Death at a Party: 30,000 Witness Two Kills at Saratoga

I was at Saratoga Race Course yesterday – along with 40 or so other activists. We were there, of course, to protest the systemic abuse and killing of horses for entertainment. On this gorgeous upstate-NY summer day, 30,000 souls merrily marched through the front gates, anticipating a social scene practically unrivaled on the East Coast. Sure, Saratoga beckons the hardened “players,” but it also attracts the kinds of demographics you won’t find at America’s more pedestrian (read: cheaper) racetracks – middle-class families, sunscreen and coolers in tow; the upper crusts, styling young and gaudy old alike. And yes, there were limos.

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So, with signs hoisted, we dutifully (and respectfully) offered knowledge – flyers containing the facts and figures of this site, the irrefutable truth on Racing. Some took them, most did not; a great many, in fact, were confrontational, even downright nasty:

“Get a job.”
“Get a life.”
“Don’t you have something better to do?”
“Why don’t you spend your time worrying about humans?”
“You’re idiots; those horses are treated better than people.”
“We’re going to have a lot of fun in there!”
“Can’t wait to win some money!”
“Yeah, I bet you’re voting for Hillary too.”
One, to a friend (in a threatening tone): “Better keep me away from them.”
“You people make me sick.”
And, my personal favorite: “You’re obscene.” Yes, it is we, the advocates speaking in behalf of innocent, defenseless animals, who are the obscene ones.

And so it was with this backdrop that those KIA lists we were disseminating prior to had, by day’s end, grown just a bit longer. Dead: 3-year-old Zamjara in the 1st, 4-year-old Rootformejustin in the 5th.

The party, alas, had been marred – if only a tad, if only for a day.

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  1. Keep up the good work! I took animal law class with Val Lang. She is the best and I miss her. I support you all!

    • We wish we could have taken that class! We bet it would have been very informative. Such a shame that a group of people can`t express their opinions without intimidation. We appreciate all the work you all are doing for the poor suffering horses at the tracks. Recently our local track has taken to advertising itself as a card playing/ Historical racing machine gamboling venue. They have been advertising during prime time on over the air TV as “great action, great rewards, real close”. This makes it clear to all they are strictly a gamboling enterprise and don`t really care about the horses they use for generating their profits/ administrative salaries.Better they become a full blown casino and eliminate the horses from racing / training there altogether. We have galloped horses there many times over the years between 1986 to 2004. We left after becoming disgusted withe drugs/ abuse of the horses and truly evil race track vets we saw administering various concoctions. We also several times stopped galloping a horse at the 1/4 pole to pickup LARGE rocks the size of baseballs and MANY golf balls from the infield golf course too.

  2. I don’t cry when reading every post anymore (I think I get numb)…but Patrick’s words and what the kind-hearted activists had to listen to yesterday made me weep. I was sad, I was angry, I was hurt for those who had that verbal abuse hurled at them. Then as I thought about it, what else would I expect from individuals who tolerate and condone animal abuse?…why wouldn’t they also be cruel to another species?

    Thank you – once more – to those who stood strong and kind and compassionate for the horses we love so much!

    Zamjara and Rootformejustin – your lives were stolen from you and for that I am so, so very sorry. Now, I just hope that there were attendees who will have a change of heart and mind in seeing your deaths merely so they could be entertained.

  3. Grateful to all of you who were a voice for the voiceless racehorses yesterday in front of Saratoga.
    Your homemade signs were amazing, but so were all the signs.
    You looked so awesome out there.
    People who support cruelty often hurl mean words at peaceful protesters.
    I’ve had it happen to me so many times.
    I often wonder why they do such a thing.
    I’m no psychologist, but I think that the truth rings clear and affects them.
    They are probably more angry at themselves for supporting this atrocity.
    ZAMJARA – trained by TODD PLETCHER. Another one loses their life for this serial horse killer. There’s just no other thing to call it. Racehorses have been maimed, and killed by this despicable parasitic scum bag for YEARS. Yet, the industry reveres him – REVERES him.
    The industry regulary puts out Statistics for these Top Trainers, but never puts out their DEATH statistics because this would spoil the delusion of “royal” treatment, and we “LOVE” our horses.
    Royal treatment is not maiming, and killing nor is love so you can put that where the sun don’t shine.
    Rootformejustin – trained by John Terranova, the owners no other than ZAYAT STABLES. These owners claimed innocence about the ongoing cruelty, abuse, maiming, and killing of NEHRO.
    This very wealthy family touts the industry, and claims that horses from rich stables get the best treatment. Well if killing is the best treatment then you need to use another word.
    Like I’ve always maintained on most of my comments: horse racing is a cruelty circus, and a death camp shrouded in secrecy, non-accountability, irresponsibility, and deception.

