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Time to Rein in the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority

Written by PETA | May 5, 2008

For years now, the horse racing industry has systematically ignored efforts by the animal protection community and its own disgusted insiders, including some veterinarians who aren’t afraid where their bread is “buttered,” to make life more tolerable for the horses it profits from. Given this weekend’s horror at the Kentucky Derby, we’re hoping that the members of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority and others within the industry will now be forced to take these issues seriously. If they don’t care about the suffering of these animals, perhaps their PR people will give them a reason to care.

This morning, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk sent a letter to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority proposing changes in the rules that would result in a drastic reduction of the types of injuries that claimed the life of Eight Belles in the running of the Kentucky Derby. The maudlin expressions of regret and sadness over the Eight Belles incident that we’re hearing from people within the industry are ringing pretty hollow right now. If they genuinely want to do something to try and prevent incidents like this in the future, they can start with the following:

  • Suspend the jockey and bar the trainer from racing other horses
  • Thoroughbreds under the age of three should not be permitted to race
  • Synthetic surfaces or grass turf—which result in dramatically fewer injuries—should be mandated at all racecourses
  • The number of races that horses run in a season should be limited
  • Whipping should be banned

You can read PETA’s letter here. I’ll keep you posted.

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  • tbsaremylife says:

    PLEASE READ THIS COMMENT IT IS NECCESARY!Clearly a lot of these comments written by peta activists are rather ignorant. You obviously dont realize that there IS a lot being done to help regulate horse racing. Young horses do need to run quite hard as youngsters to develope their bones. even though it does sometimes get a little too rough age has nothing to do with it. It is the drugs and the breeding. too many north american horses are bred for light skeltons to make them fastbut this causes them to be a little too fragile. breeding needs to be regulated as well as ban of drugs. I think each stallion can only cover no more than 100 mares a year to keep the poplulation a lot lower so each fioal is valued a lot more and so the bredding is a lot more careful. PLEASE VISIT MY BLOGS ON BLOGSPOT.COM my username is tbsaremylife thanks

  • Steph says:

    I watched the stretch of the Derby and I saw Eight Belles’ head go up but never saw her take a bad step. Wouldn’t she have stumbled a little if you all say she hurt herself during the race. I mean an exprienced horseman would have been able to see a small misstep and how come no one’s mentioned watching her legs in the stretch. If anything that should have solved if she was hurt or not. I know someone is going to say that you couldn’t tell but doesn’t that just prove that she wasn’t injured during the race. If she was running fine then she was fine. You can tell if a racehorse is injured during a race and she looked fine to me. Also she broke down after the race. Not right after the finish line like she would have if she was already injured. Feel free to debate this but I want proof that she was injured during the running by her legs and not because her head moved a certain way. I’m surprised no one brought this up.

  • W.C. says:

    Not training and racing horses younger than 3 years old would increase injuries and death among fully mature horses. All young horse need to run hard when young because that’s when their bones develop the strength to withstand their ability to run as fast as they do adults. All the studies done by the most elite research facilities have concluded that. I share PETA’s concerns about anaimals but you really need to understand what you are talking about before you start trashing people industries and animlas you know nothing about. There is a lot of room for improvment in racing especially drug related but age is not the issue that many ignorant people believe.

  • Holly says:

    S.Q. Rest assured that we and other groups and individual good people realize there are many angles to the great problems with horse raceing and the treatment of all horses. Many of us have worked with horses and do understand from personal experence. One thing for sure we are not going away We plan to make change happen in the best interest of these wonderful animals. We will not stop… Go Vegan save up to 100 farm animals per year per person…

  • S.Q. says:

    I don’t think it’s fair for PETA to make all these accusations because they are emotionally charged on the issue. And people have no right to point their prejudiced fingers at anyone until they see the issue at many angles. Have any of you ever been to a race track or a stable or farm? Making all these complaints makes you seem ignorant and whiny. Yes I understand you are upset but just because you see this filly break down it doesn’t mean you can say whatever you want without verifiable sources. The accident was heartbreaking I agree but next time try to be rational about what you say.

