Unsanctioned horse racing flourishing in rural Colorado

DENVER, Colorado. KDVR FOX31. Chris Halsne and Chris Koeberl reporting. (May 18, 2017)  — Hidden cameras capture doping, gambling and abuse of horses as regulators, politicians, and law enforcement turn a blind eye. Go to full investigative report »

It’s Easter Sunday outside the Deer Trail Rodeo grounds.

Armed teams of private security in flak jackets set up a road block searching passengers and vehicles. What they are looking for is unclear, but alcohol and beer are allowed to pass. An Arapahoe Sheriff’s deputy drove by slowly on the street outside the stadium, but did not stop.

By early afternoon, approximately 500 spectators are lined up along metal railings near a long, manicured dirt track.

They were drawn here by an online advertising push from a company calling itself Parejeras Racing USA.

A Spanish language flyer promised 10 “match-races,” with prize money in the thousands of dollars.

At first glance, the horse races looked much like the legal, sanctioned ones held at Colorado’s only licensed horse race facility, Arapahoe Park in Aurora.

Jockeys, in colorful silk, mounted muscular Quarter horses draped with matching blankets embossed with large numbers. Handlers helped guide the horses and riders to a metal starting gate.

As the horses charged down the straight-away, it became apparent, there were few rules.

Whipping of the animals was harsh and nearly nonstop.

In one race, a jockey veered his horse into another competitor. The high-speed ramming pushed the thundering beasts toward spectators standing within inches of the track, including children.

In two other races, jockeys lost their balance and went tumbling among the hoofs of other race horses.

Problem Solvers, working with knowledgeable insiders, acquired hidden camera footage of not only the races, but all the activities happening just off the track.

Audio and video recordings show plenty of cash being wagered on horses. Continue reading at source »


Image source: KDVR.
Image source: KDVR FOX31.

The drugging of the horses is rampant and potentially lethal.

Hidden camera footage revealed a brown liquid being injected into a racehorse’s neck who moments later was entered into the starting gates and raced.

The liquid in the syringe was described as “ ‘typically a cocktail of stimulants’ to ramp up the horse’s heart – to get it to run faster”.

Equine veterinarian Bruce Connelly stated, “I’ve seen match-race horses run blind. Break themselves up because of stuff that was put in ‘em that shouldn’t have been.”

Local Law Enforcement

The problem is, the report points out, is that law enforcement and the Colorado Department of Revenue, which oversees some 1,400 pages of racing regulations, can take action only in sanctioned horse races. Adding “it seemed impossible to FOX31 that such a large event, widely advertised and attended by so many people could go unnoticed by local politicians.”

Oh, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by local politicians or law enforcement. They have either turned a blind eye to it like that Arapahoe Sheriff’s deputy who drove slowly by and didn’t stop, or profited by it, or both.

What about the Mayor?

According to state records, Deer Trail mayor, Kent Vashus is the “registered agent” of the Deer Trail Jockey Club. The Jockey Club is one of the oldest non-profits in Colorado and owner of the Rodeo grounds where the unsanctioned Easter races were held.

Vashus admitted to the FOX31 Problem Solvers he had allowed Parejares Racing USA to use the Rodeo grounds for races in the past. Records show he approved at least fourteen “Mexican Horse Races” in Deer Trail since 2015.

There is much, much more including video reports. This is an in-depth undercover report and one of the best we have seen in a very, very long time.

Take Action Colorado Residents

The Governor

Contact the Governor and register your concern using his online form.  Ask him to take immediate action against unsanctioned horse racing and the horrific abuses of the horses used for it.  Notwithstanding the horses, onlookers including children are put at risk of injury and even death. Share this shortened link to the full KDVR investigative report with him — https://goo.gl/ajkEFl.

Colorado General Assembly

The Colorado General Assembly adjourned May 10, 2017 and reconvenes January 10, 2018.

(1) Contact your individual legislator stating this is an important issue to you and you wish to see it on the next Session’s agenda. Share this shortened link to the full KDVR investigative report —  https://goo.gl/ajkEFl.

(2) Contact the following Colorado lawmakers urging them to place this issue on the next Session’s agenda and enact all laws necessary to make these unauthorized races illegal. Be sure to share the link to the full KDVR investigative report —  https://goo.gl/ajkEFl.

