In All Likelihood, Most Retired Racehorses Are Being Slaughtered

According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, last year, 152,814 American horses were shipped to foreign abattoirs for the shackle-hoist-and-slash. A “Wild for Life Foundation” study (2002-2010) found that on average 19% of the slaughter-bound are Thoroughbreds. Even if we were to use a lower percentage (the racing industry, of course, claims 19% is too high) – say, 13% – the number of erstwhile racehorses who exited via the butcher line last year practically matches the Jockey Club’s estimated “foal crop” (21,275).

In 2012, 13% yields roughly 23,000 slaughtered Thoroughbreds (of 176,000 total American horses slaughtered), while the crop came in around 21,000. In 2011, 17,000 slaughtered against 23,000 born. And on and on: (from the “Wild for Life” study) “The study clearly demonstrates that an amount equal to 70% of the annual Thoroughbred foal crop on average, died at slaughter during the years 2004 through 2010.” In other words, in all likelihood, most retired Thoroughbreds are being slaughtered. Imagine that.

“How They Die”

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21 Comments

  1. Yes- no doubt Patrick, most likely the majority of retired racehorses are being slaughtered. I would like to email you some pictures I took at OLEX July 24th, 2014  and  August 5th, 2014 2 of Ontario’s (regular) major Killbuyers for the Quebec horse slaughter plants were there…   Not only heartbreaking… gets my blood boiling mad!   Must admit as a ‘newbie’ thoroughbred owner about 8 years ago- I made plenty of mistakes and naively trusted several people in racing who clearly turned out to be- nothing more than liars, thieves and abusers.   Thoroughbreds at Olex and Carson auctions etc…are regularly consigned of course. Its absolutely sickening.   Is there another email for you besides this? Just wondering. More to follow….and Thanks! Please Don’t Stop ever writhing this blog.   Jo-Anne Ward

  2. These pics were taken by me and Heather, more to follow…I expect after yearling sale Sept 2nd,2014 and end of Fort Erie race meet- October and Woodbine season end -December- there will be tons of TBs at this auction alone.

  3. Have you guys ever tried approaching horseplayers about these problems, sites like paceadvantage.com?

    • Mr. Needham, are you suggesting that those immersed in racing don’t know that thousands of TB’s are handed off for slaughter every year?

  4. Right!! We know already how Awesome Woodbine is, especially with caring TB owners who always retire their loved…..whether profitable or not… Ha!!  

  5. The horse racing industry likes to claim they are anti-slaughter and often boasts of the zero-tolerance slaughter policies some tracks have. Of course, we’ve seen again and again that these anti-slaughter policies are toothless. Certain equine rescue organizations that rescue predominately TB racehorses from kill buyers and KB-attended auctions have given up on notifying the tracks of discarded horses they’ve found – nothing is done and if it is, it’s merely a hand slap. The anti-slaughter policies are a joke and everyone knows it.

    What’s additionally disgusting is that the industry licenses a known kill buyer as a racing owner and trainer. Jaron Gold is one of the Midwest’s largest suppliers of horses to a Canadian slaughterhouse. Gold is also licensed as an owner and trainer, but he uses Jaroslav Gold for that business venture. Gold has claimed horses from Churchill Downs…a track with an anti-slaughter policy. Laughable if it wasn’t so appalling.

    Currently, Jaron/Jaroslav Gold is the trainer of the 2010 dark bay gelding, Golf Pro. Golf Pro was bred, owned and raced by Midwest Thoroughbreds. You know, THAT Midwest Thoroughbreds. One of the “good guys”. THAT Midwest Thoroughbreds who handed over 30-some racehorses to Mary Mead to re-home. You know, THAT Mary Mead…the one who sent some of those horses to slaughter. But back to Golf Pro.

    -Golf Pro was claimed from Midwest Thoroughbreds in his second race by M. Maker for the Ramsey’s.

    -Then Golf Pro was claimed by owner/trainer Jaroslav Gold at Churchhill Downs.

    -Since Gold claimed him at CD, Golf Pro has been owned by Gold and SAB NC Stables, trained by Gold and Randy Russell (depending on where he is raced). But as of his last race, a 4K claimer on August 1 at Hazel Park (in Michigan, where Gold’s farm is located), Gold was listed as his trainer.

    Midwest Thoroughbreds, remember that little dark bay foal?…Golf Pro, one of the many YOU bred and owned and used and sold? Well he’s closer to the slaughterhouse than a lot of other TB’s. He’s already in the kill buyer’s hands.

