Book Review: Missionville by Alex Brown

Missionville, written by Alex Brown (pictured with racing plates). By Vivian Grant Farrell.

(HORSE RACING) — Patrick Battuello, chronicler of racehorse killings at Horse Racing Wrongs, recently reported the death of 7-year old Sing the Dream in a claiming race for 4 yo’s+ at Aqueduct, Saturday afternoon, January 27, 2018.

It was Sing the Dream‘s 50th race. Battuello states the horse “fell heavily” (Equibase) and was euthanized where he lay.

American racing routinely kills its horses particularly in contests such as these — the claiming race.

Alex Brown, author of Greatness and Goodness: Barbaro and His Legacy, has written a book called Missionville which delves into the lives and activities of the people who work horses in the business of the American claiming race.

Missionville is a well crafted story with credibly drawn characters you can root for or against as the author gives you an unvarnished look at the day-to-day rigors of training and racing horses at a small track and its resulting consequences.

Eclipse award winner Mike Jensen, journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, in his review of Missionville puts it this way:

Alex Brown, a lifelong horseman, takes you on a journey few are capable of providing. He takes you to the underbelly of the sport. A terrific read”.

Missionville gives true to life insight into what happens to horses when their careers begin to take a downward spiral and tragically end up in the claiming race system.

Missionville is a must read for every racehorse advocate.

Buy it now »

Featured Image: Missionville, by Alex Brown (pictured with used racing plates) by Vivian Grant Farrell.

The cruelties of horse racing — what we’re doing to bring it to and end


We are funding investigations into the illegal drugging of racehorses. We are turning the results over to Federal investigators who will make the arrests and press charges for race fixing, a federal offense. Learn more at our website »


We have come close to busting some of these betting rings who use off track Thoroughbreds for illegal horse racing then sell them on to slaughter. But like dog fighting they changes venues often, seldom returning to the same location. It is also dangerous to approach or infiltrate these hardened criminals so it is expensive to get investigators to do it. Learn more at our website »


We are taking on the abusive and deadly Claiming Race, particularly at racinos where they pay from first to last, with even the last place finisher making a bit of money, typically in the range of $200.

Cruel trainers are running horses over and over, with only a few days rest in between, and these overworked horses’ bodies are being destroyed, and they are breaking down and dying at an alarming rate. Learn more at our website »


You Bet. They Die. is a combination social media and at the track protest campaign we are launching April 2016 to raise awareness about racehorse cruelty, injury and death. Betting is keeping this industry alive. The industry would collapse without it.

Besides electronic protesting activists we will be at as many race meetings as we can staff and supporting the ones that others are doing. There are some really terrific people taking this on and educating racegoers as they enter the track. And racegoers — who have no idea the cruelties and death associated with the way horse racing is managed in the U.S. — are sickened by it and leaving.

We are working on putting a group together to meet and greet and leaflet in Las Vegas the weekend of the Kentucky Derby. There are plenty of other sports and activities for people to bet on.

If you can’t be at the track you can help on social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. We will create a group of specific hashtags for you to use, so stay tuned for those.

We are very excited about the artwork being designed for this campaign. It will be used as the centerpiece of the You Bet. They Die. campaign. You will be knocked out!


Please make a donation. Everyone making a donation between 6 pm EST Friday and 6 pm EST Sunday will be entered to win this tee.

We are giving away 10. We will have a draw Sunday night from those of you who click through via Tuesday’s Horse and makes a donation.

Oh, and gentle reminder, the clocks are moving forward one hour.



We can do a lot but we can’t do it on our own. We need you. Please see our You Bet. They Die. page on our website for further information.

California Horse Racing Board amends claiming rule


A racehorse gallops on the artificial surface at California's Del Mar racetrack. Photo (c) Nathan Rupert.
A racehorse gallops on the artificial surface at California’s Del Mar racetrack. Photo (c) Nathan Rupert.

ARCADIA, Calif. — The California Horse Racing Board amended a rule pertaining to claimed horses on Thursday. Under the rule, a claim is void if a horse is placed on the veterinarian’s list by the racing vet or state vet after being found to be lame or unsound after the race or in the receiving barn.

The rule, which passed unanimously by a vote of 6-0, is not expected to take effect until July 1, pending approval by the state’s office of administrative law.

Dr. Rick Arthur, the racing board’s equine medical director, told the racing board that 96 Thoroughbreds were claimed and placed on the vet’s list for lameness or unsoundness in California during a three-year period beginning in 2009. Of those, 13 horses were euthanized as a result of racing injuries.

He said that claims would not be voided under the new rule if a horse is vanned off for heat exhaustion or if its bleeds from the lungs.

The rule change is an amendment to a 2011 rule change that voided a claim if a horse died during a race or before it was unsaddled after a race. That rule was deemed inadequate after two incidents when a horse suffered a severe injury on the track, but was transported off the track and euthanized in the stable area.


We don’t know what to say, except one step forward the two steps back.