Moving From Churchill to Ellis: A Ploy, Nothing More

Yesterday, I wrote of HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus’ reluctance to shut down Churchill or any death track for fear that livelihoods would be adversely affected. Later in the day, it was announced that “in an abundance of caution,” beginning June 7 the remainder of Churchill’s spring meet would shift to Ellis Park. (Of course, as predicted, Churchill has promised “a top-to-bottom review of all safety and surface protocols and integrity measures in collaboration and consultation with nationwide experts.” Blah, blah, blah.)

While in some quarters, the move is being praised, which is precisely what Lazarus and company were hoping for, this should be seen as the hollow PR – cynical ploy – that it is. Churchill racing is not being shut down: Churchill owns Ellis; everything is simply being moved two hours west. No jobs lost, no purses forfeited. And when horses die at Ellis – and they will – we will be reminded, yet again, that in this vile industry, money trumps cruelty, jobs trump killing. Always.

Subscribe and Get Notified of New Posts


  1. These “nationwide experts” who can twist the facts into fiction so fast it could make your head spin will certainly pass the buck under pressure. They’ll never take responsibility for their own actions and misdeeds. The abuse and brutality, the injuries and fatalities won’t stop at Ellis Park.
    The spotlight on the cruelty to horses will move from one racetrack to another racetrack. These criminally-minded people can run from one track to another racetrack, but they can’t hide everything. Eventually the number of horse kills and horses missing-in-action will catch up with them.
    They are going to keep up the same modus operandi of killing and maiming horses at Ellis Park and then they will have to “consult” with more “experts” “in an abundance of caution” to keep from losing their paychecks.

    • I think it’s great that the spotlight will be on a lesser known lower level track that isn’t considered glamorous or prestigious like Churchill Downs. You know that when horses are abused and killed, they’re just as abused and just as dead regardless of what kind of facilities they were abused and/or killed in. Some people have this thought process, (or should I say excuse process?), that it’s all magically okay if the horses were kept at beautiful facilities. Abusing and killing horses in “beautiful facilities” doesn’t make the daily routine cruelty to horses nothing to be alarmed about. Anyone with a sense of basic decency should automatically be alarmed about horses dropping dead for “no apparent” reason and the horses that break down from broken bones and their flesh being ripped apart in the process. It is not okay to look the other way.

  2. Copied and pasted in the comments section in “The Washington Post”. So, far, within minutes, 6 recommends. Also posted your comment in “The Boston Globe” after the Churchill Downs story.
    People are so much more aware of the horrors in racing than ever before. Just from reading the comments: “Horse racing is animal abuse. The suspension needs to be permanent.
    And every other track in the United States needs to follow suit.

  3. HISA, IMHO, was NOT enacted for the purpose of “overseeing national, uniform integrity and safety rules for Thoroughbred racing in the U.S.”, – as they say- but rather, was installed as a very vocal and visible public ploy specifically designed to divert attention from a chronic problem that all racing insiders know that they can’t fix – the inevitable death of many of the race horses.

    In my many years of wagering on thoroughbred races horses – and for the record, I no longer do – I’ve met a lot of trainers, owners, jockeys and racing officials, and, although I see many posts here to the contrary, take my word for it – none of them are lazy or stupid.

    They all work extremely hard at what they do, and often put in very long hours starting very early in the morning. They leave no stone unturned in trying to get their charges to win races. For the most part, they handle their business very efficiently and effectively.

    Kind of like the owner of a multi-million dollar illegal drug or child porn trafficking business does.

    Evil? Underhanded? Dishonest? Tricky? Evasive? Illegal? Sure. And them some.

    Lazy and stupid? Not on your life.

    But back to HISA.

    An old friend of mine once told me long ago, “Joe, follow the money, and you’ll get all your answers”. Nowhere is this more true than in the horse racing industry. Now, though, their money trail is being questioned by many, and not just the animal activists. Thanks to this site, and the digital explosion of the internet, the general public is rapidly shying away from horse racing, as can be seen by the drop in attendance and handle on all but the biggest racing days.. While the Saratoga/Del Mar Season, and the 3rd leg of the Triple Crown is upon us, as always in the summer season, there seems to be an influx of racing interest. But it’s not true. On the first racing day after the Belmont Stakes, the crowd diminishes by well over 80%.

    HISA, the racing insiders and even the general public sees this now, and they’re scrambling, trying desperately to shore up a failing enterprise for as long as they can. As I said earlier, they’re all not stupid; they know the handwriting is on the wall, and I personally believe they’re simply trying to wring out the last buck before horse racing finally goes the way of Greyhound racing.

    By the way, a friend of mine once long ago rescued an older greyhound from the dog racing circuit. Let me tell you, what a beautiful kind, and loving pet this animal was!

