“Broke Down But Was Continuously Ridden to the Stretch”

The Equibase chart for yesterday’s 3rd at Parx:

“ARMANI THE WON broke down in his right front near the three eighths pole but was continuously ridden [by jockey Silvestre Gonzalez] to the stretch where he was pulled up near the finish and subsequently humanely destroyed.”

“Broke down but was continuously ridden to the stretch.”


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  1. I am starting to run out of words that describe these horrific atrocities that the horse racing world does to these magnificent animals! And I heard about them racing a pregnant mare at Keeneland yesterday too. I sure hope this “sport” dies a quick death soon! But I am afraid that it will be a long time…let us hope I am wrong!

    • The word is ABUSE, Sandra…blatant animal abuse.

      And yes, the pregnant mare that raced was Flashy American. I think she finished last.

  2. Patrick, horrific words…”broke down but continuously ridden”. As a child, my mother read me all the popular fairy tales at the time where the “monsters” seemed so real to me and, oftentimes, were hiding under my bed. No longer. The “monsters” are humans who are living among us and who have no regard for the welfare of the animals who fall under their care. Nauseating…

    I’m sure all of us have seen broken down cars alongside the road or seen cars “limping along” on the highway as the driver tries to get just another quarter mile out of a vehicle that has virtually given up. Of course, cars are inanimate objects that feel no pain. It reminds me of those who try to get just “one more race” out of a horse who is DONE with racing. A perfect example was Funky Country that Patrick wrote about on this blog. Just one more race, just one more race…and then he would be retired. Oh, and he had a place to go upon retirement. Within minutes of that “one more race”, the horse was dead yet his low life trainer was declared a wonderful man by a pro-racing supporter (Ms. Tuozzolo). According to Tuozzolo, Funky Country raced “clean”. Oops, according to Equibase, Funky did not race clean but, once caught in her lie, Tuozzolo was done with me. Why deal with the truth when you can attempt to spin webs of deceit?

    Racing is a gambling industry. Stop the bets and racing will die in the dirt just like 1,000 of their horses do every single year…and those are the ones we know about.


  3. These inflated purses are another reason these horses are treated so callously and with such insensitivity…they’re merely objects to be USED in order to attain the paycheck that comes with finishing the race! This was a $7500 claiming race that Armani The Won was in…with a $30k purse!!! INCENTIVE to finish the race REGARDLESS of the horse’s physical condition!

  4. Horseracing Wrongs readers and racehorse supporters…

    You can call and voice your outrage over the blatant abuse of Armani the Won. Simply call Parx at 1-800-523-6886 and ask to be put through to Sam Elliot (director of racing/racing secretary). You can also call that same number then enter extension 3509 for the stewards…head steward is John Gawrick (not certain of that spelling).

    Elliot called me back but while I was in an appointment…I’ll be calling again in the AM.

    I did speak with a steward – Don – who was present when ATW broke down and, in fact, before I could tell him why I was calling, he said, “You’re probably calling about the horse that broke down yesterday??”.

    This is quite interesting, since apologists come unglued over the long lists of DNF’s posted every Monday here on HWR, claiming that those DNF’s are just precautionary measures…”the jockeys know to pull a horse up if they even suspect a problem”…well, according to steward Don, the jockey who demanded ATW keep running even after he broke down is NEW…so NEW jockeys aren’t told to always put the horse first?…to pull them up if they think something might be wrong? No, they’re not told that!…because pulling a claimer up in a cheap $7500 claiming race if they THINK something is amiss is a lie. So the next time we see DNF’s on Patrick’s Monday morning list of weekly racing casualties, just know, there was nothing precautionary about it…they were in trouble.

  5. what sickens me is the obvious abuse and lack of compassion most racehorse receive. overbreed, overtrained at a young age, grueling race schedule and all they do is run their hearts out. The lucky ones get a deserved retirement but most end up at slaughter. Keeneland and all the glossy farms see the horse as a commodity .Its never whats best for the horse but rather whats best for the pocket.

  6. Update on calls to Parx:

    -I was told to call back this AM at 8:30 to speak with head steward John Gerweck (that should be the correct spelling), but when I did, I was told he wouldn’t be in until 10:30.

    -my call this morning to Sam Elliot (who ID’s himself on VM as Parx racing secretary):
    He answered and I asked if this was a good time for 10 minutes of his time to which he answered “It depends on what you want to talk about” (translation, “I want to buy into racing TB’s” – “I’ve got hours” OR “I want to discuss the dead horse Armani the Won” – “I’ve got no time for you”). And it was the latter.

    Here are Sam Elliot’s words about the jockey Gonzalez demanding the broken down Armani the Won keep running;
    “He’s a young rider, a new rider, he made a mistake. Have you ever made a mistake before?” I started to respond when Elliot interrupted with “The stewards are calling me now and I have to go” after which he hung up. That’s it.

    No time for a dead horse. That’s Sam Elliot. We’ll see what steward John Gerweck has to say and if HE can spare 10 minutes.

    FYI…direct line to Sam Elliot is 267-355-2906.

