Animal Cruelty at Parx

It was yet another afternoon of good, clean family entertainment at Parx yesterday (from the Equibase charts):

In the 6th, Magic Soul “…weakened…returned bleeding…”

In the 8th, San Gregoria “was pulled up in apparent distress just before the wire.”

In the 9th, Magic Harbor “…took a bad step and stumbled badly” – did not finish.

And worst of all –

In the 2nd, Candy’s Luck “a bit fractious in the gate…her rider began to ease her up entering the stretch as if she was in distress, she continued to be ridden through the stretch, was roused right handed with a furlong to run, and then was not persevered with thereafter but was ridden back to the unsaddling area lame.”

So – “fractious” in the gate – i.e., she didn’t want to be there; eased “as if in distress” – i.e., the jockey sensed something amiss; “continued to be ridden,” “roused right handed” – i.e., whipped – after being in distress; ridden back “lame.”

Pennsylvania’s “Cruelty to animals” statute reads: “A person commits an offense if he wantonly or cruelly illtreats, overloads, beats, otherwise abuses any animal, or neglects any animal as to which he has a duty of care…”

The complicit: first and foremost, jockey David Castillo; trainer Uriah St. Lewis; owners William Battista, Harold Bridgwood.

9 Comments

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  1. Yes! The law is ignored or diffused by rationalizations. Or worse, excluded from application because the cruelty occurred as a matter of business (livestock, rodeo, farming etc) But it is there. Anyone who witnesses the cruel and illegal behavior towards animals should contact the sheriff with jursidiction over the ground on which the cruelty occurred and make a complaint. Demand a report be made. It then becomes public record.

  2. Patrick, are you certain of the jockey’s name? A friend with some insight speaks of an Angel Castillo at PARX but doesn’t recognize David. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything but I’ve cross-posted this to my fb page and want to be sure the name is correct. Unrelated, as I am relatively new to this issue can you educate me on why something that o clearly meets the definition of animal cruelty isn’t prosecuted. I assume that there is some.negotiated exemption for the parasites that make a living on the backs of these majestic animals. That said it seems that in PA the SPCA has jurisdiction to investigate issues of animal cruelty. It seems to be awfully polyanna to expect an org like SPCA to take on a Goliath with deep pockets like PARX, so perhaps you know of another avenue to make a complaint. This is in my back yard, so I really want to try to do something about it.
    I know….I’m asking a lot. The mainstream media recognizes 32 whips to the back of American Pharoh and congratulates the parasite with the whip for a great performance. Sickening.

    • Yes, Ray, according to Equibase (whom I find reliable), David is the name. As for your other question, the law invariably defers to “common industry practice,” and since whipping a racehorse, even one who’s obviously not doing so well, is standard operating procedure, no DA has been willing to take on such a case. Common sense to us, but…

  3. I believe that David Castillo might be the brother to Angel. There is a David though that runs at PARX though…..
    Thanks…..
    Rob

  4. Ongoing corruption at Parx – trainer Marcus Vitali “voluntarily relinquished his trainer’s license in Florida [last year]…in an apparent attempt to delay sanctions for multiple medication violations – that set in motion…Vitali being banned at…Parx.” When Vitali tried to enter Eagle of Delight at Parx this past November, the entry was refused. Vitali proceeded to lawyer up and after all was said and done, he received a stay and will be permitted to run Eagle of Delight on February 18.

    But now on to the comments from this Paulick Report article…

    -from “Barrmorr”; “I am a fan of the sport and I never thought I would make a comment like this. The racetracks in Pennsylvania need to be closed. I realize that this would hurt innocent people and cost hard working backstretch employees (the honest ones) their jobs but it seems the state racing commission is more concerned about protecting crooks and their high priced lawyers. I imagine Parx itself could care less about racing as long as they have the casino but that is a topic for another day.”

    -from “bonniemcdo”; “Had a nice filly of mine claimed at Parx. She was running every week after that. I noticed her win at Penn National was voided due to drug violations. No problem, she was entered to run at Parx. I bought her back for double her claim price and she is resting in Ky now. But the trainer had a series of violations. Again- no problem, he runs at NYRA now along with Pa tracks. What can you say???? Stay away from Pa tracks?”

    Straight from the horses’ mouths.

  5. Pa need to change their rules plain n simple he is not racing in Maryland or Florida for that exact reason he has come to pa because they will give you an appeal to the eviction notice even though I thought being private property the tracks have the authority to refuse your entry regardless, he should not be allowed a license because of the mid atlantic medication rules. And their multiple point violation system I just don’t know how the commission allows these guys to laugh in their face change the rules and put your foot down pa you talk of integrity so much start showing it

    • Billy, when you are involved with horse racing to the degree that I was you quickly realize that there are one set of rules for some people and another set for other people.
      There are a small group of Trainers that go all over the country breaking rules and never seem to get suspended or get suspended briefly for egregious violations.
      These are usually the Trainers who have multiple drug violations and multiple racehorses dying under their direct care with little or no repercussions nor accountability.
      It seems to me that these Trainers, who are immune to prosecution, are conducting Hidden Ownership scenarios that cover-up for racetrack management/CEO’s who have a hand in the drug testing barn.
      Of course in many racing jurisdictions there are no mandatory necropsy rules so they know damn well that racehorses dying are probably under the influence of some illegitimate doping cocktail that pushes them beyond their natural ability resulting in death.
      Moreover, the use of these suspected doping cocktails mask chronic issues that often result in death.
      However, they get away with it because nobody can prove anything.
      The icing on the cake is the lack of medical records and accountability to anybody outside of that race stable.
      So they have their legitimized death camps all wrapped up in a pretty present, but not so pretty for the racehorses who are dying of course.

  6. I was indoctrinated into this business as a child.
    I use the word indoctrination because you accept the horrific abuse going on around you.
    Even when I grew up, and later became an Owner/Trainer, I still rationalized the horrific abuse, and deaths I observed on a daily basis.
    I convinced myself that I was the “good folks” of horse racing just like all the racing apologists that come on here to say the same thing.
    Then I could no longer rationalize because you are either an abuser or enabler of this legitimized animal cruelty that often results in racehorses dying in the dirt or dying on the slaughterhouse floor.
    This business is a corruption pit and death camp for racehorses.
    The corruption is rampant, and it guarantees that racehorses will die for dimes and dollars.
    This horrific, antiquated business model has got to go.
    It can’t come soon enough for the racehorses.

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