Racehorses Sold to Kill-Buyer, and the Authorities Don’t Care – The Lie of Horseracing’s “Anti-Slaughter Policies”

The following, based on her own painstaking investigation, was written by our Joy Aten. Please read, then share…

Racing owner/trainer Burton Sipp sold five TB racehorses at the November 3 Lolli Bros. horse auction – at least two of the five were sold to a kill buyer. The West Virginia Racing Commission (WVRC) and Mountaineer Racetrack have an anti-slaughter policy but have chosen not to hold Sipp in violation of it. The following log reveals the incompetence and complicity of the WVRC and Mountaineer personnel.

On October 26, I shared the following on a social media post – racing owner/trainer Burton Sipp was planning to bring seven racing Thoroughbreds to the November 3 Lolli Bros. Horse auction in Missouri. The auction’s catalogue listed the following horses with Sipp identified as the owner:

*Sue Them All, 2009 dark bay gelding, racing O/T Burton Sipp, last raced for Sipp on October 17, 2018 at Mountaineer. Hip #135.

*Papa’s Paisley, 2011 bay gelding, racing O/T Burton Sipp, last raced for Sipp on October 7, 2018 at Mountaineer. Hip #140.

*I Know Thats Right, 2013 bay gelding, racing O/T Burton Sipp, last raced for Sipp on October 3, 2018 at Mountaineer. Hip #136.

*Adorable Twirl, 2013 dark bay gelding, racing O/T Burton Sipp, last raced for Sipp on September 24, 2018 at Mountaineer. Hip #138.

*Goodin Puddin, 2015 dark bay filly, racing O/T Wayne Rice, last raced for Rice on September 12, 2018 at Presque Isle Downs. Hip #139.

*Eye to Thrill, 2013 dark bay gelding, racing O/T Burton Sipp, last raced for Sipp on September 24, 2018 at Mountaineer. Hip #148.

*Kentucky Flame, 2013 chestnut mare, racing O/T Burton Sipp, last raced for Sipp on October 9, 2018 at Mountaineer. Hip #151.

The post had nearly 700 comments. The majority were outraged over the horses being sold at auction, knowing full well the risk of kill buyers and/or dealers purchasing any or all of the seven horses. Some individuals didn’t “appreciate” my revealing of the information and claimed that if Sipp became aware of the post, he wouldn’t be inclined to sell the horses to advocates instead of taking them to auction (and how would anyone even know to attempt to purchase the horses had I NOT provided the information?). And then there were those – I bet you can guess where their loyalties lie – who exclaimed: “Well at least Sipp is giving them a chance [by selling them at auction]!”

Also included in the comments were several from a trainer who spewed the same old line – Sipp is just one bad apple and most owners responsibly rehome their racehorses – and, in his best impersonation of a hero, said HE would bring this outrage to the Mountaineer stewards. He also promised follow-up in the post (which he never did). As it turns out, this trainer’s own filly – Dewdrop’s Heart – was found in a Bowie, Texas, feedlot less than four months after she last raced for him – but of course, it wasn’t HIS doing…HE had responsibly rehomed her. Right.

Several individuals commented that they had tried to get in contact with Sipp (before the auction) but were unable to. November 3 came and went, and there was no evidence that any of the seven had been acquired to spare them the nearly 800-mile trip to auction.

On November 6 and again on November 7, I spoke with Anna at the Lolli auction. Although it was against privacy policy to reveal the names of the purchasers, she was able to tell me the winning bids:

*I Know Thats Right (noted to have a swollen knee), sold for $625
*Adorable Twirl, sold for $775
*Goodin Puddin, sold for $710
*Eye to Thrill, sold for $575
*Kentucky Flame, sold for $600

*9-year-old Sue Them All and 7-year-old Papa’s Paisley were not brought to the auction. In a PM from Sipp, this (verbatim) regarding Sue Them All: “He was sold going to Canada has [sic] a riding horse.” Canada doesn’t have enough riding horses? Someone there wants a 9-year-old racehorse with osslets as their riding horse? Sure.

It was confirmed that Goodin Puddin and Eye to Thrill were purchased by a buyer for Stanley’s, operator of the Lone Star Kill Pen and Auction AND its “sister” lot, the Ark-La Ship Pen, at the Lolli auction and arrived at the Lone Star Kill Pen and Auction (LSKPA) on November 6. Imagine that – from West Virginia to Missouri to Texas in less than a week. Eye to Thrill was purchased for $975 from the kill buyer before the LSKPA site was made current with its available horses. But Goodin Puddin was listed there and she was subsequently purchased for $1275.

My first of many phone calls to Mountaineer Racetrack regarding the confirmed sale of Goodin Puddin and Eye to Thrill to a kill buyer was on November 8. Mary Lou Pietranton, executive assistant to Mountaineer VP/GM Bill Winkelried, put me through to Director of Racing Jim Colvin’s number after I apprised her of the situation, but I was only able to leave him a detailed message. So I called Pietranton right back and she assured me that Winkelried would call me that day. He never did.

On November 9, I called again, but got only voice mail. I then called Mountaineer steward Maureen Andrews – she listened but told me I needed to speak with the chief steward, Jim O’Brien. Now on my third call in less than five minutes, I didn’t reach O’Brien at the chief steward’s number but another steward, Phil Heidenreich, answered. He was already aware of the situation because my post had been shared with the Mountaineer stewards.

It was difficult to get a word in with Heidenreich as he babbled on about how the kill buyers “take advantage of bleeding hearts” and there wouldn’t be any Thoroughbreds going to slaughter if it were not for the kill buyers (brilliant). He then declared that none of the Sipp horses at Lolli were bought by kill buyers because Sipp said so. Sipp SAID SO. In fact, he continued, Sipp grumbled that NEXT TIME he was going to bring a saddle so the horses could be ridden in the auction ring because, according to Heidenreich, “horses ridden with saddles aren’t bought by the kill buyers.” God’s honest truth – Sipp said so, Heidenreich prattled. I asked that O’Brien call me back since that is who I had called to speak with. I was told he would. He didn’t.

