3 “Found Dead” Among 28 Kills at Ruidoso in 2014

Through a “New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act,” I have confirmed the following 28 deaths at Ruidoso Downs in 2014:

2-year-old Secretly Dreaming, May 3, training
“scapula – mid-body fracture”

3-year-old Dontchacallnomo, May 3, training
“medial sesamoid fracture”

8-year-old Bye Bye Jess, May 3
“colic” – not euthanized

3-year-old Asophisticatedmomma, May 21
“dropped dead”
“horse was found dead – horse was insured”

3-year-old Comic Slew (sic ?), May 22, training
“fractured left elbow”

3-year-old Dynastys First Call, May 24, Ruidoso 7
“horse died post-race – collapsed – died quickly” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

3-year-old Valle Vidal, May 25, Ruidoso 11
“sesamoids fracture” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

2-year-old Perry Point, May 26, training
“severe EIPH [exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage]” – not euthanized

6-year-old Genes Kokopelli, June 4

2-year-old Princess Marquee, June 7, training
“shoulder fracture”

2-year-old A First Class, June 7, Ruidoso 6
“death – immediately post race – on track!” (yes, exclamation point)

3-year-old Nics First Rainbow, June 9, Ruidoso 5
“fractured sesamoids”

8-year-old Scooper Dee (sic ?), June 12, training
“pastern fracture”

2-year-old Handsome Amigo, June 12, training
“sesamoid fracture”

4-year-old Patron Platinum, June 14, training
“luxation with bilateral sesamoid fractures”

4-year-old Peakaboo Sue, June 23

3-year-old Sms First Dibs, June 24
“found dead”

2-year-old Im’s Home, June 25, training
“head injury”

2-year-old Eyesa Llano, June 27, training
“suspected severe EIPH” – not euthanized

6-year-old Carmon’s Trick, June 27
“found in stall dead”

2-year-old Design by Who, July 3, training
“apparent heart attack – dropped dead during gallop”

2-year-old Jaxtens First Wagon, July 3, Ruidoso 5
“slab fracture – knee” (chart merely said “vanned off”)

2-year-old Finns Huckleberry, July 4, Ruidoso 1
“apparent trauma/fracture of back; loss of use of hind limbs”

2-year-old Hocuspocuss, July 4, Ruidoso 5
“shoulder fracture” (chart merely said “injured, vanned”)

3-year-old Coronas Sportiness, July 5, Ruidoso 12
“slab fracture knee” (chart merely said “bad step, vanned”)

5-year-old Miss Bullette, August 22
“colic” – not euthanized
“Additional Information: Dead”

3-year-old Queen But a King, August 25, Ruidoso 5
(chart merely said “went wrong, vanned”)

2-year-old Ize On a Roll, August 29

To recap, according to the documents, four horses died of either colic or bleeding in the lungs – without euthanasia. Imagine that. In addition, three – yes, three – horses were simply “found dead.” This is New Mexico horseracing.

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  1. I would like to “paint a picture” of the TB racing industry using basic math. Patrick reports that approximately 25 horses die in the dirt at tracks throughout the country on a WEEKLY basis. Those are the ones we know about. Let’s say that another 10 die that we don’t know about. I believe that 10 would be a conservative number but let’s use that number for the sake of this conversation. in 2011, I spoke to Eric Mitchell, Executive Editor of the Bloodhorse, and he told me that there were about 28,000 foals registered for the previous year. Therefore, if we look at 35 horses dying every single week (and I do feel that is conservative) and multiply that number by 52 weeks, we come up with a total of 1,820 horses losing their lives on a YEARLY basis. I have never been a math whiz, but that works out to be 6.5% of the yearly foal crop…that’s right….6.5% will eventually die, at the tracks, in this sinister industry. In any other industry, would this be tolerated? Absolutely not! People would be up in arms yelling and screaming for the insanity to stop, but not in horseracing. It is allowed to continue so that people can bet and be “dazzled” by the thrill of horses putting their lives on the line every time they step onto the track.

    Okay, now let’s look at slaughter because we ALL know that slaughter is the disposal system for the TB racing industry. It is estimated that 18,000 TB’s ship to slaughter every year and many of those started their careers in racing. If the foal crop is 28,000, that means that approximately 65% of the foal crop will eventually end up on the slaughterhouse floor. Therefore, if 65% eventually go to slaughter and 6.5% die in the dirt (and those are the ones we know about), it appears, at least to me, that less than one third make it out of racing alive. That is simply INDEFENSIBLE yet the pro-racing apologists will somehow attempt to deflect or deny that these atrocities occur. I guess “facts” can be troubling to those folks.

  2. Speaking of HORRIFIC Horse Abuse.

    This is from Tuesdays Horse April 20th 2015


    In what was described as “a scene from some sick horror movie,” Giles County sheriff’s deputies and animal welfare officers raided the farm of known “Big Licker” Jeffery Alan Mitchell near Pulaski, Tn., last week and confiscated 55 Tennessee Walking Horses, all horribly malnourished and some that were so emaciated they could no longer walk.

    By Sunday, the horses were receiving medical attention and care at several rescue facilities while Mitchell, who has quite a record of abusing horses in the past, was free on a $55,000 bond after being served with 55 counts of felony horse abuse.

    According to Giles County Chief Deputy Tommy Chapman, “The animals were not in good physical health.

    Two weanlings were found in a horse trailer without food or water and Jamie Clifton, one of the rescuers, said both young horses were still in critical condition yesterday. He said, “On what we call a Body Condition Scale, with ‘1’ being skin-and-bones and ‘9’ being obese, the entire herd was ‘2’ or less. These animals are in real bad shape.

    Many of the confiscated horses will have to be shaved, the filth in the animals’ hair now like concrete, and most were standing in a filthy mix of excrement, mud, foul hay, and dirt. There was no food anywhere and it was estimated it had been days, or weeks, since the animals had eaten. “It’s unspeakable what these horses have endured,” said Clifton. “The neglect has really taken a toll on them and we still have a couple that are too sick to transport very far.”

