Supporters of Kentucky SB 139 respond to their critics in Blood-Horse article

FRANKFORT, KY — Kentuckians please take action.

In an article posted online by the Blood-Horse [1] it states:

A Kentucky bill that would uniformly designate horses as livestock has been approved by both houses of the legislature and now awaits the signature of Gov. Matt Bevin.

Once the legislation (SB 139) becomes law, it would provide the groundwork for state lawmakers to move forward on related tax reforms that have the potential to save horse industry participants millions of dollars.

We reiterate. They need not change the horse’s status in Kentucky from a domestic animal to a livestock animal in order to accomplish this. They could have done the reverse.

Instead of demoting the status of the horse Kentucky lawmakers could have elevated it recognizing the contributions of the horse industry to the Commonwealth by giving the participants the tax breaks they seek.

This also from the same article:

Currently the sales taxes on horse feed and supplies generates about $18 million annually. All other livestock are exempt from sales tax on those same necessities.

Whose pockets are these millions coming out of? And this in a State that is routinely listed as one of the ten poorest in the US.

The Blood-Horse continues:

Sen. Robin Webb, an accomplished horsewoman from Carter County, sponsored the bill, which she said provides badly needed consistency across all statutes.

Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.
Sen. Robin Webb. Source: The Paulick Report.

This statement is particularly rich. Webb is accomplished alright, accomplished in not only committing horse abuse but also publicly sanctioning it.

Webb was cited for horse soring violations, a particularly heinous type of abuse meted out to Tennessee Walking Horses [2]. She was called the “Big Lick Queen” in a Lexington-Herald Leader article [3]. Webb “even defended the horrifying tape that showed Jackie McConnell, who is now a felon, beating and torturing horses.” [4].

No, we do not want someone like Sen. Webb setting the standard for horse cruelty in Kentucky or anywhere else.  Kentucky lawmakers are surely aware of Webb’s background.

Here’s another look into how the notorious Webb thinks from the cited article:

“ . . . some animal rights groups have tried to position the legislation as a backdoor to permit horse slaughter.

“That is not what this bill is about,” she said. “There are other livestock animals that are not raised for food, like alpacas or llamas. Whatever else is being said is just rhetoric to sensationalize and raise money.”

Classifying an animal as livestock does not mean they will be slaughtered for food but they can be slaughtered for food. That opens the door.

Here is another interesting question. Why are kill buyers with feedlots in Kentucky who supply slaughter plants with horses happy about SB 139? But that’s only hearsay and can’t be relied on.

Kentucky Speaker Pro Tem David Osborne of Oldham County was noted as saying in the article:

Osborne also stressed the bill in no way opens a door for horse slaughter nor weakens any horse protection laws. He said the same day SB 139 was approved unanimously, the legislature also passed HB 200, which would make it easier for local officials to intervene and remove horses in abuse and neglect cases.

HB 200 was written to, “Amend KRS 525.130, relating to cruelty to animals in the second degree, to allow a court to order an offender to pay restitution for the upkeep of a horse involved in the offense and terminate the offender’s interest in the horse involved in the offense.” [5]

Getting a court order is very difficult as we have seen in past horse abuse cases across the country concerning all breeds but particularly in Tennessee and Kentucky. We will be testing this at once should it become law and see if it actually helps.

Then there’s these individuals from Kentucky Equine Education Project:

KEEP chairman Corey Johnsen. “Many KEEP members have been instrumental in getting this legislation to this point, but we owe particular recognition to Frank Penn for being a tireless leader and advocate on this issue from the start.”

“Having horses and equines included as livestock in Kentucky law has been a key policy priority for KEEP since its founding over 12 years ago,” said Penn, a KEEP board member and chairman of the organization’s Equine Sales Tax Equity Task Force. “I applaud the Kentucky legislature for their unanimous support of SB 139 and recognizing horses’ rightful place along side other agriculture commodities in Kentucky.”

The horses’ rightful place along side other agriculture commodities in Kentucky. You get the drift, right?

If Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signs SB 139 into law, we are ready to take immediate action to test these ideas.

We will see what their motivation truly is. Perhaps they will prove us wrong. Nothing would make us happier.

In the meantime, if you are a Kentucky resident please take action. Do not delay! See below.

[4] See also 3.

Tell Him You OPPOSE SB 139 Becoming Law — VETO SB 139

Online Email Form

Twitter @GovMattBevin

Main Line: (502) 564-2611
Fax: (502) 564-2517​
TDD: (502) 564-9551


Google search result. Unattributed.

