For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Bossier City, La. – Today, PETA sent a letter to David Heitzmann, director of racing at Louisiana Downs, calling on him to investigate the catastrophic injury of Quarter Horse gelding Ar Jesus Blood, who fell harshly as he crossed the finish winning the race on Monday. He reportedly broke multiple legs and was euthanized on the track.
Necropsies of horses show that at least 85% of broken bones occur at the site of preexisting injury, and PETA’s letter advises that requiring CT scanning equipment in examinations prior to racing at Louisiana Downs could potentially have prevented Ar Jesus Blood’s injuries and reported death—and could help prevent the track from endangering horses and jockeys in the future.
“PETA is calling on Louisiana Downs to investigate this horse’s reported death and determine whether CT scanning equipment could have revealed the deadly risk of forcing him to race,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “This horse ended up in a tangle of bones on the track, and bettors cashed in winning tickets on a fallen, probably dead, horse.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Heitzmann follows.
March 10, 2022
Director of Racing
Dear Mr. Heitzmann:
I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals U.S.—PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally—to request an investigation into the fatal breakdown of a 3-year-old Quarter Horse gelding named Ar Jesus Blood during the fourth race of the Mardi Gras Derby Trials on Monday, March 7, at Louisiana Downs. He was trained and owned by Manuel Pizana, and his jockey for the race was Arturo Alvarez.
In the video replay of the incident, available at time stamp 00:27, after winning the race at the wire, Ar Jesus Blood can be seen falling harshly and in the process spilling Alvarez to the ground. Reportedly, Ar Jesus Blood broke multiple legs and was euthanized on the track.
We urge you to investigate the death thoroughly and disclose the full findings, including necropsy results and medication records. It’s crucial that a critical review be conducted of the current resources and protocols at Louisiana Downs to determine the soundness of a horse to race. Would Ar Jesus Blood’s life have been spared if CT scanning equipment had been required in examinations prior to racing at Louisiana Downs? The lives of horses and jockeys will continue to be recklessly endangered without strict and comprehensive protocols.
We hope you will take immediate and decisive action to investigate this fatality.
Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Senior Vice President
Equine Matters Department