A Plea To Bettors

To those who wager on horseracing, we implore you to reconsider. And ultimately, you hold all the cards – no more bets, no more races; no more races, no more kills. And – no more abusing unformed bodies; no more extreme, relentless confinement; no more whipping; no more drugging and doping; no more buying and selling and trading and dumping. No more auctions, no more kill-buyers, no more transport trucks, no more abattoirs. No more maiming, destroying; pain, suffering. No more.


In a landscape that abounds with other gambling options – casinos, lotteries, real sports involving autonomous human beings – hasn’t the time at long last arrived to let the racing horse be? You, the bettor, have within the capacity for mercy. We ask only that you exercise it. Please. For the horses.

– Patrick Battuello


Leave a Comment

  1. Copied and pasted for your consideration, from a vegetarian for 30+ years: “Among mammals 41,700,000 cows and calves were killed for food in 2000, as well as 115,200,000 pigs and 4,300,000 sheep, for a total of 161,200,000. These stats are also expected to continue to rise. Thus, the total number of all animals killed for food in 2000 was 9.7 billion.”

    Unless you think a horse is far superior to a cow, I would suggest that the 18,000 cows slaughtered in the US each day are a far more serious problem than a sport that celebrates Nature (which includes ‘Death’, by the way) in every aspect imaginable. Is it perfect? No. Nothing is. I love horses, and animals, at the level of horse whisperers, and am as devastated by a breakdown as anyone, but I also wish that people like yourself would get off their high horse where it concerns this sport, and pick a more worthy fight. Horse racing is an ancient sport, that is not going to go anywhere. As for myself, I’d much rather invest in horses than in something as thoroughly corrupt as the stock market.

    • What if I told you people can care about horses AND cows at the same time. Your argument is so stupid. It’s like saying stop advocating for AIDS charities because people have cancer. Both are important. You know 100,000 American Horses are slaughtered every year and 19% of those are thoroughbreds. Your post is all about you, you, you. Not one mention about the welfare of the horses. You sound pretty selfish and uneducated. And you support the exploitation of horses for profit. I think you’re the one who needs to get off your “high horse.”

    • So, we keep horse racing around because it’s an old sport. I thought we were a forward moving country. Should I shoot my neighbor for stealing vegetables from my garden? Should we save expenses and hang people instead of lethal injection.
      My question to you, and only question is, do you own a horse?

      • As long as there will be horses, there will be horse racing. Not in the least because thoroughbreds love to race. As to you shooting your neighbor or your opinion on the death penalty, do whatever you want as long as you’re willing to reap what you sow.
        But don’t worry. If your imaginary forward looking world has its way there may not be much horse racing after all. Nor much life to speak of. In the unlikely case you wish to stand up against something truly evil: http://www.4thmedia.org/2015/07/fukushima-daiichi-updates-marine-environmental-ecosystem-collapse/

        Go rattle some of those cages, if you have the stomach for it; in the name of horses, sea life, and all of mankind. Meanwhile, if you don’t mind, I’ll enjoy one of the few remaining microcosms on this planet that still has an old world purity to it. The sport of kings that produced a Triple Crown winner for the first time in 37 years. The crowd roared for minutes on end, many cried tears of joy, and countless others around the country who never visited a race track were inspired.

        Does that mean that horse racing is without problems? Of course not. But those problems can be solved. And they are being solved, but gradually, because change takes time. I assure you that the solution is not, as the blog owner would have it, to ban horse racing.

    • Getting killed or injured by accident in a RTA is not the same as the abuse that goes on in sports involving animals! Racehorses aren’t ‘accidentally’ slaughtered once they reach the end of their useful lives. And by the way, humans have CHOICE – animals don’t!

      • Choose your battles wisely, or your energy will be wasted. I mentioned the 18,000 cows slaughtered each day in the US, but by all means focus on a sport where animals are treated like royalty. If you want to broaden the scope a little, look at Fukushima, where a nuclear disaster is threatening all animal life in the Pacific Ocean, or look at fracking where whole towns our poisoned by corporate fascists, and babies are born dead. Fight battles of that importance and magnitude and I’ll cheer you on all the way. But no. Let’s focus on a few horses per year. Never mind that the sport may be among the very best cooperations between man and animal the world has seen. How old are you folks? If you’re under five I’ll take it all back, and give you a pat on the back instead.

    • And racing is not corrupt !!!

      Further, these horses lead lives of unforgivable abuse BEFORE they enter the slaughter pipeline culminating in horrific and terrifying deaths.

      As an small example of what goes on for these horses: Jill’s Reflection is a 5yr. old mare now running at Charlestown in $4,000 claiming races. She will have her 63rd start on 15th of this month at 10:15 PM ! This mare had 13 starts as a 2yr. old in the space of 8
      months and logged 26 starts as a 3yr. old. She is now racing for her life at that awful track and at night to boot. How do you guess this “career” of overwork will pan out for this track warrior that will reach maturity in the next 6 months, or so if she survives How sporting is that ? And, as you well know, her story is far, far from unique in this gambling business. It is not a sport.

