Pages Navigation Menu






Insider Louisville: After horse’s death at Keeneland, PETA issues warning to Kentucky

SOURCE: Lexington Herald-Leader

Animal activists have a message for Kentucky horse racing: They are watching.

“PETA is putting Kentucky on notice,” warned a statement from Kathy Guillermo, senior vice president of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which has been protesting at Santa Anita in the wake of 23 horse deaths related to the track.

Now, PETA is turning its attention to the Bluegrass state in the wake of the death of a horse Saturday at Keeneland.

“No horses died during Santa Anita Derby weekend, which seems to show that the track’s new rules — while not as strong as PETA would have liked — are a lifesaving step. Now, all eyes will be on Kentucky, where Churchill Downs — home of the Kentucky Derby — has the second-worst death rate for horses in the country,” Guillermo said in the statement. She said PETA would attend the Churchill Downs Inc. annual shareholders meeting later this month “to question the company’s executives.”

In California, The Stronach Group, which owns Santa Anita as well as Pimlico, where the second jewel of the Triple Crown is run, announced a set of new rules including limiting the use of furosemide, known as Lasix, and the use of whips. Protesters demonstrated outside Santa Anita on Saturday.

“At nearby Keeneland, Thoroughbred Cathedral Reader broke a leg and was euthanized on Saturday, and today, 2-year-old horses will be made to run faster than they ever will for the rest of their lives, risking injury and death to fetch a high price at the Keeneland April Sale,” Guillermo said. “Change is overdue, and for the sake of the horses, it needs to come now.”

The April 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale is taking place this week at Keeneland, which is also the world’s largest Thoroughbred auction house. Horses ran timed sprints Monday and will be offered for sale Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Association of Racing Commissioners International issued a statement clarifying that horses treated with bisphosphonates, a controversial osteoporosis drug, may be denied entry into races while the organization formulates a policy to recommend to states.

The drugs have come under increased scrutiny by veterinary and racing organizations as deaths mount. Last year, Kentucky saw an unprecendented 80 percent increase in equine fatalities during racing. Bisphosphonates, which are recommended for navicular bone disease in older horses, are suspected of interfering with proper bone formation. Racing and sales officials have called on the industry to stop using them in horses under the age of 4.

Bimeda, the maker of Tildren, one of the medications, said in a statement to the Herald-Leader that they “welcome the recent partial bans proposed by racing organizations in the United States and Canada, regarding bisphosphonate use in young horses, and we are committed to research which will provide a better understanding of these important equine pharmaceuticals.”

Dechra, which makes the other drug, Osphos, pointed to another potential concern in an email: “There are two generations of bisphosphonates, non-nitrogenous (non-nitrogen containing) or nitrogenous (nitrogen-containing). Osphos is a first-generation non-nitrogenous bisphosphonate. This is the least potent class of bisphosphonate.

“There has been evidence of the non-approved and FEI-banned nitrogenous bisphosphonate zoledronate being compounded and used in horses. The nitrogenous bisphosphonates are not approved for use in the horse and work on a more complex pathway with a myriad of side effects as seen and documented in human medicine literature.”

The racing commissioners said that “bisphosphonate use in a racing environment is already prohibited and, if found, the trainer is subject to significant fine and suspension and the horse will be excluded from competition for at least 30 days to one year. The extra label use in any horse younger than 4 years of age of any bisphosphonate is prohibited.”

The racing commissioners, who recommend model rules for states to adopt, is considering a policy “that would disallow any horse from being entered in a race that has been treated with bisphosphonates prior to age 4 or for reasons not specifically cited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as appropriate use. Owners and potential buyers of young horses are advised to insist on complete disclosure of any bisphosphonate treatments administered to horses they are considering for purchase.”

Keeneland, Fasig-Tipton and Ocala Breeders’ Sales last month announced a ban on the use of bisphosphonates in young horses. The sales companies said that buyers will be allowed to request horses be tested and that the sales could be rescinded.

However, it is unclear if current testing would be able to detect the use of the drugs after more than three months.