On November 11, Heidenreich left a VM saying that I needed to e-mail the stewards with my “complaint” and he provided an address. On November 12, I tried the number on my caller ID from Heidenreich’s call the day before but there was no answer and no option to leave a VM. I sent the email to the stewards at 10:30 that morning. By November 15, I had not received a reply, so I sent a second. Again, no response.

On November 18, I tried chief steward Jim O’Brien’s number again – and again, Heidenreich answered. It was more of the same: the stewards met with Sipp and Sipp said he didn’t sell any horses to a kill buyer; Sipp is going to bring saddles next time; the kill buyers’ intentions are NOT to send horses to slaughter but to sell them to bleeding hearts at a mark-up; and Jim Colvin was who I really needed to talk to but he was “sick with that Legionnaires disease.” When I asked who was next in the chain of command or could speak on Colvin’s behalf, he said it had to be Colvin. Several minutes later, though, Heidenreich said I needed to talk with someone at Eldorado Resorts, Mountaineer’s corporate owner. Runaround, defined.

When I mentioned I had yet to receive a response to the two e-mails I sent, Heidenreich scoffed, “WHY did you send e-mails to the stewards?” I responded, “Because on November 11, you left me a VM suggesting I do exactly that and you also provided the address.” Finally, Heidenreich said to call Colvin “tomorrow, after 9 AM”, and although I questioned that (being he was ill), I was assured he was back at work.

On November 19, I called Colvin’s number – no answer. Left a detailed message and asked for a call back. I also called (steward) Andrews, but had to do the same. Neither Colvin nor Andrews called back.

On November 23, I called Colvin again and this time he answered. He had been told about the situation and said, “I heard that all of the horses weren’t even Sipp’s.” I went through the list with him, no detail left out…of the five horses brought to the Lolli auction, Sipp was the last owner/trainer of record of four and identified as the owner of the fifth, the formerly Rice-owned/trained filly, in the auction catalogue. I also informed Colvin that 1), Sipp claims Sue Them All went to Canada as a riding horse; 2), Goodin Puddin and Eye to Thrill were purchased by a kill buyer at Lolli, taken to Texas and re-sold there; and 3), I did not know where the remaining horses were.

When pressed with the fact there was proof Goodin Puddin and Eye to Thrill were purchased by a kill buyer at the Lolli auction, Colvin “reminded” me that their anti-slaughter policy was just that…anti-SLAUGHTER. “Not anti-kill buyer,” Colvin said, “anti-slaughter; there needs to be absolute proof the horse went to slaughter. I know Sipp is no saint but there needs to be absolute proof.” I asked him what would fit the criteria of “absolute proof” a horse has gone to slaughter, BEEN slaughtered. He didn’t have an answer. I suggested different scenarios and again, he just kept repeating the need for absolute proof.

This conversation and every other one I had since my first call to Mountaineer on November 8 were futile, so I ended with this: “There is no point in having your toothless anti-slaughter policy, Jim – you haven’t been able to give me one example of the absolute proof Mountaineer requires. Not one. Aside from flipping the lips of the horses’ severed heads in the slaughterhouse, there is no absolute proof. And you know it. Your industry needs slaughter and you know that, too.” Colvin said he would personally hand my phone number to O’Brien and have O’Brien call me.

Four days later, I had yet to hear from Jim O’Brien, so on November 27 I called Jim Colvin to see if he had given my name and number to O’Brien as he said he would – I had to leave a VM. Then I called Jim O’Brien and finally, HE answered. O’Brien gave the same yarn regarding holding Sipp accountable for selling horses to a kill buyer, but said, “We need concrete proof”…to which I asked, as I had asked of Colvin, “What would that be, Jim? At least two of the horses were purchased at the Lolli auction – brought there by Sipp, with Sipp identified as owner – by a buyer for Stanley, a kill buyer. What more do you need to recognize Sipp violated the anti-slaughter policy?”

O’Brien then felt it necessary to “correct” me…that for the state it is an anti-slaughter RULE and for Mountaineer an anti-slaughter POLICY. I asked O’Brien, “Is a racing owner selling his racehorses to a kill buyer a violation of your anti-slaughter rule?” He would not answer but stuttered, “Let me read it to you.” I told him not to bother as I had read it numerous times, but all of a sudden he was gone…approximately 30 seconds later he was back, reading me the rule/policy. I waited, then asked again, “Is a racing owner selling his racehorses to a kill buyer a violation of your anti-slaughter rule?” Finally, he said, “We would have to investigate and have a hearing.” I reminded him that I had been trying – via numerous calls and emails – for nearly three weeks to provide them with information but no one seemed interested enough to call back OR answer my emails. O’Brien was as inept as Heidenreich and Colvin – so I ended the call after asking for the number of Joe Moore, the WVRC executive director.

On November 27, I called Moore but had to leave a VM. I provided a few details and asked for a call-back at his earliest convenience. I followed that with my third email to the stewards, this time including Joe Moore. As of November 29, I had not received a call back from Moore nor a response to my third email. So I sent a fourth email – to Moore and the stewards – on November 30. No response.

On December 3, I called Joe Moore again. Again, no answer. So, another detailed message. Called Jim O’Brien right after – he was silent when I asked him if they were investigating Sipp and that I had not received responses to voice mails I’ve left with Moore nor to the four emails I was “instructed” (by Heidenreich) to send to the stewards. After a stretch of silence from O’Brien, I asked him again if they were investigating Sipp; he stated: “I’ll have Mike Vapner call you.”

Mike Vapner, the WVRC’s investigator, called me several minutes later. After rehashing the near month’s-worth of phone calls and emails, Vapner provided me with a fax number to the Mountaineer stewards’ office; on December 5, I faxed 24 pages of information, including the proof of Goodin Puddin’s purchase by a kill-buyer at the Lolli auction. Another email was sent to the stewards to alert them of the fax AND I verified with Vapner via text that the 24 pages had been faxed. He acknowledged receipt of my text. Days passed with nothing more. On the 14th, I texted Vapner again, asking him if a decision had been reached. His response:

Vapner: “I work at Mountaineer…and Wheeling Island Racetrack. My last day at Mountaineer was 12/10/18. As of that date none of your documents had been forwarded to me.”