      • You have no idea what you’re talking about. Many of these horses are treated like royalty; better than most human beings. Is there abuse? There is abuse wherever humans show up. Should people not get married anymore for that reason? Horse racing is the sport of kings. If you don’t like it, I get it. Not a problem. Just stop the high horse nonsense. Check this out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Bz5VVrd90o

      • Check this out: http://www.answers.com/Q/How_many_cows_are_slaughtered_per_day_in_the_US

        90,000 – 100,000 cows are slaughtered in the US each and every day.

        Weigh 365 x 100,000 cows per year against a few hundred horses per year. More than 30 million cows per year on behalf of the meat eaters, versus a few hundred horses on behalf of those who love horse racing. I hope you’re vegetarian, friend. I’ve been for more than thirty years, and a horse is as much of a friend to me as a cow. I have absolutely no problem asking a thorougbred to race, because they love to.

        If you want to get sick to your stomach of animal cruelty, solve that problem for cows or chickens first. Or for elephants in Africa. That’s why I can tell you that race horses are treated like royalty.

      • When it comes to animal exploitation/cruelty, there is no shortage of battles to be waged. Pick one and have at it (as I do here). Just don’t try to tell me this is an unworthy cause or that my time could be better spent elsewhere. And yes, “friend,” I am vegan, have been for 14 years. As to your vegetarianism, it’s a joke, for no ethical vegetarian/vegan could possibly utter the words “I have absolutely no problem asking a thorougbred to race, because they love to.” Time for you to troll somewhere else.

      • I’ve been vegetarian for over three decades. And I have absolutely no problem asking a thoroughbred to race. It’s not surprising to me that you think someone who disagrees with your pontificating soapbox stance is trolling. I’m simply disagreeing. That’s the problem with folks like you. It’s all black-and-white.

      • Just to add a picture to the numbers. That’s a big soccer stadium, filled to the brim with cows in every seat, killed every day for human consumption, and one lonely race horse among them. And you good folks focus on the one horse….

        To each their own, but it’s never a bad idea to pick one’s battles wisely.

  2. And you fail to see all that is beautiful and good about eating steak. You also fail to see the injustices presented by horseracing. If the people didn’t abuse these animals on a daily basis: whipping, stud chains, doping, drugging, and setting them up to fail from the beginning with bad genetics, then yes; horseracing has the potential to be an honest sport. However, people are not honest and are seeking the dollar, not the welfare of the animals.

    So you stand against raising cattle for food, but you stand for the manipulation and degradation of the horses’ bodies and spirits, being ruthlessly whipped across a finish line just to be euthanized on the other side.

    Tell me, where did you buy your rose colored glasses? They’re not as rosy as you think.

  3. Excellent up to date info on your site. If all wagering in the U.S. stopped tomorrow, would not that effectively put all the current racing horses as well as the yearlings of 2014 and the weanlings of 2015 at risk? Not to mention the breeding stock; stallions and brood mares as well. If there is no economic potential there would be no incentive to keep the bloodlines ongoing. The value of all U.S. thouroghbreds would plummet and as you detail on your site, horses with limited value are at risk if you eliminate horse racing you would effectively end the breed. I do not think that there would be enough resources to care for the
    estimated 250,000 to 300,000 former racing and breeding stock horses. I am not saying that this is right or wrong, I am stating what would be the most likely result of your no wagering plea. Thanks for your work it is a valuable source of info.

  4. Do you think that Secretariat and American Pharoah were miserable when racing. It was their job. They had a purpose. As far as racing goes the jockey who rode Secretariat reported that at the Belmont Secretariat was in charge of running his race, he the jockey was there for the ride. I just think that there are other animal cruelty causes you could focus on besides horse racing. I could care less about the betting anyway.

    • Yes Deb,The horses do have jobs (racing,jumping ect.)but if you think about it.The horse is being forced into labor,which is known as slavery.DEDICATED

      • I have recently thought of the word slave when referring to horses used for racing. The breaking, the training and the racing are all bad. Most of the people in the industry know a certain percentage of horses are not going to make the grade or who are not going to have long careers. The only time a horse gets to be a horse is when it is turmed out im a paddock or roaming in the fields. i have to plead guilty to liking horses and jockeys ”whipping and driving down the stretch”. It is exciting and then in the winners circle all the people are smiling and happy. People in the industry should look for some other way of earning a living.

      • Dear Richard,every word you said is so true.Yes the whipping,driving and the competition between horse and riders as a team,what stronger bond can be experienced in a sports contest,add gambling to the mix there is no bigger thrill to a racing fan.All those happy smiling face’s in the winner’s circle yeah we won,some might have bet and made a big score.Most times those moments are fleeting and are gone as fast as they appeared.Yes these people can now say they owned a horse that won a race.Most of these people have no idea what goes on,on the backside.Some do know what goes on in the backside and don’t care,you know who these people are,the despicable windbag who wants to be seen bigger then he is.Then you have new and old money,these people don’t have to win but they enjoy the game and can afford to lose more then they win.They hope to find that special horse that will make their dreams come true.It happens, but more often not.This game is manipulated in the majority of cases so the insiders have a tremendous advantage and it takes money,lots of money.As the saying goes,How do you make a small fortune in horse racing? You start with a large fortune.This applies to every aspect of the game,from the gambling to ownership.Obviously this is clear to people familiar with the game but if you’re new to the game you can take these words to heart.In most case’s people are blinded by the beauty of the horse and fail to be aware of the horrors and heartbreak that this game brings.DEDICATED

  5. Patrick, I’m praying that God gives you a thousand blessings for all the work you do to expose the crimes done to horses. Kudos along with gratitude to you, Sir!

