Louisiana Exercise Rider Killed by Horse From Suspended Trainer’s Stable

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Jess Meche Jess Meche

Jess C. Meche, a 21-year-old exercise rider at Delta Downs racetrack in Vinton, La., died in a training accident on the evening of April 11.

Meche, from Church Point, La., was killed when the Quarter horse Czech Revolution fractured both front legs, throwing the rider to the ground. The horse landed on Meche’s head and upper body. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a statement from the Louisiana State Racing Commission.

Czech Revolution was owned by Craig Lager and trained by M. Heath Taylor, who in September 2012 was suspended five years and fined $10,000 by the Louisiana State Racing Commission for a dermorphin positive at Delta Downs last May 25. Dermorphin, also known as frog juice because it originally came from a secretion from South American tree frogs, is a powerful pain killer classified as a Class 1 drug by the Association of Racing Commissioners International. Class 1 drugs are considered performance enhancing substances and the most dangerous by the RCI and serve no therapeutic use in horses.

Taylor, a leading trainer in the Quarter horse business, obtained a stay of his Louisiana suspension, as did Alvin Smith Jr. (suspended 10 years); John Darrel Soileau (10 years); Alonzo Loya (five years); Kyi Lormand (three years); Anthony Agilar (six years); and Gonzalo Gonzales (three years). Only Keith Charles, among the eight trainers suspended in Louisiana for having a horse in their care test positive for dermorphin, accepted the penalty without filing an appeal.

Taylor ran four horses on the Delta Downs opening-night program Friday and has five entered Saturday night. He’s won 10 races from 26 starts in the U.S. this year after finishing seventh in the national standings in 2012, with 70 wins from 299 starts.

Quarter horse racetracks in Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and California have used their private property rights to exclude trainers with recent Class 1 violations, including the Louisiana trainers with dermorphin suspensions. The American Quarter Horse Association also announced sanctions against the trainers with Class 1 violations, suspending their AQHA memberships and disqualifying their horses from Racing Championships or year-end honors.

Louisiana racetracks have not followed suit. Boyd Gaming, a publicly traded company, owns Delta Downs and another Louisiana track, Evangeline Downs.

Horses that suffer fatalities in Louisiana do not undergo post-mortem examination or toxicology tests.

Meche, who went to Beau Chene High School and lived in Vinton, made a post on his Facebook page three nights before he died: “Well here’s goes to the DED nighttime training hours.”

An obituary said Meche is survived by his parents, Robert and Annette Faul Meche; three sisters, Robi Alaura Meche of Church Point, Myke Meche Broussard of Scott and Kasie Meche Thibodeaux of Duson; one brother, Robert “Duce” Meche II; paternal grandmother Beulah “Brun” Meche; maternal grandparents J.C. and Laura C. Faul; nieces and nephews Tanner Broussard, Charli Broussard, Zoey Meche, Trey Meche and Sebastyn Thibodeaux; as well as many aunts, uncles, cousins and horsemen everywhere.

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  • Greg Jones

    Really no words, except that my sincere condolences go out to the family and friends of Jess, 21 is too young to die in a completely avoidable tragic situation…

  • cindy

    And we wring our hands, shake our heads and wonder, why do these guys get stays, how different is this than Boston?

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      None at all (as the people are criminals) and a great post…ty…

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    That is heartbreaking and so unnecessary. One has to wonder if any of these trainers every feel guilt at the carnage.

    • Deedie

      No. They just feel greedy and want more money at the cost of humans’ and horses’ lives. Using banned substances is a losing situation for everybody. Poor rider, poor horse. Neither deserved what happened to them.

  • Aunt Bea

    Y’all heard it here first. As predicted. Sympathies to the Meche family.

  • carol kaye

    My heart goes out to the Meche family.
    These trainers that are capable of using drugs such as demorphine should be ruled off permanently. You can’t put morals into adults that don’t have any. Now a young life pays the price.

  • old horse lover

    And you wonder why horse racing is falling by the way side.No body gives a darn abouth the horses and everybody says well that’s ok they are just a horse.But people die from lack of caring also.When will these tracks start caring and make the owners as well as the trainers responsible for this.There should be no appeals and every track should keep horses and owners and trainers out if they have been banned from another track.May this young man rest in peace and I hope the trainer likes what he sees in the mirror everyday.And Delta downs should be sued for letting him race there.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      Sued???…How about LOCKED UP???…

    • misti

      So if somebody comes into your barn and gives your horse something to get a bad test then you should have to be the one that pays for that? That’s why there is an appeal system. people do set others up and unfortunately in our world on the good/bad sides people do things that are passed their better judgement.

      • kim

        only in louisiana….

        • jttf

          looks like two more horses went down at delta downs in the 7th race on may 1. the #10 special lawyer, trained by phares and ridden by guynes, took a few strides out of the gate and went down. the #4 jessachining trained by arey and ridden by lavergne went down hard just after the wire. 2 breakdowns in one race isnt good.

