Baffert: ‘Nothing lower than the death of a horse’

  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X


  • click above & share!
    X
  • click above & share!
    X

Trainer Bob Baffert issued the following statement in the wake of the fatal injury suffered by Tweebster, a Grade 2-placed 5-year-old Tapit gelding who fractured his sesamoids while pulling up after a fifth-place finish as the favorite in a $12,500 claiming race at Santa Anita Park on Sunday. Tweebster, owned by Kaleem Shah Inc. and trained by Baffert, finishing fourth while running for a $40,000 claiming price in his prior start in October, the first time the earner of $246,968 carried a claiming tag. Purchased for $300,000 at the 2009 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training, Tweebster won 3-of-22 starts, with second-place finishes in a pair of Grade 2 events in 2011, the San Fernando and Strub Stakes.

Baffert’s statement:

“We all know racing is a sport of extreme highs and lows, and there is nothing lower than the death of a horse. When the public’s perception is that you are somehow responsible it makes the pain all the greater. Not only am I distressed over the death of this tough, gallant horse, I am deeply troubled by the comments on social media.  They insinuate Tweebster’s death was a result of my dropping him down for a $12,500 claiming tag, suggesting the horse was unsound and I was merely trying to get rid of him.

“I respect and fully appreciate the sensitivity regarding the well being of animals, so I feel I owe it to everyone to explain the events that led to Tweebster’s injury and subsequent death.

“As is required, Tweebster was thoroughly examined by the state veterinarian yesterday morning and found to be perfectly sound going into the race.  The decision to run him in this particular race was not based on a lack of soundness, but rather a lack of races available for him at higher claiming prices. Tweebster was healthy and happy.  I felt he was in need of a confidence booster and thought this would be an easy spot for him to get it. I understand a severe drop in class can indicate a horse is unsound, but I assure you that was not the case with Tweebster.  Just before the race, heavy rain and hail poured down, making the track  more muddy and heavier.  The horse was moving great and his jockey says he felt comfortable throughout the race.  It wasn’t until after the finish that Martin felt him take a bad step.  We brought him back to the barn in hopes of saving him, but knew quickly that wasn’t going to be the case.

“I have run horses at lower levels in the past and seen them regain their old form by getting their confidence back.  Sometimes I have had the horses claimed from me in the process and they have gone on to win stakes and allowance races for other owners and trainers.  I realize that is part of the claiming game.  

“The death of any horse on the racetrack is hard to accept.  When that horse is one who you saw and took care of everyday, the pain is physically gut wrenching .  While I realize some people are going to think what they want, I want to express my feelings and deepest regret over the loss of a horse for whom I had a great deal of affection.”

New to the Paulick Report? Click here to sign up for our daily email newsletter to keep up on this and other stories happening in the Thoroughbred industry
  • http://twitter.com/BigSkyEquine SaratogaSid

    Let’s see the attending veterinary records on the horse, Tweebster, please. Just how many injections did the horse receive after passing the entry box? Permissive medication facilitates this sort of doping and dropping that breaks many horses down. The method to manage these indiscretions is to ban any and all medications after a horse in entered. Clean running horses run much more safely than heavily medicated horses.

    • PWK

      Yes, that would tell how honest Baffert’s statement is. If they have been injecting that ankle then soundness would certainly be the reason for the drop. It does seem awfully odd that the horse couldn’t win for 40 (he was certainly off form) and then got dropped to 12,500 where he couldn’t win either.

    • Wallace B.

      Please see the reply I just posted to VOICEOFREASONS call for vet records…

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      Bless U Sid…

  • http://twitter.com/BigSkyEquine SaratogaSid

    Let’s see the attending veterinary records on the horse, Tweebster, please. Just how many injections did the horse receive after passing the entry box? Permissive medication facilitates this sort of doping and dropping that breaks many horses down. The method to manage these indiscretions is to ban any and all medications after a horse in entered. Clean running horses run much more safely than heavily medicated horses.

  • ITPhasbeenblocked

    There is a 25K clm and an optional 40K in book for Jan 6….also a 16K on Jan 5

    So the lack of races available at higher claiming prices is BS. 

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      “THE GAME” needs to stop all the BS as it has a TON of it hung on it…”LIFE AT TEN” anyone???…ty so much for the info ITPhasbeenblocked…ty…

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      ty Csun for the answer to my question above…ZERO CLAIMS on him!!!…that says a TON…ty again…

  • ITPhasbeenblocked

    There is a 25K clm and an optional 40K in book for Jan 6….also a 16K on Jan 5

    So the lack of races available at higher claiming prices is BS. 

  • PWK

    Yes, that would tell how honest Baffert’s statement is. If they have been injecting that ankle then soundness would certainly be the reason for the drop. It does seem awfully odd that the horse couldn’t win for 40 (he was certainly off form) and then got dropped to 12,500 where he couldn’t win either.

  • 1955racingfan

    I really want to believe that these older geldings & mares who have marginal records are cared about the same as the big-money horses in the barn, I really do.  And I do respect Baffert as a trainer….I think he really is a largely ethical guy who plays it as straight as he can.  But human nature being what it is, and having been around horses most of my life, and seeing just how the damaged-goods humans are that are around them, I tend to believe that shortcuts & snap decisions are often made that are not in the best interests of the horses but maybe are in the best interests of other parties.  No insult intended to Baffert, this is a blanket observation.

  • 1955racingfan

    I really want to believe that these older geldings & mares who have marginal records are cared about the same as the big-money horses in the barn, I really do.  And I do respect Baffert as a trainer….I think he really is a largely ethical guy who plays it as straight as he can.  But human nature being what it is, and having been around horses most of my life, and seeing just how the damaged-goods humans are that are around them, I tend to believe that shortcuts & snap decisions are often made that are not in the best interests of the horses but maybe are in the best interests of other parties.  No insult intended to Baffert, this is a blanket observation.

  • Lindleypaxtonbarden

    I’m sorry, but Tweebster should have gotten his confidence-boosting from some young girl who wanted him as her first horse . . .

    • Smartakita

      Pie in the sky. Like a little girl needs a racehorse for a first horse.

      • Khambat

        Pie in the sky. Like horse racing needs another black eye.

      • Lindleypaxtonbarden

        A little girl needs a racehorse for a first horse like horse racing needs another black eye like Tweebster needs(ed) a $12,500 claiming race for a confidence booster like a fish needs a bicycle . . . get it NOW?

      • NY Owner

        Sorry you are off base here Smartakita.  OTTBs, especially geldings often make great first horses for many kids with reschooling and proper training for horse and child.  4-H, pony club and local shows are full of them leading happy useful lives.  Most of the ones I’ve retired are doing just that today. 

        • Ole Bob Bowers

          I couldn’t agree more NY Owner! It’s not allowing the ‘liked’ to show, but I def liked!

        • giftoffaith

           I’m with you on that. My retirees are kittens, even the mare. They just need off the high energy feeds and such. I’ll not point the finger at what I’m not sure of,and I only hope Mr. Baffert is being truthful, I know, you all think I’m naive, but I just hope. Anyway, I’m sure Tweebster would have made a great first horse for anyone. Our equine athletes need a chance to live out their lives in second careers or with people who just want to be around them. I don’t ride much, but is great therapy to me to tend to their stalls and their grooming.

      • easygoer8

        C’mon ……there are other riders, experienced riders, who Tweebster would have been suitable for. . . why say a little girl dreaming of her first horse?

      • Krislynnmonty

        Just want to say that my first horse is a 4 year old off track thoroughbred.  There is nothing wrong with retraining an OTTB for another discipline.  I have three children, 4, 5 and 9 and everyone of my children climb on the back of my OTTB and ride him!  I totally trust him with my kids.  He is the kindest and most gentle horse.  Granted not every OTTB would be suitable for an adolescent, but lets not lump them all in the same category. Lumping them in the same category is like saying all big dogs are bad…which is so not true.  Why not focus on the issue at hand…which is Tweebster.  Could Tweebster have made a great horse for a young rider????  I guess we will never know.  Was dropping him down to 12,500 claim race a good move?  Hindsight shows us it was not.  Could we have prevented him from taking a bad step, who knows.  Was he completely sound, it doesn’t seem like he was.  But again we will never know.  What we do know is that Tweebster’s death was a terrible tragedy and we ALL wish it hadn’t happened!

    • Rose

       you are so right  on !!!

  • Lindleypaxtonbarden

    I’m sorry, but Tweebster should have gotten his confidence-boosting from some young girl who wanted him as her first horse . . .

  • Smartakita

    Pie in the sky. Like a little girl needs a racehorse for a first horse.

  • Thevoiceoftruth69

    Release the vet records, Bob. Then everyone can draw their own conclusions on the meds this horse received in the time leading up to the race.

    • Wallace B.

      Remeber, “Voice…”   when horses like this have their ankles ( or anything else ), injected multiple times, as was probably the case here, the vet, as instructed, almost always writes down the name of another horse in the stable, that has the same owner…. so there is rarely an accurate paper trail…. this is a standard procedure for trainers and vets….

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      AMEN!!!…ty…

  • Thevoiceoftruth69

    Release the vet records, Bob. Then everyone can draw their own conclusions on the meds this horse received in the time leading up to the race.

  • Equine Paparazzi

    huh?…i like the way you guys set yourselves up as the jury and the judge. A horse breaks down and the trainer is automatically a POS regardless of his track record…and Baffert’s record in this regard is as good as Drydale’s and Mandella’s, etc. 
    but you’re all way smarter than Bob Baffert and you all treat your horses way better than he does…depsite the fact you have probably never stepped one foot in his barn you feel ok to take potshots.

    Face it it is horse racing and if they ran on cotton candy some would still break down…it doesn’t mean every horse that breaks down has a trainer that is reckless with his horses’ well being…..

    this website has become a habitat for grouches….

    • Federico

      Although I wouldn’t think about betting a horse under these circumstances (suspicious drop off long layoff with spotty worktab) it seems ridiculous to think that someone like the average horseplayer (me) could have ANY clue as to whether this horse was sound or not.  It’s more of a guess that he won’t run one of his “good” races or perhaps as well as he had before today.  He obviously passed the pre-race vet inspection, and Martin Garcia (and his agent) must not have been concerned since they’re in and around Baffert’s barn EVERY day and accepted the mount.  That should mean something.

      • Guest

         “Pre-race inspection” at our track involves jogging the horse halfway down the shedrow…not exactly the most thorough way to evaluate soundness.  And Garcia would not burn his bridges–Baffert is his sugar daddy…he probably just figured he would get him home (taking it easy if necessary) and that would be that…But no way that this pattern doesn’t make you wonder. 

    • Ron Crookham

      Well said Equine, I am in complete agreement. Not to be callous but for those of you that can’t handle the reality of the sport good or bad,find something else to occupy your valuable time. Unfortunately, this sport is more heartache than happiness.

      • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

        “This sport (maybe more of a business like college football) is more heartache than happiness”…So true because a bunch (not all by any means) of humans involved in it make it that way as they love $$$ more than the Horses…Treat the Animals fair first & foremost in 2013…Please & ty…

      • easygoer8

        Something is wrong with a sport when it has “more heartache than happiness”, Ron.  It didn’t used to be that way.  The loss of Tweebster is not one that I will easily forget and I do hope that BB is reading all these posts in reaction to his canned statement.

