Kate Feron and Angelo DeFilippis Are No Heroes to Coaltown Legend

After six years – 64 races – of gross exploitation and abuse, 9-year-old Coaltown Legend (original post here) has finally been retired, owing in large part to exposure from advocate Deborah Jones. On July 28th, Susan Salk, she with the permanently affixed rose-tinted glasses, wrote a reprehensible piece on Coaltown’s “salvation.” In it, she recounts his return “home” – the place where he was bred to be used – and the contributions of former connections Kate Feron and Angelo DeFilippis toward that end.

Feron (who “cried when he arrived”): “To see him again, I can’t express what it was like. He always had a special place in my heart. This was my special horse.” ♥ (heart courtesy of Salk) Of DeFilippis, Salk writes, “De Fillipis [sic], who owned the horse at one point, but was forced to sell him during hard financial times, says he kept tabs on Coaltown Legend, and spent a few sleepless nights worrying.”

Here are some conveniently omitted facts: Kate Feron is a hugely successful trainer with over $2.5 million in earnings. She bred Coaltown and raced him 19 times before selling him in February 2010 (“claimed away from her,” as Salk asserts, is a euphemism). Her “special horse” would race for over four more years – almost all at the claiming level – without her intervention. Angelo DeFilippis is (was) a racehorse owner. He either owned or co-owned Coaltown for 2 1/2 years and 16 starts, including a July 2011 claiming race at Saratoga. In all, Coaltown Legend earned over $150,000 for Mr. DeFilippis.

Coaltown Legend and Kate Feron
Coaltown Legend and Kate Feron

Now to be fair, Angelo DeFilippis was the primary impetus behind Coaltown’s retirement. But while good for Coaltown Legend – assuming, that is, he survives; DeFilippis says he’s not doing very well – I will not commend anyone, even a rescuer, who refuses to categorically renounce horseracing: Though Mr. DeFilippis is currently inactive, it’s a matter of finances, not because he now sees racing as wrong.

So it appears, Mr. DeFilippis, we are at an impasse. Yes, you helped this horse, but your desire to climb back into an industry that chews them up and spits them out by the thousands tells me all I need to know. Mr. DeFilippis, Ms. Salk, and most especially Ms. Feron, exploitation and friendship are incompatible states. The line is clearly drawn – true equine advocates want no part of this sordid business. And that is what makes Salk’s writing – “there were many relieved past connections, and tears of joy when tired and weary Coaltown rolled into Akindale on Thursday” – so very shameful.

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  1. After having my eyes opened this last week, the sharing about Coaltown’s survival brings joy to my heart. Thank you for posting this message. I for one will be doing everything I can to open the eyes of others regarding the travesty this industry represents.

  2. My question to Ms. Feron is this. If, Ms. Feron, you “loved” this horse so much and cried when he arrived at your barn, why didn’t you claim him back? He was put up for sale, multiple times, in claiming races. Why didn’t you take action rather than just “putting the word out”? I know the answer to the question. It is the same answer that is expressed by racing folks time and time again. You “love” the horse when he/she is making money for you, but not so much when he is laboring to finish the race in one piece. I also am disgusted with the racing officials at Penn. Why was this horse allowed to race when he was hundreds of pounds underweight? Oh, I forgot…the racing cards need to be filled! Just another reason that racing disgusts me.

  3. Patrick, I just want you to know that Susan Salk has “silenced” me, as well. In fact, Salk “silenced” me when I posted a comment in support of Joy Aten.

  4. These people are just saving face now. I’m afraid they are disingenuous. Money is what matters in this game, not the horse. The despicable claiming process shows very clearly that it is solely about money. The the claimer descends in the ranks with money made at every claim until he finally breaks down or is totally crippled. The chances of rescue for these unfortunates are very slim and it is far more likely they will be sent to slaughter where the last few dollars can be pocketed from their spent bodies.

    Those in the business and those who support the business never miss the opportunity to jump on the PR bandwagon when a horse is “saved” off the track. However, the vast majority of the time they have been “shamed” into action by advocates who never made any money from the horse.