  • Holly says:

    You are most welcome Lynda. I do thank you for your posts also. I can tell how passionate you are about our animal friends and their needless suffering. I feel so strongly about this issue of our Great Horses I do think the truth does need to be told. Horse owners need to take off their own blinders… Have a nice day Lynda and keep up the good work! and to the others who post the truth have a nice day. Go Vegan…

  • lynda downie says:

    Holly I’ve appreciated reading all of your knowledgeable and thoughtful posts on this issue. Thank you.

  • Holly says:

    AW PETA is looking at Slaughter houses and are working to save all animals that are destined to go there. What you dont realize is that many of those 13thousand horses that went to slaughter and will go to slaughter were and are race horses who were and will be all used up or did not make money at the track or were geldings who could not breed and many other horses including used up Amish Horses Carriage Horsesand TB and ponys who were personal pets who got sick and were to expensive to treat or dispose of… Animal Rights groups look at All horses and all other animals used by humans from birth through life to death. We want to relieve the suffering of all of them… The Death of Eight Bells brings the abuse of these fine animals to the attention of the World and we know that the end result of these fine animals in most cases is death at the Slaughter House… Go Vegan…

  • AW says:

    Eight Bells wasn’t on any steroids and there wasn’t any possible way for her to be saved. Larry Jones did nothing wrong and the jockey did nothing wrong. It was an accident. Eight Bells was one horse and I was sad to see what happened but she was feed properly and taken care of and was humanily euthanized on the track so that she didn’t suffer. This year already 13000 horses have been taken to Mexico for slaughter. PETA should be more worried about that then going after horse racing. The number of horses that break down on the track isn’t even close to the number of horses being slaughtered. How about instead of a picture of Eight Belles on the homepage they get a picture of 13000 thousand horses many emaciated sick and hurt horses getting ready to be slaughtered.

  • Sondra says:

    The picture on PETA’s homepage is heart wrenching no one can imagine the pain that that horse must have felt when his legs snapped it reminds me why I am dedicating my life to helping animals and I feel GREAT about that!

  • Susan Trout says:

    Dear Mitch…. You missed your calling! You should be a horse psychic! Talk about anthropomorphism! Horses may have a somewhat competitive spirit but when it gets right down to their preferences they like to eat rest and procreate. It is we humans that LOVE to run them for the M O N E Y!!! And to everyone who has commented that they think Eight Belles could have been spared you don’t understand the physiology of horses. The bones in her fetlocks ankle were shattered. With an animal that weighs nearly a thousand pounds there must be even support. There was nothing for her to stand on to support her weight. Perhaps sometime in the distant future man can invent a treatment or support system to help a horse recover from a bad break but it is simply too painful and stressful for horses to be forced to endure the process now. And you can’t keep a horse in a sling for weeks at a time or drug them constantly to numb their pain. Barbaro’s leg healed after the insertion of 23 steel pins but he developed severe lamititis which is a painful frequently incurable foot malady as a result of uneven weight distribution. We all wanted Barbaro to triumph over his injury and for a very long time he did but the pain became intolerable and his owners refused to make him suffer. Eight Belles was no doubt in extreme pain. Horseracing needs a complete overhall. No more drugs no more excessive running of twoyearolds and sharp reduction in the use of the whip. Breeders need to stop so much inbreeding and concentrate on breeding for soundness and correct structure. Arabian stallions should be allowed to be crossed with Thoroughbreds to bring back the strong bone and stamina for which they cannot be equaled. Afterall the Arabian is the father of the Thoroughbred! Rest in peace Beautiful Eight Belles!