          • kim

            and if you notice, they didnt mention the second one went down and dead, in results, again only in louisiana..those jocks only got a broken collar bone and ribs, very lucky

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            That is terrible. These deadly breakdowns need to be investigated. And not just for drugs IN the horses’ systems. Bone density needs to be measured. Many drugs that horses are given reduce bone density, as does just standing in a stall 23 hours per day.

  • Randy

    Shame on Boyd gaming and Louisiana racing.

  • WILLIAM L. ANTON

    I HOPE THE STATE OF LOUSIANA AND THEIR HORSE RACING BOARD IS PROUD OF THEIR DO NOTHING ACTIONS WITH THESE TRAINERS. THE APPEAL IS FINE, JUST USE THEIR PRIVATE PROPERTY RIGHTS TO EXCLUDE THESE TRAINERS!! DOES ANYONE AGREE WITH ME OUT THEIR?? THE RACE TRACK OWNERS ONLY CARE ABOUT THE DOLLAR, I GUESS RIDERS ARE A DIME A DOZEN IN THEIR EYES. DISTASTEFUL.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      HELL YES!!!…ty…

  • Tinky

    “Horses that suffer fatalities in Louisiana do not undergo post-mortem examination or toxicology tests.”

    Enablers.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      Would you Xpect anything else from that crowd…ty…

  • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

    First and foremost….So sad Jess’s life was cut short and the Horse also…Bless their Souls…The Horse Racing business (No Integrity what so ever) in America is nothing but a Slaughter House in its own right…Can’t believe the FED/ESPN has not stepped up to the plate as the Carnage continues…Where is the Fed when we really need them???…These people are criminals and need to be locked up before anything is going to change!!!…Somebody somewhere better wake up real soon…

  • ziggypop

    Oh dear. Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

    When is Louisiana going to be boycotted by horsemen of all breeds and owners? These state has yet to do one damn things about Clay Ryder starving his horses and he continues to race in LA.

    I hope this family sues every organization and their BoDs for their complicity. No post mortem testing is appalling.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pinetime Stephanie Jones

    The headline says-Killed by a Horse” which is misleading-The young man was killed by the Louisiana racing system -all of it’s entities-My sympathies to the family and my sorrow for the horse who had no choice in the matter.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      Tell it like it is Baby!!!…ty…

    • Roisin

      Exactly !!! This whole situation is spiraling out of control and will finally implode on itself !

  • Ben Hogan

    Believe it or not ,it has been my observation over the years that more exercise riders get hurt than jockeys and most jockeys suffer more injuries during training than the actual riding of races.You can blame the racing managements if you want but the real blame lies with a society of lawyers that scare commissions and racetracks with lawsuits if they don’t allow these crooks to continue training when they are supposed to be ruled off for life.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      Wasn’t it William Shakespeare that told King William when the King was in a jam “the first thing you need to do is kill all the lawyers”…Oh Well!!!…

  • G Power

    There is one way to resolve this: SUE THEM FROM HERE TO KINGDOM COME. SUE THE LOUISIANA RACING COMMISSION & DELTA DOWNS FOR MILLIONS!! Oh, I realize it won’t bring the kid back, but lets he should not die

    • Abbers

      You got it!!!!

  • quit covering4them

    I have decided that the AQHA and HBPA divisions in this country are pro slaughterhouses in this country for a reason. They do not protect horses or people at the track or training centers so why would they care if they end up at the killer plant or in a grave!

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      I agree completely. The HBPA is all about protecting trainer interests. And to use the word BENEVOLENT in their title is a travesty. The AQHA appears only to be interested in registration fees. They encourage over breeding. A breeder is allowed to register 5 foals per year per mare – using surrogacy. Why on earth???

      • Mimi Hunter

        Go back and read the histories of the foundation horses in the AQHA. They were published in ‘Western Horseman’ in the ’50′s. There weren’t very many rules that they followed. Hell, they even raced foals ! True there was no rider. Mare were taken to the end of the track and the foals were let go to run to mamahorse. I wonder how many were hurt/killed. Everything about the horses was kept secret so they couldn’t be duplicated. And all through these ‘histories’ are the laments that this or that horse only produced this many offspring. I think the current registration rules reflect that feeling.

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          I’m not familiar with their racing lines, where I believe there is regular influx of TB blood, but the show lines are showing the effects of way too much inbreeding. Skin that won’t stay on (I forget what that’s called) and hyperkalemic periodic paralysis. And their focus on the past is ridiculous, I have met many QH people who rave that their horse has Three Bars in his/her pedigree – well he was foaled in 1940!! Probably half the horses go back to him.

