The Abuse of a 3-Year-Old Horse Named Shamrock Road

Monday, a (barely) 3-year-old racehorse named Shamrock Road was put to the whip in a maiden claiming race at Presque Isle Downs. Nothing unusual here, except: This race came a mere 6 days after his last one – which came 8 days after the one before – which came 10 days after the one before – which came 14 days after the one before – which came 12 days after the one before – and on and on. In all, 10 races since mid February. Must be a horse who “thrives on frequent work,” right? Or perhaps his chief exploiter – breeder/trainer/probably owner (Equibase has owner as “The IRA”) Edward Charles Sexton – has a book deal in the offing: “How to Grind Your Pubescent Racehorse into the Ground Before His 4th Birthday.”

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In all seriousness, while I place little stock in legal remedies for exploited animals, should this horse break down anytime in the near future, prosecutors in the state where it happens would practically be obligated to file criminal charges (against Sexton, yes, but also against the relevant jockey, stewards, and track vet). Currently, Shamrock is in Pennsylvania. That state’s “Cruelty to animals” statute reads in part: “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…” That said, the next time a prosecutor files cruelty charges against a racer would, as far as I know, be the first. This is horseracing.

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  1. Patrick, and let’s not forget that Sexton’s girlfriend is none other than Ms. Mary Mead, the woman who handed off three Midwest Thoroughbreds for slaughter in April of this year. Another two were found in a Louisiana kill pen by volunteers for a rescue based in Texas a mere three days AFTER Mead picked up the horses. Oh, yes…Ms. Mead and Mr. Sexton….two animal exploiters. I

    • It does not look good for Shamrock Road considering his low life connections. Shame on Pennsylvania racing and all other racing jurisdictions for not having a rule to protect the horse from something as basic and dangerous as too frequent starts. It is amazing what this business gets away with.

    • Mary I am in NY and frequently take OTTB’s from Hollywood Park in PA – if we can get this guy’s commections to let him go I am registering as a 501c3 (which means the I can claim to be 501c3 as I have applied already) and would take this guy. Let me know if this helps at all. I know everybody is strung thin but I feel for him.

      • Judy, I will email Patrick and ask him to share your email with me. If we can acquire Shamrock Road, I will let you know. Thank you so much for the offer. It is easy to “rescue” a horse compared to how difficult it is to find that horse a good place to go. There are thousands of horses and very few “good” homes….

  2. I already was sickened with the way race horses are treated and on top of that they are allowed to run them into the ground also. People need to open their eyes

  3. Shamrock Road is entered to run again at Presque Isle on Tuesday, June 9th, in an allowance race. I am calling out to all the good people in racing to help this horse.

    • Mary, I only wish the “good people” in racing would demonstrate their goodness through some good deeds !
      At the very least, they should be pushing for a national commission with uniform and meaningful consequences for the many bad actors in this business. Also, they could be working to get some basic rules to protect the horse from a obvious abuse such as frequent starts and joint injections. If a horse needs joint injections he should not be racing. Those two things alone would greatly reduce the breakdowns. Frequent starts and joint injections can spell disaster for the horse. I’ m surprised the ” good people” just tolerate the status quo. !

    • Mary I’m watching a horse “WAJIR ON ME” he is 11 switched hands 3 times this year ran twice in may in claiming races I have contacted a couple thoroughbred rescues no response can you hhelp I will return the request when you need me thanks

    • Rachel, Shamrock has a place to go if he can be acquired. However, it looks as if Sexton, and his gal pal, Mary Mead, want to keep the horse so they can continue running him into the ground with the possibility of destroying him . An option would be to claim him but he has a high claiming price ($7500). I have heard from one of my contacts that he is sore, too. Imagine that!

  4. When posting these stories, which most definitely need to be told, it would be good if you could end with a few suggestions of actions people could take which may help. Or if any of the other commenters could do that. For instance, would it help if people called the stewards? Maybe if they got a lot of calls they’d take notice. A lot of people would like to do something but dont know what they can do to be of any help.