Me: “Mike, they were faxed (to the number you gave me) at 0300 on December 5 – I then sent a fourth email to the stewards to inform I had faxed the 24 pages AND I texted you that morning – you replied with ‘OK, thanks.’ So you didn’t retrieve them?”

Vapner: “No, I didn’t receive them.”

Me: “No…reTRIEVE them. I informed you they were there. So do I need to resend them? This is unbelievable.”

At this point, I called O’Brien’s number to ask him what he/they did with the 24 pages of information I had faxed to the stewards’ office. Maureen Andrews answered and right after I identified myself, the call “dropped.” After several more calls getting “user busy,” I finally got through but only to Jim O’Brien’s VM. I left a message suggesting he locate the information and get it to Vapner. I didn’t receive a call back from O’Brien.

At that point I received another text from Vapner:

Vapner: “Joy I contacted the Stewart’s [sic] office they did not receive any of your faxes I’ll give me [you?] the number for the license clerks fax machine it is 304-387-2226 thank you”

Me: “Yes they did receive them…” – and I texted three photos of the “call report” showing the result of “success.”

Vapner did not respond to the proof that my fax to the stewards’ office had been successfully sent – 24 pages of information sent to a fax machine that HE had chosen – 24 pages of information that HE knew had been successfully sent as evidenced by his acknowledgement of my text stating such. He knew I had faxed them…why wouldn’t Vapner, the investigator, go and retrieve them and if they WEREN’T there, contact me and say so? So I faxed everything a second time – to (AGAIN) the number he gave me. And AGAIN, I texted Vapner after I received confirmation that the fax had gone through. His response:

Vapner: “Joy I will not be at Mountaineer until Sunday evening [December 16]! At that time I will know if fax was completed”

Me: “The fax went through – successful. I don’t know what you meant by ‘completed.’”

Vapner: “Simply that I will check to verify that I got it Sunday” WHAT? …”check to verify that I got it”? And he is an investigator? I closed the loop with, “I’ll check with you Sunday.”

On December 16, I texted Vapner to remind him to get the information I had (successfully) faxed. Mountaineer was racing that evening and Sipp had several horses entered. I received confirmation from Vapner that he did indeed pick up the information. I asked him to keep me informed of his progress and a decision about Sipp. He said he would.

On December 20 at 11:49 am, I texted Vapner to see if a decision had been made. He read my text at 11:51 but did not reply. At 11 pm, I emailed the Mountaineer stewards and Joe Moore with a recap of the situation and the same to the WVRC at 11:30. No response from either the stewards or the WVRC.

On December 24, I texted Vapner again…it had now been eight days since he picked up the SECOND set of information I had faxed to him, and I assumed a decision about Sipp selling at least two horses to a kill buyer would have been reached. He read my text but didn’t respond. Three hours later, I texted Vapner a second time. His response (punctuation added for clarity):

“The last day of racing at Mountaineer was 12-19-18. I did contact Loli [sic] auctions on 12-18-18 and spoke to Anna. She told me it was their policy that she could not supply me with any information on buyers. Mr. Sipp was questioned by the stewards at Mountaineer and he stated that he has been doing business with Loli for years and they are a reputable business. Since the meet at Mountaineer has ended for the year I have been relocated to Wheeling Island Racetrack Casino…as of this date I have not been supplied with internet access or a phone in my office, even though I requested both from management last December. The lack of both greatly hampers my ability to conduct investigations.”

So, it appears, Vapner’s “investigation” (WITH internet access and a phone!) consisted of TWO things: 1), calling Lolli’s on 12-18 and speaking with Anna who informed him she could not divulge WHO purchased Sipp’s horses. But why call Lolli’s? I had provided Vapner with the proof Sipp sold (at least) two horses to a kill buyer! And 2), the stewards’ conversation with Sipp in which he states Lolli’s is reputable, he’s been doing business with them for years, and, as Heidenreich had conveyed to me back on November 9, Sipp SAID he didn’t sell any of his horses to the kill buyer.

So there you have it. Burton Sipp sold Goodin Puddin and Eye to Thrill to a kill buyer at the Lolli Bros. horse auction on November 3. Individuals who were provided proof of such included Mountaineer Director of Racing Jim Colvin, Chief Steward Jim O’Brien, WVRC Executive Director Joe Moore, and WVRC investigator Mike Vapner. Vapner was GIVEN 24 pages of information (twice) – information I had gathered, organized, numbered and cross-referenced, and finally, attached notes for indisputable clarity.

But the WVRC and Mountaineer personnel had no intention of banning Sipp for violation of their anti-slaughter policy. They are a circus show of incompetence and collusion, and their anti-slaughter policy is a farce. One thing, however, that they did do expertly was drag their collective feet…Vapner’s “investigation” concluded just as the Mountaineer meet did – and Sipp had 3 horses entered on the meet’s final night, December 19. How’s that for timing.

Included in the 24 pages I faxed to Vapner and the WVRC (and emailed to the Mountaineer stewards and Joe Moore), the following:

1) photos from the Lolli catalogue naming each horse – with corresponding hip number – brought to the auction and identifying Sipp as the owner.

2) the sale ad from the Stanley Brothers Lone Star Kill Pen for Goodin Puddin, including a description and photos of her.

3) private messages between me and the Lone Star Kill Pen – in them, the kill pen offering other TB’s names that came in from the Lolli auction. Eye to Thrill was one of the several names.

4) photos of a tattooed chestnut TB mare (not identified, “approximate age – 5”) at the Ark-La Ship Pen/Stanley Brothers from November 7 who could possibly be Kentucky Flame, one of the TB’s Sipp sold at Lolli’s.