    Mitchell, allegedly fired as a pharmacist in Pulaski following his arrest, is known for his connection with the “Big Lick” arm of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry where soring methods are used to force the animals to perform a grotesque and unnatural dance called “The Big Lick.” Mitchell was said to be enamored by the Big Lick and adored the status that came with a blue ribbon, even if it meant soring a helpless horse and much worse.

    According to USDA records, Jeffery Mitchell has been ticketed four times for violating the Horse Protection Act while “Mark Mitchell,” of the same address, has violated the federal law seven times. Oddly, Jeffery and Mark were each ticketed on three horses in 2010 and 2011 – Blueberry Dollar, Mo Dollar, and Black Lining. Repeat violators often enter horses under different names, different owners, or different trainers and are rarely caught. The Mitchells’ violations included soring and shoe pads.

    Mitchell was named as the breeder of a world champion Tennessee Walker, a horse named Gen’s Burning Rage. It is strongly alleged Gen was in a “rage” after being repeatedly “burned” by soring techniques. It is well-known that Mitchell was apparently so consumed by world champion Walkers he would do anything for another champion. Almost every mare confiscated last Saturday was believed to be pregnant, some in late stages. It hasn’t been determined how much damage was done to the unborn colts.


    From Tuesdays Horse April 20th, 2015

    Mitchell was named as the breeder of a world champion Tennessee Walker, a horse named Gen’s Burning Rage. It is strongly alleged Gen was in a “rage” after being repeatedly “burned” by soring techniques. It is well-known that Mitchell was apparently so consumed by world champion Walkers he would do anything for another champion. Almost every mare confiscated last Saturday was believed to be pregnant, some in late stages. It hasn’t been determined how much damage was done to the unborn colts.

    We know this: In 2009, Mitchell went bankrupt, according to court records, and the VEA’s Jamie Clifton remembers going to the same Mitchell Farm six years ago to rescue animals that had been abused. At the time Mitchell pleaded guilty and there was little punishment. He was ticketed for soring less than a year later but the penalty was virtually nothing. This time, he could well go to jail on any of the 55 counts.

    The sadists who encourage the torture are now known as ‘Lickers’ and while Shelbyville spin-masters say the USDA inspections are too severe, the number of horses cited at the National Celebration, held in August, were twice as many on 2014 as in 2013.

    Soring is now so prevalent it has made the Tennessee Walking Horse the scourge of the horse industry. Public disdain, now nationwide, is growing for the Shelbyville-based sadists who cling to the archaic 80-year-old training methods that are now outlawed in Tennessee. Horse show attendance is plunging and a growing number of shows are prohibiting “Big Lick” freaks from entering the ring.

    Ironically, Mitchell’s farm is less than 20 miles from Columbia, Tn., where a very controversial horse show is scheduled for next weekend. Over 4,300 people have already signed a petition on the Change.org website against the Gulf Coast Charity Celebration horse show, urging people to boycott it and to speak out against animal cruelty.

    One reason is Larry Joe Wheelon, who was allegedly soring animals in a blatant fashion over two years ago when 19 horses that allegedly had been badly tortured were confiscated. Wheelon, who was brazenly “ticketed” again in 2014 for attempting to enter a sored horse in a Dandridge show, is expected to finally go to trial in late spring after his lawyers have made a mockery of due process in Blount County. Wheelon and two stable hands face 18 counts of aggravated cruelty to livestock.

    Of those charges, 13 are felony charges and five are misdemeanors. Wheelon, a member of the Walking Horse Trainers Association’s ethics committee, also has a colorful history of past Horse Protection Act violations and could become the first trainer to serve a jail sentence for abusing a horse.

    Because of Wheelon’s pending charges, it is strongly believed in the ‘sound horse’ community that the National Walking Horse Trainer’s Horse Show was moved away from Tennessee this spring to Decatur, Ala., because horse abuse and soring are not felonies in Alabama. (A ‘sound horse’ is a flat-shod horse that is not sored or abused.

    The Humane Society of the United States has pledged $300 to help each horse that was confiscated on Mitchell’s farm this weekend and, while over $16,000 is quite a gift, the VEA’s Clifton said the money “won’t go far with the medical needs and food bills.” Those wishing to donate toward the recovery of the badly-abused horses should send a tax-deductible check to Volunteer Equine Advocates, Post Office Box 112, Gallatin, TN 37066.

    • Kathleen,

      Thank you so much for the above information, and for the name and address where we can send a donation. I will mail out a contribution today. These sick trainer’s need to be put away for a very long time, so they can never harm animals again. Marlene

    • Kathleen, thanks for this information. I looked into the walking horse several years ago and was appalled.
      It is good to hear that some action is being taken in the law courts and the abused and neglected horses they found are receiving appropriate treatment. Oh, the suffering, i cannot bear to think about it.

  4. The list is heartbreaking and we know it is incomplete. The pro-racing people never address the core issue in racing. The horse, in this gambling business, is a means to an end, a disposable commodity and nothing more. The majority of horses that survive the rigors of the game are sent to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered.

    Why this abject cruelty is “allowed” to continue is astounding. As Mary said, “People should be up in arms yelling and screaming for the insanity to stop”.

    But racing is is a subculture adept at hiding it’s true nature from the general population. It presents a false image of admiration, care and even love of the horse. Most people never look beyond the façade.

    Thanks to sites such as this, the true nature of the game is being exposed.
    Attempts by the racing supporters to whitewash the ugly truths are, at best, pathetic.

  5. My name is John Hutcherson 480 San Bernabe Drive, Monterey CA, 93940. I belong to Keep Fort Ord Wild, a group that is trying to prevent the building of a new horse race track here. I, we, would very much like you to provide some coverage to our efforts. The new track is to be called Monterey Downs and is backed by Brian Boudreau, a man with a huge backing in the thoroughbred racing industry in California. Along with the abuse and killing of horses they will destroy 41,000 native mature oak trees to do it. Your support would be greatly appreciated. I couldn’t find an official address to write to you but I read your Horseracing Wrongs every day. John Hutcherson 480 San Bernabe Dr Monterey CA 93940 831-646-9956@comcast.net


  6. I have a question, I don’t know if anyone can answer but I was wondering if most race horses are insured?

  7. Once again Patrick’s list of killed horses is depressing to read. These horses have been sacrificed for human entertainment, gambling and greed.
    As for the 4 colic deaths, as soon as you see the symptoms that might be colic you call the vet in immediately because it is a most agonizing death for a horse. Racehorses are housed in a confined area so monitoring their health is easy, you’re under the same roof with them so there’s no excuse whatsoever for not noticing when something is up with a horse.

