Hoosier Park: Where Abusers Are Allowed to Keep Abusing

The following abuses were committed against Standardbreds at Hoosier Park. (The rulings come courtesy of the Indiana Horse Racing Commission.)

7/19/14, Lewayne Miller, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – no fine, 5-day suspension
From 5/13 to 7/1, Miller was “disciplined” three times for the same type of abuse. On this, his fourth act of cruelty in two months, he receives but a 5-day suspension.

7/26/14, Peter Wrenn, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

7/26/14, Dan Shetler, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

8/2/14, Luke Plano, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension
Back in May, Plano was disciplined twice within a week for whip abuse. He still drives.

8/9/14, Tyler Smith, “Kicking” – $100 fine, no suspension

8/9/14, Tyler Smith (again), “Kicking” – $300 fine, no suspension
Back in June, Smith was disciplined for the same type of abuse. In other words, Smith was caught kicking three different horses in two months – and still drives.

9/9/14, Bradley Hanners, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension
Back in May, Hanners was disciplined for the same type of abuse. He still drives.

9/9/14, Walter Haynes, “Whip-bleeding/welts” – $500 fine, no suspension

9/10/14, Terry Cullipher, “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension

9/13/14, Charles Conrad, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

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9/16/14, Boby Brower, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

10/8/14, Ross Leonard, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

10/9/14, Edward Hensley, “Kicking” – $100 fine, no suspension

10/11/14, Donald Harmon, “Kicking” – $200 fine, no suspension

10/11/14, Donald Harmon (again), “Whip-excessive” – $500 fine, no suspension

10/11/14, Donald Harmon (again), “Kicking” – $100 fine, no suspension

10/11/14, Donald Harmon (again), “Whip-excessive” – $200 fine, no suspension
That’s four acts of abuse by Mr. Harmon in a single day.

10/15/14, Charles Conrad (again), “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

10/21/14, Richard Plano, “Whip-indiscriminate” – $100 fine, no suspension

10/22/14, Peter Wrenn (again), “Whip-indiscriminate” – $200 fine, no suspension

This is Indiana harness racing.

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  1. This abuse, endured by living, breathing, feeling creatures at the hands of “men” who are nothing but scum just fills me with rage. Someone commented here quite recently about my “anger” and suggested I address that anger…to whomever that was, I’d like to suggest they address their apathy regarding the SUFFERING these horses endure. If one does NOT feel ANGER when reading these truths, you fit right in with the scum that wields the whip.

    This is just sick….

    • Joy,

      I agree with you completely. If one does not feel outraged and angry over this abuse, they fit right in with the abuser. Scum is too good a word to describe them!! Marlene Thornley

      • Joy,

        Let’s go to the track and hold a seminar on “Sensitivity Training”. We can line up all the drivers and instead of penalizing them with fines, how about we line all the drivers up and relentlessly whip them until welts appear and they bleed. I bet the number of infractions would go down. Marlene Thornley

      • Marlene, my outrage over the abuses racehorses endure is nearly matched by my inability to comprehend how equine “advocates” can support the industry that abuses them!

    • Joy,

      For the record. I Never see any of your posts as angry.

      I see your posts as being filled with compassion for horses and a passionate desire to stop the horse abuse and stop horse racing.

      it seems that some people that label you as angry is because they disagree with you so strongly on an issue that they perceive that “you are angry” simply because you hold the opposite view.

      it makes no sense to me that anyone can come on this list and read post after post after post of horses being drugged and killed at the track and not get upset but instead attack those who want to end horse racing and express that viewpoint.

      Speaking of horses. I am trying to find a really good picture of Ferdinand and I found one on this website but when I called them they did not have the original and nor did they know who took the photo.

      If anyone knows who the photographer is, please let me know.

