2-Year-Old Starves to Death in Golden Gate Stall

In the May 27 Stewards Minutes from Golden Gate, this:

“A formal hearing was convened for Gustavo G. Medina who was charged in a complaint filed by California Horse Racing Board Investigator Mike Alford with alleged violation of [several] CHRB rules [including] ‘Animal Welfare.’

Medina is alleged to have assumed responsibility for a thoroughbred horse, Tiz Willow, who was shipped off the grounds of Golden Gate fields on December 3, 2018. The horse was turned out near Vallejo, California and returned to Golden Gate Fields on January 23. Two days later the horse died in his stall. A subsequent necropsy indicated the horse succumbed due to malnutrition. Time constraints prevented the hearing from concluding and the matter was continued until June 6.”

Basically, this scumbag starved the two-year-old Tiz Willow to death. The fact that this is being adjudicated within the industry and not a criminal court should tell you all you need to know about “protections” for racehorses. As I’ve written:

The fundamental relationship itself – that of owner-owned – guarantees bad things will happen. Guarantees. By definition, a piece of property, a commodity, a resource, a means – all of which undeniably describe the racehorse – can have no meaningful protection under the law. In fact, it’s absurd to argue otherwise. Truth is, a horseman, if he so chooses, can run his horse into the ground – yes, even to death – with virtual impunity. There is no real accountability because this core relationship precludes real accountability. Neither the industry nor our society will ever, could ever, seriously punish a property owner for crimes against his property. To say differently is pure folly.

Moreover, as it is with all animal-exploitation businesses, the law, as represented by anti-cruelty statutes, invariably defers to “common industry practice”; for 150 years of American horseracing, broken and dead bodies have been seen and treated as an unfortunate cost of doing business. In short, no one is watching; no one cares. In truth, to the racing industry, to government, to our society at large, a racehorse’s life does not matter. Alive or dead, it just doesn’t matter.


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  1. So sick ! There needs to be accountability! Laws to protect these living breathing creatures of God! You will be punished if not now later, you reap what you sew!

    • You did buy the race horse starve him then need go to jail right now see how feel we can to same thing to the people you buy that horse how then like it

  2. I hope this evil bastard gets run over & squashed to death. Being an in house jury nothing will happen. Evil git.

  3. He needs the same treatment as this poor beautiful creature got. It’s horrendous and must be stopped. It’s more than criminal.

  4. It’s beyond all human decency and these disgusting humans in charge need to be brought to full justice. An eye for an eye justice is too good for these sick minded people. Stop horse racing all together!!

  5. It is more that deplorable it is INEXCUSABLE!!!! OURGODDAMMED GOVERMENT CAN STOP THIS ABUSE!! I’ve said this a hundred of not thousands of times!!! GOVERMENT,JUDISAL SYSTEM AND LAW ENFORSEMENT DO YOUR JOBS. This is clear cut not a hu.an murder that cant be solved. You fuckin morons! GOVERMENT,LW ENFORSEMENT AND JUDICAL SYSTEM STEP UP. COWARDS !!I totally blame or goverment,law enforcement an judical system they have the power to stop this. Hey and by the way mayb our outspoken president can make a comment. He too cam stop this. Easier than building a wall. Harsher punishments and banning abusive animal entertainment for greed. ALL GOVERMENTS SUCK THAT ALLOW RHESE ATROSUTIES TO HAPPEN!!@@

    • The govt will do nothing, look how barbaric the city of Arcadia is, with their bribed and corrupt
      police force doing all they can to protect Santa Anita from potent protesters.
      Man are they going to learn the hard way someday.
      Only one good end to corrupt city and police personnel.

    • Diane Higbee, First the blame goes on the OWNERS, not the presidents, not law enforcement. It’s GREED. Supply and demand. Just like puppy mills. If people stop going to the races or watching them on tv they will loose money and in time shut down. In 1986 Ferdinand won the Kentucky Derby. He earned 3,777.978 in his life time. He was sent to Japan to breed, he was unsuccessful and sent to slaughter. This was the fault of his OWNERS who made lots of money and did not care enough to love him forever. We rescued a race horse from the track years ago who could no longer run due to a leg injury. First thing we did was worm him. Live worms poured out of him. He lived a wonderful life with us for 6 years but passed at 12 due to this insane lack of care from his OWNERS which affected his intestines. I know what goes on at the race tracks. My grandfather was a jockey and than a trainer. My hope is that racing shuts down someday. Until then I hope maybe someone can find a way to hold the OWNERS responsible for the animals they put through this torture and hold them accountable.

  6. Oh some people care, and those some people are a lot smarter, patient, and have greater resources than the corrupt HRBC and the cities and house tracks. These cities, such as Arcadia, will no doubt bribe and manipulate their own police forces from curbing the abuse.
    Moreover, these scum cops will go so far as even protecting these abused people, for the sake of preserving income for the city.
    As the populace rises up and no longer accepts this, cities like Arcadia and their corrupt ‘authorities’ will have to come to grips
    with actions taken against them.
    If they do not support animal welfare and continue to foster abuse, they and those instrumental in the abuse will face consequences.
    Moral law supersedes civil law in cases like this.
    Best they recognize that or they will learn the painful way.

