Porfido: 9 Years, 73 Starts, No End in Sight

In horseracing, there is abuse – you know, the everyday stuff – and then there is extraordinary abuse. The “career” of a horse named Porfido (below) would fall into the latter. 11-year-old Porfido began racing before Barack Obama was sworn in as a U.S. senator. Nine years and 73 starts later, his exploitation continues, and there are no indications that current masters (Porfido has been bought and sold at least four times) Dan McFarlane and James Taplin have any retirement plans in the works, at least not while he’s still earning – Porfido last raced just this past Saturday at Turf, finishing fourth and winning $1698 for his “connections.”


Like any for-profit business, horseracing expends its assets to the last. Anyone care to speculate on the condition of this asset’s joints?

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  1. This horse ran in Grade 1 races at Santa Anita early on. He was foiled in 2002. How much is enough?

  2. These people who exploit horses in the claiming game , usually, do so until the horse drops or is so sore and injured that even these “chemists”/ trainers can’t get them to the gate. It goes on all the time. And, with very, very few exceptions, nobody has them on their radar.
    This just one more negative in this sorry business.

  3. There is an army of people and fans calling for his retirement, so far they have fallen on deaf ears. He’s a South American-bred horse and he has given his all at the track his whole life. He has a counterpart named Cayambe, another South American-bred who earned over $700,000 for his connections who was last seen running at Mountaineer in $4K claiming races.We tried to get him retired in December to a sanctuary, but his connections wouldn’t sell him either.

    • If you wanted Cayambe, why didn’t you claim him for $5000 on December 29? He hasn’t started since then so maybe you ought to try again. He is probably injured, retired or been shipped North or South. You need to get on that if you are so concerned about the horse.
      As soon as you see that he is not active. that is a smoke signal. The current owner claimed him for $5000 and has only made $1100 with the horse which does not even cover expenses. He is also the trainer. This is his livelihood. Why would he try to lose money on the investment? The people you need to get to do something is the original people who made the $700,000 with the horse. They are the ones unappreciative jerks who are in the wrong.

      • You are terribly misguided. All of racing is responsible, including, obviously, the current exploiters. Why do you place the onus on rescuers/advocates to clean up industry wrongs?

      • You didn’t understand what I wrote. The people that should be doing something are the original breeder and/.or owner that made all the money with him. They need to make sure that he lands softly.

      • The trainer has invested in the horse. Do you think these are rich people? And the horse has not run since December 29.

  4. These people have no compassion. The only thing they care about is to maximize the return on their investment. Unfortunately, the investment happens to be a sentient being and not something like the stock market.
    Bad publicity along with peer pressure would have an impact under normal circumstances but there is nothing “normal” about racing.

  5. Foaled in August of 2002, this horse began racing at 2, making 7 starts in 2004 and raced every single year through 2014. He raced 11 straight years! His racing record repeatedly shows him going wide at the turn which is well known to indicate a horse not wanting to put more weight on the inside leg. At every level of track across the country we see the same thing: Horses that would never pass a simple lameness exam that my own farm vet would give for a horse I only want to trail ride are continually approved by race track veterinarians to be sound to race. These poor pitiful beings, injected, drugged, whipped and forced to race. Question: When is enough enough? Answer: When he runs to his death on the track or limps to his shedrow in order to be handed off so he too can disappear into the slaughter pipeline. The racetrack general manager, the racing stewards and the racing commission should be bombarded with calls.

  6. Don’t you think we should all write letters to the breeders and original owners, Sumaya US Stable LLC since they made $539,168 with the horse and got rid of him as soon as he was no longer winning stakes. It’s not like they couldn’t afford to have the horse at Old Friends and sponsor him there. Their address is:761 West Sproul Road, #310, Springfield, PA 19064. I will certainly be sending a letter. The trainer that has him now isn’t the problem. It is the owners that made the half million and not appreciate the horse and make sure that he lands softly.

    • And with all the interest in him, I don’t know why someone hasn’t claimed him for the $6250 that he is running for. You have to understand that the current trainer got the horse to make money, that is his business. He has no responsibility to retire the horse, it is the people that originally had him and made all the money that should, in good conscience, obtain the horse and retire him.

  7. ” good conscience” is something that, with very, very few exceptions, is sadly lacking at every level of this game. People who attempt to exonerate some and place the blame on others are in denial. The horse takes a back seat to money at every turn.
    Trainers /owners claim horses hoping to make money . Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. It is a gamble just like the very foundation of the game.
    With gambling people can and do lose money, it is their choice, but the horse more often than not loses his life.

  8. Paula Esposito…WHAT??…the current trainer has no responsibility to retire the horse? Of course we KNOW that the current trainer “got the horse to make money”!…you hit the nail on the head with those words! TO MAKE MONEY!…the horse’s welfare be damned, any horse’s connections are IN IT TO MAKE MONEY! So you believe those who made the half million from Porfido’s labors are the ONLY people responsible?…and WHY is that?…I’m assuming because of the amount of money he made for them, as opposed to what he has earned for his current connections? So just how much does the horse have to earn for his connections before they are RESPONSIBLE for his life and welfare?

    And how typical of this life-sucking industry…an “army” of fans try to see Porfido into a safe retirement, and they are turned down.

    Every single person employed in this gambling industry bears responsibility for the horses enslaved in it. Yet again and again and again, it is the non-race public that scrambles after the horses that those IN the industry run to their deaths.

  9. Portfido is entered in Race 12 at Canterbury Park today. It is a $14,500 claiming race and Portfido is in for a tag of $7,500. He will break from post 9 with Martin Escobar aboard. Apparently it is his 77th start? He is described as Indefatigable….

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