In Wake of Its 21 Dead, Del Mar Says It Is Doing More For Horses Than Advocates

In a CBS8 news report on a protest on Del Mar’s final day, Joe Harper, club president, said this: “Sometimes I wonder why they’re out there carrying banners when the rest of us are actually doing something about it [the “it” being horses dying] and donating literally millions of dollars for research going to the health of the animal.”

You can’t make this stuff up. (I’ve included the video link below.) By the way, Harper’s assertion that the death number is 15 does not reconcile with his track’s stewards minutes. Going into his interview Monday, 20 had died either on Del Mar grounds or while being prepped off-site for upcoming DM races. And of course Chasing Aces – by many accounts, the most gruesome of the meet – made it 21 that very day.

I’ve long maintained that some within Racing are delusional – really, they see things that just aren’t so. Things like: lashes to the flesh don’t hurt; racehorses – isolated-and-confined-in-tiny-stalls-23-hours-a-day racehorses, drugged-and-doped-without-consent racehorses, bought-sold-traded-and-dumped racehorses – lead better lives than you and me; slaughter is an “animal rights” fantasy, or at the very least doesn’t rise to the level of serious, widespread problem; and, best of all, that what they do is a “sport,” the horses “equine athletes.”

Mr. Harper is either callous and cunning or sad and pathetic. No matter, for his comment reads the same either way. To claim that the very industry abusing and killing horses for profit is doing more for those horses than the volunteer advocates whose only goal is to end the barbarity is, in a word, obscene.

Drop our banners, Mr. Harper? Sure, but you first: Drop your whips, your syringes, your bugles; scrap your “vans”; stop your transport-trucks; shutter your betting-windows. Cease and desist. Then, we won’t be necessary. Until such time, know we’ll be out there – in increasing numbers – educating the masses, making you and your entire vile industry feel more and more uneasy with each passing day.

CBS8 story

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  1. Joe Harper is diluted. The week delay for next year has nothing to do with “saving” horses. It is a business tactic because the numbers were down this summer at the track. The only way they can generate new business is to offer, concerts, family fun days and other stupid way to trick people into coming to the track. This year there were class reunions at the track during the races. Many who went had never been and had no idea of the extreme abuse there. To many deaths again this year, to many injuries this year.

  2. Joe Harper needs to check his own Steward’s minutes. He claims “only” 16 horses when the California Horse Racing Board already admits to 21. “If I could save only one horse….”. You can Joe Harper, stop racing horses.

  3. Thanks Patrick for your accurate words, for your facts, and for being a voice for these voiceless racehorses as they DIE in the dirt.
    I was an Associate Steward at Del Mar in 2005.
    At that time, they had an inadequate ambulance that desperately needed additional equipment to service the maimed, dying, and dead.
    They had no medical treatment area to ensure racehorse safety, and comfort.
    I assume they have made much needed changes, but this is horse racing.
    Despite the fact that both Harper, the CHRB, the owners., and Trainers were aware of this NOTHING was done about it.
    Not one racehorse participant, supporter, stopped this cruelty circus, and death camp.
    Instead they allowed it to continue even sending their horses out knowing about it!
    If they “cared” one iota about racehorses they would not continue the abuse and/or be enablers of the abuse.
    Furthermore, I was specifically told not to disclose what I knew because I was told “you don’t want to be on the wrong side of Harper.”
    “You don’t want to feel his wrath.”
    Once they caught wind that I started to ruffle feathers I was blocked from access to most of the grounds.
    This was an eye opener because it proved that Del Mar dictates to the CHRB – it should be the other way around.
    It made me feel hopeless because if they were denying my request, like so many others before me, then I knew that horses would continue to be maimed, and killed. with little or no accountability.
    I kept my mouth shut for years, but no more!
    I expected things to change for the better, but racehorses are suffering, and dying.
    Del Mar is only one racetrack. This is happening throughout the industry.
    Anybody with half a brain can only conclude that this is a legitimized, and systemic animal cruelty, and abuse.
    Harper, like other horse racing apologists, will say anything to keep the millions flowing in.
    His interview is a pathetic excuse for racehorses dying.
    His arrogance is sickening.
    These slave masters feel entitled to their profit slaves.
    Entitlement is the hallmark of delusional sociopathic behaviour that often results in abuse, and death.
    We are not going away Harper, and all you horse racing apologists.
    We will continue to be a voice for these defenceless victims of this vile industry.
    Harper and all you racing apologists – if you really cared you would END this now.
    Thanks Ellen, and all the brave demonstrators who stand-up to these bullies.
    Harper you can bully the racehorses, but your not going to bully us.

  4. If I was Mr. Harper I would start considering a finding a new occupation. The masses are awakening to the power of love and compassion over greed and narcissism. I do understand that money is not the root of all evil but it ranks high as an evil when the love for money outweighs the love for all life.

  5. Harper is almost unable to keep a straight face when he talks. He looks like he is about to start laughing. Probably because he knows what a joke his words are and how absurd they sound to anyone with an ounce of intelligence. Or maybe the SEG is simply because he just counted the money.

  6. Like what? Just what are you doing for these too young horses.. You’re killing them..left and right.. These aren’t cars.. They are living beings!!!!!!! You cause their premature death through your practices including performance enhancing drugs…lasix anyone? Letter horses grow up before they start competing and if they’re going to win let then do it honestly..

  7. Joe Harper says he’s doing something? What is he doing besides killing horses? All Del Mar needs to do is STOP racing horses. It’s a no brainer. If you stop racing them, you stop killing them. Anyone who knows the business and defends it is despicable.

  8. “Equine necropsies are performed to determine the cause of death on every horse which dies within our jurisdiction. CHRB Rule 1846.5 (a).”
    So we need to get the results of the necropsies on all racehorses that DIED at Del Mar this summer.

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