Hall-of-Fame jockey Gary Stevens and Hall-of-Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas added to the mountain of shame already surrounding the abuses in thoroughbred racing when our investigator taped them joking about the tiny devices called “buzzers” or “batteries” that deliver a strong electric shock to horses to get them to run faster.
Now, The New York Times reports just how widespread this despicable practice is: “[S]ince 1974 there have been nearly 300 instances in which racing commissions have investigated and taken action against jockeys, trainers, grooms or escort riders for infractions involving the devices, according to documents obtained from the Association of Racing Commissioners International.”
That means hundreds of horses were abused by jockeys—and these are just the violations that were caught by officials. It’s likely that many more horses have been shocked but no one found out or cared enough to report it. PETA has video of Lukas, Stevens, and trainer Scott Blasi laughing about the fact that buzzers were hidden in horses’ blinkers, in the jockey’s underwear, and even in the jockey’s mouth, showing how far some in racing have gone to cheat and conceal it.
Beating a horse with a whip 10 or 12 times during a race isn’t enough? Lasix, sedatives, painkillers, thyroid medication, and ulcer drugs aren’t enough? Apparently not for some people in racing.