In the 10th race at Parx July 27, jockey Hector Caballero raised his right arm high and proceeded to give his mount, Belongs to Babe, a loud crack (with his whip) on the neck – after the finish. (I reported on it at the time but unfortunately the short video documenting the abuse was subsequently deleted from Twitter.) We now learn that the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission held a hearing on July 30 and rendered the following verdict: a 10-day suspension (which he is currently serving). 10 days – for public, blatant animal abuse. And that, folks, is horseracing.
In the 7th last night at Penn National, Saint Michael “was eased up lame in the stretch then was vanned off.” According to a source, however, while being “eased up lame,” the 4-year-old colt was still being whipped – right till the wire. (I have reviewed the replay, but unfortunately the camera cuts away from Saint Michael before the finish.) Why, you may ask? Well, in this particular race (a cheap “claiming,” by the way: all horses were “For Sale” at $4,000 prior to), cash was paid 1st-5th. Saint Michael came in 6th, about 3 lengths behind the $300-winning 5th-place finisher. The jockey whipping a lame – and now quite possibly dead – horse in the hope of bringing 300 bucks to him and the other “connections”: Jose Rojas.
The 10th at Parx Monday, after the wire. Listen to the blow 4-year-old Belongs to Babe absorbed:
The abuser atop: Hector Caballero. By the way, because of a disqualification, Belongs to Babe actually “won” this race, earning $24,000 for her people, including Caballero.
Horseracing, a “sport” like any other, right?
From the most recent minutes released by the California Horse Racing Board.
At the Alameda County Fair at Pleasanton, July 3: “While horses were in the Starting Gate for the first race Czechoutpappyscorona flipped; [she was] scratched for being down and trapped in the gate stall.” Same day, race 4: “Nice Blaze [fell]…multiple scrapes and a hematoma developing on her right hip.”
At the Los Alamitos Thoroughbred meet, July 3:
“Apprentice Jockey Victor Flores was in our office to answer to a complaint. The CHRB filed the complaint when Safety Steward Paul Atkinson photographed a welt on the horse The Last Ruler…after the sixth race on 2/23 at Santa Anita. Mr. Flores apologized. The following ruling was issued: Flores is fined $300 for violation of rule #1688(3) (Use of Riding Crop – causing welts or breaks in the skin).”
$300 – for open, transparent animal abuse.
Same track, July 4: “Trainer Gary Mandella was in our office to participate in a formal hearing…. Mr. Mandella’s horse tested positive for the drug Phenylbutazone on 2/15 in the eighth race at Santa Anita. Mr. Mandella stated he could have accidently [sic] double-treated the mare. After hearing all the facts and entering all the exhibits, the hearing came to an end. The following ruling was issued: Mandella is fined $500 for violation of rules #1843(a),(b), and (d) (Medication, Drugs and Other Substances).”
“Accidentally,” huh? The race in question was a $200,000 Stakes. The horse, Zusha, finished 3rd, “earning” $24,000 for Mandella, et al. She remains under his control.
Same track, July 5: “Jockey Assael Espinoza was in to review yesterday’s fifth race…. Mr. Espinoza’s horse ducked out sharply from left-handed urging at the eighth pole. The BOS and Mr. Espinoza placed the blame on the horse and Mr. Espinoza was not issued a penalty.”
He whips (“left-handed urging”) his horse (Magnificent Q T) causing her (of course) to “duck out sharply” and the horse is to blame? Vile. Magnificent, by the way, finished 2nd, “earning” $3,400 for her people, including Espinoza.
And finally, just two days after the aforementioned Flores “welt on the horse” hearing, that same jockey was back to answer for another whipping violation – “excessive use of the riding crop” – from the previous day on 3-year-old Mr. Vitamin. The Stewards: “Mr. Flores agreed he should have stopped using the riding crop and stated he was sorry and had no excuse.” Again, a mere $300 fine, nothing more. Causes a welt and lives to ride (abuse) another day. You can’t make this stuff up.
One race yesterday, the 2nd at Fair Grounds, as relayed by the Equibase chartwriter:
“TREYS MIDNITE MOON was roused [whipped]”
“IM A COWBOY TOO came under the whip”
“PAPA’S BOY drifted out under a left-handed whip”
“IMPRESSIVE STUDENT tossed his head while rank under restraint”
Then this: “CHASE FOR THE GOLD fought hard against the rating tactics of the rider when taken in hand then was wrestled back while tossing his head badly…was urged along…and stopped [finishing last, 25+ lengths back]”
“fought hard against the [jockey]…was wrestled back while tossing his head badly”
We shouldn’t need to convince you that horseracing is animal cruelty; it’s on full display at racetracks across America every single day.