Sexual Harassment In Racing And Why The Industry Is Not Ready For ‘Silence Breakers’

by | 12.11.2017 | 10:54pm
The #MeToo sexual harassment movement has yet to find its stride in the horse industry

In the broader news world, every morning seems to bring a new name of a high-profile man accused of sexual harassment or assault, followed by (sometimes) swift removal of Hollywood stars, producers, political figures, writers, and news anchors from their jobs. As Time magazine put it in its Person of the Year article on ‘Silence Breakers' released last week: “This reckoning appears to have sprung up overnight. But it has actually been simmering for years, decades, centuries. Women have had it with bosses and co-workers who not only cross boundaries but don't even seem to know that boundaries exist. They've had it with the fear of retaliation, of being blackballed, of being fired from a job they can't afford to lose.”

A time when it feels like serial offenders might be hiding behind any well-known name, people have started asking me when this sea change is going to hit the racing business. And I cynically laugh.

It isn't that racing is immune from the problem of harassment. If anything, sexism, and the mistreatment that can sometimes come along with it, are woven into the sport's culture. It was not really that long ago that women were not permitted on the backstretch, only 50 years ago male jockeys refused to ride against women. It was just 39 years ago the Daily Racing Form told Jane Goldstein it didn't hire women, and five years ago top jockey Rosie Napravnik told 60 Minutes she was often told to “stay in the kitchen” by irate railbirds in the course of doing her job.

Having spent most of my professional life in the racing business, I've heard stories of wildly inappropriate comments or questions, repeatedly discouraged advances, and uncomfortable, uninvited physical contact. It doesn't just come from the groom who catcalls the exercise rider, either; just as in Hollywood, there are people at every level of the business who are guilty of such behavior. Let me be clear: women talk to each other about this sort of thing. We know who to avoid getting into an elevator with and which tack rooms to keep out of. I suspect that has always been true.

As the Time article points out, there seemed to be no professional authority to come down on offenders in Hollywood. “Were we supposed to call some fantasy attorney general of moviedom?” Ashley Judd asked.

Thanks to a cultural shift and careful reporting, Judd and others found the inner strength to take their stories to the press and to the courts and the #MeToo movement began, prompting Time's focus on “Silence Breakers.” For those accused in the past year, public outrage has been sufficient for media outlets and production companies to cut ties.

One of the reasons I don't expect a similar series of exposes and firings in racing is that our “public” is much smaller. A revelation about a top trainer, owner, or bloodstock agent wouldn't get tens of thousands of retweets, and therefore would not inspire as large a tidal wave of outraged consumers demanding action by the accused's employer.

Then there's the matter of that employer; a large percentage of the best-paid positions in racing are essentially independent contractors working for multiple individuals. Trainers these days are rarely working in private stables, so to lose their position as a result of scandal would require multiple ownership interests (some as syndicates with dozens of partners) coming to the same conclusion and taking the same action.

The removal of accused men from their positions, of course, has as much or more to do with maintaining a safe work environment for a predator's future female colleagues as it does retribution for past sins. In the same way, removing an abusive horseman from the business should be a means of protecting the horses he will work around. All too often, this is not what happens with horses – why should women realistically expect their safety would be more valuable to racing's higher-ups than that of the animals who carry our livelihoods on their backs?

And it all makes sense: for many participants, horse racing is about winning, and in part, it's about money. For an owner with a stakes prospect, switching a horse away from a high percentage trainer is throwing away value. A sales agent is not going to refuse to buy a sale-topping yearling due to actions of that horse's consignor. Taking a stand is not just impractical, it's expensive.

The racing business is also a small one. The risk of coming out with a story on a high-profile person in racing is that it could backfire on the victim – and possibly the media outlet that aired it. Racing is shrinking, and with it, the availability of jobs. If a victim comes out on the losing end of a public revelation, she (or he) may never find work in the sport again, assuming their abuser is in a higher-up position than they are. Women are already underrepresented in the top levels of the sport; who wants to give up a shot at the winner's circle or the boardroom by opening their mouth?

I hope very much to be wrong in my attitude on this. It's true that in early November, British racing was shocked by the story of former jockey-turned-trainer Gay Kelleway, who told the Daily Mirror a number of stories of harassment and assault from various points in her career. Kelleway, the first female jockey to win a race at Royal Ascot in 1987, said she was pinned against the wall by a fellow rider in the presence of racing officials, who did nothing. The British Horseracing Authority's response was swift, as it publicly announced it took the allegations “extremely seriously” and had launched an investigation.

But America has no Horseracing Authority. We have no fantasy attorney general of Thoroughbredom. We have only ourselves.

  • Guest

    “For an owner with a stakes prospect, switching a horse away from a high percentage trainer is throwing away value. A sales agent is not going to refuse to buy a sale-topping yearling due to actions of that horse’s consignor. Taking a stand is not just impractical, it’s expensive.”

    But Natalie, every business is about making money, and these exposures are expensive. Movies? Celebrity chefs? Media? Politics?Moving away from a high profile celebrity or an economically or politically highly successful individual is going to large potential losses of viewership and/or custom and/or revenue and/or profits and/or votes…. How to replace Matt Lauer? Weinstein? The exposure of the latter has cost many other people a great deal of money already – far more than horse racing could conceive of. This would be a pathetic cop out of an excuse, don’t you think?

    • Always Curious

      I understood the comment about losing money as how it happens specifically in the horse industry so abuses are tolerated.

    • gus stewart

      So this business of being an owner is making money. Well here comes my sarcastic response. Always have loved sport, but making money as an owner just isnt a reality long term. And if your thinking about buying a horse from a consigner, that has a bad rep or a trainer that has high percentages that has had some consistant problems with bad testing or marketing sport that is still in the 80s, is the way most other sports business is done currently, well im missing something. Purses have been flat for many years with exception of racinos. Everything she talks about is pretty standard conduct in racing today. All business have it at some level. But why do other companies have sexual harrasment training and other training classes on current situations, because we do business in 2017 2018, a technology world. All have ceos, commisionars that want all employess on the same page to make its business profitable and have consumer confidence it takes necessary steps to fulfill its obligations for a good working environment. Not the racing biz, its still in denial that perception is reality

    • MaiyaDay

      The difference between the racing industry and media/politics is that public perception influences media and politics. A movie run by someone like Weinstein is going to be boycotted and lose money, so there is financial pressure to remove him. Racing owners are not beholden to the public in a similar way. People can boycott by not wagering on those horses, but that doesn’t affect the owner’s bottom line. Unless the tracks themselves step up and refuse to let the horses connected to such harassers run, there is no real pressure for owners and trainers to change.

