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This has been going on for awhile. They just found another possible target. I don’t blame them. If that horses shoes weren’t legal they have every right.

The complaining has been going on, the lawsuits haven’t. Have they?

Are the officals so lax that horses can get into Stakes races with shoes that are not approved?

The farrier’s story is he was in toe grabs because he shoes everything in toe grabs. The brand of shoe the farrier uses was not HISA compliant, so he ground the grab off to make it flush with the rest of the shoe, therefore making it legal.

When the stewards investigated, everything with the farrier’s story checked out.

Rich Strike’s camp continues to pursue it.

I think it’s very plausible that a combination of a modified toe grab and weird shadows/angles could make it look like the shoe has a raised surface when it didn’t.

But what I hate about competitive sports sometimes is that you can’t trust anyone. There is always some overly complicated, convoluted explanation to something that should have been simple.


I guess that is the question.

That story sounds plausible until you wonder why a racetrack farrier would even have shoes with toe grabs in the truck.


If they actually can prove that the toes grabs were on that horse, it becomes a shit show all around. I can see why there is some wagon circling going on. However, the owners do have a right to pursue this, and clearly they believe that they have a case.

The farrier’s story is that he will only use one brand and that brand only comes with a low toe grab that was previously legal most places until HISA (that’s his story, I didn’t try to confirm that). When HISA began, he just started grinding the toe grabs off to make them legal until the company started producing a legal shoe.

I think the hardest thing to believe about the whole story is that Hot Rod Charlie had been shod 5 weeks earlier. I don’t know too many racehorses of that caliber who are getting 5+ weeks out of their shoeings, especially not shipping cross country and racing on a 5+ week shoe job. But the stewards said that part checks out based on the nail holes and state of hoof.

My opinion is that toe grabs or not, that’s not enough going to give that much of an advantage to win the race. And most people cheat unfortunately. But I tend to be pretty jaded.


Toes grabs were commonly used on racehorses in bad weather. Then HISA banned their use but because the ban happened somewhat unexpectedly there was a shortage of regular shoes. The only way track farriers could keep up with the (ever present) demand for shoes was by using the ones with toe grabs and filing them down. Until more regular shoes were available, lots of racehorses were wearing these doctored shoes.


Thanks, @LaurieB!

When were they banned? Hasn’t it been several years?

Also, were they banned because of safety concerns, or because they gave a competitive advantage?

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The thing that’s odd about this though is that Rich Strike’s owners’ complaint has already been heard twice–by the KHRC and HISA. In both cases, all video and pictures taken during the race (by professionals) was made available to the decision makers. So it’s hard to see where any new proof would come from.


I’m pretty sure they were banned at some point last year, and it was done because of safety concerns (though many trainers dispute that.)

Edited to Add: HISA: Shoeing Rules In Effect July 1 Will Prohibit Traction Devices, Including Toe Grabs - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report


The larger toe grabs had been banned most places for some time. Back in the 00s. Which I think is where any confusion is coming from.


And what there is to gain from all this. They are going to spend more taking legal action than they have to gain in purse money.

If they get HRC taken down as the winner months (or years at the speed the law moves) after the fact, no one is going to care. It won’t help Rich Strike or Reed. It won’t hurt O’Neill or Hot Rod Charlie, who isn’t even in the country anymore.

There are only a few pictures suggesting toe grabs may have been used. There is a wealth of evidence suggesting they weren’t. So either O’Neill didn’t cheat or he did a good job getting away with cheating. Why are we wasting any more energy on this? There are bigger fish to fry, so to speak.


Sometimes, it’s just principle.


But it’s not even like he has a strong ground to stand on from that angle.

If the situation was Reed saw illegal shoes on a horse on race day, told the stewards, and no one did anything, then everyone tried to cover it up- hell yeah take them down!

But what really happened is a few days after the fact he saw a few action shots that look like toe grabs. How many times have we had pictures that were not what they appeared to be? Millions of times.

There is zero other evidence.

And even if they do win, there is no boost to Rich Strike’s syndicate value like they claim. No one breeding will care. No one.

If their goal is to rid the sport of Doug O’Neill, well that just feels like the pot calling the kettle black.


^^ All of this.


If their jockey had kept his head in his ride, Rich Strike would have won in the first place. And yes, I know the jockey’s story. Lots of people, including the stewards and Richard Migliore, don’t think that is accurate.


Hey, they do have a right to pursue this if they feel strongly about it, and they do.

The idea that a blacksmith would file down the shoe to make it legal is bush league. I would still like to see the bottom of those feet immediately after the race.

Well welcome to the bush leagues then :roll_eyes:
Since that is exactly what was happening.