Horseracing Wrongs Reports Facts; Their Pathetic Attempts to Discredit Us Won’t Work

Since our founding in 2013, Horseracing Wrongs has traveled in one direction. But sure as day follows night, our growth – in followers, reach, media coverage – has engendered a proportional escalation of enmity from the other side. Precisely because we are not at all interested in compromise or reform – an admittedly extreme position – and wish Racing extinct, they hate us. And they’re desperate.

Backs against the wall, and in true Trumpian (a new adjective for our times) fashion, the racing apologists distract, deflect, deceive. Or just plain lie. Sometimes, this takes the form of simple ad hominem attacks (but I’ve grown increasingly thick-skinned and can take it). Other times, it is a twisting of my words – e.g., I equate “vanned off” with dead (I don’t, never have). And every so often, one of these people slithers out to proclaim – usually on a very public forum – that we have misreported a kill or that I have horses on my Killed lists who are very much alive. To which we respond: Identify a horse, any horse. Name one. Nothing, silence. But finding an error is not really their objective; sowing doubt, impugning my credibility/integrity is.

Recently, a well-known and respected insider took this whole charade to new heights. On her Facebook page, Kathryn Papp, Pennsylvania veterinarian, said this in regard to Horseracing Wrongs and my work:

“Can you [HW supporter] cite scientific published peer reviewed statistical data and analysis rather than unconfirmed, biased, non-scientifically designed information like horseracing wrongs? I understand and actually applaud patrick’s research, but have come across multiple wrongly reported deaths i know for a fact are not true. Nothing against them…but without someone knowledgable fact and number checking, you can not be sure of statistical and numerical truth or facts that they are posting.”

“Unconfirmed”? All my listed kills are fastidiously confirmed. Each and every one.

“Biased”? By definition, facts cannot be biased.

“Non-scientifically designed information”? Is a death certificate from a state racing commission not “scientific” enough? How about data from the industry-sanctioned Equibase charts? Stewards Minutes? Absurd.

“Someone knowledgable”? While not a vet, Ms. Papp, I can most assuredly read and comprehend words like “euthanized” and “collapsed and died.”

After our Joy Aten and Nicole Arciello challenged her, Papp replied: “I will look up the names of the horses i had recorded (the last time i was reading them closely was last year) and i came up with 3 or 4 horses who were listed as deceased but were actually with an adoption program or back with breeder or adoptive family. I will go back and pull them. I have them written down somewhere.” “Written down somewhere.” Then this: “It is just that last time i reviewed postings on horse racing wrongs…i have seen a few horses listed by them as ‘vanned off and can be considered as good as dead.'”

The words “vanned off and can be considered as good as dead” have never – I repeat, never – appeared on my website.

Finally, she presented “evidence” of a mistake: “van persie was not euthanized several days later.” Apparently, it was a couple weeks rather than the several days I recorded. Is this what is to pass for a “wrongly reported death”? If this were a court case, she’d be laughed from the room. Bottom line: Van Persie is dead from a racing injury. Does it really matter when the euthanasia came?

After some more back and forth, Papp apologized – sort of: “i apologize. I have reviewed your ‘confirmed’ lists and from what i know of the PA horses the updated lists verified via FOIA are correct. However, the initial reports on your blog and fb page strongly suggest most of the vanned off are dead or will be and that is not true. It was the inital reports from years ago already, in addition to the information on van persie this year, that were not accurate but the confirmed lists to my knowledge are.”

“Again, you may want to have unbiased knowledgable people review the reports. There was a horse listed who died of meningoencephalitis as you have listed that had nothing to do with racing nor did the pathologist completing the necropsy report sum findings up the way you did. I know because i euthanized burning point.”

Burning Point does not, nor has he ever, appeared on my Killed list. (Note: The Killed lists are and have always been reserved for track-related – racing or training – deaths.) He was, however, included in my 2016 Pennsylvania FOIA post where I reported all casualties from that state – track and otherwise. Here is my full entry for Burning Point: May 26, Penn, “lymphohistiocytic meningoencephalomyelitis with necrosis” (last raced April 23). Again, not on the KIA list. Period. Apparently, close reading, at least where my site is concerned, is not one of Ms. Papp’s strong suits.

Ultimately, we arrived at this: “The horses i was thinking of as ‘falsely reported as dead’ were listed before you put together the FOIA confirmed lists, back in 2014/2015. Since you have been requesting necropsy reports i have not seen any wrongly included and have looked through 2014-2016. I already posted above an apology that it was not your confirmed list that contained falsely deceased horses. …i completely agree with and applaud you regarding your FOIA listings.”