    • Khansen1

      No kidding….. i think ray and crew need to start some moderation, it’s turning into nothing but (to coin an old usenet term) a bunch of “troll’s” (folks that comment just for the sake of commenting.to spin people up). It’s always a sad barn day when a horsse gets injurred. For people to instantly start comdemnation and asmuptions is assinine ….

      • RayPaulick

        Thank you. We will be more stringent in deleting comments from people who have nothing good to say and blocking them from further comments.

        • Catonie

          Thanks, Ray. That seems like a very good idea. I’ve read comments from people over the years who haven’t CLUE as to what may or may not have happened, but are perfectly willing to run down any human that had anything to do with the horse. I had race horses for many years and stallions and broodmares also……and it’s terrible when something happens to one that you’ve cared for. OF COURSE Bob Baffert said it was painful. IT IS.

        • Tinky

          If you are going to moderate more aggressively, Ray, then I suggest that you delete comments that lack substance, rather than solely on the basis of whether they are positive or negative.

          I can’t imagine that you would actually choose the latter route, but if you were to, it would both degrade and be a very sad turning point for your important forum. 

          All the best for the New Year.

        • Tina

          You gotta be kidding me, Ray. When O’Neil did this same move that resulted in the death of a horse you wanted him run out of the game. You are amazing silent on this issue; where is your moral outrage here. Or is it different because the subject is someone you like?
           
          What a hypocrite you are. Your transparency is sickening. Shame on you.

          • RayPaulick

            Tina,

            I happen to like Doug O’Neill. But if that theory works for you, go ahead and stick with it. This incident occurred on a Sunday, about 48 hours ago, and during a holiday period when it’s difficult to get information from government agencies like CHRB. Check the timeline on when I first wrote something on the Burna Dette breakdown. It wasn’t within 48 hours.

          • Tina

            Fair enough. I look forward to your in-depth examination into the matter, as well as an unbiased reporting on the findings.

            And, if you like O’Neil, I would hate to see how you treat those you dislike. God help us all.

    • Ole Bob Bowers

      Is it a ‘potshot’ to remind you that this poor horse was dropping from $40k to $12.5k ???

    • Barney Door

       Humbug

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      & u just judged this site & the good people that have been coming here way before u were…GMAFB…

  • Equine Paparazzi

    huh?…i like the way you guys set yourselves up as the jury and the judge. A horse breaks down and the trainer is automatically a POS regardless of his track record…and Baffert’s record in this regard is as good as Drydale’s and Mandella’s, etc. 
    but you’re all way smarter than Bob Baffert and you all treat your horses way better than he does…depsite the fact you have probably never stepped one foot in his barn you feel ok to take potshots.

    Face it it is horse racing and if they ran on cotton candy some would still break down…it doesn’t mean every horse that breaks down has a trainer that is reckless with his horses’ well being…..

    this website has become a habitat for grouches….

  • Meyer1127

    Works lately? Drugs lately?

  • Meyer1127

    Works lately? Drugs lately?

  • Archer

    Baffert’s statement is a pathetic attempt to sound remorseful.  Frankly, it’s an insult to horsemen and horseplayers alike.  Tweebster last raced on Oct 26th, didn’t work again until Nov 23rd (3/8) and then a half mile move on Dec 16th.  Yeah, two works in two months.  Screams soundness, doesn’t it?  He was a route horse who was running 6 furlongs for only the second time in his career (obviously, couldn’t train him enough to route him).  His last win was 2 years ago but now we’re looking for a confidence booster.  Let’s face it.  One of the most prominent names in the sport, training for one of the richest guys in the sport, made a thoughtless, uncaring move that resulted in the death of this horse.  Both he and Kaleem Shah should be ashamed and they should both be held responsible. 

    • Greg Jones

      Archer, agree 100% with every word in your comment.

    • Wallace B.

      Archer nailed it.

      • McGov

        Did he ever.  Archer is bang on….the horse was a throw out on paper because of the gaps in works…I bet the race and threw him out immediately despite the class drop.  We all make mistakes Baffert but you have to own them once you become an adult.

    • desertrailrat

       Great post.  With you all the way.

    • Beachy

       Now I’m nauseous… 

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      When it walks like a Duck…did anyone put in a claim for him???…that might help clear things up here…$300,000 is chump change to these people…Damn sure smells fishy…ty…

    • Guest

      AMEN Archer.  Entering (deliberate choice) and Running (deliberate choice) Tweebster that cheap at that distance suggests his good racing days are over, and his last 2-3 months of training confirm he was fragile and they had to try to keep him patched together for a lousy $12,500 claim—when he had already earned them a quarter of a million dollars.  And yes, Tweebster could have been a first horse for a girl—with the appropriate training first for the horse then with both is usually a win-win situation.  I do that kind of transitioning for ex-racehorses, and match them up with young girls.  Tweebster’s painful death (yes, fractured sesamoids are very painful) was unecessary. 

    • Skipper

       What punishment should they face and should it be retroactively applied to all owners and trainers who you judge to be prominent, rich, thoughtless and uncaring?

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/6OCQURBJHY3J2E432VZPIGITPY michael

      I am more upset at Alex Bisono beating the crap out of Nana Beach, 0-39, and the horse’s trainer still running at SA for high claiming level.  0-39, at SA, please God.

  • Archer

    Baffert’s statement is a pathetic attempt to sound remorseful.  Frankly, it’s an insult to horsemen and horseplayers alike.  Tweebster last raced on Oct 26th, didn’t work again until Nov 23rd (3/8) and then a half mile move on Dec 16th.  Yeah, two works in two months.  Screams soundness, doesn’t it?  He was a route horse who was running 6 furlongs for only the second time in his career (obviously, couldn’t train him enough to route him).  His last win was 2 years ago but now we’re looking for a confidence booster.  Let’s face it.  One of the most prominent names in the sport, training for one of the richest guys in the sport, made a thoughtless, uncaring move that resulted in the death of this horse.  Both he and Kaleem Shah should be ashamed and they should both be held responsible. 

  • Khambat

    Pie in the sky. Like horse racing needs another black eye.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

    baffert is way out of bounds.  somebody needs to stop him.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/GM4MKOH3SRM3GAZLMIKOOOAI74 jttf

    baffert is way out of bounds.  somebody needs to stop him.

  • Federico

    Although I wouldn’t think about betting a horse under these circumstances (suspicious drop off long layoff with spotty worktab) it seems ridiculous to think that someone like the average horseplayer (me) could have ANY clue as to whether this horse was sound or not.  It’s more of a guess that he won’t run one of his “good” races or perhaps as well as he had before today.  He obviously passed the pre-race vet inspection, and Martin Garcia (and his agent) must not have been concerned since they’re in and around Baffert’s barn EVERY day and accepted the mount.  That should mean something.

  • SteveG

    A problem arises in regard to credibility in paragraph 3 of Mr. Baffert’s statement.
     
    Either there were no races available at higher claiming prices, which Mr. Baffert asserts in one sentence as the reason Tweebster was dropped; or, Tweebster was dropped as a confidence builder, as Mr. Baffert claims in the next sentence, in which case the availability of higher priced claiming races is immaterial.
     
    The two explanations are contradictory in nature and would lead some readers to believe Mr. Baffert isn’t being sincere.

  • SteveG

    A problem arises in regard to credibility in paragraph 3 of Mr. Baffert’s statement.
     
    Either there were no races available at higher claiming prices, which Mr. Baffert asserts in one sentence as the reason Tweebster was dropped; or, Tweebster was dropped as a confidence builder, as Mr. Baffert claims in the next sentence, in which case the availability of higher priced claiming races is immaterial.
     
    The two explanations are contradictory in nature and would lead some readers to believe Mr. Baffert isn’t being sincere.

  • Greg Jones

    Agree 100% with every word in your comment.

  • Wallace B.

    Archer nailed it.

  • Stanley inman

    Bob,
    what does this mean;

    “…when the public’s perception is that you are somehow responsible it makes the pain all the greater”.

    Is your pain connected to what we think about your role,
    (Why does that matter) or
    the unfortunate event?

  • Stanley inman

    Bob,
    what does this mean;

    “…when the public’s perception is that you are somehow responsible it makes the pain all the greater”.

    Is your pain connected to what we think about your role,
    (Why does that matter) or
    the unfortunate event?

  • Horseracing

    Take a look at all the horses that Baffert drops in class BIG TIME. He has done this time to time. Look and see where these horses end up. NOWHERE.
    I think Baffert is a good person. But in this situation, I find this to be a terrible situation that could have been avoided.
    You don’t put horses in for a “confidence boost” for $12,500 if you think they can still run at stakes or allowance company. Anybody with a brain knows trainers and owners would never do that.
    To say the horse was sound is stretching it too. In a way, the majority of the horses now-a-days have their little issues, whether we like it or not. I’ve been on the backside, worked in a stable, seen all the horses being put in hot water, being treated, and being given layoffs. They’re just not as strong as they used to be. And this horse only had two works in two months…..you don’t do that with a sound horse. And Nana Beach broke down the other day…..she wasn’t completely sound throughout her career either. Trust me on that one. 
    I’m sure Baffert is upset and I’m sure he did like the horse. I’m not saying he’s not upset or doesn’t care. But there were certain red flags with this horse. I said this before the race. 
    RIP Tweebster. It’s a real shame this happened. 

  • Horseracing

    Take a look at all the horses that Baffert drops in class BIG TIME. He has done this time to time. Look and see where these horses end up. NOWHERE.
    I think Baffert is a good person. But in this situation, I find this to be a terrible situation that could have been avoided.
    You don’t put horses in for a “confidence boost” for $12,500 if you think they can still run at stakes or allowance company. Anybody with a brain knows trainers and owners would never do that.
    To say the horse was sound is stretching it too. In a way, the majority of the horses now-a-days have their little issues, whether we like it or not. I’ve been on the backside, worked in a stable, seen all the horses being put in hot water, being treated, and being given layoffs. They’re just not as strong as they used to be. And this horse only had two works in two months…..you don’t do that with a sound horse. And Nana Beach broke down the other day…..she wasn’t completely sound throughout her career either. Trust me on that one. 
    I’m sure Baffert is upset and I’m sure he did like the horse. I’m not saying he’s not upset or doesn’t care. But there were certain red flags with this horse. I said this before the race. 
    RIP Tweebster. It’s a real shame this happened. 

  • Wallace B.

    Remeber, “Voice…”   when horses like this have their ankles ( or anything else ), injected multiple times, as was probably the case here, the vet, as instructed, almost always writes down the name of another horse in the stable, that has the same owner…. so there is rarely an accurate paper trail…. this is a standard procedure for trainers and vets….

  • Wallace B.

    Please see the reply I just posted to VOICEOFREASONS call for vet records…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZGXXN4XH4RGIAEN7W6HQMKVZZQ Csun

    Curious what the owner, Mr. Shah, has to say about the gelding. It looks like this wealthy owner has spents tens of millions of dollars on horses over the past decade with a very marginal return. Who made the call to drop the gelding? Tweebster cost $300K, had been in training for 4 years and had banked less than $250K…the gelding was a money loser. Was Mr. Shah looking for a $12,500 claim as well as a purse versus caring for the gelding in retirement?
    FYI, the gelding had paired up 8′s on a certain set of speed figures in his last two races, so unless something had come up recently, he certainly looked OK. However I find it strange that no claims were in for him.

