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.)
A ruling yesterday from the Minnesota Racing Commission: “Dean Magee was the driver of The Royal Queen in race 4 on 8/15/21; a welt was discovered when The Royal Queen arrived in the test barn after race.” The punishment? “This is Mr. Magee’s first whipping violation at Running Aces in 2021 [italics added]. Mr. Magee is issued a $100 fine and a one-day driving suspension.”
And more at RA: “James Jungquist was the driver of Major Mac in the 3rd race on 8/10/21. Welts [plural] were seen on Major Mac when the horse arrived in the test barn for post-race testing.” This is Mr. Jungquist 2nd whip violation at Running Aces in 2021 [italics added]. Penalty is $200 fine and one-day driving suspension.”
“Bernard Demars was the driver of Parklane Jet in the 6th race on 8/10/21. Welts [plural] were seen on Parklane Jet when the horse arrived in the test barn for post-race testing. This is Mr. Demars 2nd whip violation at Running Aces in 2021 [italics added]. Penalty is a two-day driving suspension.”
And finally, from Indiana: “While driving PONDA HAWK in race 9 on 8/8/21, [Michael] Oosting did leave welts [plural] while whipping in the stretch. The penalty [$200] was reduced because Mr. Oosting was within the IHRC whipping rules and guidelines.” You simply can’t make this stuff up. By the way, Oosting, according to the Chicago Tribune, “was booked on a domestic battery charge” back in 2011. Great guy all around.
Recent rulings from various state commissions/track stewards.
In Minnesota: “Richard Magee was the driver of Steady Breeze in the 3rd race [at Running Aces] on 7/8/21; welts were discovered by Dr. Taylor when Steady Breeze arrived in the test barn.”
Welts. Magee received a mere 1-day suspension and $1,000 fine.
In Oklahoma: “AFTER FINISHING 1ST IN THE 2ND RACE AT WILL ROGERS DOWNS ON MARCH 22, 2021, THE RACE DAY SERUM SAMPLE FOR THE THOROUGHBRED HORSE ‘STAUNCH ELABORATOR’ TESTED POSITIVE FOR CAFFEINE.”
Caffeine. Owner/trainer Wayne George was fined just $1,500 and has been allowed to continue along merrily, having raced Staunch six times since.
In Wyoming: “The horse Sb Holly Wood finished second in the 4th race at Wyoming Downs on June 13, 2021. Luis Gonzalez was the trainer [and co-owner]. Following standard procedure…the Stewards ordered Sb Holly Wood to be taken to the test barn for collection of blood and hair samples to be tested for prohibited substances. Sildenafil [Viagra] was confirmed in the blood sample.”
Viagra. Gonzalez received a mere 30-day suspension and $1,000 fine.
This is horseracing.
What’s wrong with horseracing? Well, besides the unremitting solitary confinement, the drugging and doping, the on-track kills, the stall deaths – slaughter – there’s things like this from the Prairie Meadows stewards (via the Racing Commission):
“Having waived his right to present evidence and testimony to the Board, Jockey Shane Laviolette is hereby assessed an administrative penalty of $250.00 for excessive or indiscriminate whipping of his horse, ‘Basic Chance,’ during the running of the ninth race on June 19, 2021. Test barn IRGC veterinarian reported to the Board ‘Basic Chance’ arrived at the test barn with an open welt on his right flank.”
That Shane Laviolette is an animal abuser – and should have been arrested for animal cruelty (except that Iowa, not surprisingly, exempts abuse that occurs at a racetrack) – goes without saying. But a lousy $250 – with no suspension – for “excessive or indiscriminate whipping” that led to an “open welt”? Vile beyond words. By the way, Mr. Laviolette was presumably beating his charge so hard because of the money at stake: In “winning,” the 7-year-old Basic brought home $35,000 (this was the “John Wayne Stakes”) for his people, including, of course, Laviolette.