A Three-Race “Career”: Last, Last, Dead

Jess Special Baby’s only three races:

Sunland Park, December 29, 2014 (as a 2-year-old) – last of 10, “no factor”

Sunland Park, February 27, 2015 – last of 10, “poor performance”

The Downs at Albuquerque, May 6, 2015 (now three) – broke down, dead

images (6)

This is horseracing.

29 Comments

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  1. That poor baby.

    Microchips will record how often these souls are racing; what drugs they have on board; who caused them to be born. And if crossing the border or entering a slaughter facility – fines will be levied back to the breeder. This is the start of the filling in the hole of hell and get the horses away from the criminals and ignorant.

  2. Jan, I introduced the concept of a microchip in 2005. It was met with disdain. The industry didn’t want it. Moreover, have you ever heard the term “ringer?”
    A “ringer” is a horse who is put into a race to rig a race. The actual horse presented on the racing program is completely different than the actual horse who races. This dirty secret has been going on for years mostly in the lower claiming ranks. Now the industry claims that the horse identifier checks tattoos to make sure it’s the horse listed on the program, but There has been several cases both in the U.S. (Ellis Park) Canada (Fort Erie) where they were caught red handed. In other words, the horse identifier is often in on the ringer scheme to cash in on bets.
    The scenario goes like this: a winning racehorse who is running for $20,000 claiming gets dropped down into a lower level claimer $5000 under a different name. That name would be something similar like this horse who would go off at super high odds. The horse wins, and pays big.
    Now given the current state of horse racing it seems very plausible that this is still going on. Racehorses like this are usually used as mere “fillers” of the race knowing that they don’t have a hope in hell of winning or may not even come out alive, but they generate money for the wagering windows.
    This is horse racing.
    So sorry for you Jess Special Baby. You were just another number, but to me you were a beautiful sentiment being.

    • Gina, I would’ve loved to have seen the looks on their faces when you suggested the microchip!!! Oh the very precious boys’ club – how dare this woman raise this. No doubt, they began to shift uncomfortably in their chairs, giving certain looks to one another and given they realised you meant business, they probably started to sweat a little and become somewhat nauseous……

  3. Very interesting Gina how you were the one of the individuals to advocate microchips. Even now we have noticed many thoroughbreds disappearing from farms seemingly overnight. Maybe because breeders are afraid of their horses being traced back? Unfortunately once a breeder sells a horse, even when performing due diligence, they often times lose control of where their horse may go.

  4. A friend of mine rescued a Thoroughbred mare from a kill auction. We tried to find her history using the tattoo but it was obvious it had been “tampered” with. The microchip will be a huge improvement. Racing resisted the chip because maybe it could result in a modicum of accountability. Something the business wants nothing to do with !

    • Spot on, Rose – the racing industry felt threatened by the introduction of the microchip but now they have to go along with it and this will be advantageous for the horses and hopefully cease some of the wrongdoings.

  5. So nice to see such intelligent comments here. Thanks to Joan & Fred Booth, Rose, Georgie.
    I introduced a microchip not only for identifiable purposes, but also for medical records purposes.
    Current day technology has come a long way with a SCAN CODE. I think that every racehorse should have a scan code to make sure this industry becomes responsible, and accountable.
    Tattoos, although helpful sometimes, are antiquated. They can also be easily altered, and difficult to read.
    The multibillion dollar horse racing industry seems to deliberately not enact technology that would greatly reduce, if not stop, the use of drugs, and the alleged corruption.
    The ongoing use, and abuse of drugs to address chronic physical lameness issues are often a direct cause of catastrophic breakdowns in racehorses.

    • You’re correct, Gina…100% correct. The racing industry could easily implement your ideas and suggestions – but they CHOOSE not to. And simply because the HORSE is NOT their priority. So while they attempt to appear as if they do (care about the horses’ welfare), their actions (or lack of them) speak much louder than their words.

      • There is a quote that has been circulating for years….”Don’t listen to what they say. Look at what they do”. Racing destroys horses. That is how I judge the industry.

  6. There was a huge annual meeting in Florida by pro-horse racing people discussing many topics including the one addressed here.
    The most vile comments came from radio host Steve Byk. He hosts a pro-horse racing station on Sirius, and he makes me vomit.
    I have heard him consistently defend such monsters as Steve Asmussen or any of the multiple drug violating trainers who have horses break down, and die in their care.
    Here is the link:

    http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/hbpa_told_to_fight_back_in_environment_of_poison/

    Here is one excerpt:

    Byk discussed the fallout from the undercover video of Steve Asmussen’s stable in New York and Kentucky by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the lack of an immediate industry response. Horsemen need to fight back when attacked, he said.

