For Immediate Release:
October 25, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Timonium, Md. – A newly released undercover video from PETA shows rare behind-the-screens footage of a very young Thoroughbred horse’s injury and euthanasia on the track. The filly, who was offered for sale at the Fasig-Tipton auction in Maryland, was being forced to sprint faster than she ever would in a race. These frenzied time trials are conducted at all auctions of 2-year-old Thoroughbreds despite the well-documented dangers to young, inexperienced horses.
Today, PETA sent a proposal to the heads of the two auction companies, Fasig-Tipton Co. Inc. President and CEO Boyd Browning Jr. and Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. President Tom Ventura, recommending creative but simple reforms that would make these “under-tack shows,” as the timed sprints are called, at auctions safer for the juvenile horses forced to take part in them.
PETA’s proposal advises holding the events in the fall rather than the spring—so the young horses have more time to develop—and switching to the more sensible four- or five-furlong workouts, which are the preferred standard distances in timed morning “breezes” for horses training for real races, rather than the current one-furlong dead sprints that are so dangerous to the fragile juveniles.
“Forcing physically immature horses to sprint at reckless speeds just to inflate auction prices is greedy and foolish,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA urges auction houses to adopt these simple, reasonable changes that will protect horses without hurting auction companies’ bottom line.”
At under-tack shows, juvenile horses, some who haven’t reached their biological second birthday, are forced to run an eighth or a quarter of a mile as fast as possible at speeds they’ll never again reach in their racing careers—if they survive. The sprints, in addition to damaging the animals’ developing bodies and risking fatal injuries, are a poor metric for judging their abilities since they don’t resemble timed workouts that horses regularly run in training for real races. PETA points out that many industry leaders, including owner Mike Repole and bloodstock agent Rollin Baugh, have spoken out against these dangerous and unnecessary speed tests.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information about PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.