Tapentadol, Cocaine, and Smacking a Horse in the Face

5-year-old Truckin Tommy, says HISA, tested positive for tapentadol after an Aug 8 race at Presque Isle. Tapentadol, in case you’re wondering, is an opioid painkiller. Trainer Michael Pappada has been provisionally suspended while awaiting final adjudication. Truckin, it should be noted, finished 24 lengths back in that race and was “vanned off.” Still, Presque being a racino, Pappada and owner Karen Skinner walked away with $200.

Eight days later at Penn National, 6-year-old Princess Javoncia tested positive for cocaine. That, apparently, had the desired effect, as Princess “won” the race (and almost $22K). Trainer McLane Hendriks has also been provisionally suspended.

In West Virginia, the stewards at Mountaineer say jockey Jose Leon “was caught striking a horse across the face” during morning training Sep 10. What did they think was an appropriate penalty for, again, “striking a horse across the face”? $100 fine, no suspension. Leon, by the way, has multiple whip violations – as in he uses it too much – in WV this year. Yes, “nothing is more important than the welfare of our equine athletes.”

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  1. Yeah, right; nothing is more important than the welfare of our equine athletes, except our “jobs” and our moral depravity and egotistical pride in being able to think that our abusive and cruel treatment and exploitation of horses is a “sport” and that we can do whatever we want to the horses and with the horses because we call ourselves “horsemen and horsewomen” and that makes us just super special — so special, in fact, that we are “entitled” to public subsidies to horseracing. If you all knew anything about horses, you would be glad to give up your basic necessities to support our ever-so-special depraved greed and never-ending abuse of the horses. When we’re done with the individual horses that we did not kill at the racetracks, we can sell them to the killbuyers who will profit from exploiting their bodies to the meat packers. The USDA is fine with this, so what is your problem, you “animal rights activists”???

    • Ear manipulation is another vice for control. As soon as one says what will they think of next, they NEVER disappoint.

      • Grabbing one ear is something from western cowboy culture; it’s rough and abusive. It’s a substitute for horsemanship, in my opinion.

  2. This is one angry dude who can take out his anger and frustration on the defenseless horses with impunity.
    Imposing $100.00 fine for striking a horse in the face just confirms how trivial horse abuse is viewed in this business. Plus this Leon guy is obviously out of control but who cares!!

  3. There is an update to this story in the TDN today. Turns out Leon injured the horse’s eye. And on top of it, the stewards are defending their decision, though a trainer, who had witnessed the abuse, said he himself has gotten a worse penalty for cussing at a track official. Mountaineer just proving again that they don’t care about the horses…

    • Marie. The comment section at TDN was not very favorable for this decision or the “little horse abuser” behavior.

  4. It sounds like a case of “keep your mouth shut if you know what is good for you” from reading the second TDN article.
    The abusive jockey blamed the horse for being crazy. That is so typical of an abuser.
    Punishing a horse for acting up out of fear only serves to reinforce the horse’s fear and the undesirable behavior.
    At least, the one guy who had been fined $400 for saying something to the Stewards that they didn’t like had the courage to speak up as a first-hand witness to the abuse.
    Mountaineer needs to be shut down and the subsidies should be redirected to basic necessities such as education and food assistance to the less fortunate in West Virginia.

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