    Two of these colic deaths do not disclose whether or not the horse was euthanased, so we will never know the truth because there is no transparency here and one wonders for how long they (being 6 year old GENES KOKOPELLI and 4 year old PEAKABOO SUE) suffered. My view is that if a vet was called in as soon as these 4 horses showed a symptom of colic their lives could’ve been saved. There is so much a vet can do for colic these days. In reality, colic is often a direct result of diet, and is often preventable.

    The 5 year old mare MISS BULLETTE and the 8 year old BYE BYE JESS died from colic and were NOT euthanased, well that tells me that they suffered an agonizingly slow painful death which highly likely went on for many hours and then they were found dead.

    These people who declare they “love” their horses, allow them to die in excruciating pain?

    And their so called “carers” DID NOTHING! If these people were in a similar situation as these horses (severe abdominal pain) they’d be begging and screaming out for medical help – these horses were voiceless. ABSOLUTELY DESPICABLE!

  8. Carolyn , For you to simply assume that the people involved with these horses did nothing and just watched them die is completely ridiculous ! I don’t know how many times you have stayed with a horse that is colicing , but i have done it a few times . By stayed i mean 12 ,14 ,18 Hrs of constant observation, walking the horse, keeping them on there feet, Giving meds , oiling , iv fluids , palpating . FYI colic is a medical emergency in any stable and yes the vet is immediately called ! The medical definition of colic is abdominal pain. It can range from Mild gas pain to impaction , to a life threatening torsion ( twisted gut) . Horses colic for all kind of reasons Carolyn and cant always be prevented with diet. One of the most common reasons is sudden temperature changes , such as changing of seasons , most commonly summer into fall when a horses water consumption drops as the temperatures drop . Now i don’t know the numbers of veterinarians in your area that do colic surgery , but where i live and race there are 2 within 200 mile radius . Not only is torsion surgery high risk but hauling a horse to have the surgery is high risk . The last horse i stayed with during a colic was last summer . There were 6 of us that stayed with that horse for over 14 hours ( trainer , groom , 3 concerned friends and the vet ) all of us doing whatever we could to save her . Sadly we couldn’t. Colic is the most common medical cause of death in horses. Not just Racehorses ALL HORSES!! Oh FYI the mare the 6 of us stayed with for 14+hrs trying to save was nothing more than one those cheap claimers ya”ll are always yammering on that we don’t care about ! Kinda blows that theory huh

    You know what amazes me on this blog , i mean besides the lack of common courtesy towards people trying to defend themselves or unbelievable obsession with grammar, Is the complete lack of common horsemanship ! Maybe some of you should start reading something other that than that backyard stable rag “the Horse” and actually look at the Merrick Veterinary manual once in a while ! Heres some reading for ya: http://www.merckvetmanual.com/mvm/digestive_system/colic_in_horses/overview_of_colic_in_horses.htm.

    • Laura,

      Don’t tell me that it doesn’t happen that horses with colic haven’t been left to die without treatment from a vet, because it does happen, and it happens to horses more often than you would like to believe, especially in the claiming ranks. Some owners didn’t want to pay to euthanize their horses, so they let them suffer with unbearable pain. The humans that did this to a horse are the sickest, most depraved people, of which there are owners and trainers alike in these ranks. MAY I REMIND YOU that many of the posters on this site have worked on the backside of the track, and witnessed unbelievable acts of cruelty, abuse, and suffering. So don’t tell me it doesn’t happen, because that is just not true.

      You people love to distort the truth to your liking, because the truth hurts, and the truth is that racetracks kill and injure thousands of beautiful innocent TB’s a year. Who pays the price, do you pay the price with your life, for a $2.00 bet? No sweat off your back is there? But yet, you continue to pledge your loyalty to an industry that is corrupt to the hilt, and doesn’t care an iota for the thoroughbred’s that die in the dirt in multitudes each year.

      First, I have no respect for you people, who claim to love their horses. If you love your horse so much, why put him or her into a sport where there is a good chance they will die or become injured? I wouldn’t want any of my horses anywhere near a race track. They do it for the MONEY, and the prestige. Sick as it is. Are you proud of yourself Laura, for being a part of an industry that murders babies every day? And even if a TB is lucky enough to make it to retirement, they still may need to endure the ride to the slaughterhouse, because that is where many of them end up. Many become broodmares and are forced to be pregnant every year till they die.

      This is our mission, to let the world know every stinking secret your industry tries to hide from the public. We want them to know the truth, so they are informed and educated, as to what is happening to all our precious TB’s, and what suffering, and misery they are made to endure at the hands of your disgusting industry. And Laura, where are all the MISSING TB’s that have mysteriously dropped out of sight, what do you think has happened to them? You know the ones who were too slow, the ones who couldn’t win races, the ones who have no racing ability? Where are they Laura? Many are hanging upside down with their throats slashed, bleeding out? What a lovely industry you support.

      We will continue to get our message out until your industry is vanquished, and honor, and respect, will return to the thoroughbred, where he can live out his days free from mistreatment and enslavement. Marlene Thornley

    • Hey, Laura, I thought you would like to read about a Standardbred trainer by the name of Mr. Pena who had no problem drugging his horses in order to win….you guessed it….MONEY! Now I know this would NEVER happen in TB racing (LOL), but, nonetheless, I wanted to share it with you. A $340,000 fine for Pena and a ban of three years. I think a lifetime ban would be more appropriate but who would fill those race cards, right?


      You are quite the character. You come on an anti-racing site and babble about people, such as yourself, “trying to defend themselves”. There is no need to defend yourself here. Just stay off this site and you will be much happier and you can continue with your delusional, and ignorant, ways.