5) the November 22 ad from Marni Prater who purchased Goodin Puddin from the Lone Star Kill Pen…“We pulled her from a kill pen a few weeks ago…”

6) the fundraiser by Marni Prater for the surgery Goodin Puddin needs for her left knee chip…“Goodin Puddin retired from racing in September. She was sold by her trainer [Rice] to another trainer [Sipp]. The trainer [Sipp] took Puddin and 6 [4] other thoroughbreds to the Lolli brothers’ auction in Missouri. Within days Puddin was at the Lone Star Kill Pen in Texas.”

Marni Prater’s fundraiser has stalled, so she is trying to rehome GP. A second fundraiser by someone who would adopt her has begun – costs include the purchase price, transport from Texas to Oklahoma and the surgery. From the gofundme: “Goodin Puddin is a mare who has been thru a lot these last few months, we have reached out to a few TAA organizations who would like to help her unfortunately due to budgets and end of year expenses the rescues are not able to buy her.”

Once again, the multi-billion dollar racing industry does not take care of its own – and its loudly-touted “aftercare” cannot manage the constant flow of injured and discarded horses. **Let me know if you would like to help Goodin Puddin by way of this fundraiser – I will put you in contact with the individual. TY.**

Finally, I do not know the whereabouts of the other six Sipp horses named in this report.

Goodin Puddin; photo credit: Marni Prater

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  1. You are amazing to go through all this. Animals are just things to these coniving subhumans. May they all die horrible deaths and go to Hell.

  2. Corruption at it’s finest. They care about one thing only, and that’s money. There’s is a BS trail of epic proportions; caught in their own lies, they simply continue lying. Credit to you in your documenting and persistence.

  3. Joy, I so admire your tenacity, determination, and hard work on behalf of the voiceless racehorses.
    I was so frustrated by the second paragraph so I can only imagine what you were going through.
    That said, I know this business, I lived this frustration every single day, and I can say with 100% certainty that people in this business, as shown by your direct examples, do this deliberately.
    Quite frankly, the people in positions of power in this industry should really be tagged as the “Whitey Bulger gang” from what I saw and experienced.
    If I were to tell people what members in this industry did to me while I was an active owner/trainer nobody would believe me, but their intimidation tactics, their empty policies and non-enforcement when it comes to doing the right thing has been going on for years.
    Not much has changed as clearly demonstrated by this example.
    There is a small gang of people controlling most of the horse racing business/purse money and they employ heartless trainers to do their bidding and that’s why the multiple drug violating trainers who maim and kill hundreds of racehorses are never held accountable nor are those who dispose of them at the kill auctions.
    This business, in my view, is organized crime from the start to the finish and it brings with it horrible repercussions in the community, but it’s the racehorses who suffer greatly who lose their lives due to this vile business and the vile people in it.
    The horse racing business will be their own demise and it will happen – it’s just a matter of time before we start to see more tracks shutting down.
    In the meantime, with the shortage of racehorses to fill races, it will be the racehorses who will continue to suffer greatly for their stupid bets.

    • I’m certain you felt my frustration, Gina…I appreciate your acknowledgment of it. I knew around 1 week into it that nothing would be done.

  4. Sipp you have blood on your hands and will be held responsible for putting these horses in the hands of the grim reaper I only wish a slow painful death for you!!!!!!

  5. Joy, I so admire your tenacity, and such detailed information! Let me ask you… ‘how’ do you feel horseracing will finally be banned and justice on behalf of these beautiful animals will be achieved!? Is there no animal rights organization, or legal team willing to take on the horseracing industry? This is a crime industry obviously! The crooks are taking care of all the other crooks involved in this business! WHAT WILL PUT AN END TO HORSERACING ONCE AND FOR ALL?

    • Debra, firstly, I apologize for taking so long to respond to your questions – it’s been one of those weeks.

      The racing industry is already struggling. I read Thoroughbred (racing) industry news nearly daily and often there will be pieces on its declining fan base and their concern over the public’s negative “perceptions” regarding racehorse welfare issues and what to do about it.

      A couple of things that I’ve seen recently…the DRF (Daily Racing Form) ran an article titled; “RTIP [Race Track Industry Program] Symposium attendees hear strategies on avoiding dog racing’s fate”. Here, just a bit from that piece…

      -“One of the topics being discussed among racing officials…is whether the recent popular vote in Florida to ban dog racing could happen to horse racing in one or more states soon.”

      -“racing needs to make changes wherever it can to avoid slipping further into irrelevance, citing the fact that handle on racing has dropped nearly 50 percent in the last 10 years, when the figures are adjusted for inflation.”

      And then from the Thoroughbred Daily News, there was an article (and an “interesting” photo!) about photographs for a track’s promotional calendar that had been retouched…some of the whips carried by the jockeys had been digitally removed! From the article…

      -“An internal marketing policy at The Stronach Group [TSG] designed to minimize imagery that shows whip usage in horse races resulted in unintended blowback…Soon after the calendars [with the photos showing horses, jockeys and ‘missing whips’] began to circulate publicly, some racegoers took to social media to criticize the track’s decision to digitally remove some the whips.” Tim Rivto, TSG’s chief operating officer had this to say about the backlash; “…we should have just selected other images. To try to hide [whip use] is not the best strategy…We should not try to hide what is already out there. People know that jockeys use whips.” The article continued with this; “Rivto explained that TSG’s marketing policy at its six United States tracks is to depict ‘limited use of the whip, meaning nobody reaching back and hitting the horse or anything like that.’”

      Appalling, right? They address the public’s ever-increasing awareness of racehorse welfare and growing opposition to horse racing by presenting their sanitized product. They LIE. But social media has made it difficult for the industry to hide racehorse exploitation and to get away with their lies.

      Brick by brick the racing industry is coming down. It requires financial assistance to stay afloat, there are so many other gambling choices, the younger population isn’t finding horse racing appealing (for a variety of reasons), and compassionate society members are finding their voices in regards to the many animal welfare issues…and those are just several thoughts.

      Yet, as with any industry that profits from the exploitation of animals, if the exploitation is concealed or disguised, it must be exposed. I believed the lie for too many years…I thought those few nationally televised races, presented so skillfully, were what horse racing was. Again, they LIE. And so this is where all of us come in – Patrick has provided us with the facts through his meticulous work and we all need to educate using those facts. Education is KEY. Grassroots activism – just look at what has been accomplished because of it!