  5. I just want to be clear on what we mean when Joy and I say we were “silenced” by Ms. Salk. Salk blocked both of us on Facebook and will not allow either of us to post on her blog. However, just to reassure Salk and her followers, all of which wear the rose tinted glasses, Joy and I will never be “silenced”. Much to the chagrin of the pro-racing enthusiasts, including Salk, we will continue to speak out against the atrocities in the racing industry.

  6. Patrick,
    A look on Equibase shows Angelo DeFilippis has not raced a horse in over 9 months. Now he has taken part in retiring an old class horse. Sounds like a back story from a couple of your faithful or your “Wonderful People”. Yet you prefer to criticize him instead of glorifying him like others??
    Is it because he did not claim the horse? Others in here have named horses they wish to see retired without going into their pocket to insure their to “Safety”. <<< That is in quotes because of the numbers of rescues that fail is mind boggling.
    Mr. Defilippis is just collateral damage stemming from your grandstanding in Ms.Sulk's blog. An unworthy whipping boy of your tantrum about getting called out on your unsuccessful prediction??

    Playing favorites is one of the most damaging problems in any group of people…Robert Whipple.

    • Did you consider that it was the exposure here, on Deborah Jones’ FB page, and on other advocate forums that led to Coaltown’s “retirement” (saving him from that imminent breakdown)? Angelo DeFilippis has 92 starts under his belt, and as far as I know, has not officially withdrawn from racing; in any case, he certainly hasn’t repudiated it. He bought, used, and sold Coaltown; he, like Feron, doesn’t deserve praise.

  7. Imminent breakdown?? I have noticed most predictions on here are made after the fact. Claim how predictable a breakdown was after Equibase publishes it. You post weekly DNFs, if so immanent why not post them beforehand??

    So whomever first mentions a horse in their Blog or FB page they are the only one deserving praise. So if someone informs Ms.Johnson of a horse in need and she renders aid, she gets no props for that?? Much like a breeder being held accountable for a breakdown yet when CANTER is held liable, the founder is excused.

    You are fickle Patrick. A trait of many great Bloggers…

      • More like to Mr. Defilippis. Ms.Feron seems to still be actively training. Also not so much as a comparable, but by all accounts (less HRW) he did aid in the “rescue” of CL. If he were to make regular degrading comments about horse racing and start worshipping Joy, then I could make the comparison…

  8. I just started watching a show called “Heartland” It is filmed in Alberta, Canada and has been on for 7 years. Heartland is a great show about the care of neglected and abused horses One of the episodes highlighted race horse abuse and so upon further investigation, I was shocked to find out this week the reality of the abuse that happens in horse racing.
    I had no idea that the horses are being abused and that they are being slaughtered. Thank you so much for putting together this website. I can see you put a lot of work into it and that you love horses. I love horses, too and I have been horrified over the past few days reading
    how these magnificent animals are manipulated, abused and then slaughtered. Those people responsible should be charged with animal abuse and thrown in jail. Thank you again for all your work on putting together this information.

  9. Patrick lets start by saying all you needed to do was call me before printing a article with no facts and your lucky I dont file claims against you. I did not sell Coaltown, Bruce Levine became a partner on him when a former partner sold his share. I fell on hard times and was forced to give Coaltown up. Bruce took full control over him in Novemebr 2013. MF Global stole my money from trading accounts in the oil business I was in for 22 years. I kept track of Coaltown and your information on starts is also wrong. I made attepts to get him back once he started running at Penn. Connections there wanted $8000 for him. I cannot speak on Ferons behalf because I never met her but I can tell you, YOU ARE 100% in what you said about me. I HAVE NOT OWNED A HORSE SINCE SIGNING COALTOWN OVER 11/2013. I STILL HAVE A LICENSE BECAUSE ITS PAID FOR 3 YEARS. My other licenses NJ PA WV FL DE have all expired. I can assure you after visiting Coaltown last week at AKINDALE i arrived with 10 bags of peppermints and 4 bags of carrotts. YOU CAN CALL ME ANYTIME FOR A INTERVIEW OR EMAIL ME AT AFLIP56@AOL.com if you would like to know more before printing more lies. I expect this article to be reprinted with the correct facts. I was in contact with Deb Jones since mid 2013 on this situation.


