The topic here is what is grape soda horse racing. We can all agree that horses rock.
Irrespective of your background, race, and sex, nothing compares to the camaraderie among equestrians.
Whether you’re watching the youngest colt take on champion legends on the big screen or going to watch the races from the tracks to indulge in the adrenaline, horses possess the ability to bring people together.
The Case Of Grape Soda
Grape Soda is a drink that has dominated childhoods and is a fond memory for most. When Grape soda, a 3-year-old Gelding By Uncle Mo, won his first championship at Aqueduct on January 8, the reaction wasn’t great.
The horse hadn’t done something inauspiciously wrong. His trainer, Eric Guillot, had landed himself in a tight spot after a series of posts on Twitter.
Guillot, days earlier, had posted a photo of the 3-year-old Gelding on his social media platforms. The Gelding had performed extraordinarily well and had just won his debut race.
However, he had his name after a racist slur targeted toward African Americans. ‘This colt will run next week and has a unique name in honor of a TVG analyst,’ read the first in a series of tweets.
“Grape Soda,” the tweet from Guillot from January 1, indicated that he had named the horse after a TVG announcer of African American descent.
This tweet responded to a follower asking for the colt’s name, and Guillot responded. The racing network analyst in question, Ken Rudulph, on January 2, tweeted once more about the horse’s workout.
He said, “Grape Soda breezed 49.3 smooth a menthol kool,” with a black hand emoji showing the peace sign, and soon after added a gif of an African American man making the shhh motion.
When asked about the name’s origins, he tweeted that he named the horse after a fond childhood memory of when he drank the beverage.
He explained that during the Christmas holidays, his mother had gotten a kick after him wanting to name the horse after the drink. Soon after, he deleted the tweet.
Ken Rudolph responded through a series of tweets, “the winner in race # 1 from Aqueduct is the perfect example of my issue with horse racing.”
“The successful coach is a disgusting and racist man. However, if it’s about making money in the game, you should be able to ignore those things. I can’t do it. But you all carry on with your $11”.
When talking to the press, Guillot reiterated that he felt he hadn’t done anything wrong in subsequent tweets and that he had been honoring Ken Rudolph through the name.
In the morning, however, he tweeted that he was choosing to retire from training.
With a career spanning over 30 years of training horses, Mr. Guillot has won 295 races from 2348 starts. In total, his horses have earned a total of $ 13,029,508.
In addition, he had won 19 graded stakes, including the Grade 1 Whitney with his horse Moreno, the grade 1 test and grade 1 Acorn with Champagne D’Oro, the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante with Mi Sueno together with the Grade 2 Jim Dandy with Laoban.
His feud with Mr. Rudolp seemingly isn’t the first. In 2013, he found himself at the center of a controversy.
When Moreno, his horse, was beaten by Will Take at Saratoga, Guillot alleged that the jockey riding Luis Saez used some electrical device on the horse to win.
The New York State Gaming Commission investigated the matter and concluded that that hadn’t been the case.
According to a report from the New York Times, Guillot got a ban by the New York Racing Association. As such, he couldn’t participate in competitions on any of its circuits.
The Association president and chief executive, David O’ Rourke of NYRA, said, “racism is completely unacceptable in all forms. The NYRA dismisses Eric Guillot’s toxic statement and isolative behavior in the strongest terms.”
He went on to add that the racing community is diverse, and therefore they stand for inclusion.
Another group, the Stronach Group, which owns racing tracks in Maryland, California, and Florida, also added that it wouldn’t allow horses trained by the trainer to race in any of its tracks.
The former employer of Mr. Guillot also went on record to denounce the actions of their former trainer Eric Guillot.
They said, “Mr. Guillot will no longer train for or act on behalf of Cypress Creek Equine due to his action on social platforms.
In addition, Cypress Creek was sorry for any resentment and doesn’t allow this behavior”.
1/ST racing also said that Mr. Guillot would no longer be welcome at their racing tracks, adding that they supported the NYRA move to ban him from all racing and that there’s no place for racism in Thoroughbred horse racing.
After the tweet storm erupted, Mr. Guillot said there was nothing wrong with his statement. If comedians such as Chris Rock or Dave Chappel had said the joke, it wouldn’t have been deemed as offensive, and his only issue was that the color of his skin was a little bit too light.
Guillot went on to Twitter to suggest that he hadn’t enjoyed racing nearly as much in the last couple of years and that his reason for stepping away from the sport is that racing has stopped being fun.
He stepped away from the sport just as the industry leaders announced that he no longer had stalls at the NRYA.
Guillot referenced that his first day of retirement was “going on awesome” and that he spent his time driving west.
What Happened To Grape Soda?
It was initially named Kerstetter by former owner Kevin Moody, who raced under Cypress Creek Equine. According to official records, they officially changed grape Soda’s name on December 29.
However, after what seemed like an eternity for the young colt, Grape Soda was sold off at the race for a whopping $ 25000 to Lawrence P Roman.
When asked if he knew about the colt’s name, he answered that he had no idea the name was a slur until he received a call from the Jockey Club on Saturday morning asking him to change it.
He gave the horse a befitting name and Respect for all and promised to donate 10% of the colt’s purse winnings to a fund to help the New York backstretch workers.
As a non-profit organization, they love health and wellness services to the backstretch employees at Thoroughbred tracks in New York City. The current trainer for Respect for all is Rob Atras, and the jockey who rides him is Dylan Davis.
Whether you’re a fan of horse racing, own a horse, or are a spectator looking in, getting a positive outcome out of what would otherwise be a negative interaction is essential.
Not only is this one of the most excellent sports that bring people together from all over the world, but you can usually feel the love and heart that goes into every aspect of the sport.
We hope you’ve learned something new about the horse formally known as Grape soda and had fun reading.