      As far as horse experience is concerned, I have continued to state that I have over 50 years experience with horses. I’m sure your experience is quite extensive, as well, and I thank you for your suggestion to read the Merck Vet Manual on colic. You have the audacity to suggest that I lack knowledge of common horsemanship? Really, Laura? Anyone with minimal intelligence knows that horses need to be in as natural environment as possible in order to decrease the chance of colic. What about a racehorse’s existence is natural? The drugs? What about the stall confinement 23 hours a day or what about the stress of going to and from the track as well as different tracks? It is unbelievable to me that you don’t think that stress contributes to colic. The majority of racehorses have ulcers and that has been proven time and time again. They are fed high energy grain diets instead of grass and hay because trainers want their horses “pumped up”. The life of a racehorse is filled with stress. Surely you know that, right?

      Finally, I find it interesting how so many people in racing can’t put a sentence together that is grammatically correct. Why is that? Perhaps if you had a good command of the English language you, and your colleagues, could get decent paying jobs and you wouldn’t have to rely on the exploitation of the TB racehorse.

    • Laura, since you suggested that I read the Merck Vet Manual on colic, I will suggest that you read ALL the comments about the bastard, Mr. Pena. One of the comments from Bill Casner was quite interesting and I will share it with you because I know you want to become better educated as to why I despise racing. Also, for the life of me, why would a trainer inject thyroid medication into a horse unless the horse really needed it? Could it be because the trainer is a cheat? Yep, I think that’s it. What a surprise! What would your daddy think about that?

      From the Blood Horse 4/15

      BILL CASNER • a day ago

      Levothyroxine is a synthetic thyroxine also known as Thyro-L and is one of the most widely abused meds by a large number of major stables. It is routinely administered to every horse in the barn. Thyroxine is the master hormone that regulates metabolism. It will make young horses more precocious and older horses more energetic for a period of time. The consequence is a negative feedback causing diminished autologous secretion resulting ultimately in atrophy and shut down of the gland leading to a major crash. It is the most abused hormone on the track and it is as bad if not worse than anabolic steroids. Its use is rampant on the backside and I can’t recall a trainer ever being fined, suspended for its use. The reason–all a vet has to do if questioned is to report the horse is “hypo-thyroid” and the med is for therapeutic reasons. Per one of the top University vets in the country, “hypothyroidism is virtually non-existent in young Tb. Horses.”

    • Laura – where in my comment did I say that the relevant people “just watched them die”?

      8-year-old Bye Bye Jess, May 3
      “colic” – not euthanized

      6-year-old Genes Kokopelli, June 4

      4-year-old Peakaboo Sue, June 23

      5-year-old Miss Bullette, August 22
      “colic” – not euthanized
      “Additional Information: Dead”

      I haven’t assumed anything Laura – the list above substantiates my comments.

      Okay, let’s look at BYE BYE JESS and MISS BULLETTE. It is stated that these racehorses died of colic and the information is from an official document (New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act). This official document specifically states that both these 2 horses were NOT euthanased.
      This tells me that these horses were allowed to suffer colic and die without the appropriate intervention of a vet. Died of colic NOT EUTHANASED! We know what that means Laura.

      Then we have GENES KOKOPELLI and PEAKABOO SUE. These racehorses died of colic and once again the information is from an official document (New Mexico Inspection of Public Records Act). This official document specifically states that both these 2 horses died of colic.
      There is no disclosure re euthanasia. Whether these 2 horses were euthanased or not is neither here nor there, the fact of the matter is that, once again, there was no appropriate intervention by a vet. If the horses were in fact euthanased then that means the vet was called in far too late.

      If early intervention by an ethical qualified equine veterinarian had’ve occurred, then the above 4 horses would’ve very highly likely be alive today. You know, I hear people say in the equine world that there’s really no excuse today for a horse to die of colic. Why? Because firstly colic is mostly preventable, if you are caring for your horse as you should and you should also notice a symptom. I have a very low opinion of racing vets and am yet to come across an ethical one.

      And yes Laura I’m aware that horses colic for a number of reasons but the most common cause is diet e.g. inappropriate feed, water, sudden change of diet, etc. You state another reason for colic, other than diet, is when the horse’s consumption of water can change due to weather conditions. By the way, water is part of the horse’s diet. Have you ever thought of giving the horse electrolytes or similar when that circumstance arises so as to prevent the horse coming down with colic?

      I’ve seen and heard of many horses saved from dying of colic because a vet has been called in without delay and taken the appropriate action. Equine vets tell me that there is so much they can do today if they are called in in the early stages.

      I have had three hands on experiences with colic horses. One was a former racehorse which was left in a deserted paddock, and yes diet caused his shocking death and this horse had won hundreds of thousands of dollars but then again he was a gelding! Need I say anymore.

      My daughter’s dressage horse – she noticed at feed time he wasn’t his usual contented self. So later after dinner she checked again and knew something was up. Called her vet, apologized profusely when he arrived, it being about 9pm and he said if it was 2 or 3 o’clock in the morning you always call a vet when it looks like COLIC because it is such a terrible death. Horse given a couple of injections and other treatments and horse recovered very well and remarkably quickly. Early intervention.

