‘Nobody In America Wants This Job’: Attorneys, Trainer Present Sobering View Of Immigration And Racing

by | 08.08.2017 | 7:35pm
An exercise rider cleans his tack after morning training at Churchill Downs

As immigration enforcement ramps up around the country, the horse racing industry is feeling the pinch — not just in the supply of its labor, but in the costs of legal labor as well.

The Albany Law School kicked off its 17th annual Saratoga Institute on Equine, Racing, and Gaming Law Conference on Tuesday with a panel on immigration featuring trainer Gary Contessa and attorneys Leonard D'Arrigo and Joane Macri.

Macri emphasized that tougher immigration policies under the current administration do not simply include arrest and removal of undocumented immigrants, but also detainment and sometimes removal of legal green card holders for any type of crime, including traffic violations.

Employers can also be on the hook legally for their employees' status, if law enforcement can prove they knowingly hired someone without proper paperwork (including expired visas), or that they kept someone employed after learning their status was undocumented or otherwise illegal. On the flip side, employers can and have also be sued for violations of Equal Employment Opportunity laws if they discriminate against potential employees simply on the basis of their race or on the basis of applicants being immigrants.

Trainers traditionally use the H-2B visa program, which allows immigrants from a list of pre-approved countries to come in for a maximum of ten months to fill a seasonal employment need. There are two sets of 33,000 H-2B visas available for the United States each year, but lawyers say it's not enough.

“The problem is it's still not enough,” said D'Arrigo. “Every year thousands of employers get shut out of the program because there's simply not enough to meet the demand.”

The Department of Homeland Security announced the release of 15,000 additional H-2B visas earlier this summer, but D'Arrigo said it was too little, too late for most of his clients.

Further complicating the issue, there was once an exemption that allowed a worker to come in for seasonal work without counting against the 66,000-visa limit if they had been granted an H-2B within the prior three years. This opened up the flow somewhat for employers, D'Arrigo said. That exemption provision has now expired and has not been reinstated.

Gary Contessa

Jockeys coming in from other countries have the chance to be granted P1 visas, but these are reserved for people of international renown in their field, which by and large excludes grooms, hotwalkers, and assistants. Breeding farms are permitted to hire under a different visa program and are not subject to the same limits as the H-2B program.

The panel acknowledged the widely-held belief that trainers are willing and eager to hire foreign or illegal labor because it's cheaper to do so.

On the contrary, Gary Contessa reported that among large training outfits like his, there is great concern to avoid hiring undocumented immigrants because such stables routinely get audit requests for I-9 and other paperwork and a violation is a $10,000 fee.

“The enforcement has gotten really, really difficult,” said Contessa, who now hires a staff simply to work on maintaining I-9 and H-2B paperwork.

At the same time, Contessa agrees trainers are no experts on verifying documents. He requires new employees to present him with their New York Racing Association license and other paperwork to fill out I-9s, but he has to cross his fingers that the employee didn't pull anything over on NYRA's office. If he has suspicions about someone's status, he doesn't hire them.

Although Contessa makes use of the H-2B program each year, he said the process of applying for visas costs him more than hiring U.S. citizens. Legal costs fall to the employer using the program, rather than the employee, and Contessa estimates he spends about $5,000 in legal fees, advertising, and transportation costs to get one person in on a H-2B visa. Then, the H-2B program has a higher minimum wage requirement than the national minimum wage — by about $3/hour. Contessa said he's also not permitted to pay some of his employees a higher wage for doing the same work as others, so everyone's pay is determined by the H-2B hourly wage.

“My payroll has taken about a 20 percent hit by employing H-2B people,” he said. For me, roughly it's costing me about 7,000 per season per employee.”

“A small employer cannot use the H-2B program. It's just not possible. A large employer can, but we're slowly but surely being priced out of the game.”

Contessa said he has looked for Americans to do the work of grooms and hotwalkers (in fact, part of the use of the H-2B program requires he demonstrate he has advertised the position in the local newspaper and online). He usually gets several responses per ad (which he's also required to turn in with his H-2B visa application), but no long-term workers.

“We do the advertisement, and without fail, I'll get 15 calls from people who want the job,” he said. “Then I explain it to them and I usually scare away ten of them. Five of them want to take it to the next level, and I bring them in. Then, they realize their job is going to be to take care of a 1,400-pound animal who probably would like to kill you, and any time you get hurt, you get hurt bad. I don't know anyone in this business who doesn't get up in the morning and limp for the first half-hour.

“Then, you explain to them that you're going to get rained on, you're going to get snowed on, you're going to get really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter, and you'll be worked outdoors with this animal year-round … that guy says, ‘You know, I'm going to go work at Seven-Eleven.'

“Nobody in America wants this job.”

D'Arrigo theorizes that in addition to the tough working conditions and high risk of injury to grooms and hotwalkers, Americans would rather have reliable, year-round work in a central geographic location. Racing stables are typically only in the same location on a seasonal basis.

Contessa said he pays $650-$700 per week plus overtime. He usually has 15 H-2B workers per season; this season he was only able to get 12. One of his longtime employees is still at home in Mexico, and texts him daily to see whether Contessa has gotten another H-2B visa. He makes $13 per week in his home country.

Tensions are running high on the backstretch after recent Immigration and Customs Enforcements arrests in the Saratoga Springs area. Contessa said even his H-2B employees, whose status is legal, are frightened.

“The documented workers are nervous,” said Contessa. “People are getting picked up for traffic violations. They're all nervous. A lot of my documented, legitimate H-2B workers said, ‘Please leave us at Belmont this year.'”

  • Sampan

    I know I never have or never will have anything to do with night racing on the front side or backstretch of any racetrack.
    It’s not necessary, it’s just money greed by those who advocate it.

    • Lisa Johnson

      What does night racing have to do with anything? Other than it’s way harder on a person to show up every morning for a circuit that races at night….with about a 4 hour sleep if you’re in the last race on any given night…

    • Dennis

      Are you ever out to lunch..cooler for horses.and usually a better turn out

  • Bruce Finkelberg

    Hey, you guys wanted that wall. You should of thought about the repercussions when you voted for that orange haired freak.

    • duchess

      Elections have consequences.

  • nancyfay

    Americans used to do those jobs. Now the government makes it easier to lay on the couch and collect a check from those taxpayers who do work. Stop all these giveaways and replace them with real jobs programs (give employers a credit for hiring them, since they obviously won’t be that useful for awhile.) Horsemen should also be aware that workers do need a day off. I see wore out, sour people every day at the track. Most of us need that day of rest physically and psychologically.

