Fallout - by Eric Mitchell

American Thoroughbred racing took a full-speed, unprotected body blow last week when undercover work done by an animal-rights activist group was published by the New York Times.

Recapping the story seems unnecessary as widely distributed as it was through social media, but here we go. A young woman representing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) got a job in trainer Steve Asmussen’s barn. Over four months she reportedly recorded seven hours of video with a hidden camera (smart phone?), and PETA condensed the content into a damning 91⁄2-minute documentary. The highlights of the video include: callous and profane comments from Asmussen’s now former assistant trainer Scott Blasi about the horses under his care; a farrier discussing the apparently horrible condition of the feet of Nehro—Ahmed Zayat’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up while he was in training; and, a dinner conversation during which Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens and Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas joke about the use of “buzzers,” battery-powered devices created to shock horses into action.

The dramatic, sensational descriptions and characterizations in the PETA documentary were not surprising considering the video was created by an organization that is outspoken about its goal to end horse racing. The video and the comments spliced together, however, lack context while the overlaid narration makes nefarious connections to what is being shown though none may exist. You see a lot of footage of veterinarians with needles and comments about horses getting daily regimens of painkillers and performance-enhancing drugs.

Everything is poured into one bucket: all medications are bad and all horses are abused. The PETA investigator recorded seven hours of video but all we get to see is just over nine minutes of it, some of which is not related to Asmussen at all. Included is footage shot at an Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s under tack show a couple of years ago where a 2-year-old sale candidate unfortunately broke down. Sad and disturbing, but completely unrelated. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what’s in the other six hours and 51 minutes? What are the full conversations from which these inflammatory statements were lifted?

Embracing the story as the full truth about horse racing is wrong, but dismissing the story solely as the fabrication of radicals also would be wrong.

The industry needs to pay attention.

An over-reliance on medication is damaging the sport’s reputation. Owners complain about escalating vet bills, the use of furosemide exploded from an as-needed medication to one that is now given to 95% of starters, and the public hears increasingly about products like thyroxine, a hormone that accelerates metabolism and increases cardiovascular output by enhancing heart contractions. Veterinarians reportedly give thyroxine to overweight horses but the product was reportedly given as a regular dietary supplement by both Asmussen and, until recently, Bob Baffert.

Anti-inflammatory drugs for sore joints and muscles are legal therapeutic medications and have their place, but they cannot be used as short-cuts in conditioning. If a horse is not holding up to the stress of training, maybe it needs time off instead of treatment.

Owners have a responsibility here, too. Don’t just pay the bill. Ask questions about what is being given to your horses and why.

And for the owners and trainers who simply know no other way than to continually try to game the system, the industry must accelerate its efforts to cull these bad apples. The proposed uniform medication rules and penalties created by the Racing Medication & Testing Consortium and the Association of Racing Commissioners International include tougher sanctions—up to a five-year suspension and $50,000 fine for trainers caught with a third Class A offense; and for owners, a disqualification, loss of purse, $50,000 fine, and the horse suspended from running for 180 days following a third offense.

To state racing commissioners: You cannot implement these penalties fast enough.

It also cannot be stressed enough that the racing industry must find a way to promote the people who truly care. Put their faces in front of the public and tell the stories of how much their horses are part of their lives and their families. Show the sacrifices they make to keep their horses healthy and happy.

Luckily for racing, these stories are not marketing spin. Honorable owners, breeders, and trainers are out there, doing right by their horses every day.

 

 

37 Comments

Leave a Comment:

Senator L

You forgot to mention the cheating. The way racing is reacting is a joke.

26 Mar 2014 12:33 PM
lysa slater

Excellent article.  I heartily agree that this industry needs to stand up and take notice.  I have often wondered why the United States doesn't adopt the rules for medications, etc. used in the UK and Europe.  It seems to me, as a causal fan and outside observer, that they do not experience the same troubles with alleged abuses as we seem to have here stateside.  Are they kinder and more civilized "over the pond"?