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      NO CLAIMS!!!…end of story end of “THE HORSE” Bless his Soul…ty…

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ZGXXN4XH4RGIAEN7W6HQMKVZZQ Csun

    Curious what the owner, Mr. Shah, has to say about the gelding. It looks like this wealthy owner has spents tens of millions of dollars on horses over the past decade with a very marginal return. Who made the call to drop the gelding? Tweebster cost $300K, had been in training for 4 years and had banked less than $250K…the gelding was a money loser. Was Mr. Shah looking for a $12,500 claim as well as a purse versus caring for the gelding in retirement?
    FYI, the gelding had paired up 8′s on a certain set of speed figures in his last two races, so unless something had come up recently, he certainly looked OK. However I find it strange that no claims were in for him.

  • Tinky

    Archer and SteveG touched on the salient points.

    And this:

    “I felt he was in need of a confidence booster …”

    is perhaps the most pathetic attempt at spin that I have encountered in racing.

    • Barbara

      Then why exactly did he run him? Did Baffert forget everything he ever knew about the game in one day, Tinky? Did he think anyone would take his almost six year old gelding on the downside with two recent works for 12.5 thinking they could improve off him?  

      Should he have not run him there, if only for risking negative perception? Yeah. Would he like that one back? Yep. Should Shah have just sent the horse to be retrained for a second career for much less cost than paying Baffert’s day rate, um, yes.

  • Tinky

    Archer and SteveG touched on the salient points.

    And this:

    “I felt he was in need of a confidence booster …”

    is perhaps the most pathetic attempt at spin that I have encountered in racing.

  • Lindleypaxtonbarden

    A little girl needs a racehorse for a first horse like horse racing needs another black eye like Tweebster needs(ed) a $12,500 claiming race for a confidence booster like a fish needs a bicycle . . . get it NOW?

  • desertrailrat

    If this was put in front of an impartial entity such as judge, the evidence is greatly stacked against Baffert and Shah and they would be found guitly as charged of being greedy and neglegent.  We spoke in depth before the start of the race about how suspicious and sad it was that Tweebster had hit nearly the bottom of the ladder.  He didn’t look right in the stretch and sadly I only found out about his death today. 

    I’m just sick about this, I’ll leave it at that….don’t want to get edited by the moderator again like yesterday when I was speaking about Nana Beach’s death…..

     

  • desertrailrat

    If this was put in front of an impartial entity such as judge, the evidence is greatly stacked against Baffert and Shah and they would be found guitly as charged of being greedy and neglegent.  We spoke in depth before the start of the race about how suspicious and sad it was that Tweebster had hit nearly the bottom of the ladder.  He didn’t look right in the stretch and sadly I only found out about his death today. 

    I’m just sick about this, I’ll leave it at that….don’t want to get edited by the moderator again like yesterday when I was speaking about Nana Beach’s death…..

     

  • desertrailrat

     Great post.  With you all the way.

  • Kris

    Tweebster deserved better.  Once it became obvious that Tweebster would no longer be competitive in stakes company , Baffert and Shah should have retired him and found him a good home.  Instead they pulled a ‘Burna Dette.’

  • Kris

    Tweebster deserved better.  Once it became obvious that Tweebster would no longer be competitive in stakes company , Baffert and Shah should have retired him and found him a good home.  Instead they pulled a ‘Burna Dette.’

  • Ace

    Another reason this sport should be put out of its misery once and for all

    • HMB

      So.. whenever a sport has a fatality or accident we should put it out of its misery? Or is it just horse racing?  Everything in life has risks people die every day from plane crashes, on highways walking down the street! Good idea lets put all that we love to do in life… Out Of Its Misery! Good Call!

      • RayPaulick

        Ace will not be able to reply to this or any other comment. People who do not like the sport are not welcome here.

        • Carapanfarm

          I think Ace needs some TLC.

        • jay l

          good for you ray

      • nu-fan

        HMB:  But, people have choices.  Horses do not.

  • Ace

    Another reason this sport should be put out of its misery once and for all

  • Ron Crookham

    Even God doesn’t plan to judge a man till the end of his days, why should you and I?

    • Stanley inman

      Ron,
      This story is not about
      Judging Bob
      (we like Baffert)
      it’s how the fans of this sport
      No longer tolerate
      The business of racing.
      Defend the status quo
      And expect the arrows to sing.

      • Stanley inman

        Count the horses you see
        In the rose bowl parade today
        Mindboggling,
        Has there every been a parade without horses?
        Yet few will follow them to a
        Race track,
        (and we blame everyone but ourselves)

        • nu-fan

          Stanley:  Yes, it seemed as if there were more horses than in previous years.  And, regarding potential fans: Perhaps, people love horses but not horseracing–for the many reasons that are obvious.  I forget which network (I flip channels during commercials) but one of them did do a great service by mentioning this one group of women riders who were on horses that were rescued.  Wish that more groups like that were featured, especially on a major networks. But, yes, there were so many lovely horses and of different breeds.  Nice to see them among the many floats dedicated to our military veterans.  Best Rose Parade that I remember seeing in a long time.  And, I watch every year’s parade.

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      THAT depends on which God u believe in as there is a BUNCH of them on this planet!!!…ty…

  • Ron Crookham

    Even God doesn’t plan to judge a man till the end of his days, why should you and I?

  • Swiss305

    I was just beginning to think that better pre-race checks and required post-mortem exams  were going to greatly reduce breakdowns.  Now we’ve had two in a row and the season has just started.  Pretty obvious Tweebster shouldn’t have run. I think Baffert has too much weight to throw around at Santa Anita.  People are loathe to question him.

    • RedShoesGirl

      i don’t know how obvious it was that tweebster shouldn’t have run, but we are ignoring the fact that 700 to 800 horses die a year in race related incidents.

       “Tracks in California and New York, which rank first and sixth in thoroughbred races, combine to average more than one thoroughbred death for every day of the year.”

      http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/25163444/

      these numbers are from 2008 but i don’t think they have changed much in the intervening years. how many times do we see horses being pulled up before they can finish a race. we don’t really know what happens to those horses do we?

      i think baffert is being vilified because of his high visibility. what about all those other horses that break down. are their trainers being held to the same scrutiny?

      • nu-fan

        RedShoesGirl:  Your last sentences are the thoughts that have been rattling around in my head since reading this article and the many, many comments made about it.  Yes, if this was just a lesser (unknown by most) trainer, would this kind of incident have been reported or even discussed?  Accidents happen but is this situation very unique and infrequent?  No.  The well-known trainers must understand that their actions are going to be more widely noticed and criticized.  But, that might be the silver lining in this cloud (this incident): It makes everyone more aware and the discussions start getting more serious.  The horseracing industry is dying and the public is more demanding in how its horses are treated.  So easy for the public to stop showing up at the races…. 

    • Barbara

      Actually here is the question that SA asks Bob most often. “Got anything else you can enter to help us out?”

  • Swiss305

    I was just beginning to think that better pre-race checks and required post-mortem exams  were going to greatly reduce breakdowns.  Now we’ve had two in a row and the season has just started.  Pretty obvious Tweebster shouldn’t have run. I think Baffert has too much weight to throw around at Santa Anita.  People are loathe to question him.

  • Scottjmaier

    He ran the horse for 12.5k and it finished the race but not the gallop out. I don’t know what else really needs to be said. Some horses break down in graded stakes races, so the fact he broke down after the race is irrelevant. Lots of horses dropping in class break down, which again is irrelevant.

    It seems because it was Bob Baffert, Tweebster, et al it seems to be a bigger issue than it normally would be. Sad to see he had to be euthanized but unless every breakdown that occurs is going to be scrutinized to this level I would conclude it is a bit of a witch hunt.

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      Thats the price one pay$ for being a BIG SHOT Baby…ty…

  • Scottjmaier

    He ran the horse for 12.5k and it finished the race but not the gallop out. I don’t know what else really needs to be said. Some horses break down in graded stakes races, so the fact he broke down after the race is irrelevant. Lots of horses dropping in class break down, which again is irrelevant.

    It seems because it was Bob Baffert, Tweebster, et al it seems to be a bigger issue than it normally would be. Sad to see he had to be euthanized but unless every breakdown that occurs is going to be scrutinized to this level I would conclude it is a bit of a witch hunt.

  • Beachy

    I don’t believe Mr. Baffert is in the habit of not taking care of his horses.  Instead, I wish horses didn’t have to run in bad weather or on sloppy, boggy, or sealed tracks.  

    • HMB

      That’s why the invented SCRATCHES it’s left to the discretion of the owner, trainer, and when bad enough the track officials.  

  • Beachy

    I don’t believe Mr. Baffert is in the habit of not taking care of his horses.  Instead, I wish horses didn’t have to run in bad weather or on sloppy, boggy, or sealed tracks.  

  • Beachy

     Now I’m nauseous… 

  • Stanley inman

    Ron,
    This story is not about
    Judging Bob
    (we like Baffert)
    it’s how the fans of this sport
    No longer tolerate
    The business of racing.
    Defend the status quo
    And expect the arrows to sing.

  • Ron Crookham

    Well said Equine, I am in complete agreement. Not to be callous but for those of you that can’t handle the reality of the sport good or bad,find something else to occupy your valuable time. Unfortunately, this sport is more heartache than happiness.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    When it walks like a Duck…did anyone put in a claim for him???…that might help clear things up here…$300,000 is chump change to these people…Damn sure smells fishy…ty…

  • Sashab13

    Its horse racing it happens…people drop horses that’s what they do, doenst matter if it’s Baffert, Mandella, Pletcher or Joe Schmo the rag man.  The horse broke down AFTER the race not during, it happens.  So what they worked him once a month, honestly how many times does a horse need to be worked, once they are race fit I think the “works” are overkill anyhow.  Sad the horse is gone but it happens to EVERYONE!  if you all want to get on your soap box about something, fight for the horses(and people for that matter) that are starving, being sent to kill pens or just plain abused

    • RedShoesGirl

      >>So what they worked him once a month, honestly how many times does a horse need to be worked, once they are race fit I think the “works” are overkill anyhow.<<

      are you using the word "works" to mean the horse is out running and staying in shape? a boxer trains everyday to say in fighting shape. any other athlete trains several times a week in order to stay fit. i guess i am unclear how "works" is being used in this context. it seems to me a horse would need to be run everyday in order to stay in form, to keep muscles fit, lungs working to full capacity.

      • Hazizaffirohome

        They gallop every day.  “works” are timed ones only.

        • RedShoesGirl

          thanks …

    • MA

      I agree *timed* workouts are overrated, but when a horse has gaps like that, in a barn that puts a ton of works and fitness into horses, then it’s different. My guess is he didn’t work because he couldn’t work, not because they deliberately only wanted a couple works before the race.