    • Spread this information far and wide – talk to everyone you know. We’re not looking for small improvements here; we want racing to vanish. And that will happen when the betting stops.

    • Jsmith

      One suggestion is to call the track and the racing Commission and the Vet and the Steward.
      Also, send emails. Keep track of who you call and what they say.

      If enough people did that, it would FORCE these people to pay more attention. Here are my notes from yesterday. Carolyn has notes as well

      July 15th

      I lodged Complaint lodged with the Pennsylvania Racing Commission

      Walt Remmert
      Executive Secretary
      814-860-8972

      Called Presque Isle Downs

      Spoke with Race track manager
      Chris Beichner.

      814-860-8972

      There are NO rules on the books
      re: rest for the horse.
      Every horse there is an exam
      Only pulled if they are lame or injured.

      Spoke with State Vet

      Dr. Pierce

      814-602-4647

      (I understand your concern)
      Nothing he can do.
      he won his last race. Nothing they could do.

      (Carolyn told me that was not true. He did not win his last race)

      Stewards makes the scratches.
      Nothing he can do unless State Vet says so or unless horse is lame.

      Chief Steward

      Herb Clark

      814-860-8963

      Need to complain to Racing Commissioner that the laws need to be changed , Right now there are NO Laws
      against this kind of ABUSE and it is ABUSE.

      Plus, you can call the owner/trainer and let him know it is abuse but they RARELY pay any attention to what you say.

      By calling him you will let him know you are watching him.

      If all 289 plus people on this list complained when they saw abuse, it would help FORCE these people to pay more attention. Takes about one hour of ones time to make those calls.

  5. They inject joints to disguise lameness and the vets know this. What a sham !!

    I will make the calls on your list, Kathleen and this time I’m going to ask why there are no rules to protect the horse from absurdly frequent starts. However, we know why rules do not exist. Filling race cards and keeping the money flowing is all that matters.

    Shamrock Road did not win his last race or even place or show in his last 3 starts. He has had one win overall, and that was on June 1 this year.

    In his last race,15 July, he was 5th, 151/2 off the winner. The time of the race was 1:11 so he did 6 furlongs in 1:14. which is slow. Further the note said he chased, bid, and faltered. He made $275.00 for his connections.

    I see Dr. Pierce said there is nothing that can be done. I made the calls and in my message I said rules to prevent this abuse need to be put in place ASAP ! Saying “nothing can be done” is an insulting answer, at best.

  6. SPEAKING OF RACE HORSE ABUSE

    Just found this on facebook post

    I did NOT write this

    PRAY FOR PATNER facebook page
    ·
    This is ridiculous. Speed Lightning, a son of 2005 Kentucky Derby winner Giacomo, raced on Monday the 13th. I just got a notification saying he’s entered to run AGAIN on Sunday. Speed Lightning’s last win was on Sept. 9th 2013. The 7-year-old gelding has a record of 63 races, 4 wins, 7 seconds, and 9 thirds.

    It’s not often I say a horse needs to be retired, since I don’t work with the animal, therefore I don’t know what’s best for him; HOWEVER, I don’t like how often Speed Lightning has been running lately. I hope he retires soon, and not to a slaughterhouse.

    You can see his picture on this page

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pray-For-Paynter/350084595072625

    Left picture shows Speed Lightning on March 4, 2012. The right one shows him on January 30, 2015.

    • Rachel, I think you missed Mary Johnson’s reply to you earlier about this…thank you – from Shamrock Road! – for your offer to give him a home, but there was a prior offer already. A few of us are staying in contact with this willing adopter and hopefully, some day SOON, SR will be sound enough to WALK off the track and leave it behind for good…if/when his people decide to let him go.

  7. Representations were made to Presque Isle Downs and the Pennsylvania Racing Commission to have this horse scratched on 15 July and an embargo placed on him to have a 3 months’ layoff.
    Vet said he’d won his last start – well no he didn’t. He came home 4th last start, 7th before that and won before that. Where he placed is irrelevant and a very poor excuse not to scratch him. His history of overracing appears to have been ignored. This horse is desperate for respite.

