The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings

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Most race horses, despite strict regulations prohibiting it, are given illegal drugs on race day. Glenn Thompson, a race horse trainer with over 30 years of experience, reveals the darkest secrets behind the scenes of the Sport of Kings. By shining a light on these secrets, he hopes to change the pattern and return decency and honor to horse racing. More

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About Glenn Thompson

Glenn Thompson was born in May of 1961 and was raised in Aiken,South Carolina.While in Aiken, he attended the Aiken Preparatory School.When he graduated high school he went right into training race horses and has been training for over thiry years.He is trying to make a stand for the horses and the industry and change the cheating that has gone on far too long and is pointing out that if you have weak management at the top of the tracks the whole industry suffers.

Reviews

Review by: battscl on March 24, 2014 : star star star star star
WOW! Glenn, what a fantastic book! Excellent job calling it out as you actually lived it. I admire you! You are a man with great pride, integrity and courage. Your friends that are true friends should admire you and those that have a problem with your honesty are obviously ones that are guilty and could not hold a candle to you.

Keep your head held high and continue to fight for what you believe is right (I absolutely believe in what you are doing).

You really have a gift to write and you have a sense of humor too. Your love for your wife shows through in your book and that is such a beautiful thing in this day and age.

You truly are a special person and those gorgeous animals we call "horses" are very fortunate to have you care as deeply as you do. Thank you for caring. ~Lynn Battschinger
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jenny Paisley on April 29, 2013 : star star star star star
This was a good book. It kept my attention, and helped me understand the sport of Kings, and how it has evolved to place it is today. Good Job.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Larry Fiend on April 17, 2013 : star star star star star
Thank you Glenn for being Man enough to bring to light what is really going on in the racing world. You are not like those who choose to hide and pretend the problems of cheating do not exist as they do not want "bad publicity." Kudos to you! Great Read!!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: jackie schuyler on Feb. 17, 2013 : (no rating)
AS A JOCKEY and trainer of over 500 horses THIS BOOK IS VERY INFORMATIVE A MUST READ FOR OWNERS AND EVERY ONE THAT LOVES THE SPORT AND HORSES . O LETS NOT FORGET THE RIDERS SAFETY,
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: James D'Ascenzo on July 05, 2012 : (no rating)
Very insightful read of the politics of the backstrech and some track management. It took guts to write and I salute you Glenn! You may not like what he reports, but "don't shoot the messenger." His quest is rightious, but until there is a "Universal" Organization governing racing where the rules apply across the board, so that trainers and certain track officials are made accountable and racetrackers don't have to fear for their jobs, these changes will not be made.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Katie Brannon on April 29, 2012 : star star star star star
Review by Gretchen Jackson
“Thank God for your huge effort in writing the book and to be willing to go to bat for what is right and good for the horse. We have hoped we could change things and your book will be a big help in accomplishing that change.”
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Andrea Rossi on April 18, 2012 : star star star star
Glenn's passion and love for the horses and the sport of racing is evident throughout the book. It is a quick read that provides insight and exposure to the seedy side of racing. I agree that it took a HUGE amount of courage and morality to go public with this information. Especially, since it will not endear him to his less ethical peers.
My suggestions in order to make the book easier for readers unfamiliar with the language of racing, such as myself, would be to include a glossary of "racing terms", a map showing the course locations, and a more in-depth description of the ailments and conditions of the horses.
As a long-time horse woman who competes in dressage and has 6 horses, I understand the pressure of having to justify the enormous expense of keeping and campaigning horses. I get it. But ultimately the welfare of the animals and the people who work with them must come ahead of profits. Racing needs an organization like the FEI to oversee and enforce rules.
If the public got behind this issue I am sure there would be changes.
Congratulations to Glenn for a job well done!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Ann Adam on April 12, 2012 : (no rating)
It took courage to write this book. The information should be made more known in the general public and those connections in the business should help by coming in to verify the problems in this struggling sport, loved by many. If this doesn't happen the sport will die from the vampire behavior of the rules breakers. Attention to all connections: IF you are not a part of the solution to problems you ARE, by default, a part of the problem and thereby helping the demise of a wonderful sport. All must work together to find solutions that will strengthen. The rules must be; developed further, made clear, and strictly followed.
MOST of all there needs to be some entity that stands behind the rules, just as there is in NASCAR, GP-Formula 1, etc. ALL of these organizations transcend State and even National boundaries. Why can't the several forms of equine racing achieve this? Can The Jockey Club do this for Thoroughbred Racing?
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: All Star Press on April 03, 2012 : star star star star star
This is a tough story to swallow for those of us who love the game of Thoroughbred racing. Glenn Thompson is a long time, successful horse trainer who tells it like it is.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Janice Blake-Baeza on March 19, 2012 : star star star star star
I believe Mr. Thompson has many valid points, and I have witnessed similar experiences myself. It is extremely difficult to publicly "out" people for poor performance and professional irresponsibility.