Follow this story to get instant e-mail alerts from WLKY on the latest developments and related topics.
Read More




By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
May 4, 2019


On July 7, 2015 I authored an article, for all about, entitled: Horse Abuse Part 6 – Horse Slaughter A Double Edged Sword, which offers an insight into the horse slaughter business, in the USA, as well as the contributing factors illustrating how horses end up in the horse slaughter pipeline.  Examples include: Horse nonprofit support of horse slaughter, unorthodox nonprofit breeding practices which elevates foal production, safety warnings to eating horse meat due to drug toxicity levels as disclosed in the introduced SAFE ACT, the economy etc. If your interested in reading this prelude article please click on the following

☛ Horse Abuse Part 6 – Horse Slaughter 7-7–15.

On July 23, 2015 I, again, authored another horse slaughter article for, entitled: Horse Slaughter Facts and Fiction which also identifies pertinent events contributing to the ongoing horse slaughter issue in the United States. However, this article was written from a Risk Analyst perspective and offers the reader with an even more in-depth perspective of the horse slaughter market in the USA as well as identifying the Top-Tier-Horse Slaughter Advocates. If your interested in reading this second article please click on the following link.

Horse Slaughter Fact & Fiction

Today, I’m able to report that the horse slaughter issue, in the USA, four years later isn’t better off, it’s actually abhorrent with an increased continuation of the amount of horses making the trip across the border of the United States to foreign horse slaughter facilities in Mexico and Canada continuing in the hundreds of thousands annually.  The accompanying May 2, 2019 USDA Slaughter Report illustrates the amount of horses crossing the border to Mexico for a given time period.  For an in-depth review of this report please click on the following link:

2019 Horse Slaughter report




For the record, it’s NOT AGAINST THE LAW in the USA to be in the horse slaughter business or to transport a trailer load of horses across the international borders of the United States to foreign horse slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada. However, it’s AGAINST THE LAW to slaughter a horse for human consumption in the USA. American horse slaughter plants have long been closed. Also, what is AGAINST THE LAW is the constant harassment, threatening, intimidation, defaming, slandering, or cyberbullying of individuals in the horse slaughter business by self proclaimed animal rights activists on social media. 

Another fact emerging from the horse slaughter dilemma is that it’s become an integral part of domestic commerce as well as a way, for some, to make a living in society.  As unpleasant as it sounds, it’s just a fact. The reception of horse slaughter has evolved into two factions.  There’s those who are FOR keeping the horse slaughter pipeline open to keep horse populations manageable and under control in the USA. Then there’s the OPPONENTS who oppose the abhorrent horse slaughter market entirely. 


Today, in our society, two distinct factions have emerged concerning the present horse slaughter industry which completely compliments the “Law of Physics,” i.e., “FOR EVERY ACTION, THERE’S AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION”. On one side of the equation “Them” are the self proclaimed animal rights activists trying to shut down the “Kill Buyers” under the guise of saving the horse who are actually nothing more than “Cyberbullies” and on the other side of the equation is “US” or the individuaL making a living buying horses at the local barn as well as acquiring horses from other sources to fulfill foreign horse slaughter contracts.  

However, there’s one faction caught in the middle of this battle for the “SOUL OF THE HORSE” and that’s the “Horse Rescues” with being constantly harassed by the cyberbullying groups. Within the “Horse Rescue Groups” they, themselves, are divided (fractured) into two groups.  “Legitimate and Ill-legitimate.” 

The “legitimate” horse rescuer’s goal is to rescue as many horses as they can from the “Kill Pen Lot” whose been placed there by horse slaughter individuals known by the moniker “Kill Pen Buyer.”  Thereafter, the responsible horse rescue finds new homes or jobs for the discarded horses they purchase while using donor funding to support their goal and practice of saving lives.  One obscure inaccurate alleged fact “social media horse warriors promote pertains to donor funding.”  

Example, “The donors actually own the rescued horse a donor donates too”. The stark reality to this ludicrous statement is that NO THEY DON’T.  Unless the donated funds are accompanied by an “Adoption Contract or a Bill of Sale” for a particular horse, between the donor and the horse rescue owner/operator, the donated funds are “generic funds” and the rightful property of the horse rescue and can be used in any manner the rescue sees fit. This illegitimacy is like saying I donated to the Red Cross, therefore I own it! 

