Vile: 14 Years Old, 155 Races – And Getting Ready for Race 156 This Sunday

From Canada, the worst abuse – in terms of duration – I’ve yet seen. The gelding Eighty Eight is 14 years old and has been put to the whip 155 times. Take a moment to allow that to sink in – 14 years old, 155 races. And: After having not been raced since last October, he’s slated for # 156 Sunday at Lethbridge (Alberta). That race, by the way, will be a $2,000 “claiming” (in Canadian currency, that is; it’s even lower in U.S. dollars). About as cheap as you will ever see. In short, that this poor, pathetic creature is still on the track is an outright obscenity.

Voice your outrage: Lethbridge Race Track (Rocky Mountain Turf Club): 403-380-1905 (The trainer/owner is Rusty Smith; I have no contact info for him.)

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  1. Unconscionable. What is wrong with these people?!
    But we really should not be surprised because Alberta is the province where horses are raised and shipped to Japan to be slaughtered for what is considered a delicacy, slivers of almost raw horse flesh offered with grated garlic and soy sauce.

    Patrick, thank you for the contact number. I hope they get swamped so at least they know people are paying attention to this obscene abuse..

  2. I called the Racing Office this morning.
    I got through to the Race Manager Dot Stein.
    It’s important to note that basic respect and civility is a code that I go by when I call and so should anyone.
    Yes, it’s so frustrating, but it won’t help the horses to get upset at these people.
    Ms. Stein requested my full name, number and city that I lived in to continue the conversation.
    Although I didn’t have to provide that I obliged.
    She wanted to know where I got the information from – I told her HRW.
    I expressed my concern for the well-being of Eighty Eight (EE) and that I felt he had given his all to this business and he’s flipped enough money in the 155 races that he has run in.
    Ms. Stein stated that she didn’t want to be taken out of context, which is why she was reluctant to conversate initially.
    She seemed to suggest that it wasn’t my business and was stunned at the phone call it seemed.
    I assured her that as long as horse racing is collecting public money than it’s anybody’s business.
    I told her she was welcome to submit her comment on this site so that nobody will take her out of context, but she continued on her own volition.
    So I will try to paraphrase as best I can.
    Ms. Stein stated that her opinions were her own and were not those of the horse racing industry.
    Her first response was that EE will undergo a pre-race vet exam and that it’s up to the vet to scratch a horse that shouldn’t run.
    I reminded Ms. Stein that most all racehorses who die on a track, as evidenced here, underwent a pre-race vet exam and that it doesn’t guarantee anything, but that certain racehorses are at high risk and EE fits that situation.
    She adopted the overall opinion of pro-horse racing people that dying is part of it although they do everything they can to prevent it and that it’s sad when it happens.
    She said that she knew the Trainer Rusty Smith well and that he takes “care of his horses.”
    In fact, he’s one of the few Trainers that rests his horses over the winter instead of going down to Arizona where many Trainers go with their horses when the meet ends for the winter.
    Upon review of Rusty’s training record it’s obvious that he’s a small time Trainer that owns and trains most of his horses.
    However, I asked her if she would “scratch” the horse or talk to the Trainer about retiring EE and she said “no” so EE will run on Sunday.
    I feel like I did my part, was a voice for the racehorse, and I didn’t expect anything different from a person who collects their pay check from a vile business.
    If any of them truly cared then they wouldn’t be part of this business in any capacity and Ms. Stein meets my criteria for an “enabler of the abuse” whether she likes it or not.

    • So that was you Gina! Yep, after numerous calls to the track and the ATOBA I was told to call the Racing Manager at the track by the name of Dot. I asked her for contact info for Rusty Smith and she told me she does not give out personal information??!! I expected him to be a member of the ATOBA yet he is not. I also expected this type of info to be public as any individual in a “business funded by public money should be. Again NO! Yet she told me she had received another call about this this morning and she mentioned to you what would “happen” to Mr. Smith…she clearly lied to me as she did not mention to you that any repercussions were forthcoming. I also was very civil and asked her to inform me where/how I could voice my outrage in regards to what is about to take place this coming Sunday. She asked for my details and, same as you, I provided her with my name and phone number. I also mentioned to her that Rusty Smith, in a September 2018 interview and subsequent article written by Dale Johnson, he clearly stated that EE would be retired THAT year. Clearly, 2 years later, this poor soul continues to be raced! Dot proceeded to tell me that she was in a meeting. However, she would get in touch with Smith and ask him to call me!! As if that’s ever going to happen. I am now calling Horse Racing Alberta and I am trying to speak to the Director of Regulatory and Supervisor of racing, Mr. Doug Fenske. I am appalled that this is allowed to happen snd no one gives a damn. Should have learned by now that this is this industry’s MO.