  • Sashab13

    Its horse racing it happens…people drop horses that’s what they do, doenst matter if it’s Baffert, Mandella, Pletcher or Joe Schmo the rag man.  The horse broke down AFTER the race not during, it happens.  So what they worked him once a month, honestly how many times does a horse need to be worked, once they are race fit I think the “works” are overkill anyhow.  Sad the horse is gone but it happens to EVERYONE!  if you all want to get on your soap box about something, fight for the horses(and people for that matter) that are starving, being sent to kill pens or just plain abused

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    “This sport (maybe more of a business like college football) is more heartache than happiness”…So true because a bunch (not all by any means) of humans involved in it make it that way as they love $$$ more than the Horses…Treat the Animals fair first & foremost in 2013…Please & ty…

  • Stuart Morris

    WOW…the criticism and demands you “anonymous” bloggers are throwing around is quite disgusting. Bob Baffert and every other trainer owe you and the rest of America nothing. They answer to their owners, stewards, racing officials and no one else. If any of you knew Bob at all and knew the kind of horseman he is, you could never make any of these statements. He is a horseman with very few peers and truly loves his horses, as all of us do in this industry. The critical comments from cowards hiding behind false names not only smacks of jealousy and envy of a successful person but also illustrates the BIGGEST problem with our game and modern society as a whole…critics without credentials, solutions or the courage to stand behind and own their opinion. Bob Baffert is a good person and a good trainer with a ton of compassion for both people and animals. Our game would be better off with more Bob Bafferts in it.

    • Princessspiro

      It is exactly because Baffert is such a caring horseman that I expect more from him.  I am not focusing on soundness only the fact that a former  decent runner has not been performing up to par for quite a while, no matter what the reason, putting him into a claiming race was not the right thing to do in this specific case with this horse Tweebster. And how sad that a trainer with Baffert’s expertise and talent chose not stand up to the owner and say, I will not do this, let’s retire him, the horse deserves it. Is that too much to ask? If the good ones don’t do this once in a while what can you expect from the others.

  • Stuart Morris

    WOW…the criticism and demands you “anonymous” bloggers are throwing around is quite disgusting. Bob Baffert and every other trainer owe you and the rest of America nothing. They answer to their owners, stewards, racing officials and no one else. If any of you knew Bob at all and knew the kind of horseman he is, you could never make any of these statements. He is a horseman with very few peers and truly loves his horses, as all of us do in this industry. The critical comments from cowards hiding behind false names not only smacks of jealousy and envy of a successful person but also illustrates the BIGGEST problem with our game and modern society as a whole…critics without credentials, solutions or the courage to stand behind and own their opinion. Bob Baffert is a good person and a good trainer with a ton of compassion for both people and animals. Our game would be better off with more Bob Bafferts in it.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    AMEN!!!…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    “THE GAME” needs to stop all the BS as it has a TON of it hung on it…”LIFE AT TEN” anyone???…ty so much for the info ITPhasbeenblocked…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    Thats the price one pay$ for being a BIG SHOT Baby…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    ty Csun for the answer to my question above…ZERO CLAIMS on him!!!…that says a TON…ty again…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    THAT depends on which God u believe in as there is a BUNCH of them on this planet!!!…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    NO CLAIMS!!!…end of story end of “THE HORSE” Bless his Soul…ty…

  • MsMoose

    One of the problems with all this social media stuff is that anyone can put in his two cents, but let’s face it, none of us know “the truth” about this incident.  Baffert has an excellent safety record with his horses, for one; and putting a horse in a claiming race doesn’t necessarily mean he’s about to break down: the whole point of claiming races is to group horses with similar abilities.  Consider Eight Bells: sometimes bad things happen, period …She had NO drugs, NO joint problems .l..and when the worst happens, no one suffers more than the person close to the horse.  Give him a break!

  • MsMoose

    One of the problems with all this social media stuff is that anyone can put in his two cents, but let’s face it, none of us know “the truth” about this incident.  Baffert has an excellent safety record with his horses, for one; and putting a horse in a claiming race doesn’t necessarily mean he’s about to break down: the whole point of claiming races is to group horses with similar abilities.  Consider Eight Bells: sometimes bad things happen, period …She had NO drugs, NO joint problems .l..and when the worst happens, no one suffers more than the person close to the horse.  Give him a break!

  • HMB

    So.. whenever a sport has a fatality or accident we should put it out of its misery? Or is it just horse racing?  Everything in life has risks people die every day from plane crashes, on highways walking down the street! Good idea lets put all that we love to do in life… Out Of Its Misery! Good Call!

  • HMB

    That’s why the invented SCRATCHES it’s left to the discretion of the owner, trainer, and when bad enough the track officials.  

  • NY Owner

    Sorry you are off base here Smartakita.  OTTBs, especially geldings often make great first horses for many kids with reschooling and proper training for horse and child.  4-H, pony club and local shows are full of them leading happy useful lives.  Most of the ones I’ve retired are doing just that today. 

  • Khansen1

    No kidding….. i think ray and crew need to start some moderation, it’s turning into nothing but (to coin an old usenet term) a bunch of “troll’s” (folks that comment just for the sake of commenting.to spin people up). It’s always a sad barn day when a horsse gets injurred. For people to instantly start comdemnation and asmuptions is assinine ….

  • Princessspiro

    It is exactly because Baffert is such a caring horseman that I expect more from him.  I am not focusing on soundness only the fact that a former  decent runner has not been performing up to par for quite a while, no matter what the reason, putting him into a claiming race was not the right thing to do in this specific case with this horse Tweebster. And how sad that a trainer with Baffert’s expertise and talent chose not stand up to the owner and say, I will not do this, let’s retire him, the horse deserves it. Is that too much to ask? If the good ones don’t do this once in a while what can you expect from the others.

  • RayPaulick

    Ace will not be able to reply to this or any other comment. People who do not like the sport are not welcome here.

  • RayPaulick

    Thank you. We will be more stringent in deleting comments from people who have nothing good to say and blocking them from further comments.

  • Ole Bob Bowers

    I couldn’t agree more NY Owner! It’s not allowing the ‘liked’ to show, but I def liked!

  • SUNNY FARM

    Neighbors father came flailing down to my farm wearing his sidearm.Said he was in charge of his daughters horses while she was away. We rushed to her place to find her 3 year old filly in the field. The leg was broken clean in half. There were no reasons the filly was injured & the owner provided good care. The filly had slipped in the small field somehow. Father wanted to shoot the horse but I insisted the vet be called & the young grey be put down by the vet.The reason ? Because in this way the owner would have solid proof that the leg could not be saved. Injuries happen to any horse at times. I am sorry about the loss of the horse in Bafferts care & for the neighbors filly. _There are few horsemen who have never lost a horse

  • SUNNY FARM

    Neighbors father came flailing down to my farm wearing his sidearm.Said he was in charge of his daughters horses while she was away. We rushed to her place to find her 3 year old filly in the field. The leg was broken clean in half. There were no reasons the filly was injured & the owner provided good care. The filly had slipped in the small field somehow. Father wanted to shoot the horse but I insisted the vet be called & the young grey be put down by the vet.The reason ? Because in this way the owner would have solid proof that the leg could not be saved. Injuries happen to any horse at times. I am sorry about the loss of the horse in Bafferts care & for the neighbors filly. _There are few horsemen who have never lost a horse

  • Ole Bob Bowers

    Hmmmm, did Drug O’Needle study under baffert? I see a whole lot of similarity between Tweebster and Burna Dette’s drop to death. If a car driver kept killing pedestrian’s, his/her Drivers License would be revoked. Why do they allow these butchers to retain their Trainers License’s? As far as State Veterinarian’s go, you can bet they are instructed to allow trainers that run many horses to fill the card, to ‘slide’ when a horse is ‘questionable’. (or even worse than that). The writing is on the wall when horses take that big of a drop. Both Drug and baffert came up with the ole ‘confidence builder’ excuse, like if their horse was sound no one would claim it, and they could take it back up to Stake races. One thing that stays sound in it’s travels is Karma, so watch over your shoulders butchers…just sayin…

  • Guest

    AMEN Archer.  Entering (deliberate choice) and Running (deliberate choice) Tweebster that cheap at that distance suggests his good racing days are over, and his last 2-3 months of training confirm he was fragile and they had to try to keep him patched together for a lousy $12,500 claim—when he had already earned them a quarter of a million dollars.  And yes, Tweebster could have been a first horse for a girl—with the appropriate training first for the horse then with both is usually a win-win situation.  I do that kind of transitioning for ex-racehorses, and match them up with young girls.  Tweebster’s painful death (yes, fractured sesamoids are very painful) was unecessary. 

  • Ole Bob Bowers

    Is it a ‘potshot’ to remind you that this poor horse was dropping from $40k to $12.5k ???

  • McGov

    Did he ever.  Archer is bang on….the horse was a throw out on paper because of the gaps in works…I bet the race and threw him out immediately despite the class drop.  We all make mistakes Baffert but you have to own them once you become an adult.

  • Stanley inman

    Count the horses you see
    In the rose bowl parade today
    Mindboggling,
    Has there every been a parade without horses?
    Yet few will follow them to a
    Race track,
    (and we blame everyone but ourselves)

  • Xracer

    Maybe someone should look into the record of Baffert and Kaleem Shah regarding horses who have died under their “care” in the past 1 1/2 years in CA. Not so glowing. I am disgusted that this continues to go on…

  • Catonie

    Thanks, Ray. That seems like a very good idea. I’ve read comments from people over the years who haven’t CLUE as to what may or may not have happened, but are perfectly willing to run down any human that had anything to do with the horse. I had race horses for many years and stallions and broodmares also……and it’s terrible when something happens to one that you’ve cared for. OF COURSE Bob Baffert said it was painful. IT IS.

  • kyle

    “Better to have remained silent…”

    • Stanley inman

      Kyle,
      Agreed,
      Bob’s recognition
      about the significance of social media
      at the beginning of his statement;
      Followed by his explanation is
      Puzzling.
      Custer at littlebighorn.

  • kyle

    “Better to have remained silent…”

  • Leavingslowly

    The fact is the horse wasn’t able to perform and instead of them letting him retire and live out his life doing something else, he was dropped into the low claiming race, and we all know how many of those horses end up. Maybe if Baffert and the horse’s owner had done the responsible thing and retired the horse instead of trying to squeeze more money out of him, the horse would still be alive and people wouldn’t be making nasty comments on social media. But they didn’t do that, so here I am – commenting. I wish that claiming races didn’t exist, and I think Bob Baffert loves horses, but he loves earnings more.

  • Leavingslowly

    The fact is the horse wasn’t able to perform and instead of them letting him retire and live out his life doing something else, he was dropped into the low claiming race, and we all know how many of those horses end up. Maybe if Baffert and the horse’s owner had done the responsible thing and retired the horse instead of trying to squeeze more money out of him, the horse would still be alive and people wouldn’t be making nasty comments on social media. But they didn’t do that, so here I am – commenting. I wish that claiming races didn’t exist, and I think Bob Baffert loves horses, but he loves earnings more.

  • giftoffaith

     I’m with you on that. My retirees are kittens, even the mare. They just need off the high energy feeds and such. I’ll not point the finger at what I’m not sure of,and I only hope Mr. Baffert is being truthful, I know, you all think I’m naive, but I just hope. Anyway, I’m sure Tweebster would have made a great first horse for anyone. Our equine athletes need a chance to live out their lives in second careers or with people who just want to be around them. I don’t ride much, but is great therapy to me to tend to their stalls and their grooming.