    Instead of being disgusted with the treatment of racehorses in Asmussen’s care, he said they need to fight back people like this! The racehorses sure couldn’t fight back when they were forced to run in pain, and whipped to perform. The unimaginable horror that’s being defended by this industry.

    I would encourage anybody to read the comments provided below the article. Such things as: I hate PETA, we need to fight back, we need to organize etc etc.

    Instead of showing compassion for the racehorse dying they put their energy into fighting people who expose the truth.

    This industry sickens me. It really does.

    • Yes, Gina!…I read the article this afternoon and even posted it on FB – and encouraged others to be certain to read the comments, as well!

      One of my favorite comments was from Bill Casner…it was good to see the evidence – once again – that this vile industry is circling the drain. Here, Mr. Casner; “In 1980 when I left the track, Santa Anita would get 25k people in the grandstand on a Wed.–now you be lucky to get 2 or 3k. Handle has continued to decline.
      We have had a monopoly on interstate gambling since 1978 and we have been unable to capitalize on that advantage and we have seen a gradual deterioration of public opinion and support.”

  7. Joy and Gina, read it also and was stunned with the statements this Steve Byk creep made.
    Some interesting comments –

    this one by Charles Smith
    I’m no fan of PETA, but I would agree with you that the content of that tape was disturbing. As a owner since the late 80’s, I understand that the foundation of the sport is the horse. We ask them for everything they have and they give it willingly. The comments made on the tape revealed an attitude toward racehorses in general and owners in general that’s just disgusting. Training is a tough, high pressure profession, but without the owners who are willing to lose money 80 to 90 percent of the time and the horses, who lay down their well being on the track…………

    this one by Jack Frazier
    ….. Having trained the California circuit whether or not it is real, it does appear that certain folks are treated much differently and their posteriors are kissed at every opportunity. It is no secret who is cheating but because of the laws surrounding libel, it would be pound foolish to actually name names… I question whether the testing facilities treat everyone fairly or if certain folks are given a pass because of who they are. ……. On a personal level, I have been talked down to with the person doing so, not knowing a single thing about my background. Equality does not exist and the elitists are treated differently whether in filling races or in punishment. That is a fact and is a reason many have and are leaving horse racing..….. At best it is a break even business and at worst, it is one that can make a millionaire out of a billionaire in a short while. Many folks who love the business have become jaded. ……

    and this one by Howard Roark
    I could give a speech pointing to people like Steve Byk as the source of many of the problems in this industry. I hate PETA as much as anyone, but the behavior towards the horses and owners in that tape was inexcusable. Byk and his drug trainer buddies need to realize that the Kings in The Sport of Kings are the horses and the owners.. ……Keep drugging one of the kings to death and disrespecting the other king and you won’t have much left to talk about on your hack radio show.

    Gina, did you see this one? Thought of your comments re filling races –

    “When I first got involved in this business, about 45 yrs ago, the condition book had about 10 to 12 races listed and maybe 2 or 3 substitute races per day. Today, they still do that but when you look at the overnight, there will be another huge number of extras and that`s not counting what the racing secretary does during entry time. He will tweak the conditions of a race (dates, money earned) change distance, change surface etc. Years ago, what was in the condition book was all you got. A trainer could actually point to the day his horse most probably would run. Now we have a few horses that fit the conditions and the rest are just fillers.”

    The above is a comment from a Paulick Report article
    http://www.paulickreport.com/news/people/former-penn-national-official-seeks-to-avoid-prison-in-fraud-case/

  8. JESS SPECIAL BABY – according to equibase.com, the connections of this baby’s last start were:

    Jockey – Jose Enrique Ortiz
    Trainer – Gerardo Gutierrez
    Owner – William Valencia
    Breeder – Cesar Carrete
    Career 3: 0-0-0 $194.00

    This gelding had 2 starts in which he came home last and was not competitive but they continued to force him to race.
    In his third and fateful start he DIES! This beautiful horse was a NOTHING to this rotten industry.

    JSB was not only yet another young horse callously sacrificed by the horseracing industry but he was also another “filler in”. Horses not up to racing are thrown in to fill in the fields for betting – SICK, SICK, SICK!

