Posted by James Briggs on October 30, 2002
Following ESC's suggestion, further down the page, that I contact Churchill Downs Racetrack, I sent an email asking if goats were ever used to calm racehorses. Here's the reply I had:
"There are many different farm animals which are used by trainers to calm the horses; chickens and cats are very common on the backsides of most of the tracks in the United States."
Never-the-less, I do agree that the most likely origin of the expression is not from the racetrack but from prison slang as indicated on an earlier posting by Bruce Kahl. QED?