      Please don’t mistake this for me saying racing should do nothing, only that we should find some way to create the same sort of financial and societal pressure that has led to the revolutions in media and politics in racing, in order to get similar results. Otherwise there is no way to exert pressure in the same way.

      • Guest

        You are right that public perception influences media and politics, but appears to rarely influence racing policy and procedure. However, I think you are not correct that racing lacks “customer accountability” in the sense that there are are no financial repercussions for owners – or tracks and other participants – of racing’s failure to enforce federal and state laws in this context, and adequately police and punish rules and regulations in other contexts. My own perception of racing’s lack of integrity has resulted in my ceasing to bet, and drastically limiting my attendance at race tracks. I am confident that I am not the only one; after all, the real value of betting handle has fallen by about 50% over the last 15 years. And that, along with slot revenues, is what funds the purses that incentivize and support ownership.

      • HowardRoark314

        We should all be eternally grateful that horse racing is different than media/politics – because in the latter the media protected all of these sexual harassers in Hollywood, DC, and throughout the media itself for decades. All of these recent dirty old men were ‘open secrets’ but the media wasn’t too keen on exposing them because of shared politics and $$$. As a result the problem festered and here we are. I’d like to think that racing won’t have that same problem.

  • NMBird

    Look at where most of the horse farms are…a state that fosters all sorts of negative attitudes toward woman, minorities, etc through the people that are elected.

    • SusanKayne

      And examine the treatment of mares …

    • Kerry Fitzpatrick

      Nationwide, they aren’t particularly well educated either.

  • SusanKayne

    “But America has no Horseracing Authority. We have no fantasy attorney general of Thoroughbredom. We have only ourselves.” Bravo Natalie … you have succintly identified the source of every problem inherent in every aspect of the ‘industry’.

  • Barrmorr

    As the amount of sexual harassment allegations grows in many places, and I want to say that all these women should be given credit for coming forward with their stories and I’m certainly not defending men who have been accused, have we gotten to the point where an innocent compliment is now considered sexual harassment. While groping and unwanted and non consensual touching are certainly not to be tolerated it now seems that just paying a woman a compliment is now considered harassment. Not all comments are sexually motivated and I think society in general, while correctly concerned with the harassment issue, should be careful not to go too far in the other direction.

    • Gls

      Amen, there is a difference between a sexual predator/bully and a classless jerk.

    • Beau Geste

      I suspect you will be criticized by some for your comment, but I do agree with you. I have always tried to use good judgment when paying a compliment; today I would be more likely to skip paying the compliment and that’s too bad. There is one thing in this article that really bothered me and it is the complaint attributed to Rosie Napravnik. The railbirds yelled “Stay in the kitchen” at you? I couldn’t print the comments I have heard at the rail or in the paddock which were hurled at male jockeys. That’s what disgruntled railbirds do. It’s not nice. It’s not classy. And it’s not sexual harassment. And to call that sexual harassment is to diminish every legitimate complaint.

      • whirlaway

        True about the some fans, I heard a fan really get on Jerry Bailey after a loss after one race and some are just as bad in other sports.

        • togahombre

          i’ve heard some bad hecklers at the track, but one i’ll never forget was at a yankees-baltimore game, cal ripkins father was still coaching at the time, cal ripkin jr came over to talk to him, somebody yelled “you look like the milkman”, crowd can be rough at times

          • whirlaway

            Not surprised there was a time relief pitchers at Dodger Stadium were wearing their helmets in the bull pen because people would toss things at them. While heckling has always been around there is a limit to how far and how much a sports figure has
            to endure.

      • Here’s an easy rule – if you are paying a complement to a woman, think of how you would compliment your mother or your sister (assuming you don’t have an incestuous family…) OR – think of how you would want a man to compliment your mother, sister, daughter, etc. I’m pretty sure if you keep it on that level, you’ll be fine.

        Or this quick illustration
        Correct Version: “Sally that outfit looks very nice”
        Incorrect Version: “Sally, that sweater looks so hot on you. It really shows off your boobs.”

        • Always Curious

          Great example! Treat women like you would treat the women in your family. Except that some men treat the females in their family like dirt, disrespected. Someone advised me to look for how a man treats his mother. If he is disrespectful to her, he will treat you the same in time. After the glow fades, his true attitude toward women will show up.

    • HowardRoark314

      I agree too. Everyone gets harassed to some degree; fat people, ugly people, poor people, non English speakers, etc. It’s not always due to sex, just as often it’s due to power. If you were a male running a barn would you hire a young woman today? It’s risky, because as the boss you are then responsible for all of your employees and how they treat her. And, as the boss, you probably already know some of your help are creeps. Tough spot for all.

      • copperhead

        The question should be, if you were a male running a barn would you hire creeps?

  • Richard C

    Where leaders are needed….there are cowards.

    • JustJoe

      You comment is not profound at all.

      • Richard C

        Your comment has a juvenile grammatical error. Congratulations!

        • MikePowers

          You are not at all profound, sir. LOL

    • Karol Ballard

      You’re absolutely correct, Richard C. Let’s see who steps up.

  • McGov

    I cannot ever pretend to know what it is like to be a woman. I guess that there must be endless thoughts towards safety, in every regard.
    People that abuse their position of power for personal gain, at the expense of subordinates, should face legal and professional persecution on every level possible.
    We all need to be able to make a living without being subject to any form of harassment. That is our legal right. Many people fought for many years so that workers can have rights like this.
    I encourage all women to never tolerate any form of abuse and to report it immediately. I also encourage men to stop giving approval…passive or otherwise. IMO the root of these problems may lie within a sense of entitlement among certain men that think we still live in the stone age….and that success brings all things to your doorstep, or your bedroom, if you prefer. It is our duty as men to shame these men into oblivion. We must protect our daughters daughters.
    Most people are simply interested in earning money to pay their bills and it’s not more complicated than that. To force them to endure the inappropriate whims of their paymaster is a practice best left in the 19th century and the racetrack is no different….despite its unique culture….it is no different then any other work place in America.
    We are NOT a proactive society. We are reactive. The ONLY way things get done is by speaking up.

    • The problem is people have trouble understanding where the boundaries should be. Too often, they don’t take reports seriously when they should. And apparently their training isn’t too helpful, as managers sometimes over-react to innocent things.

      I once had a co-worker put his arm around my shoulder welcoming me to work on a project and our new manager turned white as a sheet. He had just gone to some kind of training related to sexual harassment. I quickly told him that it was fine – we were friends.

      And that wasn’t even sexual in the least. It makes me wonder whether people cannot tell the difference between friendly, compliments, and harassment.

      I also had management call me in to ask me if the pin-up calendar in a parts locker at an account offended me. It was one of those girls laying on the hoods of cars calendars. That kind of thing doesn’t offend me, but it does make me sad when any person is used as a sex object for marketing.

      Marketing produces some of the most offensive images and videos out there. They seem to have no idea what is offensive or simply don’t care. But if GoDaddy can turn over a new leaf and end those horrendous ads they run, hopefully so can others.

      • McGov

        It’s a tough area and becoming tougher….banter between opposite sex workmates. I don’t banter with women at work at all just to eliminate the risk of being misunderstood.

    • WOW! This is a delightful post to read McGov, I’m so impressed, and so appreciate there are men in the industry who think as you do! Breath of fresh air, no kiddin’!!!

      • McGov

        Thanks!! :)

  • Guest74

    This is true, and I’m sure many men are sighing with relief after reading this. As a female who worked in the industry back in a time and part of the country where there was still a heavy domination of men, I have seen this firsthand. Most of it was typical stuff- catcalls and inappropriate comments, butt grabs while being passed by other workers, trainers and agents asking for sexual favors or saying women had no place at the track. Ninety percent of it was done in a joking manner, so you just brushed it off and laughed. Sometimes it got creepy and downright scary.
    Also, at one point I was dating a young jockey. He was violent after drinking/using and was arrested for assaulting me on one occasion . I was called to the stewards the next day, told I should’ve kept my mouth shut, and banned from the track, despite having an untarnished record. Things like that made you think twice before reporting. I like to think things have changed since then.

    • Linda Olson

      As a female who worked in the industry back in a time and part of the country where there was still a heavy domination of men, I have seen this firsthand. Most of it was typical stuff- catcalls and inappropriate comments, butt grabs while being passed by other workers, trainers and agents asking for sexual favors or saying women had no place at the track. Ninety percent of it was done in a joking manner, so you just brushed it off and laughed. Sometimes it got creepy and downright scary…….. I was trying to find the words that you said so perfectly……… I would also add “Farms” to this……..

      • Ashley Yodice

        Linda, sadly – things aren’t much better.

    • Marsha

      They haven’t

    • Lehane

      Shame on those stewards – very much “the boys’ club”.

  • pallyhubris

    Alas, there has been progress, I long for the days when I could get a much better than expected price on say, a horse ridden by Julie Krone or trained, perhaps by Linda Rice.

  • Guest

    I left the industry after reporting harassment. I’d tolerated poor behavior as part of racing culture for almost 20 years, mostly laughed it off, but it was becoming impossible for me to do my job. When it became clear my life would continue to be unpleasant, why stay? It’s everywhere: trainers, riders, track management, stewards, veterinarians, racing officials, agents, owners, security, etc. Other industries clearly have problems, but I’ll take my chances. Right now there is so much anxiety over hiding all of racing’s dirty laundry, who cares about a dumb girl who can’t take a joke or two?

    • Karol Ballard

      To whom did you report? Was it a backstretch or frontside predator?

  • CEOmike

    “America has no Horseracing Authority” – the root of all the problems, “everyone does what is right in their own eyes. The only question is if horseracing wakes up and gets a national Horseracing Authority before it is too late.

    • Hamish

      Unfortunately, the only real uniform rule in horse racing seems to be that “there are no rules that need to be followed all of the time.” Sort of making the rule of law up as you go. It appeals to horse racing’s underlying culture of self policing. How’s that working out?

      • Lehane

        Badly.

    • JustJoe

      Every racetrack has a general manager. If he or she has half a brain they can handle sexual harassment complaints.

      • Bein

        No kidding. It’s absurd to think there is a need for a big Daddy of all to take care of everything.

      • Guest

        You’re assuming the general manager, racing secretary, director of racing, or whoever is in charge isn’t one of the perpetrators. Same goes for stewards. Had one regularly sidle closer and attempt to look down my shirt, and BTW I don’t dress provocatively at work!

        This is about power, not innocent compliments, but also not necessarily rising to the level of assault. Men in charge too often don’t want women on an equal footing. It’s a boys’ club, and men like this don’t want us to forget that, ever. Women are lesser. That’s the attitude.

        • Karol Ballard

          It isn’t just the men in power who assault “lesser” women. #MeToo

    • Lehane

      Agree. Self-regulation has failed badly in the racing industry.

    • Bein

      I can’t think of a worse idea than imposing a big, bureaucratic, expensive, one size fits all, national AUTHORITY on horse racing. Every jurisdiction has statutes and rules, there is no “self policing”.

  • Always Curious

    Thank you Natalie! Horse racing has been the Old Boys club since it started. Scott Jagow did an excellent Podcast w Julie Khrone where she touched on the topic briefly. That woman is tuff! I can imagine what some men got when they tangled with her.

  • Denise Steffanus

    During my life, I’ve worked in academia, the legal profession, was one of the few women on the racetrack in the early 1970s, and in the media. The only setting where I was sexually harassed was on the track…and with impunity. But this problem is in the horse industry at large.

    The man who taught me to ride horses when I was ten years old was a pedophile, and everyone knew it. He was simply dismissed as a “dirty old man” because it was commonplace. Horses attract girls and pedophiles take advantage of that. It became a joke — who was the best at out-maneuvering old J.D. when he tried to cop a feel. Today, he’d be in jail…and rightly so.

    Later at the racetrack, the trainer I worked for would trap me in the tack room with him. He was 82, so he was more of an insult than a threat. But this happened in other barns all over the track, and no one did anything about it. It was considered a hazard of the job when a girl invaded a man’s world.

    But there were stand-up guys on the track who would hear rumors and then confront harassers and tell them to knock it off or they would run them off the track. A similar situation happened to jockey Chantal Sutherland a few years ago. She was assaulted by a fellow rider in California and then bullied by other riders when she reported it. One of the senior members of the riding colony had enough of the bullying and told the others to knock it off. Chantal wouldn’t disclose names when she told me the story.

    So men with integrity ARE stepping up, and I applaud them for their integrity. These are the people, along with women who demand respect, who can change this culture. It has to come from the grassroots, not the top.

    • Always Curious

      Thanks for your comments Denise. Not a pretty picture. Also good point about the pedophiles. They are Everywhere children are present, don’t trust anyone. Keep your eye on them and your children. One question, since you lived it, did any women just haul off and hit one of those creeps? Did that made it worse? I would not want to fight any female jockey. I understand their fear of retaliation and job loss. One last thing, Young disrespectful men who physically abuse turn into horny old goats. They do not change.