    • Jock Mcneil

      Well. Spoken. Right on target

    • Neal Baker

      Do you remotely realize that the majority of our tax dollars doesn’t go towards welfare but to Defense and Medicaid/Medicare ? Of course not, it’s much easier to rely on
      antique 40 year old arguments. Thanks to reforms,”social” programs are less than 6.5% of the tax pie but why would you want to look that up ?

      .

      .

      • WT61

        I would say most Medicaid recipients are also on welfare and food stamps.

      • Jon Luman

        Read the Grace commission report, what say, not a nickel of the federal income tax goes toward paying the legitimate expenses of government.
        If Gary simply put the $5,000 cost for the foreigner, and the near 30% payroll overhead extracted by the federal government in the pay package, he’d have more applicants then he can run off each day.

      • nancyfay

        I didn’t realize we were talking about the federal budget. I thought this was about a labor shortage. You want to move money from defense to social programs, knock yourself out, but unless they are jobs programs, they will not help the situation for racetrack employers.

    • Anthony

      The black Americans used to do this work. Sad thing is that the track maces more jobs around like the feed companies and all the staff at the race course. We all need a day off but sometimes you just can’t give one as you don’t have the staff to do it and a lot of people that want to do this job know before we start. There should be a program for illegals to get help to get visas not make it easy but make it. There are jobs out there Americans don’t want to do and the horses are the ones suffering

      • MyBigRed

        I agree. Unfortunately, we live in a society where most White Americans are too lazy to perform work hard/labor. I know my horses require care, seven days a week. So I head to my barn everyday & take care of their needs myself. Yes, I love them & I am a white female (just for the record) & I’ve been doing it for over 50 years. It keeps me in shape. As for the immigrant’s, I believe this country needs them. Who else is willing to work so hard for such low pay.

        • NELL.RAY

          Could it be that both black and white Americans stop doing this job because of the very same reasons you just mentioned plus
          1.low pay
          2. lack of job security
          3.lack of medical coverage
          4. Little to no job growth

          Once again as a person on the outside looking in. as to that I mean as an Englishmen on an American forum. I ask why is it that many of you are asking immigrants to do the lower level jobs ? the hot Walker the groom the exercise rider why are you not asking why immigrants are not immigrating to become trainers or even owners. It is as if you’re putting their skills and talents in one box and very happily relegating them to that one box.

          • secondlife

            You are right. And current immigration law being what it is, there is sadly NO incentive for immigrants to be able to work their way up to something better. The standard answer is “let’s have a temporary farm worker program so they can come and pick strawberries, then we can make them go back home.” There is no “Let them come here and live the American dream and maybe one day they could be the next Steve Jobs.” Nope. The American dream for immigrants is basically dead now

      • Minneola

        Many of these workers are willing to work six days a week and an occasional seven days per week. It’s not as if many have a choice. They need the money and are willing to give up some free time for the essentials in life. And, some of these jobs are seasonal, so one is willing to work those long weeks because there will be time off for many when the season is over and there is no paycheck forthcoming. But, it’s the “illegal” part that disturbs many. When laws are ignored, how does society determine which laws they will follow. Does it become a pick-and-choose? Yikes! But, foreign worker programs can be developed, much like the bracero one, where they are contracted to come in, legally, to work for that season. As I have suggested in another reply, one main difference would be to allow them to work toward citizenry, if they prove that they are reliable and cause no problems. Great motivator!

        • Christine Dix

          Most of these workers take what they need to survive and send the rest home……

      • NELL.RAY

        Hmmm. The opening line of your sentence is very 1870ish. Ask yourself why Black Americans stopped doing the job.

  • kyle

    Yeah, because nobody does any rigorous outdoor work in America. It’s not the pay.

    • whirlaway

      When you read articles in big construction machine jobs that pay well plus health care they have trouble getting even Americans for these jobs that can’t pass drug test often. So now we have I don’t want to do the jobs to even if I do drug test problems. Geez

      • kyle

        I’d respond, but your comment came off as word salad.

        • whirlaway

          I like the term word salad and honestly in my experience have never heard that. I always say it is possible to learn something daily.

      • Minneola

        During housing booms, there have been, in the recent past, many construction firms that did hire illegal help because they needed the labor. I’d probably prefer the illegal who is doing the work well enough to be considered adequate over the native born that is on drugs. The latter can screw up work and jeopardize those around him with safety issues. Of course, I’ve always wondered why those on public assistance and collecting unemployment checks cannot be expected to put in some hours per week to assist in local, state, or federal jobs in exchange for those dollars provided by taxpayers. Where does it say that taxpayers should offer a free ride for everyone wanting it?

        • whirlaway

          The type of jobs I have read about are actually heavy equipment jobs and road jobs
          paving etc. privately owned. Not so much housing. One of my neighbors that now is
          80 actually quit school as a teen to get into this type of work. Did very well for himself in life, has a nice home plus another on a lake. I don’t know what is going to happen if a percentage of the population
          can’t pass drug tests. Even some illegals probably could have minor drug infringements as it is sadly a concern in many countries. Both Americans as well as
          illegals can be found causing traffic issues while DUI. It is definitely worrisome. I don’t know why nothing is expected from those that receive public assistance in return for help but I imagine that will not change anytime soon.

    • Minneola

      I do rigorous outdoor work but I do it as a form of exercise as well as being frugal. Sure beats going to a gym and getting on a piece of equipment that someone else had perspired all over and, then, doing the same boring thing over and over, again. And, I have to pay for that. Instead, I work my rear end off in the yard and enjoy the compliments that neighbors give me because of my beautiful yard. Even motivated a 78+ year young neighbor that decided to buy a push mower in order to keep in shape. But, I get where you are coming from. There is very little prestige in a job doing manual outdoor labor — if it is for pay. But, it may be okay to do it if as a hobby.

      • whirlaway

        Thank you for giving me a laugh I loved your humor about the gym and the equipment
        that others have perspired all over, not to mention those that exercise but can’t stop talking on their cell phones while working out. Precisely why my husband in his mid sixties is still a runner so he can be left alone in peace and quiet plus we live in an area with nice trails, and running areas away from traffic. You must really feel a
        sense of pride in your yard and the compliments you receive something to certainly be proud of.

  • Piquetour

    For years,I have heard that the immigration system is broken and,therefore,the laws can be bent or ignored. Not everyone is going to be happy with the attempts to fix it.

  • Richard C

    Fraidy cat politics – with a hefty dose of demonizing tossed into the screeching rhetoric – is a winner every time.

    • secondlife

      Trump has been the master at fraidy cat politics, with his hysterical rhetoric about immigrants, all while he ignores the damage being done to the US by our own homegrown gangs and drug addicts

  • Gary contessa

    Just to set the record straight. The job is five and a half days. Every employee gets a day and a half off, a week paid vacation and time and a half over 43 hours. The days of people working seven days a week at the track are a thing of the past.