  11. It is fine to be indignant but this outburst is a little over the top ! And why the long delay in setting the record straight ?
    I’m inclined to believe DeFilippis’ concern for the horse and that is gratifying to see in an industry that breaks horses down on a regular basis and casts them aside like an old shoe.

    Never the less this incidence of concern and a probable good outcome does not absolve this industry from the rampant abuse of the horse. Further, I have difficulty understanding how those who do seem to have compassion for these thoroughly exploited athletes can carry on day after day in this business knowing, and even witnessing, what these animals are subjected to. Such people must be very conflicted.

    Ms. Doyle, although I don’t know all the rules and regulations governing the claiming of horses, I can tell you I was able to get a horse claimed ( you know someone who knows someone…! ) and he is with me, safe although not so sound. Claiming can be accomplished because, essentially, the horse is “for sale” and if you put up the money it can be done, I know.

    For me, and I think for many here, the focus is what happens to the horses. In this instance, Coaltown Legend managed to survive. He is one of the lucky ones. Unfortunately so many others are not so lucky and that fact is indisputable.

    • AC2, this site is committed to the end of horseracing, nothing less. I am not interested in the “good ones” and their attempts at supposed reforms. Racing exploits horses, making it inherently wrong, immoral from the start. So, I will no longer allow pro-racing rants – there is no shortage of forums for people of that persuasion. (By the way, my viewpoint has been stifled – banned – on the Paulick Report, Susan Salk’s site, and a couple others.)

      • Yes and when you views were stifled on other blogs you made a point of stating that there would be no such practice here. The tide is changing. As will the number of comments and the new found popularity of this blog. So you will be content with the uneducated comments that have been popping up as late? With one questionable post you change your whole outlook of the blog.

        Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing you temper or your self- confidence…Robert Frost

        • Actually, more a response to you and Ms. Doyle exchanging emails. I will no longer present the “other side” because there is no other side. You are still welcome to comment, but not in defense of horseracing.

  12. Ms. Doyle, it looks as if your comments have been deleted. Fortunately, I was able to read your post that mentioned me BEFORE it was deleted. I would like to clear up some confusion on your part. First of all, I have NEVER claimed a horse but I know plenty of people that have claimed them. Since Angelo is such a “good guy”, he must have known people at many tracks across the country. If I wanted to get a horse back, I would get up off my ass and network like crazy until I found someone who would claim the horse for me. Even I, who despise racing, have contacts locally that would be willing to put in a claim ticket. I also know there are rules and regulations to the claiming game, but I’m fairly intelligent and I feel confident that I could figure things out relatively quickly. It is my personal opinion that Angelo could have done the same thing.

    You then babble about MY credibility yet I assume that you are immersed in a sinister and corrupt industry that has very little credibility – the racing industry. It seems that you are talking out of both sides of your mouth. It was also reported on public forums that Coaltown Legend was 400 pounds underweight – 400 pounds! Those who neglected this horse have absolutely NO credibility and that includes the officials working at the tracks where this horse ran. Why didn’t someone get up off their ass and protect this horse? I can tell you why. Racing isn’t about the horse. It is about the money. The horses are afterthoughts and are only a tool so that the gambling can continue.

    By the way, Ms. Doyle, I have been following a horse for months and months and months. There is a reason that I was following her that I won’t share publicly, but I did follow her in my Virtual Stable and watched her finish at the back of the pack in her last few races. About two weeks ago, I was able to obtain her. No, I didn’t claim her but I was able to obtain her. She is now off the track and in a wonderful place. If I can do it, so can Angelo, Ms. Feron, and even YOU! It really wasn’t that hard to do. It just took a lot of persistence and determination which are traits that are available to all of us.

  13. Before last night I have never never heard of Ms.Doyle and I most certainly do not have her e-mail. You are grasping at straws. You claim that you wish to take a stand for the horses but the first sign of adversity you are deleting, censoring, and scrambling, scared for your own hide.

  14. I am Ms. Doyle and have never left a comment on this thread, any questions you may have for me,
    please post them, and I will answer them. I am totally against racing.

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