It’s Animal Abuse, Folks

The following pictures are of 2-year-old Hejazi Sunday at Santa Anita. Is this what the racing people mean by “pampered”?


  1. That bit __it is truly outrageous. Racing is so horrible for these innocent and beautiful animals.

    • The “bit” is a ring bit. It usually is used to control a headstrong horse. Hejazi is probably wearing a tongue tie. This latter equipment addition is used to prevent a horse from getting its tongue over the bit which cuts off his air supply. Mike Smith is a very capable rider. Baffert is a very good trainer. You are free to disagree with me. However, I am free to comment on your hasty assessment of the photo. Hejazi is a3 year old.

      • Hejazi is clearly wearing a nylon stocking tongue tie.
        It has been proven that not only do tongue ties cause pain, they also cause respiratory issues for the equine.
        There’s documented evidence that sometimes tongue ties cause the horse’s tongue to become swollen, turn blue, lacerated and in some notorious cases tongue so badly cut that tongue has to be surgically removed. Having worked hands on with racehorses, I’ve witnessed the deliberate and intentional cruelty inflicted upon these poor horses.
        You can praise Baffert until the cows come home, however, you appear to be oblivious to the damning and irrefutable evidence found by relevant authorities against him in relation to his conduct as a trainer in the horseracing industry.
        As for the jockey Mike Smith, his abusive and cruel use of the whip are also well documented.

      • Given Baffert’s track record of multiple doping violations it’s highly likely that HEJAZI is doped up to the rafters and many of Baffert’s racehorses appear this way.
        Since I have no faith in the integrity of either the drug testing process or the racing commissions (especially the CHRB who was totally complicit in the outright fraud and cover-up of a positive doping test for Justify) it seems that Baffert is winning on more than just his “trainer” skills, but certainly very effective at killing racehorses.
        Does that not bother you that plenty of racehorses have died under his custody and some under suspicious circumstances that result in equine insurance policy payouts like WHATASONG?

        • Of course, this whole horse-killing shit-show bothers anyone who listens to their gut and their conscience. It’s so obvious to so many people that the horse racing industry is CORRUPT and that this corruption is being funded by government subsidies and government-directed benefits including tax write-offs.

      • Rene- he is DEFINITELY tongue tied, but since you didn’t even know that for sure – notice anything else wrong there?? Hint- it’s inside the yellow circle. Do you notice a bit?? I’ll solve that puzzle for you- it’s NO. Smith “capably” jerked it right into his mouth! And maybe – if Baffert would actually be a “very good” HANDS ON trainer – he would have made sure the horse’s bridle didn’t have enough play in it to even allow that to happen. This poor horse and the pain he endured when this happened and he couldn’t even retaliate against it as his tongue is tied down.
        Does he look like a happy horse?? I think not.

      • With all of your “knowledge”, Rene, did you not recognize how the bit was actually pulled into this 2-year-old’s mouth? – that a bit piece meant to be OUTSIDE of his tender mouth was actually INSIDE of his mouth? Of course you wouldn’t mention it if you had noticed it as you’re too busy blaming the physically and mentally immature horse for the pain he’s enduring for being “headstrong” – never mind he shouldn’t be doing what he’s being forced to do in the first place. That’s racing – demand the impossible of the horse then blame and punish him when he “fails”.

      • Looked one more time at the incriminating photos of Hejazi – this time the shadow roll caught my eye; more of racing’s sick yet accepted measures of “controlling” this exploited flight animal, using sensory deprivation and setting him up for a bad ending. I’m constantly in awe that more racehorses aren’t killed racing because of having their all-important sight restricted by shadow rolls and/or blinders.

      • I’m troubled by your nonchalant attitude about what’s okay if you want to control a horse to force it to something.

