Friday, the Minnesota Racing Commission issued the following:
“Commission Vet [observed] riding crop welts on the right flank of Ray’s Angel, winner of the 7th Race at Canterbury Park on July 19; Jockey Denny Velazquez is hereby assessed a civil penalty of $1,500. The Board of Stewards finds Velazquez’ previous history – seventh rule violation in the last three years involving prohibited use of the riding crop – to be an aggravating circumstance necessitating an enhanced penalty.”
WELTS. A history of abuse. A $1500 “civil penalty”? “Enhanced”?
Watch the force Velazquez brings to bear on Ray’s Angel; bluntly speaking, he is beating the hell out of him…
Saturday, the stewards at Prairie Meadows ruled:
“Having reviewed the video replay of the 8th race on August 3…Jockey Ramon Vazquez is hereby assessed an administrative penalty of $1,000 for excessive whipping (48 strikes in the final 3 ½ furlongs) of his horse, Underpressure. The Board notes Jockey Vazquez has had several violations at Prairie Meadows in recent history for excessive or indiscriminate whipping of his horse during a race.”
48 LASHES. A history of abuse. A $1000 “administrative penalty”?
Look, had the domesticated animals in question been pet-dogs instead of racehorses, these actions would have been criminal. (That’s not to say that anything meaningful would have resulted; state animal-cruelty statutes are largely toothless.) But because the law almost always defers to “common industry practice,” there’s nothing to be done. Horseracing has been beating animals – in plain view – for over a century. “Common industry practice.” So, Racing, police yourself. A slap to Velazquez, a slap to Vazquez, and they live to abuse for many more days. Sick.