  • nancyc says:

    Just in case anyone is wondering why Rags To Riches hasn’t been running since her win in the Belmont last year it is because she broke down shortly after the race.Trainer Todd Fletcher is another trainer that is great for running horses where they don’t belong.Anytime a trainer enters 5 or 6 horses in the Derby is doing so just hoping to get lucky and maybe winit matters not if they are even eligible for these kind of races.The Derby has to many horses running in it already and then you have a trainer who will enter 5 or 6 horses simply to satisfy his greed is terrible.These kind of high profile trainers do not care if the horses they are running or any of the other horses get hurt.It seems to be a great bragging right to have entered numerous horses in the Derby.After the race is over and not one of the 5 or 6 entries finished in the money the trainer acts like he is so disappointedwhen in fact he knew all along not one of these horses belonged in that race.Dewayne Lucas is another great example of running horses where they didn’t belong.I will give Lucas credit for admitting that he broke down more good horsesespecially filliesthan he could remember.If anyone remembers Lucas used to have a great many horses in his barnsnow he has very few.Hopefully owners will start to realize that a lot of trainers are in this game simply for the money and fame.

  • Holly says:

    Mitch Often the most successful race horses if they are not gelded earlywill be retired from racing at the end of their careers and kept as a stallion on a stud farm. The stallions will be used to sire future hopeful winners of races or at least to create a successful all around horse. Yet just because the horse has been retired to live life as a stallion doesnt mean the life is a good one. The life of a stallion can often be lonely and isolated as stallions many times cannot be turned out with other geldings because they are too aggressive and protective over their mares. The stallions may be kept alone inside for a majority of the time for this reason. This is not always the case but it does happen. For horses who are not successful or not kept as a stallion the prospects can be highly variable. Many times the unsuccessful horses are sold to auction where killer buyers then purchase the horses to sent to slaughter for foreign consumption. And if the horse is sent to stud when the lonely stud days are over they are most often sent to auction and then slaughter house…thats the happy life of your stud horse.

  • Mike Palmer says:

    I’m sure this will never reach your website but I had to say something. The way your organization is going after the jockey of eight belles is appalling. For a group of “dogooders” you sure know how to use the media to help your agenda. I saw the owners trainer and jockey in tears days after the race George Clooney couldn’t keep up that act. I appreciate the work you do with animal testing and abuse but nobody needs a witchhunt.

  • Bob says:

    USAToday censors me and my ammendment rights for call horse racing animal abuse on their site. “Mangda I work in the USA TODAY newsroom connecting readers and reporting and I’m writing to let you know about an issue with your account on our site. Our moderators have suspended your account after determining your comments do not meet the community guidelines. The site welcomes a broad array of perspectives in the community’s conversations and these differing opinions are what lead to strong and engaging discussions. But we require original contributions that are respectful of an ongoing news conversation. Your comments violate the site guidelines against spam repeatedly posting the same content to the site. Other readers correctly report these comments as abusive and the moderators feel it is necessary to intervene. Thank you for your time. Regards Patrick Patrick Cooper Network Editor USA TODAY”

  • Paul S. Ward says:

    I personally think they done the right thing by putting the horse out of its misery because it would have not only cost the horse more pain and sufering by staying alive and tring to be treated.It probably would have been crippled up and mabey even not able to walk again the rest of its life now is that fair treatment for and animal?No it isnt.Also the amount of money already gone into the animal this treatment would have surpassed that by more than double to keep the animal alive.Now do you really think that they wanted to put a million dollar or better horse to sleep just because it broke not just one but both leggsno im sure they didnt but they did do the most humane thing in the world for that aniamal.Also Bass fishermen do no treat their fish bad either on another note that i cannot find a blog for.If any of you peta members would ever go to a bass fishing weigh in at the end of our day you would see the care we take of our fish.

  • Mitch says:

    I’ve spent the better part of this weekend thinking about how I feel about this sport. I’ve decided that I think it’s ok because I’ve looked into the horse’s eyes. They truly love to run for the roses. Did any of you have a look at Big Brown today before during and after that race. He was having a GRAND TIME !!! I know this opinion will not be popular among the the bleeding hearts that preside here but I’m opined to think it’s the right one. Let me understand this life correctly. I have to run 6 races and then they bring me the best fillies for “breeding” for the rest of my days? What a deal.

