by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am

Trainer Bob Baffert, elected to the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame this year, is a native of Arizona who bases his multiple Eclipse Award-winning stable in Southern California. But he's no stranger to Kentucky, having won the Kentucky Derby three times in addition to the Kentucky Oaks, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and many other races at Kentucky racetracks. His longtime client, Mike Pegram, got his start in racing by attending Ellis Park in western Kentucky. Pegram is among many clients that Baffert has represented while spending millions of dollars on Kentucky-bred yearlings and 2-year-olds in training at sales in the Bluegrass State over the past 20 years.

Because of his concerns for the current state and the downward direction of Kentucky's Thoroughbred industry, Baffert wrote the following letter, sending it to Gov. Steve Beshear, all members of the Kentucky state Senate and a number of state Representatives. He told the Paulick Report he was not solicited by any individual or organization to write the letter, but approved our request to republish it here.  —  Ray Paulick


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I am a Thoroughbred horse trainer.  I don't live in Kentucky, but I spend a good amount of time in your fine state throughout the year and it's here where I have enjoyed some of the proudest, grandest moments of my life.  As I watch racing in your state diminish, I am appalled at the lack of interest or concern on the part of legislators in the Bluegrass…the “Horse Capital” of the world.

This is an industry that generates over four billion dollars to your state and brings in another nine billion dollars in tourism.  That's not including the hundreds of millions of dollars from the Kentucky Horse Park and events such as the Kentucky Derby.  Racing in your state directly or indirectly employs more than a hundred thousand workers.  That translates into hundreds of thousands of people and their families who depend on it for a living. Over the past several years, I have seen many of our wealthiest horse owners leave my home state of California for the bluegrass of  Kentucky.  They bring to the Commonwealth a multitude of resources.  How can you allow an industry of this magnitude to fail?

The world is ever-changing.  Horse racing is no exception.  What once worked for an industry must be tweaked or, in some cases, totally revamped.  Alternative gaming (i.e. slots) in neighboring states is killing racing in Kentucky.  That is fact.  Millions of dollars are being spent in areas, which, in many cases, are just a stone's throw away from Kentucky soil.  While there is much work to be done within our industry, you and your fellow lawmakers have the power to give it a fighting chance. As stewards of the state's economy, it is your duty.  Horse racing has been too good to Kentucky for you to turn a blind eye to its plight.

Time is of the essence.  If the legislature doesn't act swiftly, Kentucky will not resemble the state you or your children grew up in.  Pristine horse property will be abandoned, or worse yet, replaced by concrete.  Once viable, thriving communities will shrink or vanish as their economies disappear.  The state will find itself supporting many of the hundred thousand hard working men and women who will be left with no way to support their families.  Public works projects will suffer as tax dollars wither away.  And then there's the challenge of caring for the three hundred twenty thousand displaced race horses.  Have any ideas?

Rich in history and steeped in tradition, Kentucky has long been the bastion of Thoroughbred racing in America.  It should be looked upon not only with a sense of pride, but as a vital and irreplaceable staple of your economy.  Racing is not asking for a handout, but simply the tools to compete in a changing, highly competitive market. Your state's signature industry is fighting for its survival.  What are you going to do to help?


Bob Baffert

Arcadia, CA


  • AdLady

    Thank you Mr. Baffert for writing this. Sometimes it takes an outsider to convince people what they have at home is really special and worth fighting for. I hope our politicians take to heart what you have said and that our Kentucky horsemen and women follow your example and actively do what they can to help.

  • Barbara

    Go Bob Go!

  • We owe Bob a debt of gratitude for doing this. It would be nice if our legislators cared about this industry as much as our friends and clients that don’t live here.

    Craig B

  • Bengal Bob

    Bengal Bob approves of this message, but the work that needs to be done is behind the scenes in Frankfort.

  • Kelly

    Go Bob Go!!!!! Great letter!

  • Ed

    You’d think these legislators would not want to ruin an entire industry “on their watch.” This is not a game … this is the livelihood of 100,000 Kentuckians we’re talking about. Hope Bob shows up in Frankfort next Wednesday.

  • Rchard Coreno

    These major voices are needed in so many states. Hopefully this spurs those who have the influence and reputation to begin reaching out to try and save the industry, no matter the size…..a track closure or significant loss of breeding farms does reverberate throughout the nation.

