Stud Dreams Shattered: Million-Dollar Irap Euthanized

In the 11th at Parx September 23, 3-year-old Irap finished second. After the race, however, the colt was “vanned off” for an undisclosed reason. But this was no ordinary race, and no ordinary horse. The 11th that day was the Grade 1 “Pennsylvania Derby”; in placing, Irap won his people a cool $190,000. In fact, in 13 “career starts” Irap had amassed over $1.6 million in “earnings” – or about $128,000 per outing. In other words, if they could move this horse, extraordinary measures would be taken (if not to race again then, at the very least, for big-money stud) – measures, it seems, that more often than not fail. They were (taken); they did (fail).

Irap’s injury was a pair of fractured sesamoids – an injury that would have been fatal right then and there to the vast majority of racehorses running on American tracks. But again, pedestrian Irap was not. So, they “fused his ankle” and inserted metal plates. Then things went bad. His owner, Paul Reddam, in BloodHorse:

“Three days after the surgery he got a fever and subsequent infection at the operation site. He was doing better the last week and a half but last night they discovered rotation in the opposite (right) foot.” Death (via euthanasia) yesterday. Death after, in all likelihood, an extended suffering. How profoundly sad.

Irap, post-surgery
(A postscript: Irap’s story began in tragedy. BloodHorse: “Irap was the final foal out of Aaron and Marie Jones’ top producer Silken Cat, as the Storm Cat mare hemorrhaged during his birth.” His “top producer” mother died a few months later.)


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  1. Tragic to see a being so splendid in their honest minds trapped as a slave to human industry. The real life of a horse was never lived by this stallion. A life free in the wind to choose his own path to forage, to protect his mares and foals from predators and to die as he lived. It is an abomination to see this photo of this male power tied down and suffering.

  2. Good ole Paul Reddam….Google his name and a ton of info pops up on his predatory lending practices. From August, 2009….”Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today forced CashCall, Inc (Reddam’s company)….to stop using “loan shark tactics” in collecting debt, including abusive calls at all hours of the day and night and empty threats of law enforcement action.” Reddam sounds like a thug, at least to me, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. To continue….”The court ordered judgment also forces CashCall to stop misleading consumers with deceptive advertising and pay $1 million in civil penalties and legal expenses. CashCall used former child actor Gary Coleman as its television spokesman.”

    I have said this before, and I’ll say it again, that many in the horseracing industry are morally, and ethically, bankrupt and that includes the Reddam/O’Neill team. Supporters flock to them as if they are rock stars. Nope, they aren’t rock stars but are simply repugnant human beings, at least to me. No morals, no ethics, and no values…..participating in industries that exploit animals, and people, in order to make a freaking buck. And we wonder why this world is a mess….

    • I do remember the glitzy advertising. I’m not surprised at all. My heart goes out to folks so desperate they ignore their inner voices. But to see the perpetrator of those frauds is doing well, living the big life and so “respected” and “connected” is nauseating. RIP Irap.

    • Mary, Paul and Doug, a match made in Heaven or is the other H !
      I have known about Paul Reddam’s “issues” for quite a while..
      Sounds like a nice guy, just like his trainer, right !

  3. Doug O’Neill is a multiple drug violating trainer, cheater, and a racehorse killer.
    He’s had plenty of racehorses drop dead under his care.
    He claims to not deliberately kill them, but his training methods and extensive drug history is a recipe for career-ending and catastrophic breakdowns.
    So darn right he contributes and controls the killing, and still continues to do it like handing a drunk driver the keys – this is no different and they should be held liable.
    Right up until Irap died, Reddam and Doug was bragging about how IRAP was miraculously healing while one of the vet techs was posting anonymously that it was an outright lie, that Irap was not going to make it.
    When Irap was euthanized they had no choice but to announce it, and the usual accolades quickly followed including Reddam praising Doug O’Neill as a trainer who gave great care to Irap.
    They are both deliberately delusional and/or outright liars!
    Perhaps both, but I feel that they diverted the attention away from his shattered sesamoids by claiming that he was healing to put the ignorant public to rest – not so fast you assholes.
    Doug, you couldn’t cover up yet another victim of your abuse or killing could you?
    You are a disgusting person.
    Equally disgusting is the apologists in this industry who commented on this issue by explicitly stating that Irap was a victim of laminitis diverting the blame away from the trainer and industry as a whole.
    Typical modus operandi for this vile business!
    Make no mistake – this repulsive antiquated business model and the players/supporters within it are all responsible for Irap’s death, and suffering leading up to his death not unlike the countless other racehorses who die in the dirt for this despicable industry.
    You all make me sick.

