Horse racing: US trainer banned for racehorse because of racist choice of name
By renaming one of his racehorses, the American trainer Eric Guillot caused great outrage in the world of horse racing. He is accused of choosing the name “Grape Soda” for clearly racist motives.
Grape Soda is a popular soft drink in the United States. According to a cliché, this is particularly popular with African Americans and is therefore used as a racist synonym for them. But not only the choice of name alone but also the way in which Guillot proclaimed it caused criticism.
On January 1st, Guillot posted a photo of a colt on his Twitter account, stating that the horse would run under “a unique name in honor of a TVG [TV channel] analyst” for the following week. Behind it he put the emoji of a black thumb pointing up.
As various industry media reported over the weekend, it quickly became clear who Guillot was referring to: the Afro-American equestrian presenter Ken Rudolph, who has been known for many years as one of the experts on the equestrian channel TVG [page in English].
This in turn responded to the racism allegation with a Twitter post on Friday. In a tweet he writes:
The Aqueduct race winner is the perfect example of what problem I have with horse racing. The coach who won is a disgusting and racist man. But if you want to win money in this game you have to be able to ignore such things. I can not do this.
The winner in race # 1 from Aqueduct is the perfect example of my issue with horse racing. 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.
– Ken Rudulph (@MrKenRudulphTV) January 8, 2021
New York Racing Association banishes Guillot forever
The race on Friday is said to have been the last for Guillot for the time being. As the New York horse racing authority New York Racing Association (NYRA) said on its website on Saturday, Guillot is no longer welcome in the industry due to his racist behavior. The statement says:
Racism in any form is absolutely unacceptable. NYRA strongly opposes Eric Guillot's toxic forte and polarizing behavior. At this point in time he is no longer allowed to start with horses on one of the NYRA tracks […] Our racing community is diverse and we stand for inclusion.
The horse has had an official new owner since Saturday, Lawrence Roman. He has now given him the name “Respect for All” and declared that he would like to donate 10% of his future profits to the staff of the NYRA race tracks.