The Abuse of Maggie’s Lad

In Maggie’s Lad’s very first race in September ’13, he took a “bad step” and was “eased” – DNF. At the time, he was two years old. Prior to his next race, he was sold. Prior to his next race, he was sold again. Prior to his next race, he was sold again. Prior to his next race, he was sold again. Prior to his next race, he was sold again. Prior to his next race, he was sold again. In case you lost count, that’s six consecutive raceday sales.

In August of last year, the now 3-year-old Maggie’s Lad finished last in a Monmouth Park race – after having “bled.” He was then held out until February of this year. His two 2015 starts (most recently, March 16th): last of 12, last of 10 – a combined 68 lengths back. As of this writing, we believe him still active.

To recap, this still-in-puberty racehorse has endured seven different trainers and eight different owners (including breeder Anthony Grey). In one race, he was a “bad step DNF”; in another, a bleeder. And now he can barely finish cheap claiming races at Parx. Simply put, he is an abused animal who requires immediate intervention.

The complicit connections:

Thomas Morley, Winter Park Partners – 2 races
David Jacobson – 1 race
Patrick McBurney, Robert Deckert Jr/Robert Deckert Sr – 1 race
Claudio Gonzalez, MCA Racing – 1 race
Jane Cibelli, Bulldawg Enterprises – 1 race
Joseph Orseno, Michael Day – 1 race
Harold Brown, Brown Dog Racing (current) – 2 races

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  1. Poor dude. Just another victim of this horrific industry. Sadly, one example of many.

  2. This is typical of the ugly claiming game, the backbone of this gambling business. The horse goes from barn to barn and is pushed to run on sore limbs.. Joints are injected and drugs are given. The only way out for the vast majority of these claimers in this downward spiral of misery is death.

    PS Jane Cibelli was up for one of her horses getting some kind of joint injection before a race at Tampa. She threw the vet under the bus by saying she knew nothing about it. !!!

    • Yes Rose, these poor claimers have lives that are just misery. For Maggie’s Lad to find himself in another unfamiliar barn again and again and again!!!…my GOD, what person in their right mind with even an ounce of understanding of equines can claim that’s OK?!?! Oh Maggie’s Lad, I am so angry you are being subjected to this constant turmoil!…not to mention having to race when you clearly cannot!! Pure misery at every turn for this young fella. Misery!

  3. Maggie Lad is a classic example of aggravated animal cruelty and just a 3 year old. He has been passed around so many times with the knowledge that he is suffering. 7 different trainers and 8 different owners, oh this poor boy. Once again the racing commission has failed in its duty of care to the welfare of Maggie Lad by not placing an embargo on him. He represents thousands of racehorses in this deplorable industry, trapped with no voice and no means of escape. An industry that has nothing in place to protect his welfare both body and mind. What about HIS rights? I get so angry when i read stories like Maggie Lad and i have every right to be angry.

    Please excuse me for going left field here but at a former Prime Minister’s State funeral recently, his son gave an eulogy talking about there’s a time to love, a time to be happy, a time to be sad, etc. BUT there must be a time to hate. We were all taken aback given this respected and religious family. The Pastor in his eulogy said THERE IS a time to hate when we witness sufferings and injustices. This former Prime Minister fought hard for social justice and equality for all human beings.

    Maggi Moss spoke of hate in our posts. I was raised never to hate anyone but since i’ve been investigating the welfare of the horses in the racing industry, coming across abhorrent cruelty inflicted upon these voiceless, defenceless, innocent noble horses, witnessing such terrible sufferings and the terrible injustices, i have LEARNED TO HATE the people in the racing industry who just stand back, witness the horses’ suffering and DO NOTHING!

    Maggi Moss, if you are reading this post, I take issue with you when you said that most of the comments made by us on this site were not true/wrong. I cannot speak for the other dedicated people who comment on Patrick’s site but I think I’m right on the mark when I say that most of us have been witnesses to abhorrent cruelties inflicted on these horses, we have evidence, we have integrity, we have the knowledge and experience, we do not have difficulty with the truth (unlike the racing industry) and we will continue to fight the fight and be the voices for the racehorses.

