Tag Archives: horse racing

Emil Guillermo: What if they had a Triple Crown Winner and no one cared?

That about sums up my feeling about American Pharoah’s (sic) win at the Belmont. It wasn’t Affirmed/ Alydar. It wasn’t Secretariat. It was a colt going wire-to-wire against an undistinguished field. Is that really worth celebrating.

That it took nearly 40 years to have another Triple Crown winner isn’t really about the greatness of A.P. It’s more that the game, the breed has degenerated into a drug-mired enterprise that has changed the nature of horse racing in America.

I wrote this last year amid the California Chrome hype around the Belmont, and it all still applies.


If the Triple Crown really mattered it would be on the tip of everyone’s tongue

Astonishing how little if any buzz the victory had.

Here’s what really happened at Belmont yesterday. One horse died, one was vanned off, and American Pharoah won the big race. That’s some crownless triple.


What the New York Times left out: More on the PETA investigation on the abuse of drugs in horse racing

All the news that’s fit to print? Or that fits? And then what about video?

This PETA-produced video fills in all the gaps left by the New York York Times story (3/20/14)  on horse racing and drugs.

Specifically, there are two main points–the use of thyroxine , and the use of a buzzing device that shocks horses into running faster–that were left out by the Times.

I did the voice-over for this video.

As previously disclosed, my wife is with PETA.


New York Times covered the investigation with this story on 3/20/14:




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Triple Crown hopes dashed as I’ll Have Another is scratched from Belmont; Let the speculation begin about trainer “Drug” O’Neill

It’s too bad we can’t take Doug O’Neill, the trainer for I’ll Have Another at face value. Tendonitis? I just think all the scrutiny given to the Belmont and the special detention barn made it impossible for the trainer to perform his “magic.” O’Neill’ has a record of using drugs to get horses to run through their ailments. It’s hard not to stop any further speculation now. 

The only real positive here  is that the horse was scratched in the end.

It’s not the happy ending O’Neill and the racing establishment needed and wanted. But it’s the right thing and the humane thing. I’ll Have Another is spared exposure to a breakdown.  In the long run that’s far better than any false glory that O’Neill may have been chasing.

Update: Farewell to HBO’s “Luck”

They won the race, but they lost the baby. And the show.

The first two are fake. But the show is real, as are the three  horse deaths sustained during the production of HBO’s “Luck.”

And that’s why last night’s “Luck” was far more than a “season” finale. It was the final final. it’s theme song was a dirge signalling the end of “Luck.”

Too bad. The show is really about the human interaction. The racing scenes were incidental. They could have easily been done in a way to prevent harm to the animals. The scenes that are more poignant are back at the stable anyway.  Yet pProducers were so quick to cancel  after PETA exposed the horse deaths. To satisfy PETA, the producers didn’t have to cancel. They merely had to assure that the animals would be safe.

Why couldn’t David Milch and Michael Mann do that? Instead, they went straight to the cancellation option.

If you saw the credits last night,  you may have noticed the disclaimer at the end was different.  It didn’t say “no animals were harmed.”

It simply said the American Humane Association “monitored” the production.

Exactly what this means isn’t clear, but whatever monitoring was done clearly wasn’t enough to assure safety for the horses on the show.

What’s amazing is that the horse racing industry continues to think “Luck” was good for business and continues to criticize PETA.

The organization that deserves the scrutiny is AHA.

But let’s not get hung up about the fake races in fictional drama.

As the New York Times reported yesterday, there are many more deaths and drama with real horses in real races.

The industry has found a way to bring cash to the races by bringing in casino-style gambling and slot machines to the tracks. But being flush with cash has not brought out the humane side of the horsemen. Instead, the race purses are so rich, even for the lowest quality horses, that greedy horsemen keep sending out their unfit stock to race for the money.

Unfit horses? Well, if not for the drugs.