Texas Racing Commission: “We’ve had humans that weren’t necessarily sober on those horses causing breakdowns.”

At a meeting of the Texas Racing Commission last month, Executive Director Amy Cook, in boasting of what she considers her state’s stellar transparency, revealed two things of note. This, on the reporting of deaths:

“What’s interesting about our statistics, I want to let you know that every state, every entity tracks them differently. [S]ome don’t count horse deaths when they die in the stall…some don’t count horse deaths at training facility workouts, and some don’t count them if they are vanned off and they die within basically a day or two of the live racing event. We count them all, because we think that’s intellectually honest.”

That states have different reporting requirements (not to mention degrees of effort in enforcing said requirements), and that there are massive holes in our data because of that – Louisiana is exhibit A – I’ve made crystal clear from the start. So, the above is just further confirmation. Then, however, it got more interesting.

Ms. Cook: “We’ve had humans [sic] this racing season that drove a horse into a rail at Gillespie – the human caused that. We’ve had humans that weren’t necessarily sober on those horses causing breakdowns.”

One more time: “We’ve had humans that weren’t necessarily sober on those horses causing breakdowns.” Wow.

Later, the commission chair, Robert Pate, said this, supposedly as an argument for Texas (and Louisiana) refusing to comply with HISA:

“And of course, the problem HISA has is…right after they took effect, they had, what was it, 14 animals die at Churchill Downs, of all places. And so their record in terms of safety…is absolutely dismal. … Louisiana and we stood out because we had the lowest injury or death rate [I’m sure this is not true]. And so it’s really a fabulous result, and I appreciate everything…the tracks do to make it safe.”

Cook, of course, agreed: “I credit the entire industry…everyone for really working together to make this the safest state in the nation.” What is the record of Cook’s “safest state in the nation”? She reports that 21 horses have been killed at Texas tracks thus far this year. 21 dead “athletes.” Makes one’s heart swell with pride, huh?

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  1. “Intellectually honest” in counting and reporting their equine casualties of horse racing they might be, but yet they are definitely morally depraved in their callous disregard for equine lives. Willfully causing the pain, misery and death to even one horse for racing and wagering is undesirable.

  2. Many jockeys ride impaired, whether due to drugs or alcohol. One admitted to me that he rode better when he was high because he wasn’t afraid. How scary is that??

  3. OK, I am so unbelievably SICKENED by this statement & her trying to pass the buck. I am (was), a LIFE LONG RACETRACKER ( I am NO MORE because of the flagrant & horrifying DRUGGING of our thoroughbreds, who by the way, NEED NO HELP TO TRY TO DAMAGE THEMSELVES , THEY ARE BRED & BORN TO RUN & RACE, IT IS IN THEIR DNA), but with performance enhancing PAIN RELIEVERS & God only knows what else these vets & trainers put into these horses, DEATH IS INEVITABLE when these RACING THOROUGHBREDS CAN’T FEEL THE PAIN.), BUT TO BLAME THE JOCKEYS ( EXTRAORDINARY ATHLETES, who are kept under un-ending PRESSURE TO WIN THE NEXT & EVERY RACE, is not only an EMBARRASSING FALSE STATEMENT by here, but is DISGUSTING. Jockeys are ATHLETES OF THE FINEST EXEMPLARY CONDITION & yes, a few bad apples NOT WHILE I AM AROUND allow ANY of you to SPOIL THEIR REPUTATIONS. this woman KNOWS NOTHING, & Marie, PLEASE don’t join this club, it is simply NOT TRUE, I am the ex-wife of a TOP JOCKEY, i WAS A TOP JOCKEY & my horse LOVING CHILD (would NEVER ABUSE A HORSE/ANIMAL IN ANY WAY), IS A TOP JOCKEY. & the last thing anyone on this page or any other place should be blaming these STELLAR ATHLETES, RIDING RACING THOROUGHBREDS IS THEIR LIFE, THEIR HEART & THEIR SOUL. it’s their ENTIRE EXISTANCE. of course, you’re going to find BAD APPPLES, they are (ONE OF THE COUNTRIES MOST EXHALTED JOCKEYS now an exalted commentator IS ON TAPE LAUGHING HOW HE ABUSED HORSES, HIS ENTIRE CAREER, they are SAVAGES. this is NOT THE NORM. I am here to tell you, i have been at most tracks in the United States & KNOW PERSONALLY HUNDREDS, maybe thousands of JOCKEYS. they do NOT PARTICIPATE IN DOPING OR BEATING HORSES, THEY LOVE WHAT THEY DO (JUST LIKE THE HORSES DO), these horses & jockeys are ATHLETES & they LOVE THE SPORT & RACEHORSES. if anyone wants any further FACTS about jockeys let me know, & I’ll point you to books, articles, what these people go through to RIDE THE RACING THOROUGHBREDS, but JOCKEYS DONT PARTICIPATE IN THE HORRORS THAT GO ON AT THESE TRACKS, they also are POWERLESS TO STOP THE ABUSE (someone will ride the horses no matter what is done to them), THEY CAN’T SAY A WORD, OR THEIR CAREERS ARE DONE. YES, a couple abuse the stick, yes a COUPLE abuse electronic devices, YES A COUPLE PARTICIPATE in self-harm, MOST ARE HARD CORE FIT WORLD CLASS ATHLETES & WORK at doing the best they can FOR THE HORSES & themselves when they are in a field with 10-15 DOPED HORSES & THEY COULD DIE AT ANY MINUTE & THEY STILL MOUNT UP, you’re not talking about the WHOLE, the jockeys & the RACE horses are the WHEAT AMONGST THE CHAFF OF THIS HORRIFIC INDUSTRY. these guys & gals KNOW they are RISKING THEIR LIFES EVERY MOUNT, they KNOW the horses are DOPED. they ARE JOCKEYS, BORN, & BREATH RACEHORSES. what would you have these STELLAR ATHLETES DO, GO PUMP GAS? I ASK YOU. go pick on the show jumping & 3-day horse killing clan & the Tennessee walker DOPING MONSTERS, ALL these riders DO PARTICIPATE IN THE DOPING & bastardization OF THEIR OWN MOUNTS, NOT JOCKEYS. Jockeys have ZERO CONTROL OVER THEIR DAILY LIFE & DEATH situation MOST OTHERS IN THE BUSINESS PUT THEM IN by bastardizing the horses they are given a leg up on.