• Speaker of the House, Cristanta Duran (crisanta.duran.house@state.co.us)
• House Majority Leader, K.C. Becker (kcbecker.house@state.co.us)
• House Minority Leader, Patrick Neville (tim.neville.senate@state.co.us)

• President of the Senate, Kevin Grantham (kevin.grantham.senate@state.co.us)
• Senate Majority Leader, Chris Holbert (chris.holbert.senate@state.co.us)
• Senate Minority Leader, Lucia Garcia  (leroy.garcia.senate@state.co.us)

Oh, and throw that unscrupulous Mayor of yours Kent Vashus out on his ear next election Deer Trail residents.

The image of the horse looking out from under the stands was taken at the Deer Trail Rodeo Grounds and is used here for illustrative purposes only. The image was not filed with the source report.

Former racehorses rescued from slaughter

Update 5/17/2017 8:17 a.m EST. Since Shedrow Confessions seems to have a handle on the backstory to this report, we will refer you to them and close our investigation. Go to shedrowconfessions.com for their story. Warning: Foul Language.

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (Source) — A San Diego County horse rescue is saving 20 thoroughbred racehorses from being slaughtered for meat, which is sold on the black market for human consumption in other parts of the world.

Michelle Cochran runs HiCaliber Horse Rescue in Valley Center.

“I have been in the horse world for over a decade and I haven’t known it existed,” Cochran said.

She wants to raise awareness on illegal horse meat trade.

“It’s human consumption. That’s the biggest issue,” Cochran said. “It’s all for human consumption.”

Cochran said in some parts of Europe, Russia and Asia, people eat horse meat. Some of the horses who end up in the “kill pens” are former racehorses.

It’s a fact that can be traced back to the tattoos that race horses have inside their upper lip.

When Cochran learned of 20 thoroughbred racehorses about to be slaughtered for meat in Louisiana, she and the group jumped into action – raising $40,000 in 48 hours.

“If they get hurt. They are too slow. They are too old. They are done,” Cochran said. Continue reading »

Take Action to End Horse Slaughter

Write or call your U.S. Representative and ask them to co-sponsor and use their influence to pass the SAFE ActH.R. 113 — that bans horse slaughter and closes the export to slaughter loophole for all horses including racehorses.

Story Source: Channel 10 News, San Diego.

U.S. Senator Tom Udall calls for the end of doping in horse racing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) issued the following press release yesterday. It is of course important to demand it. It is another to actually introduce a bill, push it through and get it done. Udall is plucky and has the determination necessary to succeed.

Sen. Udall is of course keenly aware of racehorse doping as some of the most egregious abuses happen at New Mexico tracks, both in Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing.

Let’s not spare today’s dopers doing business as usual at Churchill Downs.

As a colleague just stated about today’s Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming:

Pletcher had 3 horses in including Patch, the one-eyed horse. And if you look at the list, it’s always the same trainers. Most of whom are drug lords.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM). (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

MAY 05, 2017
Ahead of Kentucky Derby, Udall Demands an End to Doping of Race Horses
Special gambling laws and subsidies support horse racing, even as egregious doping abuse plagues the sport

WASHINGTON – Ahead of Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, U.S. Senator Tom Udall released the following statement reiterating his persistent calls for the horse racing industry to end its widespread abuse of performance-enhancing drugs and painkillers used on horses. Udall called for reform or the repeal of the federal law that makes horse racing the only sport specially permitted to offer online gambling and interstate betting:

“As long as we continue to reward the horse racing industry for its inhumane doping violations with sweetheart gambling privileges and millions in casino slots subsidies, these shameful abuses will continue. It is long past time for Congress to act to reform or repeal horse racing’s unique federal gambling law, to force the industry to look out for the safety of horses and jockeys, and to restore integrity to this once-dignified sport.

“This weekend, outside of the view of fans in the grandstand, horses competing in the Kentucky Derby will be injected before being loaded into the starting gate. As deaths and injuries pile up, it has become abundantly clear that there is no doping or corruption scandal outrageous enough to shame the horse racing industry into rooting out abuse.

“One harness trainer racked up more than 1,700 medication violations. Four track veterinarians — tasked with ensuring the health and safety of these animals – pled guilty to unlawfully and repeatedly administering performance enhancing drugs in Pennsylvania. No one caught giving racehorses dermorphin, a painkiller 40 times more powerful than morphine, has been permanently kicked out of the sport.