    • I don’t equate “waking early and long hours” to mean hard work. Put it this way…pull any chucklef**k off the streets and they could work in horse racket.

      • You’re wrong, Bonnie.

        Not every “chucklef**k off the streets can work in the horse racket.” Most, if not all the horses do not die from laziness, or even stupidity on the part of their “connections”, but rather from the deliberate and illegal use of drugs, as well as the deliberate over-racing of their young charges to eke out a win at all costs. Like any other “racket”, the most successful trainers such as Baffert, Pletcher, Brown and others know their business, and all the ins-and-outs, both legal and otherwise, very well. And they work very hard at their cheating.

        Just because their business is crooked and wrongful, don’t think for one minute that these people became millionaires by being lazy or stupid. They’re not.

        Don’t you think that Baffert was cheating, over-doping, and skirting the rules long before he got caught and had to have his Derby-winning horse, Medina Spirit taken down after the fact?

        To be clear: I’m not condoning their actions, but successful criminals work hard at their dastardly enterprises, too.

        • You have made your point very clear, Joe. I appreciate your effort to articulate the fact that you are not defending this heinously cruel and criminal enterprise referred to as “the Sport of Kings” by The Jockey Club since whenever. The terminology originated from Europe as far as I know. This is the ugly reality that we face no matter how offensive this terminology is to so many people who see the horrific breakdowns and killings as not a real sport. It never stops being offensive.
          I think using the term “lazy” in the context of the horseracing industry is rather appropriate. You know that many words have more than one meaning and such as that. The people who would rather “let the horses do the work” than get off their “lazy” butts and do even a fraction of the manual, physical labor that these horses do for these professional liars, cheaters and horse exploiting killers deserve to be called lazy, except for, in my opinion, that is almost a compliment compared to what they really are.

          • All noted Wanda, but I actually prefer the term “a**holes” to describe them, rather than “lazy”, when applied to the horse racing “connections”.

            I think it’s much more appropriate.

            I stated earlier that I have since grown to HATE a “sport” that I once loved and had many enjoyable times at. But, I can no longer enjoy horse racing knowing what I know now.

            Certainly these poor animals are used and terribly abused by their people, and sometimes even cheating can be hard work – but in an earlier reply to Bonnie, I did say that I am not condoning their actions, nor do I admire them or their “methods’ at all.

            But most importantly, do be careful in the use of the term “lazy” – and never underestimate your enemy. These people will stop at nothing for a “win”, and that includes working extremely hard to hide their unscrupulous and devious, malicious actions.

        • Working with ANIMALS that CANNOT fight back is not a job! You joe still seem in admiration of men who have NOT worked,seems like you just think it’s cool to worship a man who sickeningly became a multi millionaire through killing. I’ll tell you REAL work joe…it’s what the MEN in my Family have.And,don’t think I’m playing around…I’m talking King of the HAMPTONS,and more.I KNOW what honorable MEN with Real jobs do.

          • Sorry, but, wrong again, Bonnie.

            For the record, I am NOT in admiration of, nor, do I “think it’s cool to worship a man who sickeningly became a multi millionaire through killing.”

            Re-read my earlier post and you’ll see that I clearly state this:
            “To be clear: I’m not condoning their actions, but successful criminals work hard at their dastardly enterprises, too.”

            And I also said: “Evil? Underhanded? Dishonest? Tricky? Evasive? Illegal? Sure. And them some.”

            If you honestly believe that I actually ADMIRE these traits, then you need to read my posts a bit more carefully

            Rather, I am simply stating a fact. Most, if not ALL of the successful horse racing insiders, trainers, and jockeys ARE multi-millionaires and you DON’T become that wealthy through laziness or stupidity. But every successful enterprise, whether legal, or illegal, highly moral or ethically dubious, is attained through cleverness, hard work and a thorough knowledge of your craft to be at the top of your game, and remain there.

            For example: Professional “hit men” earn a lot of money for cold-blooded murders. Most sane people, myself included, don’t condone or admire them, but it’s outright foolishness to think they don’t earn a lot of money for each “hit” or, in your own words, to think that any “Chucklef**k off the streets” can buy a gun and be successful at it. Without getting caught.

            An old acquaintance of mine once wisely told me to “Never underestimate your enemy”, and you ought to consider that thought the next time you think that these horse racing people are lazy and/or stupid.

  4. If they really were all that concerned, then why didn’t they shut down the meet BEFORE Derby day? If that had happened, at least 2 of these wonderful animals would still be alive.

  5. I really hate this – so now the horses will be trailers over to the other facility, more stress for them. And raced in a place they may not have been before – more stress. Just idiotic,

    • Can you imagine a beautiful facility that hosts one of the most famous horse races in the world having a less than perfect track surface????????

  6. Bob and todd went to prestigious Arizona college 🙄. They didn’t even need a “degree”😂 to work in this clusterf**k.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: