A racehorse’s life…

Scherer Magic was made on May 1, 2010, in Iowa by breeder Joe Robson. He was first raced way back in June 2012 at Hollywood Park in California. His trainer was Craig Dollase, with Robson still owning. Even before he had completed that first race, he was “For Sale,” for $50,000. And indeed he was “claimed” – bought – by Gary and Cecil Barber and trainer John Sadler. Three “stakes” races followed, highlighted by a Grade 1 – the highest kind there is – at Del Mar on September 5 of that year.

Prior to a race on May 23, 2013, Scherer was back up “For Sale,” this time for $80,000. No takers. On December 14 of that year, he was shipped east, some 3,000 miles to Aqueduct in NYC, and raced under a new trainer, David Jacobson. Prior to another race – just eight days later – he was sold again, for $50,000. (Including that race, he made over $200,000 for the Barbers.)

On January 1, 2014, Scherer was raced for the first time under trainer Mitchell Friedman and owner Sunny Meadow Farm. Between January and April, he was sold again, and shipped to Iowa, a thousand miles away. New owners, JT & B Racing and Lester Wright; new trainer, H. Ray Ashford Jr. Nine races at Prairie Meadows followed. Then, shipped another thousand miles to Zia in New Mexico. Three races in that state, then back up to Iowa. Four races at Prairie – then back down to New Mexico.

For sale (by Wright) prior to a race in January ’17, Scherer’s market value had dropped to $20,000. Two weeks later, he was on the block for $12,500. On April 15 of that year, his tag fell to $6,250. In that race, a new owner was listed, Karon Ashford. In May, it was back to Iowa – and yet another new owner, Arden Hawkins. Prior to his next race, sold again – owner, End Zone Athletics; trainer, Karl Broberg.

This new pairing raced Scherer just six days later: “stumbled badly, DNF.” Prior to that race, sold again: new owner, Danny Caldwell; new trainer, Federico Villafranco. A few races after that, he was shipped to Remington Park in Oklahoma – yet another 1,000-mile trek. Two races there, back to Iowa – and a new owner, Martin Villafranco. On August 11, 2018, prior to what would be (to date) his final race at Prairie, he was sold yet again, to Charles Garvey, with Robertino Diodoro as the new trainer.

Garvey/Diodoro promptly trucked Scherer to Minnesota’s Canterbury Park, this trip a mere 250 miles. Raced once there, on September 14, his next stop was Hawthorne Race Course in Illinois, 430 miles away. But at some point in between, he was, of course, sold again; when he was raced at Hawthorne October 17, his owners were Patrick Sullivan and Zachary Roush, his trainer Ray Tracy Jr.

Then, down to Louisiana – yes, a thousand miles away – to be raced at Delta Downs. Oh, and once arrived, another new trainer: Tanner Tracy. In that race, Scherer finished second-to-last, 17 lengths back. At this point, the now-eight-year-old was worth, according to the racing people, just $4,000. Scherer Magic then disappeared from the charts for over six months before resurfacing in a Quarterhorse race (to this point, all his races were Thoroughbred) at Chippewa Downs on June 29 of last year. And, obviously, from Louisiana to North Dakota is a long ways – over 1,500 miles. His owner/trainer for that race, in which Scherer finished last, was Perry Cavanaugh.

Which brings us to the present. Saturday evening, after an over-one-year absence, Scherer Magic was put to the whip in the 10th race at the North Dakota Horse Park. The miscreant Cavanaugh still holds the title but, surprise, had the now-10-year-old Scherer “For Sale” at the bottom-of-the-barrel price of $2,500 prior to.

All told, Scherer Magic has:

been owned by at least 12 different men/teams (and been “For Sale” dozens of times)

been trained by at least 11 different men

been raced at 13 different tracks in 9 different states

been forced to endure thousands of miles in (inherently) stressful transport

languished (when not on a truck) in tiny stalls – alone – day after lifeless day

absorbed countless whip lashes

been injected with myriad substances

And, apparently, they’re not done with him yet. I can think of no better illustration of the racehorse-as-thing than the life – existence, really – of this poor, pitiful soul. Imagine you as Scherer Magic. How profoundly sad.