      So those collapsing bricks? Let’s help them along – let’s weaken them one by one by exposing the truth. Educate…whenever we can and to whomever is open to learning.

      And finally, Horseracing Wrongs is the ONLY organization that is calling for and working towards the end to horse racing. It is the right choice. The compassionate choice. The only choice.

  6. A slow painful death is what scum bags deserve who subject these lovely animals to . Greedy evil humans shame on you

  7. The state of the poor mare & what she’s been through, all for the sake of raising a few hundred pounds on her flesh rather than giving her what she deserves. Why isn’t all the kill buyers shut down, if America doesn’t want to slaughter horses & stop shamefully sending them miles across the globe them why not make it that only veterinarians can end a horses life, ban all overseas transport, close down kill pens, do everything necessary to stop the slaughter trade

    • The American public might not agree with horse slaughter, but the horse racing industry NEEDS it. Racehorse rescue organizations are over-loaded with crippled and discarded racehorses and under-funded trying to care for them – so WHERE is the racing industry going to put the other 12K-plus that ship to slaughter every year?

      Racing doesn’t take care of their “beloved athletes” – they never have and they never will.

      • Joy — For the reasons you state, this industry must be SHUT DOWN in its entirety — there’s no way around anything — every which way I turn, there’s a path, and most of the time, that path leads to slaughter. ALSO, you mention Racehorse Rescue Orgs — offhand, can you name some? — are they supported by donations (from whom)? — off the cuff, I know of some NO-KILL Animal Rescues who take in TB’s — PETS ALIVE in NY State — there are other horse-lover Rescue Orgs who regularly attend such auctions to purchase and bring horses onto their ranches : FRONT RANGE RESCUE; PROTECT MUSTANGS (Anne Novak); there’s HABITAT FOR HORSES who take in horses from a wide variety of locations — there are probably way more! — But, as you mention in your post, the monsters in Racing NEVER will take care of their “beloved athletes” — again, and for this reason alone, the industry MUST BE SHUT DOWN — let’s proclaim this to the world LOUDLY each and every day.

      • Mari, there are actually quite a number of racehorse rescue organizations. Like I mentioned, they are over-loaded and under-funded. CANTER, New Vocations, The Exceller Fund, Old Friends, SCTR (I believe is still operating) are several that immediately come to mind. The racing industry has had to catch up – doing damage control – because of the exposure they’ve received about not taking care of their “athletes”. CANTER, for instance, was founded NOT by the industry but by former racing insider Jo Anne Normile back in 1997 before “aftercare” was racing’s new buzzword. Begging for money to care for the hundreds of young, crippled and used-up racehorses we (CANTER) took in was constant. Today, the industry provides CRUMBS for the horses on whose backs it exists. This past year, the TAA gave what amounted to 0.3% of 1 billion dollars…not even 1% of JUST 1 billion dollars…and the racing industry is a MULTI-billion dollar industry. Crumbs.

        These rescue organizations that receive TAA funds are always pleading for money from the public for racing’s discarded horses. And then they need to adopt them out. Some are so damaged they can only be “pasture ornaments”. Many are not sound for all disciplines. But ALL require someone other than their breeders, racing owners or trainers to care for them for the next 20 or so years. They are bred for racing – used in racing – but never fully supported nor provided a forever home by racing.

        We see discarded and unwanted racehorses begging for homes LITERALLY all of the time. I saw this on Twitter the other day; “To all of my Facebook friends. I am looking for homes for two retired race horses. One is a winner of over 920K and a grade 1 winner. If you have room let me know ASAP. These are not my horses, but as horse people, we need to step up, when the owners don’t.” The horse was a winner of nearly ONE MILLION DOLLARS…and he NEEDS A HOME.

        And then there is Stallwalkin’ Dude. Again, this from Twitter; “This 8 yro millionaire retires with $1,741,397 in earnings from 65 starts. Donations for care can be made to PayPal….”. DONATIONS are needed for a horse who made 1.7 MILLION dollars? Well of course they are…this is a racehorse we’re talking about here. I was glad to see the following response to the plea for donations; “That’s one of the biggest issues with the racing industry. Owners buy horses, race them, and typically take zero accountability for their livelihood after their career has concluded. It’s one of the many reasons I stopped training horses.”

        Take a look at my FB page – there is a 6-year-old TB mare posted there. She raced only twice as a 2-year-old, she is by Pioneerof the Nile (American Pharoah’s sire), and she was just rescued from a kill pen. She is skeletal – and she is fighting for her life. Earnings do not matter. Breeding does not matter. NOTHING matters but getting that unproductive racehorse off one’s books.

      • THANK YOU Joy for naming some Rescue orgs. — KEEP UP THIS NOBLE FIGHT FOR OUR HORSES — keep at it until this industry is SHUT DOWN. — signed, Mari

  8. Please contact the Humane Society of Missouri immediately. They have a Longmeadow Rescue Ranch for horses, etc., and I feel that they would be able to help with the rescue/purchase of these beautiful creatures that would come through Missouri. 636-583-8759 or 314-647-8800.

    • You’re right, John. This guy has been investigated and thrown out by numerous tracks and states. He’s not even allowed to race in some states. But his 2 mainstays are mountaineer and turf, with the occasional Presque Isle downs thrown in. He’s well – known in the racing industry as being shady, unscrupulous, and yet this story shows how desperate tracks are willing to overlook all that In efforts to fill their races, so they willingly tolerate and cover for crap like this guy.
      My friend tried to buy a horse from him years ago, and he was willing to sell the horse, at a hugely inflated price, as long as he could continue to race the horse!! I felt bad for the horse, but I talked my friend out of it quickly, because she wanted a riding horse, not a racing horse.
      He also had a beautiful mare that was a half sister to my gelding. He admitted she had pins and plates in her leg from a previous fracture, and yet he was still racing her. And then she just disappeared. Guess we know now where she went.