    On 15 July, Shamrock Road finished 5th/7 runners and came home 15 ½ lengths. He also faltered during the race, likely sore and exhausted.

    14 starts in 6 months for this recently turned 3 year old (foaled May 25, 2012) is unacceptable.
    SHAME on those who are responsible for the mistreatment of this horse.

    Debbie Howells of Presque Isle Downs responded to my email saying that pre race vettings are done.
    I sent a further email in response to that and requested same be passed on to the Stewards. I also asked for the email address of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission as it is not on its website. To date i’ve had no response.

    If anyone can obtain the email address of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and put it up, that would be great.

    • Thank you, Carolyn…
      Pre-race vetting?…likely consisted of looking over the stall door at the horse standing in his stall, confirming he had four legs.
      Races need to be filled – not having enough horses to fill a race affects EVERYONE employed in this industry. That includes Howells.

  8. Unfortunately this is horse racing and we can all call text email ect but don’t dwell on Shamrock Road because I personally have seen him and his drug results all of which were fine. Most race horses race 2-3 times a month and run as two year olds which Shamrock didn’t. Shamrock Road has no injuries now or in the past. Go look at the likes of Helicopter who raced 14 times as a two year old and 17 times as a three year old and is still running as a 9 year old.

    • Fred, you appear to be an astute horseman…one who is extremely knowledgeable, right? If what I have stated is correct, then you do know that a horse is NOT skeletally developed until they are six years of age…yes, six years of age. I just talked to a friend of mine who is an Ohio racing official and we were chatting about how hard these horses are run and how much damage is inflicted on them over time. He agreed with me that the majority of horses are “run hard” because they have to be since, if the horse is standing in a stall, they are certainly not capable of producing revenue for the trainer. Remember, racing, as you well know, is a business based on gambling where money is KING!

      You say that you have personally seen the horse. Did you ask someone to take Shamrock out of his stall and watch him jog up and down the shedrow to check for lameness issues? You then say that you have seen his “drug results”. How are you allowed to see his “drug results” if you aren’t the owner or trainer? Now, I have a contact based at Presque isle and this person told me that Shamrock Road was “sore” back in July. I do realize that doesn’t mean he is still sore but I do trust what this person told me a month ago.

      Finally, please Google Dr. John Stick, an equine orthopedic surgeon at Michigan State. Dr. Stick says that “speed kills”. The damage done to young, still developing, horses when asked to race at high speeds is unacceptable. So many come off the track damaged beyond repair. I was just involved with pulling a horse out of Belterra by the name of Speak The Word. He is a beautiful seven year old yet ALL four of his legs look as if they have been through the war and he is NOT sound at this time. We don’t know what his prognosis is but we are hoping that he will be suitable for low level work which means pleasure riding and trails. Only seven…but who really cares in racing, right? Perhaps the racing folks, such as yourself, need to focus on the fact that Speak The Word provided the bettors and racing supporters with “tons of fun”. For some reason I’ve never had “tons of fun” watching any animal being exploited.

