Mine That Bird wins the 2009 Ky Derby. Eclipse Sportswire Photo.

Racing, slaughter and the movie 50 to 1

Horse racing is an international sport once thought of as the Sport of Kings. In too many instances in this modern age it is anything but.

There seems to be at least one shining example. Horse racing experts point to Hong Kong as a place where it is still done well. On the other end of the spectrum popular opinion says that US horse racing is a troubled sport full of doping, cheating, abuse and questionable breeding practices.

Sadly there is one issue almost all seem to have in common and that is horse slaughter. [1]

The slaughter of Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand in Japan and Exceller in Sweden put that tragic fact center stage. The report that downed and injured racehorses in England were dragged off the track and sent to slaughter keeps it there.

Now there is another connection between horse racing and horse slaughter.

A movie called 50 to 1 will premiere on March 21 in New Mexico, “where much of it was shot while telling the story of a misfit group of New Mexico cowboys who find themselves on the journey of a lifetime when their crooked-footed racehorse qualifies for the Kentucky Derby,” according to a news release. [2]

That racehorse is Mine that Bird who went on to clinch an upset victory of the 2009 Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, driven home by a jubilant Calvin Borel at odds of, you guessed it, 50-1.

Mine that Bird is owned by Dr. Leonard “Doc” Blach DVM and Mark Allen.

While Mark Allen is said to be against it, Doc Blach is notoriously pro horse slaughter who reportedly referred to horses in a New York Post article as “meat”. [3]

Both Blach and Allen live in walking distance of Valley Meat Company in Roswell, New Mexico.

A hard fought legal battle is waging surrounding the conversion and re-opening of their neighbor as a horse slaughter plant where they expect to kill 121 horses a day for human consumption.

Blach has been an expert witness who testified twice on behalf of Valley Meat slaughtering horses. [4]

Allen it appears is no saint. In 2009, the Blood-Horse reports that:

“An Alaska newspaper article claims a co-owner of the upset winner in the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) has alleged ties to a public scandal involving state politicians and likely bought his share of Mine That Bird with $30 million he received from the separate sale of his family’s oil field services company.

The Anchorage Daily News has reported that Mine That Bird co-owner Mark Allen, in 2003, allegedly paid at least one bribe to an Alaska state representative . . . .” [5] See also article by Steve Haskin. [6]

At least one Roswell resident has no taste for horse slaughter and the movie 50 to 1.

Arby’s franchise owner Jay Gluck states:

We do not support horse slaughter and we are not associated with the owners of the movie. We were asked to give away 2 Kentucky Derby Tickets and Free Movie Tickets at no cost to us. We have disassociated ourselves with the movie. If we were aware that this movie was associated with horse slaughter or the owners we would have never agreed to participate in this giveaway. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

Mr Gluck wrote this in response to Sue Carter when she notified him of the link between Blach and horse slaughter. [7]

There is a 1700 mile promo tour of 50 to 1 starting at Sunland Park, New Mexico.

Jim Wilson (Producer of Swing Vote, Message in a Bottle, Wyatt Earp and Dances with Wolves for which he won an Oscar) produces and directs 50 to 1. Cast members include Skeet Ulrich (playing trainer Chip Woolley) and Christian Kane (co-owner Mark Allen). They along with Wilson and co-producer and co-writer Faith Conroy, are in for the whole tour. Others will hop on as their schedules permit.

The real-life Mine That Bird will meet up with them at select stops coinciding with race tracks that can host the Derby winner, such as Churchill Downs on April 16 and 17.[8]

Churchill Downs has a no slaughter policy and will not give space to anyone linked to horse slaughter. How are they going to handle this? They have been notified.

[1] http://www.horsefund.org/horse-racing-through-the-slaughter-pipeline-part1.php
[2] http://www.racingfuture.com/content/movie-long-shot-2009-kentucky-derby-winner-mine-bird-hit-theatres-march-2014
[3] http://nypost.com/2009/05/21/bird-owner-wants-rematch-in-belmont/
[4] https://tuesdayshorse.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/nm_hearing_officer_s_report.pdf
[5] http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/50595/report-mine-that-bird-owner-tied-to-scandal#ixzz2wUi4bln3
[6] http://cs.bloodhorse.com/blogs/horse-racing-steve-haskin/archive/2014/03/18/the-real-story-behind-the-quot-50-1-quot-shot.aspx
[7] https://www.facebook.com/events/279827375508310/?ref=22
[8] http://kentuckyderbytours.com/1700-mile-promo-road-trip-for-mine-that-bird-derby-movie-cast-and-crew/

50 to 1
Website at http://www.50to1themovie.com/tour.html
On Twitter @50to1themovie
On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/50to1themovie

Featured Image: Mine That Bird wins the 2009 Kentucky Derby, Calvin Borel up. Photo credit — Eclipse Sportswire.

14 thoughts on “Racing, slaughter and the movie 50 to 1”

  1. Horse Racing is an antiquated sport sugar coated with glitz and glamour. The racehorse pays the price every step of the way from the racetrack to the slaughterhouse. As for breeding? I trailered horse to the breeding shed one season for extra money. It was sickening. I picked up a 25 year old stakes mare that had produced 20 foals. She was all arthritic and could hardly load. They whipped her onto the trailer into the breeding shed, and she collapsed from the weight of the stallion. I was screaming about the cruelty and indecency, but the breed must go on. Unfortunately, for this mare she had a stakes record and a producing record – she was valuable. Forced breeding is typical on many of these multi-million dollar horse farms. Some mares don’t want to breed so they shackle them. This is standard practice. When this mare was finished breeding and no longer reproductively viable they got rid of her. One can assume her life ended with a captive bolt to the brain after generating MILLIONS on the track and in the breeding shed.


  2. 50-1 is the ratio of privately owned domestic cattle grazing to one Wild Horse on Our Public Lands where those Wild Horses and Burros are being rounded up and penned or slaughtered even though these WH&Bs are designated to live in freedom forever by our Free Roaming Act passed unanimously in Congress in 1971with over 90% of the public in support


  3. The horses are only a meal ticket was a good description of 99% of owners, trainers and over-breeders. Taxing the breeders on the number of animals they produce might help some but at tax time they write everything they can off so I don’t know if that would slow any of them down, especially the dog breeders. Its still a good idea, but a new law would have to be passed at the state level.


  4. “Churchill Downs has a no slaughter policy and will not give space to anyone linked to horse slaughter. How are they going to handle this?” My question exactly!


  5. Excellent article and letter by Dr. Hogan to the NTRA.

    Yes pass the SAFE Act! We will settle for nothing less! Then we’ll see how the racing and QH industries handle the change.

    Horses and luxary animals and they need to be taxed for their over-breeding, that goes for dogs and cats too!


  6. Go, Vivian!!! Here’s another topic for your blog. This is Ray Paulick’s pickup from a NY Times article by Joe Drape. Doesn’t mention slaughter, but it certainly damns “The Sport of Kings”. Does the industry “love” horses who make them millions? HELL NO!!! They’re a meal ticket, a means to an end. Watch the video, and read the comments and Ray’s Tweets! http://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/ny-times-peta-undercover-investigation-leads-to-cruelty-complaint-against-asmussen-blasi/


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