      A 3 year old colt just arrived at stables for training and yet to start his racing career. Trainer (also the sole owner) suddenly becomes ill and to hospital, he felt this young colt would be best sent to a “fellow” trainer’s property where horses are spelling because he would not cope being stabled 23 hours a day. Phoned to see how colt is going and informed it’s looking a bit sick, phone vet and arrange to meet him there, drive to property and vet says colic in advanced stages. This colt had come from an old timer breeder friend of the colt’s trainer where no baby left his farm until it was 3 years from its foaling date and kept in the herd with mother and others roaming over magnificent countryside with healthy native grasses to eat, crystal clear water from a brook and where I once observed an adult horse pick up a small round stone and kept it in his mouth for a while and then dropped it. The dear old timer told me that the horse gets minerals from the stone from sucking on it. Vet got half way through asking about insurance and soon shut his mouth. Never in my life did I think I could come out with so many expletives. What the hell has insurance got to do with the excrutiating pain this animal is in? I tracked down the workers on the property to get the facts as to what happened with this colt because he’d been there for a few days (better chance of getting the truth from them rather than the fellow trainer). Well, in lieu of placing this baby in a paddock between a gelding in each of the adjoining paddocks for company and in view of workers to keep an eye on him, fellow trainer says stick him down the end of the property. He was put in a dirt paddock with not one blade of grass in sight, with a tree in the middle and after his first day there the workers had stuffed up with his feeding. Fortunately for the “fellow” trainer he was in town because if he had’ve been around I would’ve been up for murder. Vet diagnoses obstruction, surgery a possibility but we both knew that was not an option because they are often unsuccessful and risky. I agree with you Laura on this. This colt smelt me and i believe remembered me from the day he first arrived, I stayed with him for only just a short while to comfort him because it was urgent that the pain he was in had to come to an end so I instructed the vet to euthanase him. Vet said he had to get the permission of the trainer/owner first and I said well he’ll tell you to put him out of his misery. Vet put him down. Trainer/owner came out of hospital and glad I had made the right decision. This was an elderly trainer who genuinely loved his horses, who had nowhere else to live but in the stables with the horses, who had known nothing else in life but horseracing, reckoned breeders and greed ruined the industry, would never sell or pass on his horses when they had finished racing but would have them humanely euthanased in his presence knowing that they would never go to slaughter which he said was another disgrace to the racing industry.
      I chose a nice spot for the colt to be buried near the forest (even one of the workers broke down) and I took off my cardigan and put it over his young face because I didn’t want that beautiful creature’s face stuck in dirt. He had a loving nature, a beautiful body and the day he arrived other trainers and staff all came around to have a look at him and said what a beauty he was (and the “fellow” trainer was one of them). I decided to have a good look at his paddock, he had water but when I checked out the tree saw that he had been eating the bark off the tree and this would’ve cause the colic and obstruction. It was also likely that he could’ve been eating some dirt where I could see some grass roots. I had to make the call to the old timer breeder and he broke down – it was terrible for him because he raised this colt better than any of the big wealthy breeders ever would and look at all the money they have at their disposal. However, I had to tell him the truth but he said I’m so glad you were there with him and had him euthanased instead of keeping him alive in terrible pain for insurance reasons.

      Laura, as I said in my previous post, in a racing stable THE HORSES ARE IN YOUR FACE.
      There is no excuse whatsoever for a trainer and/or his staff NOT to notice a symptom of colic and call a vet in immediately.

      You say your mare was a cheap claimer, was in colic (excruciating) pain for over 14 hours and you had called a vet in immediately and six of you, including the vet, did everything to save her? Assuming she was euthanased why did it take over 14 hours to put her out of her misery?

      I highly recommend you read Kathleen’s posts on COLIC – very informative.

      Before I sign off Laura – what do you mean by us having a “complete lack of horsemanship”?

  9. Marlene , I do not lie nor do i twist the truth ! As far a people who post on this site working on the the backside i’m sure i have more experience than most . Horseracing is not just my job its my life ! I’m second generation My father trained horses for 40 + yrs and i have spent the majority of my life on the backside and yes Marlene I’m pretty Dam proud of it and very proud of Dad , he was of one the best horseman ive ever met and ive met a lot . Now in all the yrs ive been on the racetrack ,I’m 47 btw, i have never seen a horse left to die in a stall from colic and ive been to a lot of racetracks. As to your missing TB question , how do you know they are missing? Because you don’t see there name on equibase so that means they are missing ? Well i have 2 TBs that have not shown up on equibase for a few yrs now and they are defiantly NOT MISSING . As far having your respect , i could care less, i have enough respect for myself . You say you want the public to know the truth of what is happening to all our precious TBs . Thats a pretty broad statement don’t ya think? i mean there are a lot of TBs in the world . Are they all suffering ? Ill tell ya right now we have got 38 head in my barn and not 1 of them is suffering. As far as people being in this business for the money and prestige , very few people make it to the top The people who make up the majority of this business are small time trainers and they get very little money and even less prestige for working countless hours 7 days a week 365 days a year caring for the horses they love . If you don’t love horses you wont make it in this industry. The hours are long , the work very physically and emotionally demanding . There are no benefits , sick days , weather days, paid holidays paid vacation days, pension plans or 401k”s We have to work in all kinds weather from 100 degree heat to 20 below , in snowstorms , thunderstorms , blizzards , i have sat in the barn in a tornado warning making sure my horses are safe . We endure countless injuries from broken toes and fingers to broken backs and concussions and many of us show up to work with these injuries .And of course Marlene we do this for the MONEY AND PRESTIGE ! Seriously ?!
    Truth be told i have seen More abuse and neglect off track than on . The people who think there doing the right thing by adopting OTTBs and then realizing down the road that they have neither the money or the knowledge to care for that horse those are the ones you see starving to death in some pasture . That to me is true abuse !

    • Laura, I have to admit that I agree with you on something you stated. I, too, have seen abuse and neglect outside of racing. However, this blog is called Horseracing Wrongs, not Horses Being Abused After They Leave the Track. Again, those immersed in racing just can’t seem to grasp what this blog is about. Perhaps I need to post the definition of “horseracing wrongs” until folks, such as yourself, are able to grasp the concept. Just as a reminder…you may want to pick up a dictionary and learn the definition!

      You also state that “If you don’t love horses you won’t make it in this industry”. Many don’t make it in your industry – horseracing. I took food and clothes to the track chaplain at a low level track so that those on the backside could eat and stay warm. I remember a trainer getting into the back of my truck a few years ago, and she immediately began to rummage through the bags of food I had on the seat. I told her to help herself. Sad, but true.

      Now, I would strongly suggest that you stay off Marlene’s case. Frankly, I think Patrick should ban you because you are trying to stir up trouble. There are plenty of pro-racing sites where you can brag about your daddy and how proud you are of him. I frankly don’t give a damn who he was just as I’m sure you don’t give a damn about my daddy who happened to be a successful businessman.

