Hayden Urges Racing Supporters to E-Mail 60 Minutes

Cecilia Vega and Shaun Richards on 60 Minutes | 60 Minutes photo

Editor's note: After 60 Minutes aired a segment called “Horse Racing Reform?” on its Sunday night broadcast, Dark Hollow Farm's JoAnn Hayden posted a letter she had written to 60 Minutes on her Facebook page and urging friends and racing industry members to do the same.

She writes: “I have always felt proud and grateful to be part of Maryland's thoroughbred racing community. Over the past 50+ years my circle of friends, employees, trainers, and colleagues have been exemplary humans who have provided the best care for my horses and have always had my back. I cannot let the 60 Minutes segment on cheaters, corruption and breakdowns be the last word. Please take the time to send a response to Cecilia Vega and 60 Minutes. The horse industry deserves better! We deserve better! Send to [email protected].”

Her own letter to 60 Minutes reads:

Good Morning 60 Minutes and Cecilia Vega.

I am writing in response to Sunday evening's segment on racing's worst problems which did a great job of casting doubt upon the future of the Thoroughbred industry which I love. I question your motives. Why would 60 Minutes choose to highlight cheaters and horse deaths to present to their 12 million viewers at a time when this industry is in crisis?

Thoroughbred racing just completed a successful Breeders Cup weekend with so many newsworthy stories to report. World class race horses, devoted owners, hardworking HONEST trainers and backstretch workers and the world's best racing and there was no mention of that! Where was the poignant account of the bond between the boy Cody Dorman and the horse Cody's Wish?

Why is the only news offered for this sport about tragedy or corruption? Where were the statistics to show how drastically the fatality numbers have decreased and the protocols that have been implemented for the safety and welfare of our horses and jockeys and their track surfaces?

I accept that you have the right to present your gruesome facts and sound bites of cheaters and horrific footage of horses breaking down but you could have acknowledged the honest hardworking people in our industry and left us with HOPE. WE deserve better!

My GOOD news story is from Maryland and I owe it to my horses, trainers, workers and myself to acknowledge what racehorses have done for me.

JoAnn Hayden

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