    I understand you received an award for Owner of the Year. In all seriousness, are you proud of that? When you look at the trophy displayed in your home, think about the horses you once owned and discarded with no thought about their ending – the slaughterhouse. And think about the horses you currently own/race and what they are enduring. Your much loved mare in Japan – a foal factory with just a few weeks in between giving birth and then raped, every year. Then the separation from her foal every year, have you ever witnessed this? I’ve been on a stud and watched the mares despair on the day their foals are taken from them and the distress of the mothers and their babies was palpable. One determined mare found a way through a laneway to get to the foals’ enclosure but couldn’t get in of course and just cried out for ages for her baby which of course had still been suckling from her and the other foals were crying out for their mothers. I will never forget it. There is absolutely no excuse for this policy. The stud in Japan might look pretty but I think you are gullible if you believe that your beloved mare is being very well looked after. Deeds not words.

    • Carolyn…thank you for your knowledgable and SINCERE comments…they ring true every single time…THANK YOU.

      Carolyn, you are right about the emotions we feel. Our psychological make-up involves many emotions…it’s human nature. And although I was raised, like you, to not hate another being, I was taught that there is right and wrong…and that I am to hate the wrong behaviors…to hate the injustices…to hate the abuses innocent, defenseless beings are subjected to…and then to stand up for them. I get so sick of the same old lines the racing apologists spew…”you’re just a hater”…”I prefer to focus on the positives”…”I try to see the good that is in everyone”……well to those folks with their rose-colored glasses Super Glued in place, shouldn’t we apply your ideas to ALL forms of wrong-doing? Shall we simply not talk about nor expose the abuses in other equine disciplines?…or in circuses?…or marine parks?…or puppy mills?…etc? And then let’s extend your idea to only “focus on the positives” in regards to the abuse of other innocent and defenseless beings…children. Should we not be filled with anger when children are neglected, molested, and abused?…should we not hate what is being done to them?…not hate that they are suffering and powerless to escape?

      Yes, it’s much easier on one’s self to choose to look only at the good, the kind, the beautiful, the positive. Just don’t look…don’t see the abuse…don’t feel anger…don’t hate what the innocent are enduring. But just so you know, focusing only on the good only makes YOU blind to the bad….it’s still there.

    • Carolyn thank you for exposing the truths about the breeding industry. Everyone, especially the racing fans should know how these babies are torn away from their mothers before their time and how bad the separation hurts mother and foal. You are absolutely right about the life of broodmares and you gave the perfect example. I don’t understand how someone can take a baby from their mother. If we don’t let our own children separate from us before its time why should we do that to animals and their young. It is heartless and uncalled for.

  4. Carolyn,

    You are right when you say that most of us on this site have witnessed abhorrent cruelties inflicted on these horses. Besides those of us on this site, what about PETA’s investigation where they FILMED AND RECORDED trainers admitting to the use of “electrical devices” (buzzers) to shock the horses, and the admission by Scott Blasi where he said that one of the horses in Assmussen’s barn had a quarter crack in his hoof and they crazy glued the hoof and sent him out to race, where he could have surely broken down.

    What about the furious whipping, some horses being starved, sending them out drugged to the hilt, sending them out to race with excruciating injuries, covering up their injuries with bute, over racing, over breeding, dumping, then killing them if they don’t win races, racing them in freezing temperatures, racing them in ice and snow, and the list goes on and on. These are indisputable facts, and Maggi Moss is one of many who are part of a despicable industry, in desperate need of regulation, where the horses are the daily victims. Maggi Moss doesn’t want to see or accept the truth, because then she would have to confront herself. Marlene Thornley

  5. Having lived in Ky. I witnessed the horse vans being unloaded with 2 year olds and up that didn’t work out at with some of the best trainers like Lukas and Baffert. These young horses were clearly hurting and scared and you know where most went, the meat man. Over breeding of horses just like with dogs and cats is the beginning of the problem. You have horses being offered for a partnership to own for a mere $100.00. Who in the right mind thinks that is a good option for the breeding and racing of horses? The tracks that run the claiming races need to close as it is never a good option for any horse. My daughter loves thoroughbreds and had an off track one, Blue Blue Sea. He was well bred but never ran the way they wanted him to so he too was passed around from owner to owner and trainer to trainer. When my daughter went to look at him to buy him the current trainer said if he went to the meat market he would give him salt so he would drink lots of water to bulk him up so he could make more money. Blue was one of the few lucky ones, he got his home and was loved and cared for unlike so many.

