“I can’t imagine the pain this horse endured.”

The following on the Hejazi pics from yesterday comes from a former racehorse owner with a lifetime of experience working with horses. (This person prefers to remain anonymous.) I’ve reposted the photos and another showing the bit in question. Again, this was Sunday at Santa Anita. Jockey, Mike Smith; trainer, Bob Baffert.

“When I first saw the article about Hejazi in a racing publication, the number in the headline caught my eye: ‘$3.55-million Purchase.’ Craziness. The next thing I noted was the picture included in the article. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it. Then I zoomed in, and as I looked closer, I thought, wait, where’s the bit?? What kind of bit does he have?? As I enlarged the photo, I realized the cheek piece of his bit was IN HIS MOUTH. That poor horse – and his expression, with his ears pinned, shows it.

“After some research, I determined that this is a Dexter Ring Bit. The Dexter [below] has a ‘spoon’ hanging off the O-ring cheek piece. The spoon, it says, is ‘to prevent the bit from being DRAGGED through the mouth.’ Sure failed this poor horse! All I could think was the sheer force that Smith exerted to pull all this hardware into this poor horse’s mouth. And with his tongue tied down, Hejazi had no way to protect himself.

“I have never seen this happen before, not with eventers, not with jumpers. I can’t imagine the pain this horse endured. His teeth probably got banged, his cheeks and tongue possibly pinched, and then I thought, again, a $3.55-million horse gets treated like THIS?? He’s from a million-dollar barn and they couldn’t ensure his bridle cheek pieces were fitted properly?? If that’s what happens to the elites – what kind of treatment do you suppose the low-level claimers get?”


  1. Thank you for pointing out the fact that the metal piece on the side of the bit was pulled through the mouth. I noticed that yesterday in yesterday’s post on HEJAZI.
    I know I was not the only one to see it.
    Pulling a horse to go left or right when the horse doesn’t respond to the pulling causes the rider to pull harder. I’m not exactly surprised that this happened, but I am curious as to why Baffert the barbarian did not use the leather whatchamacallits that helps to prevent the parts of the bit that are not supposed to be inside of the horse’s mouth from being pulled into the horse’s mouth. This shows to me that every person who has anything to do with HEJAZI is just interested in getting the horse to perform without regard for basic HORSEMANSHIP or the well- being of the horse.
    This is horse RACING, NOT true HORSEMANSHIP. This is about forcing the horse to perform, NOT ABOUT the welfare of the horse.

  2. One might think, obvious animal cruelty aside, that these idiots would take better care of their ‘property’, even if that’s all they think of the horses in their care.

    Hey guys: and that’s you – trainers, riders, assistant starters, especially: here’s a hint: horses, like any other healthy, living, breathing creature, will run faster when they’re NOT in chronic pain. Duh. Are these guys clueless and stupid, as well?

    Do they drive their cars into walls?

    Do they throw their computers and other sensitive equipment around like volleyballs?

    Do they fling dishes into the dishwasher like they were pitching for the NY Mets?

    The way they treat their other ‘property’, i.e., a $3.55 million dollar horse, one might actually think so. I wouldn’t trust these maniacs with a child-proof ball point pen, let alone these multi-million dollar purchases. Now, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that these morons are not only incredibly stupid, but ineffectual as well as cruel.

    And that, my friends, is one horrible trifecta.

  3. Instead of being “headstrong”, I think this horse proved he is quite a tolerant and gentle soul to put up with this.

    • Yes, Marie! A horse-knowledgeable friend who read (racing supporter) Rene’s comment (the 2-year-old is “headstrong”) on the post about his abuse (https://horseracingwrongs.org/2023/01/18/its-animal-abuse-folks/) mentioned that exact thing! How many horses (especially one so young and immature!) would put up with that bit being PULLED into his sensitive mouth while a human is on his back forcing him to run?!?

  4. The only time I’ve seen this bit used is on Tennessee Walking Horses because they are inflicting such pain and suffering on them that they must completely control their actions.
    Bob Baffert’s wife – Natalie Jill Baffert (she goes by Jill, but changes back to Natalie Baffert when running racehorses under her husband) is from Tennessee and research seems to confirm that her past family are generations of slave owners who abused Tennesse Walking horses on their plantations.
    This seems to be in her blood because horse racing is a modern day slavery ring so they make a great pair.
    Then there’s Mike Smith whose a sadistic and brutal serial racehorse beater.
    He’s hired by Bob Baffert and has been aboard many of his racehorses with harsh equipment delivering regular beatings so obvious that he’s condoned by BB.
    AMERICAN PHAROAH was beaten by Mike Smith 32 consecutive times down the stretch at Keeneland and Kentucky did nothing despite public outrage.
    As recent as March 2020 Mike Smith beat the living crap out of MIDNIGHT BISOU in the Saudi Cup which resulted in a $200,000 fine and 7 day suspension.
    The beating is gruesome and there was outrage amongst the Saudi Arabians who was on site to witness if, but they did something about it unlike here – shameful.
    Then there’s the well documented comments by Mike Smith opposing any type of whipping rules “we risk our lives out there” and even threatened lawsuits if any jockeys die.
    He failed to acknowlege the basic truth that racehorses don’t have a choice to “risk their life” and they die out there on U.S tracks every damn day.
    Serial abusers and killers feel entitled to their victims and Mike Smith is no different.
    Then there’s the infamous racehorse beater, killer and longtime business affiliate of Baffert’s – Becky Thomas of Sequel Bloodstock who bred HEJAZI and who sold him for $3.55 MILLION not paying one dime in sales taxes.
    It seems obvious to most of us that a person who can afford to buy a racehorse for this amount is one that should have to pay sales taxes like the rest of us!
    Becky Thomas was notorious in horse racing circles for beating the living crap out of babies while breaking and training them for the 2 y.o in training sales in Florida.
    Stable employees describe a torture chamber with needles going in and out of these babies.
    True to industry form, it took multiple serious incidents and racehorses dying to finally put her under investigation in Florida, but she fled from Flordia to New York and hung her shingle out with BB buying racehorses from her to keep this sadistic show going.
    The apple doesn’t fall from the tree does it?
    HEJAZI was bred for the lucrative NY breeders awards and for the incredulous purse money all financially supported by casino profits and the public coffers.
    Bob Baffert, Natalie Jill Baffert, Becky Thomas and Mike Smith – birds of a feather flock together and HEJAZI seems to be a source of entertainment for these horrible people who seem to enjoy inflicting pain on him via harsh equipment, brutal training regimes and pubic floggings.
    This is all supported by an industry who condones and permits repeated serious offenders and abusers like all of them are.

  5. Thank you, anonymous.
    The force used by this jockey MIKE SMITH must have been violent and brutal. I suspect that his use of the reins was severely punishing throughout much of the race resulting in that part of the bit ending up in HEJAZI’S mouth. Unimaginable pain for this horse. And of course at the same time being cruelly whipped to go faster when the horse’s central nervous system is telling him to slow down due to fatigue setting in as a consequence of galloping at high and stressful speed. Sickening.

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