  • easygoer8

    Something is wrong with a sport when it has “more heartache than happiness”, Ron.  It didn’t used to be that way.  The loss of Tweebster is not one that I will easily forget and I do hope that BB is reading all these posts in reaction to his canned statement.

  • easygoer8

    C’mon ……there are other riders, experienced riders, who Tweebster would have been suitable for. . . why say a little girl dreaming of her first horse?

  • 1955racingfan

    Too many Monday morning quarterbacks here….to automatically accuse an owner & trainer of sinister actions without even knowing the facts is at best cowardly, at worst mean & disparaging towards the sport.  Horses are fragile, especially in racing.  Anything can happen and usually does.  Whatever was done or wasn’t done for Tweebster is irrelevant now.  A bigger issue for me is racing older mares & geldings until they drop…literally…instead of retiring them with dignity or finding them a new job.

  • 1955racingfan

    Too many Monday morning quarterbacks here….to automatically accuse an owner & trainer of sinister actions without even knowing the facts is at best cowardly, at worst mean & disparaging towards the sport.  Horses are fragile, especially in racing.  Anything can happen and usually does.  Whatever was done or wasn’t done for Tweebster is irrelevant now.  A bigger issue for me is racing older mares & geldings until they drop…literally…instead of retiring them with dignity or finding them a new job.

  • Scottlinda4520

    Bob Baffert didn’t have to respond to the criticism.  I believe him. 

  • Scottlinda4520

    Bob Baffert didn’t have to respond to the criticism.  I believe him. 

  • nu-fan

    Stanley:  Yes, it seemed as if there were more horses than in previous years.  And, regarding potential fans: Perhaps, people love horses but not horseracing–for the many reasons that are obvious.  I forget which network (I flip channels during commercials) but one of them did do a great service by mentioning this one group of women riders who were on horses that were rescued.  Wish that more groups like that were featured, especially on a major networks. But, yes, there were so many lovely horses and of different breeds.  Nice to see them among the many floats dedicated to our military veterans.  Best Rose Parade that I remember seeing in a long time.  And, I watch every year’s parade.

  • nu-fan

    HMB:  But, people have choices.  Horses do not.

  • RedShoesGirl

    >>So what they worked him once a month, honestly how many times does a horse need to be worked, once they are race fit I think the “works” are overkill anyhow.<<

    are you using the word “works” to mean the horse is out running and staying in shape? a boxer trains everyday to say in fighting shape. any other athlete trains several times a week in order to stay fit. i guess i am unclear how “works” is being used in this context. it seems to me a horse would need to be run everyday in order to stay in form, to keep muscles fit, lungs working to full capacity.

  • Jerry

    ………………………………………………BREAKING NEWS………………………………….

    UNFORTUNATELY, TWEEBSTER WILL NOT BE THE LAST HORSE TO SUFFER THIS FATE –

    JUST WAIT UNTIL EXCHANGE WAGERING STARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THAT WILL GIVE TRAINERS THE CHANCE AND “MOTIVATION” TO DO THIS AND MAKE

    MONEY DOING IT. JUST IMAGINE A FAMOUS TRAINER “LAYING” TWEEBSTER FOR A BIG

    SCORE ON THE EXCHANGE…….

    THANK YOU CHRB AND THE TOC FOR PROTECTING THE LIVES OF OUR RACEHORSES IN

    CA!!!!!!!!

  • Jerry

    ………………………………………………BREAKING NEWS………………………………….

    UNFORTUNATELY, TWEEBSTER WILL NOT BE THE LAST HORSE TO SUFFER THIS FATE –

    JUST WAIT UNTIL EXCHANGE WAGERING STARTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    THAT WILL GIVE TRAINERS THE CHANCE AND “MOTIVATION” TO DO THIS AND MAKE

    MONEY DOING IT. JUST IMAGINE A FAMOUS TRAINER “LAYING” TWEEBSTER FOR A BIG

    SCORE ON THE EXCHANGE…….

    THANK YOU CHRB AND THE TOC FOR PROTECTING THE LIVES OF OUR RACEHORSES IN

    CA!!!!!!!!

  • Tinky

    If you are going to moderate more aggressively, Ray, then I suggest that you delete comments that lack substance, rather than solely on the basis of whether they are positive or negative.

    I can’t imagine that you would actually choose the latter route, but if you were to, it would both degrade and be a very sad turning point for your important forum. 

    All the best for the New Year.

  • ronawsumb

    Most of these comments on here are disgusting. Tweebster lived a charmed life being in the barn of a first class trainer like Bob Baffert. He had the best of care with dedicated staff and the best facilities. Baffert treats his horses like gold.
    Why is it so difficult for some to understand that thoroughbred horses are fragile animals?
    They can injure themselves in hundreds of ways, often out in a pasture. To blame a dedicated caregiver and staff is unfair.  

    • nu-fan

      Ronawsumb:  “Why is it so difficult for some to understand that thoroughbred horses are fragile animals?”  If that is the case, wouldn’t that support the argument, made by some, that if thoroughbreds are so fragile, perhaps, thoroughbreds shouldn’t be allowed to race?

    • Kris

      His life may have been “charmed” but his death was anything but.  Trainers are  responsible for their horses and that is the reason Baffert is taking heat over the death of Tweebster.

      • Barbara

        No it’s not. He is taking heat because his name is Bob Baffert. It has nothing to do with Tweebster, other than he was a big pretty gray that met his demise. Of course if Baffert had littered a stakes field with Tweebster as his 4th entry as a favor to racing office, and he broke down, then it would be off with his head for running the horse over his head.

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

       “T-Bred Horses are fragile animals”???…That statement couldn’t be futher from the TRUTH!!!…humans beings are much more fragile including their brains!!!…GMAFB!!!…

  • ronawsumb

    Most of these comments on here are disgusting. Tweebster lived a charmed life being in the barn of a first class trainer like Bob Baffert. He had the best of care with dedicated staff and the best facilities. Baffert treats his horses like gold.
    Why is it so difficult for some to understand that thoroughbred horses are fragile animals?
    They can injure themselves in hundreds of ways, often out in a pasture. To blame a dedicated caregiver and staff is unfair.  

  • Kate Myracingheart

    Sheath your fangs and hear the man out. At least…he IS saying something. Dropping a horse down into claimers is a common occurence,just to get a real life race into them. Soundness and masking drugs are always an issue…at least they are being discussed and marshalled.

  • Kate Myracingheart

    Sheath your fangs and hear the man out. At least…he IS saying something. Dropping a horse down into claimers is a common occurence,just to get a real life race into them. Soundness and masking drugs are always an issue…at least they are being discussed and marshalled.

  • RedShoesGirl

    i don’t know how obvious it was that tweebster shouldn’t have run, but we are ignoring the fact that 700 to 800 horses die a year in race related incidents.

     “Tracks in California and New York, which rank first and sixth in thoroughbred races, combine to average more than one thoroughbred death for every day of the year.”

    http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/

    these numbers are from 2008 but i don’t think they have changed much in the intervening years. how many times do we see horses being pulled up before they can finish a race. we don’t really know what happens to those horses do we?

    i think baffert is being vilified because of his high visibility. what about all those other horses that break down. are their trainers being held to the same scrutiny?

  • MA

    I agree *timed* workouts are overrated, but when a horse has gaps like that, in a barn that puts a ton of works and fitness into horses, then it’s different. My guess is he didn’t work because he couldn’t work, not because they deliberately only wanted a couple works before the race.

  • Paradigmfarm

    Mr Baffert, you have my sincere sympathy on the loss of a horse that you cared for and about. Those of us who have been there understand that horse racing is an extreme sport and in spite of our very best care, treatment and training, this can happen.

    • AngieTaylor

       I just hope Bob can find a replacement and keep on going.  This has to be tough on him.

  • Paradigmfarm

    Mr Baffert, you have my sincere sympathy on the loss of a horse that you cared for and about. Those of us who have been there understand that horse racing is an extreme sport and in spite of our very best care, treatment and training, this can happen.

  • nu-fan

    RedShoesGirl:  Your last sentences are the thoughts that have been rattling around in my head since reading this article and the many, many comments made about it.  Yes, if this was just a lesser (unknown by most) trainer, would this kind of incident have been reported or even discussed?  Accidents happen but is this situation very unique and infrequent?  No.  The well-known trainers must understand that their actions are going to be more widely noticed and criticized.  But, that might be the silver lining in this cloud (this incident): It makes everyone more aware and the discussions start getting more serious.  The horseracing industry is dying and the public is more demanding in how its horses are treated.  So easy for the public to stop showing up at the races…. 

  • RR

    RR
    Shame on you Kalim Shah and Bob Baffert

  • RR

    RR
    Shame on you Kalim Shah and Bob Baffert

  • Hazizaffirohome

    They gallop every day.  “works” are timed ones only.

  • RedShoesGirl

    thanks …

  • Carapanfarm

    In my plus 30 years in almost all phases of Thoroughbred Racing. I have seen some prettty sore going horses on various training tracks, including those in New York. I was many times amazed to learn that short striding Chestnut or that gimpy Bay, were Top Class Stakes runners.
    A lot of credit must go to the expertise of the respective trainers, however we must never underestimate the fire that burns in the belly of every Thoroughbred. The competitive will to outrun his or her counterpart.
    As a  breeder, I see it with the foals as soon as they are able to scamper away from thier mothers, and race away happily with thier buddy’s. I’ts fun, but not one of them want’s to be beaten!
    It is up to us to protect these wonderful animals from themselves, I’m sure there is not a Trainer in the nation that would willingly or knowingly put his horse in deaths way. This is a very tough sport/business, as Leroy Jolly said after losing the great Ruffian ” In this business, we all have to wear the short pants at one time or another”.
    We can do our best to protect them, however if they could talk I’m sure they would prefer to break from the gate and try to outrun everyone else!
     

  • Carapanfarm

    In my plus 30 years in almost all phases of Thoroughbred Racing. I have seen some prettty sore going horses on various training tracks, including those in New York. I was many times amazed to learn that short striding Chestnut or that gimpy Bay, were Top Class Stakes runners.
    A lot of credit must go to the expertise of the respective trainers, however we must never underestimate the fire that burns in the belly of every Thoroughbred. The competitive will to outrun his or her counterpart.
    As a  breeder, I see it with the foals as soon as they are able to scamper away from thier mothers, and race away happily with thier buddy’s. I’ts fun, but not one of them want’s to be beaten!
    It is up to us to protect these wonderful animals from themselves, I’m sure there is not a Trainer in the nation that would willingly or knowingly put his horse in deaths way. This is a very tough sport/business, as Leroy Jolly said after losing the great Ruffian ” In this business, we all have to wear the short pants at one time or another”.
    We can do our best to protect them, however if they could talk I’m sure they would prefer to break from the gate and try to outrun everyone else!
     

  • nu-fan

    Ronawsumb:  “Why is it so difficult for some to understand that thoroughbred horses are fragile animals?”  If that is the case, wouldn’t that support the argument, made by some, that if thoroughbreds are so fragile, perhaps, thoroughbreds shouldn’t be allowed to race?