  6. On August 11, I sent Midwest Thoroughbreds an e-mail informing them that the gelding they bred, owned and raced – Golf Pro – was with racing trainer/kill buyer Jaroslav/Jaron Gold. I received the automated, generic e-mail response “Thank you for your e-mail. You will hear from us soon.” I’ve heard nothing more from them, so I put the same information about Golf Pro on their FB page. I did receive this reply; “We are aware of the issue and addressing it. Thank you.” That was now 6 days ago. Nothing.

    Of course, they’ve been busy. Their gelding, The Pizza Man, just ran in the Arlington Million – and won – so at least the funds to acquire Golf Pro from the kill buyer shouldn’t be a problem. What I am wondering is this…they “are aware”, they state, so have they been “aware” for the entire 2 years-plus that their former runner (who I’m certain they just LOVED) has been in the hands of a kill buyer? A kill buyer who sends trailers full of horses to a Canadian slaughterhouse on a very regular basis?

    I don’t know which industry members I find more disgusting – the ones who rake in millions from their stakes horses and unload those that cannot run as fast or make enough money to suit them…or the low-level “wannabe’s” who struggle putting food on their own tables so in order to make ends meet, sell off their race horses out of “necessity” to some other “wannabe” and deny diagnostics and treatment to their injured (I witnessed that often). If one can barely afford their own everyday essentials, they certainly shouldn’t be taking on the responsibility of another mouth to feed and life to protect.

    We’ll see when or if Midwest rescues Golf Pro from the kill buyer. I hope he’s still alive.

    • Joy, Midwest is just like the other big stables immersed in this sinister industry of horseracing. They attempt to deflect from the atrocities by claiming that they are aware of the issue but then they conveniently forget to inform you as to what they are doing to correct the situation and perhaps that is because they aren’t doing anything to help a horse who is owned by a contract kill buyer. When any horse is owned by a contract kill buyer, time is of the essence and anyone, with minimal intelligence, should know that yet you have heard nothing for well over a week. The bottom line is that Midwest has hundreds of horses moving through their barns and the ones that garner the most attention are the money earners. A horse racing here in Ohio is a low level horse. Therefore, out of sight, out of mind.

      As far as which members of the industry sicken me the most, I would have to say the ones who rake in millions of dollars annually because those folks have the financial means to get out and choose another profession. They can find monetary success, as well as glory, in another field. Are you listening, Midwest?

  7. Does anyone have contact information for current owner of Golf Pro? Or any information on his wherabouts? Thank you.

    • FM,

      Background on Golf Pro, a 2010 dark bay gelding…

      Breeder, Midwest TB’s and Magna Graduate.

      Midwest bred and ran him. In his second race for MW, he was claimed by Ken Ramsey.

      Ramsey/Mike Maker ran him about 5 weeks later at Churchill Downs where he was claimed by owner/trainer Jaroslav Gold (NOT under the stable name SAB NC Stable).

      Gold ran Golf Pro for OVER two years. 28 races for kill buyer Jaroslav/Jaron Gold. If Midwest followed their horses, they had over TWO YEARS to claim the gelding from kill buyer Gold.

      Midwest was informed on August 11, 2015, that Golf Pro was running in 4K claiming races for Gold (Golf Pro had run August 1 at Hazel Park for owner/trainer Jaroslav Gold).

      Golf Pro ran again on August 21 at Belterra for owner SAB NC Stable (Gold) and trainer Glenn Kopp.

      On September 7, Golf Pro was claimed from SAB NC Stable (Gold)/Kopp by Jamie Grubbs for 4K. He has not run since.

      Maybe Midwest had Golf Pro claimed after they were informed the gelding was owned and raced by a kill buyer. That’s what I assume. What is glaringly obvious is that Midwest does NOT follow their horses – Golf Pro ran for over two years with licensed racing owner/kill buyer Jaroslav Gold. Where was Midwest?…they had plenty of opportunities to claim Golf Pro! Then on August 11, they’re informed the gelding they bred/raced/sold is with Gold…September 7, Golf Pro is claimed and not seen again.

      Then there is Mr. Mostly, the 2010 former Midwest gelding who broke down on May 8 (https://horseracingwrongs.com/2016/05/09/three-break-down-at-belterra-rest-of-days-card-canceled/). Mr. Mostly was also once owned (purchased as a yearling) and raced by Midwest Thoroughbreds.

      He ran in a 25K claiming race for Midwest on June 15, 2013.

      In his 8th race for Midwest, on July 7, they dropped the claiming price to $7500. They wanted to unload him and they were successful.

