Indicting Themselves, 2nd Edition

Various direct quotes from those within the racing industry…

“It’s hard to justify how many horses we go through. In humans you never see someone snap their leg off running in the Olympics. But you see it in horse racing.” – Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (New York Times, 3/24/12)

“It’s hard to watch these poor animals running for their lives for people who could really care less if they live.” – Dr. Margaret Ohlinger, track vet, Finger Lakes (New York Times, 3/24/12)

“If the public knew how many medications these horses were administered after entry time, I don’t think they would tolerate it.” – Dr. Rick Arthur (New York Times, 4/30/12)

“It’s [the racino/claiming equation] strictly self-centered greed of not thinking about the horse but thinking about maybe I can get one more race out of him and get a piece of the game.” – Dr. Tom David, former chief vet, Louisiana Racing Commission (New York Times, 4/30/12)

“If horses don’t win, people just get rid of them.” – Maggi Moss, prominent owner, on racinos/claiming races (New York Times, 4/30/12)

“Everybody just wants a horse, and they want him now to race in 10 days. I want a horse today and I don’t want it tomorrow. I’m a businessman. …If somebody takes my bad horses, it’s good. …This is a game, and we have to know how to play.” – Juan Serey, trainer, on racinos/claiming races (New York Times, 4/30/12)

“It’s getting much easier for me to run my horses out East so that I don’t get so personally attached to them. This is a business…” – Maggi Moss, on running “claimers” (The Iowan, July ’12)

“The economics of horse racing does not allow for that. Horse racing is on the decline. If a horse needed a year to heal up, they would go to the killers up in Canada or Mexico [slaughterhouses].” – Dr. Phillip Kapraun, Illinois vet, on his liberal use of the banned substance “snake venom” (New York Times, 9/21/12)

“Our industry is permeated with those who have no regard for the welfare of the horse… The horse becomes only a tool for fulfilling their own agendas of WIN AT ALL COSTS. Most trainers have little or no investment in the horses they train, whether it is financial or emotional. They will run red light after red light in pushing that horse until it fails and then they will call the owner and spin him a story. …those trainers will tell the owner that the horse ‘just took a bad step’ and ‘that’s horse racing.'” – Bill Casner, prominent owner (Thoroughbred Daily News, March ’14)

“We’ve all heard about the ‘bad step.’ It isn’t true. …Trainers have the power to make a horse high-risk or lower-risk.” – Dr. Lisa Hanelt, track vet, Finger Lakes (Blood-Horse, 7/8/14)

“The worst part of it is, we never will really know how good he really was.” (not that he died) – Michael Matz, Barbaro’s trainer (AP, 5/9/16)

“It’s not that horses can’t be repaired, it’s just that many times the economics of repairing a horse’s injury are not aligned. You don’t have the combination of an owner who has the resources and a horse that justifies that expense.” – Dr. Dean Richardson, vet who operated on Barbaro (AP, 5/9/16)

“The public has changed. We’re using animals for entertainment here. And, all you have to do is look at the circus where they’ve eliminated elephants from the show…look at SeaWorld… We have to do everything possible for the safety and health of these horses because we’re using them for entertainment. That’s the bottom line.” – Ray Paulick, prominent racing writer (Paulick Report, 5/27/16)

“He [a Jockeys’ Guild official who argues that the new more-liberal California whip rule is not abuse] might want to bring that up with my 15-year-old daughter. Brought up in a family where both parents work in the racing industry, she has zero interest in the sport and when asked why said it is because she doesn’t like to watch the jockeys beating the horses.” – Bill Finley, prominent racing writer (Thoroughbred Daily News, 5/27/16)

“We accept the risk that comes with it…but that’s part of it. Where you have livestock, you have dead stock.” – John Wheeler, prominent trainer, after three horses were killed in a single day at a New Zealand racecourse (New Zealand Herald, 6/8/16)

“The anti-slaughter policies, they’re worthless. The track policies are not going to do anything at all. I’m not an extremist, I just love horses, and I have seen what is truly happening to our racehorses. What is happening is what no one wants to talk about. I have sat down with the head of The Jockey Club; I have sat down with some of the biggest owners and trainers in the country. I start talking and I promise you, they start staring at the ground. They do not want to hear it.” – Maggi Moss (Paulick Report, August ’16)

“Goodness knows in society there are problems that are unsolvable; this may be one of them.” – Cliff Goodrich, former president of Santa Anita, on Del Mar’s dead horses (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/25/16)

“Almost everybody did [illegally drug their horses on raceday]. Ninety-five to 98%. It was a known practice. We wanted to win…” – Stephanie Beattie, prominent trainer (Paulick Report, 6/28/17)