  9. Fred, just because you have personally seen SHAMROCK ROAD and his drug results were fine, does not mean all is well with this horse. You state “Shamrock Road has no injuries now or in the past”. Have you looked at any x-rays/MRI results on him? You would not know if he is carrying any subclinical issues nor would you know if he has a stress fracture. Remember what they found with California Chrome recently, a bruised cannon bone, and if it wasn’t for the x-rays being done purely because a sale to a breeder was in the pipeline, he would’ve started in the Arlington and I hate to think of what might’ve happened to him. SR could very easily have a stress fracture. He would be suffering from stomach ulcers, Dr Jonica Newby investigated this disturbing animal welfare issue and found that the ulcers are caused by the way horses are traditionally managed. Racing industry equine veterinarian, Dr Leanne Begg “it actually becomes a welfare issue when so many horses are affected. It’s almost one hundred per cent of racehorses in work have this problem, so it’s a serious problem.” Racing industry equine veterinary research scientist, Dr Chris Whitton stated “fatigue injuries are an ACCUMULATIVE problem caused mainly by how fast the horse travels. They usually begin with micro-fractures at a joint such as a fetlock, or ankle, which can carry as much as four tonnes of load when the horse is galloping.” SR raced 12 times in 18 weeks and this was at the beginning of his career? And he hasn’t had a proper lay-off?
    You can be rest assured that we will not be dwelling on SR. What we will be doing though is continuing to monitor him and lodge formal complaints about the sickening overracing of this young horse who is screaming out for at least a 3 months’ layoff.
    “….. we must remain focused upon the fundamental obligations inherent in our stewardship to the horse. To the degree that we lose sight of that focus, both the horse and the sport as a whole will suffer.” (Dr Scott Palmer).

  10. Thank you, Carolyn.

    Overworking horses is a big problem for the horse in the racing business. However, it flies under the radar because most, if not all, of these athletes compete at the claiming level. Nobody in the business cares.

    I have already talked about the filly, Jill’s reflection, racing at Gulfstream and that I complained about the frequency of her starts. She had 12 starts as a 2 year old and she was a late foal (April). With 52 starts at 4 yrs., she is overworked, period.

    I heard back from the investigator, Steven Kogan, at the Division of Para-Mutual Wagering in Fort Lauderdale re my complaint about Jill’s Reflection. Mr. Kogan stated he contacted the state steward, Kevin Scheen, who reviewed the racing record of the filly. The following is Mr. Scheen”s assessment of the situation : Mr. Scheen determined the number of races “MORE THAN AVERAGE BUT NOT UNUSUAL”. He also added the horse is cleared by the track veterinarian prior to every race. Great !

    Mr. Kogan went on to say Jil’s Reflection was claimed in June and the new trainer was giving her 3 weeks between races and if that continues her yearly totals WILL BE MORE IN LINE WITH THE TYPICAL NUMBER OF STARTS FOR A CLAIMING THOROUGHBRED.

    This response illustrates the disregard for the horse by the people at every level in this business and especially for the “claimer”. I really appreciated the “MORE THAN AVERAGE BUT NOT UNUSUAL” response !

    The filly has started twice since being claimed for $10,000 on 11 June. Her last race was on 25 July. There are no breezes on record. I wonder if we will see her again or will she “disappear” like so many others. ?
    But, of course, her former owner, who is also the breeder, is keeping taps on her. Right ? !

    • All we get from the Racing Industry is lies, lies, and more lies. This Industry is so corrupt at every level that it could never be cleaned up. All they care about is filling the racing cards, the horses physical condition they could care less about, as long as he is breathing they consider him fit to be sent out.

      These horses are dropping dead on tracks across the country on a regular basis, from being over-raced, or raced to their breaking point. “Oh he is sore” – just inject him with some good drugs and send him out to race is always the magic bullet. Trainers with no common sense, and no affinity for the horse whatsoever = bad decisions, and the horse always loses, and many times loses his life.

      TO FRED – Mary gives you too much credit, as being an astute horsemen. You said “unfortunately this is racing”, which implies that you accept it for what it is, and only an idiot would think there is anything acceptable about it, watching horses be physically damaged beyond repair, and those are the lucky ones, or dead in the dirt for your entertainment. I hope that something is done for Shamrock Road soon, before he becomes another casualty of “racing”. Is that also acceptable to you Fred, or did you also check your integrity at the door, a pre-requisite of any racing supporter.

      Marlene Thornley

    • Completely agree with you Rose. What they have done to her is totally UNACCEPTABLE. JR’s overracing is equivalent to being overworked, overridden and overused and in my view this mistreatment is an act of aggravated cruelty upon an animal.