      • Denise Steffanus

        I pulled a little creep off a teenage girl at the track and choked him until she was able to get away. The “men of integrity” that I spoke of handled it from there, and he was run off the track.

        • Fairy Gold

          Patti Barton’s moves were just the kind of “tactics” I was thinking of:)

      • Dennis

        Its a shame their are people like that out their .the only back lash is it seems wr are on the road to extreamitisum were no one male or female can give a compliment with out fear of back lash.always a few make it bad for the majority

      • Dennis

        Common sence and the ability to look out for our fellow man or woman should prevale.but thats in short supply seems like

  • donald altemose

    for many owners it is about winning and part money. I admire owner/trainers-they play the game for the right reasons and one can be assured that the horse comes first with them. For many more others it is about winning and money being 1 and 1A as signaled by our leadership and other “too large to fail” businesses”

  • whirlaway

    This has never been mentioned but it now is discussed in other sports it probably would not be easy for a gay man in this sport, jockey especially, it is something that probably remains very under wraps.

  • David

    Regrettably, little attention would be paid in the case this industry; and, even if revelations were brought to light, those inclined to spectate the political, media and business worlds would likely react that it (yet another indiscretion) was the expectation. The good news (I guess) is that crisis management (by whom or what I have no idea) wouldn’t be necessary as general perception won’t have worsen all than much.

  • Chrissy Gentry

    “And it all makes sense: for many participants, horse racing is about winning, and in part, it’s about money.”

    Just one of the reasons why I respect PR. They have no problems with comments like that. If we all were honest with ourselves, the vast majority would agree with that.

    I’ve heard the argument of no Racing Authority before for all sorts discretionary violations. I agree it would help keep the industry on the up-and-up, but the courts would do a better job of putting the scare in violator and bringing attention.

    In anything one greatly believes in, when making waves one must be willing to pass through the fire if need be.

    I enjoyed the read as it highlighted the challenges, but I’m with Hollywood on this one, spread the word and take it to court. If you involve the media they will hold those accountable who may try and backlash with a firing or harassment. You can always sue if they do.

  • Figless

    I am sure i am not the only one to find this article well meant but in some ways pathetic. As someone else commented, some men across the industry are breathing a sigh of relief.

    Of course there are risks for the silence breakers, exactly why Time honored them for their courage. That’s no excuse for the inexcusable. This industry is no different than any other. Lower profile yes, so media attention will be less, but there will be coverage. When someone dares to come forward, and someone will, the industry will know and I believe will respond. And I believe others will be emboldened to follow and the floodgates will open.

    Or you can stay silent and let others be abused. Your call.

    • Karol Ballard

      You’re right. I will come forward. Where do you think the best place to do that is?

    • Karol Ballard

      You’re right. I will come forward. Where do you think the best place to do that is?

    • Karol Ballard

      You’re right. I will come forward, and I will name her name. Where do you think the best place to do that is?

  • MeToo

    Pulling the sheets back on sexual harassment and abuse in the horse racing industry would be beyond ugly in a male dominated industry. Hopefully the industry leaders are watching with keen interest and start implementing programs that will make this needed change. But they will have to overcome a lifetime of past performances demonstrating an inability to make positive change.

    The industry could start by taking a close look at former jockey Karen Rogers, and the sexual abuse and molestation she suffered by her step-father, a steward in the Mid-Alantic. This admitted pedophile has no business in horse racing, let alone as a racing official.

    • whirlaway

      Also behind the times is gymnastics and I have always thought it goes on there and now we are hearing it is a problem.

  • talkingman17

    Some of these guys need to be gelded, problem solved….

    • gus stewart

      I used to say that to myself one of my favorite sayings to my old friends simply for being more focused on a job or career, way to many late nights lol

  • Lori Corrente

    Good discussion.. there are many sides to this. Jeff Lukas told me they didn’t “hire girls.” Mandella said, “you don’t wanna groom horses.” Henry Moreno said, “go to a farm.” I wanted to work in a top barn, get experience, learn from the best and train racehorses. Who knows, maybe they thought I wasn’t good enough, or maybe having a cute girl around is just a distraction to the guys..let’s face it, the backside is like a prison for a lot of guys and if anyone thinks the stewards don’t do anything only needs to read minutes and rulings of the past..gays and straight..beastiality, the whole nine yards.. its pretty gross what comes across their desks.. However, the other side of the coin: I groomed SEVEN with Jeff Baze; Ted West’s and John Russells’ crew were my buddies and friends and we all helped each other, grieved together when a horse was lost and laughed ourselves silly just to face the hardness of the biz.. Van Berg encouraged me as did Paco and Humberto (can’t remember last names!) and the sweetest: Mesch Tenney (yep, dating myself!)…. . There are great guys back there..In the end, I found that that life was BRUTAL on my body and mind, so I moved to showhorses and auction work. I’ll tell you what, the WOMEN were some of the toughest bitches who wouldn’t look twice at you..a threat to their job? their man? maybe..So let’s not beat up on the men.. but let us speak when needed..

    • whirlaway

      Mesch Tenney is really going back for sure, but I just thought my gosh you probably remember Art Sherman as a teenager. How the time has gone by.

      • Lori Corrente

        no, but his kid as a LITTLE boy.. lol

        • whirlaway

          : – ) That was some years ago for sure. Wow

      • Lucky you to know him. Rex did so well with horses he bred while Mesch was his trainer. Kim had the same breeding stock and see the difference in race results. Rex loved his horses so much. I still remember him riding his pony horse out to the training track at Milestone every day and doing the ground work on the babies down in the furthest barn on the other end from where I had horses.

        • whirlaway

          My Dad was a big racing fan as a young man in the 30’s long before I was around, must have been about 12 or so when I wanted to visit a throughbred farm. I wrote to a few and I received two responses and my Dad took me to Rex Ellsworth in Chino and Clement Hirsch when he was in Chatsworth area way before development. We saw Khaled and My Host which Mr. Hirsch owned an unraced brother to Your Host. For a kid that was a thrill
          Mr Hirsch even had a little lunch that he took time to explain a breeding farm and how it runs having lunch with us telling my Dad a young person writing a letter as I done deserved to see a farm. Great memories I still cherish.

      • I do! Yep, I’m one of the old ones here too! Been in racing,… going on 50 years! That seems like a lot, huh? Doesn’t feel like it so much though.