    • The apologists are so ridiculous. The bottom line is the horse was doomed because of fractures due to racing. The horse developed laminitis BECAUSE of his injuries.- no fractures, no laminitis in this case. There is huge disconnect in their thinking and an inability or unwillingness to connect the dots !

      • Absolutely, Rose – Irap developed contralateral laminitis or supporting limb laminitis (it affects the non-injured limb that is opposite of the injured one). This isn’t a laminitis that occurs in response to a carbohydrate overload or a systemic disease. Rather, in supporting limb laminitis, it is a mechanical overload affecting the healthy limb that is now bearing the majority or all of the weight that was normally supported by both limbs. His laminitis – an extremely painful condition – occurred BECAUSE he suffered fractures racing. Racing took his life.

    • Gina, as always, I couldn’t agree more. Apologists are tripping all over each other in offering their condolences to O’Neill and Reddam, while finding comfort in the fact that they can still WATCH REPLAYS of Irap racing – I kid you not. In addition, it’s been a “tough week” they claim, having “lost” both Irap and Effinex. Unbelievable. Guess what, apologists, there is not one week that ISN’T “tough” – while they obviously don’t matter to you since they aren’t millionaires like Irap and Effinex, racehorses are dying every week. Tough weeks…every single week, every single year. Take your damn blinkers off and acknowledge the deaths of ALL racehorses.

      • Joy,

        I feel so terrible at the news of the death of both IRAP and Effinex. Day after day these horses are being raced into the ground to their deaths, not to mention the drugging, and other notorious ill practices by owners and trainers. Irap deserved better than a death sentence. He should have been given a chance to heal, but the insurance check looked to good. How often has greed delivered the deadly blow. O’Neill and Reddam should rot in hell.

        Marlene Thornley

  4. Racing killed Irap. His death was an unnecessary and avoidable tragedy. And yes, he wanted to live – but so do all of the “cheap claimers” and used-up stakes winners who die racing and in slaughterhouses. Yet while the racing industry only laments the million-dollar losses like Irap, HW acknowledges all racehorses who suffer and die for bettors’ and fans’ entertainment.

  5. It’s my understanding that Irap was euthanized the very day the laminitis was discovered. No chance given to recover, but then you’d have to understand who his owner is. That explains it. The insurance check probably looked a lot better than a string of added vet bills to treat the colt’s laminitis. Right or wrong, many think the call was too hasty. No one wanted the horse to suffer, but most were hoping to give Irap a fair chance at survival. Horses have beat laminitis, it can be done, but not for sweet Irap, not with a greedy owner like Reddam. Irap is spiritually joined with his dam now, who gave up her life on earth to give life to him.