      If one was to declare the real number of starts she had as a 2 year old, then this would be calculated from her real date of birth (April 19, 2011). If I read it correctly, she had 19 starts as a 2 year old and that is CRIMINAL! Very convenient for the industry to stipulate that 1st January (in the northern hemisphere) and 1st August (in the southern hemisphere) as the birth date for these horses.

      “more than average but not unusual” – these are pathetic responses delivered in a snide manner. They unfailingly have the attitude “well what are you going on about?” They know very well what we’re going on about especially when indisputable proof is provided but they just don’t want to admit they’re in the wrong.

      “will be more in line with the typical number of starts for a claiming thoroughbred” This callous attitude displays that they’re not considering that these horses are living creatures. The horses are being treated like motor machines which eventually break down after being overworked. The machines leak oil – the horses leak blood!

      According to equibase.com, on 10/12/13, Jill’s Reflection lost her rider and DNF (it was her 8th start). Be Extraordinary (also a 2 year old filly) was raced up close, clipped heels, fell and was vanned off. Chart says JR “bumped hard” with the fallen horse and lost her jockey. I think “collided heavily” with the fallen horse would’ve been the correct description as to what happened here. When a horse is down on the ground, it is a collision. Apparently there was a Stewards inquiry but no action was taken. Did BE ask to be raced up so close to another horse, resulting in her being so squeezed for room, that she clipped heels? No, the equine never places itself in such a dangerous potentially lethal situation. Be Extraordinary who was having HER VERY FIRST RACE START has not reappeared and seems to have disappeared.

      http://www.equibase.com/profiles/Results.cfm?type=Horse&refno=9163164&registry=T

  11. I personally have seen the horse and his X-rays and the owner was very nice when I showed up unannounced and told them who I was and why I was there. They had no problem jogging him and the groom gave him about 25 mints along with all of the other horses in the barn. They welcome any of you with open arms to go see him any time. He is turned out in a huge grass field during the week and trains 3 days a week at Presque Isle. They did tell me he was a bit body sore in July as he is used to being turned out 8-12 hours a day at their farm and when they went to Presque Isle there are no small turnouts like some tracks and no walking machines either plus it is a synthetic surface which their horses do not train over before.
    On a separate note I am well aware of a horses development but this is horse racing and it is about the almighty dollar for most owners trainers and bettors. I do not agree with running horses at 2 years old but we cannot control any of this.
    Also Shamrock Road had not run for over a month and came out today to win on his more familiar surface of dirt.

    • Fred, do you think you can answer a few questions for me?

      Why did Shamrock Road have x-rays? You said in your previous post that SR had not had any injuries in the past or presently.
      Upon what surface was SR trotted up on? (I have assumed that jogging is your term for trotting).
      Were his feet/hooves examined?

      Apart from the fact that it is impossible for me to inspect SR, even if I could, I do not have to look at this horse to know that his unacceptable arduous racing history to date is damaging his musculo-skeletal system which is primarily dependent upon the feet which sustain massive weight-bearing and ground reaction forces. In a study on racehorse deaths between 2001-2004 a total of 180 racehorse fatalities were investigated. Musculo-skeletal or other injuries accounted for 74% of the fatalities. Catastrophic cardiovascular or respiratory failure, known as “sudden death” accounted for 26% of the fatalities (Dr Lisa Boden, Risk Factors Associated with Racetrack Casualties in Thoroughbreds RIRDC 08/007).

      Yes, I’m sure the owner was very nice when you turned up and the groom put on a bit of a show for you.
      I get the impression that you regard this as credible when it is normal behaviour. And what did it have to do with a “professional” inspection of the animal?

      You state “I do not agree with running horses at 2 years old but we cannot control any of this.”
      The racing industry could do something about this if it so desired but it’s all about encouraging racehorse ownership with owners seeking a return on their investment asap and to hell with the destruction of the animal.

      Body sore from not being turned out, oh really Fred? SR couldn’t possibly be body sore from the accumulated fast speed galloping he’s been doing? You did not take this into consideration insofar as your assessment was concerned? The biomechanics of the gallop and the physical forces associated with racing and training around a turning track (continuously in an anti-clockwise direction) are incompatible. No doubt you are aware of this fact.