26 Mar 2014 12:41 PM
Fairness Gone in racing

You know i have been reading the blood horse for many years. This is the first time i can honestly say  it isnt worth reading anymore.  The Arci rules you are trying to tell everyone to implement are worthless as the idiots who wrote them. they do not stop the everyday  wrongs of racing. Please do yourself and the one time honorable racing form a favor and go look for another job.  

The ARCI  is made of of commissioners  many of whom don't even know how to read the racing form. I Can provide the proof if you need it.  The Arci rules are made for cheaters. Guess what as we have found and seen with racing there are no cheaters as the ARCI has labeled them. There are a select few that take it upon themselves to abuse therapeutic drug as you clearly stated in your article. I would suggest you learn more about the sport you are writing about. The need for more ethical practices is necessary  The model rules should be aimed at deterring unethical practices and the corrupt practices by the racing commissions. No more favoritism  for trainers cause they have horses with said trainers. Shall we open up the can of joe woodward testing positive about 8 times and the commission which is posted on the KY racing site letting them off with a slap in the wrist. You cannot dictate to the racing public what to do when being led by the mindless idiots who continue to act clueless  what about the jane cibelli incident in florida why is she allowed to continue training. The model rules do not target incidents like that . So again before you spout off  about what the industry should do  you should first learn about the industry you write about.

26 Mar 2014 12:46 PM
Sandy McDonald

Right on Eric, well said. I totally agree with every word. Thank you.

26 Mar 2014 12:48 PM
BadSaddle

if 20+ TBs per week are dying on the track,the emphasis in all this should be to reduce that number by 2/3.Besides gross overmedication and injections, the other huge factor that no reporter has touched is the failure by trainers to train early 2yos in a very specific way to build very strong bones.According to all the research vets,including Dr.Bramlage this is very easy to do,but none of the trainers do it since Dr.John Fisher at Fair Hill.The tremendous research by Dr.Nunamaker on "bucked shins" confirms all this.C'mon media, training by tradition instead of science is the untold scandal.For the sake of the horses it must be exposed,even if bigname trainers will be offended.

26 Mar 2014 1:06 PM
chucky

Another good article about the same worn out issue repeated over and over and over and over for the last 2 decades or so. HOF Jack Van Berg in 2009 in front of congress stated "chemical warfare". Anything came out of that? Nothing will change because of the breeding of frail short career sprinters. They need medication to just run and they are not as robust as they used to be. Of course they do not have to since all they need to do is win one supposedly G1 race and off to the breeding shed they go breeding more frail sprinters. One thing is for sure, the can will be further down the road. If they really want to change this industry, they need to start where the problem lies....BREEDING. The word thoroughbred has lost it's meaning. my 2 cents.

26 Mar 2014 1:41 PM
hank

Very good article Mr Mitchell, I have been waiting for someone to address this situation, I am an ex everything ,because of age 73 to be exact, when I get together with a lot of my friends and wwe talk about past, one of the first things always said is, NOW A DAYS IT ISN'T IF U ARE A GOOD HORSEMAN YOU HAVE TO BE A GOOD CHEMIST. sad but true, these medications that Asmussen and Baffert are accused of using I have no idea what they are talking about. To solve this problem it has start at the top, RAcing commissions, Jockey Club ruling bodies of this sport have to set up guide lines, medication rules,fines. Right now they can't even get the lasix deal set, some want it others don't. I go to tampa downs quite a bit the average person there is probaly in there 60's very few young people. Why? beccause of this exact situation the average joe does not trust racing,Just listen to interviews of trainers, half are talking out of thier side of there mouths,Guys like Mullins O'Niel, Dutrow, Asmussen, and a lot of others kake the majoriy of people look stupid and that is not the case at all. Really all medication should really go, got to start from scratch again, is it benefical, I don't know but the way we are going it is a dead end street, horse racing used to be the only show in town no more guys it slowly becoming the bottom

26 Mar 2014 1:42 PM
pdeblin

I have read the coverage of the PETA scandal and the response to it by the industry, the journalists who cover the sport and the fans. I am not surprised that industry defends itself nor am I surprised that all levels of fans defend the sport, but I am surprised at the response of racing journalists. I am not a supporter of PETA on any level, but I do care deeply about the care of all animals and, by the way, people to.