    • Well said Karen.
      I’ve directly witnessed owner/trainers cursing that their horse didn’t die, and I’m not kidding!
      They cursed the vet bills because their horse wasn’t “worth” saving!
      People wouldn’t believe what’s said in the stable area away from public view.
      These supporters are lower than a single-cell amoeba.
      Another thing, Kentucky seems to be deliberately hiding the fact that even their stallion farms are FULL, and many are not taking anymore stallions.
      I became friends with an accountant when I owned my farm in Lexington back in 2000, and she did the books on a couple of large Kentucky horse farms, and told me that they were financially losing their shirt.
      We kept in touch right up to the day she passed.
      In some of our final conversations she stated that the majority of horse farms in Kentucky are in big financial trouble due to many reasons, but one was the lack of support from banks who were once liberal in their lending to horse farms, but have changed that to strict almost impossible qualifiers to continue throwing them money.
      She also said that the industry is in such decline, and the stallion market is flooded with little takers anymore.
      Not being a horse person, but strictly a numbers person, she couldn’t get over how delusional these people were.
      She cited an example where the feed company was owed so much money that they wouldn’t deliver feed, and these people still thought that they could continue after she had been warning them at least 1 year before their demise.
      She also lost some jobs on the farms when she told them their income just wasn’t there to financially sustain their business – something that these delusional apologists didn’t want to hear, but the horses paid the price.
      She actually witnessed stallions load a trailer to nowhere when no broodmares were booked.
      This is when she quit, she had enough, and she knew damn well where those stallions were going.
      No staff was permitted to ask, and everybody went back to their duties.
      She was an animal lover who rescued dogs, and she concluded that the horse racing business was immoral, and cruel just like any normal person would.

  6. I read racing publications at least weekly – one can learn even more about the exploitation of the industry’s horses and the idiocy of its members and supporters. The Paulick Report – of which I am banned and therefore cannot comment – had an article about Irap’s euthanasia due to the contralateral laminitis he was diagnosed with. Of course, the apologists are trying so hard to convince readers (AND themselves, I’m sure) by commenting (over and over) that laminitis can occur in any horse and Irap was just one of the unlucky equines to contract the dreaded disease…”it had nothing to do with the fact that he’s a racehorse!” Like I said, idiocy.

    But I thought this following exchange was laughable…a commenter who was simply identified as “Guest” had this to say;

    Guest: “So sorry Irap! Yet another tb forced to race and dead. If you truly cared about horses, there would be no horseracing.
    The Glam’s a Sham. Horse racing kills.”

    Of course, the apologists were mortified that such a comment got past moderation and they flocked to attack. But here, the laughable part…from someone identified as “Yes Master”;

    Yes Master: “I am sure that the coward “Guest” is one of those bloggers for “Horse Racing Wrongs” who ultimately believe that there should be no horse racing, and taking it further, no breeding then no horses. Such convoluted logic and they actually advocate for the extinction of equines ….we are all in this game for the good of the horse. But accidents happen and how we react says alot about each of us….I say this as my race horse just retired after emergency surgery to screw back together his displaced condylar fracture RH. So far it is successful 45 days out. But he is just a regular horse who deserves a chance just like Irap.”

    Coward?…because the individual commenting as Guest didn’t use their name? Oh, and YOUR name is Yes Master?

  7. Yes Master, whoever you are – horse racing needs to end to protect racehorses from being maimed and/or killed on racetracks, or to end up in tragic neglectful inhumane conditions like Dr Drip, or to end up on the slaughterhouse floor while your business boasts about the billion dollar profits coming in!
    Your industry doesn’t even provide a 1-800 number for people to call and get the required funds to get a OTTB out of harms way because most of you don’t give a damn!
    You only care when they are standing in the winners circle or making you money that seems obvious.
    Just who do you think your fooling other then yourselves?!
    Any domestic pet in this country has an animal shelter plus a 1-800 number for people to call when they find these poor souls in horrific situations, but NOT the multi-billion dollar horse racing industry.
    There are horses standing in their own feces with no clean water, hay, grain or care in Puerto Rico and YOUR industry has done little to nothing about this!
    Blatantly clear where your industries priorities are, and while they try to fool the public (and probably themselves) that they actually “care” about them for a fleeting moment – these are sentient beings that need a lifetime commitment not a frivolous 2 minutes of lip service.
    I can speak for myself that I would never advocate for the extinction of equines because I love them too much, and I couldn’t imagine living in a world with no thoroughbreds to watch grazing, to pat or to ensure their well-being with basic husbandry skills.
    I grew up on a thoroughbred farm, and the thoroughbreds have always and will always be my solace.
    I can, however, imagine and hope for a world without horse racing, and without reading about them dropping dead in the dirt not to mention all the other negative factors previously mentioned.
    The cowards and/or delusional people are the abusers and enablers of this abuse and that is every single person that is involved or supports this ongoing deplorable treatment of these sentient beings conducted under the guise of “entertainment.”
    The brave warriors are the racehorses themselves who are forced to go out to the track most likely sore and none have a voice to expose these abusers for who, and what they are.
    No problem – we will.

