For Immediate Release:
November 7, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Lexington, Ky. – After racehorse Domestic Spending sustained a pelvic fracture at the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland Race Course on Saturday, PETA sent an urgent letter today to Drew Fleming, president and CEO of the Breeders’ Cup, calling on him to institute a more thorough review of trainers and horses. The injured animal had entered the race after a 448-day injury layoff, without a prep race, which should have been a red flag.
PETA captured video footage of Domestic Spending racing, being pulled up, and getting injected with a sedative before being loaded onto an equine ambulance.
“Trainer Chad Brown was playing Russian roulette with this horse,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on the Breeders’ Cup to implement procedures for careful review of entrants, including CT scans if necessary.”
PETA notes that three horses trained by Brown died this year and that his appalling record of worker wage theft led to a U.S. Department of Labor investigation and a $1.6 million fine. In August, he was arrested for alleged domestic violence.
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 Fleming follows.
November 7, 2022
President and CEO
Breeders’ Cup Limited
Dear Mr. Fleming:
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 express concerns about the process that failed to prevent Domestic Spending from racing on Saturday.
We’re puzzled that in a sport already experiencing a steep decline in the public perception of how it treats horses and at risk of losing its social license to operate, you didn’t “red flag” a horse entered in the Breeders’ Cup Mile after a 448-day injury layoff and without a single prep race. Injured pitchers in baseball—such as two-time Cy Young Award winner Jacob deGrom—are given cautious, truncated minor-league rehabilitation starts before being asked to pitch in high-stress situations at top speeds against major-league hitters. By contrast, Domestic Spending was forced right out of the gate to face world-class competition, and an injury or re-injury could cost him his life on an international stage for all to see. There were also apparently insufficient protocols and inadequate veterinary review in place before the Breeders’ Cup to ensure the horse’s safety.
Another glaring red flag is that Domestic Spending is a gelding. Perhaps trainer Chad Brown would not have risked this horse’s life after such a long injury layoff if future stud fee revenue had been at stake. The decision seems to have been motivated by greed, in an effort to get one more lucrative Grade 1 payday, as if there were nothing to lose. Please view PETA’s exclusive video footage here of Domestic Spending, frightened and in pain after the breakdown, to see that in reality, there really was something—and someone—to lose.
Thank you for your time and consideration. May I please hear from you that you will more closely scrutinize race records, order CT imaging scans if needed, and institute a more thorough review of trainers and horses in future Breeders’ Cups?
Senior Vice President
Equine Matters Department
cc: Shannon Arvin, President and CEO, Keeneland
Jamie Eads, Interim Executive Director, Kentucky Horse Racing Commission