    • Claudia,

      I wondered what happened to all the horses that Baffert had that did not produce.

      Do you remember the name of the trainer that said if he went to the meat market he would give him salt so he would drink lots of water to bulk him up so he could make more money.

      • John Smith was at the Charlestown, WV track but did get kicked out, which is a good thing. However, my daughter heard he went to endurance racing, which is not a good thing for any horse. Blue Blue Sea has a facebook page dedicated not only to him but to all the thoroughbreds that don’t get a happy ending like Blue did.

      • My daughter’s name is Miranda Prather and Blue Blue Sea was her horse. I just went to the page and it was on facebook so not sure why you couldn’t find it. It is a community page about thoroughbreds so maybe try again?

          • Not sure what you mean by support. She gives donations to rescues, gives free massages to horses at the barn where Blue was, supports causes that help bring thoroughbreds back home from places like Japan and Turkey and on Blue’s facebook page puts out stats as to who was injured in a race. She loves thoroughbreds and knows you can’t stop racing but it can be cleaned up with less breeding and better condition along with fewer tracks and only people able to afford proper care for the horse. So I guess yes in essence she does support it but through education and help.

              • You want to end horse racing okay then what? What happens to all the horses? Do they go to slaughter like PETA wants? Do we just kill them? If you want to do away with the racing aspect then you have to have a solution for all the horses that will no longer be needed or wanted. Having been involved in rescue of dogs and cats for over 35 years I know all to well what will happen, death. There is already an over-population of horses just like dogs and cats, and more and more people are looking for easy answers there is only one, kill them. It would be much better to clean racing up for all breeds not just the thoroughbreds, Arabs and quarter horses as well. Don’t forget hunter/jumpers too they need to be held to a higher standard as well. Horses need to have a purpose other than standing in a field day in and out. Not all should be race, not all should be born, so many make the problem bigger, which is where it is now. There is no simple answer to a very complicated problem but just saying do away with racing isn’t the answer that is the right one to me. How about the Mustangs and wild ponies all are threatened some are already being hunted by people from China and Japan is that a better way to take care of that problem? Again, this is a problem with many layers and it will take more than one simple solution to solve.

                • This is the same inane argument that anti-vegans use regarding livestock (“where would all the pigs and cows go?”). No more racing would mean no more breeding. The glut of horses would stop at the current generation. If the industry were shuttered tomorrow, we could figure out what to do with that fixed amount of horses needing homes (certainly some would require euthanasia – but not your shameless suggestion of some PETA-sponsored mass slaughter). But since they’d no longer be forcibly reproduced, that problem would vanish within a lifetime. Not complicated, really.

      • Claudia,

        Could you please copy and paste the exact facebook page URL. I plugged in Blue Blue Sea horse and thoroughbred horse and did not find it nor did I FInd it under your daughters name

      • Patrick,

        Thank you for that summary of what will happen when horseracing ends.

        it is my understanding that aprox. 40,000 thoroughbreds are born each year and aprox. 20,000 of them are brutally slaughtered each year. that does not include all the horses dying at the racetrack or in training or due to drugs.

      • Speaking of racing decline.

        The same thing that has happened in the racing world of grey hounds can happen in the world of race horses.

        this is a fact sheet on greyhound racing. it now exists in only seven states.

        If any of you live in Florida, then please check out this petition to help the greyhounds in Florida

        IN Florida, thousands of greyhounds are kept in small cages for long hours each day and on average, a Racing greyhound is dying in the state every three days.

        The Bill is House Bill 1183

    • Claudia,

      I found the facebook site. thank you. So sorry to hear from your daughter that BLUE BLUE SEA passed away in 2013.

      It is my understanding that there are 40,000 plus races a year and that 60% or more are claiming races which is hell on earth for those horses.

      Since a horse is not fully developed until he is 6, I am totally against all horse racing and I believe it should be completely abolished. It can be abolished when enough people know the actual stats of how many horses are dying at the track, dying in training and being brutally murdered while still alive in the slaughter houses.

      This is the only website that I have found that gives us the stats of how many horses are dying.. Thank God for Patrick, for Joy, for Mary , Carolyn and all those who rescue horses from death and speak out here on behalf of the horses who cannot speak out for themselves.