  • Tom says:

    1. Eight Belles had more heart than training. The blame should go to the trainer. 2. If it is determined the polytrack aids in limiting injuries it should be used. 3. Aspirin does not keep the animal from feeling pain mind altering drugs do and are illegal. 4. Some horses respond sthe the whip with a flat part on the tip and some stop. 5. There are at least six eyes watching the races as well as several cameras to insure the horses are not treated inhumanely. 6. All persons involved in racing are licensed and infractions of the rules can result in fines suspensions and being banned from racing. 7. Any participant in racing who tells how bad horses are treated should be out of racing. Why? Because if they see abuse they should be reporting it. I saw a trainer kick a horse and reported it. The person was suspended and finally banned because he should not have been around a horse. 8. If a horse does not like to run it will not regardless of what one does to it. Any individual who uses drugs to alter a horses performance whether to speed up or slow down seems to lose his or her license to participate in racing. 8. In the event a horse gets the sniffles or something you or I contract the horse gets better medication than you or I. The horse also gets time to recover before it is returned to training or racing. 9. Any rules established should be done with the purpose of protecting the horse. 10. In 30 years I have never seen marks from a whip. Should I ever it would be reported. 11. Horse racing is a noble profession and the rules are enforced through state statutes and are geared to protecting the horse. There is such a thing as due process but as any rules the more serious the sstricter the result including jail. Hope this helps some.

  • Holly says:

    Kim Hanadel Thank You So Very Much for informing us. Peta Great Job at the Preakness…Keep it up! Go Vegan

  • DR says:

    I ride reining horses that are typically American Quarter Horses however the breed being almost irrelevant the love care and respect for the animal needs to be paramount. Whenever I’ve achieved succes and carried that trophy or ribbon or check back to the stall my horse has always been the second in line to thank after God. I’ll be the first to concede that I just hold the reins. The point is that we as a public have exploited one of the most beautiful graceful and forgiving animals on the planet. It would be hard to scrutinze legally or not what trainers do in preparation for huge events like a Futurity or the Derbies of any discipline. To weed out the politics in all equine sports that seemingly have put the animal last on the heirarchy chain will be virtually impossible. We can’t even weed out the crooks in our congressional leaders much less in the horse community of course both houses of congress would be empty… We all need to be SUSPECT of everything and ask questions investigate look for things only as a part of the learning curve as a result of for too long being lead around like little lambs in this country. Rest the amazing athletic body and soul of yet another horse who at such a tender age gave her all for just a simple reward food and water… yesread that again THAT is humility and service The horse doesnt’t realize fame and fortune the humans get the glory. What a shame what a loss… Rest in peace Eight Belles.

  • Dr. Matthew D. says:

    you people need to realize that euthanization is the most humane thing to do for a horse that has broken down. As a doctor I have done many tests with broken down horses like Barbaro and they are suffering. They are in pain while we are doing surgeries and after and it is hard on them. They are in PAIN and the best thing to do is to put them down by injection. They don’t feel a thing and they can run in heaven with the other horses. As for drugs that’s bad. For the whipping the horses actually don’t feel it too much it only helps them go straight in a race you RARELY maybe 2 of the time see marks from a whip. and if they are there we just put medication on it and it goes away. It’s really not painful if the jockeys whip they’re horses right. They do have rules. Finally the synthetic services I suggest the Polytrack like at Del Mar are better than dirt. Please just take this all into consideration. As part of the horse racing buisness we care about our horses and we are very distraught when they pass away after breakdowns or of any circumstance. We will get this fixed.

  • Kim Hanadel says:

