In the Shadow of the Saratoga Carnage, Two Killed Yesterday at Thistledown

Summer on the American racing calendar is about Saratoga and Del Mar, Del Mar and Saratoga. Save for the occasional big race (“Arlington Million”), the only attention given between the coasts, between those two iconic tracks, comes from the “players” (hardened bettors). From the advocate side, most of the focus has gone to Saratoga, but for an altogether different reason – 17 dead through yesterday. That said, Saratoga has no monopoly on the killing, and we can’t lose sight of the fact that there are a whole bunch of pedestrian tracks out there where horses are dying daily.

Yesterday, at Thistledown in Ohio, two racehorses were killed on the same card. In the 4th, 7-year-old Ronson “was injured,” says Equibase, “just past the seven sixteenths pole…euthanized.” Back in April, Ronson finished 1st at Mahoning but was disqualified “due to a positive test.” No word on what that was. Subsequent to that, he finished second-to-last, second-to-last, second-to-last, last. His final four races, including his death run, were $4,000 claiming races – the bottom of the barrel. All this under the watchful eye of trainer/owner Guy Tauzin.

Four races later, another 7-year-old (in fact, they were born three days apart), Dreamy, “was injured before the half mile pole, pulled up…euthanized.” She, too, was being “offered” for $4,000 prior to dying. It was Dreamy’s 63rd time under the whip and 9th in less than five months; those nine were all cheap, racino-subsidized (which pay first through last) claiming races. Trainer/owner, Bart Barnes.

The stories above render obscene the common apologist claim of “treated better than you and me.” For their lives are no anomaly; they are the lives of most (by far) racehorses: deprivation; abuse; suffering; premature, often painful, death. End it: no more betting, no more attending, no more patronizing racinos. Please, for the horses.

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  1. All racehorse lives matter from the lower level claimers to the upper levels.
    Ronson and Dreamy – so sorry for your horrific life of abuse leading up to the dying which was, more or less, sanctioned by your owner/trainer, and the racing commissions.
    You two, like so many others, are forced to live a life of pain, and suffering for $2 bets.
    It aches me to include this in my comment, but the ISW (Interstate Wagering) largely controlled by the HBPA raked in $17, 706,513 yesterday alone at Saratoga.
    You can potentially buy any politician, journalist or others with this kind of money which could possibly explain how protected this legitimized cruelty is.
    Not ONE CENT of this money is legally mandated to support aftercare!
    Clearly they don’t give a damn about their profit slaves just the money, and they will go to no lengths to protect it.
    Most people against horse racing are just working folks on this grass level movement, but our voices are getting heard in the face of this multiBILLION dollar industry.
    Thanks to all the supporters of this blog.
    My sole motivation to comment here, although sometimes I get harsh, is to educate people about the truths going on behind the fancy hats, and mint juleps.

  2. Gina, you are mislead in believing the horses are abused and mistreated by all in the industry. You have to learn not to paint with a broad brush. Like any other profession, abuses do exist and when I see them I make an issue with them. I have owned race horses for 30 years and accidents do happen. To blame racing for it is like blaming every auto on the road that has accidentally killed an animal. Do you have facts and figures on how many horses die in the wild from accidents, injury, and malnutrition? More will die this year alone like that than racing for the next 20 years.That is a much bigger problem than horse racing. breeding is controlled and limited in racing to eliminate those risks. I will tell you that the horses I own that can’t run due to injury or age I retire, and pay the expense until they die of natural causes. I get an enjoyment out of that so my 11 grandchildren can accompany me to visit them at the farm and hear about their escapades.