    • Sam Elliott makes his living exploiting horses for the entertainment of the betting public. Of course, he doesn’t want to talk about one of the many horses that suffered and died in an industry he supports. Elliott has no time for a dead horse. Therefore, I have no time for him. Oh, and I guess he isn’t one of the “many” good people in racing.

  7. Sam Elliot, director of racing at Parx, was dismissive, abrupt and annoyed on the phone. He definitely was not the least bit interested in what happened to the horse and kept saying it was an issue for the stewards. His attitude was one of “don’t bother me”. The steward, Michael Melindez, made excuses such as the “kid” is inexperienced and not “strong” enough to pull up the horse. There will be no repercussions for the jockey, Silvestre Gonzalez, but the steward will “talk” to him !!!
    My suggestion that he should not ride again was ignored.

    The fact that this renegade “business” is allowed to “police” itself is disgraceful because nobody in the business gives a damn about the horse.

    Again, Mr. Pacelle, HSUS, since you are now “partnered” with racing take note of this horrible cruelty at Parx and note how the “officials” are handling it…

  8. Check the Pollick Report today . Even the fans are outraged by how that jockey rode Aamani Won after the horse broke his leg. There were some who said he should never ride again. I suggested the same to the steward, but of course my suggestion was ignored.
    And to add to the unspeakable cruelty, they tried for 10 minuets to load the terrified horse on to the “ambulance” because they vid not want a track euthanization ! How disposable is that !! Also, Pennsylvania racing was pretty well slammed in general on the site.

    I sure hope Sam Elliot and the stewards at Parx know what the “fans” are saying. But unless there are consequences of terms of MONEY such as a boycott or law suits these people do not care and will cont to thumb their noses at every one. And of course ignore cruelty

    • I saw the PR, Rose! Yes, be certain to read the comments. Elliot hung up on me, but I’ll be writing what I didn’t get the opportunity to say and it will be faxed/sent/emailed to Elliot.

      If NOTHING else, these callous people will know that we are watching and that the horses are our priority, not their life-sucking jobs.

      • Joy, i cannot phone from here – is it possible to put up the email address for Elliot?

        Pennsylvania Racing Commission does not have an email address on its site. Just wondering how we
        could get an email address to send emails to the Board Members of the Commission. As i understand it they have jurisdiction over the Parx Racetrack.

    • Joy, thank you for what you wrote to Sam Elliot. He doesn’t even pretend to be the least bit concerned about the welfare of the horse. He is totally unconcerned about the horrible cruelty suffered by Armini Won at the hands of that so called jockey and during the 10 minuet attempt to load the mortally wounded horse just so Parx would not have to euthanize him on the track. What that horse suffered at the “hands” of that track is simply outrageous and totally inexcusable.

      I’m going to follow up with a “note” to Elliot and the PA Commissioners.

  9. I am feeling physically ill with what happened to ARMANI THE WON. That jockey would’ve known something had gone wrong with the horse underneath him despite the fact that he’s “new” and he would’ve known that he must pull him out of the race. Ah yes, it’s all about getting him past the finish line – a DNF to be avoided at all costs – EVEN IF THE HORSE HAS A FRACTURED LEG!

    The callous attitude of SAM ELLIOT at Parx (a racing official employed by the industry) says it all – they just don’t give a damn about the horse, never have and never will. A “new” jockey – what a pathetic and totally unacceptable excuse!

    SILVESTRE GONZALEZ should be charged with animal cruelty – indisputable evidence – failed in his duty of care… no problem with that here!

    And on reading Rose’s info about them trying to avoid an euthanasia on track and trying to get him in a van – oh, I just can’t bear to think about the excruciating pain of a broken leg, his herd gone all on his own, the shock, the trauma and the panic he suffered in the hands of these low-life curs.

  10. If anyone would like to write something up regarding Armani the Won and Gonzalez’s cruel ride and fax it, here is information for you.

    Sam Elliott
    Parx Director of Racing and Racing Secretary
    Fax # is 215-639-9220

    PA Racing Commissioners – Alan Novak, Corinne Sweeney & Thomas Jay Ellis
    Fax # is 717-346-1546

  11. My faxes to Elliott and the PA racing commissioners were successfully completed. I’ve C&P here;

    To Sam Elliott;

    Per our conversation on Tuesday, October 6, you replied “It depends on what you want to talk about” when I asked if I could have 5 or 10 minutes of your time. I didn’t even get 2 minutes of your time, Mr. Elliott, when I informed you the reason for my call was the deceased 4-year-old gelding, Armani the Won. So it appears Armani the Won does not hold any importance to you – two minutes of your time is what you believed he was worth, it seems.