        • whirlaway

          The fist time my Dad took me to Hollywood Park I was too young to know what I was
          looking at. My Dad was a big long time fan going back to 1930’s long before I was around. He wanted me to see Citation even though I was not sure who Citation was
          at the time. He told my Mother if I became a racing fan I could say I saw Citation as a kid and be telling the truth. My Dad was a great guy and as I got older we
          spent many great times at the race track. No it does not seem so many years and really I still feel like I am young and actually in pretty good shape, better than some
          30 yrs younger than I am. Even living in Calif saw great horses over the years as top eastern horses ventured to Calif more, like Kelso, Ack Ack,, Seattle Slew, and others.
          Great days. Still can see Longden, The Shoe, Hartack, and still a kid but remember my dad upset when Jackie Westrope was killed. I bet you have millions of memories
          and stories to share.Wow

    • You should’ve gone to Charlie Whittingham’s barn! Called us gals Charlie’s Angels, (before that program aired on T.V.) He was wonderful to the females who’d worked in his barn. Always a gentleman, and always helpful to everyone. He was strong, strict in his demand for excellence, but you’d not noticed when doing your work. Ya just got very good, very fast, and it seems all normal till ya work elsewhere. But those trainers you’d mentioned were very anti-women in racing. They never wanted to see women in racing. PERIOD! Too bad guys, women in racing is the reason it’s existed so long is what i believe!

    • Karol Ballard

      Henry Moreno got me my first job on the track. Whenever I needed a job, he always helped and was always a gentleman. Trainer Karl “Chick” Blum was my angel, as were Bill & Betty Canney. Dave Hofmans, Cotton Tinsley, so many others. I LOVE my racetrack family. And “no” was always good enough to ward off unwanted advances. Reading all of this thread, I see how lucky I was. Until I went to work on the frontside…

  • Choyawon

    Shockingly, there will be denial from many women. They will deny a problem exists but then provide a story about an incident they experienced. The victim blaming drives it and to succeed in this business you have to prove every day you are strong enough. Women need to unite among ourselves.

  • Racing Fan

    Matt Lauer would be a pope if he were on the backside. (that’s all I have to say about that – in Forest Gump voice)

  • Michael Castellano

    All I can say is that this is developing into a “National Tipping Point.” It is everywhere, not just at the track. And at the highest levels of male power.

    • Beau Geste

      Power is gender neutral; case in point, Lori Corrente’s post above regarding being hit on by the wife of an auction consignor. Some people simply should not have power.

      • togahombre

        good example of that is in the schools, men as well as women teachers abuse their positions

  • gus stewart

    you yourself, cannot control how women and men act. respect your work in the industry completely. This biz needs a commissioner desperately for this and other reasons. But I have to point something out. In stating rays comment on about women used as objects in other sports and racing should get on board,, I say exactly. Its a male dominated and majority of older white males business, which I am. Women wear makeup shave do whatever they do to feel beautiful. if that is something that provokes certain negative things by men, I get it, and don’t agree with it. But we as respectable men will also say man she’s fine. We don’t know your intelligence level because we haven’t spoke to you. We just know physically that you take care of yourself. racing is especially on the backside, a very old school in the playground mentality when it come to women. But when you speak of power and manipulation over women and concern for losing your job, this should be addressed, but by who currently Barbara. I’m for a female commissioner if you know any!!! We as males are very visual, women are very emotional. I have married and dated everything from dancers to models to lawyers, I respect them all, but too many in politics and in the entertainment business and sports, have tried to use their beauty to open doors. Not wrong but many had information about things, before they open that hotel door. no justification in any sense, but back to horse racing yes its really been bad for along time.

    • Barbara Livingston

      I appreciate your response, Gus..sort of.

      For the record, no one minds if a man says a woman is “fine,” or at least no woman I know. But there’s a mighty big leap between saying a woman is “fine” and trying to push your tongue down her throat or grab her rear-end or sell her underwear.

      A woman just wrote to remind me of another thing I get to deal with nowadays, because I’m a woman in a “male dominated and majority of older white males business.” (your words) I should expect the following.

      I can’t find you on Facebook or elsewhere, darn it, but I thought you might enjoy the most recent unsolicited (and very unwanted) dick pics I got from a racetracker, this September. I never used my looks to get away with anything with him (frankly, although I plead guilty to shaving my legs, I doubt my looks have opened any doors). In fact, I have only treated him with respect since first meeting him maybe 25 years ago – similar to the other half-dozen or so random racetrackers who’ve surprised me with the wondrous gift of their anatomical photographic gems.

      The photo quality is really, really bad – the guy clearly shouldn’t have used the pop flash and I’m not sure that blazing red tone up-top is natural. Socks in the background are always a no-no, and he perhaps shouldn’t have written that he was going to use his mighty member to “tap tap tap” on my back door late one night – cuz that forced me to finally go buy a backyard flood light, and they’re not inexpensive.

      I know I should expect such things, because I deserve them for being in an “older white males business.” But if you’d enjoy seeing them, too, because men are visual and these photographs are highly visual!, just PM through Facebook or Twitter and I’ll share them for your enjoyment.

      Again, despite what you wrote, I appreciate your response.

      • gus stewart

        Barbara i really am on your side. I dont do facebook or twitter. I only state the male white aspect because it does apply to racing more then any other sport. Power can corrupt any race trust me. I in the past i had to deal with one of the most well known basketball player african American black american whatever is proper, who overstepped with his celebrity power many times. I would also like a female president.. just not hillary so i hope im not all bad right . So yes i can only try to understand your being a women. But as your aware of im sure, many younger women tend not to respect themselves as much, which makes it difficult on the ones that do.. quick story sister 18 yrs old law school and a ball buster attractive. 4.0 teacher said her last paper mid 40s professor. Said looks like your going to just miss a average. She said any extra credit papers i could do to raise grade.he said no but we could go have a drink and discuss it. 1980s she told him in differnt words you know what I’ll take the b you …!!!!

        • Jeff Garvin

          You did it again Gus. Every time you attempt to grace us with your wisdom you display a complete lack of any. Just keep recommending a commissioner for every problem that racing has. It is a stupid idea but at least it doesn’t offend anyone.

          • gus stewart

            U know what, if you can think of any other way that this biz with all the current talking heads ideas, though meaning well, doing the same practices let me know. Yep all other avenues havent succeeded. Insulting anyone, if you knew me im someone who compliments freinds and family in doing well and encouraging them in thier lives and being happy. if i insult some in racing industry who dont listen to any suggestions of many who have been in similar business not only me but many others, i dont really care because they dont. Yep if im wrong mt freinds and family can tell me and i will listen. But not most of these guys

      • Bein

        Good heavens, Barbara Livingston! You are a hoot! Your sense of humor is plain fun and I wish I knew you!