    • Melvin, I consider the mandatory operating procedures that every single racehorse is subjected (doping, running with an under developed musco-skeletal system, running with chronic issues, intensely confined, forced to endure multiple owners, beating/whipping while tired/sore, dumping, and/or dying) to be legitimized animal cruelty.
      Not only does every single racehorse get subjected to these competitive tactics, but it is sanctioned by the owner/trainer since the horse doesn’t order this abusive menu themselves.
      Therefore, every single person in this business is either a direct abuser or enabler of the abuse.
      You consent for your racehorse to not only be subjected to these things, but to risk its limb(s) and life for $2 bets.
      So from my perspective that most certainly is not painting people with a broad brush.
      This is standard operating procedures in order to participate in this business while delusional behavior seems to be evident.
      The horse racing industry and the supporters in it are 100% to blame for racehorses dying, and so are the liberal drug policies, and the liberal reinforcement which is precisely why multiple drug violating trainers with multiple racehorses dying under their direct training methods are still training.
      Take for example Patrick Biancone, this idiot was caught giving his horses cobra juice with no thought given to the health, and welfare of the horse.
      Suspended for “life” everybody breathed a sigh of relief so that more racehorses wouldn’t be subjected to whatever else this animal abuser could find in conjunction with his vets – a win at any cost to the racehorse.
      That didn’t last long because, true to industry form, his trainer license just got reinstated in Kentucky.
      So this example alone, and many others proves that this industry doesn’t care who is around racehorses, and if you continue to fill races for them then you are part of the problem.
      I don’t need any facts or figures regarding anything else, but I do know the death facts of racehorses dying on tracks thanks to this blog which is what I’m concerned with here.
      Now if you are so interested in the other facts, then by all means – have at it.
      Then you can start your own death fact blog about those things.
      Furthermore, animals killed out in the wild are no comparison to a racehorse who is bred to fill races, increase wagering profits, and to boast egos – your analogy is inapplicable.
      In order for me to confirm what you have stated here (you don’t run injured horses, give them that forever grassy paddock so that your grandchildren can visit) I would request that you provide at least 3 names of your racehorses that you run under a stable name so that I can look up their history.
      Your owner name doesn’t pull up under any horses, so giving you the benefit of the doubt I will require a stable name and/or syndicate name of racehorses that you have been directly involved with, and subsequently retired because you didn’t want to run them sore.
      I look forward to your response.

      • Over-breading? Your point has no merit to it. The race industry is controlled breading! What would happen in the wild?

      • Exactly Carolyn because the methods utilized on broodmares for forced impregnation is abuse in and of itself.
        The broodmares are non-consenting breeding machines that generate profit for their slave owners.
        When the broodmares are no longer production viable then they usually end up at a kill auction – some IN FOAL which is egregious acts of inhumane treatment of a broodmare.
        So they get her into foal realize it’s not financially viable, and they dump her.
        https://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/prominent-racing-family-s-mares-rescued-from-texas-slaughter-auction/

        An undercover investigation into slaughterhouse ownership found that some racehorse owners with connections to organized crime has/had financial interests in these torture chambers.
        http://www.producer.com/2016/07/quebec-slaughterhouse-investigation-requested/
        It was also found that paperwork was routinely falsified to change thoroughbred foal papers into quarter-horse papers for the sole purpose of skewing the numbers.
        Isn’t the dirty world of horse racing so lovely?

        Melvin, the horse racing industry is not controlled breeding.
        It’s the Wild West approach – facts clearly support this.
        I believe we previously addressed your reference to the “wild.”
        It seems to me that your energy would be well spent working on the annihilation of wild horses in western states for the sole purpose of clearing taxpayer funded land for ranchers, and hunters.
        Still waiting for those names of the horses that you evidently retired because they were sore, and gave them a forever pasture for your grandchildren to visit.

    • Melvin…your attempt to compare the lives of racehorses with that of wild horses is absurd – “to blame racing for [racehorse injury and death] is like blaming every auto on the road that has accidently killed an animal”! Ludicrous.

      How does the deliberate act of making a horse participate in a man-made, unnecessary competition for the purpose of gambling entertainment (the race at a distance, speed and direction the horse wouldn’t choose to run of his own accord, with an immature skeletal structure, with any number of the legal drugs in his system, with a whip-wielding jockey on his back, and after having been dehydrated by the withdrawal of water and the administration of Lasix pre-race to name just several of the unnatural elements of a racehorse’s life) have even an iota of similarity to that of an animal – of his own free will, albeit untimely – darting across the road just as a car approaches? What action of the animal in the latter was deliberately arranged in order to bring some sort of benefit to the human who did the arranging?