    The new farm bill which has already made it out of the house with enough votes to counter President Bush’s veto is now in the Congress. This bill has subsidies in it for Kentucky owners of racehorses. These subsidies need to be tied to a solution for another problem in the racehorse industry the selling of the usedup horses for meat for Europeans. Once they have been become lame or just “too slow” many are often abused drugged and generally mistreated too along the way many end up as claimers who often go to unscrupulous horse dealers or are directly sold to “meat men”. They are then driven in long hauls to Canada and Mexico to end up as horse meat a delicacy for the Japanese and Europeans.Horses are no longer legally slaughtered in the US but while that sounds good Mexico and Canada’s slaughterhouses do not have good standards for horses and the methods are cruel and inhumane The racehorse industry has been around for over a 100 years and yet they do not have a standardized method of taking care of the horses once they no longer making money for the trainers and owners. This in an industry that spends millions of dollars each year and makes many more millions literally on the backs of these animals. This has long been a dirty secret in the horse industry. When the trainers and owners could work a little harder to successfully find homes for these horses and honor the work and effort of the horses instead they make a couple of hundred dollars selling them to the underbelly of the horse world. The industry needs to create and set up adoption opportunties for these horses andor to create facilities to take care of them in their old age. There are many organizations and individuals throughout the country who work everyday to save these horses from the auctioneers and find homes for all the horses they are able to save. If our Congress would tie the money from the farm bill that is going to these owners in a way that would make them create new facilities or new options for these horses it could be the beginning of a real change for the an industry that should have had rules and standands for the ethical treatment of these animals once they are no longer running races

  • sharry says:

    yes i thought i would never live long enought to something done about the horse that race its long over due time to stop no wjipsno drugsyes i beleave that horse are born an bred to race but them race the way they should on hay an graini know raceing have trained standarbreds an yes they saw the winners circle not much but they got checks an they ran on nothing but there proper food please keep me in formed they do have races where they are not allowed to take a whip its about time they through them away sharry at least raize the age 3to 4 give them a chance to grow a little

  • Brandon says:

    People who know nothing about horse racing and watch one race a year should not commit on the saftey of the horses in the sport. The sport is constantly evolving and is making it better for horses every day.

  • Lynn says:

    Thank you John Carmody for your comment on May 8th. Everyone should go back read it click on his name which will take you to a website where you will see things that you should truly be upset about!!!! Racehorses are better cared for and given more attention than most of your children. While you people are out picketing at Pimlico who’s attending to your children? Get real!!! Get involved in causes that truly need your attention. What about horse tripping in Mexicanstyle rodeos? That’s cruel!! We love and pamper our racehorses.

  • Tracy says:

    These horses are not fully developed by 3 years of age they begin vigorous training long before that 3 in order to get ready for the Derby. Some have stress fractures going into the race that are sure to be catastrophic in a race such as the Derby. The reason they race so young is because then there is more time for breeding and stud fees. In addition there is no regulation over the use of pain killing medications you wouldn’t be able to tell if these horses had an injury or not they are on so much pain medicine. Please encourage more regulation and oversight.

  • lauren says:

    testing

  • Margaret says:

    Thank you Ms. Newkirk and PETA for your efforts. I am so disgusted and saddened by the horse racing industry and I hope we can bring about some change.

  • nancyc says:

    Marshafinally someone else who knows what they are talking about.You hit everything right on the head.Thank you for speaking out and knowing what you are talking about.There are some who post on this site that avenge the racing industry and have no idea what goes on on the back side.If people like you and I stand behind Peta I truly believe we can make a difference.I encourage you to send your letter to all the news papers.I have Emailed the T.V. stations in LexingtonKy.

  • Sheila says:

    You hear from me when somethings not right! I love Peta and Horses are beautiful. There is an old movie this real country woman loves and its name is THE ELECTRIC HORSEMAN. I would have done the same as Sunny!No horseand no animalshould suffer for the sake of someone’s amusement.

  • sandra ferrando says:

    I don’t like to see animals get hurt but I am not a vegitarian however I would really like too know if the makeup lisa lange was wearing on TV friday nite was not tested on animals?

  • sharon says:

    Yes It is time to stop this blatant animal cruelty. I wish I could be there with you all to protest.

  • jay borne says:

    the horse bresking its legs has nothing to do with the trainer owner ECT. It has to do with the way they run. That is why it happened on the cool down lap and not during the acual race. The way the horses foot hits the ground when changeing speed is the cause. Basicaly it is a flaw of nature. It happens in the wild when no human has anything to do with the horse!!!!

