The Wicked Burton Sipp

“[He is the] most deplorable person I have encountered on the backstretch of a racetrack.” – former PA racing commissioner, Thoroughbred Daily News, 8/19/22

While I’m clearly no Bob Baffert apologist, I’ve long maintained that criticism of him, by media and public alike, is mostly misdirected – a classic example of missing the forest for the trees. As the most successful/famous trainer on the planet, Baffert makes for an easy target, and let’s face it, in our 21st Century digital world – fast and shallow – both the reporting and reading are often lazy. But the truth is, most of Baffert’s “wrongs” – beyond, that is, merely participating in racing – involve overages of legal meds (i.e., he’s no doper). Meanwhile, the truly evil characters escape scrutiny.

Burton Sipp, of course, is no stranger to our site. I’ve frequently reported on his abuse and killing (most recently Little Christy), and our then-VP painstakingly documented industry apathy as Sipp dumped his trash (spent horses) into the slaughter pipeline. But there’s much more to know about this wicked, old (he’s 78) man.

Last week, Sipp was “temporarily” suspended at all Churchill tracks (one of his home tracks is Presque Isle) for, as the company put it, “concerns over the care and treatment of his horses.” Apparently, this now makes Sipp newsworthy, as the racing press, especially the Thoroughbred Daily News, decided to “expose” him. In any event, here are some highlights from TDN:

“In 1984…Sipp was indicted…in New Jersey on charges of inflating insurance claims on nine horses who died in his care over a four-year period.” According to the county prosecutor’s office, “the horses died within three days to five months of the insurance application.” But it was probably much worse. An affidavit from that case said, “The investigation had been initiated by the FBI and centered around the allegation that Mr. Sipp had killed 41 horses in an insurance fraud scheme.” (Sipp pleaded down, of course, and was merely fined and placed on probation.)

Sipp also once owned a 32-acre zoo in New Jersey called “Animal Kingdom.” In addition to an alleged staged-burglary (of exotic birds) and a couple suspicious fires – in the same year (2011), one of which killed his wife, the other, 24 animals – the USDA investigated the deaths of five emaciated giraffes in 2002. As of 2013, Animal Kingdom had racked up over 200 violations in 12 years, “many for animal neglect.”

Beyond the obvious question of what took Churchill so long, there are the just-as-obvious follow-ups: Where’s the vaunted HISA? And why hasn’t West Virginia, Sipp’s other “home,” followed suit? Well, regarding the latter, Mountaineer’s director of racing, James Colvin, told TDN: “I have no information for you to discuss on Burton Sipp. The WV Racing Commission has licensed Mr. Sipp and has also investigated him and to my knowledge have found no wrongdoing as to date.” And there it is – “no wrongdoing.” Monday at Mountaineer, Sipp ran Ajzal (last place) and had another, Pivotal Woman, scratched by the stewards; last night, he ran Mutashabeh (27+ lengths back) and Chipper Ron (last place). Pity their souls.

(full TDN articles: here, here.)


  1. I believe there is a special place in Hell for people who abuse children and animals. Burton Sipp’s fires can’t burn hot enough.

  2. I remember him years ago admitting to me that he was running a half sister of my OTTB with screws and a plate in her leg. I wish then I could have rescued her from his clutches. but of course he refused to sell her. I can well imagine what happened to her. I’ll never forget her name- Blood Diamonds.
    He was also running a big chestnut gelding that he admitted had tendon issues. He wanted $1500 for him, and my friend wanted to buy him as a riding horse. He said he would sell him as long as she allowed him to keep racing him!! I quickly talked her out of this deal. This guy is well known in the racing world as a creep and sicko. And yet people at mountaineer welcome him with open arms and laugh and joke with him like he’s awesome. What a bunch of nasty people!