      The desperation of those who defend this industry is just so obvious. And when it comes down to it, yes, animals die. But not a SINGLE ONE should be dying so one individual can be entertained, another get a gambling fix, another receive ego strokes and adoration, and yet another making a living. Horse racing kills animals and it simply does NOT have to happen.

      And the “much bigger problems” you mentioned? – please DO SOMETHING if it’s your chosen cause. There are plenty of issues for everyone to choose at least one then work to make a difference.

      • I can tell you people have little or no experience around horses. You don’t have a clue on how they behave and what they want to do. Horses love to run! You’re trying to tie this all into two dollar bedding and that’s not what it is about. Just what are you people doing to make the lives of horses better? What sanctuaries do you have where people can send their horses to? Don’t sit there and cast stones at everybody and not offer a realistic solution. Horses will race for centuries to come and that is a fact. What everyone needs to try to do is to safeguard the horses that are racing and expose those few who do illegal acts and should be removed from horseracing. Pick your battles if you want to do any good if not you are all going down a dead-end road.

      • 1), “no experience around horses”? – 30-plus years of having my own herd of equine family members. In addition, nearly ten years of working on the backside with a racehorse rescue and placement program. Rehabbed racehorses on my farm. Stood with others while they were euthanized because of their racing/training-induced injuries. “You can tell”?…not with your head buried right where you want it. And Melvin, no one needs “experience around horses” to recognize when they are being exploited, crippled and killed.

        2), “[we’re] trying to tie this all into two dollar bedding [sic]”? – no, we don’t have to “tie it in”…the racing industry IS a gambling industry. No bets, no racing.

        3), “what are [we] doing to make the lives of horses better and what sanctuaries do [we] have”? – let’s see…

        -we don’t put our horses at an increased risk of injury and death by making them compete for our own wallets
        (I’m not the one who had to take my injured horses home due to racing them…that’s you, Melvin)

        -we expose the crippling and killing of racehorses in an unnecessary gambling industry in order to help bring
        it to an end – preventing the crippling and killing of racehorses yet to be exploited

        -we are involved in and are members of a variety of equine welfare organizations

        -some of us are founders/co-founders of non-profit organizations that are specific to particular disciplines or
        to all equine breeds

        -we rescue equines – racehorses, included – from KB-attended auctions, from racetracks, from negligent
        private owners

        -we SPEAK OUT…we EDUCATE…we ADVOCATE…

        Aren’t you just full of great advice for all of us who HAVE clearly chosen our cause…or “battle”, as you admonished us to do. And Melvin, since you claim there are only a “few who do illegal acts”, and since the horse racing industry is a multi-BILLION dollar business, why is it that WE who do not support this industry must come up with solutions?…and what problems, needing solutions, are you talking about? The crippled racehorses who are discarded by their connections and have no home to retire to? The racehorses who are dumped at KB-attended auctions? – or sent directly to the KB? The over-loaded and under-funded organizations that intake the used-up and unwanted racehorses? Why all of these issues needing solutions, Melvin, if the industry rakes in BILLIONS made off these horses’ very backs and there are only a “few” bad apples? I also advocate for the marine mammals enslaved and exploited by SeaWorld…must I take an orca home? Or can a reasonably intelligent and prudent individual recognize that speaking out against the exploitation of a defenseless sentient being IS part of the solution?

        What’s your “battle”, Melvin? What “sanctuaries” have you established? What solutions do you offer? What do you do to help?…anything or anyone? You choose to support this industry – figure it out.

      • I see here is a bunch of crybabies not offering any solutions. You guys resort to name calling because your corner like rats I think you have the answers. The bottom line here, I take care of my horses and always have. Fact is the average racehorse lives much longer than the average horse in the wild,. You people are typical lefties, I ask you a question and instead of providing me an answer about what you are doing for sanctuaries r anything else you come back with another question. All my horses are taken care of before before during and after the race careers.The reason you people don’t answer the questions is because you do absolutely nothing! All you want to do is protest, but guess what, it’s not gonna work.

