“The Saddest Day of My Life”

Horse & Country reports that 7-year-old Brown Panther (picture here) “shattered a hind leg while defending his title in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh Racecourse” last Sunday and was subsequently “put to sleep.” Revolting enough, but then there was this from owner Michael Owen:

“The toughest, most honest, most brilliant horse I will ever set eyes on passed away today doing the thing he loved most. It’s the saddest day of my life. I was with him when he was born, shared an experience for seven years that will never be repeated and gave him his last kiss goodbye. I’ve not shed so many tears in years, but my grief is shared. I love you Panther. Life will not be the same without you.”

These people disgust me.

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  1. Ah yes “put to sleep” so more acceptable than the word killed… “doing the thing he loved most”? What a load of crap, these horses are literally racing for their lives. Owner kept on sending him out there, after he’d already earned well over one million pounds, obviously that just wasn’t enough, wanted more, whereas BP wanted a much deserved retirement. I regard that as extremely selfish with total disregard for the welfare of his beloved Panther.
    BROWN PANTHER shattered a hind leg, a horrific catastrophic limb injury and extremely painful.
    His owner gave him his last kiss goodbye – I’m sure that meant a lot to BP……. pfff!
    Owner did that for himself, made him feel better and a comfortable retirement BP was denied.
    In lieu, he suffered a cruel premature death and an undignified one at that!

    • Nauseating. What horses love most is being in a herd with other horses and eating – not being forced to race so strenuously that their legs shatter. This guy is delusional at best, but most likely a sociopath who thinks that kissing his horse make up for the years of torture.

  2. I agree. I HATE when people say “they died doing what they loved”. What crap. He would have been very happy retired at pasture. And the kiss goodbye. Shallow.

    • I’ve got a question, Maureen…a serious question…not smart-ass or “crazed” – Brown Panther was only 7….do you feel he wasn’t fit enough?…because he wasn’t raced every week? Don’t you believe he loved racing? And don’t you believe he would have been unhappy or bored or frustrated being retired at the young age of 7 to pasture?

      I apologize, that was more than A question.

      • I believe Brown Panther, like the vast majority of racehorses was ill prepared to race at all. He stood in stall 23 hours per day. That has been proven to demineralize bone. I haven’t checked, but imagine he raced on Lasix, which has been proven to demineralize bone. He most likely got Bute, again, proven to demineralize bone. He lived in a stall, and even pristine stalls have been proven to have a negative effect on a horse’s respiratory system. The odds are he received joint injections, which are proven to cause joints to deteriorate. Though he should have been in the prime of his life, and at the peak of his strength, he was a physical wreck. So no, he would not have benefited from racing every week. Trainers today no virtually nothing about horses, their physical, mental, or emotional needs, or how to get hem fit. They are little more than ignorant car salesmen who have learned that a horse should have a stall, get a lot of grain (which causes ulcers) – basically how to maintain a “racehorse”. they are ignorant, greedy, and uneducated – I would use the word stupid, but I’m trying to be nice.

    • Maureen, on reading your post about BROWN PANTHER – it appeared you had intimate knowledge of this horse’s daily management, living conditions, feed and treatments? Maybe I’ve got you mixed up with someone else, and I apologise if I have, but aren’t you in America?
      Brown Panther lived in Cheshire, England?

  3. I will add that horses should only race for a short “season” and then have a good rest in a healthy atmosphere with lots of turnout and exercise that is pleasant. Even human athletes only compete for a season. The body needs time to recuperate and fix any small problems, and the mind needs to be refreshed.

    • Brown Pather did have time off , check his race record . Very well managed and taken care of .

      • Maureen , you don’t see any real time off ? SMH . As for Lasix do you have any proof this horse was ever given Lasix ? You keep trying to shame the connections of this horse , and are only succeeding in making yourself look clueless.

  4. What a shame with today’s education on animal welfare you would think horse racing would stop but most of these people have been in it all their lives they don’t know anyhing else and don’t want to what will they do when racing is obsolete???????? And it will be afraid to see what career they choose RIP to all the horses that died for the sport because they “loved to run” there is a special place in heaven for you beautiful equines

  5. There is no earthly reason to give lasix except on race day. Unless the poor horse has a fluid retention problem like heart failure and is given lasix as medication for it- but then racing would be out of the question. I hate the fact that American horses are given lasix before races, but the fact is that it is only a race day thing. I have no evidence that Brown Panther was treated badly in any way. It seems he got 5-6 months off every winter, that seems pretty good to me. I understand where you are coming from, but your message is more effective when you stick with the facts. The facts are bad enough- they don’t need help.