  6. So if by some wave of a magic wand horse racing came to a complete stop overnight, what becomes of all the racehorses in America? You do realize that the majority of them would immediately be put down because of financial considerations. Same for all broodmares, weanlings, and yearlings. How that for animal cruelty?

    • I don’t think you have to worry about this, Walter. We are raising awareness, not closing tracks all at once. This will be like greyhound racing—the tracks will die off from lack of interest over time, as people become more aware of the abuses. They already are closing.
      Raising the specter of an impossibility won’t really make your point –it aint gonna happen.

  7. The sport of kings? Tell that to Fusiachi Pegasus. Oh, right, we can’t. His owners ate him. Tell that to my TB, Treasure’s Cameo, who raced three times as Blue Wiz, before he was retired — I rescued him with a stomach full of ulcers. He never raced for kings, and he never asked to be raced. And who would those kings be, hmmm? It took a king to afford to race horses reliably; it was never not a cruel “sport”.

    All life matters, bovine, porcine, equine, et al. But we each have the ability and right and duty as human beings to advocate for those we wish. For me, it’s horses and pigs and companion animals. That doesn’t make cattle less important, and it doesn’t make horseracing royal.

  8. Ok, the problem with the Samurai’s argument is that he’s making 2 separate ones at once. Both “horse racing isn’t cruel” and “there are better causes for your time.”

    I propose; let’s leave the first one aside. To be honest, I don’t particularly have any strong feelings about horse racing. I actually only considered most of these issues for the first time today, thought about it for the first time from seeing your site. So good on you!

    However, that leads to the second issue he mentions, and a very valid point to which I’m curious to your response. Let’s say your message reaches and convinces, or at least starts consideration in, 10 new readers per day. If you devoted your time to convincing people of the evils of eating meat, you’d save thousands and thousands of times over more animal lives, not to mention quite a few human lives. What would be your response to that?

    No dog in this fight, if you’ll pardon the expression. In all honesty I am merely a persuade writer by trade and wish he would have made his argument more wisely and left out the point that was never going to do any good.

    • Jason, the problem with points like yours is that it raises the question–Would you run into a meeting of the National Alzheimer’s Society and berate them for not supporting the American Cancer Society?
      A) Assumes that you can’t support more than one cause at a time
      B) Ignores the fact that fighting ANY wrong with dogged determination is good for the world.
      Most people fight for the causes that have touched their souls the most strongly. Thank God for all of them. I have friends who devote their lives to stopping hunger in America. Other friends who do all their volunteer work for increased diabetes research. I do animal causes.
      There are a lot of wrongs in the world to fix. This is one that needs fixing and raising awareness about the cruelties in horseracing leads to a more heightened awareness of animal welfare in all aspects of life. I know it did for me. Yes, it will be great when the world stops eating meat, but that’s going to be an enormous fight that will take generations to accomplish, if it ever happens. This is something we can work on now, too—awareness of animal welfare in any “entertainment” situation. It will chip away at people’s willingness to ignore the welfare of animals and their blithe assumption that the animals are “treated like gold.”

    • oh, and Patrick definitely does his bit for veganism, so he’s devoting his time to that as well. Amazing how we intelligent human beings are capable of caring about more than one cause at a time.

  9. Today was the last day that I will ever step foot on a race track again. Dutchessa, a 7 year old mare, went down in the 2nd race. Why would they race a 7 year old in a claiming race? To squeeze every last little bit of money they can get out of her? Try to sell her off while they can? Her body twisted and fell to the ground. It was devastating to watch that beautiful animal die right before my very eyes. I’m so sick over it. What is happening? Why are so many horses dying? Why is there nothing in the news when this happens? This MUST stop.

    • Hey Mary,Most breakdowns are avoidable.Most horses that breakdown,breakdown because it’s trainer is ignorant to the body mechanics,that a horse displays when something is wrong,or it’s trainer is a stupid piece of shit knowing there is something wrong,with the hopes he can get one more start before someone else claims him,and let the horse break down for it’s new trainer,some just don’t care.Then you have the guy who calls himself a trainer and becomes totally delusional that after each start he has the “key”to the horse for it’s next start and keeps racing the horse until it becomes beyond repair,then he sends it to Charlestown where it will breakdown for someone else or there’s the midnight trip to a farm and then all of a sudden that horse will suddenly get sick and euthenized or mysteriously it just disappears.It’s enough to make one sick and what makes you sicker is the people who are suppose to OVERSEE this turn the other way,I’ve seen it first hand.I’ve reported it all,and they act like I’m the criminal.This is one game where you don’t wanna rock the boat.It’s one dirty game from the top to the bottom.DEDICATED.