    Your excuse for Silvestre Gonzalez’s ride on Armani the Won – demanding the mortally wounded gelding continue to run – was because Gonzalez was “new” and “he made a mistake”…and you followed up asking me “have you ever made a mistake?” I never got the opportunity to answer since you curtly stated “the stewards are calling me now” and promptly hung up. So let me answer now…

    Yes, I’ve made mistakes…but not one that caused additional suffering to a living being and certainly not one that cost said being his life. But what I’ve done or not done is not even the issue here, is it Mr. Elliott? The “athletes” of your “sport” are the issue…and in this particular instance, the suffering and subsequent death of Armani the Won at the hands of one of your industry members is the issue. Are the equine “athletes” a priority, Mr. Elliott? Is there accountability to the welfare of your equine “athletes”?…and if there is, as industry members such as yourself exclaim to us – the betting public and racing fans – then it’s time to demand adherence to the measures you claim are in place to PROTECT your voiceless and dependent “athletes”. Most certainly, the racehorses at your track require protection from a ride like Gonzalez had on Armani the Won.

    I’d like to clarify what I stated a few sentences back…regarding “us” being the betting public and racing fans. You see, I used to be a racing fan – I’ve got a collection of recorded races to show what an avid fan I was. But you see, Mr. Elliott, I’m not anymore and in fact, I’ve come to abhor this multi-billion dollar gambling industry. As an executive board member and track liaison for the original CANTER here in Michigan at the now-defunct Great Lakes Downs for nearly ten years, my eyes were opened to the realities of the horse racing industry. Every week for six months out of the year, I walked the backside and on many of those weeks, I loaded broken-down, used-up and discarded racehorses onto my own trailer – and literally HUNDREDS of those crippled horses had been RACED with existing injuries. Their injuries exacerbated by continued training and racing, all we could do for them was to stand at their side while they were humanely euthanized. For the horses not so “fortunate” to come into our CANTER program for euthanasia, the licensed racing owner/trainer Jaroslav Gold (also known as Jaron Gold) was just a shedrow or two away from the injured racehorse, readily available and always willing to load up the unfortunate horse onto HIS rig. You see, Mr. Elliott, racing trainer Gold is the Midwest’s largest supplier of horses to one of the Canadian slaughterhouses. How convenient for your industry’s conditioners – a built-in disposal system, direct to slaughter, in the form of licensed racing trainer, Jaroslav Gold.

    Every day…every single day…my fellow racehorse supporters and I take time from our professions and our families to pick up the broken bodies and callously discarded horses of your industry. Yet you didn’t have 10 minutes to assure a member of the public that the unnecessary and tragic suffering and death of Armani the Won would be appropriately addressed. You want these incidents hidden and you’d rather not discuss them. Well in case you’re not aware, Armani the Won’s death and Gonzalez’s cruel ride made the Paulick Report yesterday. You need to read a comment from that piece;

    “I was sitting in a box watching the race where the horse broke down , he actually snapped his knee and anyone who knows anything about horses knows how that looks . I was so sickened by what that kid did that he will never sit on anything for us ever again . He got it pulled up and just jumped off and let the horse go , the valets were the ones who held him and untacked him , if someone wishes to make a living from riding horses the first thing they need to learn is caring for the animal first.. Yet it gets worse , after the poor horse is untacked the vets and ambulance crew decide to try load him on the ambulance .. The horse is standing there panicked and not able to move and these clowns spent 10 mins trying to load him before one of them called for the screen and put him down on track .. Once again the need to not say euthanized on track takes precedence over doing what’s best for the horse ..”

    The anti-racing camp is thousands strong and growing daily. We applaud racing’s decline and work diligently to educate others regarding the equine cruelty that’s deeply imbedded in it. The days of this antiquated gambling industry hiding its racehorse exploitation and abuse is over.

    YOUR jockey made certain Armani the Won wouldn’t have a chance to survive…we’re “riding” with the same goal for your industry.

  12. As soon as anybody in racing hears my name they hang up so I sent them a FAX to tell them my thoughts.

    • They wouldn’t be able to cope with whatever you had to say Gina…. very telling.

  13. You need to know about one experience I had with one of the most obnoxious supporters of horse racing. May I introduce Steve Byk. He has a radio slot on Sirius. He supports horse racing in every way, and his program is totally geared towards horse racing supporters. He screens most calls, but some get through.
    One caller got through, and this proponent raised all the issues, and concerns that we do on this blog. This was shortly after the Eight Belles episode. Steve Byk didn’t even pause for concern as he defended the countless deaths of racehorses. The caller was disgusted, and said is this what you have to do to make a living? You are a disgusting human being. I would rather be poor. Steve hung up, but the calls kept coming.
    I got through. He immediately heard my name, and his attitude completely changed. Since that call, I have been blocked from his Twitter account, I received an email to no longer contact his radio program, and I have been verbally attacked by him, and his cohorts in the past. So much for Freedom of Speech.
    I invite anyone of you to try and voice your opinion, and see what happens. At least you will get past your name – unlike me.
    This guy is an arrogant, obnoxious supporter of horse racing. Many times he will just give 2 seconds to the breakdown, and death of a racehorse even twisting the story to make it sound like it was the racehorses fault. He has a pattern in that he will invite top Trainers on his program after a horse breakdowns, and dies to make it look like it was a necessary evil.
    He makes me sick.
    Please send a comment his way via Twitter or his radio program. I would love to see your comments or even hear it. This guy is a one-man army for the horse racing industry, and has all the arsenals readily available as well.

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