      It is the gold picture on the right



      • Kathleen…I don’t know who took the photograph of Ferdinand that you’ve included here. But it’s hard to look at photos of him, imagining what he endured in the end, and not weep. I still remember where I was and what I was doing when I received notification that he had been slaughtered. I never thought it could happen to a multi-millionaire, a Derby winner, a BC Classic winner…how naïve of me. In the industry’s eyes, they are all disposable once their ability to generate revenue is gone. They’re nothing.

      • Each state has their own Racing Commission, and I think it’s extremely urgent that we have a National Racing Commission to oversee these horse races. The owners, trainers, jockeys and anyone else who abuses/kills these lovely animals need to be held accountable, and receive appropriate punishment. A $100 fine for whipping a horse multiple times is a slap on the wrist, and it needs to change.

    • Joy,

      I forgot to mention. They have 150 horses currently retired at Old Friends

      A. P. SLEW 1999-2014 was slated for slaughter in 2008.
      56 Starts, 3 Wins, 7 Places, 5 Shows. Career Earnings: $88,993

      Joined Old Friends: June 2008

      Earning less the older he got, he was slated for a slaughter auction in the spring of 2008. At the last moment his luck turned. R.A.C.E. Fund in Pennsylvania bought him with financial help from the Paulson Living Trust. He went for adoption to the Kentucky Equine Humane Center, which contacted Old Friends.

      A. P. SLEW 1999-2014


      The horse i always cry over when I hear his story.


      • A.P. Slew is another example of the racing industry’s treatment of their “athletes”, Kathleen. Bred by racing “royalty”/major breeder Allen Paulson (and formerly owned/raced by the Allen Paulson Living Trust), A.P. Slew ended up running at Penn National in $2500 claiming races. His last T/O of record were A. Salazar and M. Rodriguez. In his last races in 2008, he finished 8th on March 5 – 8 days later ran for a 7th place finish – 16 days later he came in last, over 28 lengths behind – then again 12 days later, he finished second to last, nearly 20 lengths behind, “showed little”. Then “slated” for the auction. Absolutely disgusting. Heartbreaking. How I wish A.P. Slew could have been given more time liberated from racing enslavement. At least he experienced several years of freedom. Lucky guy…

    • Joy,

      I am still searching for the photo of Ferdinand as I am building a facebook page for horses to help stop horse slaughter and I just spoke with a woman over at Old Friends and she told me about an organization that started
      2 years ago called


      Last year they gave out 2 million dollars to organizations and she said that Canter Michigan the group that you work with also got money.

      Farms are now beginning to to give a portion of their stud fee.
      She said that Racing organizations, Trainers , jockeys are contributing as well.

      Here is a list of groups they are giving money to:


      Here are some of their success stories


    • Got the Urge, a 3-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who wound up at the Camelot Auction in 2013, made it out on Thanksgiving Day after Rhiannon Toman awoke from nightmares about the vulnerable animal and quickly decided to save him.


      A ragged racehorse, who narrowly escaped the slaughterhouse with the help of a kind stranger, has blossomed into a fancy stepping dressage prospect loved beyond measure.

      “The picture of him standing in the feedlot was certainly far from flattering, and it certainly didn’t make a casual observer look twice,” Toman says. “He was underweight and unkempt, a far cry from the horse he has become today— which is a big, bold, and expressive horse with a wonderfully goofy, kind personality.”

      Got the Urge, a 3-year-old Thoroughbred gelding who wound up at the Camelot Auction in 2013, made it out on Thanksgiving Day after Rhiannon Toman awoke from nightmares about the vulnerable animal and quickly decided to save him.

      Toman happened to see the very unremarkable-looking animal advertised as a Camelot Auction horse in a picture on Facebook. The thin bay stood meekly, not eating, in front of a manger full of hay. Guessing that few would be interested in a horse like that, especially as the press of holiday was upon everyone, Toman decided to call the auction house.

      I didn’t think anybody would answer because it was Thanksgiving morning. But I wound up getting a hold of somebody, so I said I was interested in Hip Number 344. And the guy told me he was gone. Then he said, ‘Wait, wait, what number was that? Oh, he’s still here. Do you want him?’ And the next thing I knew, I was handing over my credit card information to an auction I didn’t know, to buy a horse I’d only seen in a picture.”

