on the animal abuser Luke Plano, I came upon a recent Daily Racing Form interview with his father, Rick, also a harness racer. Some excerpts illustrating (again) how disconnected these people are.

Q: What is your favorite sport to watch?

A: It used to be football but now it is more golf because football is so violent now.

Violence? Well, if we’re taking violence to its most extreme end: In 102 seasons, exactly one professional football player has died in a game. One. Horseracing? I just reported on three in a single day (Wednesday).

Q: What is one thing about you most fans/bettors don’t know?

A: I’m a pretty emotional guy and a horse lover. … A lot of people do this for the money but I’m a horse lover. I buy good horses and I don’t abuse them. When I retire them we find them good homes and hope they live happily ever after.

Operative word in that “happily ever after” phrase: “hope.” Of course, Mr. Plano knows full well that most “retired” Standardbreds ultimately land in equine hell – the abattoir.

Q: What is one word that describes harness racing for you?

A: It used to be “great” when I was growing up, but it is more disappointing now. Thirty or so years ago when I got on an airplane people knew who I was and wanted my autograph. Now when I get on a plane…I’m just a nobody.

Sad, huh?

Q: With over 7,200 driving wins and over 4,000 as a trainer, what do those numbers mean to you?

A: It’s been good to me. I’d say 75% of the people out there who do what I do struggle and live on a week to week basis. So many times I’ll be in a race coming down the stretch and I’ll see some guy knocking away [DRF explains: “whipping his horse hard”] and I’m sitting fifth or sixth. I’m not trying to miss a check, but in my mind if it works out that way, that guy probably needs fifth more than I do so they can put some food on the table and clothes on their kids’ back.

Just “knocking away” – abusing an animal, that is – “so they can put some food on the table and clothes on their kids’ back.”

Q: You’ve gotten some fines during your career for failing to pause while whipping and unsatisfactory drives. In today’s culture, is there a fine line between what you feel is necessary for the horse and what the public thinks is ok?

A: Back in the day I used to get fined for not whipping enough…. The reality is that when I was betting on horses or other drivers [yes, like Pete Rose, he bet on his own industry], if I saw them coming down the stretch and they weren’t whipping on that horse, I would say, “what are you doing?” … I’m an old school guy. I always knew that a whip didn’t make horses go faster. I always said it stops them from slowing down.

“Stops them from slowing down.”

Q: Which horse are you most looking forward to racing this year?

A: I have a 2-year-old named Topville Somebeach. I bought him…for $40,000. I haven’t messed around with babies in a while but I bought a couple this year for the reason I mentioned earlier, there is no more racing down here [Florida]. So I took a shot. I had a couple of friends that wanted to buy some young horses. I figured if one of them steps up I can go to the sale next year and buy a half-dozen.

Buying babies – enough said.

Q: Better driver you or Luke?

A: I think my son is now. He’s younger…more aggressive. I don’t need to be aggressive with the horses I have, but my son is a…competitive driver.

“More aggressive”? Why, yes he is.

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    • That’s right! In between the lines, what he really means is: “I do abuse the hell out of them, but I’m not going to admit it. Are you freaking kidding me? Why would I admit that!?!?!
      Fined for not whipping enough is also very telling. This whole horseracing industry is premeditated, willful, malicious torture of horses!!!!

  1. I wish I could wave my hands and make these disgusting humans involved in this torture and killing of horses disappear … preferably from a painful disease. And, it’s not just the trainers,owners,jockeys, it’s also the writers,the photographers … you are all just as equally GUILTY of the HORRORS that is life for the beautiful horses.

    • Just this morning, there is an article on the Google news feed about certain Thoroughbreds being “rivals” which is crap language projected into this killing game by morally depraved humans. These are horses who are running for their lives from their human predators. This is not the soap opera of the world wrestling federation who know that they are just putting on a show for human entertainment.

        • It all is. Rivals, foes, love to win, know their job, lazy,…. Horse knows nothing except run or I’ll get hit.

          • A trainer of Quarter Horses admitted to using an electric cattle prod to shock the horse in the starting gate to “train” him to jump out of the starting gate faster; then there are the buzzers that the jockeys use. It’s all disgustingly abusive!!!!

  2. This is so infuriating! Football players know the risks and freely choose to play, and they are, for the most part, handsomely rewarded! Horses do not choose their lives, nor are they rewarded in any way. In fact, they are cruely punished, often to death, for their enforced labor. And as for people who “need the win” to put food on the table: PLEASE go and get a real job and stop forcing these poor horses to earn money for you—you’re no better than a pimp.

    • What’s sickening to me is they don’t give a damn when the horse is injured and euthanized.

      • Remembering the Grasso/Allard case: How can anyone be so heartless as to laugh about how the illegal performance-enhancing drugs affected the Standardbreds that died under a certain regime of inhumane treatment, illegal doping and say that the horse was cut open and poof, it died? How is that funny to anyone? Then again, how can anyone do this kind of crap to horses in the first place? These morally depraved degenerates belong in prison!!!!!!

  3. Here’s a sad fact of life …if you’ve got “Indy” in your name as a horse …you get saved from Puerto Rico after just NOW arriving there. What about the ONES that have been there forever suffering and dying little by little every god damn day? But,if you’re a homely trainer mega millionaire (todd pletcher)and want to score some rehabilitating your image ….it’s good “pr” after the rag writers wrote about it .. it’s like see .. I may be trainer to the billionaires,but,see I’m bringing a horse I used to train home. Timing, todd ….says is everything in making me seem like a “caring,love the horses guy”. Wonder if the rags hadn’t written about a poor Indy horse? In this scumshit fiasco of horse racing, you only matter if you’ve got corny “Indy” in your name😒 And, that folks, is the SAD as hell facts of life. NOBODY is looking out for ALL the rest. But, put stupid Indy in your name,and by god they’ll move you to front of the line, ahead of MUCH more DESERVING ones, the ones who have been suffering LONGER.

    • … makes him *seem* like a caring, love the horses guy… In other words, he is not a caring, love the horses kind of guy, he is just a heartless heathen that cares only about their bottom lines, but, what the heck, do something to be in the spotlight. The horse is just being used as a pawn like all the rest of the horses are pawns in some way. No horse deserves this cruelty.
      All of the horses deserve to be spared from racing and death by heinous cruelty.

  4. I was reading last night about a woman discovered a Gray mare named Anita Bonita in a Texas Kill Pen.She knew it was her by her tattoo, said not only had she raced,she had babies,and now getting thrown out like a piece of garbage ! The young woman was so upset, because she noted that the poor mare looked like she had “been through the mill”. Do the scumbags involved in this evil have no shame? This is why these people are so dangerous …nothing shames or embarrasses them,that is the very definition of psychopaths!

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