          • Mimi Hunter

            No, you misunderstood me. The histories of the first 20 foundation stallions. The name AQHA states they all race – the Q stands for Quarter – the entire breed is basically for racing. ‘The fastest horse in the world for a quarter of a mile.’ I’m not familiar with the skin problem, but the HYPP is from intense inbreeding to a horse called ‘Impressive’ and he was inbred to Three Bars [the HYPP supposedly came from Impressive's dam. - from the Quarter Horse Journel about 20 years ago]. But all that is beside the point – There was so much inbreeding that I’m surprised the foals were born alive. They call it line breeding if it’s on the male side. LOL But that is the mentality that allows 5 foals per dam.

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            I may have misunderstood you, but the vast majority of Quarter Horses are not racehorses, they are pets, show horse, and cutting horses.

          • Mimi Hunter

            What they’re used for now is really beside the point. It’s the secret going-ons that are the point. It just is easier to find stuff on the quarter racing from the turn of the last century. Not much has changed

          • carapline

            HERDA is the skin condition; the affected horses lack the necessary connective tissue, so any injury can cause the skin the slough off. It is linked to Poco Bueno and one of his brothers, and possibly their sire, King. As for HYPP, I’m pretty sure that was a mutation that occurred with Impressive himself, I don’t believe that there are any horses that do not trace back to Impressive who are HYPP positive.

            As for the multiple foals per year, you can thank people with money and lawyers for that one. Owners sued the AQHA over the multiple foals per year, claiming that they were losing money by not being able to get AQHA registration for them. The claim was that it violated Texas free trade laws. There is no limit on the number of foals produced per year via ET.

            Anyway, just clearing some things up.

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            I am not a fan of the AQHA. They want foals – more $$ for them. They publicly support horse slaughter. They, as an organization, seem to care little about the horses themselves.

          • Mimi Hunter

            Like I said I didn’t know about the skin condition, HERDA, I’ve had several Poco Bueno and/or King horses, and I haven’t run into it. That was probably just luck. The HYPP was just getting recognized when I bought my first Impressive horse – and I was not impressed, got rid of her, and went to the older bloodlines. He was just getting named as the source, so they probably blamed his dam to avoid blaming Three Bars. The inbreeding they used [and use] is really spooky. Getting above 55 or 60% to one animal is risky enough – 85 to 90% is just plane not good. Last I heard you were allowed to register 5 foals per mare per year – has that gotten even worse?

      • Deedie

        And then they use slaughter houses as a disposal for foals that don’t turn out like they’d hoped. The AQHA is vat of horse haters and money mongers, mostly.

    • Abbers

      Horse slaughter is the convenient disposal method for the vast majority of horses that do not meet the unrealistic expectations of this disgusting organization (and others). The way it stands now slaughter has never ended despite the fact that (at this point an time) there are no horse slaughterhouses in the US. It is simply not conducted on US soil. Until the US prohibits not only horse slaughter but the transport of horses for slaughter nothing will change. Support the S.A.F.E act – if anything it will hold people accountable. That is the only way to curtail the incessant over-breeding problem. Over-breeding is what drives horse slaughter. Opening horse slaughter facilities in the US will only support it. Come July 2013 there may be no outlet for toxic NA horse meat in any case.

      • Deedie

        Yes! Write your reps and ask them to support the SAFE act which will protect the American food supply AND horses.

      • misti

        Backyard breeders that have no clue about horses contribute more grade(horses without registration papers)horses every year than the AQHA and The Jockey Club combined do not match those numbers. The biggest problem with horses now are irresponsible owners.

    • Deedie

      They don’t care about horses or people, actually; just themselves and their blood money.

  • voiceofreason

    My sincere condolences to the Meche family.

    I left the game. Not because of the investment, the unfair practices, or even expectations of getting a fair shake. I left because in the face of so much abuse and corruption, the leaders of the industry did (and continue) to do nothing. They are visionless fools, who’s lack of concern – and drive to fill their own pockets – has been laid bare for all to see… while others are left to pay the tremendous cost. The practice continues.

    Thousands have joined me… the ranks of the disenfranchised. The sport is suffering, we need to give it it’s final death blow. Then we rebuild. After we have purged the greedy, the cheats and the corrupt from our midst, with singular government control and leaderss with vision… we might have a fighting chance.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      I’ll say it one more time voice…Not until the clowns running this circus start throwing these slim balls ***** in JAIL nothing will change…

    • Janet delcastillo

      In 1992 I wrote the first edition of the book BACKYARD RACE HORSE. It is now in the fifth edition. In the book I teach how to train without drugs. It seems since “designer drugs” came around in the late seventies, trainers that came up around at that time dont seem to know how to train without medications. My hope has been, since 1992 , to educate owners about what they are paying for. The book walks the reader through cause and effect of short term fixes that have long term bad effects. Maybe, with racing so threatened, some will start to listen.Recently, the Jockey Club agreed to list the book on their site. Frankly, though I have tried for years to form a united front with horsemens associations and race tracks, most are very short sighted and fragmented. Can those of us who care make a difference? I love Racing and I love the horses…I hope we can survive! If respected, a horse can race for years. As a trainer, one must “listen” to the horse and train when he is right and rest him when he needs it. It is really easy if you know your horse!
      My goal is to bring caring owners and competent trainers into the business who will play by the rules and respect the horse and the riders!