      By the way, I have a list of horses that left Beulah Park and the vast majority were never heard from again. Did some land in wonderful, loving homes? Perhaps, but many did not. In fact, Mark Bliss had open access to Beulah for years and years. He supplied horses to the contract kill buyers if he couldn’t flip them. Yes, Laura, I know more about this sinister industry than I want to know.

      I’m fairly certain you posted here months ago, and I believe we asked you for the names of your horses, or the trainer’s name but you never divulged that info. I would like to follow your horses in my Virtual Stable. If you are proud of your record, then put it out there.

      • Mary , Before i comment on anything else, i just want to say horsewoman to horsewoman that i have the utmost respect for you. Even though you and i may disagree on many things I can honestly say i commend you for all the dedication to saving horses . It takes a strong woman to put herself in some of those situations. With that being said you are jumping all over me for commenting on posts on this blog and facebook . Patrick , you, Joy and everyone else who posts on this blog and social media do so knowing the public can read it . Do you really expect your not going to get feedback from racetrack people all over the world? i have read on here many times the posters on here wanting and asking racetrack people to respond to or defend an action . When they do many times you berate , belittle , make unfounded accusations ,and downright insult the intelligence and integrity of those people. when i post or answer questions i try very hard not to insult and degrade the person im responding to , although im sure i fail at that sometimes . Mary from what ive read and the limited interaction ive had with you i believe you are an intelligent woman and maybe you and i can agree on one thing,to quote Dr Phil ,” No matter how flat you make a pancake there’s always 2 sides” . And i would hope being a horsewoman you could agree that feeding the an unknowing public facts and information that only supports that groups agenda Is not only Irresponsible it can be downright dangerous , especially where it concerns animal welfare . All im trying to do here is show that there is another side to this pancake , and we are all not the monsters you make us out to be .

        Mary if you would like to put my boss in your virtual stable ,im more than willing to give you that information but will only do so via e-mail or private message . I will not post his name on a internet blog for general reasons that i will not get into , but hope you could understand. My father passed in 1996 , name Orville Kemling you can look up his record on equibase if you want you can also find interview and articles featuring him via the Daily Racing Form and other publications . I currently have no horses in training, although i have trained in the past. Right now i have 2 retired racehorses both of which are working pony horses , both of them are happy ,healthy, sound ,much loved ,extremely spoiled and are very good at there job . You are more than welcome to go to my facebook page and see there pictures. Now please Believe me when i say im not trying to be a smart ass or be sarcastic , but any time you would like to share stories with me about your father , im more than willing to listen. I always hope that the little girl that lives in every woman can have a reason to be proud of there daddy .

    • Laura,

      You have seen more abuse off the track than on because you have NOT been to all the tracks where the abuse is taking place.

      Have you taken the time to read the posts of all the horses that are dying on this website ?

      You are so busy defending your way of life that you are not even thinking about the tens of thousands of horses that are suffering day after day, year after year, til the drop dead or are sent to their death

      Have you even taken the time to read the real life stories of the people on this list that have been saving horses for many years.

      Have You ????

      We deal with actual stats here on this website..

      Have you been to a slaughterhouse and watch them brutally murder horses.

      Go TO YOU TUBE and put in HORSE SLAUGHTER and watch as they shoot them in the face and stun them with cattle stun guns only to see them get up again and again and again trying to stay alive.

      It may be true that you and your father take good care of your horses.

      You and your father are NOT the issue that is addressed on this website. You are taking this far too personally.

      THe Issue is the massive amounts of abuse and death of horses taking place at the race track and when they can no longer make someone money. THat is when many owners/trainers TEXT the KILL BUYERS to come get their horse because they do not have the courage or the integrity or the decency to try to save the life of the horse of find them a good home.

      I have one more question for you.

      What about all these racehorses that DIe at the track plus the 20,000 that are BRUTALLY SLAUGHTERED every year .

      They deserve to have a good home, too.

      Those of us that love horses that contribute to this website in posts, mourn for ALL these horses that have lost their lives on and off the race track.

      Have you even looked at these names or are you too wrapped up in defending your position.

      NONE of these horses deserved to die. Their bodies were not strong enough to take this abuse.




      NONE of these horses deserved to die.

    • You were conditioned from birth to view your wicked industry as “sport,” your things as athletes. You are but a product of your environment who refuses to open your mind to truth – truth like this, and this. No matter how you try to spin it, this simple unassailable fact always emerges: Horseracing is the enslavement and exploitation of a weaker species for the most shallow of human ends – gambling.

      • Patrick,

        this is an EXCELLENT Summary.

        “Horseracing is the enslavement and exploitation of a weaker species for the most shallow of human ends – gambling.”

        “Open Your Mind to The Truth.”

        Well said !

    • OMG Laura – I’ve really got to make a comment on this! You publicly state –

      “People who think they are doing the right thing by adopting OTTBs and then realizing down the road that they have neither the money or knowledge to care for that horse are the ones you see starving to death in some pasture. That to me is true abuse!”

      These people display that they have their hearts in the right place and they are to be lauded. The fact that they run out of money and lack knowledge of the equine is not their fault. When they took on an ex racehorse WERE THEY INFORMED by a representative of the racing industry that:-

      what they are taking on is a huge commitment – NO.
      what they are taking on is a huge financial commitment – NO
      what they are taking on is a large animal that eats a great deal of food (trickle feeders) – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires constant monitoring re its health – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires regular hoof treatment – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires a dental check annually – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires worming regularly – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires land to graze upon 24/7 – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires shelter for all types of weather – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that requires veterinary treatment $$$ – NO
      what they are taking on is an animal that can live for many many years e.g. 30+ – NO

      Honestly Laura, I could go on forever here! The above is just the tip of the iceberg in keeping a thoroughbred, especially a former racehorse because they are so badly damaged from horseracing therefore requiring veterinary and other treatments meaning more $$$.

      These kind hearted well-intentioned people suffer – they are also victims of the horseracing industry. They curse the racing industry when they realize that they’ve been used to take on the industry’s almost indescribable mess they’ve made of these horses. They’ve been emotionally and financially adversely affected by the industry.

      The situations these people find themselves in is very sad thanks to the horseracing industry.