      Shamrock Road’s recent win is not indicative that all is well with him. Unfortunately, the public would quite understandably think that this horse is going great guns, he’s just fine. My own research over a period of 5 years investigating racehorse deaths revealed a significant number of horses winning or placing 2nd/3rd and then suddenly suffering a catastrophic breakdown. Just to give you an example, the Aga Khan’s beautiful mare, Verema, had won her last two starts before starting in the 2013 Melbourne Cup, she suffered a catastrophic limb injury in the early part of the race and was subsequently destroyed. On watching her parading pre-race I was concerned with her walk and the way she held herself, someone tried to tell me she’ll be fine because she won her last 2 races. I responded that means absolutely nothing in relation to what is really going on in her body.

      And just one more question – why do people like yourselves in the horseracing industry CLEARLY IGNORE the expert advice of the racing industry’s own equine veterinarian research scientists?

      And where can I find confirmation of your official inspection of SR? Is it in the Stewards’ notes,
      racetrack report, racing commission document or the like? I would appreciate you getting back to me on this.

  12. Shamrock Riad was vetted ( complete set of x-Rays and physical exam as he was purchased by new people. I’m not here to argue as I’m in the horse business for 57 years both here and in Europe. In Ireland we run them 2 miles on the flat on Monday and 3 miles over 18 fences on Friday however it is all natural turf and we do not run 2 year olds ever. i am only hear to let you know that 15 starts for an almost 4 year old is not a huge concern to some that are out there. You can keep writing and fighting for all of these horses ( and I appreciate your concern )however it is such a powerful business you would need an army and the mafia behind you. Good luck

    • Fred, I reached out to one of my contacts at Presque Isle and asked if you were a racing official at that track. This contact’s comment was that you are “no official or person of any ranking” at PI. It is always hard to ascertain the legitimacy of someone who posts on the blog by their first name only.

      Now, your story gets a little “tricky”. You say that Shamrock Road was vetted because he was purchased by new people. The horse ran yesterday at Ellis Park in a claiming race and he did win. According to Equibase, SR was NOT claimed but is still owned by The IRA Stable which, of course, is the name of Edward Sexton’s stable who also happens to be the trainer. Therefore, between 6/21 and 7/15, it looks as if another “partner” bought into SR…a partner by the name of Triple T. Are you that partner, Fred, or do you know who is? Sexton has a “rough” reputation and I have heard some horrific stories about him but I don’t know him personally. He just happens to have a “gal pal” by the name of Mary Mead who handed several Midwest Thoroughbreds off for slaughter several months ago, and, yes, this is ALL documented. Therefore, try to understand why we are concerned about a horse whose racing career is controlled by two people involved in the slaughter industry. You do know that slaughter is the disposal system for TB racing, right? I certainly hope so!

      However, whether you are legitimate or not, I do appreciate your honesty by stating that “this is horseracing and it is about the almighty dollar for most owners, trainers, and bettors”. I couldn’t agree with you more. The horses are the pawns so that someone can place a bet. It is as simple as that. Oh, and we do agree on a very important point. I have said for years that racing can’t be “cleaned up”. It is sinister and corrupt to the core. You state that you appreciate our concern for the horses but racing is such a powerful business that we would need an army and the mafia behind us to truly change the lives of these horses for the better. I wish I knew you personally, Fred, because, even though you are immersed in an industry I despise, I appreciate your honesty when it comes to trying to make things better. In racing, you don’t often find someone as forthright as you, if ever. The vast majority are liars

    • Fred, the Presque isle folks think you are bogus…as in a fake or a fraud. I do believe that you are right where you belong…immersed in a sinister and corrupt industry. Continue to troll this blog but don’t post again. No one will believe a thing you babble from here on out. Got it?

