If This Doesn’t Merit License Revocation, What Does?

In the 5th race at Zia Nov 20, says the New Mexico Racing Commission, jockey Luis Flores-Garcia whipped his horse, 3-year-old American Skandal, “in excess of 15 times.” This being his “third offense within a year,” Flores-Garcia was levied a $1,000 fine – but no suspension. In the very next race that day, Flores-Garcia was aboard 3-year-old Second to No Other. This time, he “struck [the] horse in the head at least 3 times.” For this – now his fourth whipping offense – he was suspended just 14 days.

So to recap, Flores-Garcia meted out over 15 lashes to one horse, and struck another in the head at least thrice – all within 30 minutes. And he got his wrist slapped.

People often ask why racehorse cruelty can’t be prosecuted by local or state DAs. The answer is twofold: First, prosecutors will and do argue that the Racing Commission is a state agency, and it handles all racing-related matters, including punishment of the wayward. Second, though, is the state, as a rule, gives deference to what is referred to as “common industry practice.” Racehorses have always been whipped, therefore it is not viewed and treated as animal cruelty.

But even if that were not the case, making matters worse, New Mexico cruelty law gives an out to abusers: “Cruelty to animals consists of a person negligently mistreating, injuring, killing without lawful justification.” “Without lawful justification.” It is lawful at NM racetracks to whip horses, so that particular form of mistreatment – that cruelty – would be considered justified anyway. How disgusting is that?

Should you be interested in voicing your outrage:

Zia Stewards: 575-492-6086 (or 6087)
New Mexico Racing Commission: 505-222-0700
Racing Commission staff, including individual stewards: here


  1. I have galloped horses that were whipped in the face several times by a female jockey. I asked the owner / trainer if I could gallop the horse in an official workout. The horses name was Last Peak. He & I together as a willing team attained the FASTEST workout of the day at Portland Meadows in the spring of 2004. I carried NO WHIP OR SPURS OR BUZZERS! The horse people were all surprised! I told them all the pain devices they use are completely unneeded. When a horse & rider like & know each other no cruel equipment is needed. I could have used a bit-less bridle with him for sure. After seeing the abject unneeded cruelty inflicted on these gentle horses we QUIT in 2005 despite having to struggle GREATLY to acquire a riding license LEGALLY after trying for 20 + years!

  2. Horses are abused, mistreated and killed by this abuse and mistreatment and that is industry practice. This is why Horseracing is Animal Cruelty and needs to and must be banned completely. There really is nothing humane about horse racing.

  3. For this reason, the IDIOTS continue to abuse the Horses — not a soul STOPS them — the spectators, the bettors, the industry itself who claims to care about Horses — NO ONE steps up to protect the Horses — this is an EVIL racket — nothing more than a money-making scam — all the while abusing, torturing, killing HORSES

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