  • Nic says:

    I am an animal lover who has owned various animal including cats dogs rabbits and YES horses. I work at a dog shelter and have trained both dogs and horses professionally. Horses are one of the toughest animals out there the definition of strength grace and beauty. However the strangest things can happen at the worst times that will forever affect their health. I do agree that the race industry has its fault yet great strides have been made to ensure that certain practices such as drugging are no longer acceptable. For instance horses have their blood drawn before and after races to test for illegal drugs in their system. I think that the views I have read from extremists are uneducated. I have seen horses that have had injuries apparently heal up get a clean bill of health from a vet go through workouts only to go lame again after an event. In fact it happens to people as well and quite often! I have also had the unfortunate responsibility of contacting a vet to put horses down. Two were horses in their old age. One had trapped her leg in a fence and broke her leg in three places and the last broke his leg while rolling in a stall. Yet I do not stop horses from going out to graze nor do I stop putting horses in stalls. As for the whip anyone who states that whipping a human is the same as whipping a horse is highly uneducated while horses may not have the skin of a rhino they certainly have thicker skin than a human! Additionally not all horses are raced with whips some only need to see the whip or the motion of the jockey’s hand to understand what the cue means. Additionally comparing whipping a horse in the face to whipping it on the flank is silly. Of course a horse will feel the whip sting in its more sensitive face! I am not saying that horses have not been abused with whips I have seen a horse that was abused break out into a sweat just at the site of another rider with a whip. But I can guarantee that majority of racehorses to not view whips as a bad thing if they did they be in a great pickle in the home stretch! Horse racing also will never cease to exist nor do I believe that it will or should drastically change the age of racehorses. While I agree that two years old is too young I do feel that three year old racing is and should be permitted… In all riding styles horses begin training at about two and begin competing at the age of three or four. It would be a fair suggestion to ask the same of the racing industry. I also agree that racehorses should be bred for speed as well as endurance. I think it would be great to strive for the days when the racehorse has a long career where they expect the average career to be 9 or 10 years. Some of the greatest rivalries and greatest racehorses stemmed from the years when horses “lasted longer” and many even had lives after racing in other riding venues such as jumping or dressage. You can teach an old horse new tricks. I certainly do not think the jockey is to blame. As for the owners and the trainer I do not know if they let Eight Belles race with a known injury. If she received a clean bill of health they could have done nothing different. If they did in fact allow the horse to race with a severe injury then shame on them. However placing blame will not strengthen the argument to change rules within the industry. I do not think that fillies shouldn’t be able to race against the boys either. Many great fillies have done so and had spectacular careers for it. I always cheer for the filly in the pack of boys. The tragedy of Eight Belles should not force fillies out of races like the Kentucky Derby. It is part of what makes those races so great like when Rags to Riches won the Belmont Stakes last year it was a historic moment! So will it be if a filly ever takes the Triple Crown! I urge people to educate themselves before they make comments on what they know not. As a lover of both the animal and the sport I understand most of the comments on both sides of the story. I hope that each side can educate each other rather than attack each other.

  • Holly says:

    Marsha Abate Galloping Parrot Ranch Way to go Marsha! Thank You so very much for speaking up for the horses in such an honest bold way…Horse people need to speak up with the truth..l I am with you lets all pass the word on so every one knows the truth… and also BOYCOTT THE PREAKNESS!!! Saturday in BALTIMORE!

  • MarshaAbate says:

