October 5, 2010

Death Threats … To a Horse???

You have to stop and wonder what’s going on in the world when a thoroughbred race horse receives death threats. This troubling circumstance came about last week when Rinterval’s life was threatened just days before she was due to run in the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Hollywood Park. Considered to be one of the top challengers to the mighty Zenyatta on Saturday, Rinterval had given the undefeated superstar a strong challenge in the Clement Hirsch Stakes, in both horses previous race.

When trainer Eric Reed arrived to his horse on Thursday he was surprised to see a group of security around the barn. He wondered if they were there keeping an eye on  him. In fact they were there to protect his horse.

The first thing that crossed my mind when I learned of the situation was the stabbing attack of Monica Seles by a rabid tennis fan named Gunter Parche in 1993. Parche was an obsessed fan of Steffi Graf who could not bear to see the object of his affection supplanted as the number one player in the world by the younger Seles. Monica Seles survived the on court attack, but her athletic career was derailed and never quite the same as before she was stabbed.

With the help of 24/7 security detail surrounding Rinterval, the five-year-old mare, owned by Jerry Jamgotchian, was kept safe until it was time to bring her over to the track for the race.

In a bizarre turn, Rinterval had to be scratched moments before the running of the grade 1 race. Apparently she became agitated by the noise and waving of signs created by the presence of Zenyatta. She banged her head in the commotion and was scratched for her safety. In the Hollywood Park paddock fans can get very close to the horses. Too close to comfort for Reed, who said he doesn't blame the fans, but would consider saddling his horses outside of the usual area in future races at Hollywood Park.

According to Reed, Rinterval was left no worse for wear after the ordeal, and in fact worked five furlongs at Hollywood Park yesterday before flying back to Kentucky, where she is being now pointed for the Spinster Stakes this coming Sunday.

Horse racing is a sport that invokes great emotion and passion. I know this fact firsthand, but to turn that fervor into even the threat of harming or killing a horse disgusts me. To the despicable person or persons who made the death threat … I urge you to get some help.

23 comments:

Roseann said...

This is disgusting!Have we all become as a society so intolerant that a horse's life can be threatened?I worry that people are moving backwards instead of forward..this is scary stuff!

Anonymous said...

Do you possibly think the Mafia was involved?

Brian Zipse said...

Agreed Roseann ... Mafia? No.

Anonymous said...

mafia? are you kidding me!?

It is probably some crazy die hard fan how obviously needs help!!!

Anonymous said...

I was there,I did not hear a big commotion from fans? A cheer will go up when she enters the paddock,is that what he meant? I'm sure Rachel Alexandra got a few of those cheers at east coast tracks too? LOL We can't get any closer to the horses at HP than you can at Santa Anita or Del Mar so I'm wondering who told you that "fact?"

donkeyhotey said...

1. Any threat towards a horse, or towards any sports personna because of some insane person's fantacism and mental illness is intolerable. Period. That threat needs to be investigated and prosecuted to the maximum.
2. I was standing on the front row directly in front of Rinterval's saddling stall and saw the entire incident. Zenyatta fans did cheer when she entered the paddock, but the paddock entrance is quite far from the saddling area, about 40 yds., and was about 10 minutes before Rinterval entered the saddling area. All of the fans there were very quiet and hushed, absolutely no sign waving only lots of photo taking. Rinterval was being handled by a woman, as you might remember Rinterval's trainer had 2 horses entered in that race and he was with the other horse. Rinterval was acting nervous, kept having to be brought outside of the stall and circled. As they began to bring out the saddle she reared straight up and banged her back and head against the back corner of the stall and kind of slipped one hind leg forward almost sitting on her haunches. The crowd was horrified, the woman behind me started to cry, but Rinterval was able to get right up and her handler proceeded to walk her out of the stall and around the common area in front of the stalls. The crowd and all of the other horses' handlers were all very concerned, a steward appeared, and when the announcement came over the p.a. there was a huge 'oohhh' of disappointment throughout the crowd. It's important to get this: at Santa Anita the crowd gave St. Trinnians a standing ovation after the race for her amazing, huge-heart almost win against Z. The same was felt for Rinterval after Del Mar. We are not haters, we are lovers of all the horses that participate in this sport. Please don't let any bias skew what we all have in common: the love of great racehorses. And don't let a few small-minded but big-mouthed "fans" represent for the vast majority of not just Zenyatta fans but fans of any particular horse. True fans of the sport want what is best for all of the horses all of the time. Any other attitude is entirely shameful, wherever it comes from.

Brian Zipse said...