    This particular horse does appear to have been handled with care, and his wealthy owners have no interest in making money from horses. They do it for personal glory, which you could also claim is a suspect motive, but this horse did not race to make money. His owner’s grief seems genuine to me.

    His life was a world away from the poor claimers at Parx or Ellis. There are many times as many of those as the Brown Panthers of the world. They race on all kinds of “medications”- really poisons, until they are used up, and then they get put on a double decker and hauled to Mexico or Canada and slaughtered. Then their toxic selves are fed to people in Europe. That’s what you should focus on.

    That, and the fact that for every great racehorse that is bred there are hundreds that are not great, who have nowhere to go in modern society, except to the kill lot as above. And if the horse is gelded,even being a great race horse is no protection. Once he can’t make his living anymore on the track, he can be a slab of meat on a plate too.


    FROM PAULICK REPORT 09.21.2015 |


    Aussie Trainer Kavanagh Receives Nine-Year Ban In Cobalt Investigation

    Australian trainer Sam Kavanagh has been banned for close to ten years after the he was found guilty of systemic use of banned substances cobalt, caffeine and other treatments upon horses in his care.

    According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Racing New South Wales stewards handed down the ban Sept. 21; Kavanagh was found guilty on 23 of 24 charges. Backdated to May 20 of this year, Kavanagh has been banned for nine years and three months, with his disqualification due to expire on August 30, 2024.

    He was also fined A$3,000.

    Investigations into Kavanagh’s operation found an extensive use of a “Vitamin Complex” which contained excessive levels of cobalt.

    Dr. Tom Brennan, a partner at Flemington Equine Clinic, was banned for six years after stewards found him guilty of 12 charges, including lying at the original inquiry. Brennan supplied Kavanagh with the ‘vitamin complex’; he has denied knowing that it contained cobalt.


    • First Kavanagh has been found guilty and being punished . Second where in the above article was the OP speaking of trainers and drugs ? You live on innuendo , smh.

    • Kathleen, I’ve been wanting to get back on this but have been busy with what’s going on here. Sam Kavanagh is appealing, not sure about the others at time of writing. The offending vet Dr Tom Brennan was one of the owners of Midsummer Sun (very good breeding and bought in England) who was found to have a positive Cobalt reading over the limit after winning a Gold Cup race at my local track. MSun died only 3 weeks later in a trial……. funny that!?!? I believe that at the time SK was unaware that the racing authority was investigating him re Cobalt in MSun and it was business as usual for SK when he sent this horse out to trial in prep for its next race. I’ve been told that trainers give Cobalt to horses when trialling for a race but of course I don’t know if that was the case here.

      His father Mark Kavanagh is up on Cobalt related charges in another State. It was reported in the media recently that MK’s high profile owner has removed his string of valuable racehorses from his stables. One of the horses trained by MK was Shocking who won a Melbourne Cup a few years ago, the jockey whipped this poor horse who was suffering obvious fatigue, it is a long distance race, and then hit him with the whip as he passed the finish line and it wasn’t even a close finish. There were complaints and the RSPCA went public on it. If my memory serves me right the jockey slammed the RSPCA and I think a reference was made to them sticking to dogs and cats…..

      Peter Moody the trainer of our adored Black Caviar is also up on Cobalt charges. (Black Caviar was given Cobalt during her career and it was reported that a racing authority found that the dosage was not over the limit). Why would you risk giving such a naturally gifted racehorse which comes along once in a lifetime, a drug when the research being conducted on it was ongoing, not completed but had already found how dangerous (e.g. Dr Mary Scollay’s findings) it was for a horse? When Black Caviar came down with a suspensory injury, the following is what her trainer stated publicly which went to print in the Herald Sun newspaper on Feb 14, 2010 –

      “If she was an old gelding you’d ice her up and send her around Saturday …. she has a terrific chance of making a full recovery…. the downside is she always creates injuries for herself by being so brilliant.” Ah yes, here we go again, the horses injure themselves and the horse is solely responsible for that? Here is evidence of what we already know – that they send these horses out there with the full knowledge that they have something wrong with them. An old gelding, especially when they’re not valuable, they’re not going to stud, if they break down well, you know, these things happen folks.

