Contrary to popular belief, I’ve never had the privilege of having a racing horse named after me. But if that were to ever occur, I would imagine it’d be something along the lines of “Moody as Fuck” or “Why Are You Like This?”
That being said, Ken Rudolph, the only Black analyst at horse racing network TVG, has had the privilege of having a horse named after him, though it’s safe to assume that the experience hasn’t exactly been gratifying.
The New York Times reports that trainer Eric Guillot has been banned by the New York Racing Association for taunting Rudolph by naming a horse after him. For those wondering what in the hell he must’ve named his horse to warrant such a stiff penalty, I was nice enough to bring receipts:
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Guillot—who’ll be left in a bloody heap once the Dora Milaje’s jet arrives any minute now—“honored” Rudolph by naming his colt Grape Soda. And when the horse—who may or may not be racist as shit, too—came in first at Aqueduct on Friday, Rudulph took to Twitter to call out racism in the racing industry.
“The winner in race #1 from Aqueduct is the perfect example of my issue with horse racing,” he tweeted. “The winning trainer is a disgusting and racist man. But, if you want to make money in this game you have to be able to ignore that stuff. I can’t do it. But y’all carry on with your $11.”
In response to all of this, Guillot, whose horses have won 259 races and have collected over $13 million in purses, caught the wrath of hell and might want to holla at a temp agency in order to successfully pivot into a new career field.
“Racism is completely unacceptable in all forms,” David O’Rourke, New York Racing Association president and chief executive, said in a statement. “NYRA rejects Eric Guillot’s toxic words and divisive behavior in the strongest terms. At this time, he will no longer be permitted to enter horses at any NYRA track nor will he be allocated stalls on NYRA grounds. In addition, we will review what further steps may be available to us. Our racing community is diverse, and we stand for inclusion.”
And for those wondering if Guillot will just take his talents to Maryland, Florida, or California, The Stronach Group, which owns racetracks in all of the above, ain’t going for it either. Nor is 1/ST Racing, which owns several racetracks as well.
“1/ST Racing stands firmly against the inexcusable actions of trainer Eric Guillot,” The Stronach Group said in a statement. “There is no place in the sport of Thoroughbred racing for racism in any form. Our company will not tolerate the use of hateful and divisive language or behavior.
“1/ST Racing agrees fully with the New York Racing Association’s move to ban Mr. Guillot from racing and will take the same action. Mr. Guillot is no longer welcomed at any 1/ST Racing track.”
Guillot has also been fired from Cypress Creek Equine, which owned the horse when it ran at Aqueduct on Friday, and TVG is coming for his throat, too.
“TVG commends NYRA for taking swift action on the matter involving Eric Guillot,” the company wrote in a statement. “There is simply no place in society for racism and we condemn his behavior, a deliberate attempt to slur one of our employees, in the strongest terms. Our network will no longer air races in which he has an entry.”
In the aftermath of all this, Grape Soda has since been renamed “Respect for All” after Lawrence Roman bought the horse on Friday for $25,000.
“I wanted to make a positive out of a negative situation,” Roman told the Times. “This is a great sport that I have really enjoyed, and the people on the backstretch are from all over and they love and take care of these athletes. We don’t want racism in this sport.’’
That we do not.
As for Guillot, I’m sure TaskRabbit will look marvelous on your next resume.