      • Roisin

        You are so right and so smart. Your book is amazing.
        The current situation is so bad for racing and so sad for the horses.You use the word “respect” which I believe is key in the current situation. There is no respect not only for the horse but for the sport, the rules, the truth, the jockeys, the fans and more.
        Too many trainers and owners are in the the sport for the sake of money and ego alone. And too few trainers are true horsemen.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Luis-E-Astacio/1437755043 Luis E Astacio

    Our condolences to all the family & friends

  • Mimi Hunter

    Pain is a signal that something is wrong. Kill the pain and you kill the signal – and in horseracing that seems to mean that someone dies. Usually, it is the horse, which is bad enough, but all too often it is whoever is on the horse at the time. I call that negligent homicide, no matter which way you cut it, and reckless endanderment if no human dies. Or even depraved indifference. The trainers who play games with the meds only care about one thing – that little check in the win column. And quite frankly, any racetrack that allows this crap to go on, is just as guilty and should be included in any charges. JMHO

  • Big Red

    The ultimate crime in racing has been commited here.
    First, the casino’s that fund LA racing should IMMEDIATELY stop all funding to their racing operations until something drastic is done to clean up racing in the state.
    Second, the casino’s AND tracks in LA should make sure the family of this rider is compensated.
    Third, Joe Drape – are you out there ???? We need your help in exposing this crime and make sure the criminals (including the LA racing commission and the trainer) are dealt with.

    • Roisin

      This is where some good investigative reporter could do some good. Are there any left ?? How about the New York Times stepping in. Maybe an expose might do some good even in these jaded times.

  • Memories of Puchi

    Quite a contrast to the situation in England where Al Zarooni was swiftly dealt justice AND the horses involved were banned for 6 months. No appeals/stays.

    • peewee

      no matter what they do the horse are the ones that suffer

      • Matt Clarke

        Are you really comparing the horses in England which by the way are certainly not “suffering” to the death of a vibrant young human being? Shame.

        • Roisin

          How many riders and how many horses have to die before this business is exposed for what it is, or has become: a “sport” hijacked by crooks, thugs and cheats where the loss of human as well as animal life is treated with indifference at all levels….

          • Matt Clarke

            Spin it however you wish, I stand by my comment. Comparing the “suffering” horses at Moulton Park with the death of a rider is simply sickening.

          • Abbers

            The mere fact that one begets the other is the point here. No one is saying this young man’s life is any less or equal to the fate of the horses. It is a disgraceful industry predicated on greed and needs to be cleaned up for both the horses and those that may and do fall prey to the injustice of it all. Had this horse been trained and raced by a trainer/owner with integrity and ethics this tragic incident would have been averted. The root of all evil in the way NA racing is conducted these days is the total dismissal of anything that remotely represents accountability and responsibility. Everything and anything at all costs – the bottom line is more important than life itself – human and horse alike.

          • Roisin

            Where’s the spin ? I’m not into spin. And, I also stand by what I said. Yes, I do know it is a dangerous occupation and that is why EVERY breakdown should be thoroughly investigated and trainers who drug horses should be out of the business, period.

          • kim

            I can t agree more!

  • NeedCahones

    All horses should be tested after every race. Positives result in the horses suspension and the trainers suspension. Only then will the sport start to clean up this mess. Racing will hurt for a
    Couple of years with short fields. But that is better than the alternative, which will be a handful of tracks left and an almost non existent fan base. The first track to start full testing and taking a strong stance against positive drug tests will thrive. They will not need to reduce takeout, as the bettors will gravitate towards a product that they will feel gives them an honest chance.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      I agree.

    • RayPaulick

      Testing every horse after every race would be futile and an enormous waste of funding. Put the money into stable area security, surveillance cameras, out-of-competition testing, and research to help combat the chemical warfare that is going on.

      • Mimi Hunter

        I think I would be inclined to test every horse entered in a race from a trainer/stable where charges have been filed. I think the private property thing could be used to make it uncomfortable for the trainers in question to stay there. Something like a heavy money penalty put into escrow to be refunded if charges are unfounded, but forfitted if guilty/fined.suspended, and kept in escrow if appeals are filed. And I would publish the list [which probably can't be done]. Something really should be done.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        I don’t think it would be futile, I think a lot of cheating would be discovered if there was no notice that it was going to happen, and it would certainly be a deterrent. As for security cameras, I don’t think they will help at all, or more security. Out of competition testing would be the best, especially if it was combined with better testing.