  • Carapanfarm

    I think Ace needs some TLC.

  • Sandra Warren

    Baffert should have talked to Doug O’Neill about his Burna Dette experience before he dropped Tweebster.  This will not die down quickly.  When one of these horses breaks down, it hurts ALL of us.  It just creates more and more emotional people criticizing racing on-line.  Thanks, Bob.  You know damn well there was something wrong with that horse.  And if you didn’t, then I refer you to the veterinary study of breakdown necropsies that conclusively showed that almost every breakdown started a long time before the date of death.

    • Barbara

      It’ll die down as soon as fans like you find your next blood letting frenzy to sink your shark teeth into, Sandra.

  • Sandra Warren

    Baffert should have talked to Doug O’Neill about his Burna Dette experience before he dropped Tweebster.  This will not die down quickly.  When one of these horses breaks down, it hurts ALL of us.  It just creates more and more emotional people criticizing racing on-line.  Thanks, Bob.  You know damn well there was something wrong with that horse.  And if you didn’t, then I refer you to the veterinary study of breakdown necropsies that conclusively showed that almost every breakdown started a long time before the date of death.

  • marsha c. bloxsom

    it is disgusting that trainers continue to talk down to the racing public. who does bob baffert think he’s talking too. only some one of below average intelligence would make the comments he has made. when will he learn to keep his mouth shut!.

    • scarletrose

       Probably when you do.

  • marsha c. bloxsom

    it is disgusting that trainers continue to talk down to the racing public. who does bob baffert think he’s talking too. only some one of below average intelligence would make the comments he has made. when will he learn to keep his mouth shut!.

  • Tina

    You gotta be kidding me, Ray. When O’Neil did this same move that resulted in the death of a horse you wanted him run out of the game. You are amazing silent on this issue; where is your moral outrage here. Or is it different because the subject is someone you like?
     
    What a hypocrite you are. Your transparency is sickening. Shame on you.

  • scarletrose

     Probably when you do.

  • RayPaulick

    Tina,

    I happen to like Doug O’Neill. But if that theory works for you, go ahead and stick with it. This incident occurred on a Sunday, about 48 hours ago, and during a holiday period when it’s difficult to get information from government agencies like CHRB. Check the timeline on when I first wrote something on the Burna Dette breakdown. It wasn’t within 48 hours.

  • purplesky

    This horse’s death is sad and has stirred much emotion here.  Although, I’m wondering if many are using it as an opportunity to criticize someone you don’t like as opposed to expressing your feelings over the loss of a horse.  A young jockey in New Zealand lost her life the same day Tweebster did and not a word of sympathy for her?  

  • purplesky

    This horse’s death is sad and has stirred much emotion here.  Although, I’m wondering if many are using it as an opportunity to criticize someone you don’t like as opposed to expressing your feelings over the loss of a horse.  A young jockey in New Zealand lost her life the same day Tweebster did and not a word of sympathy for her?  

  • Skipper

     What punishment should they face and should it be retroactively applied to all owners and trainers who you judge to be prominent, rich, thoughtless and uncaring?

  • Tina

    Fair enough. I look forward to your in-depth examination into the matter, as well as an unbiased reporting on the findings.

    And, if you like O’Neil, I would hate to see how you treat those you dislike. God help us all.

  • Kris

    His life may have been “charmed” but his death was anything but.  Trainers are  responsible for their horses and that is the reason Baffert is taking heat over the death of Tweebster.

  • Eyelovehorses

    why did he keep him wide and hit him? he should have just let him cruise when he wasent going to be even 5th it just looked weird?

  • Eyelovehorses

    why did he keep him wide and hit him? he should have just let him cruise when he wasent going to be even 5th it just looked weird?

  • Barbara

    It’ll die down as soon as fans like you find your next blood letting frenzy to sink your shark teeth into, Sandra.

  • Barbara

    No it’s not. He is taking heat because his name is Bob Baffert. It has nothing to do with Tweebster, other than he was a big pretty gray that met his demise. Of course if Baffert had littered a stakes field with Tweebster as his 4th entry as a favor to racing office, and he broke down, then it would be off with his head for running the horse over his head.

  • Barbara

    Actually here is the question that SA asks Bob most often. “Got anything else you can enter to help us out?”

  • Barbara

    Then why exactly did he run him? Did Baffert forget everything he ever knew about the game in one day, Tinky? Did he think anyone would take his almost six year old gelding on the downside with two recent works for 12.5 thinking they could improve off him?  

    Should he have not run him there, if only for risking negative perception? Yeah. Would he like that one back? Yep. Should Shah have just sent the horse to be retrained for a second career for much less cost than paying Baffert’s day rate, um, yes.

  • BarneyDorfman

     We have a  home-bred Tiznow gelding playing the role of “pasture potato” with others like him. .  The price of the horse is irrelevant; he deserved better.  Baffert is a subscriber to the Darwin school of training and racing.  There are some things lower than the death of a horse.

    • Roisin

      Well said !  

  • BarneyDorfman

     We have a  home-bred Tiznow gelding playing the role of “pasture potato” with others like him. .  The price of the horse is irrelevant; he deserved better.  Baffert is a subscriber to the Darwin school of training and racing.  There are some things lower than the death of a horse.

  • Barney Door

     Humbug

  • Jerry

    If Baffert knowlingly ran a sore or injured horse, he will get what he deserves, BUT…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    ………………………………………………next time, he’ll be able to make some “money” laying the horse on the “BETFAIR EXCHANGE” thanks to his pals at the TOC and CHRB…………

    Why would anyone support CA horseracing when you have people and rules which do NOT protect the wagering public or the horses?

    Send these fools a message and STOP WAGERING ON CA HORSERACES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Jerry

    If Baffert knowlingly ran a sore or injured horse, he will get what he deserves, BUT…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
    ………………………………………………next time, he’ll be able to make some “money” laying the horse on the “BETFAIR EXCHANGE” thanks to his pals at the TOC and CHRB…………

    Why would anyone support CA horseracing when you have people and rules which do NOT protect the wagering public or the horses?

    Send these fools a message and STOP WAGERING ON CA HORSERACES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Whitney

    BULLSHIT! Why would you run a horse in sloppy footing to get his confidence back??? Good call Bafffert and I use to admire you!

  • Guest

     “Pre-race inspection” at our track involves jogging the horse halfway down the shedrow…not exactly the most thorough way to evaluate soundness.  And Garcia would not burn his bridges–Baffert is his sugar daddy…he probably just figured he would get him home (taking it easy if necessary) and that would be that…But no way that this pattern doesn’t make you wonder. 

  • Stanley inman

    Kyle,
    Agreed,
    Bob’s recognition
    about the significance of social media
    at the beginning of his statement;
    Followed by his explanation is
    Puzzling.
    Custer at littlebighorn.

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    The public demands that athletes in this sport are cared for more and more these days. This is a good thing and we all know that change is needed in the racing industry. Horses are placed in lower claiming races all of the time… that is part of the sport. Some horses are VERY successful when dropped, and there is nothing wrong with it. People that have issue with it, should pressure the racing industry itself to make changes, not attack owners and trainers. Had Tweebster won, this would not even be in question.  

    Baffert has long been a HUGE supporter of thoroughbred retirement. If people would do their homework, they would know that. He definitely should not be lumped into the category of  “bad trainers” because Tweebster took a bad step after the race. Anti-racing fanatics and animal rescue people are once again out for blood. Sadly, many people thrive on negative and pay no attention to the good that Baffert has done. The insinuation that he has ANY ill intentions for this horse or any other horse is outrageous. 

    If you want a long list of horses that are being ran into the ground by other trainers that were once great race horses, now running in low claiming races, let me know and I will be glad to give you a list of those names. If you want a list of horses that have disappeared from the radar after leaving low claiming races, I also have that list. 

    • Matt Clarke

       Thanks Mary for a thoughtful accurate post.

    • Beachy

       I said below that I don’t believe Mr. Baffert a bad trainer or bad person.  I will  add that there can also be the possible negative input of the owner into this mix.  People should think twice about what it truly is, or what it truly is worth, to attempt squeezing just one or more races out of these older horses–and/or younger ones too if they are not in the best of shape(I do not imply what shape Tweebster was in here; I don’t know what shape he was in.) 

      What truly disgusts me is to note stories like that of Mr. Barracuda, who fell dead past the wire at the age of 10 making his *98th* start.  God rest him and some people have no shame.  Read it yourself on the Racehorse Memorial Wall 

      https://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=tPHc9ylcGZrvYCNVlpbgM7A&output=html

      Tweebster’s photo is on the Home Page.  An absolutely beautiful, dappled grey Tapit.  Paw in the valley, and exult in your strength; you will be deeply missed. 

      I know it’s a business but I implore everyone to RACE RESPONSIBLY–owners, trainers, whoever. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

        I agree with you 100%, there is nothing that indicates that Tweebster was not able to race and after watching the race more than once.. it is clear that he took a bad step at the end of the race when it was over and he was slowing down.. at least that is what I saw. 

        The link that you provided appears to be a blog, not sure who owns it 

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    The public demands that athletes in this sport are cared for more and more these days. This is a good thing and we all know that change is needed in the racing industry. Horses are placed in lower claiming races all of the time… that is part of the sport. Some horses are VERY successful when dropped, and there is nothing wrong with it. People that have issue with it, should pressure the racing industry itself to make changes, not attack owners and trainers. Had Tweebster won, this would not even be in question.  

    Baffert has long been a HUGE supporter of thoroughbred retirement. If people would do their homework, they would know that. He definitely should not be lumped into the category of  “bad trainers” because Tweebster took a bad step after the race. Anti-racing fanatics and animal rescue people are once again out for blood. Sadly, many people thrive on negative and pay no attention to the good that Baffert has done. The insinuation that he has ANY ill intentions for this horse or any other horse is outrageous. 

    If you want a long list of horses that are being ran into the ground by other trainers that were once great race horses, now running in low claiming races, let me know and I will be glad to give you a list of those names. If you want a list of horses that have disappeared from the radar after leaving low claiming races, I also have that list. 

  • Matt Clarke

     Thanks Mary for a thoughtful accurate post.

  • Roisin

    The bottom line is you do not run your horse in a claiming race, especially a $12,500 claiming race, unless you want rid of the horse, period. 

    • Kate Myracingheart

      That is just not true. Trainers select a couple of races for the crew according to timing,surface,condition readiness of athlete and distance. Surfaces can be switched,weather can intefere and the race doesn’t fill…gotta find another one quickly as he horse needs to get a race in him/her.Nothing is black and white or absolute. Timing and judgement are key.some trainers got the gift…some don’t.

  • Roisin

    The bottom line is you do not run your horse in a claiming race, especially a $12,500 claiming race, unless you want rid of the horse, period. 

  • Roisin

    And I might add, although sad to say, the horse is better off dead than racing in the low level claiming races.

    • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

      seriously???? that is almost laughable if it weren’t so sick. I know many owners that race horses at lower level racing that not only love and care for their own horses but are also at times the first ones to help in the efforts to help other thoroughbreds in need 

      • Kate Myracingheart

         agree and that is from first hand knowledge.Kudoes Mary forrelating the facts from experience.