      Mr. Mostly ran 41 more races for different owners/trainers until he was claimed by Jaroslav Gold for 4K at Penn National on January 16, 2016. He ran for Gold March 19. And April 5. And April 18. Midwest…WHERE ARE YOU? The gelding you purchased, raced, dumped into a $7500 claiming race and sold is running for a kill buyer!

      Midwest is informed on April 18 that Mr. Mostly is with a kill buyer. Their response was “Please send you [sic] concerns to the website administrator.” Wow.

      Mr. Mostly ran at Belterra on May 8…on a sealed muddy track, blinkers, front wraps and Lasix…with a 4K price tag on his head for SAB NC Stable (Gold)/Kopp. From the chart; “Mr. Mostly broke down out the turn and lost the rider.” He was claimed by Paul Meyer.

      Midwest Thoroughbreds – extolled as one of the good guys. Really? THEY weren’t following Golf Pro and Mr. Mostly…no, it took someone to TELL them two of their racehorses were in the hands of and being run by (in cheap races) a kill buyer. The PP’s don’t lie. The timing of when Midwest was informed and the last claims don’t lie. Were Golf Pro and Mr. Mostly claimed for Midwest after they were notified?…could be. Looks that way. But I’m not impressed. And Mr. Mostly is very likely dead – run to death by a kill buyer.

    • FM, my contact believes that Golf Pro is at Midwest TB’s farm in Florida but that can’t be confirmed. There is simply no proof that he is there or isn’t there.

  8. I just Tweeted to multiple accounts that are congratulating Midwest for being the leading breeder/owner at Fairgrounds. I informed them about GOLF PRO not to help because I know they won’t, but just to let them know how low these breeders dip.
    Anybody who supports this cruelty circus are scums. They sicken me!
    Thanks Joy, Mary, Patrick and all of those who are being a voice for the voiceless racehorses.

  9. Joy, I’ve been doing some research on Midwest Thoroughbreds, and the deeper I dig the more disturbing it becomes.
    First of all, they have part ownership in so many racehorses that it is a convoluted mess – could be a deliberate paperwork trail scam to cover-up these 2 common facts: 1. their racehorse almost always gets dumped when no longer profitable. 2. they have strong ties to the wagering outlet TVG such as many winning Trainers/Owners like Maggi Moss, Mike Maker, Simon Callaghan etc.
    This wagering outlet seems to have involvement in the management, and outcome of racehorses and, allegedly, races.
    One thing is for sure: they make BILLIONS off of racehorses, and give little or nothing in return. They are British-based wagering outlet, with either ownership or connection to BETFAIR. Another wagering outlet that makes BILLIONS off of racehorses, and pays little or no taxes in the U.S, employs very few people, and is based in Seattle, WA.
    In short, this is a corporate wagering organization scheme that basically gets away with murder – the racehorses paying the price. So is the environment, and taxpayers who have to make up for the taxing gap.
    I have connected the following racehorses, at some point in their career, to Midwest Thoroughbreds: FLYIN FOR A LIVIN, BLUEGRASS SIGHT, MOONLIGHT MEETING, SAVVY N SPEIGHTFUL to name just a few.
    What I find equally disturbing is that it appears that Equibase – the major reporting website for TB’s in the U.S.A. seems to be covering-up for Midwest Thoroughbreds when one of their horses die or ownership is suddenly transferred either via claiming or otherwise.
    Take, for example, BLUEGRASS SIGHT – he has literally disappeared off the map! The following message appeared on the Equibase website: “We’re sorry but an unexpected error has occurred. Please try again later.”
    How can this possibly be? How can an American racehorse disappear off the radar, and absolutely nobody does anything about it? This is unbelievable what this industry is getting away with!
    Does the FBI still exist any/or operate in this country? Please if any members of the FBI are reading this PLEASE investigate these people!
    MOONLIGHT MEETING another sad life for a racehorse dumped into the industries disposal system. Claimed last year, and now running for his life with the last claim as recent as 4/21/16 by Trainer Charles S. Treece and owners Alice and Arnold Shields. Poor guy. Claimed at Los Alamitos where many horses die. Wonder how much longer the probably joint injections, and dope will keep him going?
    Finally, to really make you want to upchuck your breakfast. I’m told that Midwest Thoroughbreds solicits for funds for (get this) racehorse aftercare. Yes Joy – you read this correctly! Evidently, they get hundreds of thousands of dollars or donate into their racehorse aftercare, and can’t even account for the money or for the thoroughbreds that they rescued!! Hello, IRS – where are you??
    When I requested a list of the racehorses that they either donated to rescue or directly rescued I was completely ignored!
    Their website boasts that they heavily donate to the Racetrack Chaplaincy as well – so much for Christian values such as “Thou Shalt Not Kill,” etc.
    What is so disturbing, and upsetting to me is that this organization is very typical of the people involved in horse racing.
    The racehorses pay with their lives while people like this boast about their charitable qualities! There’s nothing charitable or Christian or pick your religion about exploiting living beings.