I covered racing for 15 years after casually following the sport for more than 10 at such tracks as Bowie, Laurel, Charles Town and Shenandoah Downs. Even as a casual fan in the 70s I often heard stories about buzzers, drugs, shady claims, unfit horses and even fixed races. The tracks didn't  care about customers--it was an insider sport that benefited those in the know. When I started covering racing not much had changed. Racing had a golden opportunity to really change its ways in the 80s with the opening of new tracks in new markets, but miserably failed.

I have seen every one of the things depicted in the PETA video many times and anyone covering the sport has seen them too. My reaction was: "I'm shocked, shocked that this happens in Thoroughbred racing" and that reaction was duplicated in almost everything I have read in the last few days.

The one thing in the PETA video that has hardly been mentioned is the allegation that Asmussen hired undocumented workers, forged documents and underpaid employees. This is something that is rarely covered by anyone. Tell me racing writers have not see the shoddy conditions of backstretch workers or have not witnessed the disappearance of a worker. I have read a few articles about the predicaments of jockeys without health insurance but there are few if any articles about track workers.

I don't find the attitude by racing writers that surprising. They have a small, closed beat and if they start telling secrets, that's it. It was the same way in baseball with its PED scandal and the Tour de France. It's hard to buck the system.

Racing is fortunate that there is so little coverage of the sport. Most of the coverage is by insiders who have a vested interest in the sport's, dare I say it, success.

Why hasn't one writer asked: Why did the owner of Nehro not know that one of Nehro's feet was a stub?  He said he loved the horse. It must have been a long-distance relationship. I wonder how an intelligent, successful businessman can pay the high day rate for Steve Asmussen and have his horses trained by an assistant trainer at best. Would he hire a top rate lawyer and settle for a paralegal? Why is this a common and accepted practice in racing? Can you imagine Bill Belachick coaching the San Diego Chargers and the New England Patriots at the same time?

I have been on both sides of the fence in racing--as a writer, a racetrack employee and a marketing director for a publication (at separate times). It seems that most racing writers feel it is their responsibility to promote the sport at all costs. Racing is in dire straits and needs to be challenged at every turn. The things that have been taken for granted for years cannot be taken for granted anymore. Owners are too hands-off to have any real say. Trainers are too entrenched. Forget racetracks--they are part of the problem. Racing writers have to cover the sport with no holds barred. They have to examine the sacred cows--the sales, the big farms, the practices of vets and trainers and the living conditions of the people who keep the sport going--the backstretch and farm employees.

Racing is lucky that the media doesn't care about the sport anymore. It shouldn't be PETA that breaks a story. It should be responsible journalists who are unafraid of repercussions.

26 Mar 2014 2:30 PM
SilverCharm1

I agree with Chucky. The actual source of many of these issues is in the breeding. It is also why we have not had a Triple Crown winner since 1978. The comments regarding the fact that the 9.5 minutes were part of more film that was not deemed sensational journalism worthy is revealing of PETAs deceptive statements. Race horses are the most spoiled and babied atheletes in the world.They are also the most worshiped by fans, owners, trainers and the entire racing community. The fact that illegals work on the backside needs to be addressed by employers and the department of immigration and naturalization. The drug issue is one that surely owners and vets should have control over. Trainers need to prove to a vet just as patients prove to a doctor that the horse  needs medication.We need more "undercover" films that WE SHOOT to show what goes on with the good backside.    

26 Mar 2014 2:42 PM
Your Only Friend

Excellent Article ....racing needs rules identical for all states on medication.....they need uniform rules across the board for those who cheat....cheat this is what happens regardless of what state you live /race ...do not allow off track Vets come in and prescribe medication and track vet must administer all drugs.....that would be good start...then owners/trainers/etc cannot say Oh I did not know I thought I was still racing in another state and forgot.

