Written by PETA
Rick Dutrow and Big Brown, one of Rick's many horses who suffered becausehe was forced to race
Great news—notorious thoroughbred trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. won't be drugging, overworking, or breaking more horses anytime soon—at least not in the great state of New York. The New York State Racing & Wagering Board has kicked Dutrow to the curb: He's banned from racing in the state for the next 10 years—an unprecedented punishment.
Dutrow, the trainer of the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, has received nearly 70 citations over the course of his career for a variety of violations, including for illegally drugging his horses.
PETA has sent the board a bouquet of flowers as a token of our appreciation for sparing countless horses from the reckless and dangerous actions of this trainer.
Please help other horses who are suffering in the cruel horseracing industry by speaking out against deadly speed tests in which many young horses are injured or killed after being forced to run at breakneck speeds and urging The Jockey Club to implement the Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Fund to ensure that racehorses are retired, not slaughtered, after they cross the finish line for the last time.
Written by Jennifer O'Connor, image by banamine | cc by 2.0
It's official: Just weeks before he was to race in the Breeders' Cup, Big Brown has officially been retired from horse racing because of a serious foot injury. The 3-year-old horse, who earlier this year won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and who outran Eight Belles before she collapsed and had to be euthanized on the track after the Kentucky Derby, has now himself succumbed to the dangers of horse-racing. Honestly, Big Brown's retirement isn't even remotely shocking, given that horses who race are often forced to run before their legs have fully matured.
Unfortunately, retirement from racing for a horse who has developed injuries or is no longer fast enough to complete usually means a lifetime of breeding or a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse.
PETA immediately sent a letter to officials to ask that Big Brown be gelded and fully retired, not held at stud to breed and pass along the traits of a horse who has sustained several injuries throughout his racing career. You can view our full letter here.
Horse racing has always been a greedy, money-hungry industry with little regard for the animals it puts in harms way, so long as the horses continue to bring in the big bucks. Fortunately though, laws are changing to help protect these horses. Side whipping as well as "Snapper" whips, which are used in harness racing, have both been banned. Anabolic steroids have been banned from racing, and Maryland recently banned the use of all steroids. But we still have a long way to go to shut down all horse-racing venues and to remove these animals from lives plagued by injury.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
Rick Dutrow is Big Brown's trainer, who was M.I.A. during the congressional hearings. It seems the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority found one of his horses, Salute the Count, with the highest level of clenbuterol (a bronchial dialator that also functions as a steroid) that the chief steward had seen in four years—more than twice the allowable level.
Dutrow is being suspended for a mere 15 days and will have to return the $20,000 that he made off drugging and racing Salute the Count at the race where he was tested. In his defense, he was quoted as saying that he uses this on many of his horses and has only once had a problem with it.
If that wasn't enough, jockey Jeremy Rose was recently suspended for "engag[ing] in extreme misuse of the whip" on his horse, Appeal to the City, according to this Blood-Horse article. I was not aware that there were proper and acceptable uses for whips on animals—only on humans.
Rose has been suspended (in Delaware only) for six months and will have to pay veterinary bills for the animal, which include treatment for hemorrhaging around his eye from being whipped in the face. Even though it's not as good as being permanently banned from contact with horses, Rose's relatively stiff sentence—virtually unheard of in the history of horseracing—shows that outside pressure is seriously having an effect on state regulatory bodies.
However, in the absence of an overarching federal body to oversee horseracing, the suspensions of Rose and Dutrow will only be effective in Delaware and Kentucky, respectively. They can still train, mount, drug, or whip horses elsewhere.
Posted by Sean Conner
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