  10. I don’t know how anyone could watch a horse die on a race track, needlessly, and not be changed by it. It is a horrendously sad sight.

    • Using your “logic” nobody should own pets. Many are mistreated and die prematurely. Us lovers of the greatest sport on earth are devastated when a thoroughbred dies.

  11. I am not sure who started the vegetarian thing and the 18,000 cows a day dying in the US. However, 18,000 cows a day is WAYYYYY!!!!! OFF. In 2015 roughly 80,000 cows and calves were killed a day. Rounding out the year to approximately 29.6 million murdered for meat. Not to mention 316,164 pigs are brutally murdered every day for a total of 115.5 million for 2015. Then there are the baby lambs and sheep at 6027 per day for a total of 2.2 million in 2015. To knock that out of the water almost 9 billion chickens were murdered in 2015 for a total of 2,465,7534 a day. That does not include non-commercial murders.
    Horses sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico totaled 125,608 for 2015. That doesn’t include track deaths.

    However, the point here is that EVERY LIFE MATTERS. I am a vegan, because of this. The dairy industry and egg industry is disgusting. The cruelty that takes place in any of the murder houses and prior to arriving at the murder houses are worse than any nightmare you could ever dream up. Even Stephen King couldn’t touch that.
    Billions of animals are dying every year just in the US alone. That is unacceptable, one horse dying on the track is unacceptable, one animal being brutally murdered for meat is unacceptable.

    I love horses more than anything. They are my life. But you cannot love one animal and say it is okay to eat another. That is not a true animal lover. That is an obvious fact. I have seen horses die on the track. I have seen animals slaughtered. I have seen horses slaughtered. It is barbaric, no animal should ever have to go through anything like that. Not ever, not for any reason. Especially not for someone’s appetite. Saying it is okay to kill animals to eat is saying it is okay to torture, beat, butcher alive by having their limbs cut off while they scream, workers take broom sticks and stab them into pigs vaginas for fun, kicked in the face,chickens and turkeys are kicked like footballs, cows are picked up with tractors that stab into their sides when they cannot get up. They all suffer, the horses, cows, chickens, sheep, lambs, veal calves, fish, all of them suffer at a rate that I cannot even comprehend.I can still hear the screaming, the screaming will never cease in my head. We must all stand up and speak for them.

    Being a vegetarian is not enough, stopping the consumption of animal products is the only way to end the suffering. Stopping the betting at the tracks, stopping the support of any type of cruelty. Including buying a dog from a puppy mill breeder, or buying one at all. Instead of adopting. Rodeos, dog racing….bull fighting.

    I am grateful to have come across this site tonight. I just signed a petition to end horse racing in the USA. I work everyday educating people about what happens to our animals. What meat eating is doing to our planet, global warming is caused by meat production. Horses are a part of that largely because of the unnecessary over breeding. Especially from the Quarter horse industry. It is disturbing. People breed because they think they will make a buck. HA! The stud fee is just a down payment. It makes me sick, that people cannot open their eyes to see what is happening. How can they not see? Why turn a blind eye?


    Watch Cowspiracy, Earthlings, Forks over Knives, Peaceful Kingdom and Seeds of Death to name a few. Your world will change for the better. You will see it clearer than you have ever seen it before.
    To start here is a short NON GRAPHIC video clip that will startle you. It sure as heck did me https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayGJ1YSfDXs

    Thanks again for this website!

    By Mary Carol McGlone

    They run like the wind with beauty uncompared
    The glory of rolling thunder beneath the hooves of despair
    They mesmerize with every movement of pure grace
    The heights of heaven flows through the ground they embrace
    They prance and they frolic through the plains with delight
    Inspiring our hearts at the awesome sight
    How great the creator of such wonder we behold
    How great is this gift of splendor He gave us to hold
    Why then are we unthankful and cold without care
    Of the wonder of God’s spirit that flows through the mare
    For how can we so unmercifully abuse and destroy
    These magnificent creatures, God’s awesome vessels of joy
    Their speed we trade for money we gamble their glory away for a dime
    And when the hooves begin to slow and the strength begin to pine
    Without mercy we end the life of the friend that God gave into our care
    Cruelly silencing the rolling thunder beneath the hooves of despair
    The pure spirit of God’s creation will in all eternity be with the giver of all life
    But I wonder the unrepentant heart who has sown for profit
    so much pain, misery, and strife
    So for money we abuse God’s precious beast
    And we are free to do so now as we please
    Truly there is a time when we shall all be made to repay
    Ponder carefully your actions and your heart before that day

  13. First, what a beautiful poem!! I am in awe. Secondly, there are so many incredibly insightful, compassionate, and fiercely intelligent comments here that I couldn’t even begin to comment on all of them. So, I think I will just say “THANK YOU” instead, from the bottom of my animal-loving heart. You all gave me so much hope, and believe me, that is no small feat most days. The one thing that keeps sticking out to me the most, especially when I read the naysayers, is this… if there is one thing I have learned in this life, it’s that when you have the TRUTH on your side, you really CAN move mountains… and I, for one, will never shut up speaking the truth for voiceless animals! Never. So, I hope they all get used to many of us being around for a long time. As for “Samurai’, rarely do I waste my breath trying to speak words anymore to deaf ears, but a thought did occur to me & I really wondered- why do we have to choose & limit what we fight for anyway?? Whether it’s 1 horse or a billion pigs. Isn’t your heart big enough to fight for ALL of them? Mine is! Maybe try reading the poem “The Starfish” sometime. (The original essay was called “The Starfish Thrower” by Loren Eiseley.) All I can possibly say to you is this: IT SURE MADE A DIFFERENCE TO THAT ONE!!!!!!!!