    It’s time someone educates the public. In an article “Industry works to prevent horse breakdowns” in the Palm Beach Post on Friday May 4 2007 I was compelled to take a stand. I broke and trained race horses for 4 years right here is South Florida. I learned a lot about the business and more about horse anatomy than I had ever known. I have owned horses for 40 years and believe they are Gods greatest gifts. It was stated that in Delaware Park they threw a party on what would have been “Barbaro’s” 4th birthday. Well that means he was just barely 3 years old when he broke down. Let me give you the big picture! That makes him equivalent to a 9 year old child in physical development. His bones are still growing tendons ect. and he has been fed a high protein diet to make him bigger and grow faster. The same idea would be like stacking up a bunch of concrete blocks with out mortar to secure them together and make them strong. The bones are stretching so fast the don’t have time to get strong. Now the public who loves to watch them run goes to the track and sees the big beautiful creatures and think that they are full grown! They don’t know any better! One might ask “Why don’t they let them grow up?” It’s all about money!! The sooner that they get big the sooner they can break them…funny that phrase…and send them off to the track. Ask the Jockey Club how many horses are born each year. They have the recorded birth of all Thoroughbreds. Ask how many make it to the track! Ask how many break down and are destroyed! The numbers are staggering! Ever wonder why track records are hardly ever broken? You can’t ask a 9 year old child to run the mile in under 4 minutes any more than you can ask a horse to perform their best. They aren’t even going to stop growing until they are 5 years old. How many 5 year old horses have you ever heard of racing? I have always said that if I were someone famous like Elizabeth Taylor or extremely wealthy I would buy the front page of every news paper in the country or at least the most popular and Demand that they stop killing babies!!! Have the racing commission require that no horses be raced until they are at least 4 years old. 4 years old by their birth month! Most people are not aware a horse born in July is considered a 1 year old on January 1st. That’s right! On the following year on January 1 he is considered a 2 year old when in fact he is 1 12 years old. I have ridden such horses and at the time only weighed 97 lbs. I still feel guilty. Well why don’t they wait until they are older? Money!!! They would have to feed the horses for a longer period vet them and probably invest another $30 000.00 in feed and care. So what? When these 4 year olds start racing they will be machines! They will break track records all over the country! People will see horses race like professional athletes. It could blow the lid off of racing. So what happens in the mean time? We have no yearling races! Thank God! No 2 year old races! Thank God! So what if the tracks were closed for a year! It would not be the end of the world! When racing began again the purses would be larger the competition fiercer records broken lives saved and no more tears for horses like “Barbaro” and “Eight Belles” Alex Waldrop president and CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is either and idiot or enjoys hiding the truth. I wonder how much he gets to keep from selling his little blue wrist bands? Fixing the tracks is not fixing the problem! Killing babies like Barbaro is the problem. If only the public knew!! “Barbaro” wasn’t the first and “Eight Belles” won’t be the last. Until something is done about the age of racing horses and believe me if the public knew the truth about the ages of the horses they would be outraged and saddened that so many beautiful horses have died in vane…all for the mighty dollar. So there I dare you to tell the public. If you don’t…I will email this to every newspaper in the country until the word gets out. Take a stand with me! If no one believes me please call an equine vet and confirm what I have already told you. He might not paint you the same picture but believe me he is making a fortune on injured horses! Thanks and have a nice day! Marsha Abate Galloping Parrot Ranch West Palm Beach P.S. 5 years old would be better!

  • Lynn R. Woolsey says:

    Why doesn’t PETA go to Puerto Rico and do something about the horrible treatment of race horses at Hipodromo Camarero Racetrack? They get euthanized for “bad performance”. There may need to be some changes in U.S. racing but having been a trainer owner breeder agent etc. I can say that the industry in the U.S. is not even 1100 as cruel as you portray it. Most of us care and love our horses. Trainers don’t make a good living unless our horses are happy healthy and performing well. As for all this “drugging” you accuse horsemen of doing check the facts. The policies on the race tracks are changing rapidly. What about 3 day eventing endurance riding etc. You need to “pester” those disciplines as well. Thoroughbreds are born to run. When they show that they aren’t happy doing it anymore we trainers owners find them great homes where they are loved and trained to do another discipline or just be a trail horse. Please go focus on the race horses in Puerto Rico at Hipodromo Camarero that are being truly treated horribly by being eithanized for failure to perform well. They really need you to speak out and help them. They don’t have a voice. So stop picking on Larry Jones Gabriel Saez and the racing industry in the U.S. and go to Puerto Rico where you actually really are needed.

