Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A CALL TO ACTION -- Support the disclosure of horses' medical records.

Dear Friends,

I was outraged when I learned in
Joe Drape's NY Times article that members of our industry who are making their living looking after the welfare of horses have risen in opposition of the most positive proactive step racing officials have taken to ensure the future of racing......

I have therefore created an online petition to support the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s proposed rule requiring disclosure of racehorses' medical records for 45 days prior to their race-day. As a lifelong thoroughbred owner and breeder, I fully endorse this rule. It is a safety measure for horses and jockeys, and an assurance of integrity for the betting public, prospective owners, and other new arrivals to the sport.

If you are involved in horseracing in any capacity, this rule change is designed to improve the quality of racing, by separating unhealthy horses from those ready to race. Full disclosure is the only way to move horseracing forward.Ultimately, it is the abusive practice of drugs that results in unfit horses running on the track, and making poor contributions to the thoroughbred bloodline. Drugs compensate for crooked legs, poor shoeing jobs, lack of conditioning, and an inability to breathe, among a host of other problems. Concealing these realities has created numerous problems for both people and horses; overpopulation with few humane plans for equine retirement and rising veterinary costs for overtaxed, unhealthy horses are serious issues.

Honesty, transparency, and a genuine love and respect of the horse is the only way racing will thrive. This new rule is the first step in answering the question, "What's wrong with racing, how do we fix it, and how do we market it?". The more available information becomes on horses and their health, the better decisions we can make about what will benefit everyone-- humans and horses. The only people who will not benefit are those that would manipulate, deceive, and actively practice animal cruelty through the secret use of drugs to push horses on the track who do not belong there--all in the name of profit.

Veterinarians who oppose this suggested rule should examine their own motives. Stephen Selway‘s claim in the NY Times that time and paperwork would be wasted on the measure, as well as the AAEPs statement that what medications are administered to racehorses is privileged information are both highly absurd!

Personally, I am disappointed that those who supposedly have dedicated their lives to the care of animals are more concerned about protecting private revenue streams than improving conditions for the horses that make their jobs possible. How many drugs are being administered, and in what possible combination and frequency, that it will take "hundreds of thousands of hours" to record by veterinarians? Just because the state isn’t testing for a drug yet, doesn’t mean that its use is ethical, in the best interest of the horses, their caretakers, or the public, let alone that it isn't in their right to know. Personally, I have 30 years of detailed medical bills that veterinarians were never too short on time to send.

The implementation of this new rule will make life better for racehorses and the people who work with them. If you really care about the future of racing and the welfare of horses I encourage you to sign this petition.
Click here to read and sign.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Unbridled TV's newest DVD celebrating LINDA RICE

Check out my lastest production featuring the super smart, totally inspiring leading trainer Linda Rice.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Saratoga 2009 remembered....

The reality of making my way in the sport of kings (on a tight budget!) is that I've just now had time to sit down and share a few rememberances on the grand dame of race meets -- THE GREATEST SARATOGA I HAVE ATTENDED IN THREE DECADES -- I would imagine it was even greater for Rachel Alexandra's Jockey Calvin Borel pictured above en route to winner's circle after the Woodward, what a day! Enjoy -- Susan.

It's hard to believe we are over a month past the close of Saratoga’s glorious race meet, and the Breeder’s Cup is just 3 weeks away! Even more unbelievable is the approach of 2010, a new year of possibilities. As a child these time frames seem an eternity, now they are simply too short. Not long ago, I remember James Taylor at SPAC saying, “the secret of life is enjoying the passage of time". I find it more precious with every passing day, with every passing meet at the Spa another year has come and gone forever. PICTURED: SUSAN KAYNE, TURF WRITER EXTRAORDINAIRE MIKE WELSCH, MEGA OWNER ARON YAGODA

2009 has been a challenging year on the farm; I have added 10 new horses to the Unbridled herd and personally facilitated four rescues from Paragallo, all in a very slow economy--though you’d never suspect any economic woes if you visited Saratoga this year! I spent many mornings at the rail watching a fantastic spectrum of horses, from first-timers setting an auspicious foot on the track, to seeing the magnificence of Rachel Alexandra cut through the thick fog like a goddess of old. Ever my favorite time at the track, the magic of early morning and its bustling activity never fades: with the dawn of each new day, our hopes and dreams are renewed. We are not returning from a race we didn’t win, spending hours in the spit box after rising at 4AM, or carrying any other disappointment from expectations gone unmet. We are fresh and we are hopeful. This season I had the pleasure of meeting new owners for the first time, catching up with old friends and gathering with seasoned partners; together we cajoled, star gazed, improved our “eyes”, expanded our knowledge, and confirmed that we were on the right track with UR Stable. PICTURED: UR GIRLS & LEGENDARY JOCKEY ANGEL CORDERO JR.

Something about the Spa brings out the best in every horse and every person -- the water, the air, the camaraderie – and yet is the most competitive race meet on the planet. Year after year, horses, trainers, and jockeys grind it out in the afternoon, alchemizing even the most ordinary race into a spectacular run; on Rachel’s day, an allowance race went faster than the Grade One Forego ---the fractions were blistering start to finish – it just wasn’t fair for the horses who really fit the condition.


Rachel’s Woodward Day ... was a joyous celebration about all things good in horseracing. Finally, a breather from the dogged press, “racing is dead”. I can assure you it was not only alive and well on the day she beat the boys, but it sparked the electric anticipation of future owners and and track goers for years to come. PICTURED: RACHEL ALEXANDRA VICTORIOUS IN THE WOODWARD STAKES SEPTEMBER 5, 2009 AT SARATOGA - CLICK PICTURE TO SEE RACE

LINDA's dream meet...
The huge achievement of Linda Rice's training title (with 20 wins!) was so sweet, not to mention deserved. Linda is a friend, and I have worked for her and witnessed personally the dedication she delivers to every aspect of her horses' care and well-being. To those of us in the know – it was no surprise that this day would soon be a reality.

To commemorate Linda’s amazing accomplishment, I am producing a special limited edition DVD featuring the best of Linda Unbridled. In addition to in-depth interviews with Linda, the compilation includes interviews with her uber-horseman father, Clyde Rice, a conformation segment on exactly what Linda looks for when selecting racing prospects, and talks with runner-up trainers, Todd Pletcher and Bill Mott. Click here to order.



With another year to come before the Spa opens its gates again to the roar of thoroughbreds coming down the stretch, now is an excellent time to learn from its most recently successful trainers.


To get even more involved with all aspects thoroughbred, check out my free series of Hands On Tip articles at Squidoo, which offer some perspective on breeding, training, and the basics of HOOFCARE.

Equine education is an excellent first step to get your racing dream up and running!

Did you go to Saratoga this season? What was your best/worst day and why? If you have a moment please share your horseracing experiences at the Spa in the comments box below.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Love YOU Mrs.C.

Wow -- still the classiest gal in racing. God Bless You Penny Chenery, RIP Big Red.