    • You are right Amy. As a lifelong fan of the greatest sport on earth us racing fans can move mountains because WE have the truth on our side. You and Patrick and the rest of you fools are clueless. Long live horseracing and the amazing, majestic and graceful thoroughbreds.

      • Thoroughbreds are indeed majestic and graceful. Which makes what is done to them in the name of profit even more revolting. Yes, there are owners who care for their horses. BUT MOST OF THEM ARE IN IT FOR THE MONEY. If you go to Saratoga as a fan, all you see is the prettied up part of racing. Unfortunately, the death toll that Patrick so faithfully posts belies the pretty part.
        Example: talking to a friend who was all excited because he and two other guys went in on a racehorse. Hired a trainer, went to every race. The horse never won much money over the next three years, and ended up at lower and lower level races. The trainer lost his enthusiasm not long after the owners. By then the guys were bored with the horse and losing a lot of money paying for its upkeep and training, and they just wanted to unload it. It was sold off from a claiming race. The trainer handled the sale; he just signed the papers. He has no idea where it went.
        He’s not a bad guy overall; just absolutely clueless that he sent a beautiful animal off into probable slaughter.

        Multiply this by thousands.

  14. Patrick you are a despicable human being and I hope you rot in hell. Long live the Sport Of Kings! Off to Saratoga…..heaven on earth!

    • Hey Bill,despicable, rot in hell? One mans heaven is another mans hell.Everyone is entitled to an opinion,and a cause.Lighten up.Do you really know how filthy this game is? I don’t think you do.I’m talkin about a large portion of racetrack people who are bad and do bad things to innocent animals and even worse things to fellow race trackers.If you don’t know what I’m talking about,then you are totally ignorant to the backside of the game or you’re one of the bad guys and you don’t believe there is anything wrong with this “Dirty Game”. DEDICATED

  15. Great Work Pat …”And by the way everything in life is worth writing about, the matter is if you have the guts to do it.” thank you for being one of those people

  16. What can I do to help, my goodness this is deplorable. Can I call, write or plead with the powers that be about this. I can’t believe this is happening

  17. Some of you should get a job in the racing/breeding industry so you one have less time on your hands to talk and write about subject matters that you actually have no clue about behind the scenes. Perhaps once you put in 6 or 7 (12 to 24 hr) days caring for these magnificent TB racehorses which by the way (newsflash) are breed to be raced, got it…. bred to be raced you may have a different outlook. It’s easy to throw out your
    comments and opinions on subjects that you merely look at statistics on paper but I would strongly encourage you to get jobs in this field so maybe you can learn something about what you are so strongly opinionated about and second you may feel better just getting out there at 4am feeding, watering, mucking, exercising, grooming, bathing, grazing and really getting in touch with these animals and loyal individuals that have dedicated their lives and have made countless personal sacrifices in caring for these animals on a daily basis for better or worse. These are the individuals who truly love these horses the ones out there doing it. You folks unfortunately just have too much time on your hands and need to volunteer at an animal shelter, aspca, or children’s hospital and really do something worthwhile in your pathetic lives. Sorry just an insiders view… I’m a lifer and horseracing will be around forever. Perhaps study some history and you’ll understand what the Sport of Kings actually means. By they way human athletes with their deplorable dreadlocks, drinking ,drug abuse and classless domestic violence and murder are truly a sporting event I would consider picking on with all your free time. And what exactly do they do with their millions. O yeah buy drugs, booze n whores and get DWIs great example for your kids at your next game.. enjoy!

    • The amount of work one does has no direct relevance to anything except work ethic. Hours in is not synonymous with love of/passion for a job. I would submit that the vast majority of people toiling away in your vile industry – indeed, in most industries on the planet – do so for money – a paycheck. So get over yourself.

      As for history, it is you who is the poor student. Social-justice movements never go away; they just get stronger and stronger and stronger until, change. Civil rights, women’s rights, sexual orientation rights – animal rights. Ringling Bros., SeaWorld – horseracing. Pop – there goes your self-delusional bubble.

    • Working in the horse racing industry is called a JOB – a JOB to support one’s self and one’s family. Hard work? – sure…as many JOBS are. LOVE the horses? – oh I’m pretty certain some of the cheap labor get attached the horses. But as I heard again and again and again on the backside for the near decade I worked there with a racehorse rescue organization, “I don’t want to get attached because there will come a time when they get claimed away, sold, given away….”. Or DIE.