  7. So sad that we so called humans have become so evil. I think if we stop supporting casinos maybe the big shots with all the money might take notice and make some needed changes in the horse racing industry. I cry and pray for these majestic and beautiful horses. God is in charge and I pray he changes things . If he doesn’t those that died are in God’s arms where all animals are when they leave us.

    • I just have a hard time believing in a God that doesn’t step in to intervene when His creatures are suffering so badly. I’m just not so sure they are in His arms when they die when He didn’t do anything to help them HERE.

  8. Despicable scumbag should be prohibited from ever owning a horse..Shame on the the gutless authorities that would allow such atrocities towards these beautiful creatures.Step up & do the job you are paid to do..Punish these sadistic so called humans & stop these senseless deaths..

  9. I could not say it better. Thank You for caring for these beautiful innocent animals.
    Not to lessen what has happened to this unfortunate horse but there are thousands of wild horses and burros being removed from their land into holding pens. Pending brutal sterilization by the BLM.
    All animals deserve a life free of cruelty and those engaged in animal cruelty should pay the price.

  10. A racehorse’s life does matter. All animals lives matter. They ALL matter. It is about time that the courts and the Government matter!

  11. How about ending horse racing altogether……..Enslaved animals everywhere deserve better. This starts with no more meat eating…..think about it!

  12. The way humans treat animals is truly sickening what kind of monsters can do this. Time all animals were truly protected by the law the abusers must not get away with this evil.

  13. This ABUSE has GOT TO StOP!!!!!! LAW ENFORCEMENT, the Humane Society, and ASPCA should be involved with EVERY SINGLE CASE!!!! IMMEDIATELY!!! This poor sweet horse should have been IMMEDIATELY sent to a VET upon return to Golden gate. It’s like they wanted him to die. This is UNCONSCIONABLE!!! All parties involved in this and any other abuse MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE!!!!!!

  14. I am absolutely disgusted in the way this poor horse was treated and obviously this isn’t the only incident. This is happening everywhere, to racehorses and many other animals by despicable human beings who think it’s okay to use and abuse innocent animals for their own monetary gain. I love animals and I could no way harm them, they’re so vulnerable and what many animals have to endure from humans sickens me no end. I think all governments should make some serious laws where people can be locked up for a long time for any mistreatment to an animal. I feel ashamed to be a member of the human race because of the cruelty to animals in this world by humans. “ the greatness of a nation and it’s moral progress can be judged by the way it’s animals are treated.” So you evil humans out there should damn well pay for the atrocities you inflict on innocent animals who are gods creation.

  15. Not condoning violence against these scum, but am condoning precaution and vigilance if and when violence is needed to maintain a civilized society.
    Principle officers of the tracks, the corrupt HRBC and the barbaric ‘authorities’ of cities like Arcadia and their morally impotent police force are not immune from the consequences of fostering animal abuse.
    They will soon discover the ramifications of commercially sponsored abuse.

  16. “Neither … punish a property owner for crimes against his property”. I’ve read of many times where a property owner has been hugely fined and had to replace trees or make repairs for damaging wetland areas even though their “property” ran to the shoreline. Environmental laws said even though it was their property, they could not remove what supported the life of another. There are laws against pet owners neglecting/abusing their animals. “Industries” using animals for profit (unfortunately, USING is the right word) should have oversight just as strict as the wetlands/pet abuse laws. The animals might be their “property”, but their life should be supported or the owner face consequences.

  17. This is horrible. Cruelty to any animal is a crime that has to start having more severe penalties for the perpetrators. I’d like to do the same thing to the people who commit these crimes on the animals, which isn’t possible, obviously. BUT, the punishments have to be massive fines and jail sentences. These evil ‘human’ beings have to be punished.

  18. What ever happened to animal cruelty and neglect laws? Nothing can be done till the poor thing is dead????

  19. This should be a criminal case of animal abuse. Is the racing community buying off the system

  20. What the hell!!!
    Well, this is not the first time this has happened. Perhaps 20 years ago, a horse was “forgotten “ in his stall at a track. Apparently, he was supposed to have been shipped to another track with other horses who were probably being trained by the same person. When the poor horse was finally “discovered,” he was in very bad shape. He was saved, and I think his owners renamed him Silver Survivor. It made all the news, and everyone thought it was so wonderful that the horse was now healthy.
    No one ever said a word about charging anyone with neglect or animal cruelty. Not the owner, who never asked where the horse was. Not the trainer who didn’t realize he was one horse short. Not the shipper who must’ve had at least a piece of paper that said he was to deliver X number of horses.

    Pat, I think you should write a book on all the hideous things people do to horses, all the while poetically expounding on their “grace” or “heart” or “will to run.”

    • Patrick

      I completely agree with Karen Baker.

      I think you should WRITE A BOOK about the STATS on the dead horses that you have compiled and add in the BLOG posts that you have written over the years along with the incredible contributors that have posted on this website as well that have owned race horses as well as rescued race horses from this horrific industry. Your book would be a New York Times best seller and raise awareness dramatically to the EVIL that is going on at the race tracks. You are an EXCELLENT writer. Please consider this.