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  1. I’m not sure, but this fate seems even worse than a two-year-old “vanned off” during his first race

  2. Please rescue him. Don’t let him die a horrible death on the track or at slaughter. Someone please step up and save him.

    • Mary, why can’t that “someone” be YOU? There are several of us that post on the HW blog that have experience when negotiating to acquire a horse. I would be happy to walk you through the steps I would take to get this horse to safety. The horse is currently “for sale” so have a contact approach the o/t and let him/her know you are interested in acquiring the horse when that individual is “done” with him. Make an offer but leave room for negotiating. Since the horse is ten, I would think the o/t might realize the horse is approaching the end of his career. It takes a lot of time to network but I’m sure you are up to the challenge.

  3. The heartlessness and obnoxiousness of these monsters is appalling and heartbreaking. I am surprised this poor soul is still alive after the sheer abuse he he has endured. What have humans become? What happened to empathy, love and respect for these beautiful beings? How much longer are these excrements going to be protected and allowed to inflict pain and suffering upon these magnificent souls? I can only hope karma will catch up with them…they deserve every bit of what’s coming…

  4. YES. This. Except it’s Scherer Magic times 10,000. Every single year. And the horse abuse/racing industry folks think they can improve their public image?
    Never gonna happen. They’re done.

  5. This horse was a very good one. To be put in a $50,000 claiming race first time out in California is great. When I see comments like…”oh please retire him” I know that the person who said that knows nothing about horseracing. Claiming races are selling races. If you want to retire the horse, you have to buy him first, unless he breaks down and you find him in a kill pen. Even then it will cost money. Ask the current trainer if he will give him to you. Otherwise you have to keep in touch with the trainer to see when he is finished with the horse.

    • The person pleading Scherer Magic be rescued knows nothing about horseracing? – well she knows enough to recognize he needs RESCUING.

      And FYI, they are ALL “very good horses” – their worthiness and value are inherent and not dependent on the amount of money they “earn” for their exploiters.

      • Joy, you took the words right out of my mouth, they are ALL EQUAL. Every single one of them deserves to be rescued. They (horses) are Majestic,beautiful, and INNOCENT.Only humans could be so cruel.

    • ‘Ask the current trainer…..when he is finished with the horse’.

      Most trainers relish good hearted people who rescue racehorses purely because they take off their hands the mess they’ve made of the horse. Next horse.
      Rarely is an used up ‘finished with’ racehorse in good health. Mostly the horses have issues that need veterinarian care immediately and often for the remainder of their lives, some have to be euthanased. Some are stuffed up in the head and dangerous to take on. Needless to say, it costs a huge amount of money and emotional energy to rescue and take on a ‘finished with’ racehorse.

      Sherer Magic is a classical example of the life of many racehorses.

      PS I note that P Miller’s Clock last week came home 6th by 6 lengths. Once a very successful racehorse, he’s been racing for eight (8) years since he was 2 years of age – he’s been performing poorly but they keep on sending him out there despite having earned hundreds of thousands of dollars. Speaks volumes.

  6. Please someone rescue this poor soul. If I had the money I would do it in a heartbeat.
    God Bless him and all the others that have suffered the same fate. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏

  7. I’m an unapologetic horse racing fan, but I follow these posts because I need to be in the know. I have followed Scherer Magic’s career for years and it surprised, shocked, and horrified to see him back in the entry box. I’d love to help retire him. If anyone has any connections or ideas, please let me know.