  3. Canada is a leader in 1 thing. Animal exploitation. Its actually a good thing that somebody is doing something with this horse. Because Alberta has got one of the horse slaughterhouses right down the road from the racetrack. I know because the horse kill pen in Shelby Montana supplies this slaughterhouse with a steady stream of everybodies unwanted horses. Close proximity to a slaughterhouse. Someplace no one wants to be. Canada: a leader in horse slaughter and shipping live and butchered horses all over the world.

    • Mary I highly doubt Canada is a leader in animal exploitation. This horrific industry is just that… horrific everywhere in the world. Look at Australia or even the US. Unless horse racing is abolished, horses will continue to die. Full stop!
      Also, not sure what you meant by “ it’s a good thing somebody is doing something with this horse”… as in it’s a good thing they are racing him at 14 years old???? If this is what you meant, you are clearly on the wrong side of the fence.

      • Andrea,
        Since the person responsible for this horse’s life and death, Rusty Smith, refused to retire the horse to a life that any horse deserves, grazing in a pasture and maybe some trail riding (if he isn’t lame), he would most likely “retire” the horse to the nearest slaughterhouse. Being in Canada, that would be a relatively short haul. This is the reality that these horses are faced with and so far this Modus Operandi of horse-racing insiders has not changed even though we bleeding hearts hate it so much. I am guessing that if this gelding, EIGHTY EIGHT, doesn’t have a life-ending injury on the racetrack, and if he does not get claimed, that Rusty Smith will eventually sell him for much less money to the killbuyer than this 14-year-old gelding would potentially get claimed for.

      • Andrea, perhaps she meant it would be better to die on the track in place of the slaughter house or maybe she meant Smith will keep him around as long as he can start him. No matter how you look at it the horse is at risk.
        Poor animal.

      • EIGHTY EIGHT could have been slaughtered already had he not been kept alive to race again by his owner and trainer, RUSTY SMITH. I’m hoping someone can manage to rescue him from his ultimate fate as a racehorse.

  4. Canada is horrible for their acts of shipping out our horses to Japan – it is tragic what is taking place and has been for a very long time. Many of us have tried to get these articles onto the news media outlet in Canada but of course many of those are governed by the useless federal government on who can say what and do what.
    Horse racing is horrible in every sense of the word. There is no way that this poor horse should be anywhere near a track at this point in his life. What the hell is the matter with people everywhere. After 155 times under the whip the best you can do for this poor horse is to stick him in a claiming raise – Jesus H Christ aren’t you a hero – have you never heard of just retiring a horse and giving him a life – f*ck you people are sickening in every sense of the word. All of this facilities that ship these poor souls to their death beds should be bombed the hell off the planet. You are cruel beyond belief and no horse should be devoured as human food. Like we don’t have enough problems coming from these countries!! Wake up Canada you are one of the worst abusers of horses!!

    • I tried doing the same…wanted to have this in print with the Lethbridge Herald. They have a September 4 article published in which they are announcing with much aplomb that racing will resume at Rocky Mountain track. As if that is something to cheer about!!! No one has gotten back to me though and there is no place (that I could see) where one could submit material.

    • Yes, Cathy, very young draft horses are packed in like sardines for the trip to the Japanese slaughter house so their flesh can be made into a dish known as “Basashi”,

  5. Could we step in and claim this horse? If someone can claim him and get him to Arizona I can give him a forever home where he will be loved and cared for like he deserves. .