  9. These heartless, obnoxiously profit-oriented criminals are just detestable and odious!!!!!

  10. OMG — I read this, I am literally crying — tears are rolling down my cheeks — the audacity, the sadistic, depraved negligence of these beautiful sentient animals — this is horrific crime — brutal organized crime — and most are complicit — not some — but MOST — (if a handful were complicit, you can CUT them out) but most are complicit and contribute to the unconscionable torturous treatment & killing off of these beautiful horses — majestic animals that they are and THOSE who worked them, don’t give a damn — CONCLUSION: the whole industry must be SHUT DOWN — TELL THE WORLD : STOP FREQUENTING THE RACES!

  11. What horrible human beings with no conscious, compassion or heart. Your passion to end this sport is so admirable but the forces are great on the other side. I believe you have the support of many more than the opposing side…we stand behind you and feel your pain. Thank you for all you are doing to expose the evilness of what truly goes on behind the scenes.

  12. This is so evil to sell these horses to be destroyed. They deserve to be saved and sold to loving homes where they can live out their lives. There are people out there who would love to give these horses a home. I will never attend horse racing. This makes me so angry and sad that this is going on.

  13. Why do these beautiful horses have to be killed? There are sanctuaries for them, where they can continue to live out the rest of their lives in peace, being carefully and lovingly nurtured by compassionate carers..

  14. Just google racehorse sold for slaughter, the stories are everywhere, and have gone on for years. The tracks and their anti slaughter policies are as worthless as the other rules and regulations they refuse to follow, most places cant even follow the rules they write (PA) there has been leading owners and trainers hpba board directors, presidents, places like winstar farm have dumped horses it is a necessary evil for the industry as stated and the tracks refuse to ban trainers and owners because field size would suffer and that would only hurt the tracks bottom line, how do these states and our government continue to support this industry?

  15. Thank you, Joy for all your hard work, determination and unfailing tenacity with this very interesting investigation. You out-smarted these jokers who boringly attempt to fool the public with their deceitful behaviour – they fail miserably.

  16. There are innumerable atrocities committed against horses daily by self proclaimed “horse people”. As the owner of an abused and neglected horse who had multiple owners, I have become painfully aware of what is done to “train” and manipulate these creatures in the name of entertainment. Rodeo is as bad or worse for the animals forced to participate. When the horse, or any animal, fails to perform it is discarded…why? MONEY! When there no longer is profit associated with horse racing or horse breeding then this conversation may finally end for the good of all horses.

  17. This is disturbing to say the least. It seems to me I recall that when the anti-saughter policy was put into place by Mountaineer, it was backed up with “no sales to kill buyers.” I remember one horse that was found on its way to Canada, and Mountaineer actually banned the trainer/owner from the stables. This was when the policy was first instated – but appears that it is JUST too much work to have a policy and enforce it. And this just tells me that these people who “run” the show are dispensable. Can anyone answer why animals, in general, are under the auspices of such cretins? Really, why are the laws and money behind abusers and lawless goons?

  18. They are all cold hearted, lying COWARDS! I have rescued quite a few horses from kill pens and it is disgusting how these horses are treated. We need bills passed to save all horses!

  19. Well done. Of course the same happens here in the UK. In Taunton, Somerset in the West Country which has 3 famous racehorse trainers there is one of the large racehorse slaughterers in the country which is a fact not many people know and you can bet some of those trainers send their horses there. It’s not right, it’s not fair and it certainly gives racing a bad name.

  20. This is beyond sad and sickening! A bunch of heartless, selfish, ignorant men who think they can feed you a bunch of BS and you’ll give up and go away! Everyone, please pass this on and keep up the pressure so we can help Joy!


    You are doing a great Job for the world and the animals.

    God Bless You.


  22. This is corruption at it’s worst. I had a thought that might have some impact on this crime. We now have a new Congress with 100 new women representatives. Why not contact all of them and see if any of them take up this cause? Thank you for all that you have done so far, and I hope you will begin to have many others who will help you in this just cause.

  23. The anti-slaughter policies that so many supporters tout as being a “step forward” in racing aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. Rewind to the summer of 2011 when Danny R. Bird handed off Deputy Broad, who last raced at Mountaineer, to Fred Bauer, a contract kill buyer here in Ohio. Bird was brought into the racing office and Rose Mary Williams, the Racing Director at that time, asked Bird if he had sold Deputy Broad into the slaughter pipeline and Bird denied doing so. She asked him to sign an “official” affidavit and Bird was more than willing to do so. I had spoken to Bird on the phone prior to his denial and he had told me that Deputy Broad was with Fred Bauer. Therefore, Bird lied to Williams and Williams was only too eager to believe him but who cares when there are races to run.

    When I spoke to Williams on the phone, I told her that Mountaineer horses were going to slaughter and she denied that fact even though the HBO documentary “No Day Off” was filmed at HER track. I then said that she had Deputy Broad’s blood on her hands and she promptly hung up on me. Williams and her cronies were complicit in DB’s death and no one was ever held accountable.

    I share this story because it illustrates how NOTHING has changed at Mountaineer over the last seven years. You still have incompetent racing officials who only care about filling the cards, and you have scum like Burton Sipp who blatantly exploits horses daily. Slaughter is part of racing’s culture and has been for years. The only way to “clean it up” is to dismantle it.

    • You. Are exactly right, Mary.
      And, unfortunately,, racing will continue to send it’s horses to slaughter, directly or indirectly, because slaughter is racing’s disposal system for it’s used up athletes and breeding stock.
      And adding to the suffering and horrific deaths these unfortunates are forced to endure are the lies and spin at every level of the business in a pathetic attempt to hide the truth.
      It is a fact that 10,000 plus thoroughbreds, bred for the racing industry, are slaughtered every year.
      However, this corrupt and morally bankrupt business will never own up to the atrocious treatment of it’s horses.

    • And then, Mary, there are the racing proponents who completely overlook this report’s point and exclaim something ridiculous like “you get more flies with honey”!

