After Celebrating Twins Debuting Together, Industry Turns Blind Eye When One Ends up Lame and in Kill Pen

On February 13, the Paulick Report posted a piece on twin Thoroughbreds, Custom Pete and Halo Carlos, getting ready for their “debuts” at Delta Downs the following day. The pair, a rarity in the (ugly) breeding trade, were born March 9, 2017, making them two on raceday. The race itself did not live up to the hype: Custom Pete finished second-to-last, Halo Carlos last. Then, nothing – until, that is, one of the brothers, Custom Pete, was found in the Stanley Brothers feedlot in Bastrop, Louisiana. Yes, one half of this Racing feel-good story was headed to slaughter.

The June 19 “bail” plea succeeded, and Pete was delivered to quarantine on the 27th. He was, no surprise, lame, apparently having been injured in that February race – an injury, it turns out, he was forced to suffer for months.

As is all too common, however, Pete’s injury was too far gone (in addition, as you see above, he was ataxic), and he was euthanized in mid-July. The rescuer: “It’s with great sadness that I have to let everyone know that Custom Pete did not survive his battle to overcome all the bad things that have happened to him.”

The horrible human beings who dumped (directly or indirectly, it matters not) this terrified, suffering animal into the slaughter pipeline are trainer Thomas Nixon and owner Lary Nixon, themselves brothers. And yes, they still have Pete’s twin, Halo Carlos. What do you suppose that poor animal’s future holds?

As for the Paulick Report, not a word followed on Custom Pete’s fate. Nothing about the injury, the kill-lot, the death. Nothing. All the worse because Ray Paulick markets himself as one of the good guys, someone who cares. He isn’t; he doesn’t. In fact, by being perhaps the foremost (media) promoter of this vile industry, Paulick is every bit as complicit as the ones doing the racing, killing, dumping, and slaughtering.

(Once again, a special thanks to Joy Aten, our vice president and chief cruelty investigator, for her contributions to this post.)

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  1. Just heard a horse from belmont was killed after being let out of stall from former employee and the horse died from fall on Nassau country street cant find out trainer or horses name it happened on Thursday July 30th

  2. Omg these poor twins. I remember the hype surrounding them well. And yes – I thought the same- hullllllooo Ray Paulick – after your story to hype these 2- where’s your update?? Or the BloodHorse??

    • Peggy, a few years ago twins debuted at West Virginia track (can’t remember which one,Mountaineer,or C.T.) They were by Dennis of Cork,I believe.

  3. Tragically sad for both horses. Is there no empathy in this vile business? Answer: NO

  4. Custom Pete was euthanized despite all efforts to heal his wounds. Such a disgusting and despicable “sport”. Ban horse racing NOW!!! 💔💔💔

  5. A few yrs. ago twins by Dennis of Cork debuted at West Virginia. Wonder what happened to them?

  6. The photos do not show his legs below the knees or hocks, not on my screen anyway. The horse looks rough. I can’t see the bandages. I am wondering what caused his ataxia. I have heard horror stories about Stanley Brothers. I wonder what injuries he suffered from racing and what injuries he suffered from being dumped into the slaughter pipeline and what Stanley Brothers did to him after they got their ugly, cruel hands on him.
    Now is anyone in racing going to say that this horse was loved by his racing connections?

    • Wanda, I’ve shared this story on my FB page and included a photo that shows all four limbs – nothing telling there – just bandaging on the left hind.

      Will racing “employees” and apologists still claim he was loved? – oh sure they will – don’t you know it’s never racing’s fault that their horses end up in kill pens? – that Custom Pete’s racing owner probably gave him to some nice lady (whose name he can’t recall) for her 12-year-old daughter? There are pre-teen girls ALL OVER this country with fresh-off-the-track TB’s! (insert eye roll…)

  7. Yes, Peggy, where is the update, indeed!!!!!
    Paulick. Bloodhorse and all pro racing outlets never have, and never will, touch a story like this because it does not fit their agenda of promoting this disgusting business. They make their living advancing a deceptive narrative which ignores the much greater component of this game – the thousands upon thousands of stories such as Custom Pete’s.
    Paulick and the like are even more guilty than the Dixions of this obscenely cruel business. Their influential platforms facilitate the brutality that is racing. Shame on them.

    P.S. My thanks to Joy and Patrick for telling “the rest of the story”.

    P.P.S. The sire of the twin colts, Custom for Carlos, was standing in Louisiana for $3,000 as late as 2019… Another colt, Crazy Carlos, was in this area and when I asked about him I was told he had “problem feet” plus their other horse did not “like” him. He was sent to Auburn in Alabama, as far as I know…
    And the overbreeding continues, unabated.