      • My daughter goes to each of the tracks and the jockey club to see what happens. Sadly, while they say they broke down they don’t often say what happened next. As with any animal humans ruin them whether they are domesticated or wild. We haven’t learned to live within the natural world and until that happens we will be doomed. I am currently involved in a court case over a horse. Sprite belonged to a dear friend that died and the place he is boarded at want to put him down. Thankfully I found a good lawyer that works with Best Friends so we are working to get him away from those people. Never easy to do the right thing but if you never try you never have the chance to make it right.

  6. Claudia, I remembered that name – Blue Blue Sea – and was certain I had read a story or an article about him. So I googled and found it…the 2011 article in the Blood-Horse. Not only has your daughter’s gelding survived the racing industry, he has, under the watchful eye and with the loving care of your daughter, thrived even with his malabsorption disorder! Blue Blue Sea is a very lucky ex-racehorse!…thanks to your daughter and I would bet, her mother as well!

  7. On the subject of more Horse Abuse

    Racing Licenses Revoked For Four Veterinarians Named In Criminal Charges


    The Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission has revoked all racing licenses for four veterinarians recently named in a federal plea agreement on criminal charges for the “rigging of publicly exhibited contests.”

    The revocations were dated March 27, one day after plea agreements were entered in U.S. District Court in Harrisburg, Pa., by equine practitioners Kevin L. Brophy of Annville, Pa., Christopher G. Korte of Pueblo West, Colo., Fernando Motta of Lancaster, Pa., and Renee Nodine of Annville, Pa.

    The Pennsylvania rulings say the four vets pleaded guilty to “administering drugs to Thoroughbred race horses within 24 hours of when the horse was entered to race. This conduct was in violation of the state criminal law prohibiting the rigging of publicly exhibited contests; the administering of the drugs was not pursuant to a valid prescription and constituted misbranding of the prescription animal drugs in violation of federal law.

    “Pursuant to Section 325.213(f)(l), (2) and (f.1) of the Horse Race Industry Reform Act, the Commission ‘shall suspend, refuse to renew or revoke a license issued under this section, if it shall determine that the applicant or licensee has been convicted of an offense related to fixing races…’”

    The four veterinarians have 10 days from the date of the ruling to appeal the decision.

  8. Thank you, Kathleen, for the update. It wil be interesting to see what the end result will be pending the appeal. As they say, it ain’t over till it’s over !

    These people should lose their licenses to practice, period.

  9. And I suppose the veterinarians acted on their own and did not expect to be compensated !! The trainers need to be held accountable and should lose their licenses. This did not happen in a vacuum.
    Also it would be interesting to see what the billing looked like, dates and services and if the owners received itemized bills. There is so much more to this story.

  10. Question for anyone

    I have the races on in the background at night and on the weekend so I can pray for the horses.

    I pray that they will finish the race.
    I also pray that they will be retired to a good home immediately after the race is over.

    Last night there was a race at Charles Town and it was the 7th race. as they broke out of the gate. One of the horse stopped. No word from the announcers whatsoever.

    Here is what the notes said.
    I do not know what this means.

    MOOGOOGAIPAN lost rear end action leaving the gate and was promptly eased, though, walked off post race.

    What does “lost rear action” mean ?

  11. re: my question about MOOGOOGAIPAN who lost rear end action leaving the gate and was promptly eased, though, walked off post race.

    Mary told me what “lost rear action” meant and i spoke with the owner of the horse and she is okay so i do not need anyone else to answer my question.

    • A standing start in the gates is very bad for the horse. Some suffer a fractured pelvis. There’s so much pressure on the horse being so confined and just standing when the gates open. It’s madness. At the very least they should do a running start. People would declare how unfair that is but since when is a gates’ start fair when some horses get so upset they have to be scratched. The horses should be moving around freely before going into a gallop.

      • Carolyn,

        that is a very good point. I watch some of the horses go up and down in the gate and some of them are pushed in by three people

        the owner i spoke with said the horse’s stifle joint locked up. As soon as she backed up, she could walk again. it was very troubling to see. She literally stopped moments after the race started.

  12. I’m so sorry for the cruelty he endured. Not knowing who these “new” owners were every time he was sold. This racing wasn’t his choice he was made to run while being painfully whipped. Disgusting owners and trainers have no empathy at all….all they care about is money.

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