  • Margrethe

    Why doesn’t he speak up in California where he lives and races.
    It’s not like there aren’t any problems here!

  • john greathouse

    my guess is that he does
    how would you know that he doesn’t?

  • racing guardian

    If Bob truly wants to help the industry and see the return of tens of thousands of fans, then maybe he could start off by hiring Americans. After all, why should Americans support an industry that has turned its back on the hard working, horse loving Americans of this country?

  • John G. Burke

    Who would ever have thought that the thoroughbred industry in Kentucky would have come to this? Like many others, I came to Lexington over twenty-five years ago because this was “the” place to be if you wanted to work with horses. In this changing world the racing in Kentucky must survive and those in Frankfort must understand how critical the situation has become. There is so much at stake that industry members outside the state know how important it has become. Thank you Bob Baffert.

  • Alfred Nuckols, Jr.

    Thank you for speaking up on behalf of our industry. It is truly a shame that more citizens of this Commonwealth cannot see what you so clearly describe. It is the signature industry of Kentucky. I watched years ago how vans loaded up the standardbred industry that once thrived in Kentucky and dispersed it to other more attentive states. History can certainly repeat itself.

  • Kelsie

    Glad he wrote this, but he should write and publish a letter that addresses the issues facing California racing as well. California racing is going down the drain and everyone is sitting on their hands.

  • California Breeder

    You just can’t make some people happy, no matter what. Bob Baffert didn’t need to write to the Kentucky politicians, but even when he did some people have to look for a negative angle like ‘why doesn’t he do something about the mess in California racing.” Last time I looked he didn’t have the Superman symbol on his chest.

    In California we can’t even get the politicians to give us the time of day. Breeders and owners have allowed people like our current California Racing Board chairman to work “behind the scenes” in Sacramento and look where its got us…in deep manure.

    If there’s ever a sign that we might get a break from California politicians I’d be willing to bet Baffert will be one of the first people willing to go to the capital and do whatever he can to help.

    He’s got a lot of skin in this game, especially out here in California.

  • Cynthia McGinnes

    The legislators in Maryland answered Bob Baffert’s question,” What are you going to do to help?” with one word…NOTHING. We have finally gotten the slots legislation passed, but almost one year later there is still political infighting over the licenses, and it is probably too late to save the breeding industry anyway. Maryland had the land, the great farms,the horses,the infrastructure,the tradition, the history,the tracks,and the legislators in Annapolis answered…SO WHAT.
    I wish Kentucky horse people better luck.After 37 years in the breeding business in Maryland, I have to say that we are all going down for the third time.

  • David Shashura

    Bob: Thank you!!!! You have the courage and the balls to put into written word the simple truth of what both needs and must be done by our legislators. The importance of this industry to the health of Kentucky is as is not unlike the importance and urgency that our Federal lawmakers dealt with as a National economy. The Commonwealth of Kentucky with the failure of this industry will cause a cascading, catastrophic demise of services and infrastructure that will only be mitigated in the short term by raising taxes. The problem is the tax base will shrink, Companies will have no desire to come here, schools will further decline from what is at best awful. Legislators, just do what is right!!!

  • Bob Hope

    Bob Baffert is one of the brighter lights in our midst and his comments, if indeed unsolicited, are beneficial. And the many comments made in support of his letter show compassion for a failing sport in this country, not just Kentucky. Margrethe and the California Breeder are accurate in stating that Bob should have made a few changes and sent a copy to Sacramento where politicians and the TOC have contributed to the decimation of what once was not only the racing showcase of the west but emblematic of world class racing. This beautiful and rewarding sport for millions worldwide has been used to contribute negatively from within, in this country, by eroding it through misguided policies, greed and self-serving appointments. The devastation of a Magna; misguided policies of a Bob Evans are not positive marketing tools in the eyes of politicians, public and participants who are witnessing the use of horse racing as camouflage for empire-building or other technetronic games of chance. These efforts fail us all ! Horse racing is a fragile sport built over centuries to attempt to perfect the breed while providing beautiful experiences and inculcating a system of self funding for its perpetuation. Nothing more ! Nothing less ! Why do we work so hard to destroy its meaning?