      The Title of the Book could be HORSERACING KILLS

  21. So hard to read about this horse abuse. Must humans continue to kill horses, (and dogs). just so we can place bets at the track? The absurdity confounds. The reality is unacceptable.. Let’s hope our numbers continue to grow so that we have enough support to make our voice heard and our demand to stop racing (any animal) undeniable. Thank one an all!

  22. Law makers don’t care. How could this evil cruel man just let it happen. His god will be beside his death bed remembering this vile act.

  23. Gustavo Medina along with others in the BARBARIC horse racing world should be prosecuted, jailed and the key thrown away!!

    Racing horses is a money grabbing DISGRACE!

  24. If not you, then who ?
    If not now, then when ?

    We are there voice . It’s our responsibility to speak up for them because they cannot ..

    They did not sign up for this….

  25. How is it possible this young Filly ran in 4 races around the state of California and has no recorded workouts on Equibase?
    August 29 at Del Mar, reportedly carrying 120lbs, given lasix; September 22, at Los Alamitos carrying 122 lbs, given lasix and bute, October 11, carrying 121 lbs, given lasix and bute, and November 1, carrying 118 lbs., given lasix, bute, and whatever “f” stands for….

    In addition to reported weights, add another 5-8 lbs, or more for safety gear, “mud” and possible overweight jockies

    • Hey Pam…I was looking at the charts, too, as I had posted about this poor filly on FB with a couple of photos of her (from her race in October).

      Yes, she was given Lasix as you mentioned – the “b” indicates blinkers and the “f”, front wraps. Notice she wore front wraps only in her last race – AND in her last race, someone dropped a claim on her but it was voided. She was injured, no doubt.

      Since the stewards minutes indicate her ownership had transferred to Medina, her owners when she raced last (the voided claim) – Al Navarro, Steve Sanora and Gary Stute – either sold or gave her to Medina.

      Such “love”, right? – such “great care”, right? It’s pretty easy to figure out the last months of her life – injured in her last race, dumped, then seen as not worthy of being fed.

      And no one said a word.

  26. Gustavo G. Medina needs to be PUT IN JAIL AND FED BREAD AND WATER…certainly better than he nourished Tiz Willow, but at least Gustavo will be incarcerated for HIS CRIME.

  27. Horses are beautiful animals. What happens to them is nothing but abuse. Horse racing needs to end. Horses need to be free to live in a happy healthy environment. Plus they are insured so if something happens the owner gets money and lots of it. Sick, sick, sick

  28. Race horses are sentient beings like all animals and should be treated with respect, compassion and love. They should never be mistreated, abused or exploited in any way. As sentient beings they experience pain, fear, hunger and all the emotions that humans do.

  29. This wholesale carnage and killing business has been operating with total impunity – complete and total immunity from our Felony Animal Cruelty laws and aside from wanting this to shut down ASAP I want these racehorse abusers and killers brought to justice.on racehorses.
    Jail these fuckers.
    I can’t stand them, I can’t stand this anymore, and any person who is involved with this business is a human blood sucking parasite.
    I IMPLORE OUR POLITICIANS, and will continue to bang on their door, demanding the SHUT DOWN of this public butcher show and I immediately demand them to STOP giving them OUR money, and casino money that was supposed to go to communities.
    We have NO obligations to financially support this horror show and it’s time for our politicians to STOP throwing them money with no accountability whatsoever.
    So sorry for all racehorses who died for their stupid $2 bets – I will continue to be a voice for you.

  30. The law needs to change to ensure these evil people are prosecuted for the cruelty of these beautiful animals. Until the country is accountable then these dreadful people will continue on and so it is the laws that need to be changed.

  31. Starving to death now, the cruelty gets worse and worse. These people are morons, I cannot deal with this amount of cruelty being done. There is no consequence for this animal abuse, they should be arrested and have jail time and be fined. Where is the punishment for these low lifes?

  32. When Tiz Willow was returned to Golden Gate was no one else around to see the condition this poor filly had to have been in or did they just not give a damn!

  33. To starve this poor horse and then have the AUDACITY to take it back to Golden Gate – well, that takes some front doesn’t it. This apology for a human clearly has no humanity and needs to go to gaol and be prohibited from owning ANY animal ever again. His licence should be revoked with immediate effect and NEVER reinstated. The depths of depravity to which some people will stoop is disgusting.

  34. As long as racing polices itself, without any accountability there will never be any believable inquiries or any justice . All crimes and cases of blatant animal cruelty will go unpunished and many, many others will continue to be covered up.

    The situation is a travesty in a “civilized” society.

  35. Well said Rose, and may I remind the “newbies” to this blog that they have been maiming, dumping, and killing racehorses for years with no repercussions.
    Their deterrents are a joke.
    This business condones the massive pain, suffering, and dying of racehorses every single day.
    Unfortunately, our politicians continue to condone it as well by keeping them financially afloat.
    There is no other gambling business in America that does this – none, and they create more decent jobs than this horse racing business has or ever will.
    This antiquated morally bankrupt business model has no place in a “civilized” society – none.

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