  3. Sounds like the second incarnation of Dale Baird. Wasn’t Mountaineer his home track also?

  4. This man is the lowest of the low. He has killed horses for years. I laughed when I saw he was suing Churchill Downs for millions after tossing him out. He should have been tossed out of racing many years ago. Wicked old fool.

  5. Allowing this “sociopath” to continue in racing says all one needs to know about this sick gambling business.
    Those in racing who are enabling this sadist to continue to torture horses are just as guilty as he is.
    I wonder how the WV Commission defines “wrongdoing”?!
    Churchill has “temporarily” suspended him.
    What a joke!!! What will that accomplish?!
    There is no national racing commission by design, so criminals can go from track to track with impunity.
    Any criticism of this guy, Sipp, by racing is disingenuous because nothing has been done and nothing will be done to stop him.
    Don’t listen to what these people say watch what they do!

  6. Any “trainer” with Sipp’s record that has been around this along most likely has direct ties with the racing commissioners and/or the HBPA.
    Bob Baffert and all of them are all the same whether male or female or whatever their tier is.
    They all exploit, abuse and kill racehorses as their source of income.
    They have a choice the racehorses don’t.

  7. Bob Baffert and Burton Sipp both abuse, neglect and kill horses for a living, if you want to call that a living.
    If the Racing Commissioners in California were not in on the corruption, the illegal doping of horses, and the manipulation of the outcome of the races for wagering handle, payoffs, payouts, Bob Baffert would not have been the only trainer to have horses that won the Triple Crown within the last decade. The horses would not have been able to win the three major Grade One races without a lot of corruption going on!
    Now Burton Sipp has the Racing Commissioners in West Virginia to cover for him. Obviously, they’re all in this corruption together. Who knows, if anyone wants their wife gone, Burton Sipp could be their go-to hit man.

    • 100% agree Wanda.
      Furthermore, they ALL deserve attention from Bob Baffert, Burton Sipp to Amber Cobb, Linda Rice, Keri Brion, all the vets who were indicted for a doping ring in New York, Chad Brown who also engages or has engaged in widespread wage theft.
      However, I know of 10 male and female trainers, that I directly witnessed as an insider, that were just as abusive as all of these, but never got attention.
      Furthermore, in order to get any type of minimal accountability, via exposure, you have to be exceptionally cruel and abusive because horse racing covers for them.
      In fact, they revere these trainers and the more they dope, cheat and/or kill, the more recognition they get including being inducted into their Racing Hall of (Sh)ame.
      Their dismal records clearly reveal an industry where the “higher-ups,”( that is the mostly male traditional CEO’s and/or Racing Commissioners) condone, support and defend these monsters.
      This is a widespread, systemic abuse system that is deliberately and maliciously set-up to facilitate the ongoing inhumane treatment of racehorses.
      I know because I saw it and witnessed it first hand despite what they say into the camera.
      You make it (according to industry standards) in this business when you are a doping, abusive, and/or racehorse killer who conducts themselves with zippo remorse.
      In short, you must be a heartless parasite to make it and that’s why I’m proud of my “dismal” record as a trainer.
      I refused to do what is required within the systemic abusive scope of horse racing.

  8. Frankly, I don’t think there is any difference amongst any of the lazy (lazy,because they are all USING animals as a way to make a living) you know what’s hard you creepy white haired old farts? …(Bob,No Chin Todd, etc) WORKING a real job. The horses can’t fight back at you homely ass old creeps, which you fully know,that’s why you chose this,because you wouldn’t cut it at a job where you have people’s lives,health outcome,education,etc. Face it what all of you do is corny, brain dead, nonsensical unnecessary nonsense, it means nothing in the grand scheme of things. All it does is kill horses. We’ve got the ABSOLUTE best sport in the world about to enter another awesome season FOOTBALL. Nobody needs horses being whipped to run around a circle …get real, it’s totally nonsensical.

    • That’s the failed US empire. A business enterprise masquerading as a country. Hustlers and hucksters. Why would horse racing be any different in the massive mistake?

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