Off the Menu: Gourmet Dinner and Prime Cut survive Thoroughbred racing

With names such as “Gourmet Dinner” and “Prime Cut” one wonders whether this constitutes a deplorable sense of humor given the horrible fate that awaits many racehorses, or whether it is an earnest effort to make a compelling anti-slaughter statement intended to provoke public outcry and bring the slaughter issue to the forefront of racing. —JANE ALLIN

Source: Racing through the Slaughter Pipeline; The Horse Fund

In the case of these horses, they have not fulfilled what those unfortunate names imply, and survived Thoroughbred racing and thankfully avoided entering the slaughter pipeline.

Gourmet Dinner enjoys some grazing outside Barn 2, Colonial Downs.
Gourmet Dinner enjoys some grazing outside Barn 2, Colonial Downs.


    New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program announced today that graded stakes winner Gourmet Dinner has arrived at their Marysville, Ohio facility to start preparing for a second career.

    Bred by Ocala Stud and William Terrill and raced by Terrill’s Sugar Bear Racing, Gourmet Dinner won the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes in 2010. The gelding retires with a total of 34 starts and over $1-million in earnings.

    In April, Terrill lost Gourmet Dinner in a $50,000 claiming race, before claiming him back for $25,0000 three months later.

    Gourmet Dinner comes to the program in collaboration with NYTHA’s TAKE THE LEAD Program, which partners with established aftercare programs to provide rehabilitation and retraining placements for the Thoroughbreds retiring from competition on the New York Racing Association circuit.

    Said Terrill, “I believe in these organizations, and I really love Gourmet Dinner. He’s a special horse. We claimed him back so we could make sure he had a good home when he left the racetrack. I know that New Vocations will take great care of him.”

Source: The Paulick Report; 17 December 2014

Thoroughbred Racehorse, PRIME CUT.
Thoroughbred Racehorse, PRIME CUT.


    Prime Cut, a half brother to eventual graded stakes winners Vyjack and Tepin, had all the promise in the world when Carrie Brogden of Machmer Hall first caught glimpse of him as a weanling at the 2008 Keeneland November breeding stock sale.

    “We bought (his dam) Life Happened for $45,000 not in foal because Prime Cut was right behind her (in the sale) and was so unbelievably gorgeous,” said Brogden, who was also the underbidder on the son of Bernstein.

    Prime Cut was pinhooked for $55,000 at that sale by F.J.M. Stables, after which he fetched $475,000 from Mike Ryan the following year at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

    Brogden never guessed that after Prime Cut had earned two graded stakes placings and banked more than $165,000 she would have another opportunity to purchase the colt–this time for just $1,000.

    After a career-ending injury, Prime Cut was offered at the 2013 Keeneland November sale as a stallion prospect, but with the absence of graded stakes victories on his resume, nobody was interested.

    “He’s 16’3, drop dead gorgeous, and here he would have been a no-bid at the sale unless I bid $1,000 on him,” said Brogden. “Tom Thornbury (of Keeneland) came (to let me sign the ticket) and I just started crying…because it’s such a sad statement for our industry. Here’s a horse that sold as a weanling for $55,000, sold for $475,000 as a yearling, then went on the (Kentucky) Derby trail and competed in high-level graded stakes, giving people lots of thrills and earning more than $100,000, and then he was just dumped like he was worthless.”

    Today, Prime Cut is being trained for a new career, thanks to the actions of Brogden and her sister, Kristy Willwerth, who is working with him at her Picturesque Farm near Warrenton, Va.

    Brogden hopes the fact she purchased Prime Cut–a horse with whom she had been formerly connected–in order to ensure his safety and welfare will inspire other breeders to do the same.

Source:; OTTB Spotlight; 20 January, 2014

The Meadowlands uncovers use of new performance-enhancing drug


A racehorse steps onto the track during training. Image by Clarence Alford.
A racehorse steps onto the track for training. Image by Clarence Alford.

RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY (January 8, 2014) — For the past year, Meadowlands Racing & Entertainment has been conducting out-of-competition testing on horses racing at The Meadowlands, in part to determine if any trainers are using illegal substances, but also to gather information pertaining to what racehorses are being given prior to their races and to implement rules to keep the horses safe.