Within a single thread, Ms. Papp went from “multiple wrongly reported deaths i know for a fact are not true” and “3 or 4 horses who were listed as deceased but were actually…” to “i have not seen any wrongly included and have looked through 2014-2016” and “i completely agree with and applaud you regarding your FOIA listings.” (2014, by the way, is when I started the Kill lists, so when, exactly, was it that I was supposed to have falsely reported?)

Facts, as the great John Adams said, are stubborn things. Horseracing kills horses. That’s a fact. What I do here is provide overwhelming evidence – names, dates, locations. In this pursuit, I am unfailingly meticulous. (Truth is, I am constitutionally incapable of being anything but.) I am not infallible, but to this point – through four years and over 3,000 names – my lists are. That’s not a boast, just a fact.

23 Comments

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  1. How can you dispute facts, because no matter how you slice it, horses ARE dying. There is no way to discredit that.

  2. Ms. Papp’s husband is a racing trainer so he is directly involved with the exploitation of the TB racehorse. It isn’t surprising that the Papp family would defend the horrific racing industry. Also, in the past, Ms. Lisa Molloy, Program Director of ReRun, stated that a couple of reported kills were inaccurate because those horses, according to her, came through her program. When challenged, Ms. Molloy came up empty and never responded. Not surprising….

  3. Patrick does his due diligence when it comes to the horses that lose their lives in this insidious industry….horseracing. However, let’s say, hypothetically, that he does make ONE mistake every year. He reports a dead horse when that horse is still alive. The racing supporters/apologists are just waiting to crucify him and this blog. Those same supporters/apologists never utter a word when horses are maimed, crippled and killed daily so that some freaks can be entertained and profit from the labors of the horses. In fact, they continue to support the industry although a few will feebly comment that it needs to be “cleaned up.” How is that working out for you, apologists? Not so good, is it? My point is that those who support the exploitation of the TB racehorse will continue to give the industry a “free pass” when they make mistakes that cost horses their lives but are ready to annihilate those who speak FOR the horses and are desperately trying to find a mistake in Patrick’s lists. Reprehensible….

  4. Yes, the thing that’s upsetting is if there is unjustified doubt placed in the mind of the uninformed.
    I very much liked Mary Johnson’s post and she said it better than I could have.

  5. And thank you for acknowledging those poor horses by name who have given their lives. There are So many I recognize as having seen race, in person, and are now gone, and tragically one that I was even involved in raising, for a brief moment in time. it breaks my heart. It is because of this that I’m now against breeding and racing horses.

  6. Racing insiders, supporters, fans, apologists, they hate our message…so they scurry in desperation to find even ONE HW-reported dead racehorse that still lives. How incredibly asinine – so 3,000-plus MINUS ONE dead horse will justify the remaining 3,000-plus?

    That said, not ONE individual who has whined “I know of a horse that isn’t dead!” has named the horse. Not one. They either slip quietly away or do some frantic back-peddling.

    Desperate, indeed.

  7. This industry and its policies/codes seem to be directly responsible for racehorses dying, and the death statistics/facts are made clear on this blog – thanks to Patrick’s dedication.
    It seems clear that keeping the medical records SECRET is a predominate contributing factor to racehorses dying.
    These records would show just what goes on in the corner cobwebs of the stalls, and I would guess most animal lovers would be disgusted.
    These records would most likely serve as legal proof that this industry turns racehorses into PIN CUSHIONS in order to mask chronic issues and/or increase performance levels for the sole purpose of filling races, increase wagering profits,while jeopardizing the health and welfare of the racehorses, and jockeys.
    Now, let’s examine why non-horse racing vets trade records in their practice on a daily basis: 1. to ensure that animals don’t get repeated invasive treatments that were already done. 2. to ensure UTD vaccinations in order to prevent the spread of disease 3. to ensure the well-being of an animal by examining past records in order to provide consistent treatment and/or to reveal if a condition is improving or getting worse 3. to save owners money 4. they have NOTHING to hide for peer review because they know that they follow, to the best of their ability, moral and ethical treatment of animals.
    By keeping the vet records of racehorses secret they deliberately avoid what other vets, with owners consent, share for the sole purpose of the well-being of an animal, as well as, other things including legal documentation to prove Felony animal cruelty charges so this should tell you something.
    When I was an Associate Steward for the CHRB I suggested, horrible me, that the industry should implement a microchip program and it should be mandatory for all racehorses. (2006)
    My intentions were to protect the racehorses, the industry participants, to catch cheaters since this would be a legal document that could track vets, and trainers.
    I didn’t even consider the potential legal repercussions of owners being held liable for injury.
    It didn’t even cross my mind, not being a legal person, until I was notified that wealthy owners could be held liable for jockeys or other racehorses in their race who get hurt when their horse goes down.
    So it shouldn’t surprise anybody that I was met with strong opposition and it was immediately squashed.
    Moreover, it didn’t even appear in the minutes when I reviewed them!!
    I was always an ardent supporter of this industry (ashamed to admit it), and there were lots of things that happened which set me on the path to no longer support this insanity, but this experience really proved to me exactly what this industry is about, and it should to any rational person out there.
    Everybody else is intentionally protected while the voiceless, non-consenting racehorses have little to no protection which results in the DEATH LISTS posted here, which is the first time we can actually see just how detrimental this business is to racehorses.
    The HRW blog puts numbers, faces, and names on the less than glamorous world of fancy hats, and mint juleps.
    Abusers can’t stand it when they are caught.
    Abusers are about control, they like to control the message, and they especially want to continue abusing for gain whether that’s financial or otherwise.
    This industry is finally being exposed for exactly what’s going on, and that’s racehorses dying for $2 bets, and for “entertainment.”