    • Lisa Johnson

      Perhaps in bigger circuits it is Gary, but for instance here in Oklahoma it’s still ‘normal’ to work 7 days. Just as the article said, it’s hard to find dedicated and reliable workers FOR this industry. It’s not for everyone, and yes, it’s hard to work here, and it helps to love it.

      • I was an assistant trainer in Md. Get one day off every other week. Trainer asked if I would work my day off. I asked him, you give me 26 days off a year. And you want me give one of them up? I worked it. I miss the track. I miss the horses and competition. You really end up loving it.

    • Stop polluting this threat with facts, it’s not fair.

      • McGov

        “Facts”. Seems to me that the word has been redefined recently.
        Fact is that workers in agriculture are abused by comparison to normal standards. Only the desperate and adversely conditioned apply.
        Pretty much speaks for itself, no?

    • secondlife

      You must be a rare breed. Most barns are still 7 days a week and 6 days a week at the breeding farms

      • L.L. Kauffman

        Please name a major breeding farm where employees work 7 days a week. I just am not seeing this anywhere. No disrespect intended personally, but this seems to be one of those things that gets repeated a lot but just is not true.

        • Kristine

          Reread secondlife’s comment, he or she said 6 days at breeding farms, 7 at most barns, which I believe he or she meant barns at tracks.

        • secondlife

          By barn I meant racetrack barn. Farms 6 days a week, which is still too many hours especially during breeding season when a lot of farms do night breeding sessions. A lot of people end up working more than 50 hours a week at some farms.

          • L.L. Kauffman

            Maybe so, but I must tell you, I routinely work over 50 hours a week at my non-horse industry job.

    • kyle

      Hey Gary, how about you addressing the comments disputing your “thing of the past” thing? Are you wrong? Were you lying? Do you assert they are wrong or lying?

      • secondlife

        Obviously he is talking about his own barn. He can’t speak for everybody else.

        • kyle

          Haha. That isn’t the way it reads. And if that’s what he meant to convey I would suggest, that on a topic of such importance, he be more exact and careful in his public declarations.

          • Judoon

            He said it very clearly. You just didn’t understand him.

      • caroline webster

        I would like to reply to your question about the past. I am the 11th child raised by 2 of the hardest working people you would ever want to meet. We were taught to work hard,and take pride in everything we do. I grew up in the horse industry working 7 days a week,never once did it occur to me to cry or complain. I learned so much from so many amazing horsemen,and still try to learn something every day. My husband and I work 7 days a week on our farm,and could not imagine living any other way. Our wonderful staff decided they would prefer having off four afternoons a week,rather than one full day.
        It gives them more time with their children,or the sports they are involved in etc. all employees recieve paid vacations and bonuses. I am sick and tired of reading comments from people that think all horseman constantly exploit their employees. The majority of pinhookers here in Ocala will buy a yearling for the ‘farm’train it all year at no cost to the employees,then when that 2 yr old sells.. divide the proceeds for everyone on the farm. Does that sound like employers that don’t care? Stop bashing us,the majority of farm owners and trainers value and care for their employees very much. For those of you that say Americans should have the jobs.. why are they not applying ? Look at the drop out rate for high schools now,and 40 years ago. Gook luck teaching them to get off the couch,or to put their cell phones down.our country was built on hard work,that sir is the thing of the past.

        • kyle

          I have no idea what exactly you’re addressing and the coyness you use doesn’t make your comment any clearer. It seems like you’re simply arguing for the right to exploit cheap, illegal foreign labor. Why don’t you just come out and say that clearly. Was plain speaking not part of your upbringing? As for hard work by Americans being a thing of the past, I do t know among whom you live but that isn’t my experience

          • caroline webster

            My help is neither cheap or illegal. If you think all Americans are hard working,then it is you sir living in a bubble..

          • kyle

            You don’t really read and reason that poorly, do you? I wrote, “all Americans are hard working?” I guess it’s an attempt at creating a strawman. You know, that’s THE telltale sign of a weak argument? As to the labor thing, if you’re only hiring legal help I don’t know why you’re going off? Again, I guess it’s your inability to read for context.

          • kyle

            Of course it is cheap. You’ve already told us you can’t get Americans to work for the wages you offer.

          • caroline webster

            Now it is you that can’t read. Show me exactly where I said I can’t get Americans to work for my wages.where did I tell you the nationality of any employee I have? Read again please. My complaint is that I am sick and tired of people on this website bashing farm owners and trainers for exploiting their employees. Do yourself a favor and watch the news at night.. listen to the factory owners clearly state they can not find workers qualified enough to hire,lacking in skilled labor. Each state mandates their own minimum wage,and the horseman I deal with consistently pay far higher with better benefits. While you are bashing low pay,please feel free to talk to Walmart,or your local fast food restaurants.Take the time to meet Gary Contessa and interview his wonderful staff,or go over to Todd Pletchers barn and talk to his employees. I can promise you some of his staff bring home more money than I do.

          • kyle

            I have no idea what you’re on about. I have no idea why you responded with your original screed at this point. But it was that screed then your dismal of two of my three qualifiers – illegal and cheap, leaving only foreign that gave me my impressions. Perhaps you should have heeded that old saying about better to have remained silent than to have spoken and removed all doubt.

          • kyle

            And by the way, if you can get Americans ,yet are utilizing the visa program, aren’t you breaking the law?

          • DanM

            Please remember that the employer-employee relationship is transactional. It should not be described in non-transactional terms. The trainers, farmers and factory owners cannot find the type of labor they are seeking FOR THE WAGES THEY ARE WILLING TO PAY. While the need for various types of labor will increase as the American population continues to age, allowing unchecked illegal immigration is not an answer for alleviating labor shortages.

            The need for labor in the elder care industry alone will be immense in the coming years:

            Projections for percentage of U.S. Population aged 75 and over:
            2017 6.6
            2020 6.9
            2030 9.5
            2040 11.7

            In raw numbers:
            2017 21.6 Million
            2020 23.2 Million
            2030 34.2 Million
            2040 44.3 Million

          • secondlife

            You mean for the wages they are ABLE to pay. These days taxes and regulations and mandatory health insurance premiums have wiped out any extra money that could have been used for higher wages

            And your point about the aging baby boomers proves that we actually DO need more immigrant labor because the native birth rate is too low to support an aging population

          • caroline webster

            Now this is a subject all Americans should be discussing.we were fortunate to be able to care for my elderly mother in our home for several years until she passed away. It was a labor of love,but many people just can’t. From not enough room in their homes,to raising children,to lack of income etc. elderly parents with dementia,Alzheimer’s etc need round the clock care. What are we going to do?