  8. I love horse racing! The “horse racing” I speak of is the kind in good comradery like when my friends and I go for a little trail ride and on the way we “give the horses their reins” and let them “open up for a bit”. The horses canter for a little while (because under natural circumstances horses are actually quite lazy and don’t really want to run nonetheless hit a gallop unless they are in danger).
    All in good fun, no money involved….
    The no money involved part is very important you see, when it comes between money and life, (and that does include humans because there are many people that do not value any life at all whether it’s human or animal); the lust for money will always win. I can tell you right now that a medical industry that makes money off of sickness will never make sickness go away, and an industry that makes money off of the back of an animal will never go away. Especially when there is such a HUGE amount of money involved in horse racing and sickness…
    Not one of these owners or trainers or riders can claim to truly love horses at all. If you make money off of them then you cannot love them.
    Because that means that you are accepting the fact that there are going to be horses destroyed because of this industry. You know that there is a risk that horses could break down or bleed (and don’t give me that crap that a horse could break down or bleed just running around his pasture, we all know that accidents happen but I’ve been around horses for years and it is nearly non existent that a horse has to be destroyed because of a mere accident in a pasture), you know that they could end up in the slaughterhouse if you sell them, or after birthing 12 foals, a twenty year old mare’s uterine artery could give out from years of strain and YOU are willing to take that risk. Even if you truly claim to love your horses you are supporting an industry of many many people who do not and many many horses end up in those people’s hands. If any one of the horse-racing industries people truly cared for these horses then the money that the horses earn would be invested for that horse’s retirement but we all know that is not how it works. One owner out of 500 who does truly “care” for their racehorse does not make up for the horrendous consequences of the many that don’t. If the racing industry really cared for the racehorses, they would allow the foals to stay with their mothers longer instead of ripping them away from their moms at 6 months old, they would allow time for the horses to grow into maturity , they would not breed mares pass the age they should be bred, etcetera etcetera. Beautiful Lady’s Secret, bred until she was over 20 years old and died at the birth of her last foal, uterine hemorrhage. Zenyatta’s sweet filly died weeks after being weaned. I’m sure that she was still pining away for her mom, I mean come on, 6 months old, seriously! That is still just a baby.
    I was told by the son of a C Class racehorse trainer that these horses are worth nothing more than a piece of garbage and are treated as such. Stand in a stall and run when you’re needed and if you don’t place, it’s into the garbage with you…
    Straight from the horse’s mouth.
    I was mortified when he told me that, I had no idea it was like that in the racing world, but my being naive doesn’t excuse me or mean the suffering does not exist…

    • Emmie, I’m in no way condoning racing, but you’re wrong on one point. Zenyatta’s 2014 filly unfortunately did die as a weanling, but it was a paddock accident, not pining for her mom. I’m not saying that she didn’t miss her mom, because who wouldn’t miss their mother, but it was an accident that killed her. To be honest, I was skeptical of a paddock accident being the cause of death until I was on YouTube one day recently looking at horse videos. I don’t know what breed the foal in the video was, I think a fresian, but he wasn’t a thoroughbred. This little guy was running circles around his mom, zigging and zagging, and then he ran away from her at full speed. He suddenly tripped over his own feet, not the ground surface, as the ground was the flat compacted dirt off a paddock, and he landed square on his neck as he unintentionally did a full somersault. I thought for sure that foal was dead. He laid there for a moment and then shakily stood up. After being checked by the people who had been filming, he stayed by his mom’s side for the rest of the video.

      • You seemed to totally miss the point about Zenyatta’s filly and then you post a long story that has nothing to do with racehorses and their quality of life. The filly died very soon after being weaned, perhaps she was still spooked and upset and acting out abnormally, it has been said that Zenyatta is very attached to her foals and their is a great possibility that if that filly had been left with her mom and weaned when she was a bit more mentally mature she would still be alive. We will never know.

    • ZENYATTA earned $7,304,580!
      So why in the hell is she being turned into a reproductive machine for owners Jerry and Ann Moss?
      These people know no bounds and I think it’s disgusting that she’s not living her life out in a grassy paddock instead of probes in and out her vagina.
      It’s vile, but this is horse racing.

