JC / Railbird

Coming Clean

You’ve probably read Andrew Cohen’s “The Ugly Truth About Horse Racing” by now. As I said on Twitter, it’s a call to conscience for all of us in racing to acknowledge the dark side of our game. “Must admit my first reaction was to get defensive,” @loomsboldy replied, “but the more I thought about it …”

This is what I thought about it:

It made me feel real shame for being silent. I saw a horse get milkshaked, and win. I didn’t tell anyone.

I saw a vet inject a horse a few hours before a race with a substance that was not an allowed raceday drug.

I saw a horse so hobbled by joint deterioration it hurt to watch it walk, but with bute, it could pass a raceday vet check.

In each instance, I believed that it was not my business or my place to say something. I was wrong.

The excuses I made then and after? Cohen stripped them away.

There’s much more I’d like to say about the recent New York Times-PETA exposé, but for now, I’ll start by admitting my complicity as a “good” racing person who didn’t speak up when I saw things that were not right.