Still another internet inaccuracy is the claim, by social media fanatics, that they have a right to know where each and every horse a “legitimate horse rescue” buys (bails) from the “Kill Pen” ends up.  This is true for a law enforcement agency conducting a criminal investigation, or a law enforcement agency with a subpoena duces tecum, however this is a false claim by an internet or social media self proclaimed legal authority operating in a cyber bullying animal rights activists group. Once purchased the rescued (bailed) horse becomes the sole property of the “horse rescue” and all privacy laws thereto are applicable, as well.

The “ill-legitimate” horse rescue is just another scam artist in the horse business.  Their goal is to pose as a legitimate rescue and even mimic the legitimate rescue while concealing his or her actual goal of defrauding donors out of their cash and acquire horses under the false pretense of providing a forever safe home only to send the horse to slaughter once it’s acquired. An example of one such case can be identified in a February 03, 2019 news article by Anissa Fritz whereby a Veterinary student faces fraud charges; allegedly sold rescued horses for slaughter.  

According to the article, Fallon Blackwood, a 24-year old veterinary student at Tuskegee University, was indicted in October of 2018 by the State of Alabama on 13 counts of acquiring a horse under false pretense with the intent to defraud.  Blackwood has similar charges against her in North Carolina. This isn’t an isolated case.  For additional info click on the following link:

Tuskegee student Fallon Blackwood indicted in Alabama and North Carolina…


Also, and according to what I’ve read on the internet emanating from some self-proclaimed animal rights activists, include inaccurate commentaries reminding me of the “Jail House Lawyer Mentality”. A perfect example of a useless inaccuracy is: “Unless, you’re a 501 C 3 nonprofit your not a legitimate horse rescue.”  This is just one of a litany of ignorant “legally false” inaccuracies being spewed forth on social media. 

More specifically, in the USA an individual has the right to make a living and own a business so long as the business is legally set-up properly and legally operated according to law.  Therefore, a horse rescue can be in the form of a Sole-Owned-Proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, Doing Business As (DBA) or an assumed name, State Organized Non-Profit, 501 C 3 Non-Profit or for that matter a For Profit Business.  The only difference between the 501 C 3 Non-Profit and the others mentioned in the foregoing is, in most circumstances, the donation is tax deductible. Accordingly, the financial reporting status to the general public differs from the 501 C 3 Non-Profit and the State formed Non-Profit.

Another misinformed, inaccurate and completely delusional statement spewed forth, by some social media self proclaimed animal rights activists, is that a horse rescue owner or operator isn’t allowed to make or draw a salary from his or her owned or operated business and that’s just another ill fated and inaccurate false hood.  Whether the business operates in any of the categories in the foregoing, every business owner has the right to draw a salary from their owned, managed, or operated business in order to be compensated for their labor to make a living wage so-to-speak.  Once the donor funding is accrued in the general operating account, it also can be used to provide a living wage to the Owner/Operator.  To verify this assertion just research how much the salaries are from some of the largest nonprofits in the USA are. It’s just ludicrous for an individual to think otherwise.

In order to educate the uninformed but self-proclaimed social media animal rights activists about another topic, more specifically: who owns a 501 C 3 Non-Profit, the answer is no one can individually own a 501 C 3 Non-Profit.  Once setup it becomes an entity entirely onto itself.  However, it is controlled by a set of by-laws and a governing body known as a “Board of Directors”. It’s legal compliance is bound by the Laws of the State of Incorporation and the laws of the Internal Revenue Service. Again, whoever runs the 501 C 3 Non-Profit is entitled to earn a salary and be compensated for their labor.


Some members of the elite cyberbullying groups are masters of threats, scare tactics, intimidation, lying and in some cases where law enforcement is conducting a criminal investigation they pose as a law enforcement officer or representative thereof with their reliance on their self-proclaimed delusional authorized power to conduct an investigation on their own.  Again, they are misinformed and sadly mistaken. Quite Simply, their self proclaimed power and worth are delusional.  What these individuals apparently don’t understand is that they themselves can be arrested and prosecuted for violating the law.  