    • McGov

      YOU sound like a decent employer that treats his workers fairly. But to say that THE JOB is this or that…..THE JOB is what the employer says it is.
      That’s the problem. Not fair employers like yourself.
      Often employees on farms and racetracks work 7 days a week…maybe a day off or half day off every couple of weeks and certainly are never paid overtime….not to mention how workers are pressured to work through injuries etc etc….comp claim is shameful etc.
      If what you described is true then I’m sure there wouldn’t be a labour shortage issue ( which of course illegals must meet) at the same time America is SCREAMING for jobs.
      Don’t make a whole lot a sense otherwise. If these are normal jobs then have legal domestic labour fill them…..but they won’t….wonder why???

      • L.L. Kauffman

        In Lexington, I have never seen anyone work 7 days s week, except for farm owners.

        • McGov

          Owners of anything never ever stop working…..you own it, but it owns you too. Even when you’re not working…..you’re working ;)
          Glad to hear Lexington has enough help and takes care of their workers. Wonder which came first ?

          • Minneola

            Many of today’s workers are required to carry a cell phone seven days per week in case of something “comes up” at work that needs immediate attention. I remember work hours of my parents’ generation: Mon-Fri 8-5. Dinner was on the table at 6:00 sharp! Nothing like that today.

          • Tom Davis

            Not until we get unions back with iron clad work contracts. Unions are good for the working people. Those who don’t benefit from unions are the ones that cut them down. Unionized manufacturing jobs that moved out of the country were going to move whether union or not because of the 3.00/hr jobs out of the country. The union jobs in the rubber factories in Akron, Ohio moved away but the real reason for the move wasn’t made public. The walls of ALL the rubber factories were caked with asbestos and the government told the companies to clean it or shut down. Naturally the companies blamed the shut downs on the unions. Sounds like bad management to me.

          • McGov

            Agriculture is similar to pre-union era in industry and construction. THIS is exactly why unions were formed to start with…..workers were being taken advantage of in every way possible and owners were forced to cut back on ballooning profits as a result of the collective power of the union.
            A worker in ANY category of work in a first world country should be given a minimum level of protection and pay. But in reality some industries are exempt from legislation that protects workers.
            In other words, not all workers are equal. This is why domestic / legal workers will not do the work.
            Time for a change ;)

        • Anne Lombardi

          I used to work seven days a week on Benray Farm in Westminister Maryland, owned by an attorney named Morty Rosen. This was back in the 1980’s. The farm’s manager Jack ( a failed trainer) and another man who worked there had Sundays off completely. After the 2 year olds went to Laurel, Jack and I had fewer to ride. I was made to paint creosote tar on fences, while the two men regularly spattered me with tar (they had brooms, and I had a large brush to cut in), Benray farm was too $$$ tight to supply solvent to clean up after the day was over. When I gave Mr. Rosen 2 weeks notice, he refused to accept it, claiming the horses needed me. I was also paid 60% of the weekly salary of the guy who didn’t ride (he was huge). I have no idea how much the manager was paid. I left and went to Mr & Mrs Raymond R.Guest’s Powhatan Plantation in Virginia. Powhatan had a 6 day week, but when we were short staffed, we did switch to 7 when necessary, without additional compensation.

          • L.L. Kauffman

            Those unfortunate situations are out there, no doubt. But the reputable farms I know today all have decent hours, pay, & conditions. You did the right thing to move on.

        • Joey Seay

          Guessing you dont work or live on the backside then..

        • jensen taylor

          You are either blind or have never been on the back side !!!

          • L.L. Kauffman

            You are very rude. You are also wrong on both accounts.

      • jensen taylor

        The only reason he gives days off and pays like he does is because that is the law in New York. Other states do not have the same laws, so trainers can do as they please as far as pay and time off

    • forestwildcat

      whats it pay?

    • Joey Seay

      Gary Ill take you as a man of your word as Ive never worked for you.. But the reality is that over 95 percent of these stables go on 7 day work weeks with NO overtime.. The labor department could walk into any 5 barns and I would bet my whole paycheck that 4/5 of them would be in some kind of violation.. That is the true reality of why you cant keep viable American workers in this industry..

    • Dan Adams

      Much respect Mr. Contessa. If I get to New York, you are my first contact

    • McGov

      No offense Mr Contessa but you are bias. You are an employer. You are the person in power.
      Let’s hear from the workers. The ones working in these conditions. Let’s hear from workers that don’t feel threatened that their income will be removed and they will be sent away under shameful conditions.
      We hear all day from those at the top of the food chain about how fair everything is….from the people that face the greatest consequences if we were to tackle this problem in a meaningful way.
      I want to hear a groom go on the record saying they work 44 hours a week and have a day off a week and are paid overtime. I want to hear 3 out of 5 grooms say this.
      The ONLY time I’ve ever heard of overtime paid out is when they Ministry of Labour was called.
      The dog and pony show is over.

    • Vampressqueen Colvin

      I wouldve loved working for u when i was at the track. I worked 60-70hrs a wk. No overtime. Rarely got bonuses. Was lucky to get xmas day off. Plus i almost always had a 2nd or 3rd job off the rravk just to make ends meet. im disabled now. But i loved every min w/the horses (most of the time). I miss it so much🏇

    • jensen taylor

      Gary, maybe in New York. Now tell it like it really is at other tracks in other states. 7 days a week no days off Ever !!! Rubbibg 5 or 6 horses for $500 or 400 a week. Hot Walkers walking anywhere from 5 to 9 horses daily. I worked the back side for 30 years. If trainers would have treated the help better you might not have this problem The only people to blame are the Trainers.

    • Elizabeth Boller

      I’m sorry Mr. Contessa but that just isn’t true. It may be how it is working for you but the days of working 7 days a week are NOT a thing of the past. I don’t work on the track anymore, but my son and fiance do. Both for prominent trainers on the Southern California circuit. $10/hour, 6-7 day work weeks, no paid vacation, no sick leave is what the top guys are offering.
      Smaller trainers offer a low salary and no days off.

  • kyle

    The pro illegal migration crowd needs some new big lies. “Green card holders are being sent back for traffic offenses” Sure, failure to keep right. Maybe DUI, but even for that not in most cases. Answer me this, what jurisdictions even explore immigration status at minor traffic stops?

    • secondlife

      Go read the full text of Trump’s executive orders from back in January. It most certainly is true that even minor offenses are getting people put in detention and deported, even ones who have work permits or green cards. Any contact with the police or court system now can get someone deported. There have been tons of articles on immigration news and legal sites and personal stories about people being rounded up for minor offenses from years ago. Even if they have been here for years and have US citizen spouses and kids

      • kyle

        Do you not understand that local and state authorities do not deport and in the vast majority of jurisdictions do not even make an effort to discover status? Explain to me then how this innocent, minor traffic offenders come to the attention of ICE?

