The case of Tiz Willow, the 2-year-old who died of starvation at Golden Gate in January, was finally – why did it take almost five months? – adjudicated. But before I give the ruling, a reminder:
“Present were [Gustavo] Medina his translator Rob Cochran, investigator Mike Alford and CHRB Staff Counsel Rob Brodnik. Mr. Brodnik questioned Mr. Medina at length about his lack of care for the horse Tiz Willow, as did the Stewards. Mr. Medina had no explanation other than the other horses at the ranch wouldn’t let Tiz Willow eat. Even if that were true Mr. Medina had almost two months to remedy the situation. When given the opportunity to present witnesses on his behalf and generally defend himself he had little to say and no witnesses…but finally when prompted by the Stewards for some response, mumbled ‘I’m Sorry.’ A decision will be forthcoming.”
“Expired Exercise Rider/Owner Gustavo G. Medina is hereby deemed ineligible for licensing until February 28, 2022 pursuant to CHRB rule #1900 and fined the sum of $10,000 for failure to provide adequate care to the horse Tiz Willow from December 3, 2018 through January 25, 2019 and exercising horses without a valid license.
Further, it is the recommendation of this Board of Stewards that Gustavo G. Medina never be relicensed by the CHRB for an egregious violation of rule #1902.5 (Animal Welfare). The Stewards found Mr. Medina responsible for the inadequate care and feeding of [Tiz Willow], leading to the demise of that animal caused by malnutrition… The Stewards also considered the lack of remorse displayed by Mr. Medina.”
So, it would appear that Medina will at least have an opportunity to be a “horseman” again, even though the Board “recommends” that that never happens. When I questioned why not just a lifetime ban now, the CHRB replied that “the stewards can only suspend for the term of the license.” Imagine that – this monster could be right back at it in less than three years, if not in California, perhaps in some other state. And this says nothing of what he’s capable of doing to horses (or other animals) outside of Racing’s jurisdiction. Once again, this is what happens when the law (state animal-cruelty statutes) defers to industry. Vile, all the way around.