      • Roisin

        There are enough on the other end of the spectrum to make up for the “good” ones. And I stand by what I said. I have some former claimers that should not have been racing….no way.

    • The other John White

      Roisin-what a horriable sick statement to make. ………….They have online classes in humanity. You might want to take one. You need it.

      • Roisin

        No it is not sick. What IS sick are the trucks headed to Canada and Mexico loaded with washed up and abandoned former Thoroughbred racers some having earned substantial money too.

         Can you tell me that every claimed horse is treated well and not sent to slaughter when they can no longer race having gone from barn to barn as they decend through the claiming ranks and not to mention the drugs they are given along the way.

        And with all due respect, why do you state I need classes in humanity. How judgmental is that ? I take care of 7 unwanted Thoroughbreds  and I also contribute to many, many rescue groups.

        Sad to say, but death at the track is better than a truck ride to a horrific death in a slaughter house. Surely you know this happens more often than not.

        • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

          I agree that too much horse slaughter is happening in this country but the change MUST come from the industry itself and NOT be left up to individual trainers and owners. The athletes MUST be protected, the public and the fans are demanding it. For the sake of the sport itself, change is necessary. 

          As far as claimed horses not going to slaughter, yes many do end up there but many end up there far before that point and many that never even make it to the tracks. 

          With that said, it has nothing to do with Baffert and this situation. All trainers at his level at some point drop horses into lower claiming races and others sell them to other trainers and owners at lower levels. 

          Even worse are the after care Thoroughbred programs out there that claim they will help the horses but their programs target horses that are eligible for second careers and ignore those that are in the MOST need which are horses that leave lower claiming races with no options or few options. 

          • nu-fan

            Mary:  You are right.  This can’t be left to individuals.  It must be addressed nationally by the industry and, perhaps, if needed, by federal legislation.  Although it would cost and be a large undertaking, originally, I wonder why racehorses can’t be tracked much like the automobiles that have VIN numbers and must be registered each year?  Might this be a way of tracking where these horses end up as well as leaving a paper trail of those owners who will need to explain why some of their horses “disappear”?  Furthermore, you are also right about how the public and racing fans are not going to continue supporting this sport if it doesn’t conduct itself in a more professional manner including safeguarding its horses.  But, this also needs a long-term vision which can only come from industry leaders rather than individuals who are looking for an income today, tomorrow, and next week.  This latter group isn’t thinking about long-term.

          • Kate Myracingheart

            Interesting idea about tracking athlete horse sales movement through their respective tatoo.Wouldn’t that be a Jockey Club/track/sales ring  data system…if present…who is monitoring ? Racing is also bearing the brunt of criticism that should be shared by other sport horse groups. Baffert is relevant in the discussion and it could be a 6 degrees of separation situation. Paynter just arrived back at his barn after battling laminitis…an issue that was spotlighted through the Fans of Barbaro
            fundraising for research.His recovery is miraculous and a touchstone to every vet working on a sport horse,every racing fan and owner.I would challenge the AQHA,US Polo Assn,the US Olympic equine teams,herding et al to fight as hard on equine issues as we t-bred owners do.

          • Guest

             Most of the aftercare programs out there are trying to help as best they can…I think one can reasonably infer from all of the financial woes that the TRF has suffered that it is extremely difficult to take on “pasture pals” and keep them for 20 or so years…As best I know, many of the groups taking on horses that could have second careers aren’t even covering costs, but they are helping horses–many of which are low-level claimers, btw–that owners and trainers do not want. (If you go to their websites and look up some of the horses/race records you often see that these are horses that never ran “big time” so it is reasonable to say that they were likely at risk.)  But is it their responsibility to take on every crippled horse that the industry churns out and let the owners and trainers, who after all make the money off of these horses, to “clean up the mess”?  Maybe part of the issue is that when you breed 25,000-35,000 babies every year, there is no good way to provide for all of them…perhaps retirement planning starts in the breeding shed?

          • RedShoesGirl

            this brings me again to the question of how is breeding controlled? does every stallion that maybe won a stakes race and was in the money on a couple of more deserve to be bred? do his genes need to be passed on? or is he just a way to earn a quick buck in stallion fees? 

            how does anyone determine which stallions should be bred, how does one reduce the number of foals each year, many of whom never make it to the track? who takes care of all the ponies coming off the track each year, there aren’t enough rescue or retirement facilities. i know a small time owner/trainer who retires all of his horses to a little non-profit organization in california. he also takes in other horses. but they are full up and yet everyday someone calls to see if they can take in another TB that no one wants. some of their horses are more than 15-20 years old.

            how do we control breeding?

          • nu-fan

            “Maybe part of the issue is that when you breed 25,000-35,000 babies every year, there is no good way to provide for all of them…perhaps retirement planning starts in the breeding shed?”  YES!  There should be up-front costs for retirement planning of horses that may end up needing assistance in their future.  Something of a Social Security program for horses to provide financial assistance for those needing it.  It might also discourage breeding where 1) the owners do not have sufficient finances to take long-term care of these horses and 2) to minimize breeding marginal horses.  Some of the stud fees, which I have seen, are extremely low and it makes me wonder if the idea is to breed volume, over quality, with these horses.  If the costs to breed are higher, it might force out those who shouldn’t be breeding as well as to reduce the number of horses bred each year.

          • RedShoesGirl

            >>Some of the stud fees, which I have seen, are extremely low and it makes me wonder if the idea is to breed volume, over quality, with these horses.  If the costs to breed are higher, it might force out those who shouldn’t be breeding as well as to reduce the number of horses bred each year.<<

            absolutely! that's what i asked before. breeders are breeding low quality horses on the off-chance they will get a big winner.

        • The Other John White

          Roisin-You can write all day along trying to justify your vial and  insenitive comments. But it does not change the fact of what you said. Might I suggest you simply apologise for your comment. At least that way you can walk away with some dignity and bring merit to your argument………….By the way I race my horses in claiming level races. I make sure that each trainer knows the well fair of the horse  comes first no matter what. I also put a sticker on the JC papers letting  anyone that claims my horse know that the horse will always have a home back on my farm.

          • nu-fan

            “I also put a sticker on the JC papers letting anyone that claims my horse know that the horse will always have a home back on my farm.” How I wish that all others did the same.  Any ideas as to how to get this get started as a national trend?

          • Kate Myracingheart

            Hall of Fame Trainer, Nick Zito,together with his wife,were one of the first to recognize the dangers of OTTB’s and start a sticker policy and this was before the tragedy of Barbaro.That particular web group galvanized a legion of horse fans to organize,lobby govt. lawmakers and municiple officials and fundraise/sponsor adoption facilities.Research the stories of Ky Derby winner/BC champion Ferdinand and then, the very sad story of the gorgeous colt Exceller. Ray is one of the columnists that recognizes that these are issues that are on-going,troubling and worth discussing.The grace note is that there has been some progress.

          • nu-fan

            Kate:  Thank you for your reply.  I know of the “Ferdinand” clause but, if I am not mistaken, this is not required of owners but many are, now, using it.  But, I wonder how many of the “non-stars” of racehorses have such clauses included?  Or, are many of these just “tossed” aside and gotten rid of?  That is where I have a hunch a lot of those horses–that are eventually sent across the border for slaughter or just plain abandoned here in the U.S.–are those that were forgotten.  The deaths (slaughter of) Ferdinand and Excellor were harder to hide.  But, what about some of those horses that continue down the claiming ladder?  What happens to them?  Who notices their disappearance? How many of their original owners or breeders make any attempt to take care of their horses after they no longer have any monetary value to anyone on the racetracks?  By the way, I also agree with you about this website.  It is about the only voice that discusses the need for the horseracing industry to improve the lives for its reason for being–the horses.

          • Roisin

            Sir, I have lots of dignity. I still stand by what I said. There is NO need for me to apologise.

            And I was not trying to justify my comments. There is a lot of horse abuse in the racing industry and you know it. My “vile” comment , as you so nicely put it, is mild in comparison to what many of these unfortunate animals endure. Have you ever witnessed horse slaughter ? Do you remember the carnage at Aquaduct last season? 

            I’m sorry you are so utterly outraged by my comment but maybe I touched a nerve.

            Have a good 2013.

            PS My horses come first too.

  • Krislynnmonty

    Just want to say that my first horse is a 4 year old off track thoroughbred.  There is nothing wrong with retraining an OTTB for another discipline.  I have three children, 4, 5 and 9 and everyone of my children climb on the back of my OTTB and ride him!  I totally trust him with my kids.  He is the kindest and most gentle horse.  Granted not every OTTB would be suitable for an adolescent, but lets not lump them all in the same category. Lumping them in the same category is like saying all big dogs are bad…which is so not true.  Why not focus on the issue at hand…which is Tweebster.  Could Tweebster have made a great horse for a young rider????  I guess we will never know.  Was dropping him down to 12,500 claim race a good move?  Hindsight shows us it was not.  Could we have prevented him from taking a bad step, who knows.  Was he completely sound, it doesn’t seem like he was.  But again we will never know.  What we do know is that Tweebster’s death was a terrible tragedy and we ALL wish it hadn’t happened!

  • Roisin

    And I might add, although sad to say, the horse is better off dead than racing in the low level claiming races.

  • Beachy

     I said below that I don’t believe Mr. Baffert a bad trainer or bad person.  I will  add that there can also be the possible negative input of the owner into this mix.  People should think twice about what it truly is, or what it truly is worth, to attempt squeezing just one or more races out of these older horses–and/or younger ones too if they are not in the best of shape(I do not imply what shape Tweebster was in here; I don’t know what shape he was in.) 

    What truly disgusts me is to note stories like that of Mr. Barracuda, who fell dead past the wire at the age of 10 making his *98th* start.  God rest him and some people have no shame.  Read it yourself on the Racehorse Memorial Wall 

    https://spreadsheets.google.co

    Tweebster’s photo is on the Home Page.  An absolutely beautiful, dappled grey Tapit.  Paw in the valley, and exult in your strength; you will be deeply missed. 

    I know it’s a business but I implore everyone to RACE RESPONSIBLY–owners, trainers, whoever. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    I agree with you 100%, there is nothing that indicates that Tweebster was not able to race and after watching the race more than once.. it is clear that he took a bad step at the end of the race when it was over and he was slowing down.. at least that is what I saw. 

    The link that you provided appears to be a blog, not sure who owns it 

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    & u just judged this site & the good people that have been coming here way before u were…GMAFB…

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    seriously???? that is almost laughable if it weren’t so sick. I know many owners that race horses at lower level racing that not only love and care for their own horses but are also at times the first ones to help in the efforts to help other thoroughbreds in need 

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

     “T-Bred Horses are fragile animals”???…That statement couldn’t be futher from the TRUTH!!!…humans beings are much more fragile including their brains!!!…GMAFB!!!…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    Bless U Sid…

  • Kate Myracingheart

    That is just not true. Trainers select a couple of races for the crew according to timing,surface,condition readiness of athlete and distance. Surfaces can be switched,weather can intefere and the race doesn’t fill…gotta find another one quickly as he horse needs to get a race in him/her.Nothing is black and white or absolute. Timing and judgement are key.some trainers got the gift…some don’t.