      • quit covering4them

        and keep the vets off the backstretch once Lasix is given or have a 3rd party give Lasix and keep them off the grounds during the races with exception for emergency treatments. If they kept the race day treatments to just Lasix where I race, all the vets here would pack up and leave, they are at their busiest from 4 hrs. out to last call to paddock. All the while the 3 investigators ride around on one golf cart and security all gathers in a circle on their golf carts and bulls***!

        • Anonymous

          Tampa tried to do just that. But the state regulators said they can’t keep the private vets out on race day. What do you make of that? Tampa wanted to administer the LASIK shots, and florida said no. Unbelievable.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        The fact is, no matter how many people are caught, if punishment remains non-existent, what’s the point? If there was real punishment for offenders we wouldn’t have to change much, if anything.

      • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

        A*******MEN!!!…SAY IT AGAIN BROTHER!!!…ty…

  • Richard C

    These outposts seemingly disregard any steps to clean things up…..and – sorry to inform the track owners in the top bracket of the USA racing scene — you are only as good as the weakest link and these folks are taking you down, too.

  • betterthannothing

    Dr. Tom David:

    (former private racetrack veterinarian in Louisiana & Equine Medical Director, Louisiana Racing Commission):

    PLEASE, expose the cruelty, the drugs, the corruption, the ugliness and deaths inside Louisiana racing. Evangelines Downs and Delta Downs are two of the most lethal tracks in the country.

    I hope that the FBI gets involved and justice is served hard, far and wide for Jess C. Meche, Czech Revolution and other victims.

  • ROISIN

    “Horses that suffer fatalities in Louisana do not undergo post-mortem examination or toxicology tests”.This is one more compelling reason for a national commission with uniform rules. So a young exercise rider is killed when a horse trained by a trainer who is appealing a diabolical drug positive snaps both front legs and the horse will not even be tested ! This is nothing short of outrageous. The family should demand an investigation including tests on the horse. Failing that they should go public… people need to know what is going on.

  • Burger King Heath

    Boycott Boyd Gaming and Louisiana racing. It’s pretty easy to do. They have no balls.

  • Run Clean

    Condolences to the Meche family. Things like this shouldn’t happen. It may very well have been an accident, but I feel that they should at least do an autopsy and a toxicology report on the horse considering there was a death in such a tragic event.

    Thanks to Heath and the LRC for making us look like crap. I hope you are as embarrassed as I am.

  • Beachy

    Not exactly Britain or Hong Kong, is it? Condolences to Mr. Meche’s family and also to anyone who loved Czech Revolution, whom I assume also lost his life. The whole thing is appalling, and there are many ways in which Louisiana, especially when it comes to horse care and racing regulations, should be utterly ashamed of itself.

    • Roisin

      Some people have no shame because there is a little thing called conscience that is either not functioning proprely or may be missing entirely .

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      Ashamed???…One more time…Those involved should be Locked Up…Period…

  • onlythebest

    First let me say, my heart goes out to the family and friends of this young man. I also feel incredible sadness for the loss of this horses life. I do not however, feel any sorrow for the owner and trainer as they knew ahead of time what the situation was. Now, I will show my ignorance by asking what would happen if no one bet any horses or even races where this trainer/owner AND the one from Tampa that has moved back to NJ is involved? Does the money(or lack of) leave more of an impression farther up the line?
    Also, didn’t the staff boycott Michael Gill because they felt his horses were unsafe? Maybe the riders/vets/track officials need to get organized. Can’t someone provide email address so we can let management/local government know how we feel. Can’t believe no post was done. Since charges were brought against this trainer shouldn’t they be testing ALL his horses? Does anyone out there know how to start a petition and would Ray post a link if there was one?

  • jttf

    wasnt heath taylor the trainer who won the $2 million all american derby with a horse that was overdosed on caffeine ? he was disqualified and then took it to court and got the ruling overturned. this is why these guys are called great trainers. are the jockeys going to do something about these juice trainers ? they were the only ones that stopped michael gill. the other horsemen dont give a darn.

    • betterthannothing

      Jockeys have the right to demand serious reforms for their own safety. Safety equipment and insurance don’t prevent abuse, doping and endangerment. They must demand reforms to prevent abuse and injury to begin with including by placing all horses under constant surveillance and controlling what substances they get. If jockeys knew the physical condition and medical records of horses, what drugs they are on to train and race, why some horses don’t work out or race regularly or are being dropped, most jockeys would be too scared to ride and the industry would be forced to change very quickly.

    • misti

      his There was not an “overdose” of caffeine given. it was a minimal trace amount that wouldn’t affect the horses performance. New Mexico has a ZERO tolerance when it comes to caffeine use. the horses samples could have had a contamination from the people who collected it. plus it got overturned. this trainers record is near perfect when you do real research. the horse that got the bad test was and still is a runner.

      • jttf

        misti, i just asked a question about a positive i recalled from a race that happened years ago. here is the next question. so why does a trainer with his grade 1 success need to use frog morphine ? is this how got grade 1 success ? dont you just love the appeal process. if they figured out the appeal in less than 2 weeks. they could have saved a human life and a horse.