        • secondlife

          In case you haven’t heard, ICE has been stalking courthouses in California and other places lately. Getting caught driving without a license can earn you a court appearance. Anytime someone is booked in a jail, their fingerprints are entered into an FBI database which ICE can access anytime they want.

        • NataliePR

          Hi Kyle, This was actually addressed by the attorneys on the panel. They said a large portion of local authorities do inform ICE if they take custody of someone who’s undocumented, even if it’s for arraignment, and do inform ICE if they take custody of a green card or visa holder. My understanding from what they said is in the case of someone they discover is undocumented, they may hold that person until federal authorities can arrive to take custody. Regarding visa and green card holders, It is then up to federal immigration authorities whether that person’s legal status can be revoked, but the experience of these lawyers is that it very often is, even when the infraction involved is something minor like a traffic stop. Sanctuary cities have opted not to voluntarily inform ICE of this, but cannot legally refuse to divulge that information if asked for it.

          • kyle

            Who is arrested for minor traffic infractions?

      • kyle

        And, the assertion was that green card d holders are being so dealt with. Did Trump’s order address green card holders in that way?

        • secondlife

          I recently read a story about a lady (green card holder) who has lived in the US for 20 years and has children born here. Because she was given bad advice about registering to vote when she got a driver’s license, she was recently deported to Peru because she voted twice when she wasn’t suposed to. Getting charged with a crime CAN get a green card revoked. Trump’s order says to deport anyone with a “chargeable offense” which means they can even be deprived of the right to due process to wait and see if they actually get a conviction first. So yes. Go read the executive orders.

          • Peter Scarnati

            I’d say voting TWICE is a serious offense. And someone who has “lived in the US for 20 years” should certainly know better than this “bad advice” she was given.

          • secondlife

            I read there were some US citizens who voted twice for Trump. Let’s deport them and send them to permanent exile back in their ancestral homeland.

            This lady voted in a local school board election. How does it make America great again to tear her apart from her family? How is your life personally worse if she gets to stay?

            And just FYI some immigration lawyers DO give bad or misleading advice just to get money from people who are easy to take advantage of. Just this summer, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an immigrant who got bad legal advice that resulted in deportation. The case was Lee vs United States. Google it

            But lawyers and politicians are always right though, because you know… “The law”

      • Tom Davis

        If police departments hate checking on someone at traffic stops, the police won’t stop as many people. They’ll stop only the drivers committing an egregious, dangerous act.

  • Saratoga Bob

    I honestly don’t fully understand the h2 visa policy pertaining to Horse racing .What I do fully understand is how illegal immigration has destroyed wages and Us Apprenticeship opportunities in the Construction industry.I have over 50 years experience in the construction industry .Personally having a Tech School Education .States have spent Billions training and educating young men and woman for jobs has carpenters masons hairdressers electricians ect ect .When these young men and woman graduate and attempt to enter the work force they realize they are in direct competition with undocumented workers .I challenge anyone to visit a housing development anywhere in the Carolinas you will Quickly see that 90% of all work is being performed by undocumented workers 💰💰💰😂😂😂😂

    • secondlife

      Why don’t you examine the other economic reasons why construction industry has to save money on labor costs. Why not look at the extra burdens imposed by government regulation of building permits, environmental regulations that increase the cost of concrete and building materials, etc etc. But sure blame immigrants they are always an easy scapegoat. Let’s not get at the root of the problem

      • Jon Luman

        If you wanted to blame something for the destruction of the construction industry, you might look at the complete lack of efficient and/or competent management starting in 1980. It bleeds across many industries (including horse racing) since 1990.

    • billy

      Truth…see it daily

    • kyle

      Saw an article recently about how wages in construction are starting to rise. It was attributed to reduced migration and stepped up enforcement. I would link but I don’t think Paulick allows it.

      • Jon Luman

        Rise from what? When I went to work as a drywall finisher in 1973, a journeyman running automatic taping tools earned a rate of $14.40 per hour. In 1974, I earned my first check over $1,000 ($1,040) at a piece rate of $1.92 per 4’x12′ board.
        I ran circles backwards around the new American tradesmen from south of the border thru the 90’s. But, the industry went from “competent preferred” to “obedient workers preferred”, and opportunity…. gone.
        So, if the horse racing industry is looking for workers that will work at 70% of value in the first place, where is there any opportunity for the worker?
        The rake is a little too high. A 7-11 franchisee pays 48% of the gross to 7-11 corp.
        The rake is too high, but, the deal is of value to any whole family that is willing to work for the manager’s paycheck. So on we go.
        Don’t forget also that anyone who can get a 9-2 return on a $20 bill daily, is probably not willing to devote the same time to a job on the backside.

  • kyle

    Translation: “We don’t want to compete in the labor market or pay market wages. We prefer labor that has been conditioned by poverty and corruption to accept less.”

    • WT61

      Uh, Mr. Contessa states he pays $650-$700/week for 5 1/2 days (43 hrs). By my math that’s $15.12-$16.28/hr. That’s not bad in my book. That’s better wages than Walmart. The problem is there aren’t many Americans with the horse skills necessary to work at the track. But IMO, Americans are just too lazy and have no desire for hard work. They’d rather play on their phones all day.

      • kyle

        Whatever he pays it isn’t sufficient in a labor market that isn’t undercut by a”cheaper” migrant supply. That’s by his own admission.

      • kyle

        I would also add, he and his assistants do or have done the work. What, are they just special?

      • Lonestar95

        I agree

      • PseudoBob

        “Americans are just too lazy and have no desire for hard work” Oh come on, that’s not exactly fair. It might be better pay than walmart in hourly wages (say $10/hr), but for weekly wages?
        For that long-time Mexican employee, they’re going from $13/week to $650/week, 50 times as much as their home pay. For that walmart employee, they’re going from say 9 hours (VERY conservative)*7 days*$10/hr = $630 to $650. $20 more. Per week.
        So you have to ask yourself… are the working conditions (wake
        up limping every day, apparently, to go work in the scorching heat, freezing cold,
        rain, and just get hurt some more) really worth the enticing-sounding $5/hour increase, when it’s really not that much more pay vs a relatively cozy cashier or stocking job?