  • Kate Myracingheart

     agree and that is from first hand knowledge.Kudoes Mary forrelating the facts from experience.

  • Roisin

    There are enough on the other end of the spectrum to make up for the “good” ones. And I stand by what I said. I have some former claimers that should not have been racing….no way.

  • The other John White

    Roisin-what a horriable sick statement to make. ………….They have online classes in humanity. You might want to take one. You need it.

  • Roisin

    No it is not sick. What IS sick are the trucks headed to Canada and Mexico loaded with washed up and abandoned former Thoroughbred racers some having earned substantial money too.

     Can you tell me that every claimed horse is treated well and not sent to slaughter when they can no longer race having gone from barn to barn as they decend through the claiming ranks and not to mention the drugs they are given along the way.

    And with all due respect, why do you state I need classes in humanity. How judgmental is that ? I take care of 7 unwanted Thoroughbreds  and I also contribute to many, many rescue groups.

    Sad to say, but death at the track is better than a truck ride to a horrific death in a slaughter house. Surely you know this happens more often than not.

  • Roisin

    Well said !  

  • http://www.facebook.com/savestallions1 Mary Adkins-Matthews

    I agree that too much horse slaughter is happening in this country but the change MUST come from the industry itself and NOT be left up to individual trainers and owners. The athletes MUST be protected, the public and the fans are demanding it. For the sake of the sport itself, change is necessary. 

    As far as claimed horses not going to slaughter, yes many do end up there but many end up there far before that point and many that never even make it to the tracks. 

    With that said, it has nothing to do with Baffert and this situation. All trainers at his level at some point drop horses into lower claiming races and others sell them to other trainers and owners at lower levels. 

    Even worse are the after care Thoroughbred programs out there that claim they will help the horses but their programs target horses that are eligible for second careers and ignore those that are in the MOST need which are horses that leave lower claiming races with no options or few options. 

  • jay l

    good for you ray

  • http://twitter.com/LaurelMemories Pancho Panucci

    Baffert defenders said they respected his “emotional statement” put out on Monday, how much loss of Tweebster affected him..is that why on his Sunday twitter feed the only tweets were about the Redskin football game?..this was after he knew Tweebster was gone..Baffert quickly deleted those tweets but they were screen-grabbed, I’ve seen them..the man is a stone-cold sociopath, like many in the game, and he is bigger than the game, so many horseracing pundits are reluctant to criticize him, for fear of recrimination..Joe Drape of NYT had a good piece on this, end of which he asked Baffert for vet records of Tweebster, etc.   from Baffert, nothing..

  • http://twitter.com/LaurelMemories Pancho Panucci

    Baffert defenders said they respected his “emotional statement” put out on Monday, how much loss of Tweebster affected him..is that why on his Sunday twitter feed the only tweets were about the Redskin football game?..this was after he knew Tweebster was gone..Baffert quickly deleted those tweets but they were screen-grabbed, I’ve seen them..the man is a stone-cold sociopath, like many in the game, and he is bigger than the game, so many horseracing pundits are reluctant to criticize him, for fear of recrimination..Joe Drape of NYT had a good piece on this, end of which he asked Baffert for vet records of Tweebster, etc.  <crickets> from Baffert, nothing..</crickets>

  • The Other John White

    Roisin-You can write all day along trying to justify your vial and  insenitive comments. But it does not change the fact of what you said. Might I suggest you simply apologise for your comment. At least that way you can walk away with some dignity and bring merit to your argument………….By the way I race my horses in claiming level races. I make sure that each trainer knows the well fair of the horse  comes first no matter what. I also put a sticker on the JC papers letting  anyone that claims my horse know that the horse will always have a home back on my farm.

  • nu-fan

    “I also put a sticker on the JC papers letting anyone that claims my horse know that the horse will always have a home back on my farm.” How I wish that all others did the same.  Any ideas as to how to get this get started as a national trend?

  • nu-fan

    Mary:  You are right.  This can’t be left to individuals.  It must be addressed nationally by the industry and, perhaps, if needed, by federal legislation.  Although it would cost and be a large undertaking, originally, I wonder why racehorses can’t be tracked much like the automobiles that have VIN numbers and must be registered each year?  Might this be a way of tracking where these horses end up as well as leaving a paper trail of those owners who will need to explain why some of their horses “disappear”?  Furthermore, you are also right about how the public and racing fans are not going to continue supporting this sport if it doesn’t conduct itself in a more professional manner including safeguarding its horses.  But, this also needs a long-term vision which can only come from industry leaders rather than individuals who are looking for an income today, tomorrow, and next week.  This latter group isn’t thinking about long-term.

  • Kate Myracingheart

    Hall of Fame Trainer, Nick Zito,together with his wife,were one of the first to recognize the dangers of OTTB’s and start a sticker policy and this was before the tragedy of Barbaro.That particular web group galvanized a legion of horse fans to organize,lobby govt. lawmakers and municiple officials and fundraise/sponsor adoption facilities.Research the stories of Ky Derby winner/BC champion Ferdinand and then, the very sad story of the gorgeous colt Exceller. Ray is one of the columnists that recognizes that these are issues that are on-going,troubling and worth discussing.The grace note is that there has been some progress.

  • nu-fan

    Kate:  Thank you for your reply.  I know of the “Ferdinand” clause but, if I am not mistaken, this is not required of owners but many are, now, using it.  But, I wonder how many of the “non-stars” of racehorses have such clauses included?  Or, are many of these just “tossed” aside and gotten rid of?  That is where I have a hunch a lot of those horses–that are eventually sent across the border for slaughter or just plain abandoned here in the U.S.–are those that were forgotten.  The deaths (slaughter of) Ferdinand and Excellor were harder to hide.  But, what about some of those horses that continue down the claiming ladder?  What happens to them?  Who notices their disappearance? How many of their original owners or breeders make any attempt to take care of their horses after they no longer have any monetary value to anyone on the racetracks?  By the way, I also agree with you about this website.  It is about the only voice that discusses the need for the horseracing industry to improve the lives for its reason for being–the horses.

  • Roisin

    Sir, I have lots of dignity. I still stand by what I said. There is NO need for me to apologise.

    And I was not trying to justify my comments. There is a lot of horse abuse in the racing industry and you know it. My “vile” comment , as you so nicely put it, is mild in comparison to what many of these unfortunate animals endure. Have you ever witnessed horse slaughter ? Do you remember the carnage at Aquaduct last season? 

    I’m sorry you are so utterly outraged by my comment but maybe I touched a nerve.

    Have a good 2013.

    PS My horses come first too.

  • Guest

     Most of the aftercare programs out there are trying to help as best they can…I think one can reasonably infer from all of the financial woes that the TRF has suffered that it is extremely difficult to take on “pasture pals” and keep them for 20 or so years…As best I know, many of the groups taking on horses that could have second careers aren’t even covering costs, but they are helping horses–many of which are low-level claimers, btw–that owners and trainers do not want. (If you go to their websites and look up some of the horses/race records you often see that these are horses that never ran “big time” so it is reasonable to say that they were likely at risk.)  But is it their responsibility to take on every crippled horse that the industry churns out and let the owners and trainers, who after all make the money off of these horses, to “clean up the mess”?  Maybe part of the issue is that when you breed 25,000-35,000 babies every year, there is no good way to provide for all of them…perhaps retirement planning starts in the breeding shed?

  • AngieTaylor

     I just hope Bob can find a replacement and keep on going.  This has to be tough on him.

  • RedShoesGirl

    this brings me again to the question of how is breeding controlled? does every stallion that maybe won a stakes race and was in the money on a couple of more deserve to be bred? do his genes need to be passed on? or is he just a way to earn a quick buck in stallion fees? 

    how does anyone determine which stallions should be bred, how does one reduce the number of foals each year, many of whom never make it to the track? who takes care of all the ponies coming off the track each year, there aren’t enough rescue or retirement facilities. i know a small time owner/trainer who retires all of his horses to a little non-profit organization in california. he also takes in other horses. but they are full up and yet everyday someone calls to see if they can take in another TB that no one wants. some of their horses are more than 15-20 years old.

    how do we control breeding?

  • Kate Myracingheart

    Interesting idea about tracking athlete horse sales movement through their respective tatoo.Wouldn’t that be a Jockey Club/track/sales ring  data system…if present…who is monitoring ? Racing is also bearing the brunt of criticism that should be shared by other sport horse groups. Baffert is relevant in the discussion and it could be a 6 degrees of separation situation. Paynter just arrived back at his barn after battling laminitis…an issue that was spotlighted through the Fans of Barbaro
    fundraising for research.His recovery is miraculous and a touchstone to every vet working on a sport horse,every racing fan and owner.I would challenge the AQHA,US Polo Assn,the US Olympic equine teams,herding et al to fight as hard on equine issues as we t-bred owners do.

  • nu-fan

    “Maybe part of the issue is that when you breed 25,000-35,000 babies every year, there is no good way to provide for all of them…perhaps retirement planning starts in the breeding shed?”  YES!  There should be up-front costs for retirement planning of horses that may end up needing assistance in their future.  Something of a Social Security program for horses to provide financial assistance for those needing it.  It might also discourage breeding where 1) the owners do not have sufficient finances to take long-term care of these horses and 2) to minimize breeding marginal horses.  Some of the stud fees, which I have seen, are extremely low and it makes me wonder if the idea is to breed volume, over quality, with these horses.  If the costs to breed are higher, it might force out those who shouldn’t be breeding as well as to reduce the number of horses bred each year.

  • RedShoesGirl

    >>Some of the stud fees, which I have seen, are extremely low and it makes me wonder if the idea is to breed volume, over quality, with these horses.  If the costs to breed are higher, it might force out those who shouldn’t be breeding as well as to reduce the number of horses bred each year.<<

    absolutely! that’s what i asked before. breeders are breeding low quality horses on the off-chance they will get a big winner.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/6OCQURBJHY3J2E432VZPIGITPY michael

    I am more upset at Alex Bisono beating the crap out of Nana Beach, 0-39, and the horse’s trainer still running at SA for high claiming level.  0-39, at SA, please God.

  • Rose

    ok..here is the deal..the horse is dead…race horses are DISPOSABLE..it is about $$
    and always has been..Baffert can back pedal all he wants…!

  • Rose

    ok..here is the deal..the horse is dead…race horses are DISPOSABLE..it is about $$
    and always has been..Baffert can back pedal all he wants…!

  • Rose

     you are so right  on !!!

  • Mothernight

    Baffert’s response would  be believable only if the vet work performed on the horse was published. Racing must either move to impose strict limits on intra articular injections with required periods of layup or they will be imposed from the outside.
    Not every breakdown is related to medication or aggressive veterinary practices but until racing deals with those practices we continue to destroy any chance of convincing the public we really do care about the animals in our care.

  • Mothernight

    Baffert’s response would  be believable only if the vet work performed on the horse was published. Racing must either move to impose strict limits on intra articular injections with required periods of layup or they will be imposed from the outside.
    Not every breakdown is related to medication or aggressive veterinary practices but until racing deals with those practices we continue to destroy any chance of convincing the public we really do care about the animals in our care.

Twitter