  2. So here we are right back to square one.
    Bob Baffert is a well documented multiple racehorse mangler, killer, doper, cheater and central figure in one of the biggest cover-ups in horse racing for the non-disclosure of a doping positive that permitted Justify to win the Triple Crown.
    He’s now back in business and continues to be the golden poster boy for horse racing because they are incapable of ridding themselves of trainers like this,
    In fact, they are not willing to do so especially when you have ties to the RCI (Racing Commissioners International) or any racing commissioner for that matter like Baffert seems to have based on many reputable reports.
    Take note all of you New York taxpayers who are forced to support this business because you actually paid for HEJAZI in one form or another.
    He was bred in NY by another racehorse abuser, killer and good friend of Baffert’s SEQUEL BLOODSTOCK owned by Becky Thomas who has been working with Bob for years.
    She made a cool $3,550,00 yes follks that’s $3.5 million while children in New York are being denied spots in public school education because there’s not enough funding.
    This is what YOUR TAXPAYERS MONEY is supporting in one form or another because there were NO SALES TAXES paid on this purchase and it seems obvious to most of us that a person who can afford to pay this much for a racehorse is one who should pay sales taxes!
    You can bet your sweet ass that Baffert will fly HEJAZI into New York to win the high priced NY bred stake races and then fly right back out.
    The sleaze in horse racing knows no bounds, but this is to be expected.
    What’s unacceptable is that our politicians continue to rubber stamp hundreds of millions of dollars to this abhorrent, deeply corrupt business who kills racehorses on a daily basis.

  3. I hate this shit! I have concluded that there is very little that people do to and for horses that isn’t completely torture, coercion and self righteous. They are slaves in every sense of the word. The “tack” used in most horse management is simply a device(s) meant for manipulation and to train them to perform completely unnatural behaviors. The eyes of this poor soul show complete defeat.

  4. Of course, the bits and tongue ties are CRUELTY to horses, but if you are a morally depraved, horse-abusing, horse-doping, horse-killing supporter of racing with your hands in the Billion-Dollar-Corporate-Welfare-“PIE” to the horseracing industry, why should you care about the laws regarding ANIMAL WELFARE in the State of California or any other state???

  5. I would venture to say, the Justify Scandal,and the criminal shenanigans CHRB did in the COVERUP was the Most egregious EVER. The horse shouldn’t have been even allowed to go into the starting gate. Worst criminal act to date.

    • The fans of Thoroughbred horseracing wanted a TRIPLE CROWN winner and the connections of the colt named JUSTIFY wanted to make gazillions of dollars in stud fees, not to mention the purse money and the wagering handle.
      For me, I think there are scandals in Horseracing that went unpublished and that I, for one, have no way to know just how much or how bad or how deep in the sludge of this cesspool of animal cruelty and racketeering these scandals go, truthfully.
      There are so many scandals in horseracing and a lot of these low-life racetracks with low-life trainers don’t make the news necessarily.
      Imagine a licensed trainer of horses for racing who has earned for himself the title of TEFLON [Bob Baffert] and now he’s back in the proverbial saddle again out where a “friend is a friend”… He is CERTAINLY NOT A FRIEND to horses.

  6. When people use excessive hardware on a horse’s face or in their mouth it’s an immediate sign they don’t know what they’re doing and need to resort to using force to get a horse to respond. A “headstrong” horse is one who has never been taught to yield or soften – they become hard to handle because they’re fighting against the constant pressure on their face or their mouth. BTW, labeling horses is common with people who don’t know what they’re doing: they can justify using bits, whips, and other torture devices because their horse is “lazy”, “headstrong”, “aggressive”, “flighty”, etc.
    Your glowing assessment of the trainer and rider notwithstanding, this is just another example of the rampant ignorance and lack of anything resembling basic, responsible training found on every track, no exceptions.

    • Don’t forget the classic excuse for a lack of TRUE HORSEMANSHIP skills: The horse has “ATTITUDE”… HAHAHA… Isn’t that so funny… Meanwhile, the human connections of the horses are so proud of themselves for their ability to execute TOTAL DOMINATION of the young, underdeveloped colt or filly and proceed to engage in a total lack of empathy for the horse’s welfare and well-being.