  9. Thanks Carolyn.
    Anyways, back to the “fillers.” Certain Trainers who are part of the “scheme” financially gain from putting a racehorse in for wagering purposes knowing full well that the horse is either lame, not ready to race, doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning. Not only do they gain the $100 or so that the racino pays, but there’s a lot going on in the background. As long as that horse steps out of the gate they get their money. What happens between the start of the race and the finish line usually doesn’t concern them even when a horse like Jess Special Baby dies.
    It’s just business as usual. They can say that they care, but like Joy points out:
    “So while they attempt to appear as if they do (care about the horses’ welfare), their actions (or lack of them) speak much louder than their words.” So true Joy!
    When I was in the business, especially as a CHRB Steward, I was very positive. I really wanted to change things for the better, for the racehorses, for the business as a whole. I was equipped with lots of horse knowledge, education, and motivation for positive changes despite my bad experiences as a Owner/Trainer. I still, despite all odds, put my bad experiences behind me, that little voice that tells you something is not right, and I plotted on full of hope that things would change for the better.
    In fact, there was a small group of us that felt the same, we introduced great ideas, we attended committee hearings, we lent our voice only to be drowned out by the people who didn’t want to implement these changes such as the microchip, medical records, and out of competition testing.
    They were usually the Owner/Trainers and their vets who were winning all the races, and dominating most of the purse money.
    It was then and there that I realized that most in the industry really didn’t have any intention of ensuring the racehorses health, and safety as a priority. They sure put on that face, you know the one that you saw Steve Asmussen put on in the undercover PETA video in the saddling paddock just before a race. Remember that?
    Then, when the camera is off, the blatant cruelty, and abuse was caught on tape.
    Sadly, Steve A. is not the only Trainer who conduct their horse business this way. This is business as usual.
    I have no sympathy for anybody who is in the business because by participating in this they are part of it. Moreover, even if they wanted change, it’s not going to happen. There’s too much money involved, and the powers that be want it kept status quo so they can continue their money making scheme at the detriment of both horse, and jockey.
    They’ve been getting away with it for so long why change now?
    Despite all the exposure they still ignore, and insist on running things as usual.
    There’s no doubt that in order for this business to continue the racehorses must pay they price even if the tag includes dying.
    This is horse racing.

  10. Apparently this poor baby was experiencing physical pain and problems and his owner didn’t care enough to have him thoroughly examined. There will be no necropsy and no punishments dealt out. I was “born” into the sport. I don’t race horses, I just follow it. Horse abuse on the lower levels is rampant. The push should be for stricter regulations and penalties. Few tracks across the country even remain active today. I love horses, my concern is abuse, foreign sales, and slaughter. The sport, although dying, will not be outlawed anytime soon. The systematic abuse of Tennesee Walking horses is nothing short of horrific, but shamefully, the competitions continue. These deaths and stories hurt me to my core. I wish I could make all thoroughbred owners and handlers care about the equines, and put their welfare before money. I can’t. It boils down to human responsibility. No one will comment on what become of the late great gelding, Shared Belief’s remains. I think he went from being the top rated horse in the world to the rendering plant, not even a word on plans for a memorial. This horse was loved by so many, he was a once in a lifetime champion. It’s unconscionable. Horse racing certainly does have a dark side, that being greed and rotten human beings. Thank you for sponsoring this page and remembering these brave athletes. We should never forget the martyrs of the sport.

      • I understand your anger with horse racing, but it is a sport. I have studied it’s history, I collect memorabilia of these magnificent equine champions from the last 100 years. You are only focusing on the negative aspects of the sport. By doing so, you are overlooking the beauty and greatness that so many equine champions have embodied. You are denying them their place in history by denying that they were true athletes. I love horses, have loved them from the time I could walk. If fact, my father put me on a horse before I could walk. My home is horse photos and paintings wall to wall. I’m very concerned about abuses, but horse abuse extends far beyond the industry of racing. Tennesee walkers are tortured, tortured, Sir. Research it. Where is the outrage over that? Horse slaughter, carriage horses, wild horses, the list goes on. It’s enough to make you sick. You must ask yourself, do you truly love horses, or just have an intense hatred for racing? Banning horse racing would put it on the level of dog fighting. That’s illegal too, but it’s rampant. We can only work to improve conditions for equine athletes, and respect and remember them, because the sport won’t be banned in our lifetime.

      • “Sport”? “Champions”? “Denying them their place in history by denying that they were true athletes”? In a word, delusional. And despicable: Thinking like yours allows the cruelty and killing to continue.