        Every single time an employer pops up somewhere saying that Americans just don’t want to do the jobs, try finding out how much they’re paying. It’s generally very low compared to the job that they’re trying to fill. The fact that immigrants or ‘seasonal workers’ are willing to do the job anyway doesn’t necessarily say something about Americans being lazy… it says more about the uneven distribution of wealth in the world.
        That Mexican will take home the $650 minus whatever and live in relative
        luxury (remember, they’re basically making 50 times as much as their neighbor – imagine for a moment that you made not $30k/year like your neighbor, but $1.5 million/year!), easily provide for their entire family, rather than just making
        ends meet for a single person.
        “Nobody in America wants this job” is an incomplete sentence. Addd “for the pay they get” and we’re a lot closer to the truth.

        • Jon Luman

          That, new American worker from south of the border will gladly cash the check, paying the 3% fee at the check cashing store, slide 50% of it under some door somewhere, never file for a tax refund, spend the food stamps at Walmart buying eggs for $5.29 a dozen, and, unlike the average American, take it, without complaint and certainly without action.
          After all, company store helped make Andrew Carnegie the richest man in the world, in his time.

      • NELL.RAY

        Is that 650 after or before taxes?

      • Four Race Horses

        Maybe if the HBPAs would have 1) advocated Medicaid expansion in Red states (instead of bashing it), and 2) properly communicated the ensuing availability of affordable health care, there might be some way to mitigate the dangerous aspect of these jobs, thus making them more attractive. No one has even mentioned the fact that workers’ comp is barely affordable for trainers because horsemen as a group essentially can’t come up with some way to track losses and provide the needed data to insurance companies to even get an affordable group policy.

        • secondlife

          Most health insurance policies will not cover an injury if they find out it happened at work

    • Jon Luman

      Well said, and a great job of staying on focus. Modern management is all about shirking responsibility, not competing (lest a lack of skill and knowledge be exposed), bringing in the new American workers from south of the border (that will work as $30 a day wage slaves), and maintaining a great gross profit.
      Even better if, many people can get a cut of the gross, wear a clean white shirt and have a job, and the owner still be shown a healthy net profit.
      Bravo, such ideas have already destroyed the construction industry, horse racing should be easier, and the move seems a natural for people having no imagination, or desire to compete, at all.

  • Glenys McNally

    In response to those trained to be carpenters, electricians, etc.
    Employers and contractors don’t always hire union labor. Another example The
    Food Network Channel was one of the last non-union television
    strongholds. But that had changed when crew members called their Locals
    about their non union job regarding a new food challenge series
    shooting in Los Angeles called Iron Chef Gauntlet. The Local and the International was determined that the crew was unified. A call was placed to
    production and negotiations began without need for a strike, Iron Chef
    Gauntlet was signed to a Videotape Agreement with strong contract that
    included bereavement leave and strong no subcontracting language. Other
    shows followed Comeback Kitchen and Triage Entertainment didn’t want to produce another show non-union. So they contacted the Local about a long running series, Food Network Star about to go into production. The company asked for concessions. The International said no, and eventually they signed. When you watch television shows and pay attention to the credits. It would have IATSE logo on it. That goes for movies, too. They use this expand membership that how unions remain strong through growth. If you attend a Broadway show in NYC the crews are members of IATSE Local ONE. The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture
    Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Its
    Territories and Canada was founded in 1893 when representatives of
    stagehands working in eleven cities met in New York and pledged to
    support each others’ efforts to establish fair wages and working
    conditions for their members. Our union has evolved to embrace the
    development of new entertainment mediums, craft expansion, technological
    innovation and geographic growth. My dad was member even in retirement until his passing.

  • secondlife

    This is what happens when a bunch of uptight politicians in DC get on a power trip and decide to arbitrarily limit immigration numbers based on nothing in reality. Just a desire to pander to their white nationalist base.

    Instead of people acting like undocumented workers are the devil just because they crossed a border to look for a job, how about let’s admit there are a LOT of industries who need both low and high skilled immigrant labor, let them have freedom of movement and buy a work permit for $1,000 and start paying taxes into the system.

    Detaining and deporting people will waste billions of dollars. They could be adding billions of dollars to the economy if they were legalized

    • HowardRoark314

      You want to immigrate here, work, and pay taxes? There are about 20 million outsiders doing that LEGALLY. And I love having every single one of them here. I don’t like the shysters sneaking in ahead of those folk, while you excuse their criminality. Legal immigrants should be at the front of the line, they are a blessing: less welfare, even less crimes than native US citizens, I believe. I’ll take 20 million more.

      • Lane Hutchins

        If you are a Mexican you cannot emigrate to the USA unless you have 250000 to invest. There is no line that anyone is jumping .I live in a tourist town and own a horse farm.I pay 20 dollars an hour for farm work. The only white person you will see working here is me..actually the only person most of the time. So much for slave wages. By the way our local Tractor Supply pays 9.50 per hr.

        • Fred and Joan Booth

          We live in a tourist “wine country county”. With the state mandated minimum wage increases scheduled over the next few years we will soon be paying well over $20 an hour for unskilled stall cleaners/ loaders of hay/ straw. Like you were the only ones on our farm that you see working most of the time! We feel the unskilled labor rates have become out of hand in price.Many times we have told a worker to just go on back to the labor office as we can get the work done faster and more safely alone. But of course not easy on us! Even the normal type of farm / unskilled workers are demanding $25 hourly which is crazy for unskilled labor.

          • Charles Smith

            This sounds really familar to me, I’d bet you are in Sonoma County.

      • secondlife

        There probably are 20 million more who are currently living in the shadows and would love to get legal, but can’t because of arbitrary restrictions on the number of visas and green cards.

        A washington post article said there have been 57,000 deportations the first half of this year. There are currently 600,000 backlogged cases in immigration court and a shortage of COMPETENT judges and immigration lawyers.

        If the Daily Signal article is right that there are 20-30 million people here illegally (including people from all over the world who overstayed their visas, not just hispanics who crossed the Mexican border) do the math and you can see it would take 40 years and billions of dollars to deport that many people. 60 Minutes said it costs $11,000 to deport just one person.

        Politicians KNOW there will never be mass deportations, they know this. But instead of being honest with people that we should just let everybody pay a penalty fine & get a work permit, they wanna play bad a$$ and deport the easy targets, just to please an aging demographic who thinks the future of America can go back to coal mines and sock factories

  • Betty Earl

    This is just plain tough, the horsemen need to follow the law and hire legal people or be prosecuted. Tell them to pay higher wages and quit crying.

    • secondlife

      So laws can never be changed or repealed even when they are obviously not working? Because Congress is full of brilliant geniuses who have never made bad decisions or ever had to repeal bad laws, ever in the history of America?

      • Peter Scarnati

        Sounds to me that you should spearhead an effort to get these “bad laws” changed. In the meantime, since we are supposed to be a Nation of laws, I would suggest the current laws on the books should be followed.

        • secondlife

          I thought we were supposed to be more a nation of freedom, liberty, free market economics and the land of opportunity, but I guess those days are gone. Let’s all bow down and worship “the law” instead.