      “Stunned is how I’d describe my coach’s reaction,” she says. “She probably wanted to tell me this wasn’t the smartest move in the world, and some people in my barn did say just that when this little 15.3 hand Thoroughbred, who was probably 800 pounds, walked into the barn.”

      “Stunned is how I’d describe my coach’s reaction,” she says. “She probably wanted to tell me this wasn’t the smartest move in the world, and some people in my barn did say just that when this little 15.3 hand Thoroughbred, who was probably 800 pounds, walked into the barn.”


      • Part Two of the story from the website that is now donating money to thoroughbred after care

        This horse was only 3 years old when they sent him to the slaughter house.

        Got the Urge
        Barn name: Surge
        Sire: Purge
        Dam: Raise a Roar
        Foal date: April 5, 2010

        Surge has a toe-flick and a natural frame that make him a natural for dressage.

        The trio has worked for two years to build upon the young gelding’s surprising aptitude for dressage movement. Surge had a few things running in his favor: His feet had been well kept, as had his teeth. So building up his body weight proved to be fairly easy. And he possessed a natural balance that allowed him to move easily into a frame.

        It wasn’t long before his short, flat trot grew to an expressive gait punctuated by a hyperextension and toe-flip so desired in a dressage horse.

        And though it’s early days in the show ring, Surge has already placed a few times. He took 5th at the Meadows Event Park in Doswell, Va., against 17 competitors last year, and is smoothly learning the dressage ropes, just like the big boys.

        “He has a very similar movement to the big, expressive trot of a Warmblood,” she says. “For this reason I call him twinkle toes!”


  2. Sadly, this is what we know about and probably nowhere near what actually goes undetected and unreported.

  3. Absolutely disgusting and wrong! Sadly there are worse things that go on at Hoosier Park than the above mentioned. More formal complaints need to be made by the public. We need to speak out!

  4. this is beyond disgusting and sad !!! poor horses to have to endure this & then end up at slaughter !!!

  5. These repeat offenders should be suspended period!!! After the third reprimand and fine they should be suspended for several weeks. Beating up on defenseless animals, what cowards, they should all be thrown into a bottomless pit. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior. Not a single driver has a scrap of compassion for these precious babies. It makes me sick, and outraged. I’d like to take their whips and slap it across them a couple of times and see how it feels. Marlene Thornley

  6. Along with the fines, at least they could have the same done to them. Wanna kick? You’ll get kicked too. Want to whip indicriminately? You’ll get the same done to you. Wanna be a sadist and draw blood/leave welts? Take your clothes off and let’s go – it’s your turn. Cowards.

  7. A measly fine is no incentive to deter such abusive and cruel behaviour.

  8. Joy and others writing here, We are all angry and sickened by this abuse. Because racehorses are not pets/companion animals the kind of treatment that would land a man convicted of beating a dog in jail goes virtually unpunished in the “business” of horse racing.
    My request is that we all direct our anger at these brutalities to our local and state representatives in the form of typewritten/Word documents. Send CC’s to state racing commissions, track stewards, the trainers and owners of the abused horses. Maybe the latter don’t give a damn and are in collusion with the abusing jockeys/drivers but the CC says “I am watching you; I know what you’re permitting. I hold you responsible and culpable.”
    This is why I encourage fellow advocates for racehorses to go to the racetrack and document for themselves the abuses they see and to watch TVG for same. You can make a difference, really! Yes, it’s slow in coming but Patrick is doing a lot of the heavy lifting here by gathering FACTS and stats. Let’s help him out by taking this info to those who are in the decision making process on horse racing.
    Patrick, I was interested to see those stats on Luke Plano at Hoosier. He drives in nearly every race at CalExpo. Clearly, he’s doing the same there as he is at Hoosier but it would appear that CE must have higher acceptance of abuses as your recent stats from there did not mention him. We must move toward NATIONAL standards of whipping, drug use, etc.

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