        • misti

          I do not like the appeal system. I do not understand why trainers would give that crap. but who’s to say that someone didn’t set them up? Or the owner came in and gave/told vets to give such a med to their horse. dont you find it odd that only ONE of his horses got a positive for that med? Don’t you think that if that trainer actually did get a positive for that med that he would NOT use it again? Why anyone would use it is beyond me but ask yourself who would use such a powerful drug on a training workout? I’ve been in the racing business for over 20 yrs and I’ve never received any medication violations. I also know Heath pretty well and I do NOT believe he used this on that horse.

  • betterthannothing

    Surveillance cameras, tracking of all racing horses, controlling and video-taping the administration of all meds, transparent equine medical records are best to PREVENT the abuse of horses, the endangerment of horses and riders and cheating.

    Other reforms are needed including off-competition soundness monitoring and drug testing, mandated rest and retirement of horses as needed, swift and heavy fines and bans for abusers and cheaters–including owners, trainers, assistants and vets– and keeping them far away from race horses, a whistle-blower system, the responsible distribution of casino dollars to promote equine welfare and safety, honest, quality racing.

    • Roisin

      All measures sound very good but if enforcement and follow through is left up to individual racing commissions the measures would not mean much in terms of being just and effective. A national commission with real power and integrity may make the difference. Also, is there any “watchdog” group in the horse industry ? That could be an effective tool for the many good people in the industry at all levels as well as other interested parties.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        I agree. Agreement and uniformity regarding the rules, and true enforcement is the only thing which has any hope of cleaning up racing.

      • betterthannothing

        Yes, we need a national racing commission to create and enforce tough uniform rules to protect horses, riders, honest horsemen and horseplayers; screen, hire, place and transfer racing officials; greatly reduce the roll played by misguided, underfunded, conflicted or corrupted state racing commissions.

        Top priority: prevention of abuse, injury and death of race horses because no organization with authority to mandate reforms exists purely to protect them.

  • Abby

    disgraceful owner,trainer(s) so very sorry for young Jess’s family >;

  • mary

    The owner will just drop his riders body the same place he dumps his raced out 4 yr olds. What a terrible industry. They only care about their pockets and the cash that is feeding them

  • Kris

    21 years old…..an absolute tragedy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kate.d.corcoran Kate Downey Corcoran

    What a tragedy… and what a disgrace American racing has become. Al Zarooni gets 8 years and this guy kills a man. And a horse. Thanks Ray, for sharing this story… RIP Jess Meche and Czech Revolution. So sad.

  • Eachai

    It seems that this company needs a Class I lawsuit to break it down.

    • ROISIN

      Yes it does and also a smart gutsy attorney who will take on the people and money involved in this crooked subcultre.

  • JanWindsong

    Why no tests for horses? Oh well, another one bites the dust. Don’t be stupid, test them. How does a horse break both front legs that has been in training? What sort of poppycock is going on besides abuse and maybe pain killers, steroids, lack of proper nutrition, meth? Investigate and prosecute. Let’s see you actually run your track with zero tolerance? Come on, ;et’s see what you got.

  • TrishaS

    all horse fatalities should be examined to find out what happened as well as any drugs use from the trainers. Even tho I breed/raise/race TBs, I am getting to the point of not even wanting to watch horse racing because the fear of a trainer doping their horses so much that they break down at the track in front of me. my husband is a trainer & we would never think of racing our horses with any injuries or doping..Theses horses have feelings …These trainers mentioned in this article should be charged with murder/manslaughter for both rider & horse.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      I agree. And bone density should be measured Many drugs demineralize bone – which in IMO is why Eight Belles broke down. Everyone defends themselves by saying they didn’t do anything WRONG. What they should say is they didn’t (perhaps) anything ILLEGAL. And that is not the same.

  • daoddsman

    That poor young man…God bless you

  • magnum

    louisiana hasnt followed suit because louisiana is like not the real world

  • magnum

    sounds like a great lawsuit, those casino companys have alot of $$$$$ to give away, i hope the meche family gets plenty

  • http://www.facebook.com/ben.vandenbrink.52 Ben van den Brink

    The Racing Commission’s legal mandate is the forceful and honest statewide control of horse racing for the public health, safety, and welfare by safeguarding the citizens of Louisiana against corrupt, incompetent, dishonest and unprincipled horse racing practices.

    • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

      There are a bunch of slime ball people involved in Horse racing top to bottom coast to coast that should be in PRISION…PERIOD…

  • Rachel

    Does frog juice affect calcium and magnesium levels in blood serum like some legal same day meds? Or is it just a horrific pain killer used in adjunct with the aforementioned legal PED’s.