      These JOBS have little if nothing to do with dedication – but everything to do with folks who have no other skills and most often, no higher education, as well. Lifers. You said it. And then the lifers’ children are conditioned to what they see and experience – sentient animals being exploited as a gambling tool in an unnecessary animal-use-for-profit & entertainment industry. “Pathetic lives”? – I saw many of those at the track. Both horses AND humans.

    • And JoAnn, in response to your snide comment that those of us advocating for the horses have too much time on our hands and should volunteer/do something worthwhile, I’m curious as to who made you judge and jury regarding which injustices are “worthy” and which are not? Are there not MANY causes that are begging for advocates’ voices? Can you speak to them all? I know I can’t…so I’ve acknowledged I must choose where to focus my attention.

      I know I probably speak for a number of racehorse advocates when I commented to a pro-racing individual a couple of years ago…he, too, hated our message because our goal would interfere with his life. Damn the horses – just don’t mess with my entertainment.


    • Dear Jo-Ann,I agree with you,these people you are talking about really don’t know what they are talking about.They have no idea the amount of time,passion and effort most grooms put into each one of their horses.However some grooms I would not let near my pet rat.For most, ,this is a long,tiring,never ending job with very low pay for the amount of time put in.I have no idea how long you’ve been at this game,are you hands on,if you’re a groom,chances are you look 10-20 years older than you actually are.I understand your passion for the horse,I really do but who’s looking out for you.You clearly are’nt,because you’re addicted to your passion but in the long run is your passion addicted to you.Unless you’re really connected to money one way or another,it’s my opinion you’re on a path to nowhere.Enjoy it for what it is,but understand,time flies by,don’t wait too long,smarten up and know when to get out.You have to understand most of the people you talk about above don’t know a whole lot about the game and are easily inflamed by Patrick Battuello and you have to admit he’s right,he may not be on the inside but somehow he can research,read and I gather of reasonable intelligence.YES….YES…… These beautiful animals are bred to run(race)but who decided that,I’m sure it was not a horse and yes they are bred to race but they were not bred to be abused.Abuse of these animals is way out of control,most of the abuse is probably not intentionally,most abuse comes thru ignorance.Some abuse is just out of the sheer will or despartion to win a race.Don’ t misunderstand me if I were lucky enough to have a stable if would be sure the horse would have the best supplements to improve his athletic performance and any medication that would do no harm,as a trainer if you don’t “supplement” you’re not doing your job and you won’t be in business for long.Some trainers don’t know the difference from a supplement that may potentially harm the horse or may not even care,so long as it does the job and let the horse fall where he may.The deplorables you talk about screw up,by their own bad choices regarding their lives and the people closest to them.The Horse’s rely on the poor choices of the humans that care for them.Often trainers who can’t make the right choices for their own lives,you think these trainers are the ones who care what happens to their horse’s ( not all,but many who also have no clue)Unless it’s an emergency the vet’s run from one thirty horse barn to the next.Very rarely do they have the time to treat physical ailments which don’t involve an injection.Good Luck in your choices Jo-Ann. DEDICATED

    • Yes, Jo-Ann, horses are bred to race, I “got it”. I also “got” that racing is a gambling business of questionable integrity where horses are drugged, run sore and with injuries, die on tracks daily,are overworked, and die on slaughterhouse floors at numbers in the thousands each year.

      On a personal level, I have several former racers that were being overworked at the lower claiming levels plus a discarded broodmare,They were in danger of being sent to auction, My latest addition is a lovely mare, a “claimer”, running at least every 2 weeks at Thistledown. When she got here a few days after her last race in Sept. her feet were in a very bad state, Also, one of my geldings was being raced with a stifle injury and was whipped unmercifully in his last race, These horses had nowhere to go and although they may have been cared for by hard working “lifers” like you, that did not protect them from the abuse that is part and parcel of racing,

  18. As a lifelong resident of Saratoga Springs, NY, I have grown up going to and enjoying the track. It has only been in recent years that I have educated myself to the wrongs of the thoroughbred racing industry. Now, living 20 minutes away from Saratoga, one can easily see that like most things in life, this industry revolves around money and exists solely for money. Take money out of the equation and what is left? The answer of course is no horse racing. The reason is because of the cruel conditions these animals endure. Is it racing them at 2 yrs. old instead of 3? Is it lassix? Is it other performance enhancing drugs? The condition of the track? Whatever it is- there are simply too many horses dying in this dirty industry. What is the solution? Unfortunately, I don’t have one. Until one is found, NYRA will have 2 less local residents going to Saratoga to bet on these beautiful animals.

    • Thanks Will.
      If the racehorses had a voice, I’m sure they would get down on their knees and thank you, but many don’t have any knees left, nor bones, backs, tendons, ligaments, and not even their life.
      Everything you mention in your comment is part of the problem.
      However, the Liberal drug policies is a predominant factor, but since they are necessary to keep sore horses filling races (so that people can bet on them) the dying will continue because it’s inherent in this business.
      That said, I feel so much better that a former racing fan like you has made the right decision, and I hope as people get educated they will stop going as well.