Thanks for the on-site perspective donkeyhotey. Love the handle, by the way.

Anonymous said...

What are your sources here? Just what Reed said or did you check with security? None of us saw any and I repeat any behavior by fans that should have undone any horse. We were all shocked and scared for Rinterval.

william said...

i dont believ brian was accusing anyone of any nefarious behavior in the paddock...donkeyhotey, excellent comment, what would i be able to add lol

Anonymous said...

william--No one said Brian accused anyone of "nefarious" behavior by fans did they? I commented that no behavior that should have undone a horse--quite different than "nefarious" as could have been done in exuberance. Still none of us there saw any waving of signs etc near Rinterval. Two separate issues--death threats--sources just trainer or did he check with security himself. Two very different issues. As a reader of his I was curious what sources he checked on the "death threats"

marknsac said...

Jerry Jamgotchian is a pain in the butt to the CHRB. He is always making exorbiant claims. It's no suprise his horse received death threats, but I wonder where they came from? Hmmmmmm? He's an attention seeker and incidents like this aren't uncommon. He accused the chairman of the CHRB of keying his car . . . etc. Maybe if you investigated Jerry, you wouldn't have wasted an article on him, giving him what he wants. More than likely, the reason Rinterval flipped in the paddock, she saw the great Zenyatta, the horse that played with her in the stretch at Del Mar. In the previous race, the Vanity, Zenyatta defeated St. Trinians and she's now out the rest of the year due to injuries. Zenyatta will do that you!

LDP said...

People really need to chill. Did they really think Rintreval was going to beat her? I would think if any horse were to be subject to threat it would be Switch, she was the one being hyped.

LDP said...

I seriously doubt Rintreval reared at Zenyatta. Another thing on St.T she ran a hard 10 furlong race against males the race before Zenyatta. Two hard races with the way she runs will make a horse body sore. Zenyatta is a great mare, but please quit with the embelishing.

markinsac said...

Just stating the facts, sir. Think about this: St. Trinians, Rinterval and Switch all ran their hearts out, I mean they probably ran the best race of their lifetimes. Zenyatta had her ears pricked, while playing with them. I know I wouldn't want to face her again! If you don't believe me, watch the video replays. Zenyatta can be cruel sometimes . . .

LDP said...

Mark that is not a fact. Where does it say St.T was body sore because Zen? The facts are she ran her butt off twice. Once going 10 furlongs against males, the other in the Vanity. The way she moves and running two big races back to back is probably what did that.

Rintreval, was acting weird anyways. It may have been all the commotion and security around her that normally was not there before the race. Change a horses routine, esepcially a TB and they can get like that.

Zen was not playing in either the LS or the Vanity. She perks her ears at the wire, and right at the wire not before that. She is smart she know where the wire is and she knows that she is in front and that it means the race is done. When Smith is whipping her down the stretch, tha is not playing around, he is asking her to GO, otherwise he'd be handriding her.

Heather said...

Anyone who would hurt a horse in this manner (or any manner) clearly has issues. I saw that interview and felt disgusted also. I would not call such a person a "fan." I would call them a mental patient.

markinsac said...

She perks her ears up right at the wire? Shame on you LDP! WATCH HER VANITY, HIRSCH AND LADY'S SECRET. HER EARS ARE PERKED THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE STRETCH. Don't come at me without watching the races first. Your credibility is lacking in my book. But you are a first class Zenyatta Moaner.

LDP said...

Mark,

They were not perke the entire length of the stretch. Your mind is delusional if you are seeing that. If you want to see ears prick look at LAT in the DE Cap, those are pricked. Zen will not lay her ears completely back she will have them cocked back when she is trying then flip them forward right before the wire.

This is not moaning. When you go and embelish things like saying St.T is out because of Zenyatta and Rintreval spooked because she saw Zenyatta, I will correct it. Learn a bit about horses before you make such a rediculous statment.

When a horse like St. T runs like she does, which is all out repeatedly, with that leg action, they are bound to get sore. She ran a tremendous race against LIS, ran hard again in the Big Cap, then again in the Vanity. If there was a horse who had any reason to get sore it was her and it wasn't because of Zenyatta.

TB's are highly sensitive horses, very high strung. A change in routine or mood and they will know it and some react badly. Rintreval had a huge change in her routine when she had a bunch of security hanging around her stall all of sudden. She could probably sense the nerves everyone was feeling and because of that she reacted by acting nervous and aggetated. The race day commotion is probably what set her off the deep end. Would it have for a horse under normal circumstances, no, but she was not under normal circumstances.