  8. This is what happens to horses that do not win. Discarded and forgotten about by the blood game of horse racing. Supposedly they ‘love’ their horses. 😡

  9. Ugh! Not again! Sometimes even horses who win end up like this. It needs to end! Racing any animal just leads to pain and abuse for the animal.

  10. What a tragedy that this sport is allowed to stay in existence. It breaks my heart every time I hear of another death in the horse racing venue. Sick creeps – only out for money for themselves.

  11. Ah, the racing press. Always penning heartwarming, feel-good stories that liken greedy horse abusers to saintly horse rescuers. That is, after all, their purpose. Their only purpose, really. It’s to drum up business for their anti-sport, and to make horse racing seem less cruel than it is. Talk about an impossible dream!

    The Paulick Report can sometimes be an amusing read, because they tip-toe so clumsily around racing’s horrors. Breakdowns? Only even alluded to at all IF a jockey gets paralyzed/killed, or if their victim is a million dollar horse, and/or in a one-percenter stakes race. Otherwise, not a peep. Doesn’t happen. Then there’s that pesky issue of the, um…racehorse disposal problem. It’s such a glaring obscenity that even Paulick and Co. was persuaded that they just HAD TO give it a mention. So they magnanimously published their “aftercare” piece, which was successful only in proving that racing folks need to get A LOT more proficient in how well they hide all their dumped horses. Solutions? Yeah, it was kind of short on those, since any would require “unnecessary” expenditures by those in the business. But, hey, PR did, at the very, very, minimal least, ATTEMPT to address the (slaughtered) elephant in the room. Not so for every other racing media entity. Nobody at DRF, BH, TVG, TDN, NBC Sports, et al. would ever in a million years bring up Racehorse Disposal. It’s simply not something to be spoken of. You know, like Fight Club, the first rule of Horse Dumping is…

    So, of course these “celebrated” twins didn’t receive equal coverage — or any coverage at all — of their “progression” through the racing world. It’s just standard, classic, abuser-enabling, racing press behavior. They’re too busy making up the next feel-good tale that they can’t provide a (feel-bad) follow-up.

    • SO right on, Kelly – and this “feel-good-story-gone-bad-so-we-won’t-mention-it” wasn’t even posted by Patrick yet when another two (that we know of) were already in the making. It’s really difficult to keep up with this killing machine…

  12. This is exploitation and abuse at its worst. This is typical of the greed associated with horse racing. It’s not a sport it’s cruelty for profit. Hypocrisy at its worst. Horses love to run but not race. There’s a difference.

  13. Another beautiful horse forced to race has now lost his life. Man exploits another horse for the greed of money.

  14. Amen Sandra I’m with you. I would if I could find a way! These people only care for their money, nothing else. More & more people need to speak out & make this kind of thing known. People know it happens, but do they know how often it happens? The word should be spread like wild fire. Same with the Wild Horses that the cattlemen and BLM are pushing off their own public lands. It is pathetic and the cruelest thing ever & needs to be stopped. Voices. We need lots of LOUD voices!

  15. How sad. Bred to die for human greed. Stop the abuse of thoroughbreds for human greed. If I treated one of my animals like this I would face consequences. So why is this form of owner welfare allowed to continue at the horses expense?

  16. How heartless and contemptible. I am so thoroughly disgusted with the human species. I think WE are all overbred and that must be what accounts for the violent, heartless and rotten behavior in so many of our own species. I’m only surprised these bastards aren’t killing off more horses they can’t afford due to the virus closing down or limiting races.

  17. If Delta is true to their word, Nixon must be kicked out of Delta. They say they have a policy in force, so follow it for a change

  18. Paulick makes his living writing about this awful sport. He hides the terrible treatment of the horses, and that is beyond hideous.

  19. Horse racing is one of the worst sports regarding animals what they have to go through all for money for the owners this sport should be stopped and banned all over the world as its all about money as usual … the things they do is unbelievable I have just learnt that they tie there tongues up and in some cases still whip them pony trotting in usa is unbelievable what they due to make the horses pick their feet up by putting very painful burning stuff on thier feet so when they are ever in their stables they cant bear to put their feet onto the ground and have to lie down what a disgrace we humans are … lets stop all this cruety to these beautiful creatures please sign to help these poor animals thank you

  20. The racing industry is pure GREED.. It disgusts me..
    you want to make a real difference! Show the ignorant public during the races videos of the horses at the auctions and slaughter houses being bolted! You want a change then put it out there

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