26 Mar 2014 2:57 PM
BadSaddle

...and as TDN has shown, anyone who bets in the regulation cesspool of Louisiana is throwing his money away. Florida, shamefully, is almost as bad.

26 Mar 2014 3:59 PM
Cathy in Washington

Good Column. I too would like to see what the rest of the PETA video showed. The seven minute heavily edited version was done more for shock value than anything.

I agree owners owe it to their horses to check on them, if they are not knowledgeable horsemen or women themselves have someone who is check on their horses regularly.

Interesting that none of Asmussun's horses failed any drug tests during the time that the video was taken. How can that be if all of what they were inferring was going on.

Racing is extremely hard on horses, expecting them to do what they do on bones that are not fully mature without having breakdowns is unrealistic. It is a fact of racing.

26 Mar 2014 5:18 PM
sceptre

Good article, Eric.

For me it's never been so much about cheating and drugs, but rather the general, every day management, and the quality of care and oversight related to each individual horse's risk in training and racing--risk varies from horse to horse depending upon their underlying physical states--some more easily defined than others. This calls for expert and constant oversight-not something that the state vet pre-race once over can provide. Accomplishing this properly could greatly lessen the horrific monthly death rates, and allow many more to be salvageable for alternative careers....I also don't buy the notion that the vast majority of "horse people" place the interests of the horse first. They say it, and may believe it, but their choices/actions reveal otherwise. One of the causes for this disparity of words and deeds is a reluctance to abort the training regimen-seen as "wasting" valuable dollars already expended- and give the horse proper time to adequately heal, or to simply throw in the towel as some/many horses may be incapable of healing properly to allow them to compete soundly/more safely. Another practice which must be stopped is euthanasia when the horse can be salvaged, albeit unable to race again and requiring an extended time off and care. This too needs better oversight, but is a difficult issue to resolve. I would say, though, that without these proper practices/rules in place, Racing should be abolished.

26 Mar 2014 6:15 PM
ceil rock

The Aug.11, 2013 issue of The BloodHorse had an article (written by Eric Mitchell, by the way), concerning an extensive study done in Australia. Title of this article was: Medication has no effects on genetics. The race records of 14,500 horses were examined. They were broken down into 3 categories - 100% No. American pedigrees, 50% No. Amer. pedigrees, and no No. Amer. blood (within 3 generations). To everyone's surprise, 100% Amer. group made more starts, raced more frequently, and won at longer distances (50% group did almost as well). In other words, our horses can and do run without medication on race day. It's not the breeding - it's the training. Another consideration is the surface - dirt as opposed to grass or synthetic. The last year Santa Anita raced on Pro-Ride, there were 2 fatalities - first year back on dirt, 17.

26 Mar 2014 7:13 PM
Your Only Friend

I have read blog by "Pdeblin" agree with what he is saying...well written

26 Mar 2014 7:58 PM
John from Baltimore

The problem is that legal drugs are not used as intended but used to improve performance. Lasix is a performance enhancer according to the vet in the PETA video.  The Jockey Club easily has the power to check drugs in racing. Since they own Equibase the already have every horse in their system.  They just have to add a file where medications a horse recieves are recorded. Random out of competion testing, to test the information on medications in a horse report don't match and Johnny show the door to the trainer and vet.

This would make drus in racing information avaliable to everyone.

26 Mar 2014 8:00 PM
Sandy McDonald

Thanks Bloodhorse for publishing the comments. Bottom line: no drugs unless absolutely necessary by a track vet. If your horse needs drugs, he/she is unfit to race. Make these owners, trainers accountable, the lack of punishment for the crap they do is shocking and pitiful. How can racing succeed without accountability? It's in a very shaky situation as it is. Where there is alot of money to be made, you can bet your last cent there will be cheating, the likes of which you can't even imagine.(well maybe you can now) Let's push for change and serious penalties, fines and jail time. That might get their attention. Horses are what make this sport happen and they should be protected at all costs, at all times. Trainer John Shirreffs uses closed circuit TV to monitor his horses because he values, cares and loves them. A fantastic horseman. Hopefully Nehro's death will not be in vain like so many before him.