This testing, performed in a joint effort by The Meadowlands and other jurisdictions, is in the form of blood samples taken from horses racing at The Meadowlands. We had heard rumors that a substance known as Cobalt was being used because it was difficult to detect and was not being tested for. A large number of these samples have revealed the presence of Cobalt in the horse’s system. In two cases there were massive amounts present when the samples were analyzed by the lab at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. In both cases those trainers are no longer allowed to participate at our three tracks.

After a lengthy process, including researching into what Cobalt is and what it does for the horses and discussions with many veterinarians, The Meadowlands has determined that when an excessive amount of Cobalt is administered to a horse, it can be very harmful. When used in excess, the affects of Cobalt can be, but are not limited to: cardiovascular issues, potential nerve problems, thickening of the blood and thyroid toxicity.

Based on this information, The Meadowlands has determined that in excessive levels, Cobalt is both a performance enhancing substance and detrimental to the health and well-being of the horse. We are quite certain that trainers and veterinarians using Cobalt were well aware of this.

Therefore, going forward The Meadowlands has established a threshold level of four (4) times the standard deviation above the normal level of Cobalt. If a blood sample reveals that a horse has a Cobalt level higher than four (4) times the standard deviation above the normal level, the trainer of that horse will be deemed unable to participate at The Meadowlands, Tioga Downs and Vernon Downs.

The odds of a horse having a Cobalt level that exceeds this threshold without having been administered an excessive amount of the substance are roughly 1 in 10,000.

“We are committed to providing the most integrity-driven product in harness racing,” said Chairman Jeff Gural.

“We set out on a mission when taking over The Meadowlands to not only provide our customers with that integrity-driven product, but to do what is best for the horse and for the industry. This threshold of Cobalt being implemented for horses competing at The Meadowlands, Vernon Downs and Tioga Downs is just one step toward achieving what we set out to achieve. If you are found to be giving your horses an excessive amount of this substance, you are not racing at any of our three racetracks, plain and simple. This is not about catching trainers that are cheating, this is about keeping our equine athletes safe and healthy and providing our betting public and all of our participants a product that is on a level playing field.”

# # #


Trainers aren’t helping as drugs damage US horseracing

Cross-posted from the New York Times
Jump to source article >>

(Excerpted Here)

The movement to restrict drugs and make the sport more humane to both the human and equine athletes has caught some wind. It took congressional hearings and national shaming, but state after state has followed the lead of New York, Maryland and several mid-Atlantic states and tightened rules and demanded better testing.

But no one has to look far to see how badly the sport is ailing. Look southwest to Hollywood Park, where one of the most beautiful tracks in the world is closing at year’s end.

Or look at Santa Anita on Friday and Saturday, when one of the smallest contingents (16) of European horses in Breeders’ Cup history will compete.

This was the year the Breeders’ Cup was supposed to ban the race-day medication furosemide, sold as Lasix, in all of its races to get American racing in step with the rest of the world. The 2-year old races were run without it last year and will be again this year.

But horsemen, led by the Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and some of his prominent owners, threatened lawsuits and hinted at a boycott, which forced the Breeders’ Cup to abandon the wider plan.

Last year, a New York Times investigation identified the nation’s most dangerous racetracks; showed how a pervasive drug culture put horses and riders at risk; and found that 24 horses a week die at America’s tracks, a rate greater than in countries where drug use is severely restricted.

But of the top 20 trainers in the United States by purses won this year, only one — Graham Motion — has never been cited for a drug violation. Nearly all have horses competing here, and some have run afoul of the rules far more frequently than others.

Bob Baffert. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.
Bob Baffert. Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images.

Baffert averages one drug violation every 545 starts, and Doug O’Neill averages one every 640. Both have won the Kentucky Derby — Baffert three times.

In May, Shug McGaughey won his first Derby with Orb. He has one medication violation in his Hall of Fame career of 8,109 starts, according to records compiled from the Association of Racing Commissioners International and entered in a database.

There’s also a feeling of uneasiness here as horsemen wait for the California Horse Racing Board to release the results of an inquiry into the acute deaths of dozens of horses. Among them, over a 16-month period, were seven belonging to Baffert.

“I know I did nothing wrong,” Baffert said. “My barn did nothing wrong. The C.H.R.B. has to explain it. I can’t explain it.” Read full report >>

PLEASE NOTE: Because a trainer is not cited for drug violations does not mean they do not use drugs routine to US horse racing which are heavy compared to other racing nations that ban many of them. — Editor.