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.

Three horses “jump” to their deaths within two hours of one another

by Patrick Buttuello

Please be sure to watch the video linked to at the end of this post.

Ellerslie Racecourse (New Zealand) ran four “jumps” races Monday. One horse was killed in three of the four. Yes, that’s three dead animals in four races: 5-year-old Tu Meta Peta in the 1st, 6-year-old Musashi in the 3rd, 7-year-old Bahhton in the 4th.

In a New Zealand Herald article, Auckland Racing Club chief executive Cameron George reacted thus:

“…statistically where do you draw the line? It’s not in anyone’s vision that we want to see horses that have fatal injuries, but we sit very well compared to all forms of sport.”

A blatant lie, of course. But it gets worse:

“We had 11 deaths on the roads [this weekend], does that mean everyone is going to stop driving? I wouldn’t think so.”

As for the horses, George says “they enjoy it.” The “it” he refers to is being whip-forced to run – fast – and jump over man-made obstacles.

Mr. George, you are an obscenity.

Then this from jumps trainer John Wheeler, who was present Monday (Stuff):

“People like me, who have had horses all their lives, love horses more than any animal rights person. We accept the risk that comes with it, and it hurts when it happens, but that’s part of it.”

And finally, “Where you have livestock, you have dead stock.”

Mr. Wheeler, you, too, are an obscenity.

Video showing each of the fatal falls. Please share far and wide.

“Where you have livestock, you have dead stock.” Really? And I thought the American horse racing fraternity were a bunch of cretins. Haven’t heard any of them speak about horses quite like this. Not publicly anyway.

How easy for these obscene human beings to “accept the risks” when they are not the ones who are in put in physical danger. Of course, they are referring to accepting the risk of losing their investment in a horse by way of injury or death.

As horrible as it all is, I suppose in a way the racehorses who break down and are euthanized are the lucky ones compared to those who survive only to be sent to a terrifying death in a slaughterhouse. -Ed.


Punters celebrate as horses pass the winning post at Ellerslie Racecourse, Auckland, New Zealand. Google image. The caption is ours.