Not that anyone reading should need it, but here is further motivation to sign and share this petition to shutter Camarero in Puerto Rico. Yes, it is graphic – practically unwatchable. If you do, however, get to the end, I’d be curious to know whether you have the same bad thoughts as I toward the people just milling about as this horse suffers and dies. How humans lose their way – their (innate) compassion, their hearts, nay, their souls – is one for the psychologists and sociologists. (While I do know that this death occurred at Camarero, I cannot, unfortunately, provide any other details.)

Two weeks ago today, Baltimore Bucko was killed at Belmont. It was, I’m sure you remember, a particularly gruesome kill:

In the wake of that, BB’s trainer, Keri Brion, gave an interview to apologist (and, hence, cruelty abettor) Steve Byk. Following up on Byk’s “they fall in the wild too” comment, Brion said: “I understand how uneducated people right away are like, ‘I hate watching these races and I hate seeing them,’ but we’re not stu… do you really think that we’re going to force a 1200-lb animal to go jump over fences if they don’t want to? I mean, honest to God, do you really think we’re capable of doing that? No, we’re not.”

Then this:

“He was very, very special to me. [H]e was just kind of the gift that just kept on giving for his owners and for me. … [I]t was unfortunately just, it was one of those things. You know, we’ll never have him back, and it’s hard to see his stall here in the barn in the morning…. It was tough, but he did go out doing what he loved to do.”

Here is Ms. Brion’s twitter should you care to offer her some feedback.

In August, I chronicled James Jungquist’s leaving-welts-on-the-horse “whip violation” at Running Aces Racetrack. Later that month, Jungquist again left welts. And now, like animal hoarders who, try as they might, cannot quite shake the urge (studies indicate a near-100% recidivism rate for hoarders), Jungquist strikes anew. From the Minnesota Racing Commission: “James Jungquist was the driver of Captain Terminator in the 8th race on 9/7/21. Captain Terminator was examined for welts…by Dr. Taylor. Welts were present. This is Mr. Jungquist’s 3rd welt offense in 2021 at Running Aces. The penalty is a $500 fine and a 5-day driving suspension.”

Three times, just this year and at the same track, Jungquist has inflicted (excessive) pain and suffering on a defenseless animal – and will live to whip another day (just five days hence, that is). Can this industry be any more abhorrent? (Incidentally, another RA driver, Brady Jenson, was cited for his second “welt offense” of 2021; penalty: $200 fine and a two-day suspension.)

Last month, I posted about the animal-abusing trainer Amber Cobb. Yesterday, the Paulick Report filed a lengthy piece detailing Cobb’s cruelty. With it, came a video (below) obtained through a FOIA request. That video, shot in February, and testimony (to the Delaware Racing Commission) came from Lisa Whittaker, a former groom for Cobb. Here is some of what she said to the commissioners:

“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.”

From the article: “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 rest of the article details Cobb’s “defense,” and the reasons the Commission reduced from two years to two months. For example: “[S]everal commissioners remarked during public deliberations that they were impressed with Cobb…. ‘You were articulate,’ said chairman W. Duncan Patterson Jr. ‘You were an excellent witness.'” Now, watch the video. But be forewarned, it’s very bad.

This is the person the Delaware Racing Commission was “impressed with.” (And yes, they saw this video before making those comments and commuting her sentence.)

By the way, here are just some of the horses Cobb, as trainer, had a hand in killing over the past few years. (The last two were “wash-bay incidents.”)

4-year-old Private Thrill, Sep 3, 2016, Finger Lakes racing

3-year-old Justenuffaddie, Nov 30, 2016, Finger Lakes racing

3-year-old Last Chant, Nov 15, 2018, Finger Lakes racing

4-year-old Take Charge Jamie, Aug 24, 2019, Finger Lakes training

2-year-old Sky High Interest, Jun 12, 2020, Finger Lakes: “flipped…sustained head injury requiring euthanasia”

5-year-old Diamond Darlin, Jul 20, 2020, Delaware: “horse reared and fell, hit head, fractured skull, ruptured major artery – died” (note: not euthanized, just died)