Revisiting the Abhorrent Amber Cobb

Last week, trainer Amber Cobb was suspended 7 years and fined $11,000 by the New Jersey Racing Commission. These are the offenses, as reported by BloodHorse: possession of hypodermic needles and syringes; possession of six vials of injectable foreign substances; training without a license. Then the biggie. Back in Feb ’21, you might remember, Cobb did this to one of her horses, a yet-to-be-named 2-year-old filly, at a private New Jersey farm. It was taken by a Cobb groom, Lisa Whittaker.

In defense, Cobb said the horse fell because of “slippery stall mats.” She then went on to claim she’d never had a horse flip like that before. But of course she had. Among the several Cobb kills I previously documented were these two:

Sky High Interest, Jun 12, 2020, Finger Lakes: “flipped…sustained head injury requiring euthanasia”; Diamond Darlin, Jul 20, 2020, Delaware: “horse reared and fell, hit head, fractured skull, ruptured major artery – died” (note: not euthanized, just died)

When reminded of Diamond, Cobb said (Paulick Report): “Oh, I forgot about her. I try to forget about her. She bolted off the wash rack and flipped over. It was an older horse … they think it was semi-heart attack related. She was an older horse.” That “older horse” was five. And isn’t it nice to know she “tries to forget about her”?

Below is a photo taken by Whittaker the day before the incident in the video. It is of Cobb with that same 2-year-old filly:

Shortly thereafter in Delaware, a Paulick article said this happened: “At the beginning of the 2021 Delaware Park meet, Whittaker recalled a horse – a bay colt – who was being taught to use the automatic walker. The horse broke loose and ran around the Delaware Park property for an extended period of time. When they finally caught him, the overwrought horse didn’t want to go into his stall. Whittaker testified that Cobb beat the colt in the head with a chain shank to get him to back into the stall. She also said Cobb told her to withhold feed from the horse for four days afterwards.”

The testimony (to the Delaware Commission) from Whittaker was perhaps even more damning: “Her methods are brutal. She is very heavy-handed. If they are slightly out of line, and these are young horses, she’s screaming at them to whoa and hitting them with a whip. They don’t understand why. She flips horses over all the time. She’ll pull on their mouths when they’re ground driving. She’s screaming at them, she’s whipping them, and there’s nowhere for them to go but up.”

You might also remember that after viewing the video and after hearing Whittaker’s testimony, the Delaware Commission reduced Cobb’s suspension from two years to two months. Apparently, several commissioners were impressed with Cobb. Chairman W. Duncan Patterson Jr.: “You were articulate. You were an excellent witness. I believe you were scared…. I believe you acted irrationally and I cannot ignore the video. It’s too damning. I [believe] that the stewards were correct in their ruling but the penalty goes much too far. I think that would put you out of business.”

Can’t have that, right? Eventually – after public outrage, that is – Cobb’s Delaware license was revoked (though it was scheduled to expire anyway at the end of ’22), and she has not resurfaced there since. Which brings us back to New Jersey. The February ’21 beating accounts for five of the seven years in suspension time. Five years. Now, whether this will effectively end her career as a trainer is quite beside the point, for why not actually kill her career? Where is that figurative death sentence? You know how I feel, she should have gone to jail. But horseracing – that besieged industry now boasting vociferously about the primacy of equine welfare – decides to leave the door open. Imagine that.

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  1. Sounds like all these horses being killed are done on purpose in order to collect insurance money.

  2. Who knows how many other trainers are as equally brutal as Amber Cobb but maybe they just don’t scream at the colts and fillies as loudly as Amber Cobb did/does?????
    If it were not for the pictures and the video obtained by her groom, Amber Cobb could still be literally beating, whipping and screaming at young and underdeveloped colts and fillies WITH a license to get away with this horrendous abuse and brutality against horses in the State of Delaware and the State of New Jersey.

    After all, horseracing is the “game we LOVE” according to Mike Repole.

  3. The right thing to do would be jail time and to be forbidden to own any horse, actually any animal, for any reason, ever again. It will never happen, but that is the right thing to do. This woman has a serious character flaw that “time out” isn’t going to fix.

    • Thank you, Teresa. The whole horseracing industry has a character flaw that can’t be fixed.

    • This amber Cobb is evil…as they all must be!
      I wish the same could be done to her!
      She does not diserve life!

  4. The sad fact is horses are not afforded the same protections under the law as domestic animals such as dogs and cats. They are labeled “livestock” and therefore I guess legislators feel they have no feelings. Cattle, equines, sheep, chickens, pigs, they have no more rights than the tree in your backyard, and yes, it’s appalling. Horses are more dignified than most human beings. I realize I must keep a certain degree of civility on your blog so I’ll refrain from saying what I think of Cobb and her kind. Horse abusers don’t have to be in the industry to brutalize animals, it’s just what they do, but the the fact that racing seems to protect these people is infuriating. Recently thoroughbred deaths are being reported on conservative news networks as I presume they are being mentioned on other networks as well. Congratulations is in order. Patrick. Your persistence is paying off.

    • Horseracing is sanctioned animal abuse both on and off the track. There are so many injuries in the stalls and no one knows how it happened. It is worse than the Roman colosseum it is a living hell for these horses from the time they enter this industry until they die or sent to slaughter. The animals are treated like objects (livestock) which is the lowest value of animal. They exist to serve a purpose to be used, abused, and thrown away like animals in a factory farm. Their lives their pain mean nothing because the horses are living in an abusive environment where abuse is accepted. It is getting worse as they are being pushed beyond their limits to win and they will do anything it takes. There are numerous owners trainers and vets in their lives and when a death or injury happens they cover for each other and lie and always blame the horse. Horseracing is hell and Amber Cobb is a devil and I am sure she is not the only one. The stress and abuse will continue until Horseracing ends.

  5. I believe there is a special place in Hell for people who abuse children and animals. Amber, they’re keeping your seat warm.

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