26 Mar 2014 8:58 PM
Windolin

There should be a complete necrospy on every horse that breaks down on every track or dies on the track, be it in a race or training and that includes pulling shoes, blood and tissue samples and stomach contents. Review of the horse's medical records and pedigree. Also review of any video of the breakdown...all done by an independent vet who specializes in such procedures.

Random drug testing for sure for horses and jockeys.

I question too how well trained some of these vets are. They seem to prescribe medications that my vets would never do in the field.

Cannot continue to treat these horses like hot house flowers. They need time to be a horse, roll in the mud, get dirty, eat grass. Anyone that knows anything about horses or has them knows that being kept in a stall 24/7 results in horses that weave, crib, have higher rates of colic and other digestive issues like ulcers.

And training on terrain other than a flat race track. Nothing builds bone and muscle and endurance like riding on hills and more variable terrain.

The American people have no appetite for these breakdowns and reports of abuse.

Racing also needs to have more turf racing and racing for older horses and they need to promote racing.

I think Claire Novack's twitter campaign was a great start.

I love this sport and I am a life long owner of horses and I know accidents and things happen that result in having to put a horse down, but 15 - 20 every weekend should throw up red flags that something bad, bad wrong.  

And taking these horses to slaughter..that is a blight on the industry as well. The American people have no taste for horse meat or slaughter.

Please do not let the bad apples ruin what is a centuries old tradition in all cultures all over the world. Does the United States really want to be the first country in the world to ban horse racing?  

If the industry does not make progressive forward movement in these areas I have mentioned and that others have mentioned, PETA will destroy racing, just like they had a hand in the removal of the carriage horses in New York.

God bless every breeder, owner, trainer, vet, groom and everyone else who works with these most majestic of God's creatures with respect, kindness and shows them love and care for them every hour of everyday!

26 Mar 2014 9:14 PM
Mike Relva

Great writing Mr. Mitchell. Interesting when the story broke many wanted to focus only on PETA and ignore what the tape revealed. Many comments didn't mention Blasi or anything relative, just slamming PETA. These two shouldn't be allowed to train anything.

26 Mar 2014 9:16 PM
Kate Corcoran

Tragically for racing, the honorable owners, breeders and trainers are weighing in silently on this issue yet again and allowing the worst in our once beautiful sport to carry the headlines. What in the world is going to happen if Tapiture happens to win the Derby? What little credibility we have left within the national audience (Eight Belles, Big Brown, I'll Have Another) will be lost forever... as it should.

27 Mar 2014 6:36 AM
melanchthon

No more drugs, of anykind, ever.  Get rid of LASIX.  Racing is becoming more and more about the abuse of animals and greed.  The horses deserve much better.  I don't think any stallion that raced on meds should be allowed to stand at stud.  I have bred and raced TBs.  I quit when my vet bill was higher than my training bill.  If the people in charge don't step up now, there will be no more horse racing.

27 Mar 2014 8:35 AM
mdsfeathers

I worked as head groom at Monmouth, Belmont and Saratoga. Owners hardly ever came to the backstretch to see their horses and probably would not know much about them if they did. They race the horses for fame and money and it is the trainer's job to get it for them at whatever cost.    

27 Mar 2014 8:44 AM
Zinn

A fair review of the PETA matter and good proposals for fixing the problem...

27 Mar 2014 9:07 AM
Eliza

I have zero tolerance for animal abuse. Therefore I think 9 1/2 minutes of film footage documenting that is incredibly disturbing. I'm glad PETA is keeping an eye out.

27 Mar 2014 9:10 AM
saddlemaster

I don't think racing wants to stop the meds violations.  If they did Lasix would already be out.  There are so many high profile trainers using it that no one wants to buck them.  Kinda like what racing allowed Lucille to do to Dancer's Image and, to a lesser extent, her kin to do to Alydar.

