Thursday, November 06, 2008

Identities of Saved Thoroughbreds and Implicated Trainers Revealed

Thanks to superb reporting by Ray Paulick of The Paulick Report, we now know that the track behind the rescue of the five thoroughbreds found in the New Holland "kill pen" on Monday was indeed Suffolk Downs, as I had speculated in my earlier post.

In late June, 2008, Suffolk announced a "zero tolerance" policy against horses being shipped from its facility to auctions where they would be destined for slaughter, and its dramatic intervention this week to save the lives of these former equine competitors shows that it means business. It had clearly stipulated that "any trainer found to have sold a horse for slaughter will have his stalls revoked and be denied stalls at any time in the future."

According to Paulick:

"On Sunday, Nov. 2, a CANTER volunteer was tipped off that some Thoroughbreds were enroute to the notorious auction at New Holland where 'killer buyers' have been operating for years. CANTER notified Sam Elliott, vice president of racing for Suffolk Downs, and he made arrangements the following day with the auction company to buy the five racehorses for $2,700, with financial assistance from the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association. The horses were subsequently placed with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation."

The thoroughbreds who were saved from being shipped to be slaughtered in Canada are:

Tercia de Reinas '05 Filly
Storm Up Front '02 Gelding
Tiny Target '05 Gelding
Jimmy The Gov '02 Gelding
Arrested Gatorgirl '03 Mare

The individuals "ruled off" from Suffolk for their involvement in jeopardizing these horses were owner Albert Michelson and trainers Pam Pompell, Wayne Sargent, Tony D'Angelo, and Gerry LeFleur.

"Regrettably, for the second time this year we have had a violation of our anti-slaughter policy and we intend to exercise our rights to restrict the access to our property by individuals involved,” said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer for Suffolk Downs. “These horses were sold with deliberate disregard for their ultimate disposition. They didn’t end up at the auction months after they left here but hours later. There are lots of different stories, but the individuals involved should have known better.

“Both Suffolk Downs and the state of Massachusetts expect that the people who stable here will adhere to standards of decency and will uphold their obligation to the animals in their care,” Tuttle said. “The vast majority of the Suffolk Downs horsemen work with us and with accredited retirement programs to ensure safe and healthy second careers for their athletes."

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