“Did I ever ask them to, no. Does it happen at every racetrack, yes.” – Stephanie Beattie, on jockeys using electrical devices – “buzzers,” “batteries” – during morning workouts and in actual races (Paulick Report, 6/28/17)

“We breed 20,000 a year, so if we don’t fund the exit plan, we can’t control the arteries from bleeding out.” – Stacie Clark, operations consultant for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (The Daily Gazette, 8/29/17)

“We will continue to try to locate these New York thoroughbred horses; however, the fact that in two years we have only found about half of the horses speaks volumes about the challenges of just how many retired race horses there are out there.” – Ron Ochrym, acting executive director of the NYS Gaming Commission (The Daily Gazette, 8/29/17)

21 Comments

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    • Darlene, I’ve shared it on my FB page – grab it from there and share! (easier for me to tell you that than to explain how I do it).

      Thank you!

  1. I think we could fill pages with the self-incrimination we’ve heard and read. The “little players” are especially great at running their mouths…for now, just this one (likely the most uttered?) –

    “We’re going to turn him out and just let him be a horse.”

  2. We often hear that these horses are just like “family.” Here is what an industry insider has to say about her “family” member.

    “My husband enjoys developing them, and then he sells them, so I don’t fall in love.”

  3. And another comment from an industry insider referencing a five year old TB gelding with ONLY 14 starts who needs to be retired from racing…

    “He is just so talented. His body is giving up way before his heart is ready to.”

  4. It absolutely disgusts me that racehorses are subjected to the mandatory operating procedures that qualify for animal abuse – hands down.
    ALL racehorses at ALL levels with ALL trainers are subjected to one, some or many of these practices.
    Take for example Jorge Navarro – a pathetic, demented, delusional animal abuser.
    I feel so sorry for these racehorses who end up in his torture chambers all over tracks in the U.S.
    Here’s a link to just ONE of his “rap sheets” in ONE state:
    https://www.myfloridalicense.com/viewcomplaint.asp?SID=&licid=551549

    This asshole has had 7 racehorses DIE, and he evidently brags about it.
    In the last couple of days a patron caught him on video bragging about “juicing up” racehorses, making a killing through the bookies, and most come out of his barn crippled, mangled, broken, and then DUMPED.
    This is horse racing, this is what it’s about, and they continue to permit this individual to get re-licensed so that more racehorses are vulnerable to this monsters brutality!!!!
    https://www.paulickreport.com/news/the-biz/juice-man-video-leads-5000-fine-navarro-gindi-monmouth-park/

    These abusive practices, and the people who implement them are necessary in order to fill races, and increase wagering profits.
    The racehorses pay with their lives.

    • Gina – when I saw the article in Bloodhorse and the associated video on this guy – unbelievable. And the stewards are pushing for a bigger fine. Wooopee. This guy should be gone! They say what he did is “detrimental” to racing. God forbid they look out for the horses as long as the business is protected. Freaks. But from the comments I’ve read from others – it actually is making a positive impact and causing people to turn away from racing since they are realizing how corrupt it is and that there are many evil people like this bastard involved in it.

      • Absolutely SD.
        It’s an entire system of cheating that is deeply ingrained, and designed to exploit then dump racehorses.
        The facts are starring them in the face: racehorses are DYING, and cheaters are prospering.
        I can’t understand WHY people would continue in this business knowing that they are subjecting a sentient being to this vile business model, and knowing that their horse could end up dying in the dirt.
        Even worse, they spend 6-figures knowing that they must succumb to a steady stream of doping cocktails, and whatever else to be competitive!.
        You would have to be delusional to partake in this insanity.
        Now this coming out of California:

        “California again is leading the way with an awareness campaign through a co-op organization, Cal Racing Cares, and its website, http://www.calracingcares.com, designed to educate the public about the care given to Thoroughbred racehorses and the extraordinary measures taken to ensure their safety.

        Gag me with a spoon!
        Are you kidding me?
        “extraordinary measures??” – multiple racehorses DYING in the dirt is extraordinary measures??!!
        I hope the demonstrators out in California continue educating people about this crap that they are perpetuating on the public.

    • Gina- did you see that Jorge Navarro had a horse die last night at Parx? The “juice man” kills another one. And hurt the jockey. Again- his actions “are detrimental to racing”- and again, they allow him to race on. Pennsylvania’s racing community should be ashamed!