In order to be a representative of a law enforcement agency one has to be duly licensed and a commissioned police officer.  If you don’t have these credentials in your back pocket, you can be arrested and prosecuted for impersonating a police officer or law enforcement official.  Equally, if she or he is conducting an investigation without a license in a State where licensing of private investigators is required such as: Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey the offender faces fines and imprisonment and can be liable for injury to the individual he or she is illegally pursuing and investigating.

Furthermore, an individual without the foregoing legal authorities doesn’t have the legal right or authority to interrogate an individual relative to an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by law enforcement.  That right is reserved for law enforcement and only after an individual being interrogated has been issued his or her Miranda Warning, which provides the interviewee with the option of having an attorney present while being questioned. This is witness tampering and he or she can be arrested, prosecuted and imprisoned for their violation of the law.


My Root Cause Analysis identified two leading culprits, money and greed.

The second particular culprit is the economy.  The horse industry is directly tied to the USA economy.  When the economy is good the horse industry experiences an increase in investors.  In a down-turn economy, horses are quickly shed on the open market. This open-market shedding usually takes place in sale barns which unfortunately includes the favorite visiting place for “Kill Pen Buyers.”  

Another top-tier-culprit is an overpopulation of horses in the USA without sufficient economic sustainability.  Each year a new foal crop is born to be consumed by the  Racing and Performance Horse industry in hopes to the breeder, that one will becomes a revered champion. Essentially, they can be viewed as replacements for the ones that didn’t make the grade in previous years. Thus, in our society today, it has adopted the “Breed More, Kill More” mentality. Unfortunately this narcissistic personality disorder proves detrimental to the poor horse. Perhaps the most disturbing perception to this practice is that it illustrates a complete emotional detachment from the horse.

Perhaps the most disgusting of the contributors to the horse slaughter pipeline are the poor two, three and four year olds that are washed out of the industry by illegal drug use and trainer abuse. In my past article entitled: THE MECHANICAL HORSE, A HORSE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS I delineate the cause and effects sports enhancing drugs have on the physiological makeup of the horse. If the reader cares to read this article please click on the following link .

The Mechanical Horse

In the next article on horse slaughter, written by Glory Ann Kurtz, she will explore and explain the ongoing “BATTLE FOR THE HORSE IN LOUISIANA.”

“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!”

Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Managing Member
Freelance Writer and Author
Phone: (985) 630-3500
Web Site:

Read More





Press Release from PRCA
May 7, 2019


PRCA rookie cowboy Garrett Shadbolt wins in Guymon

GUYMON, Okla. – In the early 1930s Guymon, Okla., was the center of the “Dust Bowl.” The first weekend of May was designated as Pioneer Days – created to cope with and celebrate those hard times – and has been since 1933.

The Henry C. Hitch Arena, site of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo, is situated in a natural draw, and the arena provides a unique setting for one of Oklahoma’s richest rodeos and the top contestants in ProRodeo.
One of those contestants was bareback rider Garrett Shadbolt, who edged out Bill Tutor, last year’s Pioneer Days champion bareback rider. Shadbolt posted an 87-point ride on Powder River Rodeo’s Joker, clinching the win by one point.

The Merriman, Neb., cowboy was ranked 30th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings before Guymon. Shadbolt’s earnings of $2,414 will not only get him closer to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification but will also further his lead in the Prairie Circuit Standings and boost his position in the PRCA | Resistol Rookie Standings.

“I’ve seen a video or two of that horse bucking, and he seemed like an average horse,” Shadbolt said. “The stock contractor told me if I have a really strong mark-out, he’ll sometimes stack up in front of the chutes and have a better trip. I just tried to focus on getting him marked out really well, and he stopped right out there and circled around in front of the chutes. It made for a really flashy ride. He was everything I could ask for.”

The rookie cowboy has his sights set high.

“My goal is to hit 100 rodeos this year, win the Resistol Rookie of the year, and I believe that would get me to the Wrangler NFR.” Shadbolt said. “I’m feeling awesome, I’ve never been healthier, stronger than I’m feeling right now.”

