It appears officials in Australia “missed” clear signs – welts – of animal abuse inflicted on the winner of this year’s Melbourne Cup. In a new article in Horses and People, Cristina Wilkins writes: “Vow And Declare’s post-race whip welts contradict racing’s official line that padded whips don’t hurt. The welts show up on a number of images we have obtained, as a series of blisters (raised skin lesions), grouped into almost parallel linear patterns that match the site of the whip strikes he received during this year’s Melbourne Cup. His jockey did not breach any whip rules. A veterinary pathologist has reviewed the images and says the raised marks were most likely caused by trauma.” Full article – with pictures – here.
I’ll say this about the chartwriter at Finger Lakes: He (or she) is honest. Monday:
“ACCABONAC HARBOR away well, set the pace off the rail, asked into the lane and then was whipped to the wire for the win.” For having administered that beating, jockey John R. Davila, Jr. secured over $11,000 for this filly’s “connections” (trainer Chris Englehart, owner Cedar Meadow, and Davila himself).
Then, “winners” at that same track yesterday:
“OXLEY GAP away on top, showed the way along the two path around the turns, remained clear and was under the whip to the line.”
“GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY vied for the lead early, tracked after that, gained to take on the leader at the top of the lane and drew off while under the whip.”
Beating horses so that some men may gamble, others chase pots of gold – this is horseracing.
At the International Conference of Horseracing Authorities in Paris October 7, these statements from Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director for the California Horse Racing Board (my comments in bold):
“Social ethics toward animal use have changed dramatically during the lives of everyone in this room. Horseracing must adapt to meet society’s changing ethical standards or it will not survive.”
Yes, “dramatic” it has been – Ringling, SeaWorld, dogracing, fur, veganism ascending, etc. As to the second, there’s no re-framing the exploitation, abuse, and killing of horses for $2 bets; it is what it is, and America is on to you.
“There is a real risk that in California, the fifth-largest economy in the world, and in many ways, an international trend-setter, racing could end.”
“Could” – no, will.
“The status quo is not good enough…horse safety…must be our number one priority, even before winning.”
So, horse safety wasn’t your number one priority prior to your current crisis?
“Worldwide, that [fatalities] is a very large number of horses. Many of you in this room, and this isn’t a criticism, are a step away from the flesh and blood of these fatalities. I’ve been there. Many of these fatalities are ugly, very ugly.”
“That is a very large number of horses” – at last, someone from within not hiding behind a sterile, misleading ratio; “ugly, very ugly” – indeed.
“The result [of claiming races] is a culture where horses tend to be treated as commodities…the U.S. racing business model amplifies that.”
Commodities, chattel, things, assets to be expended and trashed. Exactly.
“[During Santa Anita] the racing press understood that there is a normal fatality rate in horseracing; the non-racing press and public did not.”
Can there be a more powerful (self) indictment of this horrid industry? Yes, we know a certain number of horses will die – and we do it anyway.
“For anti-racing animal-rights advocates, the Santa Anita racing tragedy is the opportunity they’ve been waiting for. They are not letting up. Animal-rights activists are making sure that the internet, print and electronic media, and elected officials are aware of each and every racing fatality.”
ABSOLUTELY. We’ve only just begun.
But Dr. Arthur saved his best for last:
“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.”
After a century of lies – that whips are but harmless guides; that a horse’s thick hide precludes any unpleasantness; that they’re really just responding to the sound; that whips are not even whips, they’re “crops” – the chief vet of California Racing, and perhaps the most high-profile in the nation, comes clean: “Whips are noxious stimuli; they hurt, that’s why they’re used. Run fast or I’ll hit you again.”
The prosecution rests.
Jesus Ayala, the animal abuser masquerading as a jockey, is back at it. And why wouldn’t he be, what with the mere wristslap he received for the 12 consecutive lashes he gave his horse on the 22nd? In the most recent minutes from Los Alamitos, this:
“JOCKEY JESUS RIOS AYALA IS SUSPENDED FOR THREE RACING DAYS FOR A BLATANT VIOLATION OF CHRB RULE #1688(b)(6) (USE OF RIDING CROP-MORE THAN THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION, WITHOUT GIVING THE HORSE A CHANCE TO RESPOND-SECOND OFFENSE WITHIN THE PREVIOUS 60 DAY PERIOD), DURING THE EIGHTH RACE AT LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE ON OCTOBER 4.
The preceding ruling was issued as Mr. Ayala threw himself on the mercy of the Board of Stewards and acknowledged a severe violation of the ‘crop’ rule. He received a larger than usual fine from an incident on September 22 then came back last evening with a violation as bad, or worse, than the previous infraction. He said he got caught up in the moment, but realizes this cannot continue.”
Where to begin? This scumbag of a person beats the hell out of another horse (Mister Appolitical) – while the stewards did not disclose the number of blows, they did say the “violation [was] as bad, or worse, than the previous,” and the previous was unconscionable – and in just three days he will be allowed to ride again. Justice, CHRB style. (And California is supposed to have the strictest whip rules in the nation?) But then again, he was “contrite” – “he got caught up in the moment, but realizes this cannot continue.” If this doesn’t make you sick, you’ve lost your moral compass.
Incidentally, by coming in first (again), Ayala banked $58,800 for the “connections,” with he himself “earning” another $3,000+ payday. Base human greed at the expense of suffering and dying animals – this is horseracing.
In the most recent minutes from Los Alamitos, the stewards write:
“Jockey JESUS AYALA came to the office to review his crop use during the eighth race on Sunday [September 22] which he won. He admitted to the violation, which was blatant in that he used his crop 12 times in succession without giving his horse a chance to respond. Despite the fact that he hasn’t had a violation in 10 months, we departed from the penalty structure and issued the following ruling:
JOCKEY JESUS RIOS AYALA IS FINED $300 FOR A BLATANT VIOLATION OF CHRB RULE #1688(b)(6) (USE OF RIDING CROP-MORE THAN THREE TIMES IN SUCCESSION, WITHOUT GIVING THE HORSE A CHANCE TO RESPOND)”
So, he beat the hell out of his horse (Tequila Sangria) – four times the limit of consecutive whacks – and incurs but a paltry fine. And this, mind you, was “departing from the penalty structure”; otherwise, he’d have gotten off with even less. Nothing is more important than “equine welfare,” huh? Vile. By the way, the race in question was a $125,000 Grade 1 with $62,500 going to the winner – which, of course, helps explain Mr. Ayala’s exuberance with the “stick.”
This is horseracing.