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.

From the most recent Los Alamitos Stewards Minutes: “Post-time favorite Bookofmatches locked up behind and bobbled badly with an eighth of a mile before the finish [of the 5th race July 14]…humanely euthanized.” Bookofmatches was two; this was her fourth time under the whip.

In the very next race that day, Jockey Cesar Franco “used his riding crop ten consecutive times in the final eighty yards.” The “rule” in California, of course, is no more than three lashes in succession “without giving the horse a chance to respond.” For striking his horse TEN straight times, Franco was fined but $100 – and this was his second offense within 60 days. Wow, but not really.

The following week, the Los Alamitos stewards declare, “one equine death was reported due to racing injuries.” That dead animal, however, was left unidentified.

This is horseracing.

Xten, three, was killed Friday during morning training at Santa Anita. According to Blood-Horse, the colt suffered “neurological issues” following a collision with another horse. Apparently, Xten remained on the track for some three hours as “[a] dozen or so people attempted to encourage [him] to get to his feet.” Eventually, unable to “get upright,” he was carried onto the ambulance and “vanned” away to be euthanized. Trainer Tim Yakteen had this to say: “It’s an inherent risk we all take every day.”

At Golden Gate April 12, Maydaymaydaymayday “was injured while training near the quarter pole…and was euthanized” (Stewards Minutes). The filly was not yet three and had been raced eight times. Also at that track, jockey Juan Hernandez was fined $500 for “causing welts [with his whip]” on his “mount” Aotearoa on April 7. That’s $500 for patent animal cruelty – the sham of “equine welfare” on full display, again.

Finally, two “fatalities” are listed in the Santa Anita Minutes for the week April 9-April 15. We know (from other sources) that one was My Sweet Emma in the 5th April 15; the other, however, remains unidentified.

Penn National again

In the 6th last night, the chartwriter reports this: “MO MON’S COPYCAT…came up tired and appeared to be eased down the stretch but was being whipped through the eighth pole then steadily eased from there.” “Being whipped,” that is, to a last-place, 32-lengths-back finish. The 6-year-old’s most recent eight races going in:

November 19 (2016), Parx – 7th (“For Sale” at $5,000 prior to race)
December 4, Parx – 9th, 20+ lengths back (“For Sale” at $5,000 prior to race)
January 31 (2017), Parx – last, 22+ lengths back (“For Sale” at $5,000 prior to race)
February 16, Penn – last, 33 lengths back (“For Sale” at $4,000 prior to race)
August 11, Laurel – 6th (“For Sale” at $6,500 prior to race)
September 10, Laurel – 9th (“For Sale” at $7,500 prior to race)
October 6, Laurel – 8th (“For Sale” at $6,500 prior to race)
November 13, Laurel – 7th (“For Sale” at $4,500 prior to race)

Again, yesterday: last, 32 back (and “For Sale” at $4,000 prior to). (trainer/owner for first four races: Luis Carvajal Jr; next three: Aparna Battula; current: Wayne Potts)

This is vile. This is horseracing.

The Equibase chart note for Jury Wise in the 6th at Mahoning yesterday: “trailed into the turn, fell midway on the turn and was euthanized.” Jury Wise was a 7-year-old mare who was being raced for the 44th time; she was worth $5,000 the day she died.

This note comes from the 6th at Gulfstream last Thursday: “SHANGHAI JEWEL continued clear unasked along inside upper stretch, rider went to uncock right handed whip, [the 2-year-old horse] shied when doing so, bounced off inside then fell over rail, lost rider, caught by the outrider and walked off after race.”

“…rider went to uncock right handed whip, shied when doing so, bounced off inside then fell over rail…” But the whip is just a harmless guide, right? Vile. Horseracing.