As he enjoyed his Sunday drive home to Nebraska in his new cargo van, he looked forward to his wife being able to travel with him and to continue his hot streak.

“I feel like I’ve had some good luck, but I also feel like my riding is improving and I’m getting my foot through the door of Professional Rodeo.”

Other winners at the $233,073 rodeo were all-around cowboy Ryan Jarrett ($4,814 in tie-down roping and team roping); steer wrestler Clayton Hass (13.3 seconds on three head); team ropers Cody McCluskey/Joe Mattern (24.8 seconds on three head); saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell (90 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Big News); tie-down roper John Douch (27.9 seconds on three head); barrel racer Kylie Weast (35.12 seconds on two runs); steer roper Thomas Smith (64.9 seconds on five head); and bull riders Stetson Wright (87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Black Ice) and Trevor Reiste (87 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Footloose).

PRCA saddle bronc rider Elliott injured in Guymon

GUYMON, Okla. – Saddle bronc rider Clay Elliott, a three-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2016-18) was severely injured during a ride May 3 at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo.

Elliott was bucked off Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Force and that’s when his trouble began. The Nanton, Alberta, cowboy landed on his head and fractured his neck.

Elliott had surgery May 4 at the Swedish Medical Center in Denver said Rick Foster, program director for the Justin Sportsmedicine Team.

“He had a cervical spine fracture that was stabilized with surgery,” Foster said. “The surgery went well, and the prognosis is good for a full recovery. Hopefully, he will be released from the hospital on Tuesday (May 7).”

Elliott will be out of action indefinitely. Elliott placed a career-best 10th in the 2018 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $148,868. He placed in three rounds at the 2018 Wrangler NFR and earned $44,692 in Las Vegas.

PRCA saddle bronc rider Elliott injured in Guymon

GUYMON, Okla. – Saddle bronc rider Clay Elliott, a three-time qualifier for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (2016-18) was severely injured during a ride May 3 at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo.

Elliott was bucked off Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Force and that’s when his trouble began. The Nanton, Alberta, cowboy landed on his head and fractured his neck.

Elliott had surgery May 4 at the Swedish Medical Center in Denver said Rick Foster, program director for the Justin Sportsmedicine Team.

“He had a cervical spine fracture that was stabilized with surgery,” Foster said. “The surgery went well, and the prognosis is good for a full recovery. Hopefully, he will be released from the hospital on Tuesday (May 7).”

Elliott will be out of action indefinitely. Elliott placed a career-best 10th in the 2018 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $148,868. He placed in three rounds at the 2018 Wrangler NFR and earned $44,692 in Las Vegas.


ProRodeo Hall of Fame commemorates 40th anniversary

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The ProRodeo Hall of Fame is celebrating its 40th anniversary throughout 2019, starting with a new exhibit outlining some of professional rodeo’s historical moments.

“This exhibit gives our guests a taste of the various collections we have here at the Hall all at once,” said ProRodeo Hall of Fame Director Kent Sturman. “Since we are unable to have all of these items out on display year-round, visitors can see a little bit of the amazing history we are preserving here, all leading up to the 40-year celebration we are planning at the end of summer.”

The museum’s ruby anniversary kicked off with an exhibit entitled “ProRodeo Hall of Fame: First 40 Years” in the Hall’s 101 Gallery on May 1. The exhibit will be featured through September.

“The Hall of Fame is unique in that it is the only heritage center in the world dedicated solely to the sport of professional rodeo,” Sturman said. “There is no other museum on earth like it.”

The exhibit showcases a sampling of pieces from many of the permanent collections the Hall has.

Photographs of milestone events in the Hall’s 40 years of history are on display, including:

• Opening Day Celebration Aug. 6, 1979
• “The Champ” statue dedication Aug. 10, 1989
• Opening of the Hall’s expansion Aug. 10, 1996
• The dedication of The World Champions’ Pavilion Aug. 10, 2001

The various collections featured in the display include a wide range of rodeo memorabilia, such as:

• Photos dating back to 1919 from the Panoramic Photo Collection
• Artwork from the Chris LeDoux Collection
• Personal memorabilia from the Casey Tibbs Collection
• Items from the Hafley-Shelton Wild West Show Collection
• The Hesston NFR Buckle Collection
• The Ardourel Bit and Spur Collection
• Rodeo clown statues from the Heap Collection
• Photographs by Ben Allen and Lewis Portnoy from the Rodeo Photograph Collection
• Artwork from the Artist and the Bucking Horse Collection
• Western dinnerware from the Short Collection

Also on display are samples from the Rodeo Program Collection, the Western Clothing Collection, the Winston Pro Tour Collection and the Graham Family Collection, who were 10 siblings that were all trick riders.