In the best of all possible worlds, the information in this book would be used to investigate confusing circumstances and the offending parties would be held accountable. As it is, and as Mr. Thompson has pointed out, people want to keep their jobs in the industry they love. Unfortunately, it is the horses that suffer, and the jockeys which are on top of them in the races.

Kudos to Mr. Thompson for attempting to give the horses a voice.

Janice Blake-Baeza
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Leah Cleary on March 16, 2012 : star star star star star
Review by Erin Hurley, Director of South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue and Adoption - -

This book is a must read for all. Glenn Thompson should be applauded for his enlightening depiction of illegal drug use and the current state of affairs associated with Thoroughbreds and the racing industry. As the Director of a NJ non-profit organization that re-trains and places Thoroughbreds into new careers post-racing (South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue and Adoption) I see first-hand what these horses are often forced to endure. I hope that significant changes will ultimately occur and believe that this book is a step in the right direction. I believe that “The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings” has incredible potential for creating the awareness to bring about the changes that are so desperately needed in the Thoroughbred Racing Industry.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Leah Cleary on March 16, 2012 : (no rating)
Review by Erin Hurley, Director of South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue and Adoption - -

This book is a must read for all. Glenn Thompson should be applauded for his enlightening depiction of illegal drug use and the current state of affairs associated with Thoroughbreds and the racing industry. As the Director of a NJ non-profit organization that re-trains and places Thoroughbreds into new careers post-racing (South Jersey Thoroughbred Rescue and Adoption) I see first-hand what these horses are often forced to endure. I hope that significant changes will ultimately occur and believe that this book is a step in the right direction. I believe that “The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings” has incredible potential for creating the awareness to bring about the changes that are so desperately needed in the Thoroughbred Racing Industry.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Alan Muldawer on March 16, 2012 : star star star star star
Well written and very informative. Very gutsy to do what Glenn has done and will better the sport. Highly recommended!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Alan Muldawer on March 16, 2012 : (no rating)
Great book and well written and very informative and it takes some guts to do what Glenn has done to bring this is the surface. Well done Glenn!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Laura Freeman-Boyer on March 09, 2012 : star star star star star
Glenn's descriptive lay of the backstretch gives an accurate account of the moral threshold some trainers are willing to cross and the management that is willing to turn a blind eye to repeat offenders. His idea of a Universal Racing Law for pre-race exams and medication should not be overlooked by lawmakers who were quick to appease animal rights groups about overuse of the whip in racing. Sadly state jurisdictions want to make up their own rules and enforce them on select targets and not on the trainers who are having a high percentage of breakdowns; a point well made in this book.

Glenn Thompson took a huge risk getting black balled from the racing industry, yet he still proves he can rise above the wrong doing. His love of the sport in it's purest sense and for horses gives him strong creditability as a trainer looking out for the best interest of the horse, jockey, owner and racing fans. Having learned from observation of his horses and being keyed in to their everyday behavior gives him a great edge in soundness issues that a large racing outfit would often ignore. He has rang the bell and let's hope more trainers and owners follow in his steps to make positive changes to racing!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Jojo Zumwalt on March 07, 2012 : star star star star star
This is an eye-opening look into the dark side of racing. I found his book to be descriptive, informative, deeply moving and emotionally shocking.

Glenn writes from the heart, deeply invested in his passion and his family tradition. I applaud him for writing this book for all to see. Thank you Glenn for giving me hope for the sport I love, for giving me the courage to continue to stand up for the changes that are far too long over due.