    • Fred….. as I suspected, you are probably one of Shamrock Road’s owners – seems you had difficulty in disclosing this fact in your original comment. According to equibase.com, up until SR raced on July 15, 2015, the IRA was the sole owner. On 7/15/15 Triple T Stables was shown as an incoming owner with the IRA and it appears that you are Triple T Stables (please correct me if I’m wrong).
      To date SR has earned $16,325 for 15 starts of which 12 were in Claiming Races
      May 8, 2015 – $35,000
      May 26, 2015 – he goes down to $25,000
      July 15, 2015 – he goes down to $7,500

      and after winning on Aug 22 his claiming price has gone down from $7,500 to $5,000?
      Horse has won, there will be some interest especially when his claiming price has come down by $2,500 but he is not claimed?
      His very first start he places 9th and his next start he places 5th and this was his first claiming race and I just cannot believe his claiming price was $50,000. Gee whiz there must be some gullible people out there if that’s the norm. Green owners have been taken down by the racing industry something terrible.

      And lastly Fred, why am I not surprised that you didn’t answer my questions. You cannot justify the unjustified.

      PS I’ve just noticed that Mary has put up a post, I don’t like to repeat but as I’ve spent some time on this I will put it up.

    • I think there needs to be clarification in what “Fred” stated in his last comment
      “i am only hear to let you know that 15 starts for an almost 4 year old is not a huge concern”.
      Prima facie this statement does not cause any query, however –

      Shamrock Road IS NOT almost 4 years of age. He was foaled May 25, 2012 and therefore he is 3 years and 3 months of age. His racing age would be 4 years on Jan 1, 2016. When one is told that a 4 year old racehorse has had 15 starts, one assumes the horse has been racing for 2 years and one would not be concerned. SR began racing in Jan 2015 and this horse was forced to run 12 of his starts in 18 weeks and that is a HUGE CONCERN. He has been in training/racing for 8 calendar months without a lay-off (and 5 weeks is not a lay-off) and this is totally unacceptable. The concern for this horse has greatly increased due to the fact that his trainer (part owner) and incoming owner Triple T Stables, continue to race him with complete disregard for his welfare. In the meantime, racing officials and vets (who have been formally informed by members of the public about this horse) DO NOTHING!

      “….should this horse break down anytime in the near future, prosecutors in the state where it happens would practically be obligated to file criminal charges (against Sexton, yes, but also against the relevant jockey, stewards, and track vet)…” (Patrick Batuello – June 3, 2015).

  13. Hi. I am not involved in racing, nor would I ever be in a million years, I think it ranks as one of the most disgusting things on earth, however, my question is what can the general public who love animals and despise the exploitation of them do to help those of you who are inside and have the connections? I live in San Diego and plan on participating in the protest at Del Mar on Sept. 5th, what else can we do to help? I have been reading these posts and it makes my stomach turn even more. Does anyone have info/undercover evidence of the cruelty that can be used and presented to state legislators? I want to help. Let me know what I can do. Thanks. Janel Scott, Oceanside, CA

    • Please share this site (and the data herein) far and wide – social media, yes, but also letters to the editor, calls and emails to local news outlets, radio talk shows, etc. (I’m not as encouraged by the legislative route.) What this issue needs more than anything is exposure. The great majority of the American public simply does not know what’s happening on our racetracks. Thank you for wanting to help.

    • There is a big push in racing to make it better. Of course the resistance is extremely strong. Those who are benefiting from things the way they are, are in denial. The cried poor Steve Asmussen, and how unfair that PETA video was!!! But so far, all of this, as you know, is really not out in the public eye. I think it is tremendous that there will be a protest!!!! Just be sure that the media is there. Tell the facts and get them out there. Tell how many horses die a day – racing puts out statistics (which we all now are manipulated however people want them) that say horses die at a rate of 1000 starts. Tell them how many a DAY die. Tell the truth, and if possible get photos of the horses who have died so that people can see how beautiful they were.

      Again, it is so wonderful that there will be a protest!!! I cannot tell you how glad I am, I only wish I lived close enough to participate.