But racing is not the only horse sport with a problem.  I walked behind the pen at a local cutting and crunched across dozens of syringes.  Same thing happening in our sport; shoot 'em up, shoot 'em down--don't train 'em.  

27 Mar 2014 9:11 AM
ScreamName

I am so tired of hearing that owners bear part of the responsibility here.  I greatly protested the medications my horses were receiving (I actually know a bit about pharmaceuticals).  I instructed my trainer that I wanted to know everything BEFORE my horse was injected / medicated.  I called the vet and said that as the client, he needed to report to me, not my trainer.  The end result was that I received numerous vicious phone calls calling me meddling, interfering, etc.  So now I own no horses and haven't even been to the racetrack in 3 years.  I hear that 85% of the trainers really care about the horses in their care; unfortunately I somehow wound up with those in the other 15%.  I was a small bit-player; my horses leave and someone else's horses go into the stalls.  Maybe if I owned hundreds of horses, I might have had an impact, but the average owner has no influence over this sort of behavior and it goes on far more frequently than reporters in the racing world want to admit.  After all, they depend on trainers for much of their product every day.  If you don't see it, you are looking the other way.

27 Mar 2014 9:36 AM
Teezee

Hi Eric,

It might be a good idea to write an article showing a more accuarate image of the sport. Perhaps interview trainers and jockeys and stable people that represent the true backbone of the sport and get their thoughts and ideas about this video. The ones who generally love and care for their charges and think of them as family will give a more accurate image of horse racing families.

27 Mar 2014 11:23 AM
chucky

They couldn't stop using meds since they have been breeding frail bleeding sprinters for decades. Not going to happen. If they don't use it, most of these horses couldn't run. Their legs are so skinny now and who knows what else has been weakened. Knees, feet, etc etc. That is why they barely run 6 races and has something go wrong and off to the shed they go. It's not like this is a secret. We have a mile turfer and 3 females as our last HOY. None ever won an open g1 at 10 furlongs on dirt. The last 4 Belmont was a staggerfest. The shorter Preakness could be reach by a miler but that's about it. So, instead of weeding out weakness in the breed, they kept breeding more speed while the industry kept shortening races. There was a time when the spa would hardly have any sprint races. Today is just a constant parade of sprinters.

27 Mar 2014 11:46 AM
Barry Irwin

Racing's leadership, especially the vets (AAEP) and horsemen (HBPA) have only themselves to blame because they have known about this stuff seemingly forever, they live in a constant state of denial and they precious little to address the situation. The HBPA is more to blame than the AAEP because they members have the ability to correct the mess, even though is is the AAEP members that in many instances enable the horsemen to cheat. When the national heads of the HBPA will not even admit under oath that a problem exists, one understand immediately what those in favor of change are up against. If the racing industry wants there to be a tomorrow, they need to do something today. None of the alphabet groups other than WHOA is on the right side of the issue. Until all race day medication is banned, racing is offering a flawed product to the public. The Mid-Atlantic group, the RMTC, the Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club--until they quit screwing around and get behind drug free, Lasix free racing, they are not moving the sport forward in the eyes of a public that has grown weary of today's racing product.

27 Mar 2014 3:48 PM
Paula Higgins

Sceptre, right on. You hit it right on the head. It is the every day monitoring and assessment of the horses. I think there are some trainers who do this i.e. John Shirreffs. Yes, some of it about breeding. That needs a major overhaul too. But the video was disturbing as hell and that particular situation needs to be addressed definitively. No one who has so little regard for the horse should ever be allowed near them.