  • April says:

    I am amazed by the unfounded accusations and some of the comments that I have read here. There is nothing inherantly “cruel” in the horseracing industry and there is no call to belittle or insult the trainer owners or the jockey of Eight Belles. To do so is cruel. The trainer himself has asked that toxicology testing be done above and beyond what the state vet wanted to do. There are strict regulations about what these animal atheletes can and can’t be given and how they are treated. Furthermore to say that you had “no idea that it was such a dangerous sport” is almost laughable. Any sport has dangers and risks that come with it. These horses rise to this level because they LOVE to run. Plain and simple they love it and would run no matter where they were. Spend time in the company of horses and you will see. You will see their heart and their nobility you will also see that they injure themselves sometimes so badly that we can only do for them what the law prohibits us from doing for our gravely ill or injured human loved ones. THAT is the deffinition of cruelty. While there may be room for improvement in the treatment of animals. There is most decidedly room for improvement in the treatment of our fellow humans. We as a species have forgotten that divinity is reflected in the eyes of EVERY creature that we meet be they two leggedfour legged finned or feathered. Every living thing caries the spark of the divine. I am saddened by the people here who say they are so concerned with the state of our world and forget that every living thing needs it’s dignity. Maybe someday we will learn. Maybe someday we will have true compassion and not the false face put out here.

  • Holly says:

    It was right to euthanize Eight Bells. She would not have survived two broken legs in the long run. She would have suffered greatly if they had tried and not servived. Sad but true… that being said… BOYCOTT THE PREAKNESS IN BALTIMORE THIS STURDAY… STAY HOME AND HAVE A VEGETARIANVEGAN PICNIC AND INVITE YOUR FRIEND…. BOYCOTT THE RACE TRACK…

  • nancyc says:

    A lot of you have written about how wonderful race horses are treatedlet me remind you of the great Alydar and how he died.Alydar was one of the greatest race horses that ever ranhe was also very successful as a studhe was murdered for the insurance money.AGAIN GREED!The great Ribot was so abused under the whip of a jockey that he became so rank that only his groom could get in the stall with him.Ribot trusted no human except for that groom.It is true that not all trainers abuse their horses but a great majority do.I am sorry that it took the tragic death of Eight Belles to bring this to lightbut hopefully because of this something major will change for all the rest of these wonderful creatures.It doesn’t matter if they are five thousand dollar claimers or run in graded races they all should be treated with the greatest of respect and dignity.

  • claudio yao says:

    why would the vets always kill a horse who injured? that’s insane. horses also have feelings like us humans. would we want to be killed when we’re injured?the one who implemented the rule about killing a horse when injured or someone who could nullify this “law” or “rule” please do so. dont be cruel

  • Ben says:

    I am for banning Horse racing considering how many other “Time Honored Traditions” we put to rest. Now some warning I’m a Montanan and though I’m pretty “Left” I’m totally for hunting and fishing and raising animals for meat. What I’m against is when “Factory Farming” takes control when the animal becomes a product not a living thing cruelty becomes the norm. We now eat animals that if we encountered hunting we’d only shoot to put them out of their misery. But even that is remotely defensible compared to using animals for entertainment. Using animals in sport and for profit is evil and must be stopped. It’s been slow but there has been progress. There are no more “Boxing Kangaroos” or “Beat the Bear” acts. I used to like watching the latter as a kid but the usually tame bear is instantly killed if it even accidentally hurts a person no matter how drunk and stupid they are. We no longer have “Geek” acts. Really imagine a “Geek” act at the local carnival? There would be a riot. We no longer have “Badger Baiting” where a badger was taken and it’s paws cut and teeth bashed out then thrown in a pit with four dogs. The maiming of the Badger was so that maybe 1 or 2 of the dogs wouldn’t be crippled and have to be put down. Maybe we should bring back “Rat Baiting” where rat killing dogs are placed in a pit with hundreds of rats to see how many they kill for betting purposes? Oh and imagine if the Toy store had a “Cock Tossing” kit? Really look it up on Wikipedia. Both a version for using a live chickenrooster and a version with a robotic chicken that flapped it’s wings before a number of hits “Killed” it and sprayed optional blood squirts? Of course the “Lead tipped sticks” would be heavy but not have lead and be rubber covered…

  • krisdee87 says:

    I would like to see PETA issue a very public apology to the jockey based on the results of the medical reports that were released today. The horse was not previously injured. It wasn’t his fault. They think she just stumbled over her own feet. It was a freak accident. They owe him an apology.

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