“I think any anniversary is worthy of celebrating, but certainly 40 years is a great milestone to commemorate,” Sturman said. “The community of Colorado has been so supportive,” Sturman said.

“The community of Colorado Springs has been so supportive.
The historical exhibit will bring attention to the anniversary throughout the summer and will end with the celebration in August following the ProRodeo Hall of Fame Class of 2019 Inductions.

“It is an honor for me to serve as the director,” Sturman said. “This year will be my seventh, so I feel like I have had a good part in the history of the Hall. I take very seriously the responsibility the Hall has in telling our story, preserving our history and promoting the future of professional rodeo. This celebration is just another chapter in our story.”

What to Watch For
Las Vegas Days (Helldorado), May 10-11, 5 p.m. (PT)

ProRodeo Live with Steve Kenyon
Mineral Wells (Texas) PRCA Rodeo, May 9-11, 7:30 p.m. (CT)

News & Notes From The Rodeo Trail

The Reno (Nev.) Rodeo is celebrating its 100th anniversary and the Nevada Historical Society is tipping its cap to the city’s longest running special event with a new exhibit. On May 15, the Historical Society will unveil, “Reno Rodeo: 100 Years of the Wildest Richest Rodeo in the West.” The exhibit includes historic artifacts, artwork and photographs that range from the event’s beginnings in 1919 to present day and focuses on the people who were instrumental in writing the rodeo’s history. The exhibit will also include vignettes of Nevada cowboys and cowgirls who made history as champions at their home-state rodeo, including Joe Marvel, of Battle Mountain, Jade Corkill, of Fallon, Dakota Eldridge, of Elko, and Charley Gardner, of Ruby Valley. Today, the Reno Rodeo is one of the top 10 regular-season rodeos in terms of prize money sanctioned by the PRCA and has an annual economic impact on the region of more than $50 million.
The exhibit, which will be in place through the summer at the Nevada Historical Society, will be in place through the summer, and is curated by Nevada Historical Society staff and Guy Clifton, a former journalist and author of the book, “Reno Rodeo: A History, the First 80 Years.” The exhibit will remain in place through July. The 2019 Reno Rodeo is June 20-29.

2019 PRCA | RAM World Standings Leaders
Unofficial through April 29, 2019

AA: Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, $83,412
BB: Kaycee Feild, Genola, Utah, $115,965
SW: Ty Erickson, Helena , Mont., $101,162
TR-1: Ty Blasingame, Casper, Wyo., $73,229
TR-2: Kyle Lockett, Visalia, Calif., 81,645
SB: Ryder Wright, Milford, Utah, $138,110
TD: Michael Otero, Weatherford, Texas, $81,435
SR: Vin Fisher Jr., Andrews, Texas, $32,563
BR: Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla., $86,831

Please see for the latest standings update. All standings are unofficial.

All-Around | Bareback | Steer Wrestling | Team Roping (Headers) | Team Roping (Heelers) | Saddle Bronc Riding | Tie-Down Roping | Steer Roping | Bull Riding


Read More






May 2, 2019
Article written from an article in the Paulick Report

According to an article by David Wenner of PennLive posted in the “Paulick Report”, The bad news about Thoroughbred racing in the PennLive racing facility is that a recent report report on racing fatalities showed that roughly one horse dies each week at the Pennsylvania racetracks. However, the good news is that the state’s fatality rate is down from previous years and slightly below the national average.

Pennsylvania made headlines several years ago in connection with an FBI investigation and subsequent race-fixing charges related to illegal medication administration. The state’s racing commission says it has made positive changes, such as making its rulings publicly available and searchable and implementing out-of-competition testing.