      • Thanks for sharing SD.
        Do you know the name of the horse?
        The equibase charts have absolutely no mention or no indication that any of his 2 horses that raced last night died, which doesn’t surprise me.
        Even after PA racing was caught red-handed with deep corruption beyond words they are STILL at it again.
        So obvious that Jorge Navarro is in with the upper management in some capacity in order to be re-licensed after his egregious inhumane acts on racehorses including at least 7 DYING.
        It’s also important to note that the Frank Stronach owned racetrack Gulfstream Park began accepting entries from Jorge Navarro, while claiming to uphold integrity and decent treatment of racehorses – another delusional bunch of horse racing crap.
        Again, I’m so disturbed over the ongoing corruption in this industry and the racehorses who are subjected to these monsters,and the outfits that support them.
        There is no neutral agencies overlooking or protecting these racehorses only exploiting them.
        This is horse racing, and anybody who participates or supports this are enablers of the abuse, and dying.

      • Gina….www.paulickreport.com/horseplayers-category/parx-seventh-declared-no-contest-monday-jockey-sanchez-transported-hospital/……i hate knowing what I know and seeing what I see pa is the worst period….and what makes it worse is there is nobody doing a damn thing about it…its acceptable to these people

  5. Thank you for the link Gina.
    WORDS, WORDS and nothing of substance. It is just a snow job and a poor PR attempt.
    And they are “against the slaughter of our horses for human consumption”. So that means they are fine with horse slaughter as long as long as it is not fed to humans.

  6. The following are quotes from racing insiders (from cheap tracks and from those considered elite), their websites and from racing apologists. We could fill pages.

    “Horse racing needs fixing, and it cannot be fixed.” – Alex Brown

    “Announcer Vic Stauffer…lapsed into a baffling recitation…even as the earnest dozen runners [the 12 horses in the race] were out there putting their lives on the line.” – Jay Hovdey

    “I have been racing for over 20 years…there are those of us that use injections as a last resort and when needed, and many that do it almost every race.” – Cole Curtis

    “I have worked for the ones who use frog toxin, snake venom, high block and run on anything they could get away with.” – Cole Curtis

    “I have watched them [racing trainers] inject all joints all the way around many two year olds first time out. I have also worked for trainers who inject the joints themselves instead of having vet do it, because they could and the vet sold them the drugs and needles to do it.” – Cole Curtis

    “I have lead [sic] horses to paddock, that should not have run do [sic] to injuries. The solution was block em [sic]…” – Cole Curtis

    “Senor Dominguez…fell down out of the gates landing on his shin. Got up and ran his best. Never complaining he went out two weeks later ran his heart out…next day still not complaining…noticed a little tenderness…xray [sic] showed a major fracture needing surgery right away to put a screw in to hold leg togeather [sic].” – Kelly Spanabel in asking for donations for her racehorse’s surgery

    “At one race track one of the biggest kill buyers in the State wife is a license owner. Who’s [sic] policy is to ship every race horse direct.” – Sher Kirk

    “I’ve seen uglier ankles than that [the damaged and enlarged ankles of Anita Vacation] winning races.” – Jen Arbogast Ruberto

    “…most major racing jurisdictions in North America lack the will, resources and savvy to stop cheaters from using [Clenbuterol]” – Barry Irwin

    “If you wasn’t cheating…you wasn’t trying [just one of many comments regarding “buzzers” – a device that delivers an electric shock to a running racehorse]” – Bobby Coston

    “It would be incredibly naïve for anyone to think that this [performance enhancing drugs] does not exist in our game. And especially at the high end because the high end is where all the money is at.” – Bill Casner

    “Give a horse air and take away pain, and he’ll run forever. There seem to be a lot of armchair trainers these days that don’t have a lot of knowledge, and when you don’t have a lot of knowledge, you have a lot of needles.” – Karen Headly, daughter of and assistant to racing trainer Bruce Headly

    “I sadly watch so many equally wonderful tbs everyday running, some every week – until they become so worn, unsound, that they simply have NO shot at having any happy after life from racing.” – Maggi Moss

    “He has proven time and time again that claiming horses and having horses claimed from you is a very important part of making money in the horse racing business [regarding racing trainer Dallas Keen on his racing stable’s website].”

    And they claim the horses are their “beloved family members”……

    • Joy – omg – so Kelly Spanabel was asking for money to piece a horse’s leg back together ?? Did you see that this horse – after being pinned back together – is STILL running?! He is due to make his 93rd (!!) start at Hazel Park on the 18th!! Un freaking real!

      • SD, I did not know that but I’m not surprised. Several of her and Iacovacci’s horses that we (CANTER-MI) purchased for retirement had to be euthanized due to racing injuries that left them unable to live life in comfort…even as “pasture ornaments”. And they were racing right up to the time we acquired them. (See Winds of Love’s Shedrow Secret story – a Spanabel/Iacovacci-ruined race gelding).

        Also, just Google; “Saga of Star Plus: Doesn’t This Horse Deserve Better?”. Sickening.