We need new blood, new ideas, bold thinkers and brave individuals to pull this sport out of the status quo.
I am a firm supporter of having a National Racing Commission to oversee, implement new rules and regulations that will bring ALL the players under one roof. That will make ALL the players accountable and responsible for their perview in this sport.
The most important reason is for the well-being and safety of horse and rider. There can be nothing more important to any horseman.

My translation of the Sport of Kings is: The Great Sport of Racing, People Living on A Wing and A Prayer, Spending More Money Than They Make, To Do Something That They Love.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Belinda Whitson on March 03, 2012 : star star star star star
This is seriously a great read if you are even just slightly interested in horse racing at any level. I applaud Glenn Thompson for his absolute candid account from a trainer's perspective, especially in an environment where bucking the current trend is not seen in the most favorable light. I entered the game blind to the behind the scenes action and let myself follow along making decisions that were done not because I agreed with them, but because that's what I thought I needed to do to be like everyone else. Sport of Kings, has re-energized my passion to do racing on my terms, what makes my horses and myself feel good at the end of the day. I'm done relying on the vets toolbox to 'fix' what I thought I was missing. Not to mention I like to handicap on the side and if I were a serious bettor I'd be mad as hell and demand more uniformity in racing rules.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: jenni hochstetler on Feb. 27, 2012 : star star star star star
Fantastic book that anyone with a love of horses, racing and fairness should read, Glen gives you an inside look on how corrupt racing has become America, Thank you Glenn for putting your horses health and well being first and foremost and for being brave enough to bring these issues to light for everyone to see. its such a shame more trainers dont think the same way.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Joseph Irace on Feb. 18, 2012 : star star star star star
EXCELLENT book! I enjoyed reading the book and would encourage anyone with even a remote interest in horse racing to read. Thanks for writing it and I look forward to seeing you at Monmouth Parkthis summer!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Sharon Soileau on Feb. 13, 2012 : star star star star star
Glenn does an excellent job here of telling it like it is. I have been in his shoes on more than one occasion. The sport does need an overhaul and we need to start at the top. All racing jurisdictions need to unify and cooperate with each other instead of turning a blind eye.

On the topic of lasix: Why is it that European horses can race without lasix and not "drop dead like flies" but it is believed here in the U.S. that horses will die by the dozens if lasix is taken away? What about the American horses that go overseas to compete without lasix? They seem to do just fine. The problem I see is the foreign horses coming here and being given lasix.

"Trainers" should be horsemen first. Too many people holding a trainer's license know very little about managing a horse's health and/or injuries. It has become far too easy to call the vet and "fix" a problem.

I sincerely hope this book opens the eyes of the people involved in racing that choose not to see what is going on.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Bradley Shuler on Jan. 18, 2012 : (no rating)
It takes a lot of courage to write this book, and Glenn produced a very accurate example of the struggles that the thoroughbred racing industry faces. Hopefully this book will raise the awareness of the struggles that the thoroughbred racing industry must over come. The book it's self is very informative, and a very enjoyable to read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: d south on Dec. 13, 2011 : (no rating)
There are many horrific things happening in the shadows of the racing world and Glenn has bravely taken it upon himself to drag them, unwillingly, into the light. The easy choices in life are rarely the right ones and I believe Glenn deserves accolades for choosing a clean conscious over a smooth ride.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: nauratel on Dec. 09, 2011 : star star star star star
Review by Cot Campbell. He is president of Dogwood Stables who has had seventy six stake winners,six trips to the Kentucky Derby, one Preakness winner, two Eclipse Awards and a Breeders Cup victory. This is what he had to say about " The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings"

“Glenn Thompson writes knowingly—and frustratingly—about some of the demons of medicating racehorses. He has taken the high road, and seems to have paid a price for doing it. A dramatic example is his hypothesis of the talented, but nervous filly, in need of help on race day, and the ramifications of not providing it. I know zero about the accuracy of the details of specific horses and humans with which he deals, but as a member of a vanishing breed of “hay, oats and water” people, I applaud his efforts on behalf of cleaning up the sport.”
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Lynn Buckley on Dec. 05, 2011 : star star star star star
Finally someone wants to tell the truth about the Sport. The horses should be the main focus of racing. Without them there is no sport. I applaud Glenn for writing this novel.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: shawscreek55 on Nov. 28, 2011 : (no rating)
The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings, Thompson, Glenn
 
 In his heartfelt description of the horse racing industry, Mr. Thompson compares the quality of racing today with the sport as it was years ago and the emergence of drugging as a mainstay in providing an edge in competition.  Thoroughbred horses have evolved in the United States and elsewhere to provide appreciating  performance, often resulting in bodies more fragile in limb and lung, especially through gross respiratory hemorrhaging during stress.
 