  8. When any of you comment on Rays site don’t post as a ” guest” be proud and reveal your real name as I always have done on your site. Since being a member of this group my opinion on horse racing has done a 180. I’m on your side and I’m working, voicing my opinions that favor our group. I’m in the middle but carrying the torch in hard to reach places. Let’s move forward together, I’m with you all the way.

    • Ray has blocked some of us on here for speaking the truth….he has removed several of my posts and I haven’t cursed been ignorant to people have attacked them nothing like it….i do applaud him for speaking of things the other publications won’t even touch….its very disheartening for the industry and the people involved that they are all well aware of the problems but as soon as you speak about it your the bad guy… they not realise how much we all truly do care about these horses….keep speaking the truth the horses need it their lives are at risk daily

    • I always use my name, David – the PR has banned me from commenting but I just recently started commenting on BH. We will see how long that lasts.

    • David! – I just read the rest of your comment! That is awesome and the horses would whinny in thanks if they knew of your support of them! TY!

    • David, I have never used an alias and that includes the PR. Paulick blocked me, too, a few years ago when I spoke out against racing. However, I do read the PR if I have the time to do so and there is an article that is of interest to me. I have said this many times….you never have to incriminate the racing industry. The industry is very capable at doing it to themselves which is quite evident from those posting on the PR.

      Thank you for standing with the horses. We appreciate your support. Also, if you give Patrick the okay to share your email with me, I will tell you who accused us of being followers of a “hate group.”

  9. Hi David, I know who left the guest comment on Paulick Report. She is one of our followers, and she reached out to me right after. She felt compelled to comment, I think, (and I did not see the comment at all) however, she used the “guest” moniker because the first time she posted a comment on Paulick she was met with a threat of a lawsuit, which left her shook-up. The second time they deleted her comment. I am a fellow banned-member of the HW community from the PR, so I get it. I just wanted to let you know that is wasn’t one of us directly. I always use my real name as well. Thank you so much, David, for being a compassionate advocate and a voice for the horses. Nicole Arciello, Vice President, Horseracing Wrongs.

  10. I always use my real name because I have nothing to hide for starters.
    The PR has blocked me from submitting my comments most likely due to the apologists who financially support them
    Like most others on the HRW blog I’m just exercising my freedom of speech by exposing facts, and stating opinions based on my direct experience having been involved with this business intermittently for over 40 years.
    I was once an ardent supporter of this business, and defended it fiercely just like a good apologist does, but then I could no longer defend it because this business model, at its very core, is the exploitation of a non-consenting voiceless racehorse that pays the price for running around in circles for $2 bets.
    Equally disturbing, is the inaction of an industry to mitigate the damages to these racehorses while boasting about their billion dollar profits!
    Moreover, the recent corruption scandal in PA proved collusion and/or deliberate collaboration between doping/cheating trainers, the racing commissions, and some alleged politicians at the highest level.
    I directly observed and experienced this level of corruption, while in this business, which added to my decision to no longer support this, and it seemed to me that it was happening throughout the industry not just in PA.
    Just based on this example alone, how could anybody continue to financially invest, participate and/or support this industry?
    I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: horse racing is a cruelty circus, and a corruption pit.

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