So please, quit getting defensive and actually READ. I came on and correct what was a rediculous statement, when there evidence that support much more logical reasons.

Anonymous said...

As someone who was also there I would like to say a few things about this.

I was there at the paddock across from where the horses were being saddled. I was standing right along the walking ring side at the corner where the horses entered the walking ring. yes, I saw a few sigsn up but no one was waving them like a fan. THEY WERE HOLDING THEM.

When the horses first entered the paddock area yes, it got loud. Zenyatta was coming. As soon as that number 2 horse shied everyone around me quieted down. I won't say that we were quiet as a mouse but it definitely was quieter in my area.

The horses passed by me to get saddled and no one was particularly upset at that time. Moments later we heard a great big huge THUD. It was scary. We thought a horse had kicked the stall. I mean with both hind legs full force. Then we were told that Rintervale had fallen. Tnat was awful.

When one of the track officals left I called to him and asked if the mare was okay. He told me that she would fine and that she had been scratched as a precaution to her well being.

Everyone that day prior to the Lady's Secret had her ball cap on. I'm talking about the grooms, trainers, owners. Of course this didn't happen for the Lady's Secret. The only "threat" I heard was some lady saying someone was betting that Zenyatta would lose to Switch.

I find it a bit unbelievable that Zenyatta fans would targeted for threatening Rintervale when they don't even know who made the threat unless it came directly from her camp which just wouldn't happen.

Sure I would love to see Zenyatta retire undefeated but she has to do this with Mike and her camp.

By the way you seem so involved in this drama did you know that Andy Beyer was poorly received at Hollypark? When I got home and saw the race on Youtube I practically fell out of my chair. I kept hollering Zenyatta hater at him. This was my response to his scathing article about her last week. Two days after that article shows up he shows up at her track? Why waste the time much less the money coming across country unless he just wanted something else to gripe about? It is known that he hates Zenyatta and he hates Synthetic turf--my guess--because it throws his stats to the 4 winds.

LDP said...

Just because somebody doesn't crown Zenyatt queen of the Universe does not mean they are a hater. Just because they point out she's been kept in one state, on tracks that favor her racing style for the majority of her career, means they are analysing and stating facts not that they hate her. Those who question why she has not been challenged more often simply want to see her step up and dominate, they are haters.

I love Zenyatta, though I can't stand it when rediculous statements are made or things are embelished. She is a great horse, and her streak is great, but I don't think it can stand up the ones that Citation and Cigar put up because they were constantly tested in completely open company. I would say hers is the greatest American female streak, but it ends there.

markinsac said...

Watch the stretch drive of the Clement Hirsch, Rinterval ran her eyeballs out while Zenyatta was just playing with her. I don't think she wanted a rematch. Rachel Alexandra ran her eyeballs out against Macho Again. I think that's one of the reasons she lost interest in racing. Races like that take a lot out of a horse. I was at the Hollypark paddock too but was on the other side when I heard the thump. We were all worried it was Zenyatta! I'm guessing, LDP, that you've never seen Zen in person. If you had, then maybe you'd be as "disolusional" as the rest of us. SHE IS PURE CLASS IN MOTION, THERE'S NEVER BEEN ONE LIKE HER AND THE NEVER WILL BE ANOTHER. I sure hope you get the opportunity to be at Churchill for the BC. You will be converted.

LDP said...

Mark,

I never said she wasn't. Hell, I never said anything bad about her. Only that you were embelishing things. Againg with Rintreval. I've already given and ACTUAL reason to what could've thrown her off. A horse will not rear in the paddock and purposfully ram the back of their head to get their connections to scratch them. That is what your sugesting and you are living in a fantasy land and it is time to wake up.

Go and learn things about horse behavior, and TB behavior. You will see, that TB's are highly sensitive to emotion and change, more so than other horse. You change something in their routine it can throw them off. I should know I had one like that. In fact Zenyatta is like that. It's why they do what they do. They don't want to travel too much because it throws a wrench in her routine. If you screw with her routine she gets upset. If you don't believe this ask her owner and trainer, that is where this info came from.

donkeyhotey said...

Maybe nobody is reading this thread anymore because it's a couple of days old? Nevertheless... I feel sorry for such a lovely horse as Rinterval because she is owned by apparently such a jack-ass (no offense to donkeys!) http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/59262/jamgotchian-turns-to-court-in-toc-dispute
Reading this really DOES make me wonder if the whole 'death threat' thing was made up. Which would be horrific because it proves he doesn't care about the commotion he causes his horses. She was shipped back to Keeneland this week and will be racing on Sunday (against Zardana this time), God bless her to be well and healthy~