  • Neigh Sayer

    Natalie, I can appreciate and understand everything you said here and all the reasoning behind it and good for you for speaking up about this problem. I must say though, that nothing will change until someone does say a name out loud, and I understand the expected repercussions but maybe there is a way to do it without that person putting themselves at risk. And for the greater good of those in the business and unaware of what you know and are at risk for not knowing, it would do many of those women a service, to also know “who to avoid getting into an elevator with and which tack rooms to keep out of.”

  • kcbca1

    I’m convinced it’s a process that just does not happen as quickly as some of us would like to see. It’s like racism. We fail to recognize that it still exists and it either has to show up on video, or in this case, blow up right in front of you by hundreds of women. You would have thought that the “we” generation while they were protesting out in the streets during the 60’s and early 70’s would have transformed our culture by now. But they failed us. They became the yuppies spending their later years in life figuring out how to be more comfortable. The good news is that their offspring and beyond “the millennials” must have picked up a thing or two and seem to me to be far more advanced in these areas. I have a lot of faith in those coming behind us and I know that’s not always the popular opinion. Control what you can and conduct yourself accordingly. And when you see these anti-social behaviours make sure to call them out. That’s not always the popular path or easy but it all starts with you.

    • Always Curious

      I speak as someone who lived through the 70s and the cultural revolution. Women were standing up for not being viewed as sex objects, equality in the workplace, and freedom from harassment. I still don’t understand how all that flipped on it’s head in about 10 yrs. Madonna came along and then it was All about looking sexy & desirable. It has only gotten worse & worse with great examples like Kim K. basically walking around naked. These are the current role models. I truly do hope that shedding light on sexual harassment can turn the tide, but as Barbara L. said, I am not holding my breath. More power to your generation. Just please don’t paint us all with the yuppie brush.

  • Guest

    Great discussion. And yes this does exist in racing. Will it be spoken about I highly doubt it. This is a hush hush sport. No one wants to get involved….

  • Barbara Livingston

    A few of my friends have written to ask why I deleted my earlier comment on this thread, but I didn’t. Apparently it is now semi-hidden and people have to click on “Show comment” to see it (which, of course, most people, like my three friends who’ve written me, didn’t notice in the sea of comments).

    Why is that? It’s as valid as any other comment, with no dirty words or similar.

    • RayPaulick

      Barbara,

      Someone pointed your comment out to me earlier today during a day-long staff meeting. I’ve just replied and am trying to determine why your original comment is not displaying properly. It’s not in a moderation queue and has not been deleted. The only thing that I can think of is that its length triggers an automatic switch of some kind in the Disqus software. You obviously had a lot to say and I appreciate it. In the meantime, I’ll try to see why it is not displaying.

      • Barbara Livingston

        Thanks so much for checking, Ray. It was long but other pretty long ones showed, with little ‘continued’-type prompts. It shows up now…and with how time I put into writing it, to have it hidden would be very frustrating. Thanks again.

    • Eleanor Moore

      I think just clicking on (selecting) your name shows your previous comments.

  • RayPaulick

    Barbara,
    Thank you. That column I wrote was a terrible attempt at humor or satire on a subject that I clearly didn’t understand. It was insensitive, misguided and ignorant. I’m very sorry that I offended you and others. There is nothing humorous about this subject, as recent events and your own personal story demonstrate.
    Ray

    • Barbara Livingston

      Hi Ray,

      Your words comfort me more than I can (or probably should) express in words. Thanks so much.

      Since I read your earlier piece, and in the years since when discussing it with any of a dozen or so female friends in the media who also remember it, it’s disheartened me (we tend to bring it back up when racing organizations tweet photos of women’s rear ends and similar…so, in other words, it gets brought up somewhat regularly). And tonight, since you wrote the super-classy response above, I’ve received text messages from about a half-dozen women, wanting to make sure I’d seen I’d seen it.

      None chose to comment publicly, which is interesting but not surprising.

      I don’t like writing about this stuff (there are countless other things I’d rather do) and hope some day women won’t have to worry about speaking publicly about these matters – because I hope this issue will some day slide into the background.

      I’m not holding my breath, however. ;)

      Thanks again.

      • Always Curious

        I wouldn’t hold my breath either. Geez Men think with their lower parts and need to be taught by their own parents on how to treat women with respect. Some men wake up when they have daughters of their own & realize the dangers they face. The drive to procreate and find food are the 2 strongest human motivators. But we are not animals and can learn appropriate behavior. People rarely change unless they have to or when something motivates them. That’s where speaking up, shedding light on the problem & Accountability come in to change anything.

        While in college in the 70s I was taught a load of crap that fit the women’s lib agenda. I was with them on the agenda. I did not want to be a sex object or my career choices squashed. In college differences between the sexes were just due to how we teach behaviors to our children by giving cars to little boys and dolls to girls, etc. Over many decades of living & working with boys and men I have changed my view. I hope sharing the dirty laundry in the sport helps in this eternal struggle between the sexes. Everyone deserves respect but sometimes you need to demand it. Thank you again Barbara!

      • Teresa

        It’s nice to see Ray offering an apology for that gratuitously offensive column, with its unseemly insinuations, written at the expense of two industry professionals, simply, it seems, because Ray didn’t agree with our point of view.

        Perhaps thanks in some small part to Ed DeRosa’s post and others like it, and no doubt due in large part to the presence of Natalie Voss on the PR staff, Ray’s opinions on this matter seem, fortunately to have evolved. It does, though, seem regrettable that Ray hasn’t seen fit to apologize to the people (including Ed’s wife) at whose expense he so heartily espoused objectifying women in the name of industry profit.

    • Megan

      Wow – when I read Barbara’s comment last night, and went back and read your 2010 column, I didn’t have a lot of hope for whatever was coming next.

      I figured that the 2010 column would be deleted, Barbara’s comment taken down (it was under moderation at the time), and the whole thing swept under the rug. After all, this is Ray’s site, and “swept under the rug” is there this stuff usually ends up.

      I want to say, Ray, I am so impressed by your extremely classy response. Thank you for owning up to a misstep and making a sincere apology.

      I also want to thank Barbara for sharing her experiences in a very well-written, honest original comment.

      Kudos to both of you!

      • Barbara Livingston

        You rock, Megan.

        I understand how men haven’t realized this is a problem, as women often smile and pretend to be unaffected by things (I even used to pretend not to care when told I wasn’t hired for shoots because farm owners preferred men…but that’s a different story, ha ha).

        My simple hope is that more people will just think about this now.

        Thanks for the nice note! And Ray, thanks again for your empathy. Totally cool.

