They don't aim to offer salvation to the unholy or to rouse the ignorant from their slumber.They speak directly instead to the many good and honest people in horse racing whose consciences are still in play.And they say to those respectable people, in essence, "You are fooling only yourself if you think the whole world isn't aware of and repulsed by what nasty business you allow to go on inside your sport." The story in question, "PETA Accuses Two Trainers of Cruelty," came on like a thunderclap and is profound for many reasons.

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The focus is on trainer Steve Asmussen, a controversial conditioner, and his top assistant trainer, Scott Blasi.** The images are of the treatment of world-class horses training at two of the most revered and distinguished tracks in America—Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Saratoga Race Course in upstate New York.

hitches its wagon to PETA, gives the sport's legions of apologists room to dodge, deflect, or blame the messenger, in this case a paper that has aggressively covered the sport and activists whom racing insiders love to hate.

But it is a mistake to conflate hostility toward PETA with the dismissal of its work.

The first category, the cheaters, are a small, feral minority still large enough to stain the integrity of the sport for everyone else.

The second category, the innocents, also a small group, are more or less hopeless—if they haven't figured out by now they are being wronged they likely never will.

So it is from the third category of horsemen and horsewomen, the far-too-silent majority, the good people who see wrong but won't give their all to right it, where serious reform must come if the sport is to survive and thrive.

And that's why exposés about the abuse of racehorses, like the one posted last week by Joe Drape in are so important.

There are essentially three types of people in horse racing.

There are the crooks who dangerously drug or otherwise abuse their horses, or who countenance such conduct from their agents, and who then dare the industry to come catch them.