    • Beautifully put!!! I was so saddened when the story popped up in my FB news feed of the 4th kill in 11 days of the Saratoga Meet!!! I used to love going to the track because it was an experience my late best friend and I shared but I think I had on rose colored glasses because I didn’t realize what was going on “behind the scenes”… I have not gone to the track since he passed 2 years ago… Now after reading that post and after all the research I am doing after that I won’t set foot on that track or any other!!!

  4. I’m so glad that Tuesday’s Horse shared this post or I probably never would’ve found your blog. I plan to link to your site on my horse racing page, what a great resource. Thank your for your compassion and advocacy. What has happened it just disgusting, the loss of life and ignorance of society–the mysterious questions remain, at what age does one lose their compassion? and why does society embrace (multiple forms of) animal exploitation?

  5. All I can say is how very, very sad. It’s all about the money. Spend a day with one animal…look into it’s eyes and try to see. Pretend they are human eyes…read them in the same way. Only a few would do this and understand unfortunately. Living, breathing & feeling…. these poor horses. Again, so very, very sad.

  6. Thank you for being the voice of the horses. It takes a lot of courage to stand there and get hurtful words spewed at you.
    The comment “you people make me sick” would be true if they had said it to themselves.

  7. I really do think a lot of it is that the public has no idea how cruel this industry really is. It has been carefully and financially crafted to be portrayed to the public as family fun. An example of this is, every year when the media covers the triple crown races, racing is sold to the public with inspirational stories and media clips. Nowhere to be found are the stories of the horses on Patrick’s KIA list. Very few racing insiders will take the risk to speak out. It is just not done, it is not allowed. It is precarious situation for those that do.
    Year after year, racing was able to hide the doping, cruelty, and deaths, a clear path with no interruptions, with the exception of Peta. So, clearly the racing industry has had the lead advantage of a clean shiny image for years. An image the are trying desperately to hold on to, a lead that is growing smaller and smaller. This is what makes Patrick’s Horseracing Wrongs, so important. That horses dying due to racing is not a rarity. It is basically a daily occurrence. It is here on Patrick’s lists the evidence that cannot be overlooked, or swept away. The work he has accomplished is groundbreaking, the facts undeniable. With every protest, the numbers grow. As with all cruelty, education is the mightiest weapon. People are listening, the numbers are growing.

    • Right on, very well said I myself was in that category of not knowing about horse racing and I’ve never lived further then 30 min from penn national I’m 32 yrs old now

  8. Great work, Patrick and friends, 40 protestors, what a great turnout! The rude remarks made are hard to ignore but when it happened to me once, I felt that we were winning because revealing the truth of the horses’ shocking sufferings is ruining it for them. And it is.
    The way those people behaved indicates that you were upsetting them, a threat to them, showing up the racing industry for what it really is …….. Mission accomplished!

  9. What about after they are “retired”……. AKA sent to slaughter. How can you “love” something and then dispose of it when it’s not making money? That’s disgusting.

  10. I am a horse lover all my life and to read about horses dieing all for a certain worthless crowd makes me sad and furious at the same time. It will never end for these poor horses and yes many wind up at slaughterhouses.My horses spent July 24th in their stalls with fans on them where they were comfortable. It’s all for show for the rich and famous when it is really a fools game at the horses expense. It might be somewhat humane if a law was passed that forbid racing when the temperature is over 85 degrees, but that will never happen with all the connections they have to high places namely politics!

  11. I am a racing artist in Saratoga and there are moments that I have conflict, especially when I am aware of how many horses die while racing across the country each year, not to mention the world. I don’t gamble at all really, especially not horses, just not interested really.

    • To relieve your few moments of conflict how about you go and paint horses in the wild.
      If you’re not interested in horseracing why are you a racing artist? Ah yes…… the $$$$

  12. I simply want to acknowledge all of you who commented in support of the HORSES – and not in defense of the industry that cripples, kills and discards them. I read each and every comment and was uplifted by your love and support of the horses exploited by the racing industry. THANK YOU and keep sharing Horseracing Wrongs! We ARE making a difference!

  13. I am trying to verify if it five or six total dead in the first (going on 2nd) week of the Saratoga meet. I live local, and try every year to cover the wrongs through my political page on Facebook. I work with a gentleman who is an ambulance guy there.

    • With yesterday’s (Domestic Warrior), it’s 4 racing kills, 1 training; there was another training death on May 30. Saratoga ’16 counts 6 track-related deaths thus far. If you’d like to talk further, please contact me via email address on home page. Thank you.