      • Gina, exploited in racing then exploited in the breeding shed. EXPLOITATION is the definition of racing.

  9. Now you know Emmie. Please follow this site if you wish. The average person only sees the glamour and not behind the scenes. The sport of Kings yeah right

  10. This was hard to read. Another casualty of using an animal to make a buck. Disgusting on so many levels.

  11. this is HELL for this horse and thousands more. What happened? asking price 2 500$. update please. thank you.

      • Hi Patrick, not sure what is happening with this horse but I can make a donation towards his claim if you guys are crowd funding to save him? I live in the UK – otherwise I would happily volunteer to house and rehab him. All I can do from here is a give a little to wards his claim fee. Let me know.
        Best regards,

  12. I was so hoping the end of this page was going to have him being rescued. Can anyone step in to claim him or does one need to be in thoroughbred racing to do so?

    • A licensed racing owner (licensed in the state where the claim would be made) is needed. And the horse needs to be received immediately after the race (in which he was claimed) by the new owner or his/her representative.

      FYI – an email has been sent regarding SM – fingers crossed.

    • Patrick,
      I’ll contribute if you want to set up a fund to buy this horse and retire him to pasture. You probably can get the owner or trainer to give him to you free or you can buy the horse at a lower price than $2500.00 privately. I’ve saved 8 race horses from the track some were given to me others I had to buy privately just to keep these horses from breaking down. Scherer Magic is 10 years old his racing days are over. the owner/trainer knows this.next stop for Magic is the slaughterhouse.
      LET’S STOP THE CRUELTY. This horse needs to be turned out in a pasture at a rescue center for the rest of his life. Most likely there is a horse rescue in North Dakota who will take him.

  13. Is there any person or group that is able to “fundraise” for this horse, Scherer Magic, to buy him from his current owner? This situation is so similar to fundraising (on social media, Facebook) for horses standing in kill pens with a limited amount of time before they are going to be loaded onto a truck bound for the slaughterhouse in Mexico or Canada.

    • Thank you for your compassion and generosity, Meredith! There’s been a number of texts and messages already about SM – lots to address in order to help him. If it’s OK with you, can Patrick give me your email address?

      • Yes, Patrick is certainly authorized to share my email address with anyone who wants to help this poor horse

  14. Mary Baggaley is profoundly out of touch and is completely missing the point. The life of this poor creature is hellish from a physical and emotional perspective… and that’s all he’s ever know. Gut wrenching. I dearly hope the demand for racing, for animal abuse will go the way of greyhound racing sooner than later

  15. I’m afraid I live in the UK – otherwise I would happily house him with my other two rescued racehorses. I can donate a little towards his claim if that is what is happening? Please let know and I can wire a donation through HW if that’s ok?

  16. Thank you Meredith and all that are trying to Rescue him!!! I am hopeful something good will happen to him. Prayers!!!

  17. Number 1. Ripped away from Mother too soon. Number 2. Kept in prison (stall) their racing sentence…..it’s ALL bad.

  18. The ugliness of this horrible business laid bare – no compassion, no heart, no soul – mere schells…

    I hope the supporters of this “sport” read this, better yet, let’s see them step up for the horse. I challenge these supporters to take ACTION in place of “taking a bullet” for their incredibly loved horses (what a ridiculous statement!!!)

    People on this blog have put up thousands,and continue to do so, to do right by many,many of these abused horses and none have made a dime from racing. Meanwhile, the cruelty goes on and on and on…

    I’ve often said there are two kinds of people on this planet, those creating a mess and those doing their best to clean up the mess. Racing sure is one big continuing mess!!!!