  7. To Rene: HEJAZI was born on April 21, 2020. Today is January 18, 2023. HEJAZI is two years old. He is only recognized as a three-year-old by the racing industry because the “racing industry” stipulates the Universal Birthday of January 1st for all racehorses.
    Isn’t that convenient to cheat the horses in as many ways as possible for the purpose of exploiting horses by means of cruel indifference to the horses?
    By all means, blind yourself to the reality; by all means, continue to exploit the horse because they are there for the exploiting.

  8. The bit, the tongue tie, the drugs, all substitutes for horsemanship. Brute force is used in place of training. These horses are not trained.
    Mike Smith is a “capable rider” and Baffert is a “good trainer” in the eyes of many racing supporters.
    Baffert drugs and kills his horses. When he is caught he uses the most ridiculous and implausible excuses. For him the end justifies the means.
    Mike Smith whipped Zenyatta unmercifully when she lost to Blame. He was at fault for waiting too long to make his move and he took his mistake out on the horse!
    However, Baffert wins and Smith rides winners and that is all that matters in this business.

    • You are absolutely correct, about waiting too long, and then taking mistake out on her. Especially since like a LOT of horses do not like Churchill’s surface. Totally abusive and uncalled for.

  9. As to anyone making so-called “hasty assessments” of what is being done to racehorses, do you think we all should just shut up and wait until the new foal crop numbers are so low that the Kentucky Derby cannot be conducted at all?
    Should we just shut up and wait another thirty years for the racing Hall of Fame and shame trainers such as Teflon Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher to continue to ABUSE, dope and kill more racehorses until the trainers have passed away from old age before we make an assessment?
    Hasty assessment — HA! This type of CRUEL treatment of horses for racing has been going on for far too long. There are several “bodies of knowledge” regarding the proper, as well as improper, handling of horses that have been shared for many decades, even centuries.
    The FACTS ARE IN. The ASSESSMENT that the headgear and bits and tongue ties used on HEJAZI and thousands of other racehorses are cruel to the horses has been proven.
    It is inhumane treatment of horses to do to the horse’s mouth what is shown being done to HEJAZI in the picture above.
    You might attempt to better yourself and improve your ability to make a more accurate assessment by reading some printed material readily available to those who seek it, Rene. I suggest that you read “The Bitless Bridle” by Dr. Robert Cook to enlighten yourself, Rene.

  10. Lots of comments here by people who know quite a bit about race horses.

    I am not ashamed to say that by reading these posts I’ve learned a lot of knowledge that I should have had when I was handicapping and betting.

    I’ve found them interesting, informative, and backed by facts by professionals: (i.e., Mr. Battuello’s post from Emeritus Professor Robert Cook from Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, regarding bits and bridles.) it seems to supersede everything I thought I knew when I was still betting.

    To add my own two cents to the conversation, I met Mike Smith a few times and found him to be charming, pleasant, and humble -someone who seemed like a very nice guy.

    But as a jockey, after his horrific ride on Zenyatta, which was referenced earlier, I never bet on him again. Zenyatta was a beautiful, majestic and talented runner and should have won that race easily, AND kept his unbeaten streak intact, but Smith beat the horse mercilessly because he knew he f***d up – badly.

    That also showed me what kind of person he really is, beneath his public façade.

    As far as trainer Baffert, regular posters on this site already know my opinion of him. Hint: it’s not exactly sterling.

    With riders like Smith who take out their frustrations about their own shortcomings on fabulously talented horses like Zenyatta, and trainers like Baffert who seems to never have found a drug he didn’t like to give to his charges, is it any wonder I gave up on this crooked, vile, cheating game?

    A note to any of you reading this who are NOT in the racing industry but may still be wagering on horse racing, take the advice of a former seasoned professional handicapper: I quit because it’s fixed. You should too.

    You have no idea how your horse is going to run today, no matter WHAT the PPs tell you; and with guys like Smith and Baffert at the top of the heap, can you only imagine what’s on the bottom? Another hint: you don’t want to know.


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