      • I know Spanabel and Iacovacci from Beulah Park. Both have left a path of destruction during their racing “careers.” One of the horses destroyed by them was Say Yes Dear. We did manage to get SYD into the Kentucky Equine Humane Center but he was euthanized about three months later due to the severity of his injuries.

  7. I’m sure many that read or post here have heard of WHOA – Water, Oats, and Hay Alliance. Today an email from WHOA popped up in my inbox. I always quickly read through the info provided and I’m always happy to see a racing insider take a stand against drugs in racing. However, today was a big different and here’s why. James Delahooke is an International Bloodstock Agent who has previously purchased yearlings from Keeneland’s September Sale but NOT this year. Please read the reasons he walked away this year “empty handed.” Such a sad commentary yet there are those who still support this industry that uses drugs as regularly as I blink my eyes. And they say they “love” the horses….please stop insulting us!

    International Bloodstock Agent James Delahooke throws his support behind the Water Hay Oats Alliance.

    “I have resisted previous temptations to ally myself with WHOA (the Water, Hay, Oats Alliance) on the basis that, as a Brit, I have no business pontificating about U.S. drug policies.

    Two recent events have decided me to strap on my guns and head into town to join the battle.

    Firstly, I read with incredulity an advertisement in which one of your leading trainers enthusiastically endorsed a product specifically designed to speed recovery from pre-race medication.

    Then today, I read that a trainer filmed boasting about “juice” will be welcomed back at the same track next year.

    As the cockney wide boys in London would say, they must be ‘aving a larf!

    I have just returned from my 39th consecutive visit to Keeneland’s September Yearling Sale, where I regularly purchased 15-20 yearlings to race in England. Last year, I bought one, this year, none. In spite of Wesley Ward’s single-handed efforts to promote the American Thoroughbred, the sad truth is that nobody here wants your horses anymore.

    They don’t trust your black-type, your under-raced stallions or your medication policies. There are plenty of good, young men and women in the breeding industry in the US. They need to strap on their guns and have a shootout with the complacent, laissez-faire politicians and racecourse managers. And your trainers who bleat that they cannot train without drugs, tell that to the Australians, the Japanese, and the Europeans who are all managing very well on hay, oats and water.”

    James Delahooke

  8. To James Delahooke, who probably won’t read this post, but here it goes:
    I used to be an owner/trainer.
    We had, as the public does, the impression that the racehorses are treated “royally,” and go out to pasture when done – how naive could I be??
    While actively involved we couldn’t understand why multiple drug violating trainers were never getting suspended or if suspended could carry on “business as usual” with their Assistant Trainer, then return without skipping a beat – some system huh?
    These are the trainers that uphold the system, that have racehorses die or may go to slaughter, and without batting an eyelash their back at it the next day so there are no “good folks” in horse racing as they claim.
    Delusional folks maybe, but certainly not good, and those are the trainers they support.
    If your not “in” with them then you are only filling races for them – a requirement to get stall access by the way.
    Within this system is a sentient being that is continually exploited for every bone in their body until some of them drop dead in the dirt.
    When you step away from the delusion and/or if somebody can talk you out of this delusion (which is not easy) you will throw up your hands and say “what the fuck was I thinking??”
    Then you promptly load up your horses, and get the hell out like I did thank goodness for that!
    It doesn’t end there though because you should educate people on blogs like this about the truth, spread the word, speak out so that others don’t get involved or support this endless pit of broken horses, and people.
    It’s a vile business from start to finish, and everything in between.
    I would tell anybody to run far, far away from this business, and go spend your money on a charity or change a racehorses life into a positive thing, but don’t get involved with this business.
    It’s a waste of time, money, and plenty of racehorses lives.

  9. This is so ridiculous…a racing site’s piece on a colt named Bolt d’Oro has the trainer/part owner gushing over how the youngster was wanting to eat…yes, EAT…after a race. Being that EATING is an equine’s number one choice of things to do, what is so amazing about the colt wanting to do that? – It’s because the stress of being forced to race causes many (if not most) racehorses to “go off their feed”. In other words, they don’t WANT to eat after they race. A horse not wanting to eat is totally unnatural and is something that alarms those of us who have equine family members. But racing has a way of negatively altering the most basic activities of a horse’s daily life.

    And then this same individual exclaims Bolt d’Oro doesn’t have a “pimple on him” and is the “soundest horse I have in my barn” – he’s TWO!…I would hope he’s without blemish and injury! But, of course, as this trainer continues, “We’ve always got to knock on wood on that.” No kidding.

    https://www.paulickreport.com/news/breeders-cup/not-pimple-bolt-doro-day-tour-de-force-frontrunner/

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