      I believe people in the industry were aghast at his statement. I understand that the racing authority didn’t take action against him for bringing racing into disrepute (one of racing’s Rules) because it would only exacerbate the situation by drawing unwanted attention to this very revealing statement by the trainer of our world famous horse. Black Caviar this morning produced a beautiful colt, her second foal.

      If i’ve done it correctly you’ll see a picture her and colt

      • Thank You Carolyn !

        for all the great work you have done to help horses over the years including all your excellent research.

        If we had more people like you, Mary Johnson, Joy Aten, Jo Anne Normile, Patrick Battuello and the other wonderful people on this list that RESCUE HORSES and do RESEARCH and educate others as to the dangers of horse racing to horses , the world would be a much better place.

    • How do you figure he killed this horse ? Have you ever had an injury yourself , been sick etc. if so who did you blame it on ? SMH .

  7. I read this blog religiously now and I read pro-racing blogs occasionally (I am completely anti-racing now that I’ve read the facts that Mr. Battuello posts daily). Some of my observations in reading this anti-racing blog and the several pro-racing blogs are these; the pro-racing people often blame the anti-racing people for not working with them to stop slaughter and they say “we need to work together but you (the anti-racing people) are too negative”. They make comments that very often include calling the anti-racing people names (like Ms. Tierney and debraolivas78 do here). They slam anti-racing people in their posts and not just in their comments. But what I’ve also observed right here on this anti-racing blog is TWO pro-racing people (Tierney and debraolivas78) commenting negatively to and about the other! Anything that points to the truth about horse racing with the desired end result being the end of it, they disagree with. And why wouldn’t they because they are involved in racing. So they blame anti-racing people for not working with them, and they slam each other on a blog that I wonder why they even visit! And they call anti-racing people crazy?

    Thank you for the facts in your posts, Mr. Battuello. You are making a difference. I tell others at my barn who are clueless about racing and think it’s only what they saw on television. They were shocked and some of us are learning about equibase and all of the claiming races that we never even knew about. We now see and understand it as just another business that just uses animals for the purpose of making money. It shouldn’t exist. Thank you.

    Victoria Leonard

    • If you are basing your knowledge of racing on just what you read in blogs , of either pro or anti racing , you are not learning , go to the track stable gate , page a trainer go to the barn , spend some time and learn from it . As for Maureen and my difference in opinion , I would not say we are bashing , but “reading” information differently .

      • Hey, Ms. Curtis-Olivas (the “crazy baby”), do you think the pro-racing folks believe what they read on the internet? You sure like to put it out there, don’t you? I once said that you were as dumb as a box of rocks but not only are you dumb, you are a liar. Cactus Café is NOT doing three day eventing. Now, just in case this is one of your “slow” days, I’ll repeat….Cactus Café is NOT doing three day eventing. Three day eventing is UPPER level eventing. I know that is extremely difficult for a girl like you to understand because you are as dumb as a box of rocks, but I thought I would give it a shot. Got it now? Cactus Café did compete in Beginner Novice (Starter Level) a couple of months ago in Texas. She trotted and cantered around a course for about two minutes and the jumps were TWO FEET HIGH, If you don’t understand what Beginner Novice is, look it up on the internet. Remember…girls like you will believe anything they read on the internet. I’ve told you this before but you seem to struggle with the truth…Cactus Café is NOT doing three day (or upper level) eventing. I blocked you on FB about three years ago because you, and your sidekick, were unhappy that Cactus Café and Canuki were “saved” from slaughter. I guess we didn’t achieve our goal in a manner that you two “clowns” deemed appropriate. Today, a friend of mine sent me a screenshot of your comments from a Horseracing page and it is so good to know that I am taking up space in that tiny, little head of yours. Yes, Curtis-Olivas, you were talking about me when you babble that a AR (anti-racing) person “saved” two horses from slaughter. Yes, I was part of a group that “saved” two horses. You seem to have a problem with that. Get over it…

        Now, your suggestion that we “go to the track gate, page a trainer, and spend some time and learn” is idiotic, at best. I doubt if a trainer would tell us about all the legal and illegal drugs, the joint injections, the breakdowns, the slaughter industry and so on. You have to spend years behind the scenes to find out the truth and, even then, much of the truth is hidden because it is very ugly. Therefore, we would “learn and hear” what the trainer wanted us to “learn and hear”. I would assume (based on your logic), that we would have to observe children being molested to know the truth about child molestation, right? Again, anyone with minimal intelligence should be able to ascertain that child molestation is wrong even if they don’t observe it being done. Perhaps that is hard for someone like you to grasp, but it is worth a try.