  • Thank you Bob for helping bring awareness to what i would think our public elected officials should be so aware of. We, the horse people have elected them and we expect them to be aware of our changing industry and help it help itself back to success.
    robin degraff

  • “The devastation of a Magna, misguided policies of a Bob Evans, are not positive marketing tools in the eyes of politicians, public and participants who are witnessing the use of horseracing as camouflage for empire building or other technetronic games of chance. These efforts fail us all!” (Quoting Bob Hope, Comment 17)

    Right there, in two sentences, is the heart and soul of the matter.

    Not all Kentucky politicians are the sharpest tacks in the box; neither are they stupid. The same must be said for the voters who elect them. They are astute enough to see or smell that Kentucky’s track operators (with Keeneland excepted) want slot machines so they can get out of live racing. Casinos are much cheaper to run and far more profitable. Also, very easy to sell for huge profits to professional casino operators. New Mexico is a perfect example of that.

    A possible way to thwart track operators plans is to legalize slots at any location OTHER than racetracks and ban racetrack operators from owning or controlling the locations.

    If the proposal is to have slots under control of the lottery company, why not allow a couple of machines everywhere that now offers lottery tickets? A percentage of the proceeds can be earmarked for racing purses and put under the hand of Kentucky T’bred Breeders for distribution.

  • tidewaterhorse

    Regarding ‘racing guardians’ comments about hiring more americans, what does that have to do with the state of horse racing? Will hiring more amercians save racing? Only american born jockeys? No foreign racehorses? Let’s make some sense.

  • Linda Larsen

    I just read about how the slot machines in New Mexico helped Chip Wooley. I don’t understand this. I went to a veterinary conference in Reno, Nevada and the slot machines
    were everywhere, not just the casinos. But there was no one playing them. Atlantic City, NJ
    is hemorrhaging money. How can the slots help anyone except the companies which supply them?

  • stephen Johnson

    Difficult topic i think the hiring issue is immigrants and mostly mexican staff for feeding and caring of the horses but they are there and affordable and do the job and there is no big line up of canadian or american grown men to clean stalls . I live in canada by the way and we have slots now in Vancouver and they are supposed to help racing and purses have gone up because of them but it does take people insideand they watch all the racing on tv’s and they miss the real event outside near the fence. We need to cultivate those people and grow the fan base outside as well as inside. The slots will always come up as a solution because slots are instant, easy, maybe even cheaper fix that creates cash flow. The bigger problem as with all industry and business is the pro’s and con of big business running the tracks now, not families or indiviguals, this new ownership wants more profit, pays lots of wages which create a lot of these finacial problems as they have shareholders and want profit, dividens, or build huge new build for the slots all of which create diversion of cash flow away from horse people, that put on the show and supply the horses. I love the breeding programs in place and the help across the country but the grassroots breeding does not get much help as the programs reward the mid to upper class horses. I understand this but without the certian number of horses breed you do not get those upper class horses and the goal is to breed quality. the reality is claimer and maidens are the horses which fill the show and set the stage for the big race days most trainers and owner start at this level and of course some are content to race at that level forever. These breeders, owners and trainers struggle along with little and no reward and lots of expenses and we need them more then we think and therfore must attempt to support the industry throughout it rank’s and build fans. I wonder if the casino will work short term but in the long haul I am not sure because I fear they will want to give less to the horses and more to themselves or other deserving groups. The concern to me is once they are in they lose the incentive to share at the original level of agreement and the tracks see this revenue go down they are there and potentially underine the ability to build a larger fan base because of the distration and ease of slots betting . Honestly the want access to our gamblers and the may convert many horse gamblers or spectators to slots instead of the horses . There goal is not to save the horse Industry, certainly not, the primary goal of a casino is access to a direct market of gamblers through the place they gather !! the track
    Oh and by the way we have a significant impact on the economy through our horse industry here as well but the goverment does not do enough to support it and sometimes even punishes it through punitive taxation on horse owners by not reconizing it as a legitimate business . This is a nationwide problem and the solution long term will be in lobbing goverment, increasing attendance and interest across the planet, presentation of the sport and horse like “Mine that bird” as a example and the trainer on crutches doing the impossible does more for the sport then i think slots will long term. We need to run our business better, ask for tax breaks that make sense, support our farmers, and try to make feed and other cost realistic including traing cost. By reducing cost and increasing attendance or Off track betting these measurers will be more important then being subsidized by slots. These slots may divert customers attention away from the racing and into the mundane world of pushing more buttons on a electronic deviece in the hopes of winning money out of a machine that we are so certian will turn a profit that we know it can subidize horse racing. People play them cause it is easy and has a chance of the big payout. We must make it easy to bet on horses and annouce big winners or at least the amounts, we must always remember we put on an event ,a happening, and if you are staging an event it is up to us to bring in the people. We all need to focus on presentation, costs, excitment, sell ourselves, sell our industry. We cannot rely on slot revenue and just take this monies and rely on it to balance our books and subsidize our industry. We must do more. The indusrty must grow and change and improve itself to sustain itself today and into the future. Unfortunatly the facts, we may have to downsize, regulate as many businesses around have done recently, maybe race horses for longer, till 6 or 7 years old ? reduce the number of breeding a stallion may do from infinite to 80 or 60 or even 50? reward the lower end breeder or owner to keep them in the fields and the fields bigger, and make sure at the least we are not penalized with taxes or excesive costs, because we raise horses not chicken or cows. Maybe not race two year old or whip horses just because of the publics perception of it, and ignore the studies that suggest we do nothing wrong if we are serious about increasing fan base and attendance. In the end we need to reinvent our industry for a modern world and do not just rely on slots to fix it.