“New Mexico racetracks have some of the highest rates of horse fatalities and injuries in the country, yet the state has paid $682 million into horse racing purse prizes since 1999. Our state should not be subsidizing an industry that remains so shockingly indifferent to egregious doping abuses.

“A horse that needs to be injected to race should not be forced to compete. Unless we take meaningful action to insist upon real reform, Congress and the states that subsidize the horse racing industry will continue to be willful accomplices to the abuse of these iconic animals.”

Chronic abuse of performance-enhancing drugs is commonplace in horseracing. Almost every horse is given race-day medication — banned in other countries — and no uniform medication rules or doping penalties exist across the states.

As the New York Times reported in 2012, doping undermines the safety and viability of the sport, and 24 horses die each week from racing injuries — an alarming fatality rate likely caused by the misuse of permitted medication and abuse of illegal drugs.

Udall has fought for years to reform the horse racing industry. In 2015, Udall and former Representative Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) introduced legislation to eliminate most wagering on horse racing to encourage the sport to end doping and crack down on cheaters.



Yes, horse racing must rid itself of performance-enhancing drugs. More importantly, it must rid itself of injury masking drugs, the most hideous of all of racing’s doping evils.

Injury masking drugs are what destroys racehorses resulting in their death at racetracks and their health and soundness overall to the point owners and trainers dump them making them vulnerable to the meat man.

Sen. Udall sums it up this way:  “A horse that needs to be injected to race should not be forced to compete.”


See We Three Kings of Race Cheating Are by Jane Allin »

See also all posts on Horse Racing »

Racehorse tied in stall. Unattributed source.

Last Updated: 8:18 pm

How one snapped, dangling leg changed a heart forever

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Horse Racing) — It’s Derby Day, Louisville’s biggest event of the year, even bigger than Christmas and most likely generates more revenue than that blessed event ever will.

There is nothing blessed about horse racing, especially the drug and death riddled variety put on in the USofA.

An example of whereof we speak was published yesterday by Horse Racing Wrongs by Patrick Battuello who catalogs the day to day death and disarray that is horse racing American style.

Here’s an excerpt or go there now.

As the horses were crossing the finish line, I noticed one stopped very abruptly and the little man on his back fell off onto the ground. The horse that had stopped was Mariano. As the other horses passed him, it became clear to me what the issue was. One of his front legs had completely snapped in half and was now dangling, held on by nothing more than the horse’s thin skin. I looked around and there were a few startled faces, but the vast majority just looked the other way or simply said to me “that’s just part of horse racing… it happens.” I knew right away that Mariano would be killed shortly after breaking his leg and that the races would continue on as if nothing happened. So I left, never to return.

There was something off about him breaking his leg. He didn’t trip. He didn’t fall. He didn’t run into any other horses. I know because I was standing RIGHT there. He was just a few feet away from me. He was just running. And then he wasn’t anymore.

Read the full story »

U.S. horse racing earlier this year patted itself on the back saying that fatalities were down again for another year.

We could be wrong but we suspect they are cooking the books or racetracks are under reporting, or possibly both. Reporting is purely voluntary and some breakdowns and deaths are not reported, so the public never has any true idea of what goes on. That’s how they like it. That’s how they want it. That’s how it’s going to be.

This is typical of a deadly, destructive industry living in a world according to its own order. Who is to hold them accountable. Horse racing has no Commissioner like other “sports”.  No one in particular is “in charge”. Millions and millions are bet on it. Don’t you find this odd?

Racehorses are the innocent victims of this ongoing barbarity. Will they ever be free? When will it all end?


If you think we are exaggerating, check out “10 Dark Secrets From the World of Horse Racing” from Listverse.com.


We leave you with this quote by Barry Petchesky, “Our Racehorses are broken America”, Deadspin.

“Our horses are sick. Our thoroughbreds are thoroughly inbred. They are locomotives sitting atop toothpicks. They are fragile and friable, designed to run but not to recover from running. And each time they break down or wear out, we chalk it up to an individual horse’s shortcomings, rather than the decades-long decline of the entire breeding industry”.


Horse in profile silhouetted against a night sky. Unattributed Google search image.