      You accuse these people of “true abuse”. I’ll tell you what true abuse is – the unspeakable atrocities inflicted upon these voiceless helpless horses – NEHRO is just one example that comes to mind.

      HOW DARE YOU accuse these well-intentioned people of animal abuse when you and others in the industry created the situation of a “finished with” racehorse in the first place?

      Answer that Laura!

      • Carolyn…I see how you are shocked with Laura’s ridiculous comments, as well. I’m thinking to myself as I’m reading them…doesn’t she see how foolish she appears? But then, have we ever seen an apologist’s comment that made sense?

        Excellent post, Carolyn…thank you.

    • You are in this industry because you love the horse?…LOVE the horse? Couldn’t you come up with something more original? (you and all the others making your living off your horses’ backs sound just like the new SW commercial where they say – with a big smile on their face – that they LOVE their killer whales…and we all know it’s simply damage control) Laura, you’re in this industry because you know nothing else. You’ve been conditioned like all lifers. And admitting the horses are merely a means to an end – playing cards, dice, necessary objects required in this gambling industry – takes full acknowledgement that what you and your family have done to them was wrong. And that takes guts. Clearly, you have none.

      Do you put your horses in claiming races, Laura?…the horses you LOVE?

      Why don’t we see you comment on the list of over ONE HUNDRED DEAD HORSES in just ONE STATE over just ONE YEAR? (and this number of dead horses doesn’t include those that limped into rescues only to be euthanized, those that were euthanized back at the farm, those that went to slaughter). No, you don’t comment there…the huge list of dead horses. Because you’ve got nothing.

      Quickly on the colic issue…gastric ulcers, source of colic. Studies have proven racehorses have them at an incredibly high percentage…at least 80% and I’ve read another study where the veterinarians stated 100%. What does THAT say about the lives of racehorses. The stress is incredibly damaging to both physical and mental well being. The diet. The inactivity for the bulk of their day. The isolation. The drugs. Even the small things like eating out of hay bags, preventing them from eating with their heads down…since Laura can google a “real” veterinary manual, she must know the importance of eating with their heads down, like nature intended.

      We see so clearly, Laura. Horseracing is all you know. Defend and defend some more. We who comment here – for the horses and against the industry that destroys them – have no reason to put our time and efforts into exposing the abuses. There’s nothing for us to gain personally. But YOU Laura, have everything to lose when this industry goes further down the toilet. Everything.

    • Laura, thank you for the compliment. I sincerely appreciate it. With that being said, those immersed in racing need to understand that I have been around horses for a very long time. I galloped racehorses for a friend of my mom’s back in the 1960’s so this isn’t my first time up to home plate. I also spent a good number of years on the backside of Beulah, a low level track here in central Ohio. It is during those years that my eyes were opened to the atrocities committed against the horses. I currently own seven horses including four OTTB’s, two of which were inside a Canadian slaughterhouse, just hours away from a grisly death. I hope to be able to do a Shedrow Secrets story about Cactus Café and Canuki in the future.

      I agree with Patrick. For me, and for many others, there isn’t “another side of the story”. Yes, there are those trainers that take excellent care of their horses if you are talking about the “expected good care”…hay, grain and clean water. Some of the better trainers had a groom assigned for every three or four horses. Those horses glistened when being led out of the barn. However, that care is “expected” care. I would never ask you to praise, or thank, me for taking good care of my horses and that would include calling the vet if I suspect colic and I can’t get it under control within a reasonable length of time. It is to be expected. It is also to be expected to run your hands up and down their legs and give them peppermints as a treat. However, those exact same people drug their horses, run them with injuries, race them as two and three year olds, drop them into claiming races, inject their joints (sometimes to the point that those joints are destroyed), keep them confined in an unnatural environment 23 hours a day, and then hand them off for slaughter. How can you not see that as animal abuse?

      No disrespect to Dr. Phil, but as far as “another side to the story”, there isn’t one, at least for me. I have tried to work with the racing industry but it is corrupt from top to bottom. The drugs are out of control. Why in the world does a horse need cobalt in its system? Why do they need thyroid meds and muscle relaxants? Lasix is a dirty, dirty drug and 98% of the horses run on Lasix yet there are people out there who will tell you that their horse races “clean” yet the horse is racing on Lasix. Clean means clean…no drugs! Are these people dumb or are they in denial?

      There are people in racing that I consider to be friends and I am fiercely loyal to those that I care about. However, it is challenging to be good friends with those immersed in an industry that destroys horses. I would find it difficult, if not impossible, to be friends with anyone involved with dog racing, puppy mills, or circuses. You get the picture.

      Yes, you are correct. This blog has an agenda and that is to end horseracing. There are other pro-racing blogs that have an agenda and that is to promote racing. I don’t believe that racing can ever be cleaned up. Patrick states the truth on this blog. He lists the dozens and dozens of horses that have died in the dirt. That is the tip of the iceberg. According to racing, Marsella Delight, Slade, Bionic Brine, and Shanty Hill Road were not victims of racing, but racing did kill them. Because of the way they were raced into the ground, these wonderful horses didn’t even have a chance of being pasture pets. They were way too damaged by an industry based on money and greed…a gambling industry. If what I am saying is “irresponsible and downright dangerous”, then come after me. I am no longer willing to play nice. Patrick states the truth as do I. Yes, it does make people uncomfortable but that is exactly what we want the facts to do….make people uncomfortable with the hope that those who read the facts will spread the word and gambling on these animals will decline or, even better, cease. Without gambling, racing would go bye bye.

      Please know that I am not trying to change your mind about racing. You aren’t the person that I am trying to reach. You have been immersed in racing way too long for that. There are very few people who leave the industry after being in it for years and years. When I worked the backside of Beulah Park, I asked an owner/trainer why she didn’t get out of racing. She replied that it was all that she knew. Her grandfather was in racing, as was her father. Yes, she could have gotten out, but it would have been extremely difficult to do so. On the flip side, you are wasting your time trying to convince me that racing has any redeeming value. You will never change my mind. In fact, I despise racing more with each passing day.