However, Dr. Kate Papp, a rescue advocate and veterinarian, said there are still changes to be.made like Pennsylvania condition books still show a problematic unbalance between slots-infused purses and claiming prices. Papp is also convinced trainers and backstretch employees witness cheating but are afraid to testify about it. The remedy may be increased security cameras.

A portion of one response to the article said, “In my view the article brings into focus further evidence that horse racing is truly in trouble. The overwhelming majority of the general public increasingly see it as a drug-laden, cruel undertaking whose day has come and gone. The powers-that-be in the industry would be wise to take to heart the harsh lessons of the greyhound racing industry, which has seen voters in numerous states make greyhound racing illegal over the past couple of decades.”

Read More




The following article was posted by

April 30, 2019

Linda Gaudet can’t watch the replays.

Even after 47 years in horse racing, she turns away from any video showing one of the 23 fatalities over three months at Santa Anita Park.

“It was just devastating,” Gaudet said. “I still can’t stomach it.”

Neither can many others around horse racing. The alarming rate of horse deaths at Santa Anita plunged the industry into chaos and was a major blow to the sport’s public image going into Triple Crown season.

The tragedy was all too familiar for those who were around for spates of breakdowns years ago in New York, New Jersey and Maryland, and many are still perplexed that officials at the California track didn’t act more quickly on proven reforms that had been previously recommended across the country years ago.

Those East Coast states had investigated, diagnosed and successfully begun to solve similar issues with a series of effective reforms.

“Why they took so long to get on top of it is beyond any of us,” said Alan Foreman, chairman and CEO of the Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and co-author of the 2012 New York Task Force on Racehorse Health and Safety.

“When you see spates of breakdowns like this, which are very unusual, you know something’s going on and something is impacting it. Certainly here we would’ve thought that based on the work we did in 2011-2012 that they would’ve grabbed on to this thing much sooner than they did, and that’s part of the tragedy here.”

Much like the 21 horse deaths at Aqueduct in New York in 2011-12 that led to the task force, many believe the situation at Santa Anita was something of a perfect storm: a combination of a rainy winter after years of drought that affected the surfaces, pressure from ownership on horsemen to fill fields and possibly problems with medications used on horses. After the fatalities began Dec. 26, Santa Anita closed for almost all of March and has seemed to get the problem under control since reopening , though it already has hurt racing there.

“They’re seeing an exodus of horses, they’re seeing an exodus of horsemen, they’re now being forced to reduce racing days, they’re running short fields and they’re in deep trouble,” Foreman said.

Horse racing officials from the Mid-Atlantic region, which consists of tracks in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Illinois, feel the findings of the 2012 task force provided a roadmap for Santa Anita. Since the recommendations from that task force were put into place, breakdowns in the Mid-Atlantic region have been reduced by 35 percent.

Foreman said last year the Mid-Atlantic was at the national average of 1.68 fatalities per 1,000 starts, which he called “unacceptable.” He and Gaudet believe the magnitude of the fallout at Santa Anita could have been avoided.

“This thing with Santa Anita, it is chaos because they’ve not done the proper investigation, the protocols,” said Gaudet, who has been with the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association since its inception.

“Most of the things that they want to do in California we’ve already done here. We’ve been doing it. It’s nothing new. It should’ve been done a long time ago.”

In a statement to The Associated Press, the Stronach Group said it, along with industry partners in California, “took the bold and necessary steps to begin to modernize and reform our sport for the betterment of horse and rider welfare. This industry-led initiative, successfully gained approval on groundbreaking Lasix reforms from California’s regulatory body for horse racing, the California Horse Racing Board. While steeped in both history and tradition, the sport needs to be modernized in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of horses and athletes first and foremost.”

The Stronach Group said it is forging ahead with “progressive reforms ranging from medication overhaul to training protocols” and added that horses at Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields race “under the strongest medication regulations in the United States.”

California Horse Racing Board spokesman Mike Marten outlined that Santa Anita instituted medication limits and provided additional track veterinarians to monitor training hours and the board increased veterinarian, steward and investigator staffing time.