        • As one of the very first women computer techs at IBM, I can tell you these issues are pervasive and many – maybe most – men still just don’t understand. Many times over the years even my most intelligent and empathetic male co-workers could not see why specific behavior was an issue until I explained it to them.

          They did not know why a manager ordering a female co-worker to only wear dresses to work was offensive to us. (Wearing a dress while lying on the floor replacing parts in a check sorter is not an appropriate place to be.)

          They were not there when a manager told three of us that he always appraised all women and all minorities badly and all white males were superior. That guy should never have been a manager. The other two present were another woman tech who was actually dating that bigot and another male manager who was not surprised the guy thought that way, but like me, very surprised he was stupid enough to say it in front of us.

          The other woman tech asked if he thought she was inferior to all men in her employment position, and without even thinking a fraction of a second he said yes. I did my best to convince her to stop seeing a man with so little respect for her who held such bigoted beliefs.

          When I was in IBM basic training, the lead instructor actually asked me who I was sleeping with to get the answers because I kept acing his tests. I replied that it was my understanding only the instructors had the answers to the tests and I thought he would know if that were him. I then offered to take all versions (there were multiple) of each test. Or he could write a new version and I’d take that, too.

          We were the first class he ever taught that had minorities and women in it. He was equally bigoted about minorities. Fortunately for any future people who might have worked under him, our class was so outraged at how he evaluated the non-white and non-male basic students that we went to the head of the ed center and years later he was still in education – never having made it to manager.

          I share these things to illustrate that this is a pervasive issue throughout society – not only in horse racing or any other industry. I was hoping by now women would not be seen as sex objects. But instead, now there are ads with the men being the sex objects.

          Until it is not socially acceptable, this will continue. I am reminded of a woman who spoke at a W.I.T.I. (Women in Technology International) conference IBM sent me to years ago. She was promoted fairly high up at IBM. Her new boss greeted her with something like “they could use a nice set of jugs” around the office. She quipped, “So-and-so’s breasts have been promoted to the position of Vice President of whatever it was. The rest of her will remain in her prior position.”

          We as a society still have a very long way to go. There is ample evidence in articles online about women in tech continually streaming out the door, having tired of trying to put up with how they are treated and ridiculously low percentages of women in executive positives, tech, and engineering.

          All I can say is women just have to do their best to shut off inappropriate behavior. Sometimes, you must back them down regardless of consequences. If you put up with too much, it will only get worse. I had less issues with it because I did not put up with it – but every situation is different and sometimes it isn’t that simple, as Barbara so eloquently shared above.

          • Always Curious

            Thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It takes a lot of courage to put your real name and details. My daughter recently left a huge insurance company due to the sexual harrassment. She was afraid to ride in the same car with her supervisor to appointments & meetings. He offered to set her up in an apartment and a promotion if she had a sexual relationship.

            She reported him to his manager & human resources. Their response: they promoted him to a regional manager and sent him out of state. She knew she had no future there and left. She was unemployed for a few months (because the economy sucked) and had the skills to find another job. BTW I hate that damn duck!

    • Paula Turner

      WOW! WHAT a stand-up response, Ray. The world needs more of this. Thank you!

    • Karol Ballard

      Better late than never, Ray. Thank you for being sensitive to the suffering of others, now that you know. That’s what decent human beings do. May others follow your lead.

    • Barry

      Mr. Paulick you have nothing to apologize for. You have been more than fair with women accused of malfeasance in this industry.

      • Barbara Livingston

        Actually, he did have something to apologize for, and he did the correct thing. One can be brilliant and wonderful and near-perfect and damned Nobel Peace Prize material, where the sun shines and birds tweet whenever they smile, and they can still do something stupid for which it’s right to apologize.

        • Barry

          You are an angel that you can judge others? We are now in a climate where men are being called out for things they may, or may not have done, 40 years ago. This pure evil and I, for one, am fed up with it.

          • Minnesota Kid

            if ur fed up w/ it, then move far away, maybe Saudi Arabia.
            or, simply delete your account, as you are offering nothing but ignorance and arrogance.

          • RayPaulick

            Barry (no last name), I’d suggest you back away from this particular discussion, since it does not involve you.

            Thanks.

          • Barbara Livingston

            I admit to mistakes all the time. The only way I haven’t made a mistake today is if I didn’t wake up yet (I’d post my angel emoji here but, sigh and alas, the Paulick Report doesn’t allow them).

    • Very nice and also surprising to find, and read your apology here, Ray. Know it couldn’t have come so easy for you. But it’s sure nice to see you stand up when you’ve been wrong about something, and say you’re sorry. Thanks for that.

  • the buzz23

    Industry and business are terrible at self regulation for the same reason Ombudsman programs in the work place are an absolute joke. Company’s focus on protecting the “business” not the employee impacted. The #metoo movement doesn’t allow companies, bosses or individuals to hide behind and/or use the company’s power to minimize the offender’s actions, or put those impacted’s job security in jeopardy. It’s time our culture had a wake-up call. it’s been a long time overdue.

  • the buzz23

    Sure would like to understand why my comment was included, but placed behind responses from yesterday when it was made earlier this morning. Nothing in appropriate said. I hope editors are not minimizing comments that are not aligned with their opinions.

    • RayPaulick

      Readers may sort comments by categories: Newest, Oldest, Best. There is a dropdown menu at the upper right hand area just above the top comment. Editors may delete or edit comments but the software does not give them the capability of moving them around.

  • Always Curious

    Thank you Barbara for detailing some of your experiences. It really does bring to light how awful the abuse really is at the track.

    • Barbara Livingston

      Thanks so much for the empathy! It’s very appreciated.

      The track can be awful, but I’ve also have had countless very positive experiences there, of course. Most of my longest friendships – male and female – have been found there. So I’m not making light of all of the great things that happen, nor of all the honorable men. Just, the bad can be really awful at times.

      For me, the main reason to tell these stories is the hope that some of these men who still send unsolicited private-part pics (not complaining about ones women ask for…#FunTimes)….or who grab a woman’s rear in the paddock when their girlfriend is nearby and not watching…might start understanding that we’re not actually enjoying it – and we might actually do something about it.

      Not easy to write such things – not because I’m embarrassed by them, I’m not, but because backlash is often the default on the internet. I don’t have time or energy to fight for such things!

      Thanks again!