  • stephen Johnson

    excuse the spelling error please

  • racing guardian

    Tidewaterhorse: You fail to understand that if you had the proper supporting fan base, then you wouldnt be having all the problems which are facing racing today. The industry is looking to fix their problems incorrectly. Let’s use the anti-inflammory drug, corticosteriods as an example. It is important to realize that corticosteroids are not a cure for any disease process. Their anti-inflammatory effects can quiet a variety of inflammatory conditions, but relief is most often only temporary. In the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, corticosteroids can help alleviate inflammation of the joint. However, the arthritis is not cured by the treatment. Corticosterods can also help control the abnormal responses seen with allergic reactions, but they do not desensitize the horse to whatever it is he is allergic too.

    Americans are turned off to the sport for a great number of reasons. Many of these reasons that we are all well aware of, includes drug abuse, racing fixing, breakdowns, etc, and have turned fans away same as some other sports industries with their problems. A decline in any lasting rivalries, in favour of premature retirement(which I credit mainly to greed) to the breeding shed, has hurt the sport as well.

    Americans have been famously known for turning their backs on industries & companies that have turned their backs on them, and rightfully so. Americans are not dumb or blind to the fact that nearly every equine handler in the paddock at every race track across the country are immigrants. Many americans are out of work and are in financial trouble. They are struggling to feed and support their families, yet, a whole industry prefers to cater to the hiring of immigrant mexicans. Lets not even talk about the farms and training centers which are overrun by illegals.

    There are reportedly 25 million americans out of work today and some of those are former grooms, hotwalkers and exercise personal. Even the asst trainer/foreman positions are being lost to those who can communicate with these immigrants. Woman have an even lesser chance of working in the industry than ever before because mexicans “wont listen to them”

    The sport continues to decline quickly and in many areas appears to be at deaths door. The hiring practices of immigrants seems to be something that nobody in the industry seems to ever talk about. This issue has been continuously avoided from any mentioning, and that is the removal of the american worker from the backside. But americas are not that easily fooled. Instead of supporting the racing industry, they are walking away. Let the mexicans support the industry.

    Like I said, americans are not going to support an industry which has turned it’s back on the american workers of this country. Hard working, horse loving americans have been totally kicked to the curb in favour of non-americans, who are not here to become legal citizens. Anyone who believes that hiring cheap labour brings you quality care is smoking crack. The horses are parlayed more than ever. Spending any quality time with them is a thing of the past. Most barns have become nothing more than an assembly line with robots as the workforce.

    Everytime americans turn on the television to watch the races, it is non-americans which they see who are now tending too or handling of the horses in the paddocks. These caretakers or grooms of these majestic animals have nearly totally replaced qualified hard working americans. These were never jobs that americans had ever refused to work in the past (as we so often seem to hear about), yet, they have lost their jobs nonetheless.

    Trainers today hire these less qualified, less experienced, less knowledgeable and less educated legals/illegals because they can get away with paying them far less. Everyone knows that. But what many people dont know is that one of the biggest reasons why mexicans are the preferred choice when hiring is because many trainers feel that it is safer to have mexicans around the barn simply because mexicans hear nothing, see nothing, know nothing and speak nothing.
    Therefore, a little EPO or a sodium bicarbonate mix is easier to administer and the odds of that info getting back to the proper channels are far less. This sport has become an open abscessed sore. It is oozing. And instead of cleaning and medicating it, we are only trying to cover it up. We give pain killers to the horse but we fail to pull the nail out of the foot of the lame horse.
    Regardless of all that, make the sport appear to be more american again and that might be the beginning of some type of recovering. But we all know that isnt going to happen, because greed rules this industry.

