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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Today in Harnesslink, there is a story about how kill buyers are showing up on the backstretch at Monticello Raceway, buying horses that are no longer competitive for a couple of hundred dollars each.  Often these people are con artists, claiming to be looking for carriage horses or even a pleasure horse. 

Owners, who often are looking to get these horses into good homes are more than willing to sell these horses to these people, because not only do they get rid of an expense, they get a couple of hundred dollars at the same time.

While there are some horsemen who are conned, no doubt there are some horsemen who don't do their due diligence and sadly, there are those who believe in 'don't ask, don't tell'.

My question is, how are these people getting on the grounds of the racetracks in the first place?  If they don't have a license, they don't belong there.  If they are coming in with someone else with a license they should be required to have a license as well.  More importantly, if they don't have a horse stabled on the grounds or racing at that particular time, why are they even being allowed on the grounds unescorted?   If they have no legitimate business on the backstretch and they have a NYSRWB license, the person they are seeing should have to come get the person at the gate and be responsible for their actions. 

The dirty secret is while some tracks hold horsemen responsible which they should, the tracks are just as complicit when it comes to kill buyers.  The tracks know what is going on and they turn their heads away when these kill buyers come on the grounds of the backstrech, just as guilty as the trainer who sells the horse for a couple hundred dollars without asking questions.

The sad thing is you may think this is happening only at the smaller tracks, but that is far from the case.  If there is a racetrack, there are kill buyers who come through, especially on qualifying days.

Tracks need to do their part as well when it comes to kill buyers.  No license, no access to the backstretch without being accompanied by a licensee who has reason to be on the backstretch.  You have a license, you don't get on the grounds of the track unless you are trainer or an owner who has been racing at the particular meet or a groom on a stable roster.  A horse leaving the grounds?  Not without the owner or trainer of record driving the trailer.

Let's not kid ourselves, if someone wants to sell to a killer, they will find a way to do so, but the tracks shouldn't make it easy for these low lifes. Everyone should be held responsible for what happens to their horses, but the tracks need to do their part.  Something most tracks are not doing.


Anonymous said...

Anyone can get a groom's license if an owner or trainer sign. that will not prevent horses from getting on that "bad" truck.

Pacingguy said...

Then what needs to happen is who signs for the license needs to be held responsible, i.e., Know Who You Speak For. They should only be able to take out horses that the trainer owns and the trainer must sign the horses out.

Anonymous said...

As a member of the NY Horse Council and a resident of Sullivan County I was disgusted to see that the recent ban on these "types" has led to them conducting their business in the middle of our community. At one of the main crossroads in Monticello, just up the street from the raceway, the dealers are now congergating in a parking lot. I was shocked to see horses being unloaded from trailers exiting the stabling area and being crammed into livestock trailers in a heavily travelled parking lot. Families having their breakfast at the diner or stopping for a cup of coffee now have to witness this horrible practice. Does anyone else not think this is not only pathetic, but also highly dangerous? This is a very busy intersection - one loose horse running into the roadway and getting hit would be a horrific event - and not just for the horse! Public safety??? Our pleasure horses are required to travel with the proper documentation, yet I saw no exchange of paperwork from seller to buyer...are racing horses exempt from New York state laws? Shameful across the board is what I say! Public opinion of the "sport" and the racetrack, especially amongst us "non racing" folks is already pretty low. This adds greatly to that!

Pacingguy said...


This is a real problem, I agree. I would talk to the county or the town and see what they can do to restrict this type of activity. It certainly seems to me this is a violation of board of health rules.

Sadly, paperwork is not being passed because these horses are going to 'disappear'.

Pacingguy said...

If the person who posted the comment reads this, please email me.