Various direct quotes from those within the industry…

Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (New York Times, 3/24/12): “It’s hard to justify how many horses we go through. In humans you never see someone snap their leg off running in the Olympics. But you see it in horse racing.”

Dr. Margaret Ohlinger, track vet, Finger Lakes (New York Times, 3/24/12): “It’s hard to watch these poor animals running for their lives for people who could really care less if they live.”

Dr. Rick Arthur, equine medical director, California Horse Racing Board (New York Times, 4/30/12): “If the public knew how many medications these horses were administered after entry time, I don’t think they would tolerate it.”

Dr. Tom David, former chief vet, Louisiana Racing Commission (New York Times, 4/30/12): “It’s [the racino/claiming equation] strictly self-centered greed of not thinking about the horse but thinking about maybe I can get one more race out of him and get a piece of the game.”

Maggi Moss, prominent trainer, on racinos/claiming races (New York Times, 4/30/12) “If horses don’t win, people just get rid of them.”

Juan Serey, trainer, on racinos/claiming races (New York Times, 4/30/12) “Everybody just wants a horse, and they want him now to race in 10 days. I want a horse today and I don’t want it tomorrow. I’m a businessman. …If somebody takes my bad horses, it’s good. …This is a game, and we have to know how to play.”

Maggi Moss, prominent trainer, on running “claimers” (The Iowan, July ’12): “It’s getting much easier for me to run my horses out East so that I don’t get so personally attached to them. This is a business…”

Dr. Phillip Kapraun, Illinois vet, on his liberal use of the banned substance “snake venom” (New York Times, 9/21/12): “The economics of horse racing does not allow for that. Horse racing is on the decline. If a horse needed a year to heal up, they would go to the killers up in Canada or Mexico [slaughterhouses].”

Bill Casner, prominent owner (Thoroughbred Daily News, March ’14): “Our industry is permeated with those who have no regard for the welfare of the horse… The horse becomes only a tool for fulfilling their own agendas of WIN AT ALL COSTS. Most trainers have little or no investment in the horses they train, whether it is financial or emotional. They will run red light after red light in pushing that horse until it fails and then they will call the owner and spin him a story. …those trainers will tell the owner that the horse ‘just took a bad step’ and ‘that’s horse racing.'”

Dr. Lisa Hanelt, track vet, Finger Lakes (Blood-Horse, 7/8/14): “We’ve all heard about the ‘bad step.’ It isn’t true. …Trainers have the power to make a horse high-risk or lower-risk.”

Michael Matz, Barbaro’s trainer (AP, 5/9/16): “The worst part of it is, we never will really know how good he really was.” (not that he died)

Dr. Dean Richardson, vet who operated on Barbaro (AP, 5/9/16): “It’s not that horses can’t be repaired, it’s just that many times the economics of repairing a horse’s injury are not aligned. You don’t have the combination of an owner who has the resources and a horse that justifies that expense.”

Ray Paulick, prominent racing writer (Paulick Report, 5/27/16): “The public has changed. We’re using animals for entertainment here. And, all you have to do is look at the circus where they’ve eliminated elephants from the show…look at SeaWorld… We have to do everything possible for the safety and health of these horses because we’re using them for entertainment. That’s the bottom line.”

Bill Finley, prominent racing writer (Thoroughbred Daily News, 5/27/16): “He [a Jockeys’ Guild official who argues that the new more-liberal California whip rule is not abuse] might want to bring that up with my 15-year-old daughter. Brought up in a family where both parents work in the racing industry, she has zero interest in the sport and when asked why said it is because she doesn’t like to watch the jockeys beating the horses.”

John Wheeler, prominent trainer, after three horses were killed in a single day at a New Zealand racecourse (New Zealand Herald, 6/8/16): “We accept the risk that comes with it…but that’s part of it. Where you have livestock, you have dead stock.”