  • belles forever

    racing you really think americans are looking at what color the person is at the end of the leadline? really? i worked the backstretch thirty years ago and the same shenanigans with medications ect. was going on then and the illegals were not from south of us! most young white people do not want to work with their hands or bodies..they all want the cushy jobs..last i looked there was no line of folks trying to get work on the backside of my local track.
    the problems with racing are much more complex than you imply.

  • racing guardian

    belles forever: Americans are not lining up because they have been turned away one too many times. I have worked for a number of outfits over the last tens years, and the hiring practices(unless riders) are basically all the same….mexicans only! I have seen americans come in that had years of experienced and lied to that there were no openings, when infact. there were. The reasoning is simply because mexicans dont want to work with americans and the bosses know it. The boss prefers to keep his cheap help so americans are SOL.

    I recieved an email from a female awhile back that tells part of the story of the current history of this industry….she stated…

    “I came down here(ocala) a licensed NY state assistant racehorse trainer and I am a female. I cannot get a job. I am also a licensed equine vet tech. So even though I am way more qualified then any hispanic foreman or manager, I hear “well the mexicans won’t listen to you”. So I am currently jobless.

    Forget about those “young white people” who “do not want to work with their hands or bodies” – I am talking about americans who HAVE in the past and ARE today willing to work with their hands or bodies, and there are millions of them. And there are tens of thousands of those who ARE willing to get up early 7 days a week. Those who ARE willing to work 15 hours a day. These people do it because they love the horses. They love the business. Yet even they have been denied a livelihood in the industry, as of late.

    I know of many americans that are not only harder workers than many of the mexicans, but ten times more knowledgeable, yet, they are turned away. The idea that mexicans are better workers is just a myth. I have seen them in action at the barns. I have watched them halfass their way each week to a paycheck. They parlay just as much as anyone else that would parlay.
    I have seen mexicans that were suppose to be rubbing legs down, just slap the pads/bandages on the legs dry when the bosses are not around in order that they can get out of there early. I have seen mexicans many times who groom six horses done in about an hour from the time they once start doing legwork, brushing, foot care, etc.
    For example, if all their horses are out and back in and they start their grooming at 10am, they will be done and raking the shedrow by 11-11:15. There is no way you can properly care for six horse that fast if you are doing it correctly.

    And yes I do “really think americans are looking at what color the person is at the end of the leadline” – actually I retract that. I think americans are looking at what NATIONALITY are at the end of the leadline and it isnt americans that they see. Besides I do hear it all the time. It is also being talked about all the time in other industries, so dont think it isnt noticed in this one.

  • Surfer Joe

    Racing guardian. The main topic is getting away. Save horse racing in Kentucky. If you are told that the mexicans won’t listen to you, that only means you are not qualified for the job. It’s a nice way of telling you that you have no leadership skills. Good luck

  • Ann Banks

    OOOHHHH – it is as clear as day now. I have been wondering what the problem / issue is with Williams and his croonies being so resolute in killing the racing and the breeding industry in Kentucky – it is not just that they are “stuck on stupid” – they are racists! They kill the horse industry and all the mexicans will leave. I see now – clear as day.
    Thank you –
    FYI Racing Guardian horses are lead with shanks not leadlines and with every horse leaving Kentucky there is a shank attached to it. I guess that is why there are 38% less shanks hanging in the tack stores.

  • racing guardian

    Ann Banks: I know they are called shanks. And if you want to get technical, they are called Leather Lead Shanks. But you already knew that, didnt you? I just repeated “leadline” because that was what Belles Forever used to describe them and I didnt want to confuse him/her incase they didnt know what I shank was. Trust me, with over 120 years of five generations in the racing business im far ahead of you.

  • racing guardian

    History is repeating itself. They didnt want to give up their slaves back in the 1800’s either.

  • Hello:

    The website above if for a rescue barn in NJ that started the business because they saw many horses which didn’t have what it took to be successful and were sent to the track anyway where they broke down and later, met bad conditions after being “sold because they didn’t make money.”

