The following was tweeted by a Peter Berry Wednesday: “I know what we are taught but I refuse to believe animals have no soul.” Of course, this message, this sentiment, is one I wholeheartedly appreciate. Having had animals in my life, I know that that bond – that love – can be as great as any one can experience with fellow humans (for me, with few exceptions, even greater). What offends me, however, is the messenger, for you see Mr. Berry is the track announcer at Mountaineer Park in West Virginia.
Now, I acknowledge that I do not know Mr. Berry. He may very well be an otherwise decent human being – caring, thoughtful, kind. And he was writing about the loss of his family cat, for which I am truly sorry. But perhaps, Mr. Berry, you could extend some of that feeling and understanding to the multiple thousands of (possibly soul-infused) animals your industry wantonly kills every year. Sorry, but anything less than that – a change of heart, that is – makes your tweet simply obscene.
“Then it happened suddenly. Cabezudo heard an explosive crack, he would later testify, like that of a tree branch snapping, then Rivera scream. He continued looking straight ahead, but the sound was gut-wrenching. He knew what it meant.
“White arrived less than five minutes later to find a sickening sight: The filly’s right foreleg was held together by nothing more than hide and ligaments. Her cannon bone, slightly above the ankle, looked like it had detonated. But that wouldn’t have killed her on the spot. She must have fractured her neck or spine, or maybe suffered a heart attack as she crashed to the ground.”
The preceding excerpts are from an explosive new article from Ryan Goldberg on Vice: “The Death of a Racehorse.” Last year, you might remember, Ryan highlighted our work in Deadspin. His latest is long but worth every bit of your time – in equal measures exhaustive, shocking, and gripping. Please read, then share widely.
“Top Hat Thoroughbreds” is an ownership/investment group that promises “Thoroughbred Ownership at a Fraction of the Cost.” In other words, a chance to buy in, on the cheap. On its available page, Kaliche Gold is proudly offered, complete with a link to his Equibase profile. Problem is, Kaliche is dead – euthanized a full eight days ago for an “unresolved training injury.” Top Hat was Kaliche’s owner; surely they know he is dead. And yet they can’t be bothered to remove the post. “Just like family,” right?
While I’ve said all I need to say on the-former-jockey-turned-analyst Donna Brothers (here, here), there may be some newcomers to the site who don’t fully understand the depths of delusion we’re dealing with. So here we go again. Follows is a recent response from Ms. Brothers to a statement from our own Joy Aten. (note: Please ignore her ridiculous “safety rate”; it’s a gross deception. The rest speaks for itself.)
Jockey Denny Velazquez has been suspended by the Minnesota Racing Commission after a vehicle search allegedly turned up a “buzzer” (aka a “machine,” aka a “battery”) – a device used to shock racehorses into running faster. A tentative hearing is slated for next Thursday at Canterbury Park. The 26-year-old Velazquez is a hugely successful jockey – third in the current “standings” at Canterbury, with over 500 first-place finishes in his still-young career (and party to over $9 million in earnings).
For those who may think these (obviously abusive) buzzers are rare, I refer you to statements made during a 2013 PETA investigation of trainer Steve Asmussen:
Scott Blasi, an Asmussen assistant: “I’d tell [jockey Ricardo Santana Jr], ‘You got the maquina [shocker]?’ ‘Boss, I got the maquina.'”
Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens: “So, long story short, I win the race…and I reach over to pull this off, and I, I shock the shit out of myself [audible laughing around the table].”
Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas: “Well, we used to go behind the gate at Ruidoso. And it was just like it was a full-blown orchestra. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Zzz. Everybody had one. Everybody had one.”