    • Dear Will, I will comend you and your wife for standing you’re ground,if you stick to it.It’ll be tough Saratoga is very alluring to a horse lover,but just maybe you’ve gotten so sour now as I believe more and more people are becoming.If you really want to sour more and really lock it in.I would suggest you read The NEW YORK COMPTTROLLER ALAN HEVASI’S report which I believe was approx.2005.It’ll give a much more in depth look at what really goes on in the game.I would be remiss if I didn’t say that was the old NYRA.But as you can see things don’t change much at the racetrack.Alan Hevasi did such a good job on his report on NYRA somehow he ended up being jailed.Don’t fuck with NYRA! So Will if you and you’re lovely wife do go to Saratoga next summer don’t ask questions a look straight ahead,don’t make eye contact. DEDICATED

  19. Yesterday after reading about how compulsive destroys people’s lives and reading your articles I have decided I will not bet on horse races any more. There is a lot of human exploitation in the horse racing world. I used to work at the tracks on the west. coast. Grooms dont get paid much based on the number of hours put in People can see that horse racing is bad. Thanks for your website.

  20. It’s Jan. 11,2018, And NYRA decides to return to racing after their recent hiatus due to extreme weather.How does anyone know how in reality how this track is going to be safe after such extreme weather conditions.Is this not going to be an experiment while using all the participants as Guinea Pigs.Basically it’s going to let’s hope for the best.In my opinion,which does not mean a whole lot.Just to test the surface,why don’t NYRA have all the human element associated with NYRA ,including Mr.Panza,trainers,Jockeys all upper administration,is Mr.Bonommo still around,Gov.Coumo( does he still own horses?)Skelos And his Son,they skated that JAIL thing,didn’t they? The first race is a 1-1/6 loaded with five entries racing for $60,000.Proably will scratch down to four entries.Second race is overloaded with six entries.Ask the above names to run the 1-1/16 to test the surface before you force the horses to run over a very risky surface at best.When the gates open,the announcer will give his usual “They’re Off” only thing this winter “They’re Off” will be followed with “let’s hold our breath” Is N.Y.R.A. Really going to put riders and horses at extreme risk and a potentionally highly dangerous racing surface on display for everyone to see the extreme despicable greed over the safety of horse and rider? DEDICATED

    • When did racing put the safety of the horse above the money ?
      The show must go on,; they need the money regardless of how many horses they kill
      This is what was once called the “sport of kings” !

      • Dear Rose,Yes this was known as “The Sport Of King’s” and is still known as “The Sport Of King’s”. When people use the term the good old days,kinda what I think you’re trying to portray that this used to be a much more noble game.Just because it is known as “The Sport Of King’s” does’nt make it true.I think they’re referring to the fact that it takes tons of money to play the game over time at a top level.I believe this game of racing has not changed much from one century to the next century.The only difference is now you have a guy named Patrick Battuello using the Internet to make us aware of Horse Racing Wrongs.Years ago there was no internet.So listen carefully,when I was ten years old,my grandfather had a small farm in East New York,Bklyn.He delivered fruits,vegetables,coal and ice by horse and wagon.Thats when I loved my first horse.I knew then and there I wanted to work with horses(trainer or. jockey) When my father heard me say that his response was an emphatic NO! HORSE RACING IS A DIRTY GAME! FORGET IT ! So all you hear about the racetrack is nothing new and the treatment of these animals is nothing new.It’s been going on forever.Most of these horse people have the mentality of carnival people,gypsies,tramps and thieves.Was’nt that a song about race trackers by Cher? DEDICATED

    • Thank God they cancelled racing today due to “unsafe track conditions”. The horses are safe, today, at least. And there are people whining on the paulick report about how, if they had racehorses there, they would be upset over their horses standing in their stalls today instead of racing, and how of course racing needs to bring in the money. That’s the mentality of the desperation of money vs. the health and well being of the animals that are giving their lives to bring in that money. Sad, sad state of affairs that shows the “glory” of the racing world.

  21. SD,I agree totally.It don’t take a lot of common sense that racing this winter on an unproven surface as far as handling freeze,defrost,freeze again,then defrost again.Granted the NYRA grounds crew might be considered the best,but knowing how NYRA operates that could be a misconception.This is nothing against NYRA,this is just the track and the weather conditions they are stuck with you can’t buck Mother Nature.For sure this track this winter will be unsafe and uneven and an ill advised experiment at best.Is NYRA willing to take that risk,endangering horse and rider.I hope Mr.Panza or whoever makes the decision to run the races.Please for the horses sake don’t leave this decision up to the jockeys because half will say let’s ride and half will say no fuckin way.Needless to say the top ten jocks will say no fuckin way,the bottom ten will say I breezed on it this morning it was perfect.I’m personally pleading with Mr.Panza,I hear you’re a very bright man use something most horse people don’t have,a love for the horse and common sense.Don’t race this winter any longer,unless you’re damn sure that track is safe,my opinion so long as you’re gonna have these uneven weather patterns you’re experimental winter racetrack will be uneven as well,and cause a lot of misery for the simple unprotected animals that have no say.It won’t be easy but you’ll be doing the best thing for the horses and down the road when you straighten out you’re winter problem with track surface,you will know you did the right thing during a difficult time. DEDICATED

  22. Dedicated, I agree, the abuse of the horse goes hand in glove with racing through the ages. But, I was thinking more in terms of before the “claiming game” existed ; before the drugs ; before winter racing ; before the racinos; before overbreeding and other changes resulting in more and more horses suffering as well as more and more of the wrong people in the business for all the wrong reasons.