      • Agreed Maureen and re racing’s statistics –
        The racing industry can forget about the number of deaths in relation to the number of starters, it just doesn’t wash anymore and they’ve got away with this for far too many decades. It is very misleading. And as we know the number they disclose can at least be doubled because the industry seems to have difficulty in disclosing the truth as to the number of deaths. The term “vanned off” tells the public that the horse had an issue – end of story as far as racing is concerned. On the very rare occasion it will be later confirmed that a horse died.
        My own personal opinion is that racing’s official number can be tripled. Most trackwork training deaths (and career ending injuries) are kept quiet, unless of course it is a well-known racehorse. Racehorses are put on public display by an industry that is sustained by the public and the public has the right to scrutinize the welfare of these horses and, further, it is incumbent upon the racing industry to truthfully inform the public.

      • You’re absolutely right. And the justification for racing 2-year-olds is bogus as well. Statistics start AFTER the horse races, and completely ignores how many die or become crippled before they ever race. it is really lie after lie. And sadly, the people involved have come to believe their own lies. They profess to love horses, and they do love them – like they love a new car. Not as sentient beings.

      • Thank you, Janel! And like Patrick said, share, share, SHARE! You will plant seeds of knowledge and it WILL make a difference! Thank you!

      • Maureen and Carolyn, thank you both for your words of wisdom and knowledge. Not only do I appreciate what you know about this industry’s abusive practices and your willingness to expound AND expose, it’s just so damn nice when industry “insiders” (former or current) know how to put a sentence together! But then maybe that’s why those who cannot stay right where they are…

        Thank you both!

      • That is an excellent point. So many trainers are really car salesmen in a different industry. I do believe if they were more intelligent they would see what they are doing. But they are just like the Debra who continues to defend how horses are treated. You really cannot argue with ignorance – because it is all those people know and they accept what they do as normal and truly believe they know everything.

  14. Thank YOU Joy for your dogged persistence for this very worthy cause. Brilliant work you are doing on Horseracing Wrongs’ FACEBOOK page!

  15. I have a question for all the self righteous geniuses who post on this blog. Say you manage to shut racing down , (don’t get your hopes up) , what then ? What are your plans for Thorougbreds ? Do you you all have land to put them on , funds to euthanize them , exactly what are your plans . Now before you start with , that is the breeders problems , no it is not . You can not create the scenario with out a plan in place , remember it is the few of you wanting this , not the owners and breeders , so the full responsibility of your intentions falls right on you. Now let’s hear your plays , what YOU are going to do with the horses that YOU will displace ? You too Patrick chime right on in .

    • At .least it would be a one-time problem. What do you think happens to the horses NOW that are displaced every year? The ones no longer earning money? The ones that are too old or broken down? The ones that end up at New Holland, on their way to Canada and Mexico. Thousands of horses die, breakdown, or otherwise leave racing EVERY YEAR, year after year after year after year. Please don’t pretend that there are no displaced horses NOW.

    • Since you believe all of the “surplus” horses will be OUR problem (and we really shouldn’t need to be too concerned since most people in racing love their horses so much…and would certainly want to keep their beloved family members), then how about you don’t worry about it. You seem to be on “overload” already.

  16. On Sept 4 SHAMROCK ROAD raced at Ellis Park in a 6 horse race and came home 3rd place ($1,550) but 10 lengths back. Chart says he “gave in”, why would one be surprised. Up for grabs for $30,000 as were the other 5 horses. This 3 year old gelding has been racing since mid January 2015, has had 16 starts (13 in claiming races) for only $17,875 and has had no respite e.g. a 3 months’ lay-off to recover, rest and mend his growing body.
    This horse had 12 starts in 18 weeks and that is a real concern.
    This arduous racing program for this 3 year old is one sure way of ruining him especially when his bones are immature and not properly developed. Absolutely nothing in place to protect this horse from being run into the ground and in the meantime, the racing officials and vets DO NOTHING and just let it all happen.

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