          Reagan gave amnesty to millions of immigrants in the 80s and nobody cared because back then the economy was booming and anybody could get a job.

          • Peter Scarnati

            The problem is there would be no freedom, liberty, free market opportunities and opportunity if there were no laws.
            If you want anyone and everyone to come right into the country, do two things:
            1) Just say so, and;
            2) Advocate to your leftist politicians to change the laws which you do not agree with.

  • JustJoe

    Sure, trainers pay slave wages because they can but the world has evolved and they need to join the rest of us in the 21st century.

  • Lonestar95

    $700 a week plus ot ? That’s $36-40k per year. A lot better than working at 7/11. If he didn’t have to pay the extra $5-7k to use the government programme, he could,pay an American citizen $41K + per year. What wrong with that ? If you truly love horses, you don’t mind being outside with them . I wish I was 20 years old I’d go back and start as a groom and work my way up

    • kyle

      Yeah, maybe instead of “advertising” for help ( I’d be curious to know where he is placing these ads) he should visit a few high schools. Even in this day and age I’d wager he could find a few graduating seniors who’d like to start out making $40k plus.

      • Lost In The Fog – Robert Lee

        Placing advertisements for the jobs is a requirement of the H-2B program:

        “The employer must place an advertisement (in a language other than English, where appropriate) on two separate days, which may be consecutive, one of which must be a Sunday, in a newspaper of general circulation serving the area of intended employment and appropriate to the occupation and the workers likely to apply for the job opportunity. If the job opportunity is located in a rural area that does not have a newspaper with a Sunday edition, the CO may direct the employer, in place of a Sunday edition, to advertise in the regularly published daily edition with the widest circulation in the area of intended employment.”

        • kyle

          I didn’t see anything precluding him from going above and beyond. And of course, that is only a requirement when looking to utilize the visa program. Obviously anyone serious in their desire to hire American workers would put in greater efforts.

      • Lonestar95

        I agree ! Beats flipping burgers for $8 an hour

    • Erin Casseday

      If I was 20 years younger I would be right there also! That is more than I make a week/yr. But then I think that I am going to quit my job and move to Seattle so I can get paid $15 an hr to work and McDonald’s or Burger King! Americans really do want to get paid for nothing. At least those that live on the west side of WA. LOL

  • gus stewart

    very good thoughts’ from many across the board, cheap labor exploitation right!! so a trainer pays his help ok got it. think of his trainers income, then think of each racetracks takeout. I of course could be wrong but if you really want to look at all races of people working in an underpaid environment in the workplace. Lets use any other sport, concession people, ticket takers, parking attendants etc., in other sports, and what again does the lying sack football commissioner make. and what do the athlete’s make. and what do the owner’s make. There my friends is major exploitation of all races. don’t know the answer to the backside workers situation is, but just wanted to say every race can be exploited .

  • DanM

    A “labor shortage” in racing is good news. The industry suffers from oversupply. Excessive live product in the electronic age is unsustainable. More trainers and jockeys need to get out of the business. If a trainer can’t offer an attractive wage to the pool of potential employees, then it’s the trainer who needs to go to work at 7-11.

    North America needs a maximum of 25,000 thoroughbred races per year. The sport can’t be healed until we get to that level.

  • Tom Davis

    Just because someone chooses to work at Wal-Mart or 7-Eleven instead of being a horse groom, that doesn’t mean he’s lazy. He’s probably not qualified to be a groom and is intimated being around a horse. If a brainiac with a PhD in physics from Northwestern University wants to be a groom, the credentials of this brainiac still don’t make him qualified..(I guess that example is a stretch).. But why not have a school for people who want to be grooms and work their up to assistant trainer, the way Chris McCarron has a jockey school in Kentucky?

    • Four Race Horses

      Even the most qualified groom, rider or horseman is always in great danger working around a Thoroughbred in training (just ask Wayne Lukas). There is already a traveling school called “Groom Elite,” but the various HBPA chapters seem woefully slow to promote it. Eric Hamelback and National HBPA seems to be trying hard to make up for that communication gap.

  • Rachel

    A big part of the problem is the perception of corruption and abuse in the Industry that no one wants to be associated with.

  • admiral1584

    People keep stating that “we need them”. I have been a fan, an owner, and a trainer in my life of 67 years so I do love horse racing. However the question in our time is really “do we need horse racing”. In an era when most tracks are on slot machine life support and states such as PA deliver millions of dollars to a very small and usually unvocal constituency, states such as PA which are also facing pension bomb disasters the questions being asked more and more is do we need horse racing. The answer legislators are slowly coming to is maybe not. Already in PA there is talk of raiding the purse structure and I hate to admit it the talk makes sense form a legislators point of view. I know about all the reposts that will come about how many jobs peripheral or otherwise are the result of racing but the fact is on a dollar and common sense these arguments will pale besides arguments for better schools, infrastructure, and pension bailouts because our number of constituents doesn’t come close to matching their in addition to the fact that their constituents all vote within the state. And for those who say it’s the law, we’re entitles I remind them that whatever they legislate in they can legislate out. Remember in PA where only racinos could host slots and gambling? We all know where that went.

    • Manefan

      I fear that, whether it’s needed or not, racing, or fighting animals would continue, legal or not.

  • Minneola

    We used to have the bracero worker program. They worked seasonally and filled much needed labor in the U.S. Maybe, that system can be tweaked so that it also works toward a citizenship status. Seems to me that this is a very realistic solution. It’s not only for working with horses but also to work in the fields. Without them, it becomes very difficult to get any U.S. citizen to accept the idea of working out there. Easier for them to collect public assistance. And, without those to work the fields, food prices will increase to meet supply shortages. Farmers will have to cut back as well as pay more for workers willing to do that. But, personally, know no one willing to do such heavy and “menial” types of labor.

  • McGov

    My issue is not with who does the job. My issue is that the people that do the job are not paid and protected appropriately. Whether that person makes $13 a day somewhere else is irrelevant. Whether that person is accustomed to working through injuries and 8 days a week back home should not ever be a consideration.
    Working with horses is dangerous. You could be killed at any given moment. I personally know 8 people that have been killed by a thoroughbred racehorse. The job is hard because you must start early and on race days you are normally home late….and back again first thing. Not at your best and at times kissing death as she whizzes by your sleepy brow.
    You must have skill to understand what the horse is saying. What the problems are. Early. How to resolve them. Quickly. You must be thorough and detail oriented and patient and organised.
    Most of all, you must love it.
    If the job paid appropriately then people would learn the skill. This is just one example within agriculture but there are many similar examples. There is no reason in 2017 to treat these workers any different then any other category of workers.
    How can they be paid a similar wage to those who do not face the same dangers or same hours or same intensity of work or level of skill??
    These people that refuse to do this work are not stupid. They will not be taken advantage of. It is THAT simple. Pay and protect and they will line up.