27 Mar 2014 4:02 PM
PatsyK

I agree with so many....not a fan of PETA but it really doesn't matter if the clip shown was only  a few minutes, or if they aired the entire video (which would hamper any criminal actions that may be necessary). What happened, happened. There is no "out of context".....Nehro was suffering and should not have been in training. The next comment by Steven and Lukas may have been something about how awful the buzzers are, but the does not change the fact that they know they are being or were being used and didn't seem to do anything about it (maybe Lukas did....he got out of the QH arena and went to TBs). Many folks made such valid comments...it's like there are two racing worlds, the world of the rich and famous and the world of the rest of the owners, trainers etc that enable the sport to continue. In defense of Mr. Zayat, I think if I were him, and I had hired one of the very top trainers in the field, I would not think I'd need to look at my horses' feet without shoes on, or talk extensively with vets to see exactly what meds they were receiving for what specific conditions. That's why you hire the best trainers! And, I have to add, even if all the changes are made that would make the sport humane for the horses, there is still the huge problem of what to do with the horses after they retire from racing and/or their second careers. I recently had to have one of my retirees put down...he was 27, almost 28. I had had him for 5 years, and he'd been used as a lesson horse while on a lot of injections for 3 years before that (probably should have been retired for that time too!). That was at least 5 years of expensive care (TBs eat a lot, and as they age, there often are more medical bills). Who is going to provide care for these horses? And not all OTTBs are suitable for a second career, so someone may need to provide care for them for 20-30 years while they are not being ridden. I long long tine ago I worked for HOF Henry S. Clark and at least at that time he ran an honest, humane stable, and I still want to believe all trainers are just like he was.

28 Mar 2014 11:07 AM
Pedigree Ann

"Why hasn't one writer asked: Why did the owner of Nehro not know that one of Nehro's feet was a stub?"

pdeblin - Because it wasn't 'a stub'. Most who know horses know the old saying "No foot, no horse." It means that a horse whose foot or feet is giving it trouble (no foot) is useless for any kind of activity (no horse). It DOES NOT literally mean that a horse has no hoof. Of course, PETA wouldn't tell you that - they have an agenda and want people to put the worst construction they can on it.

29 Mar 2014 11:44 AM
Old Old Cat

Eric, Thank you for this intelligent well-written article.

We have problems. They need to be addressed. Someone has to pay attention.  Someone needs the power and authority to implement the changes needed.

Racing has no head.  Racing has lots of ears listening, but none attached to a head with the power to make the body conform.  The body is disjointed.  Nothing will be done.

29 Mar 2014 1:59 PM
TerriV

This is so upsetting I have difficulty organizing all my responses to it.  First off, I love racing but most of all and at the very center in the horse.  This animal is God's most magnificent, extraordinary creation.  To hear the callous disrespect, ugly sneering attitude and assumption of worthlessness voiced in that video was horrifying.  In my opinion that attitude is at the root of the whole problem be it breeder, trainer, owner, jockey groom or vet.  If you have respect for this miracle that flies without wings, you cannot ever do any of these things that have been discussed.  

So, as usual, the very root of the problem is always the human involved.  

29 Mar 2014 4:23 PM
WinngColrz

I think the thing that really got to me (after all the editing and crap) is that Scott Blasi was practically gloating, bragging, NOT acting like a concerned horse loving person. His attitude and his manner are not all that shocking in the grand scheme of the racetrack....there are a lot of potty mouthed people out there. There are people who stay in the industry because that's all they know how to do. There are people, more people, just like Scott Blasi. They just aren't on camera. BUT for the most part, we're in this because we love it. We love the horses, period. We get rewarded by so many little things; a horse eating all its dinner, feeling good enough to buck and squeal, a shy horse becoming brave, a nervous horse becoming calm, a long shot winner, a horse just finally putting it all together. I would sincerely hope that the good people heavily outweigh the bad. He's paying dearly now for his mouth, that is for sure.

31 Mar 2014 12:00 PM
DarStar

It may all be thrown into the same bucket,but what is in the bucket is swill and we all know it! Throw it all out and start over! I personally will never attend a horse race again, and it love the sport more than any other.

02 Apr 2014 8:12 AM
Sandi Becker

You are 100% correct!  But take it a couple steps further; this is the same thing PETA tried to do to Larry Jones.  They will do ANYTHING to make sure they are right.  What do they want, some kind of payoff if you do want they want?  So they will go away?

02 Apr 2014 2:00 PM

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