A ruling over the weekend by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission:
“Charles Conrad used the whip in a brutal and excessive manner while driving ‘Sandcastle’ in the 2nd race on May 28 at Oak Grove, causing a cut inside the stifle.”
For using the whip “in a brutal and excessive manner” (and causing physical damage), Mr. Conrad was suspended for five days and fined $500. Justice served? Sandcastle, by the way, is just two years old. In another by the way – and, surprise, surprise – this is not Charlie’s first offense (of course it is our position that every time he gets in the sulky abuse ensues). In addition to being cited in Kentucky before, he was also “caught” in Indiana, and surely plenty of other jurisdictions. Serial abuser, defined.
It is, of course, not hard to find instances of the horse people embarrassing themselves. Take Monmouth Park for example. Last year, the New Jersey track made headlines for being the first in the nation to “ban” the use of whips. (I put ban in quotes because the jockeys still carried them, but ostensibly only for “safety” reasons.) Now, that ban has been rescinded so that, the Racing Commission explains, Monmouth will be aligned with upcoming national rules – six strikes per race, no more than two in succession before giving horse “a chance to respond” – governed by the “Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.” So where’s the embarrassment? Well, here’s how Monmouth announced the change (no, this is not an Onion spoof):
Yes, “Whips are BACK for the 2022 season!” – joining “coolers,” “festivals,” and “family fun days”! Wow. Could these people really be that tone-deaf, that oblivious, that disconnected from current mores? Not only that, they opted for the actual word – whips – rather than the usual and utterly delusory “crops.” Again, wow.
While this should not be necessary, here is the definitive refutation of a century of lies on whips. Dr. Rick Arthur, California’s pro-racing equine medical director (he retired last year) at an international conference in 2019: “There are those who argue that whipping doesn’t hurt horses, but that’s nonsense, and we all know that. Whips are noxious stimuli; they hurt, that’s why they’re used. Run fast or I’ll hit you again.”
And that, folks, is what the Monmouth people can’t wait to get back this summer.
Back in March, I posted this video of 8-year-old Rated R Superstar being mercilessly beaten by jockey Ramon Vazquez in a half-million-dollar race at Oaklawn:
Almost a year later, Rated, soon to turn nine, is still being whipped for cash. Yesterday (photo below), after a $90,000 win at Oaklawn, owner Danny Caldwell said this in BloodHorse: “They’re old, hard-knocking horses and they know their job.” Yup, they “know their job” all right – all you have to do is beat the hell out of ’em.