    PS Joy please text me. I will donate

  19. Scherer – thanks to this site for exposing his horribly cruel life like so many others.
    Nevertheless, all is wrong about this, but what bothers me the most (as a former Trainer) is the amount of drugs dumped into him including countless joint injections, shock wave therapy and IV’s in and out of his jugular vein most likely.
    Also, the constant change of habit including feed times, feed, saddling, stalls etc etc puts a tremendous amount of stress on horses because they are creatures of habit.
    I’m sure he’s full of ulcers and probably not getting proper treatment for it.
    Neverethless, the industry ensures that vet/treatment records don’t follow the horse.
    This, in an of itself, is cruelty of the utmost extreme.
    Scherer is the “walkikng dead” and I hope he makes it out alive.
    Just the fact that he’s endured such horrific abuse attests to his willingness to live.
    The people in horse racing are parasites and this example alone clearly shows how they all don’t give a damn, just abuse and suck the life out of them then go on to their next hose with an industry all too willing to support these blood sucking leeches.
    They all make me sick.

  20. I am saddened to read this, what hope does he have ? Any kindness at all? I would love it If someone can save him before he’s “vanned off”. I have nowhere to keep a horse but I will donate if someone is going to try to save him.

  21. I just thought of something…when I adopted my Basset Hound from the rescue in New Jersey I had to sign a contract that I could not get rid of Miss Lily, if for any reason I could not keep her anymore… I HAD to call them,and they would take her back. I THINK the vain egomaniacs in this scam evil industry, should have to sign the exact same contract. Animals are TOTALLY dependent on US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We ARE their keepers 🙏

  22. Someone needs to stop this cruelty and torture. This horse does not deserve this and the people who are treating him like a junk piece of wood need to pay for their actions!

    • Peter, I agree completely!!!! It is not okay that people can treat horses in this horrendously inhumane way and not be punished for their misdeeds!!! The punishment for cruelty to horses needs to be real punishment, not the phony baloney of being “suspended” and then allowed to continue to do “business” of inflicting pain and suffering as usual “because we need your services here” to paraphrase the slap on the wrist bullshit of racing commissions.

  23. Sadly, there are tens of thousands of him out there!!!!!!!! I bet if these poor dear soul horses could talk… they would say:” if I knew my life would be like this…I wish I hadn’t been forced born”. Because that’s exactly what it is FORCED breeding!

  24. Patrick,

    I think we should take action not only to bring awareness to the horrors of horse racing and also help these poor animals
    .If nothing is done and Sherer Magic dies on track or at slaughter We are just as guilty as his connections for not saving him.
    Having said that I’ll contribute if you want to set up a fund to buy this horse and retire him to pasture. You probably can get the owner or trainer to give him to you free or you can buy the horse at a lower price than $2500.00 privately. I’ve saved 8 race horses from the track some were given to me others I had to buy privately just to keep these horses from breaking down. Scherer Magic is 10 years old his racing days are over. the owner/trainer knows this.next stop for Magic is the slaughterhouse.
    LET’S STOP THE CRUELTY. This horse needs to be turned out in a pasture at a rescue center for the rest of his life. Most likely there is a horse rescue in North Dakota who will take him.

    • Mary…WE are just as guilty as the connections of the COUNTLESS racehorses who are killed training/racing and butchered in slaughterhouses? – are you serious?

      • Joy,
        The way I took what Mary said about being guilty if we don’t save him is that I think she meant this one horse, SCHERER MAGIC, not the COUNTLESS other horses as well. We know more about SCHERER MAGIC than about a bunch of other horses right now. Anyway that is the way I see it.
        God bless everyone who is stepping up for SCHERER MAGIC!!!!
        We know that HORSERACING KILLS HORSES and that THE OWNER WON’T BE DONE WITH HIM UNTIL SCHERER MAGIC IS CATASTROPHICALLY INJURED AND DEAD, unless an empathetic group of people step in and step up for SCHERER MAGIC.

      • Actually Wanda, we know a great deal about a good number of racehorses needing help – do you read the casualty lists Patrick posts the beginning of every week? – and Not Cloudy All Day on Twitter? – and see the discarded and crippled TB’s in the kill pens week after week? – we know ALL of their names and much more. So in Mary’s way of thinking, we are just as guilty as the connections of ALL of these horses if we don’t save them.