    • Michael Castellano

      Good post. One thing occurred to me about the fatalities. In many pro-sports and occupations, athletes and workers wear head gear. Why do those working in the stable around horses seem to not be wearing them? Wouldn’t wearing them around the horse save lives? I’m sure a special one can be created for those around horses? Maybe have a way it can easily be removed and hung over the back of your head when you are not around the horse, because I know how much of a pain it can be wearing one.

      • McGov

        It is inevitable that all workers around horses will wear appropriate protective equipment. However, it is very, very slow to change. Took a while to get riders and even longer to get gate crew to wear helmets and vests. They were first because they are visible to the public.
        Without question the risk of injury or death is substantial. It is not only the equivalent it IS WORSE then every construction worker refusing to wear a hard hat….the risk of injury is substantially greater around horses.

        • Michael Castellano

          Hard to believe that use of some sort of head gear and other precautions are not employed.

      • secondlife

        People at the track are more likely to get bit, stepped on or kicked in places other than the head. Although a helmet may be a good idea for people turning horses in and out at a farm

  • Michael Castellano

    I read most of the posts, and what seems to be getting lost is that immigrant and African American labor, throughout our history, has been used to fill the most arduous and difficult jobs. We are also a country that needed a Civil War which cost more American lives than World Wars I and II, to formally end slavery. In the absence of slavery, immigrant labor then became essential to the Capitalist economy. Divided by skin color, white Americans eventually unionized, in many cases barring blacks and non-whites. So many whites evolved beyond doing the hardest manual labor even with the recent decline of unions, and are out of shape and incapable or unwilling to work stable jobs at the track. Sorry for the long post, but NEITHER political party is serious about cutting back on immigration. They just seek to APPEAR to care about reform to get votes on either side of the issue. And if they did halt or seriously cut back on immigration, both legal and illegal, it would mean forcing American citizens, even whites and also blacks from the inner city, back into these menial and arduous jobs which can be dangerous and unhealthy.

    The anger that gets focused on the immigrant or undocumented laborer is misdirected. The corruption of many of the unions makes any efforts to organize the surplus labor pool for improved condition and pay virtually impossible. You cannot resolve the immigration problem without reforming society itself. The need for cheap labor anywhere it can be had will remain.

  • Joey Seay

    This has been a long time coming… Ive been trying to have this conversation for a year and a half and people would laugh at me… After early November the tone changed drastically. This industry is in the midst of a number of “bubbles” that are near bursting points.. I see a profound contraction or consolidation of this industry if the people that matter dont invest in an American workforce.. I have nothing against my hispanic brothers and sisters.. God knows they are the only people I have as a white guy living on the backside.. But this industry has been relying on “less than legal” labor for so long that now alot of operations are in a sink or swim position that hinges on government immigration policy. It really shouldnt have come to that… After highschool I had a short lived baseball career, then drove trucks for 6 years, then when I became road weary I took on construction jobs and eventually started pursuing a career as an electrician.. Long story short, I committed to this industry with zero experience and it hasnt always been easy, but its not as hard as people make it out to be.. Id much rather be getting stomped on by a 1400 lb colt than digging ditches in January for 13 hours a day. The racing industry and many trainers need to adapt to the reality that is a post undocumented immigrant dominated workforce.. Stop pretending you dont understand competition in the labor force… Trust me, as someone who hasnt lived and worked on the track until the last 4 years, this industry can do a much better job of attracting and retaining an American labor force.. Matter of fact, I would say the future of the sport I live and love, hinges on it.

    • kyle

      Fantastic post.

    • Manefan

      Thank you for your insightful post. Can we have some applause and shine a light on those that take care of horses on a daily basis? I believe that there are many of them who feel at peace with their work but, we don’t hear about them. I’ve thought about this field as a second career but, if I were an 18 y.o. and heard a dismal forecast of “you’re life here will be freezing damp, cold rain, sizzling heat while living with an animal that wants to kill you”, I’d run too. Certainly not a way to attract an applicant. Maybe, thankfully, those non-English speaking applicants didn’t understand a word of that dismal forecast. There are careers that advertise professions in a positive light and offer opportunities. There are, undoubtedly grueling times but, I”‘d bet that there are workers who take great pride in their achievements.

      • kyle

        Yeah, can you imagine Contessa making a comparable pitch to a respective new owner? “You’re gonna lose your initial investment three times over and that’s before you paying me my exorbitant Day rate and my buddy the vet the arm and leg he takes.”

        • Manefan

          Well, I know just what I’ve read in this article about Mr. Contessa and nothing more so, I’ll not bite the bait.

          • kyle

            Well, I don’t know him more than from afar. But I think it’s a safe bet that his sales pitch to prospective owners is somewhat rosier.

          • Manefan

            Ah, I get your point. ;)

    • secondlife

      Who says people should just accept a post immigrant workforce? If the law said they were gonna bring back slavery and revoke women’s right to vote, should we just accept it?

      Anyway, all the current immigration policy will do is make it harder for the ones who had to fly here on airplanes with a visa. The undocumented who crossed a land border can always stay in the shadows just like they’ve been doing for decades, all because Congress wants to bend to hysterics about the brown people, and refuses to do any sensible reform that doesn’t involve wasting billions on deportation

  • DanM

    Read the story in the Wall Street Journal (Aug. 10). The Martha’s Vineyard crowd is crying about how difficult it is to get H-2B workers. An inn owner who has rooms at $1,800 a night does not want to raise wages because “There’s a limit on what you can afford to spend”.

  • jensen taylor

    These Trainers are finally getting what they deserve and I love it. For many years we asked for days off and reasonable pay and received nothing. All of you trainers know the truth about life on the back side and place the blame on every thing except where it belongs. With the Trainers treating people like crap.

  • Greenskeeper

    The problem is racing has failed to adequately promote itself. And thus is in a general decline. Iconic racetracks like Hollywood Park are a thing of the past now. Golf wasnt a money making thing until Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicholas came around, promoting the game. There were heros to follow. Race horses if really good, get retired often too soon. The owners ad farms make money….but that promotional horse is gone. And jockeys, I can name mediocre players of other sports and people know them. I mention iconic jockeys like Shoemaker and Cordero…..and the answer is who? New products equal or lesser than products already out there do good….because they are promoted better. Racing now is like roulette….just constantly changing players that nobody cares about.

    • Jon Luman

      A rare statement of the obvious, as it becomes more obvious that the horse racing industry will promote any other gambling game, except it’s own.

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