This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
N&V Timing of Cruelty & Drug Allegations an Attempt to Tarnish Triple Crown Luster

As we go to press, the T oroughbred world in general and Maryland in particular are gearing up for the Triple Crown, starting with the Kentucky Derby on May 3. T en the eyes of the world turn to Maryland for the Preakness on May 17. Undoubtedly timed to spread a cloud over

these events, in March of this year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released an undercover video alleging animal cruelty, drug violations and cheating by a T or- oughbred race horse trainer and his assistant trainer. With seven hours of videotape and a 285-page report about the trainer’s operation, which, according to the New York Times, in- cluded notes from PETA’s undercover inves- tigator, medical documents and reports from veterinarians who reviewed the videotape, PETA has fi led complaints with all relevant federal and state agencies in New York and Kentucky. T ese agencies are now investigat- ing the trainer and his assistant. T e video seeks to tar the entire fl at track

community by alleging that these abuses are commonplace. And, indeed, it does cast a pall. We are not reporting the name of the trainer and his assistant because frankly, that is not our

story. T at story appears all over the internet and is easy to read (we will include a conve- nience link on our website). Our story is about how the T oroughbred

community in Maryland is reacting to the al- legations. T e T oroughbred is our State Horse. T or- oughbred racing is the oldest organized sport in Maryland and the United States. T e Mary- land Jockey Club is the oldest sporting organi- zation in the United States. Maryland is one of the leading T oroughbred breeding states. De- spite the increasing popularity of warmbloods as sport and pleasure horses, T oroughbreds still dominate Maryland’s sport/pleasure horse landscape, in our lesson stables, in the show rings and for cross country and foxhunting. Not to mention our steeplechase races. According to the Jockey Club, Maryland is also one of only four states to have fully implemented the national uniform medication program that was fi rst proposed in 2011 (horseracingreform. org) and encompasses controlled therapeutic medications, prohibited substances, accredited labs and penalty guidelines for multiple medication violations. T e other three states are Delaware,

Massachusetts and Virginia. It is worth noting at this point that the trainer is being investigated in states that have not fully implemented the national uniform medication program. T e Jockey Club, which has issued a public statement condemning the actions and conversations seen in the video and which is supporting the investigations, has been blunt in its criticism of Kentucky and New York, noting that these states “shoulder blame for the current state of aff airs. T eir inaction feeds the negative perceptions of our sport and lends credence to the charge that we are incapable of broad-based reform.” Furthermore, the Jockey Club has made

it clear that if the remaining states do not immediately implement the national uniform medication program,

the Jockey Club

will support federal legislation mandating compliance in all states: “We will aggressively seek rapid implementation, including steps leading toward the elimination of all race-day medications. With the safety of our horses, the integrity of competition and the general perception of the sport all at risk, we cannot aff ord to wait any longer. Enough is enough.” continued. on page 10

Smart people are working to improve the racing and to take care of its equine athletes

by Steuart Pittman; President & Founder, Retired Racehorse Training Project You know by now that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals

(PETA) recently released a video to kick off a campaign against horse racing. T e video is nine minutes long and is taken from seven hours of footage taped secretly by someone who got a job working in the barn of a potential Hall of Fame trainer. PETA has called on the public to never bet on or attend another horse race. Since the video was released, the assistant trainer (who is featured

prominently in the video) has been relieved of his duties, and the train- er himself has been removed from contention for the Racing Hall of Fame, and investigations have been launched by the racing commissions in Kentucky and New York where the fi lming took place. Every major organization in racing has released comments condemning the practices alleged in the video, encouraging further investigation, and asserting a commitment to the safety and welfare of racehorses. Longstanding de- bates over the appropriate regulation of the sport are louder than ever. Everyone has an opinion. T e PETA video will make you angry. Most of it is the assistant trainer and others profanely (and sometimes over drinks) expressing frustration with horses that have had injuries. A horse who placed second in the Kentucky Derby has bad feet and later dies of colic. T e assistant trainer blames the owner for keeping the horse running after he should have been retired. A horse is scratched by stewards before a race for being unsound and the assistant trainer complains. A horse is claimed and the assistant trainer expresses joy, calling the horse a “rat.” A group of train- ers joke to each other over drinks about jockeys getting away with the use of banned electric shock devices. Together these conversations paint a picture of disdain for the horses. [T e video] does not cover distinc- tions between therapeutic medication and performance enhancement, and does not show horses being handled in an abusive manner. T ose of us who transition T oroughbred racehorses into second careers

have a unique perspective on life at the track. We get to know people on the backside when they are placing their retired horses, and we learn | 800-244-9580

about life on the track through the minds and bodies of the horses after they leave. We see the best and the worst and we know how it compares to the experiences of horses outside racing. My own experiences in this work have led me to the following conclusions. People who work on the backside of racetracks more often than not

care about their horses. Compassion is the only possible explanation for the incredibly long hours spent feeding, grooming, bathing, wrapping, blanketing, walking, and picking manure out of stalls. Yes, they are paid, but they don’t get rich. Bad trainers, bad grooms, and bad exercise riders exist, but if they don’t like the animals, they don’t last long. Happy horses train and run better. Horse abuse is bad for business. Horses coming from the track tend to trust people. Despite the fl ight instinct that is bred into them they take comfort in human contact. T at is a function of nurture, not nature. T oroughbreds love to run. We all know how much harder it is to slow down than to speed up on our T oroughbreds. Racing is probably the most natural, and possibly the most pleasurable, career that a T orough- bred can have. It lets the horses express the competitive instincts that they show with each other as happy youngsters at pasture. Horses win when they want to. Injuries happen, and every horse owner, whether inside or outside of

racing, works hard to prevent them. Despite the manicured surface, the state-of-the-art veterinary care, and the carefully managed conditioning programs, speed causes injuries. Sometimes horses are pushed beyond what their bodies can take, but more often it is their instincts that in- spire the speed and concussion that result in injury. Racing trainers will tell you that their art is more about protecting horses from injury than inspiring horses to run fast. Knowing when to let a horse work and how hard to let it work is the science of the game. I look up to people in the T oroughbred industry. I admire their com- mitment to their horses and their skills. To me their game is simple, pure, and all about passion. I can’t think of a person on the backside of a racetrack who doesn’t share with me the stirring in the soul that comes

continued. on page 12 MAY 2014 | THE EQUIERY | 9

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84  |  Page 85  |  Page 86  |  Page 87  |  Page 88  |  Page 89  |  Page 90  |  Page 91  |  Page 92  |  Page 93  |  Page 94  |  Page 95  |  Page 96