      • I’m “delusional” because I give credit to thoroughbreds who were and are tremendous athletes, physically and mentally, as well as those who never achieved greatness. I may be delusional, but you are very disrespectful. There are many facets to horse abuse. I advocate against all of them. The truth is, you have a beef with the racing industry. It’s not about the horses for you.

      • If you had taken the time to read my entire home page you would have found this list of “Other Wrongs” (with links) – including some written by me:

        Bullfighting
        Dogracing
        Fur
        Horse-Drawn Carriages
        Hunting For Sport
        Tennessee Walking Horse
        The Circus
        The Iditarod
        The Marine Park
        The Rodeo

      • Karen…you state “Horse abuse on the lower levels are rampant”. Since you admit to having studied and followed horse racing, surely you know that the “lower levels” are the majority in the industry. Therefore, we could simply say “Horse abuse in the majority of the industry is rampant”. Even if we give the benefit of the doubt to the “good” owners and trainers (who we know dump their non-performers just like the rest), is the “glory” for the few worth the “rampant horse abuse” of the majority? You even stated “I wish I could make all thoroughbred owners and handlers care about the equines, and put their welfare before money. I can’t”. So why should our “civilized” society continue to support a gambling/entertainment industry whose own “employees” put money before the welfare of sentient beings? Why would we maintain an industry (an unnecessary one) that is occupied with “rotten human beings” who cannot be made to care about the animals in their possession? It cannot be cleaned up because there will always be those uncaring, greedy, rotten humans who will put their pocketbooks before the well-being of the animals they are using. Unfortunately, those rotten humans are present outside of the horse racing industry, as well, and their abuse of equines subsequently exists beyond it. That we can do very little about. But to support industries that use animals simply so fans can be entertained and gamblers can get their betting fix? – at the expense of the animals that have no choice?

        You bring up the Walkers that suffer immensely…and the carriage horses…“the list goes on”, you state – and you are absolutely correct. But then you ask – as do many racing supporters! – “Where is the outrage over that?” Karen, why must Patrick or I or anyone else who speaks out against horse racing always be accused of not caring about other abused equines or any other exploited species for that matter? Do you comment on forums that protest the abuse of Walkers with accusations like “Where is your outrage over the abused racehorses?”…or on anti-dog racing sites, do you question “Where is your outrage over the legal puppy mill horrors?” Dear GOD, but I’m tired of that accusation. I cannot imagine going to a forum that battles for a specific exploited animal in a particular industry and accuse them of not caring about other abused creatures! What is it that racing supporters don’t understand about that?…or is it that they simply dislike the exposure of the industry they support so they want the public’s eyes redirected elsewhere?

        I will not speak for Patrick, but I will readily admit that I hate horse racing. An intense hatred, actually…as you accused Patrick of having. I have it. As I do for other legal but abusive animal-for entertainment industries…dog racing, circuses, marine-animal parks, rodeos, carriage horse businesses, canned hunts, bull fighting, etc. And my intense loathing of the aforementioned industries does in NO WAY signify I am “overlooking the beauty and greatness” of the amazing animals that are being used and abused IN those industries! In fact, it’s quite the contrary – I abhor those industries BECAUSE I so deeply value the animals enslaved in them.

        “The truth is, you have a beef with the racing industry. It’s not about the horses for you.” Do you “have a beef” with ANY industry that wields rampant abuse upon the animals it holds captive, Karen?…do you “have a beef” with the circus?…or the rodeo?…or puppy mills?…or the equine slaughter industry? All legal. All have fervent proponents. All have their supporters that will accuse you of “only focusing on the negative aspects”. Only a “beef”…so it’s not about the animals for you, Karen? Come on now…

      • Karen, Patrick isn’t trying to “dishonor” the greats in horseracing such as Man O’ War, War Admiral, and Secretariat. What he is trying to do is “honor” all the horses that put “their lives on the line” every single day so that someone can bet or be entertained. I, too, grew up with horses. I had every horse book (still have most of them), every photo of the “greats” in racing, and watched all the shows on Saturday morning that centered around horses, i.e. My Friend Flicka and Fury. So what? It took me years to finally take off my rose colored glasses and see racing for what it truly was…animal exploitation..

