Shedrow Secrets: Tyme Champ

Shedrow Secrets

Tyme Champ
by Joy Aten

Week after week we see the “Casualty Lists”…the “Weekly Reports” – the horses who were “pulled up lame,” “in distress,” “vanned off,” “went wrong,” “fell,” “returned sore,” “bled,” and most ominous of all – “broke down.” As Patrick has stated, many of the horses on these lists will later be identified (in the FOIA reports) as having been euthanized. But not all. For some, a fate worse than humane euthanasia awaits. Dealers. Auctions. Kill Pens. Slaughter. In early 2014, the gelding Tyme Champ was on course for that final finish line.

The 4-year-old leggy chestnut with a lackluster record of 0-1-2 in 21 starts raced for owner/trainer James Duncan at Beulah Park on February 17, 2014. Tyme Champ was on the Casualty List that next week, as the chart noted his next-to-last-finish with “in distress late and subsequently vanned off.” He was, in fact, first on that list – that, and his location, caught Mary’s [Johnson] and my eyes.

After being told in a phone exchange with Duncan that Tyme Champ “could not be transported” due to his “injury” – a vague (no details were offered) assessment reached without diagnostics – I contacted Greg Veit at the Ohio Racing Commission. Our concern for the youngster’s physical state and questionable future relayed, I was assured he would look into things and get back to me.

Within just several hours, Veit called back with the news that Tyme Champ’s ownership had been transferred to a “good friend” of his and that the gelding was “going to a rescue” (curiously, Veit did not know the spelling of his good friend’s name or even how to pronounce it – this I learned when I called his “friend,” T.R. Haehn). With a “good friend” and “going to a rescue.” Hands washed.

As it turned out, Tyme had been passed from Duncan to Charles Lawson and finally to Haehn. In a matter of days. And the rescue organization Veit boasted about? Didn’t exist…only an individual who, according to more than one credible source, was questionable at best, moving as many as 40 horses “in and out” in only two months’ time. A dealer…Tyme Champ’s fourth owner in eight days was going to be a dealer.

No, not all horses on the Casualty Lists are euthanized – some spend their last days or weeks going from dealers, to auctions, to kill pens, to slaughter. THOUSANDS of them.

A postscript:
Mary and I were able to acquire Tyme Champ from Haehn before he was brought to that dealer. The much-loved and good-natured gelding lives here in Michigan with a colleague of mine – an emergency room physician – and his family.


  1. Thank you, Joy for sharing another example of the life of a racehorse. How incredibly lucky Tyme Champ was for you and Mary to notice him and land him safely in a loving home. And yet he came so close to suffering the most inhumane torturous death in a slaughterhouse where the vast majority of racehorses end up.
    Tyme was tossed around like a rag doll by those despicable people. It’s gut wrenching to think that these magnificent noble animals are placed in the hands of these grubby curs.
    Tyme Champ sure was lucky but my blood runs cold when I think about the fate of the unlucky ones.

  2. Too bad we can’t save all the ones which are “saveable”. The way Man treats animals is deplorable. There are so few of us who understand that animals are sentient beings with feelings the same as ours.

  3. The abysmal treatment of this lovely young horse is compounded by the lies and obfuscation. If you have done nothing wrong – why lie? If you have clean hands – why lie? If there is a legitimate rescue – why lie? It’s a filthy business run by liars, cheats and bullies. If one of these shoddy excuses for a human being told me the sky was blue, I’d go out and check! Thank you for helping, for informing and for just being who you are, we need more people like you!

  4. Joy and Mary, thank you for what you did for Tyme Champ. His cruel gruesome fate was about to be sealed but for your persistence.
    These people lie because, at some level, they know what they do is so wrong. Of course the main reason is to hide what they do and keep the ugly truth hidden. Shameful.

  5. Thanks for your words of appreciation – you all are very kind. But please know, Tyme Champ’s story wasn’t shared for any reason other than to expose the outright lack of caring for these horses by industry members who are in positions of leadership. They have no accountability to anyone. And they don’t give a damn about the horses.

    I actually hope this isn’t viewed as a “feel good” story because it is not. Yes, Tyme was incredibly lucky…but not because the industry that used him took care of him and did the right thing. And what about all of the other horses on those Casualty Lists? – Horses too many to count? Oh there are probably some who were “saved’ like Tyme was…by the various rescue organizations that simply love the animal. But as long as racing exists, there will be countless racehorses waiting for rescue…and there will NEVER be enough lucky ones.

    FYI, Tyme was lame in all four when he was rescued. Osteoarthritis. At four years of age. But his new family loves him simply for who he is – the only “expectations” they have for him is to enjoy being a much-loved family member and handsome herd mate. And he excels at both.

  6. As Joy mentions, one of Tyme Champ’s owners, although just for a short time, was Charles Lawson. It was well known on the backside of Beulah Park that Lawson had an “agreement” with Mark Bliss and, in that agreement, Bliss would take Lawson’s unproductive horses. It was suspected that Bliss was a middleman who would take horses that the owners/trainers needed to get rid of and those that he couldn’t “flip” would be shuttled off into the underground slaughter pipeline. In late August, 2013, Bliss was ruled off the grounds of Beulah primarily due to the efforts of one of the stewards.

    We often hear about TB’s ending up in kill pens throughout the country, usually discovered by those who are NOT affiliated with the racing industry. We often question what the racing industry is doing to keep an eye on the horses that they produced in order to make a profit and the answer is virtually nothing. However, what I can say is that the horses ending up in kill pens are the lucky ones since they at least have a chance of being saved even if that chance is small. Those that enter the underground slaughter pipeline have no chance of being rescued. One example is Deputy Broad who went from track to plate in nine days. What I can say is that Tyme Champ was an extremely lucky horse….he didn’t end up in a kill pen, he didn’t enter the underground slaughter pipeline, he didn’t snap a leg off and die in the dirt, and he ended up in a wonderful home. Lucky, indeed!

  7. They all matter, but it’s so upsetting to see who makes it out alive, who doesn’t, and who the lucky ones are like Tyme Champ.
    Ferdinand was killed by this industry, and he was the sweetest horse ever.
    We now know that towards the end of his life he was severely neglected, and abused.
    What a way for a champion to go down, and this is because of this vile industry.
    It’s this industry that is directly responsible for them being dumped, and it’s the bets that enable this to continue.
    Often these people dump their racehorses, neglect to even think twice about their well-being, while going to the sales to spend some more money.
    You would have to be heartless to do this, but that’s required in this industry.
    You can’t possibly “love” or “care” for racehorses while watching them die in the dirt, and get dumped.
    This is horse racing.

    • Gina, YES…they ALL matter and for everyone of them, the time WILL come when their racing connections just want them gone.

    • I’m always glad to see a horse make it out of that brutish business and find peace and kindness. Sad to say I know there are countless others that do not die on the track and are entered into the “slaughter pipeline” to suffer and end their days in unimaginable terror.
      This is how racing says “THANK YOU” to the horse.!
      So, where are all the “good people” in this business ? Actually there is no way there are any of the self proclaimed “good people” in this business otherwise they would wash their hands of it. They know everything they do in racing contributes to propping up the game and perpetuating the suffering of horses as well as death by slaughter.
      Are they delusional or just plain hypocritical ?

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