Suffolk Downs Goes Out With a Kill

After 62 races – all but two, claiming – over five years, 8-year-old Funky Country was, according to prominent advocate Mary Johnson, scheduled to be retired. Problem was, he had one more race left on his sentence – a cheap run on Suffolk Downs’ final day. The chart for last Saturday’s 6th has Funky Country “bumping a foe,” pulling up, and being vanned off. But in fact, he is dead. Apparently, trainer/owner John Nassi – who bought FC for $4,000 in May – couldn’t bear to leave any possible dollars on the table. (Although 5th was paying only $300; 6-9 were getting nothing.)

In the end, it is fitting that Suffolk Downs – which had been killing horses for 79 years – should go out this way. And yet, it is we – a 21st Century society that still abides blood-sport – who ultimately failed this horse. End racing, now.

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  1. The death of every racehorse is an unnecessary tragedy. But Funky Country’s death was avoidable. Nassi just couldn’t let him walk away from the “sport” while he still had four “good” legs – he disregarded the gelding’s welfare and decided to squeeze every last cent out of him. Funky Country was only six furlongs from life…Nassi made certain that didnt happen.

  2. Funky Country’s sad life and needless demise are emblematic of this business and how disposable the horse is. There is no sense of compassion or any hint of fairness for these track warriors. It takes a certain mindset to be so heartless. There is something seriously wrong with someone who can be so brutal to a defenseless animal.

  3. I am so sorry to learn of Funky Country’s death on the track. While I don’t know how it occurred, I am sure it was horrendous for this poor warrior. He was eight years old, unloved, used, and abused. Why do things like this happen? Somebody wanted to make a quick buck and brag that he owned a racehorse. Now this poor creature is gone. It just breaks your heart.

    • I’m excuse me this horse was very loved and not at all abused! If you don’t believe me go spend a year at the racetrack on the backside and see how much we love our racehorses. I’ve seen more neglect and abuse in other disciplines

      • Casey, you are not the first apologist to offer this tired retort. The fact: A sentient being died for an obsolete gambling game. It is indefensible. And down deep – you know it.

      • Casey…”spend a year at the racetrack on the backside”…that’s your suggestion? You are just one of many who throw that out, and I’m certain you believe we never will…and hence, will never see the cruel realities. But I did. Every week for six months/year for nearly ten years. And what I saw turned this former racing fanatic into a staunch ANTI-RACING/racehorse advocate. The “love” you speak of is simply the maintenance of your racing “machines”. The horses require certain things that their connections must suppy…that’s not love, that is merely keeping your “tools” in good working order. Then when your equine machines fail, they are unloaded into a cheaper claiming race or put on the crammed trailer headed to slaughter.

        So we can assume you are speaking out against this neglect and abuse you have witnessed in these other disciplines?

      • Casey, please stop insulting those of us who have spent time on the backside of a racetrack. Just to clear up any confusion on your part, it is because I have witnessed atrocity after atrocity at a track that I turned against racing with a vengeance. You, and your racing colleagues, babble about how much you “love” your horses. Do you run them on drugs, and, yes, Casey, Lasix is a drug! Do you keep them stalled 23 hours a day? As we should know, horses are herd animals and need adequate turnout. Do you run them with injuries? Do you give them downtime when they are injured? After you have squeezed the last dollar out of them, do you retire them to wonderful, forever homes, and periodically check up on them? Do you speak out against slaughter because anyone with minimal intelligence knows that slaughter is the disposal system for the racing industry!

        It is my understanding that Funky Country had a home waiting for him. However, his owner, who “loved” him so much, decided to run him just one more time. Why? Was it to, hopefully, make a few hundred dollars or was it just to have some fun? Either way, Nassi put this horse’s life on the line and for what? So that some gambler could place a $5 bet? Disgusting….

        Remember, dear Casey, that without gambling there wouldn’t be any racing in this country. If these horses are truly members of the “family”, why do they put their lives on the line every time they step onto the track? Perhaps you would treat a family member that way, but I certainly wouldn’t. Of course, if we are honest, we all know why these horses are racing – for the money!!

  4. Everyone that played a part in this horse’s death and any other unnecessary race horse’s death should be drugged into a starting gate saddled, bridled and raced until their legs blow out or their heart does. Thats just my opinion though.

  5. Casey, so glad to hear that you don’t run SOME of your horses on Lasix. Since 98% of the horses do run on Lasix, that is quite an accomplishment. I am also assuming that you don’t inject your horses’ joints, race them on bute, along with other drugs, both legal and illegal. Also, under whose name do your horses run so that i can check them out on Equibase? I also have to assume that you don’t run them in claiming races because if you “love” them so much, there is certainly no reason to put them up for sale. It is also refreshing that you find ALL of them good homes and you know where ALL of them are currently located. I wonder how many of them retire sound!!

    • Mary,
      would u please email me so that i speak to you on these matters?
      I have some ideas to discuss but need an experienced horse welfare advocate to work with.
      Thank you.

      • Sam, I will privately email Patrick and ask him to send me your email address. Yes, I would be happy to speak with you concerning the horses.

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