        That said, even if there was only one racehorse we knew about that needed rescuing – let’s say Scherer Magic – WE are not putting him at an increased risk of injury and death by racing him (and to pocket his “earnings”, no less) – and that guilt doesn’t belong to me.

      • It’s like Gina said about speaking for oneself… It appears obvious that Mary and I both know a lot less about specific horses that need saving than you and many others with more first-hand knowledge and day to day experience. You are definitely not guilty of what the racing industry does to horses and I am sorry that you were offended. I apologize. I’m not sure what you meant about Not Cloudy All Day on Twitter. I do not have a Twitter account. I do read the lists of horses that have been vanned off. It overwhelms me. I wish I could do more.

    • Actually, the money is the easy part compared to retiring him to “pasture” – there are just not enough pastures. And that, Mary, is the crux of the matter.
      But , I should not minimize the money part.
      One can blow through thousands very quickly and I imagine you know racing does not contribute dime. People who do not make anything in racing are constantly digging into their pockets…

  25. Yes. If we just talk about the suffering of this horse and don’t take action to save him.

    • Mary I completely disagree with your comment that WE, those who OPPOSE horse racing, those of us who DON’T EXPLOIT, maim, and kill racehorses are just as culpable as the apologists – SPEAK FOR YOURSELF.
      It’s not incumbent upon me or anybody who opposes this vile business to save their disposable gamblling chips.
      If they happen to be compassionate and generous enough to save them (and there are plenty of HRW supporters who do) good for them.
      Why don’t you get on the phone and start calling the owners, trainers,multi-billion dollar sales auction places, and wagering firms to take care of them?
      I’ll save you a whole lot of aggravation – they won’t send one dime because they don’t care what happens to them after they are done exploiting them.
      There has never nor will there ever be enough decent homes for racehorse aftercare.
      That said, Joy and her supportive aftercare network does a tremendous amount of work saving racehorses from a horrific fate and has she often states the connections of those horses almost never send one dime to assist with their care or homing.
      I know since I myself rescued 22 from kill auctions over the years.
      One thing I’ve learned – the trainers and owners are right there in the Winners Circle smiling and patting their horse, but they are nowhere to be found when that horse is no longer flipping a buck and ends up standing in a kill pen begging for its life.
      Incidentally, to this day, this industry has NO mandatory financial contribution for racehorse aftercare – NONE, ZIPPO – while they brag about their billion dollar wagering profits.
      They don’t even have a 1-800 number that people can call for transportation to a safe zone away from the kill pen.
      This vile business doesn’t even make an effort to save them because their industry-funded aftercare programs don’t even put a dent into the situation and, true to industry form, they like to control the message – a delusional one at best.
      Of course I wish all of them could be saved, but the best way to prevent this abhorent situation is to shut them down so that no more racehorses will be bred to flip a buck.

    • He’s entered again on July 25th. The sad part is – it’s a $2500 claiming STAKES. Didn’t even know that was a thing.
      And the name of the “stakes”?
      “CUT THE COVID” stakes!!
      You can’t make this crazy crap up.

      • Thank you, Peggy. I’m speechless! It appears these people will scavenge for any excuse to exploit a horse.

      • Isn’t this a classic story of the horse that manages to survive the downward spiral of this vicious game?
        He has now hit bottom – starting in a $2,500 2 furlong “claiming/stakes” named after the pandemic, Covid-19!

        Scherer Magic, the grandson of Seattle Slew, started out winning a $150,000 stakes and coming 3rd in a $300, 000 stakes. He lined the pockets of his trainer, Sadler, and owner Gary Barber well!!
        From his first claim of $80,000
        to a $2,500 claim in a 2 furlong in North Dakota at 10yrs old!!!!

        Why doesn’t Ray Paulick, or some other racing site,
        recognize Scherer Magic’s story? After all, his “career” is woven into the fabric of racing…

        The last chapter of Sherer Magic’s story is yet to be written

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