    • Agreed. Hot conditions are bad enough for the horses when pushed beyond their limits galloping at high speed whilst being beaten with whips.
      Throw humidity into the mix and it is deadly for the horses,
      When I worked in the industry I saw lots of horses suffer badly from heat stress, including a death.
      But the agreements the Industry has with the wagering operators must be met.
      The cruel show must go on.
      Oh, it’s INHUMANE alright!

      • I agree Carolyn. Cancelling a days card would cost the industry too much money. I remember such a day when I was a jock, the stewards came down and told everyone to be careful because of the heat. And how do you do that??? You can’t. Many horses have died due to heat stroke after a race. It is sad that money comes between safety and the lives of the horses.

      • Ellis Park, KY – 2004.
        Temperature – 120 with humidity.
        While heat warnings were in place, while domestic pets were indoors; the slaves were filling races.
        I witnessed many literally drop from heat stroke, but another really disturbing thing were the trainers who refused to hose down their horses.
        Absolute deliberate, and malicious abuse of a racehorse.
        Today in Ontario heat warnings in effect for the weekend and I bet that Woodbine still runs!
        So much for the health, and welfare of the racehorse right?
        This is the wonderful world of horse racing.

      • Exactly 20yr+ industry insider – what can you do about the hot weather conditions?! They can do something about it – abandon the meeting.
        They don’t give a damn about the horses and they don’t give a damn about the jockeys.
        A jockey recently was grilled by the stewards for not being vigorous with the whip. He was experienced and this horse was laying in badly when whipped, changed his whip hand and then horse laying out badly. He was becoming unbalanced as well. He puts the whip away and rode hands ‘n’ heels for safety for himself and the horse. Stewards ordered that in future he must ensure that he “rides” (whips) the horse to the line. Some horses when hit shift in/out abruptly collide with others and this is so dangerous. Horses often suffer injuries and in one case I looked at, a horse died – and the stewards had the gall to state in their report that the cause of the horse coming down (clipped heels when he shifted out abruptly) was because of the horse’s “racing manners” when struck with the whip – I kid you not.
        In fact I’m including this case in a submission I’m preparing atm. I had legged this jockey up a few times and he was vicious with the whip. I had words with him once about his whipping and he just laughed.
        The retired ex jockey McCarron recently spoke at a conference in Kentucky on the whip issue. He is to be lauded for his comment which he mostly based, as he himself said, on the Catalyst video (a scientific study released in 2015 in Australia which proved that the whip caused pain).
        The violence in beating these innocent horses with whips makes me sick to the stomach.

  14. Right Carolyn. And also it is required to be laying down riding past the wire, up in the irons with straight knees will get you a call for movies and most likely a fine. There is just not much room in racing that will give a tiring horse and (jock not riding (whipping) to the wire ) any reprieve. Back when I rode, the stewards were quick to give a jockey days, if the jock was steering with the whip and not the reins.
    It has been my witness that cancelling a race card, comes at times with retaliation to those jockeys involved. My last year at the track the jockeys threw their own (jockey guild member under the bus). The track was heavy deep in mud, with continuing rain, and the rail was starting to wash out. As should be, the races were called off by the jocks. The next day, they blamed their guild representative of coercing the cancellation. This game is so cut-throat they will knife the very ones fighting to keep them safe. This is why it is so rare for someone still working in the industry to talk. Most that are willing to expose the truth, like myself, have already left that life behind.

    • Exactly.
      The minute you start speaking out is the minute you become a target.
      Silence is golden in order to uphold the ongoing cruelty, and abuse.
      So it only stands to reason that the people still in it keeps their mouths shut because they participate in it.
      The stewards are nothing more than an advocacy group for the people who wager most of whom don’t give a damm whether a racehorse lives or dies.
      This entire industry is built on the exploitation of a racehorse for stupid bets, and that’s what makes it particularly disgusting.
      It has no place in the 21st century.
      If you want to gamble go gamble on an inordinate object such as slot machines.
      Don’t make a living, breathing, sentiment being pay with their life for your stupid bet.
      Horse racing is no different than dog fighting, dog racing – only the victim changes

  15. I didn’t know anything about the horses who suffered and died until today. I was shocked to the core and my mind refused to allow me to believe it at first. Why?? I’ll tell you why.. the greed and callousness of humans towards such beautiful creatures accounts for all of it!!
    The violence against God’s creatures of all kinds for man’s sheer pleasure and love of violence, makes decent people physically ill. We all must do what we can that is legal to stop this horrendous violation against life.

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