  • Anonymous

    Absolutely sickening. Excercise riders and jockeys need to take charge and refuse to ride any of these horses for these criminals.Obviously nobody else is going to take charge.The riders need to
    get together as say enough is enough. Nobody else has their back.

  • In tears

    To the person who made the remark on AQHA being pro slaughter. YOU ARE RIGHT. I had a nasty conversation with their home office on the subject of slaughter. It is very simple horses die, more horses are born. Which is more money for regerstering the horse with the association. As for the blind eye in Lousiniana. This is just another example of abuse, cruelty, greed and lives are lost.
    Look at the picture of the nice young man, twenty one years old and he lost his life. My heart felt sympathy for the young man and the loss of a good horse.

  • old horse lover

    Someone in Louisianna needs to go to the media there and put it out there for the state to see and know what is going on at that track.What if that had been in a race?How many horses and jockeys could have met the same fate?Just too sad and scary to think about.The track should be shut down by what ever Authority in that state who has the ability to so.

  • In tears

    Please do not miss judge a good Quarter horse. It is not the horses fault with what is happening. They have no say in the matter as does any horse. As for Three Bars I have had five of them with no problems. They babysat my kids along with the great Skipper W line and the great Bert horse for which I would die for to own another. What they do to any race horse in racing is deplorable. But take a big look at what they do to these horses in western pleasure classes to keep their heads down and get slow movement at all gates. They know how to ruin a horse in a heart beat cause some nuckle head did something different and a judge “pinned him”. And a fix must be put on the horse in record time cause the owner does not want to wait a year or spend a lot of money to get it done right. SOUND FAMILAR????????? I have spent a life time with quarter horses and will till I die. But I no longer show because of what they do to the horses. But I do get ruined horses. That make great trail horses once you let them be a horse again. Oh , I raised and trained three world reserve champions. I tried throughbred racing when it hit Pa, I backed out when I realized how bad drugging and mortatilty rate is. Horses are and can be a good sport and recreation if we could figure out how to liminate abuse and loathsome people who could care less about a life and pain they inflect on a animal who can not defend themselves. Until all states are on the same page on drug and animal abuse I can’t see a solution. Animals must depend on small groups that fight for them and some of them are only intersted in the money. I have one living near me that knows how to work the system. New truck, horse trailer, personal van, house addition, furniture, land, dontations from Racael Ray (oops) The only partial solution is less breeding. But I think Key is all states must be encouraged work together with the same rules on drugging

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      I mentioned Three Bars with no intent of faulting him. My point was the way people refer to horses 5,6, or 7 generations out from him with the same excitement I would use if I had horse who was BY Storm Cat. There are likely over 60 other horses in that QH pedigree – all of whom supplied genetic material – Three Bars was just one of many at this point in time. It’s like me saying I have a Nasullah. So what? It’s virtually meaningless. I have 7 TB’s and they all have Nasrullah in their pedigrees.

      As for the Quarter Horse, it started as a great breed and some blooodlines have been virtually ruined by fad breeding. It is incredibly painful to watch even 3 minutes of a western pleasure class. Cutting horses are not as affected. There is much cruelty done to horses wherever competition is involved. I see no solution either. The problem is huge and people who think it’s fixable if we just do away with slaughter are not thinking it through. Even if EVERY single racehorse lived and retired sound, there is no way the horse community can absorb the number of retired racehorses, foals born, and horses that people want to sell. There are just too many.

      I am not pro-slaughter, but do the math. In 2010 over 100,000 horses were sent to slaughter from the United States. Even if that number was used to include all retired racehorses, as well as all slaughtered horses, it doesn’t take a genius to figure that over the course of 15 years (and horses live longer than that) that’s 1.5 million UNWANTED horses. How are they going to fit into a society that is already glutted.

      The problem is NOT simple.

      • Roisin

        I agree the “problem” is not simple. However the “problem” is man made from start to finish. Overbreeding is the crux of the matter. After all, these horses just don’t appear they are bred by people for various reasons, mainly profit. So what is to be done ? Do we throw up our hands and look or walk away ?? Some how things need to change but there will be no change unless the profit drops out of the business or “freedom” to breed as many horses as one sees fit is curtailed, etc.

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          Racing is not the biggest breeder or “consumer” of horses. According to the American Horse Council, there are currently 9.2 million horses in the US. http://www.horsecouncil.org/national-economic-impact-us-horse-industry

          Racing has 844K of those. According to the Jockey Club there were 62K starters in 2010, down 23% from 1990. And the chart shows a steady line of decrease.
          http://www.jockeyclub.com/resources/selected_exhibits_1.pdf

          So the TB industry needs to replace some of those 62K starters as some get old and retire, some retire early due to lack of performance, and some die.

          The annual foal crop has been under 25K for the past 2 years. TB over breeding is NOT the problem.