        As far as other industries are concerned, yes, there is abuse in ALL of them and the Tennessee Walking Horse industry is one of the worst. Back in the 60’s, many horse shows were “all breed” shows and I remember watching the unnatural gaits and it made me sick then and it still does. I sign every petition that I can and speak out whenever possible and I would gladly picket the TWH shows if they were close to me but most are centered in the southern states. However, one must “pick their battles” and, because I have been around TB’s for well over 50 years, I have chosen to focus on them plus, up until recently, there was a low level track close to where I live…a Penn Gaming track (Beulah Park)…and I spent years walking the backside trying to help the discarded horses that had nowhere to go. Since you “advocate” for all abused horses, what have you specifically done to help the TB racehorse? How many do you currently own? Remember…the easiest part of rescue is sitting on your ass and writing that check. The hard part is getting up off your ass, hooking up your truck and trailer, driving to get the horse, and bringing that horse into your barn and doing it ALL on your own dime!

        Yes, I despise racing. You might prefer me saying that I “hate” racing. Both are correct. I hate the industry because it maims, and kills, horses daily. Even the “good folks” in racing drug their horses (although some are so dumb they don’t realize that Lasix is a drug), race them with injuries, race them before they are physically mature, keep them stalled 23 hours a day, and put them up for sale in claiming races. Approximately 70% of the foal crop will eventually end up on the slaughterhouse floor because slaughter is the disposal system for an antiquated industry….horseracing. If I didn’t love the horses, I would support racing. Seems simple to me.

        I have posted this analogy before but there is obviously a need to post it again. You have two neightbors…one beats his dog three times a day and one beats his dog once a day. If you spoke out against the neighbor who beats his dog once a day, I would never begin to babble…”Oh, but what about the guy that beats his dog three times a day”. I would be grateful that you took action against the neighbor who is actually the better of the two. However, both are animal abusers. You get the picture, right?

        Racing will never end, at least in my lifetime. However, we can continue to speak for the horses who can’t speak for themselves with the goal being a decrease in wagering. Remember…knowledge is power. Racing is in trouble, big trouble, in several states and we all should know by now that the gaming companies don’t want the tracks. They want the slots because the slots are more profitable. The bottom line….racing is ALL ABOUT THE MONEY! The horses have always been secondary to the dollar bill and they always will be as long as this disgusting industry continues to exist.

  11. It’s so antiquated like a Romanesque coliseum-like blood display. Running in circles snapping off their legs while getting whipped. How cruel, and horrific can any business model get?
    No, it’s not a sport. It’s a death camp, and for those who make it out alive they may end up in the slaughterhouse.

  12. Thank you Joy for your brilliant comment…… I’m always in awe of your posts. You hit the nail on the head “What is it that racing supporters don’t understand about that?…or is it that they simply dislike the exposure of the industry they support so they want the public’s eyes redirected elsewhere?

  13. I can’t wait to see racing go down the tubes. Gina is right on, it is nothing more than a death camp, with the endless streams of maimed, drugged, injured, or dead racehorses.

    It is a disgrace that nothing has been done to shut it down in this day and age, when people are conscious and enraged over animal abuse. If only the TB’s had the same protections that dogs and other animals do, they would have to build a new prison for all the racing personnel, trainers, owners, the whole rotten lot of them to be contained in. That is where they all belong, behind bars, their freedom lost, for the countless innocent, defenseless, creatures that they have abused, killed, and let suffer. Every track is no more than a graveyard, and every square inch of it is marked by the blood spilled by so many magnificent, beautiful, feeling souls whose life held so much promise.

    I pray everyday for the fallen, that maybe tomorrow those that remain will be rescued from the hell that is their daily life of isolation, drugging, suffering, and death. Where are all these congressmen, who could start by initiating some protective legislation. They are all asleep at the wheel. Everyone should start barraging their offices with letters demanding action on an industry that is out of control. Believe me, there is definitely strength in numbers, and lost votes matter most to them.

    It is sickening, it is disgusting and it must end now!!

    Marlene Thornley

  14. Well said everybody.
    By the way Karen name me a “sport” where athletes die on a daily basis? Name me a “sport” whereby an athlete gets a big shot of Lasix (IF that is what’s inside the needle) in their jugular vein 4 hours prior to racing? Name me a “sport” where the athletes don’t get paid, have no retirement, and get whipped excessively to perform better? Name me a “sport” where athletes are sent to their death when they are no longer performing?
    Sad truth Karen there are no “sports” like this which is why you can’t call horse racing a sport. It doesn’t qualify.
    However, it does qualify as cruel, and abusive exploitation of a sentiment being.

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