 In the interim drugs have become more available to mask physical discomfort which enables sick or injured  horses to run competitively when they should be recuperating.  The unsound horse is more at risk for breaking a leg and having to be destroyed.  Financial consideration is a great motivator forcing both trainers and veterinarians to use drugs on race day.  If the horse is pulled from a race, an overly competitive owner can make life difficult for the trainer.  If a vet refuses to provide a performance-enhancing drug, a determined owner or trainer will find one who will;  the first vet loses the business.  While drugging is illegal in most states, the turning a blind eye toward the practice by many otherwise upstanding professionals represents a great weakness in the system.
 
 Through his descriptions of personal experience in his own training business over the past 30 years, Mr. Thompson writes about the emotional and financial stress involved in racing as well as  euphoria when things go well.  Horses are both powerful and fragile and at the best of times  can injure themselves and their handlers.  This is accepted among horsemen; but the un-level playing field created by the use of drugs is potentially dangerous for the horses and unfair to the trainers and owners who obey the law.
 
 Mr. Thompson refuses to drug his own horses and maintains that the culture of accepting the use of performance enhancing medication should be evaluated and changed primarily for the well-being of the horses but also as a means of restoring the sportsman-like atmosphere  perceived in past years. Bucking the tide of convention is sometimes dangerous and well as difficult, especially when a lot of money is involved,; but in doing so,  Mr. Thompson puts forth in The Tradition of Cheating at the Sport of Kings a very compelling argument.

Scott Lacher
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: David Lengel on Nov. 14, 2011 : (no rating)
Great book Glenn! Took a lot of courage to write and having owned thoroughbreds for 22 years now I know you are just touching the tip of the ice berg. I know you wrote this because you really do love the sport and the stars of the show, the horses. The shame of the whole situation is that the industry is it's own worst enemy. As you point out, so many of our sport's problems are fixable, but management absolutely refuses to do so. Hopefully, some within the industry who have the power to change things and get this ship back on the right path will do so before it's too late. It really should be the greatest sport on earth but the reality is that due to all the flat out crap that goes on behind the scenes....it's not!
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: darbyboy on Nov. 08, 2011 : (no rating)
Glenn Thompson's book is a testament to the heart he has for the well-being of racehorses. In this book, Glenn details the horrendous conditions that some horses are forced to race under (meds, previous injuries, unscrupulous trainers and track executives). His are the stories we need to hear: the truth about what's happening on the backstretch and on the track; the truth about why horses breakdown and jockeys are injured. These are the stories and ideas that could change the racing industry.
Glenn was the trainer for my OTTB, Diamond Clip, now named Darby. Darby was lucky to have had Glenn and owner Karen Spickofsky--since they found him a home after he was injured. Unlike some other trainers who send their horses off to auction or to the meat man. For more info on that related issue, see:
http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/5620
Read Glenn's book. It will change the way you think about racing. Become part of the solution!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Michael Greenblatt on Nov. 07, 2011 : (no rating)
Terrific Book Glenn! Very Interesting & Informative as well.
"GOOD LUCK" Always, Michael "GREENY"
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Karen Spickofsky on Nov. 06, 2011 : star star star star star
Thanks to Glenn for writing this book. He had the courage to reveal what is happening to Thoroughbred race horses which I hope can help change and improve their conditions. Let the horses race and win honestly;not jeopardize their safety and that of others involved including the jockeys, grooms and other horses.
Humans have a choice, animals do not!
Anyone who loves horses should read this book and be enlightened to what is going on behind the scenes in the horse racing industry.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: celine parrilla on Nov. 01, 2011 : (no rating)
just read it , as for being j willard thompson assiant back in 90,s and being leading trainer in 2001 at monmouth park with him. we never went over the line, the sport needs to change back, with all the bad press, it is great for glen to write from his heart about his love for horses,they are our family not just racehorses,all track needed to come together on all issues of med ,s and trainers and vet,, god bless us they will one day and racing will be back on top, great book enjoyed reading it,,best to ya cissy parrilla
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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