        Now, I have a suggestion for you. Go to a library, spend some time there, and learn from reading the books that are available at no charge. Perhaps there will be one in the “morals and ethics” section of the library that could be of great benefit to you. You might also want to check out Jo Anne Normile’s book, “Saving Baby”, which is a true story about a racing insider who left the industry due to the horrors she witnessed. I read it and I absolutely loved it. In fact, I bought four copies for friends of mine. However, I don’t really see you as one seeking out the truth so perhaps that wouldn’t be the ideal selection for you. Maybe something in the fiction aisle would suit you better.

      • Oh Mary – what a masterpiece! I’ve just picked myself up off the floor and wiping away the tears…..

        “You have to spend years behind the scenes to find out the truth and, even then, much of the truth is hidden because it is very ugly.” How very very true!

      • Ms. Curtis-Olivas, if I am “hardly worth the time to respond”, then why do so? Why go to a pro-racing site and lie about a horse that I own when you have been told, at least once before, that Cactus Cafe is NOT in training for Three Day Eventing? A quote from you, the “crazy baby”…”one of them is being trained as a 3 day eventer now. Which she (meaning me) considers way better than racing”. Really? I consider three day eventing WAY better than racing? No, simply not true, but congrats because you told two lies within two short sentences. Fabrications (lies) really make your opinion totally biased, and worthless.

        I’ve never understood why you come to an anti-racing blog to babble your nonsense. I could understand an occasional comment or two but you repeatedly keep coming back. I personally think it is because you are attempting to cause trouble because what other reason could there be? You even admit that racing has problems and you are working “hard” on fixing those problems. Yes, I am a bit jaded because I have heard the same nonsense for years. What are you, Curtis-Olivas, doing to fix the problems? Oh, and more importantly, how is that working out for you? Not so good, is it? Anyone with minimal intelligence knows that racing can’t be fixed. It must cease to exist.

      • Scared of what YOU say, Deb Olivas? You are even a bigger idiot than what I even thought you were. A few of my friends and I (we’ve had horses since we were young girls) have recently discovered your ridiculous “answer” to Horseracing Wrongs and you and your cronies who struggle to put sentences together are the ones who are afraid! Even your “mission statement” says so. You are a joke, so post away. Some of our best laughs come at reading all of the comments by the dimwits on your “rights” page.
        One thing I’ve noticed is you and your few same people that post and comment on your page all have a huge need for racing to continue. And not a single anti-racing person I’ve come to know has even one personal reason for it to fail. They just have the intelligence and compassion to see horse racing does way more harm than any good for the HORSES.
        Victoria Leonard

      • Excellent Posts Mary Johnson.

        It is a TOTAL mystery to me why this debra olivias 78. keeps posting on this list that is created to promote awareness of what ABUSE happens to thousands of horses every year on the track and off the track. ABUSE followed by DEATH for thousands upon thousands of horses in the racing world.

        Clearly, this woman is here to stir up trouble. As I have said before, she really should go and start her own website that is Pro racing and stop wasting our collective time.

    • Thank you for reading here, Victoria…and for reading on the pro-racing forums, as well…you have figured it out! I can assure you that you need not spend time on the backside (as was suggested) to be able to grasp the depravity of the racing industry – the facts about this gambling industry, ie, racehorse deaths and injuries, that Patrick posts daily are enough, aren’t they. Just as you and I don’t need to spend time by the “orca pools in the back” at SeaWorld, or with the chained elephants behind the circus tents, or even see with our own eyes the greyhounds in their cages at the dog tracks, it’s not necessary to visualize every aspect of any form of animal abuse to know it exists. But I can tell you from personal experience, as can many others who comment regularly here, you would despise the racing industry even more if you did spend anytime walking the shedrows.

      In case you’ve not read it, you might want to read Jo Anne Normile’s book, “Saving Baby: How One Woman’s Love for a Racehorse Led to Her Redemption”. True story from a woman who was in the industry.

      Thank you again for choosing to open your eyes and for helping others to do the same! Keep it up!

  8. Debraolivas

    “Bitterness” in Mary’s comments – are you serious? Mary states the facts and says it as it is and I believe that you just cannot accept that, therefore you resort to your well known rhetoric in refuting what Mary and many of us say.

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