  • RWS

    Many years ago, I was a 20-year-old male who got a job as a groom in the summer during college working for a husband/wife horse training team. The husband went on a trip and the 40-something wife told me I would have to be her substitute husband while he was gone. I refused and she fired me shortly thereafter. Later, when I was working (not in the horse industry) at a company, a young female co-worker of mine accused her supervisor (a man in his mid-50s) of sexually propositioning her. His reputation was destroyed and so was he psychologically. He left the company even though an investigation revealed that the woman had lied because she was unhappy with her performance review. So, I have seen both sides of the sexual harrassment issue, and there are no easy answers. Just because an accusation is made does not mean it is true. By the same token, sexual harrassers have no place in the workplace.

  • Always Curious

    Yes, exactly, it is about power.

    • Lisa Johnson

      Correct, Ruffian!! Strictly a power play. And most guys will NEVER ‘get’ it. Sure, there are some men who might try and understand, but for the most part none will ever ‘get’ it because they cannot see it like we see it. There are stand up guys who would never stand a moment of crap that a hell of a lot of women have quietly (or bitchily) have dealt with–there are guys who would ‘take care if it’ for us and try and help us fight our battles. Kudos to them because they likely risked their own employment. I don’t have much going for me, but let me tell you I’ve been harassed, belittled, scared, tested, groped, etc and not just on the track, but in ordinary life as well. Me too, growing up in the 60s and joining the industry in the 70s, I was a little different in that I made my opinion heard. And accepting that I’d probably never rise to where I wanted to be, deserved to be, educated to be. And I have to say that I am pissed every time I hear another person say “Why are they all coming out now?” …..we are coming out now BECAUSE for the first time in decades, WE have power in our voices. FINALLY. We didn’t forget. We’ll never forget. But now we can TELL our story.

  • Wino Jim

    RJ Champion groped Bandstand Hal in 1995 at Santa Anita – stall 7. Ryan Barber witnessed it but never said a word.

  • Paula Turner

    Rock on, Sistah!

  • Oryx

    It appears that most of us here have a #MeToo moment in the racing industry.

  • Sheila

    So if the headline is accurate … and Natalie Voss, you agree with it … we’re supposed to just wait this one out? Until the industry is ready???? Uh, didn’t work with slavery. What makes you think the industry will ever be ‘ready’? Let me explain just one thing. Sexual predators will never be ‘ready’ to have the silence broken.

  • OklaHandicapper

    Railbirds are morons anyway. Good on Rosie for ignoring them.

  • Beau Geste

    I think this is the problem whenever this subject is discussed. You are talking about physical violence, the posting I referred to dealt with a woman being “hit on” by another woman. Unwanted attention but not violent assault.

  • riatea

    Hi Barbara, A few years ago I (late 40s guy) was at Take Charge Indy’s Fla Derby, I recognized you heading towards the top of the stretch with your cameras in tow and introduced myself and told you what a fan of your’s I was. We talked for a moment, then I asked for a photo with you and you happily obliged. I love the photo, we look like we’re super happy best friends. To now know some of the crap you have to put up with, and you still managed to be that friendly and kind to me, I think says a lot about your spirit.

    • Barbara Livingston

      Thanks so much for your kindness! I think I remember our meeting!

      If you ever have that photo handy, PM it to me…would make me smile (that being said, I know how hard it can be to find photos, hahaha….so it’s fine if not!). :). And hope to see you trackside again.

  • copperhead

    Thank you for speaking about your experiences. Many times when women try to complain about sexual harassment in the workplace it is dismissed as either attention-seeking or as bitter sour-grapes against more successful male coworkers. When someone with your level of professional success says, “this is a real problem” people can’t find excuses not to listen.
    Ps. I love looking at the pictures in your twitter feed and I wish your website offered a way to buy poster prints of some of them.

  • Bein

    “Me too.” This trivializes the issue, in my opinion.

  • Always Curious

    This is a great thread because there is a real conversation here, no name calling & such as happens in discussing horses. I come back and read more great comments every day. I want to thank Barbara Livingston for all she shared. It is a small industry and I am sure many people know exactly who she was referring to when detailing her harrassment. Sharing such personal info is not easy, in fact it is painful. I was shocked to read how bad it is at the track, But not really.

    I thank All the other women & men who shared here, especially those who gave their names. One word of advice from my daughter: Document Everything. You may need it to protect yourself. CYA applies in all areas of the workplace, not just sexual harrassment.

  • Karol Ballard

    Exactly right, Ruffian. It is about power. A female boss assaulted me. I didn’t report it right away, until “boiling frog” retaliation went on… and on. But we must NOT give in and remain silent.

  • Todays_Tom_Sawyer

    Barbara, I wanted to just say that I hate that you have had to live through the horrible experiences you have had. As a middle-aged+ man, I can admit that who I am today is not the same person I was 30 years ago. One thing I see that is missing is the understanding and application of respect. Lack of respect towards women (sexual and workplace harassment), towards horse racing (look at all the cheating that goes on), and towards each other (would you trust these people in the first two categories with your billfold?). It just seems that there are the outliers (and I hope they remain outliers) who do not understand boundaries or rules, and certainly have no place for respect.

    Ray, kudos for the response about your previous article. It read as being sincere, and this world needs more of that.

  • So glad to see you make your own story public Barbara. People don’t normally pay a lot of attention to the average poster, but your position in the racing community sure does make others pick their heads up and pay attention. I’ve been involved in racing for going on 50 years myself, and after reading your post here, I’ve been thinking a whole lot about how I’ve been treated on the racetrack over these many years. I’d have a hard time counting all the times I’d been propositioned by trainers, owners, and others on the tracks. Pinned up against tack room walls by a trainer, been kissed by much older male trainers that I never had anything but respect for prior to them behaving so inappropriately with me, and I’ve quit many good paying jobs due to the discomfort after my experiences of this type had left me with. And ya know something weird,…? In all my years in racing, not once had I thought or had it occurred to me that this was sexual harassment, or anything that I might’ve gone and reported to any officials in racing. I’d made my position very clear to the offenders of such behavior, and walk away. in some cases the fallout had ended with my quitting, but at other times it went away like it’d never been anything to think of again. I’m a little bit shocked at my own self for not seeing what has been made so clear to me now just by reading your post. I’ve got a friend who is trying to get some justice from an assault she’d experienced at the track in the front offices where she’d been employed. Everybody wants her to go away and leave this alone, because they know and like this person who’d prayed on her. Shame on them all for the covering for this person. I hope she will find justice from someone soon. It is so awful how the retaliation of some can destroy a life that is not deserving of treatment like this. Not being believed is something I don’t get at all. Who in their right mind would ever wish to report an assault if it didn’t ever happen? People should think about this because I’m not sure any woman would choose this path just for attention. I know I wouldn’t!!!

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