  8. There are so many negative spin-offs to this industry that it’s sickening.
    It’s estimated by rescue groups and the Jockey Club that about 90% of racehorses are dumped when maimed and/or no longer paying their way.
    We all know that they shouldn’t be paying anybody’s way nor should they be stoking egos, but it’s equally egregious to find them in the worse situations.
    This example exemplifies the horrific life of an unwanted OTTB as many end up in horrific situations.
    I just received an email from the Humane Society who publicly supports horse racing knowing full well that many OTTB’s end up at this gruesome display of animal cruelty:
    “Torneo del Lazo is a gruesome event that takes place throughout the year in various Yucatán municipalities in Mexico. During the events, cowboys ride horses being chased by one or more bulls in enclosed arenas. Once they catch the horses, the bulls severely wound them–often times gouging the animals–leading to the horses’ slow and painful deaths. The crowd erupts in cheers.”
    I’ve been sent pictures of geldings (by animal advocates) with their guts ripped out, forced to stand in the arena dripping in blood, in horrific pain, and suffering while the crowd cheers.
    The pictures are too gruesome to publish here.
    The lip tattoos reveal everything from cheap claimers right up to stake winners!
    You can argue that this heartless crowd is the horrible ones, but it’s also this industry who continues to breed and breed to fill races knowing full well that they are only responsible for the racehorse, on average, for 3 years.
    After 3 years with no Derby or stake prospect the racehorse quickly slips into the claiming ranks where the breeders/owners never look back – absolutely heartless, unacceptable, and needs to shut down now.
    My heart goes out to all the OTTB’s being gutted at this gruesome event for “entertainment,” but this isn’t any different than a racehorse running until they drop in the dirt from being maimed and/or killed – is it?

  9. That event in Yuacatan is abominable! We have heard of Mexican rodeos / races held illegally in our state as well.What goes on at these so called entertainment events is cruel, heartless and unthinking towards all the animals involved.We have noticed a growing trend of people with longtime experiences leaving racing in all ways, As owners, spectators trainers etc. One of our neighboring woman farm owners was invited to a Mexican rodeo and we worried the whole time she was there. We of course refused to go and watch! You truly know of,and have experienced some awful things.

  10. The facts that Patrick provides are undeniable regardless of ones thoughts the deaths the vanned off the necropsy reports they all speak for themselves clearly……the inept ability for the industry as a whole to regulate itself enforce rules protect the athlete are so flawed from top to bottom it’s sickening even the majority involved will tell you how flawed the system is how they all realise the problems in their industry….everyone will take to social media facebook twitter to voice their displeasure while conveniently avoid coming here to do the same….since this post involves pa racing and that is where I’m from and spend my time looking into the bigger picture of what pa racing is I doubt I’ll have any takers on coming to defend it.,while we all know it could be changed to be better where would one even begin to start the majority have no interest in that the ones in charge have no interest in that…..

      • Thank you for posting the link. Makes for dome interesting reading. As most racing commissions are politically appointed, makes one wonder how other conflicts of interest there are in the regulations.

  11. Thank you ever so much, Patrick B., for ALL that you do on the horses’ (and other animals’) behalf. I’m quite impressed by your commitment to the cause. Certainly, your information was a major wake-up call for me!! I think you are ok with us sharing your info (link, etc.) on FB, correct? Twitter? (I’m new to that media!) If not, please let me know? Thanks, Kathleen Minucci (friend of Julie Tanner & Donna Farnsworth & Jean Daniels, etc.)

  12. Another example of just how little racing insiders value and/or respect the animals on whose backs they make their living, this (uttered by a low-level trainer?/owner? about a boy acting out riding and whipping a horse on the back of a sofa); “I showed him how…the sofa broke down…vanned off…on the vets list”. But they love ’em like family………

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