          • Roisin

            Yes, Thoroughbreds are not the main ” problem” number wise. However, their numbers in terms of “unwanted” horses contributes to the overall problem even though it may be the lesser of the evils. The market driven response in terms of breeding is an issue because the high numbers bred in good times are here during the bad times…

            People in the business look the other way when it comes to what is to be done with the horse with nowhere to go. It is not nascar, they are not inanimate objects !! These are living creatures bred for specific purposes and when they do not live up to expectatios or they no longer make money, etc, then lets send them to slaughter en masse !! This is a high price when it comes to animal suffering not to mention human integrity.

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            I personally have never met a trainer who sends horses to slaughter. Many try to find them homes. At Suffolk they post a large number of horses on C,A.N.T.E.R. Many horses are given away. I really don’t see racing as filled with people who don’t care if horse goes to slaughter or not. I’m sure there are some that don’t care. Even the slaughter buyers – back in the day – didn’t take or sell all the horses for slaughter. They were often horse dealers and would try and sell the sound ones. I have met and seen trainers cry when a horse had to be put down.

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          Had to shut off the water and put horses in – but point was that the TB breeding industry is market driven and therefore mostly self-regulating. Fewer races, fewer starters Fewer races, less demand for horses, Less demand, reduced sales. Reduced sales, reduced breeding. Several years ago the foal crop was over 35K, and as racing lagged, fewer foals were born.

        • kim

          go back to one baby per mare a year

          • 7cents

            All TBs ARE 1 baby per mare. QHs are up to 5 per year. Not sure about STBs. Think Arabs are doing embryo, too?

          • kim

            qh can have as many as they want per year per horse,crazy,

    • Roisin

      The horse business will never clean itself up. It will take a powerful national commission with absolute integrity. I believe the good people at all levels in the industry as well as the solid rescues, etc, need to organize under strong leadership to chronicle all that is wrong, a real expose. The goal being to gain public support as well as support of people in power . The only way bad stuff happens or continues to happen is because good people do nothing ! There are many smart capable people that can and should organize.

    • Miss the magic

      Just think Tears what they do to so called pleasure horses is just for a ribbon, add money and there is no limit to the abuse.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paula-Esposito/100001620845560 Paula Esposito

    Ray, DRF states that the horse died instantaneously from a heart attack or aneurysm(in their quote of Taylor the trainer). What is the real story here and why did it take from April 11 to April 27 (DRF April 28) to have this story put out there?

    • RayPaulick

      Here is the email I received from the Louisiana State Racing Commission in response to my questions about this tragedy:

      “At Delta Downs on 4/11/13, during an evening workout session, exercise rider Jess C. Meche was aboard Quarter Horse Czech Revolution owned by Craig Lager, Trainer M. Heath Taylor. The horse suffered a catastrophic breakdown (fractured both front legs), fell and landed on Jess Meche’s head and upper body. He was pronounced at the scene.”

      There was no racing going on at the time at Delta Downs, so it’s no fault of DRF or anyone else that the death of young Mr. Meche was not picked up sooner.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Paula-Esposito/100001620845560 Paula Esposito

        Thank you for that, and I would imagine that if the horse did suffer catastrophic breakdowns in both front legs that Mr. Taylor would not want to publicize that, in light of his problems.

        Thank you for replying. I looked at Mr. Meche’s Facebook page and what a shame, he certainly seemed to live life to the fullest. Fun lovin’ kid.

  • Beachy

    And I see that Mr. Paulick tweets that Taylor won the first three races this evening. What an interesting system–use frog juice, get a 5-year suspension, lawyer up, stay the suspension, and still enter horses and earn money. And will Mr. Meche’s family see a dime? Ugh…big prayers…

  • http://twitter.com/Bellwether4U Bellwether

    There are a bunch of slime ball people involved in Horse racing top to bottom coast to coast that should be in PRISON are on their way there…PERIOD…

  • magnum

    if you had ever worked in louisiana you would know that horse racing from the commision and the stewards on down are from another planet, case closed

  • misti

    Delta has one of the deepest, sandy surfaces, when it gets wet it packs heavily, and I never did like it there when I trained. I saw many horses breakdown there over short periods of time. The problem isn’t always the trainers. Heath has a near impeccable record off and on the track. he’s a very dedicated horseman and friend. I can’t fathom the idea of giving a horse demorphin but all jokes aside the horse that got the bad test wouldn’t even need that stuff. He’s a runner before and after the “bad test.” Honestly if the track would piss test owners, trainers, etc…there would only be a few people left. The real world drug tests people for employment…how about drug testing some of these guys??? You know if they do illegal drugs you can only imagine what they would give a horse.

  • Scott

    Taylor belongs in prison and until the “sport” takes an action that suits this POS it will continue down the proverbial toilet.

  • Robi Meche

    This story is wrong, this is my brother and this is not how it happend

    • ginger2000

      How did it happen?

  • SLW

    Because they race at night at Delta. It is to let the young horses get accustomed to the lights and the shadows they cast.

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