  24. Anybody who derives a living from this vile and nasty business is complicit in any racehorses who gets maimed, dumped at the kill auction, and/or dies in the dirt.
    Furthermore, it appears that racetrack owners like Frank Stronach hires what amounts to a “goon squad” to ensure that everything comes up rosie when a racehorse dies in the dirt.
    This includes editing out the racehorses breaking down, the announcer focusing on the race not on the horse dying in the dirt, not releasing the names of racehorses, everybody hired from stewards to grooms seem to be there to support this delusional apologist and/or horror show.
    Many of the policies are there to protect the racehorse abusers, and enablers of the abuse.
    What appears to be “good” policies to take care of their profit slaves turns out to be lip service, fodder, and/or public wallpaper – this has been going on since its inception, but they are having problems hiding their dirty little secrets these days thanks to social media.
    Mr. Stronach, worth billions, could change the world for the better, could rescue thousands of animals in horrible predicaments, or could own environmentally friendly businesses.
    Instead, Mr. Stronach chooses to support, promote and provide the venue for the massive suffering of racehorses and cows.
    Horse lovers, horse advocates, animal advocates, and animal rights activists could only imagine having this much money behind their agenda of moral goodness and doing what’s right for other beings on our planet.

  25. Joy, thank you for your meticulous documentation and your amazing tenacity in exposing the meaningless “no slaughter policies” these officials espouse.
    The Sipps (owners/trainers) operate in this business with impunity because the O’Briens (officials) are complicit while they hide behind their false and unenforced policies. What a sham.
    Further, inquiries and accountability are side stepped by tactics such as giving the run around, passing the buck, being unresponsive as well as requesting impossible” proof – all employed to weare down and frustrate any attempts at scrutiny.
    All this so they can continue to collect their dirty checks while horses suffer and are subjected to the ultimate betrayal.

  26. Burton Sipp know horse doper also cruel and evil with his horses.. Officials at Mountaineer know exactly what’s going on like ever other official at every other racetrack especially Mountaineer.. These crumb bums probably get kick backs. P.S. Does anyone know the whereabouts or the out come of Goodin Puddin?

    • She’s been acquired from the individual who purchased her out of the Lone Star Kill Pen. She needs surgery to be sound – her new owner plans to fundraise for those costs.

      Sickening – she’s only three years old and she’s already been injured – requiring surgery – and sold to a kill buyer. Raced when still a baby, injured, passed from Rice to Sipp to kill buyer to first off-track buyer and now to a second off-track buyer. Immense stress. I hope she’s found her home – I believe she has.

      All that trauma…yet SHE’S the lucky one.

  27. I’ve seen her race a couple of months ago, and she looked beautiful sound good weight her coat was shimmering looked like she had a coat of wax on her. A couple of months later to see those pictures of her ribs exposed filthy cuts downtrodden it’s a shame will try to donate for surgery know a few people at Ohio State equine hospital maybe i’ll try and get her have a friend that has a farm here for retirement only.

  28. Joy, thanks for being a voice for the racehorses, and for all your dedication over the years.
    This business continues to irk their responsibility to their profit slaves once they are done maiming them and the slaughterhouse has been their disposal system for years.
    In honor of DEPUTY BROAD:
    Please scroll down to the comments by Equine Rescue Farm where a person, who had worked at Woodbine for years, spills the beans on what actually goes on there.
    I saw it, and I know this to be true.
    The only way to stop this is to shut this vile business down.

  29. Let me get this straight. There is a state law against sending these horses to slaughter, yet the track has a policy of not sending them to slaughter? Doesn’t LAW outrank POLICY? I think you should contact the state legislators for the district the tracks are in, as well as any state legislator on any state gambling or public recreation or tourism boards. If that doesn’t get action, tell them you have no choice but to send all your info, your fax, and your records of any discussions with the lawmakers to some hotshot investigative reporter. Not a reporter with a local station, but 60 Minutes. This will make quite the story to watch on a Sunday evening after the dishes are all washed and put away, and while perhaps people are still feeling the glow from Sunday services.

    • Karen, it is not illegal to send our American horses to slaughterhouses across our borders – it is perfectly legal.

      As far as the “anti-slaughter” policies tracks have? – they are for “show”. The industry is faltering – and they need to sell the lie that they care about their horses. Racehorses have gone to slaughter for years, but the public was not always aware of it – now they are. So tracks created their toothless anti-slaughter policies – you wouldn’t believe how many individuals commented on my October 26 post about Sipp bringing his horses to auction, saying; “Mountaineer will ban him if he sells any of those horses to a kill buyer because they have an anti-slaughter policy.” They just blindly trusted (or wanted to) the track to uphold their policy. But it’s a farce – not only does the commission and the track NOT want to revoke Sipp’s license, they’re so inept they didn’t even know how to respond to my simple questions and irrefutable proof.

  30. In addition to the thousands of racehorses killed while training & racing, countless horses are sent to auctions/slaughter after they are used up racing…while the industry exclaims they care.

    Industry members, so you love your “athletes”? – prove it. Have a hotline for every racing jurisdiction…a phone number where you can be reached immediately when one of your tattooed TB’s is found at auction/with the kill buyer. When you receive that call, YOU send a trailer & YOU pay the bail & YOU bring that discarded horse to one of YOUR safe farms…and YOU place that horse into one of YOUR industry-funded organizations where the horse will reside the remainder of his/her life – at YOUR expense. YOU bred him/her for your industry, used him/her for YOUR industry, so YOU be responsible for him/her for LIFE.

    Put your multi-billions of dollars made on the backs of these horses where your collective mouths are. You love them? They’re your priority? Then stop putting the responsibility of their very lives on those who didn’t put them on this earth, didn’t pocket their earnings, didn’t sell them again and again, didn’t breed them and sell their foals…didn’t make one dime off their bodies and stolen lives.

    Until your dying, unnecessary, profit-driven gambling industry takes its last breath and no more of your horses endure horrific deaths on tracks and in slaughterhouses, this will be…a START. You care? – let’s see. Your horses are waiting.