    • Yelling at me with intermittent capital letters won’t change how I feel, or what I experienced when I was at the track. Jockeys are athletic, I will give them that. To say “A COUPLE” are abusive with whips and electrical devices is a blatant misrepresentation. They all are abusive with whips. There’s no reason to be hitting a horse struggling 30 lengths back, or to hit one 10 lengths in front of everyone else, but they sure like to do that! And yes- they could do something else besides pumping gas! And isn’t it telling that they are willing to ride horses they know are doped?? Isn’t that a form of self- harm?
      I have seen thousands of show jumping, dressage, and eventing rounds, and I have never seen a horse have bleeding from EIPH, I have never seen a horse bow, or rebow, a tendon, I have never seen a horse collapse from “heat exhaustion”, (in fact we cancelled the eventing due to heat), and I have never seen a horse snap one or 2 legs off doing any of those- but I have seen all of that, and more, while involved in racing.
      I am glad that you no longer support the doping of racehorses, but it seems you have a long way to go to recognize all the other evils involved in racing.

    • Why would someone get on a horse they know is doped? Death wish? Would you get in a car if you knew someone had tampered with your brakes? And to say that anyone can only ever work at one career is ridiculous. People change careers all the time. And they don’t love horses. If they did, they would not participate in an industry that daily maims and kills them.

    • Locking horses up in stalls for 23-hours a day is not in their DNA. Forcing horses to be confined to small spaces for twenty-three hours every day is abuse and neglect of horses. It’s completely unnatural for horses to not be allowed to graze and move around at will in wide open spaces. Locking horses up in stalls for more than ten hours a day is inhumane treatment of horses.

    • Your “horse loving child, who would never abuse/harm an animal in any way” is a top jockey? Ummm, okay, so your child never whips their mount? Don’t buy it. (And don’t try to sell the line that whips don’t hurt horses when there are hundreds of documented instances of whips leaving WELTS at the hands of jockeys).
      You won’t find any sympathy for those pint sized sadists from me – watch ANY race on ANY track and all you see are arms flying and whips swinging, even on those horses 20+ lengths behind with no hope in hell of ever catching the pack. I’ve seen jockeys kick horses in the belly, strike them in the face with their whips – even the handles – and use shock devices even before the race starts. And what about those jockeys whose mounts slam into to dirt with a catastrophic injury and they just wander away and leave the horse alone in agony? They have no problem with abusing horses, with or without the behest of the trainer – we’re not talking about one or two bad apples, it’s nothing but a rotten orchard.

  4. I can’t understand why the racing industry seeks to justify the number of deaths on or off the track. Racing horses is plain and simple animal abuse and the facts speak for themselves on and off the tracks.

  5. I don’t think there are very many places left where you have to sit inside your car and wait for somebody else to pump your gas. Most people get out and pump their own gas their own self. In Oregon, they changed it fairly recently to where you can pump your own gas if you don’t want to wait for the attendant to pump gas for you.
    As for getting a job outside of racing, look into becoming a Commercial Driver with a Class A License. If you drive by Clearwater Pulp and Paper in Lewiston, Idaho you will see the sign facing the street that they need Commercial Drivers. I don’t expect you to be in this area but I believe there are lots of businesses elsewhere that need people with a good work ethic and can stay sober.
    As far as your rant, you evidently have not been paying attention to the numbers of horses that have been killed by the racing industry. There is nothing to be proud of about running horses at top speed or any speed just for the sake of a paycheck and an ego trip in this egregiously cruel industry.

  6. I NEVER get sad or upset when a human kicks the bucket….but, don’t you mess with my animals. No horse should ever die for this corny bullshit. The horses lives are WAY more important than all of you humans involved in this racket.

    • It’s ridiculous to say that jockeys are “stellar athletes” but that they have no control over the horses they get on and ride and whip. Jockeys, being human beings, have a choice. They have control over the choices they make. They can choose to NOT ride.

        • Saying that jockeys have no control over their choice to be jockeys makes them sound like total freaking morons.

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