One issue that continues to be debated is the use of Lasix — a diuretic given to horses on race days to prevent pulmonary bleeding. The Triple Crown races are planning to phase out the use of Lasix over the next few years, even though independent regulators have found it is unrelated to horse deaths.

After New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called for an investigation amid the breakdowns at Aqueduct, the task force cited issues other than Lasix as causes for fatalities, including oversight and use of medicine, track safety and purse structure.

East Coast officials have been more focused on other practices by racing offices, owners and trainers, including the use of non-steroidal drugs that help a horse’s joints being administered too close to races. Foreman, Dr. Mary Scollay, New York equine medical director Scott Palmer and former jockey Jerry Bailey discovered horses were being overmedicated during their 75 interviews and months of work on the task force.

Bailey said in an effort to speed a horse’s recovery for the next race, some trainers were medicating horses with anti-inflammatories so often that it masks pain or an injury a horse might be feeling.

“These practices and the medications these trainers were giving them were way too close to race time,” said Bailey, a six-time winner in Triple Crown races who’s now an analyst for NBC Sports.

“Once we made the recommendation along with our competition testing to make sure that these trainers were adhering on medication and more transparency with veterinary records to make sure the vets weren’t doing it on their behalf, then we saw a change.”

Scollay, the equine medical director for the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and co-author of the 100-page New York task force report, said one lesson to be learned from the situations in New York and California is that cutting down on fatalities is a collaborative effort. She said front-office executives, who portion out the money that can be won in races, must be involved.

When casino revenue started pouring into New York earlier this decade, purses skyrocketed and that had unintended consequences. In claiming races, where any horse can be bought afterward, the incentives were so intoxicating that owners and trainers were willing to risk entering races with inferior or potentially injured horses for a potentially big payday.

“That commoditized the horse and established sort of a day-trading environment where you went all-in for that one big return and it didn’t matter after that because it wasn’t going to be your asset for very long,” Scollay said. “It sets horses up to be at substantially increased risk.”

Sometimes the track itself is a risk, which was believed to be a cause of 19 horse fatalities at Saratoga Race Course in 2017 and played a role at Santa Anita.

In an effort to address the track issue, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association contributed a $100,000 grant for the Racing Surfaces Testing Laboratory run by Dr. Mick Peterson at the University of Kentucky. The lab is developing technology such as sensors that can read moisture content of a track in real time and attempt to make the surface as consistent as possible.

While the lab testing and other initiatives are in the works, Foreman doesn’t believe the industry is doing a good job of informing the public of what it’s doing to try to prevent deaths. He also is discouraged that various jurisdictions have chosen to adopt different rules to combat the issue.

The proposed solutions in California and even at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, are very different from the policies that have been effective in the mid-Atlantic.

“What’s distressing to me is that here’s an opportunity for some consensus-based best practices and everybody’s going on their own, trying to do better than what the other guy did,” Foreman said. “That helps to create an atmosphere of industry dysfunction.”


Follow Stephen Whyno on Twitter at .

Read More

Counterfeit bills circulating in Parker & Palo Pinto county areas in Texas




Reprint from Parker County News
April 29, 2019


The Parker County Sheriff’s Office is issuing a public service announcement regarding counterfeit bills circulating in the Parker and Palo Pinto County areas of Texas.

.Sheriff Larry Fowler said business owners should alert their employees about people attempting to pass counterfeit bills during the course of daily business.

“Residents should also stay alert to the possibility of counterfeit money when conducting business transactions as well,” said Sheriff Fowler.

Some of the bills collected recently include advertising notes that appear to look like $5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 bills. The note(s) clearly state they are for “Motion Picture Purposes,” but employees are not paying close enough attention to the markings. The counterfeit bills otherwise look genuine.

Sheriff’s investigators are currently working with local banking institutions to be aware of counterfeit funds before transactions are made.

“Be aware, those attempting to pass counterfeit bills will frequently use the fake bills at a range of stores and businesses including department stores, convenience stores, specialty stores and gas stations,” said Sheriff Fowler. “Investing in counterfeit detection markers would be a wise decision. They are inexpensive and may be an effective tool in loss prevention.”

Read More