Sad that the bluebloods are leading the way here but if you are going to battle through the mess that is America today you better be READY...so a shout out to the Kentucky guys for holding the line. You can kill a lot of people and run around and enjoy yourself all over the world, except a few racetracks in New York and Kentucky. Lesson learned. Imagine if Stalin was really into horses and wanted to race and they said "no way" and Stalin said "okay, I'll stop killing people and be nice but please let me race my horse" and then they say "okay" and that's the end of the war. That would have been something.
Ultimately it doesn't matter, because an isolated act of dignity doesn't mean shit in the sucktide of failure and misery that is coming down the pike.
Thoroughbred racing has always attracted a mix of royalty and rogues. Blue bloods like the Whitneys and the Vanderbilts have long been owners. So, too, have mischief-makers like the mobster Arnold Rothstein, who won the 1921 Travers at Saratoga with a racehorse named Sporting Blood.
Sweet Ducky won two minor stakes races at Monmouth Park last year but was taken out of the United States when Kadyrov purchased him, only to return.
It appears, though, at least in New York and in Kentucky, that there are limits to who can race a horse. Officials in those states have taken steps to exclude from racing a horse owned by Ramzan A. Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, who has been accused by human rights groups of murder, torture and other abuses over the years.
The horse’s charming name, Sweet Ducky, has not seemed to help his case.
Last month at Keeneland racetrack in Lexington, Ky., with Sweet Ducky scheduled to race, the State Department reached out to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission to make it fully aware of the longstanding allegations that have been made against Kadyrov. The commission subsequently ordered the horse scratched because Kadyrov and his representatives did not answer a request to appear at a hearing before his request for a license could be approved. Kadyrov, it should be noted, is not a frequent visitor to the United States.
Two months earlier the New York State Racing and Wagering Board had also received an application for a racing license for Kadyrov. Such requests are usually approved within a matter of days, but the New York racing officials, who also consulted with the State Department, delayed processing his application and appeared ready to delay the matter for the foreseeable future.
“Short of the State Department drastically changing its tune on Mr. Kadyrov,” said one New York racing official who refused to be identified by name, “it’s safe to assume he will not be racing horses in New York State.”
Alvi A. Karimov, a spokesman for Kadyrov, said he believed the licensing issue was a flimsy pretext for scratching a horse who was simply too good.
“I have no doubt that all this fuss was raised exclusively with one aim — to kick the horse out of the race,” Karimov said in a telephone interview. “The horse had all the qualities necessary to win the race. I am deeply convinced that there was no other reason than that.”
Karimov added that he regarded the decision as “ideological sabotage against the Chechen authorities,” adding, “Targeted work is being conducted by certain organizations in the United States.”
He said Sweet Ducky had received an invitation that granted him the right to participate, “and then at the last moment they said due to some reasons and so on and so forth.”
Kadyrov, 35, who became the leader of Chechnya in 2007, is an avid horse racing fan and has acquired a stable of top thoroughbreds who have competed in major races in Russia, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Australia, Hong Kong and England.