    • Well said! The word needs to get out because the majority of the people would be horrified if they really knew what was going on in the racing industry, but they are trying to keep it their dirty BIG Secret.

  31. I can hardly bear to be on social media any longer today – horse after horse after horse, all bred for the industry and used in the industry, pictured in kill pens and feed lots – headed to slaughter. The usual begging and pleading…the clock ticking…the comments about “how nice the trainer is” – but HE’S not giving a dime to help the horse HE used.

    Where are ALL of those “good folks” in racing?!?

    Every. Damn. Day. Racing’s broken record – their broken, “beloved athletes” standing in kill pens, waiting for help that will never come.

    • Yes, Joy! And often we hope that the original owners/breeders will make the attempt to ensure their horses are safe. Well, even that’s not fool- proof. I noticed this week there’s a post on Equine Now, a gelding named BadAsMyWifeLetsMeB. The owners, Bean Acres thoroughbreds, for whom this gelding made $101,000 for, are now trying to dump him for $500!! He has a suspensory injury, so of course they are advertising him as a pasture pal, or light riding. And they try to paint themselves in such a nice light, well they are after all trying to find homes for their OTTBs. Hate to think someone with $500 would show up, and that poor horse would very easily be on his way across the border to Mexico for slaughter. $100,000 couldn’t even ensure this poor guy could have just had a nice retirement home with them after they used and abused, and ultimately broke him.

      • Thank you Victoria for rescuing this horse, I know there is a lot that goes into it and you are very much appreciated. God Bless you!

  32. Thank you for what you are doing. I had not heard of this man (Sipp) but a horse I am going to rescue tomorrow was trained by him so I started researching as I wanted to talk to the trainer and see if there were any issues. Boy was I shocked when I started researching.

    • Yes, Victoria! Thank you! He’s a shady individual for sure, and the desperate need to obtain more money at all costs is the only thing that drives him.

  33. Racing “authorities” – what a joke they are.

    The gelding Bushrod – his owner/trainer Judd Becker illegally gave him Cardarine, found to be a cancer-causing agent in animal studies and the trials were therefore halted. YET, the Minnesota Racing Commission chose to greatly REDUCE the penalty this illegal drugging calls for. Instead of a year suspension and a $10,000 fine, Becker received a mere 90 days and a $2,500 fine.

    Do you see that, once again, racing “rules” mean NOTHING? The link to the article is provided below.


    • One more example of how much the horse is “loved” and treated “like family”- they give the horse a cancer causing drug to enhance his performance.
      There is no such thing as redemption for this business – SHUT IT DOWN!!!

  34. Do you know the whereabouts of the TB mare named Goodin Puddin? I am wondering if she got a home and the surgery and if there is an ongoing fundraiser for her care. If so, can you share a link?

    • She is in a private home – I can check with her again to see where Puddin is in her recovery.

  35. Mountaineer – that DUMP and everyone who works there and runs their horses there make me SICK – the 9-year-old gelding Take a Risk was raced at Mountaineer tonight for Sipp, “struggling to the wire”, 74 lengths back.

    Where are all of you good folks?!? – those of you who know Sipp and run your horses against his?!? – YOU see this freaking abuse and you just look the other way! – and WE “don’t care about horses”?!?

    This poor gelding will be on his way to slaughter just like the others of Sipp – and no one in racing gives a DAMN.

  36. Amen, Joy. And they dare to make belittling comments for attempting to save a poor filly too broken by this monstrous industry?? Who’s going to attempt to save this poor horse? Why isn’t that trainer trying to rescue him? Easier for him to make shitty comments than to do something positive

    • And Peggy, the pro-racing crowd who creates lists of horses they feel need to be retired – wait a minute…they love to run! – they are treated like royalty, better than we are! – they are not yet an equine’s prime age or have just reached it! – why should they be retired? And we are repeatedly reminded that the “bad apples” are the minority in racing by these groups! – then WHY so many horses that are like Take a Risk?

      And they call us idiots…

  37. How can we help these horses? Good intentions in terms of positive public comments aren’t good enough. We have to take action.

  38. While West Virginia Racing Commissioner Ken Lowe complains “the racing industry is constantly under attack – we’re low-hanging fruit”, his commission and the W.V. racetrack Mountaineer continue to allow racing trainer Burton Sipp to run his horses there…even after receiving undeniable evidence that Sipp has sold and continues to sell his racehorses to kill buyers which is in violation of their “no slaughter policy”.

    Lowe, a racehorse owner who runs his horses in Maryland, attempts to convince and reassure they are doing the “right thing” for their horses…

    “Lowe also said the industry needs to do a better job of policing itself, to avoid giving critics fodder on issues such as racing injuries or drugging of animals.

    “‘We need to single out the guilty parties, and punish them or ban them from the industry,’ he said.”

    Commissioner Lowe, your commission’s investigator Mike Vapner was handed 24 pages of proof regarding a guilty party – on a silver platter – and there was NO punishment, NO banning. Then a month ago, an industry member and few apologists exclaimed THEY were going to “get something done” about Sipp when more of his racehorses were found at Moore’s and/or with Rotz.

    Again, wasted words – empty promises. You are low-hanging fruit, indeed – of your own making.


  39. Plenty of proof and those who can do something to stop this abuse are not. They need to be removed from their positions. Commissioner Lowe is not doing his job to hold these abusers accountable. When he has plenty of documented proof. Burton Sipp is still abusing and disregarding policies put in place to protect these racehorses. What is or going to take to make them be held accounts he for their actions and in actions haven’t we lost enough lives yet to satisfy their greed?

  40. Horse Racing, The Virginia Racing Commission and Lolli Brothers Auctions all need to be shut down!!
    That goes for all horse auctions and so called Racing Commissions that are not for the welfare of these beautiful animals. There also needs to be more law enforcement involved, because there are a lot of laws that are being broken across the country without any repercussions! May it all come to an end!! I will keep educating people on this and spreading it out there.

  41. Now Sue Them All is my horse, he was underweight and needed his feet done (due to previous owner). He is living his best life, it’s so sad to think this amazing creature had so much torture

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