    • “I take care of my horses and always have” – “take care of” as in unload them if they can’t win for you? Like Secret Charm? – who you got rid of sometime between 9/2001 and 4/2002?

      Who knows how many of your horses you’ve taken such great care of ended up on a bloodied slaughterhouse floor.

      • Correction to my comment above: Secret Charm was gotten rid of by Melvin Simonovich/Quick Draw Stable after her 4/2002 race for them. She was racing for new connections in 5/2002. Change of ownership just like a used car.

        But then that’s what these sentient creatures are to racing owners – objects to be used for the purpose of making money…draining the bank is frowned upon, I’m sure. Per Simonovich on his racing website: “I like finding mid level claiming horses that can make a big profit for our clients.”

        Money-making machines or beloved family members? The answer is crystal clear – a “big profit” is the goal.

    • TO: Melvin : Please take note that Gina, Joy, Carolyn — ALL have answered your questions — precise & to the point — it seems you’re NOT listening or choose not to believe the facts — it’s unfortunate you refuse to SEE! — Your backyard is one thing, the entire industry is another — yet, on this same forum someone pointed out how YOU yourself poorly treated your horses — treating them as objects — stuffed animals — only to be resold to another — NOT GOOD, MELVIN! — if anything, you should get on board and fix this industry by abolishing all of its abuses & cruelty to horses.

  3. Melvin – I really don’t want to offend you but given your response to Joy Aten, any reasonable and objective thinking person could only come to the conclusion that you simply ignored all that Joy said. And the most likely reason for this would be that you cannot cope with listening to the truth. Seems to me that you know very little about what goes on with these horses in racing.

      • Carolyn, you don’t offend me at all. I didn’t ignore anything. I simply asked questions on what your group does for horses besides protesting (that won’t get you anywhere) and was never answered. I was asked what I do and I replied that I take care of my horses during and after their careers if I still own them. I know what the truth is but doubt this group does. You all shy away from a true civil discussion. If you truly care about the welfare of horses, I suggest your group solve the problem of wild horses that die from disease and malnutrition at a staggering rate along with being slaughtered. Make yourself useful instead of a nuisance that no one will take seriously except for a small band of tree huger’s. Ake joy how many times horses got sick or injured in her fields? If she says none then she is a liar. People and animals get hurt all the time. For anyone to say theses majestic animals are mistreated by EVERYONE in the race industry is nothing more than an ignorant fool.

      • Melvin you are so typical of apologists – delusional.
        Furthermore, people who don’t exploit racehorses like you do, and like this industry does are not the ones who should be responsible for the dumping after they are maimed and/or no longer financially viable.
        This multi-BILLION dollar industry, made off the lives of racehorses, gives little to nothing, a mere dent in their unwanted OTTB’s.
        This in and of itself clearly shows exactly what they are about – profit, egos, and dumping when the racehorse can no longer fulfill their man-made menu.
        So let us know when you open up that sanctuary farm for all the dumped OTTB’s, but it seems highly unlikely since you dump racehorses as Joy Aten provided us with this evidence.
        You are an animal abuser, and exploiter as far as I’m concerned.
        We are making a difference Melvin, and we (unlike you) will continue to be a voice for these profit slaves as they die in the dirt – 2000 per year.

  4. If this doesn’t break you heart, I don’t know what … … — until these horses are treated with love, care & respect, these facilities exploiting animals for entertainment & profit MUST be SHUT DOWN permanently! — These animals who in fact are used as “employees” MUST be protected — they are vulnerable, innocent and always at the mercy of humans — we must ensure these humans are horse-loving humans — anything short of this, is NOT acceptable. —- Keep in mind, horse racing first began decades ago as a “fun” event — fun for all, horses and humans alike — then, slowly, it morphed into this cruel horror show — my heart breaks for the horses.

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