    I personally agree with the comments below that were cut and pasted from another person. Please read this and what I have added as a person involved in horse rescue, rehab, and later adoption. The barn sees many, many, TB’s that have broken down at the track at a very young age because they were bred indiscriminately and had no racing talent, and should never have been sent to the track. They were bred and sent to racing because, the owner says, “well, that is what I do, so the horse will race.” This is a key problem in the racing industry. It costs hundreds of dollars to breed and raise a horse which will probably never win anything. This needs to be changed to save the industry.

    These are the comments cut and pasted that were left by someone else who agrees with me.

    “The industry is looking to fix their problems incorrectly. Let’s use the anti-inflammory drug, corticosteriods as an example. It is important to realize that corticosteroids are not a cure for any disease process. Their anti-inflammatory effects can quiet a variety of inflammatory conditions, but relief is most often only temporary. In the treatment of conditions such as arthritis, corticosteroids can help alleviate inflammation of the joint. However, the arthritis is not cured by the treatment. Corticosterods can also help control the abnormal responses seen with allergic reactions, but they do not desensitize the horse to whatever it is he is allergic too.

    Americans are turned off to the sport for a great number of reasons. Many of these reasons that we are all well aware of, includes drug abuse, racing fixing, breakdowns, etc, and have turned fans away same as some other sports industries with their problems. A decline in any lasting rivalries, in favour of premature retirement(which I credit mainly to greed) to the breeding shed, has hurt the sport as well.”

    Regarding her/his last comment, this is what I have to add as a person involved in the industry indirectly. Unfortunately, when these animals go to the track and break down or become unruly because of pain, they are just given drugs until they just can’t work anymore. Then, as everyone who is involved in the industry knows, they meet a horrible fate in the back of a slaughterhouse truck where they are without food, water, and, if they are on the bottom of a double, are urinated upon for those four days. This happened to a former Kentucky Derby winner who, after being non-productive to his owner, was sold to slaughter, like thousands of these horses are.

    People know about this abuse and they are just turned off by the sport because of it. Sometimes an abuse is that of breeding itself. Thousands of horses are bred each year and hundreds of these will never make it. They were bred because someone has a barn full of breeding horses and says, “Well, that is what we do, we breed TB’s.” Another situation that is often happening, too often is that someone has a track horse that has broken down and says, “well, I can breed them.” and they do. It didn’t matter to these people that their horse probably broke down at the track because his conformation didn’t support the rigors of being galloped every day as fast as she can and was not good at all for the horse. The public is aware of these abuses of animals in racing, and is just turned off and have gone away from the sport.

    If you want to save racing, then what you need to do is educate those involved to proper care, training, and racing itself,(don’t race a horse on drugs like bute and others), just because they can’t race without it. If they can’t race without drugs to mask injury, arthritis, and other conditions, then owners should be required to retire them and care for them for the rest of their lives. Maybe if the owners were forced to do this, indiscriminate breeding which is directly hurting the industry by causing the above issues would stop and there would probably be a comeback.

    Only when we stop the abuses, hiring of illegals or cheap labor, and other industry practices, will we bring racing back. A barn in NJ that I know of has two rescued TB’s in residence that would have met a bad end. One of them did meet a bad fate after the track, but we took her before she went to an unfortunate place and when we got her, she was in very poor condition. She is fine and happy now. The other would have met a bad fate too, but he is now fine as well. These are the exception to the rule. There are not too many of these animals around because of the reasons above. Let’s stop the abuses of these wonderful animals and their indiscriminate breeding so we can save the industry.

  • stephen Johnson

    excellent thought that would create some real dialogue and it did now paste to the world that needs to see it and the politicians that need to here this and talk more real like you did after i reved you up and support each pther as you all care about your sport your country and the horses
    did not see any comment on caps on breeding number to studs or two year olds or whips and the perception of the publlic and fixed racing

