by John Simerman | Sept 7, 2020
More than 500 racehorses have been displaced after weathering Hurricane Laura at Delta Downs racetrack in Calcasieu Parish, thanks largely to the refusal of Churchill Downs Inc., the owner of Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans, to take them in, according to the leader of the group representing the state’s racehorse owners and trainers.
Now, Churchill Downs Inc. is again balking at taking in hundreds of racehorses left without stalls from Laura’s destruction. On Friday, the company lodged a legal challenge to an emergency order issued a day earlier by the Louisiana Racing Commission that seeks to force the Gentilly racetrack to accept displaced horses, walkers and grooms.
Note: If you are already familiar with this story, please scroll down to the Felonious Friend section.
None of those horses or their caretakers died as the massive hurricane tore through southwestern Louisiana, though Laura knocked out power and caused enough damage to the barn area at Delta Downs to require it to be evacuated of horses and their caretakers for repairs.
The commission on Thursday ordered the Fair Grounds and Louisiana Downs in Bossier City to make their stables and training facilities available for horses that had been slated to be stabled at Delta Downs, and their caretakers, until Oct. 15.
But on Friday, Churchill Downs asked an Orleans Parish judge to halt the order, citing both the dangers of COVID-19 in New Orleans and the risks of housing horses at the Fair Grounds during the height of hurricane season. The track isn’t ready, and there aren’t employees to handle it, the company argued.
“Fair Grounds has been concerned with housing horses and horsemen during hurricane season since 2012, when horsemen first refused to abide by evacuation orders (and did so again a year later),” lawyers for Churchill Downs wrote.
“In fact, horses were abandoned at the Delta Downs property … during Hurricane Laura, despite mandatory evacuation orders. If Hurricane Laura had hit Fair Grounds … the loss of equine and human life would likely have been catastrophic.”
But Benard Chatters, a Lake Charles horseman who scrambled to rescue eight of his own young horses from a farm cut off in Laura’s wake, said hundreds of quarterhorses were stuck at Delta Downs after Churchill Downs rebuffed repeated requests to relocate them to New Orleans.
Chatters, president of the Louisiana Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, requested the emergency order from the commission last week.
“They just don’t want to be bothered,” Chatters said of Churchill Downs Inc. “Man, we have not just horses, but horses and people, that don’t have a place to go.”
Totally heartless. And racing so, so love its horses . . . it keeps saying.
Please read — Felonius Friend
You must read this, also from John Simerman at NOLA. Special report: For Louisiana racehorses, failure at the track can end in a deadly fashion.
Most of you have already guessed what the deadly fashion referred to is — horse slaughter. Racehorse advocates are already well versed on this. If you didn’t know, now you do.
Horse slaughter is a consistent reality of horse racing American style. Horses who are not killed during their racing careers are very often killed after their racing careers — sold and trucked to a slaughterhouse in Canada or Mexico to be brutally and terrifyingly murdered for their meat for overseas diners.
Too late to reform
Horse racing in the U.S. will never, ever, be reformed and cleaned up. It. Just. Won’t. Even if they actually wanted to they can’t. The “horse has bolted” as the saying goes. So, they fight for business as usual for as long as they can possibly can.
It is clear that American racing will continue to cheat, dope, maim and kill the horses they use. They know no other way and really don’t care to.
By the way, do you have horse racing in your State? Then horse racing is likely getting some of your taxpayer dollars to subsidize this unholy holocaust, meaning you are helping to pay for it.
Chilling thought isn’t it?