      I will privately message Patrick and ask him for your email address. Yes, I would like to put your boss’s horses in my VS. I will NOT share your email with anyone else You have my word. Also, I’m sure you loved your father and I am sorry that he passed away. I had a difficult childhood and I believe that my horses saved my life. They were my world…they were my everything. My mom was my hero (not so much my dad) and she was an animal rights activist during a time when that was frowned upon. Thank goodness I inherited her passion for animals.

    • Hey, Laura, in a previous post, you stated that you would share your boss’s name so that I could put his horses in my VS. However, you didn’t want to communicate on this blog so I reached out to Patrick and asked him for your personal email address. Four days ago on Sunday, May 3rd, I sent you a private email. However, I STILL haven’t received the courtesy of a reply from you. Were you just “pulling my chain”, i.e. playing “nice”? Are you going to keep your word or are you simply a fake? I know you are incredibly busy but aren’t we all? You are the one who reached out to me and, against my better judgement, I gave you the benefit of the doubt. Now I do expect you to keep your word. I am done with the racing exploiters who tell “tall tales”, if you know what I mean.

  10. Laura,

    You are so right, I almost forgot you go to work in all kinds of weather; snowstorms, blizzards, torrential rain, hail storms, 100 degree days, frigid cold temperatures, and you ALSO RACE these magnificent animals AND SUBJECT THEM TO all kinds of weather extremes, running on ice, thick mud, blinding snow storms, dense fog, where they couldn’t even see a hand in front of their face. Is this not cruelty? Is this not abuse? Besides being dangerous not only to the horse, but also the jockey. Why do they do it? AGAIN, LAURA – FOR THE MONEY….THEY DO IT FOR THE MONEY!!!!! How you could think otherwise, is beyond me; you couldn’t be that naïve.

    What do you have to say about all the dead thoroughbreds on long lists almost every week, and how the Racing Form reports many of them as finishing the races. Only after Patrick’s exhaustive searches do we find out the truth, that the horse was euthanized. Is this not public deception?

    Open your eyes Laura!! Why are so many TB’s dying? They couldn’t all be unsound. What is causing so many of them to perish? You are the horse expert with many years experience, you tell me….Are you saying it’s not the drugs, or being over-raced and pushing them beyond their ability, you mean to tell me a trainer has never sent a horse out to race with a previous injury, you must be kidding, they do it every day. Is this the way you treat the horse that you love. Their dying because the horse you love and just sent out in a blinding snowstorm to run at break speeds on thick ice, with a previous injury, is understandably breaking down. Where is the glory for all the dead race horses. If they could only speak, what do you think they would say?

    Why are the claimers put down with sesamoid injuries, when many with these type of injuries can be saved and retired. AGAIN LAURA – MONEY… THEY DON’T WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY!! Where is their great love for their horse?

    The people on this blog want no part of your industry. We want it to cease to exist. We want the thoroughbred to be free not dead in the dirt for a $2.00 bet. Racing’s days are numbered and you better start thinking of a new career.

    Marlene Thornley

  11. Laura,

    What about the whipping and being confined in a stall for most of the day. Isn’t that considered abuse also? Then there’s the breeding: Mares forced to be pregnant only to have their foals ripped away from them and sold to the highest bidder. The industry that you live for is riddled with abuse. Open your eyes and take a look around, maybe you’ll see what Marlene and the others are trying to convey.

    • Laura,

      On the subject of COLIC.

      THe way that many racehorses are treated can dramatically increase COLIC.

      There are many article on the subject / Here is one of them.


      Feeding and Management Can Induce Colic in Horses

      A horse’s natural diet is made up of grass, leaves, and bark, yet because of the performance demands put on today’s horses, they are often fed processed grains and sweet feeds that are high in carbohydrates. This can lead to hindgut acidosis, resulting in a lower pH in the colon and cecum. This means a higher level of acidity, which can modify the delicate microbial balance in the hindut and may compromise the mucosal lining of the colon. Eventually, colonic ulcers form, which may allow endotoxins to enter the blood stream, restricting blood flow to the colon and small intestine. Tissue may eventually die, resulting in food blockages and induced colic.

      In truth, the exact sequence of events is unknown. But there is a significant amount of research that shows a connection between feeding horses grain rich in simple carbohydrates and conditions that can lead to colic. Veterinarians, register or login to the SUCCEED Veterinary Center to read more about this research.

      Reduce the Risk for Horses to Colic

      Colic is an epidemic in barns due to modern day practices in feeding and caring for horses, but induced cases of colic in horses may be avoided by preventing the root causes. A few measures you can take include:

      Feed smaller but more frequent meals allow starches to digest before reaching the equine hindgut, preventing hindgut acidosis.
      Increase turnout, reduce feed concentrates and add more quality forage
      Slow food intake by adding chaff (chopped hay) to meals to help reduce your horse’s risk for colic.

      While all these more natural equine management techniques may not be practical due to constraints of time and resources, any improvement to your feed system can help your horse perform at its best.

    • Yes, thank you Tracey. But Laura chooses to keep her blinders in place. She’s got too much to lose by doing the right thing.

  12. Laura,

    More on COLIC.

    Adapted from the Online Equine Nutrition Course,
    My Horse University

    Colic: Causes and Symptoms

    Colic is defined as any abdominal pain although horse owners typically refer to colic as problems with the gastro-intestinal tract. The causes of colic are numerous, but generally they are related to the anatomy and the microflora of the horse’s gastrointestinal tract. Some more common causes of colic include:

    High grain based diets/Low forage diets
    Moldy/Tainted feed
    Abrupt change in feed
    Parasite infestation
    Lack of water consumption leading to impaction colics
    Sand ingestion
    Long term use of NSAIDS
    Dental problems

    Impaction: a blockage formed by something the horse has ingested

    NSAID: non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug

  13. NEHRO died of COLIC on Kentucky Derby Day.

    He was drugged and forced to run even though he had badly injured feet that were SUPER GLUED.

    Steve Asmussen was his trainer.

    Horses can get COLIC from STRESS and from DRUGS and from CHRONIC PAIN.

    Being forced to run at top speeds and beat repeatedly with a WHIP even when the horse is running as fast as he can would be enough to cause a race horse to get COLIC and die.

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