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Old 09-18-2008, 07:17 AM
 
7,020 posts, read 9,897,260 times
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They're scared," Hicklin said. "They're scared that they'll be taken out. They shouldn't have anything to worry about, but they always do.

"When we drove up here (from Tampa Bay Downs), Rafael was pulling a utility trailer that has his furniture and things. We were driving through Tennessee and he gets pulled over. Traffic was backed up; he wasn't going too fast. They looked at all his identification."

Estimates of how many backstretch workers are here illegally vary.

Trainer Hardy estimated that there are more than 100 Hispanic grooms at Prairie Meadows and that "the majority of the employees are illegal."

Trainer Lynn Adams estimated that 75 percent of the backstretch help is Latino, and a third is illegal.

Avila estimated that 70 percent is illegal.


Most say they aren't sure. The DCI's Paulson declined to guess.

"I really don't know," said Jessie Soto, Kelly Von Hemel's assistant trainer, who is from Juanapuerto, Mexico. "But sometimes, illegal people that don't have a green card are real nice people. You come over here because you want a better life than in Mexico for you and your family."

''A good groom earns his money''
Former trainer Jim Arnett, 80, quit this year, not because of the rigors, but because he heard a rumor that trainers would be prosecuted if they had illegal immigrants working for them.

"The word that I got when I decided not to come back to the racetrack was that they were going to levy a $10,000 fine on the trainer," Arnett said.



Anxiety in the backstretch: Racetracks and immigrant labor | DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:54 AM
 
Location: San Diego
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A track doesn't make enough money to pay fair wages to Americans? Ya right.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:05 AM
 
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JDubsmom, I read your link with interest because I have some background in the horse world, although not in racing. Boarding and private stables here in Southern California are one of the few businesses that entice foreign workers by stating (and following through) that they gladly will sponsor and help workers go through the legalization process. At any well-run stable, there is not the turn-over of workers that you see in other businesses, like textiles or meat-plants, that advertise for foreign workers that encompass illegals. Horse businesses want continuity of employees, which the horses find comforting. It would be foolish for well-run racetracks and stables not to follow suit.

Let me address an instance in racing wherein ICE, whom I normally defend, locally did exactly the wrong thing and endangered lives, both human and animal, right and left. Back in the 1980's they staged a raid at Santa Anita Track at 4 in the morning on the wrong-headed supposition that they had the element of surprise. Anyone familiar with horse-racing should have known that these early-morning hours are exactly when horses are exercised on the racetracks (before the business hours, and here in So. Cal, when it's coolest.) They drove some giant ATF truck onto the track, scattered and endangered the horses and their exercisers running at that hour in the foggy morning. Famous jockey Willie Shoemaker was even breezing a horse then, and had some choice words about the raid that had be deleted in publications.

Now I'll address why it is difficult to staff stables, racing or otherwise. For feeding, cleaning up after and maintenance of horses, it is a split shift day, feeding early in the morning, cleaning, putting the horses somewhere to be exercised, and then returning to do same in the early evening. Plus you have to be able to lift hay bales, which are huge before being separated into individual meals. Generally, you can't get the same worker to care for horses and also exercise them, which requires a very precise skill, and a different physique- not so musclebound. Also, stables are generally far from urban centers and their ready supply of job-seekers.

American citizen job-seekers (both born and naturalized) are still first choice for grooms, wherein the person caring for the horse directly, administering medicine, grooming and tacking up the horse, must understand the trainer's instructions precisely, and in some instances ride and exercise the horse.
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:22 AM
 
7,020 posts, read 9,897,260 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastfilm View Post
JDubsmom, I read your link with interest because I have some background in the horse world, although not in racing. Boarding and private stables here in Southern California are one of the few businesses that entice foreign workers by stating (and following through) that they gladly will sponsor and help workers go through the legalization process. At any well-run stable, there is not the turn-over of workers that you see in other businesses, like textiles or meat-plants, that advertise for foreign workers that encompass illegals. Horse businesses want continuity of employees, which the horses find comforting. It would be foolish for well-run racetracks and stables not to follow suit.

Let me address an instance in racing wherein ICE, whom I normally defend, locally did exactly the wrong thing and endangered lives, both human and animal, right and left. Back in the 1980's they staged a raid at Santa Anita Track at 4 in the morning on the wrong-headed supposition that they had the element of surprise. Anyone familiar with horse-racing should have known that these early-morning hours are exactly when horses are exercised on the racetracks (before the business hours, and here in So. Cal, when it's coolest.) They drove some giant ATF truck onto the track, scattered and endangered the horses and their exercisers running at that hour in the foggy morning. Famous jockey Willie Shoemaker was even breezing a horse then, and had some choice words about the raid that had be deleted in publications.

Now I'll address why it is difficult to staff stables, racing or otherwise. For feeding, cleaning up after and maintenance of horses, it is a split shift day, feeding early in the morning, cleaning, putting the horses somewhere to be exercised, and then returning to do same in the early evening. Plus you have to be able to lift hay bales, which are huge before being separated into individual meals. Generally, you can't get the same worker to care for horses and also exercise them, which requires a very precise skill, and a different physique- not so musclebound. Also, stables are generally far from urban centers and their ready supply of job-seekers.

American citizen job-seekers (both born and naturalized) are still first choice for grooms, wherein the person caring for the horse directly, administering medicine, grooming and tacking up the horse, must understand the trainer's instructions precisely, and in some instances ride and exercise the horse.
Thank you for the education and insight! I know very little about the horse racing industry. What you state, however makes perfect sense and ITA that it is unnecessary to use gestapo tactics in dealing with these situations. Unless there is a clear and present danger, there is no need to utilize violence during the raiding of any residence or business.

That being said, it would be far more advantageous to the owners of these animals to hire those in this country legally and pay a fair wage to ensure that their employees and animals are treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.

Great post (sorry I couldn't rep you yet)!
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Old 09-18-2008, 08:39 AM
 
638 posts, read 1,638,164 times
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Previous post (fastfilm) covered a lot.

I was a stable hand at a racetrack when I was young . . it's hard work, and you have to pace yourself. Split-shift means sleep after lunch, 1pm, then after dinner around 5pm, work til' midnight, bed by 1am, then up again before dawn, 6hrs sleep, 3hrs at a time, six days a week? Restaurant and housing are deducted from wages.

There's no money. I think you are financially better off washing dishes. But where an exception might be, is you are at least treated with respect, which makes sense, because in turn, even the lowest rung of hired help is in direct contact with these animals.

Don't remember any Hispanics then. Period. But I'd guess some jockeys probably were because of the need for smaller frame individuals.

Last edited by r601020; 09-18-2008 at 09:02 AM..
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Old 09-18-2008, 07:45 PM
 
Location: Arizona
2,065 posts, read 3,174,407 times
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And if you've never slept in a tack room, you should be thankful for what you're missing...

Been there and done that, there are STILL no 'jobs Americans won't do'...
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