    • Gina…Midwest Thoroughbreds takes part – in a big way! – in an industry that exploits then discards sentient, living beings for gambling purposes…that’s enough for me to be convinced they are not one of the “good guys”. There is unequivocally NO SUCH THING in this filthy horse-killing industry.

      Look what happened to those 20-something throw-aways of theirs a year or so ago…they “placed” them with Mary Meade, trusting her to re-home them! Dear God, how stupid ARE the folks at Midwest?…no, not stupid…just simply they don’t give a s***. Outta sight, outta mind – and OFF THEIR BOOKS just like they want! They can’t be bothered with horses that don’t bring the checks in the amount they expect.

      It does look like Mr. Mostly is dead, euthanized after his horrific breakdown. Midwest bears responsibility. They bought him, used him, dumped him. They didn’t follow him. When he was purchased by a kill buyer and made to run in cheaper and cheaper races, WHERE was Midwest? Mr. Mostly never had a chance to live into his prime – if he didn’t die racing like the thousands that do, his racing owner would just put him on his own slaughter rig…

      I know what you mean about the “error” on Equibase, Gina – I actually had that happen last night while I was checking facts there. I’ve also had my virtual stable disappear as did Jo Anne Normile. What I find interesting is how quickly the pro-racing folks find what they think might be an inaccuracy here!…they must watch this anti-racing/pro-horse site like a hawk! Yet isn’t it telling….when the LISTS of DEAD horses are reported, they’ve got nothin’. Absolutely nothin’.

      • Come on Joy ? Even you have to admit that claiming a horse , and i quote , ” has literally disappeared off the map” and then accusing Equibase of some kind of cover-up is a HUGE stretch ! All because their website was down for a bit ?? Really ??

  10. The ongoing abuse of Bluegrass Sight (BS) continues in my view. First of all, he hasn’t run since February – highly suggestive that not all is well with BS. After all, TB Owners want to keep them running to pick up checks. We all know that.
    Secondly, his last work was horrific. He went 52.40 in a 4 furlong work 32/35 – certainly not an exemplary work for a racehorse that showed his better days a long time ago.
    Third, perhaps not a conspiracy theory with Equibase, but time will tell as we regularly check records. Combine my experience with Joy and Mary, and one could conclude that they have blocked IP addresses – a very common practice for entities that don’t want people to reveal certain truths.
    Fourth, something appears to be not kosher with Midwest Thoroughbreds. Upon review of the breeders and/or partners and/or owners there is rarely an actual name given as the entries or breeders are often listed as corporate names or LLC’s. Nobody can really tell who the heck is backing them up or in a partnership. While rare in many thoroughbred camps, this seems to be common practice with Westpoint leaving one to wonder – what are they hiding?
    In a recent article they claim to own or partner with 300 thoroughbreds. By golly – do they own oil wells like the sheiks? It costs a minimum of $200 per day to keep a horse in training minus the extras. Multiply that by 300 and you get $60,000 per day! This is astounding. It doesn’t take into account all of the additional associated costs including their multi million dollar farm. Does their income match the costs of operating their racehorse business? If not, then who is financially backing them? The wagering public needs to know.
    Anyways, Midwest TB’s are not unlike most in this industry as dumping into their disposal system called the Claiming Ranks is the main modus operandi when a racehorse is no longer profitable. If not being dumped, whipped/beaten, maimed and/or killed in action like the facts on this blog clearly demonstrate.
    This industry and the Turf writers (the entire Daily Racing Form writers who Tweeted out their support of Doug O’Neill) are all disgraceful as they support, boast, revere multiple drug violating Trainers who have multiple racehorses die in their care such as Doug O’Neill.
    If this industry was really serious about cleaning up their act then they should all boycott the Preakness Stakes and just have the lone runner Nyquist – show the public how serious they are.
    Of course this will never happen because the ongoing doping, which amounts to animal cruelty, is necessary in order to keep lame/sore horses filling races to increase wagering income.
    Moreover, the ongoing doping is a major contribution to catastrophic breakdowns which probably accounts for most of the racehorses dying in the multiple drug violating Trainers barns.
    It’s a neat little system for the dopers, but the racehorses pay with their lives, and so do some jockeys.
    In actuality, this is a slavery cruelty ring, and a death camp – all endorsed by pro-horse racing people.

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