  23. Please let the horses live in peace. There are plenty of gambling options available. Horses are dying daily on race tracks cruely and painfully.

    Please stop the killing

  24. It’s blatantly obvious that the horse racing industry doesn’t generate adequate financial income to support itself, and hasn’t for many years.
    Yesterday the Ontario government committed $105 million PER YEAR for 20 YEARS to the failing horse racing industry in Ontario!!!
    They allegedly refused any animal welfare groups to attend these meetings, and the taxpayers got screwed again, but they weren’t at the bargaining table either – no surprise there.
    Unfortunately, thousands of racehorses will suffer, be maimed, be dumped at kill auctions, and subsequently end up at the slaughterhouse because of this financial support instead of shutting their doors.
    With every year the racing fans decrease, but so does the wagering profits, the racehorses, and not enough fans to replace the aging white male demographics.
    Yet, Woodbine racetrack and their cronies continue to push a business agenda that is based on the massive suffering of racehorses – shameful, and revolting.

      • I have to drop this responsibility strictly on the owners and the trainers,most catastrophic breakdowns are avoidable. 1) Racing jurisdictions may not want to admit this,because this is never discussed such as Undiagnosed Muscular Dysfunction.This phenomena would shine a dim light on Veterinarians (either incompetent or don’t spend the time on each individual case to do a prudent thorough treatment,maybe there should be someone to treat the horse according to diagnosis by VET,besides vet or groom,vets don’t have the time and grooms don’t have the know how or Physical Therapy Modalitie’s to do the job.Sounds as if there is needed a Physical Therapist of sort’s,which most trainers are ignorant about and think it would be a waste of money which most trainers would try to get there hands on first before giving it to a therapist.If owners and trainers would focus more on educating themselves in these aspects it would be a huge step in the direction of reducing the incidence of catastrophic breakdowns,and let’s not forget everytime a horse goes down there is a jockey or exercise rider incurring TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY to some extent or another.It is of my opinion that preventative and acknowledging Undiagnosed Musucular Dysfunction is a win,win path to saving the integrity and doing the right thing for the horse,the jockey,the owner,the industry and for the miserable reputation this business has.I am not promoting this business nor am I trying to undermine it but I believe their is ignorance galore on both sides of the fence but I believe the racing industry as a whole has to first admit that they want to dig up and expose their shortcomings which is highly risky.To admit that you’ve been doing things wrong for decades due to Money,Arrogance or just simply a refusal to change or admit that just maybe their are better ideas out there on how to run “THEIR” business.So long as the top echelon and the elite,owners,top jocks,vet’s,included,why rock the boat?In their world they’re running a well oiled machine.So what if a few horse’s suffer,bordering on inhumane torture, snapping leg’s in mid-stretch,while racing on illegal performance enhancing drugs.I’m not saying that this particular incident is an example of what I’ve just discussed but on Sat. November 11,2017 a horse named HY BRASIL,Trained by GARY SCIACCA,owned by AMANDA LADAERRA.HY BRASIL was actually making a remarkable what looked to be a winning run,when at the 1/6 the pole all the glory of winning was gone in a split second,I really felt for Ms.Ladaerra.All the love and carrots,all the private moments she spent with HY BRASIL and her other horse’s.This one incident I’m sure will effect her for her entire life.Nothing will make you sicker than watching an animal you care for, suffer watching it helplessly looking in the crowd for the one who loved it so much,the pain and confusion of this horse not knowing,he just took his last step and last desperate breaths,the one who loved it so much in tears and irreparably hurt to her heart.Instances like this are all to common,at every racetrack.Ignorance on all is rampant at the racetrack.I’m not saying this was the case here for HY BRASIL, Mr.Sciacca has been training a long time and is considered a top trainer by some.He surely knew HY BRASIL was sound enough to race but some trainers will race a horse with,Undiagnosed Muscular Dysfunction will surely be putting his horse in the high risk catagory for catastrophic breakdown,then have the trainer add a performance enhancer to the horse with Undiagnosed Muscular Dysfunction, then you are spiraling downwards faster to the inevitable,catastrophic breakdown putting the horse and jockey in extreme jeopardy.No one in the industry seems to be bothered by this,they say they do.I’m sure the industry is spending much money trying to discover,why do horse’s breakdown at such a high rate,they investigate track surface,track condition,time between races,class of horse etc.My belief is as I stated above two main reasons for the high incident of catastrophic breakdowns: 1) UNDIAGNOSED MUSCULAR DYSFUNCTION. 2)THE ILLEGAL USE OF A WIDE VARIETY OF PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS (that are not tested for) 3)The deadliest: The combination of number 1 and number 2. Don’t tell I’ll have to write this again.Next time,this will be an article in the N.Y.Times or The Bloodhorse.

  25. Oh my! So well written, I spent a year and a half on a TB farm, I saw the cruelty. I shared your plea, thank you.😓

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