    quick story my first race mare running in Vancouver and Portland runs second in portland twice and one race was 28 to 1 sent money for training cost to my trainer and asked to to take 100 and put it to win and place and he say he won’t do it but bet homself which i find out months later because he forgets and brags later to me that he bet and won that day but my bet was not placed. Liars always forget down the road, anyway on to Vancouver she is running in maidens and I bet and handicap races and there where three mares that seemed better then her so she had to wait till they won and moved on so she would break her maiden and along comes that day so my mare “two time belle” looks like the better mare of the field and runs on the front and looks to be the easy winner but pulls up in the front shute and hmmmm trainer has his own horse in race running a route which never won anyway but for all appearances mine was the rabbit and his was to attempt to take advantage of it. The people at the off track betting where we watched were disgusted with what appeared to be a fix including me Upon Immediatly Phoning my trainer he indicated she had been hit in the face by a piece of dirt while running on the front but I notice in the replay they had that circle bit thing in her mouth and had not seen he run her with that before and it just looks like the jockey pulled her up. Course I went and took the horse and had to pay all the training bills some twice as the stewarts took his side and I really agree that they need to be more honest and not fix races left a bad taste in my mouth for quite a while and it hurts the sport large.

    My trainer i ended up with is a great man and has many canadian helper mostly young girls whom love horses as do him and his wife and i hope to bring him some of my stock that will win for the two of us so ther are good and bad everywhere but the problem is bigger and to much greeed and not enough community and support of all of us as a group in the best interest of the sport!!!

    but ya great talk and i did not realize the worker issue was such a hot topic but in these times of job loss i guess it is but it is not the biggest nor the central problem just one problem

    so whip or not?

    two year old or not?

    cap on stallion breeding or not?

    better purse break down or not?

    better breeding rewards thoughout the ranks or Not?

    cheaper registation cost ie Jockey club i have an unregistored four year old stallion i would like to race and they want $2,000 american to registor him WHY????
    I was not sure how he would turn out sa i did own the mare before he was born but did not see him till he was 18 months and was not sure he was worth the expense and did not have the money or means at that time but 2,000.00 to register why?????

    slots make fans or money or cause loss of fans >>>??? tough question because we all have theroies but let’s hear then and send this to the people that need to see it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    talk More pleaase!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • FlySoFree

    stephen johnson,,,,you write a huge paragraph that is so hard to read.

  • Joe

    We have an indigestion of racing, most of it cheap, during horrible winter and summer weather which is terrible on horses, jockeys, stable help and turns off fans and bettors.

    Most races are $10K claiming and under, full of horses that shouldn’t run and couldn’t run without drugs, ruthless owners, sloppy or inexistent pre-race exams and desperate jockeys.

    If racing had a central authority, it could decide to cap claiming purses at 50% above claiming prices nationwide. States without slots and racinos wouldn’t have to worry about loosing horses to racino states.

    Quality racing and fair competition could be promoted by redirecting purse monies currently wasted on cheap claiming races to allowance and stakes races, special bonuses for homebreds, rested horses, older horses, longer races, sound horsemanship, equine safety and welfare, doping prevention and testing, renovating grandstands, attracting and pampering fans and bettors and last but not least maintaining track surfaces in top shape.

    Without drugs on race day, horses that shouldn’t run wouldn’t, thus preventing many catastrophic injuries which increase as claiming prices decrease. Shorter and fewer meetings run during pleasant seasons would make quality racing more feasible to offer and more attractive.

  • Loretta


  • Bak Trak

    Baffert has never trained a horse as badly as Kentucky’s Governor has effed up this bill. NO CHANCE.

  • Coaltogas

    Thanks Bob,
    I do hope we get lucky on this one and get something passed before we lose it all. We’ve got state representatives and state senators (clowns) in this state buying votes from those who will sell them, and at the same time these clowns are screaming “morality” to get the votes of these poor mortals who think slots are evil, even though this would greatly help the horse industry. I wonder how “moral” it is to put people out of work?

  • Surfer Joe

    In California, its sounds like the Indians have become the white people and the whites have become Indians. Too late for that State. Thats why us Kentucky people need to step up now.

  • Dana Ross

    I am glad I took part in today’s rally at the Capitol, talked to my legislators, wrote my letters, and asked my friends to do the same. Thanks, Mr. Baffert, for lending your voice to our cause. I am one of the many who came to Lexington decades ago to pursue a career in the horse industry. I am one of the many who saw their retirement savings eaten up by Wall Street Fat Cats in the last 18 months. After 20 years in the horse industry, I now need to work 20 more before I can retire thanks to the folks in Washington. Sadly, my ability to do so depends on the folks in Frankfort. I guess if they fail to act, I can try to re-gorup and start over somewhere like Pennsylvania — and I do love those Penguins!

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