    • There would need to be a trainer to claim him at the track and the money would have to be in the racing office by race day. Plus he is in Canada and that involves a custom process and fee to get him across the border. It is not impossible but the timeline is not favorable for this upcoming race. Better to offer to buy him at this point…

      • rose, i contacted old friends about him. they have claimed multiple horses and retired them with the help of their connections and it’s a wonderful place for them to go. i believe they recently shipped a horse from panama with the help of donations so canada might also be a possibility if we help somehow.

    • If there is a possibility to get him out of this misery, I would also donate for to get him free…

    • Oh boy. Looks like we got ourselves another one. Once again, racing creeps prove not only that they just don’t care, but that they also just don’t get it.
      Okay, “Lucy,” thank you for your, um…wise contribution?

      • I suspect this might be the same Lucy that if she was a horse named “Laughing Lucy” she would quickly become “Crying Lucy” had she been run in a race and continually and repeatedly whipped by the jockey. Throw in a buzzer to top off the abuse to “the race horse” and yes, that just might describe your typical horse!

    • Moron. The average thoroughbred that actually make it to the races makes fewer than 20 lifetime starts. If you include all registered horses it’s closer to ten starts.

  6. i can try to contact old friends. they just brought a horse from panama i believe with the help of donations. i’m sure they have connections that can claim the horse and bring him to one of their facilities.

    • Nans, thank you!! Would you please reach out to your friends and inquire? I am waiting to hear back from Alberta Horse Racing. I asked them to contact the track and/or Smith and scratch EE from Sunday’s race. Let’s see if they will flex their muscle and actually do the right thing.

      • they replied this morning and sadly they cant bring him over. but they recommended we keep contacting the alberta racetracks and also contact some rescue organizations in canada. they have over 200 horses right now though so at least there are quite a lot being helped by them. i’ll keep researching for any places that can keep them. i know a lot of us organizations that will take them in but maybe we should focus on canada rescues instead. sorry, wish i could’ve helped more. hopefully someone will claim him and give him his retirement.

      • they said the thoroughbred aftercare alliance can get horses from canada because they have a license there. i’ll email them about it. sorry this is the most i can do since canadian dollars are extremely expensive in my currency and even if i had an owner license i wouldn’t be able to buy him as it’d cost me over 10k. hope this can help.

      • alan, i live in Brazil and at the moment a canadian dollar is 4 times my currency. sadly i can not spend 8k at the moment (plus bringing the horse over) and i’m not aware of any farms in my state that would be willing to stable a rescue (i barely know any thoroughbred farms where i am).

  7. I tried to call Dot 403-380-1900 this morning, no answer and no machine. I do think Andrea might have the right idea in calling Horse Racing Alberta (Director of Regulatory and Supervisor of racing, Mr. Doug Fenske). How did that go for you Andrea? Do you have a direct number?

      • I was told my another department there that this was her direct line (the one ending in 0); the main line ends in 5.

      • That’s interesting, Christine! Thank you so much for your efforts! Someone told you that is her direct line and nobody answers, no machine, nothing.

      • Well, maybe she’s been getting a few calls about this and she didn’t want to hear about it anymore…

    • Exactly, Christine!! Smith is a dirt bag plain and simple. Yet he is considered one of the “good guys in the racing world!!!!”
      I called Alberta Racing Board and went straight to Kent Verlik, the CEO. I wanted to write to Fenske but did some research and he actually owns a track in AB.. not helpful I thought. Verlik responded very promptly yesterday advising me they would “investigate” the issue and let me know. An hour ago I sent another reminder to both Verlik and Fenske once again pleading to have EE scratched from Sunday’s race. And yes, I did make reference to the article from 2018!!
      No reply from either of them as of yet…

      • Hi Andrea,

        It is clear, as has been noted earlier, that Rusty Smith is a very small time owner/trainer. This horse has been his “top earner” I believe at just over $18,000 total. Rusty himself has only made about $50,000 over 10 years of racing. I’m not sure how he affords taking care of any horses on that income.

        Regardless, the end goal would be for this horse to be retired and not killed.The question is, how to make that happen.What is the consensus on this? I understand that you have to be a trainer to claim a horse at a track, is that right?

        Would it be possible just to buy the horse straight out from Rusty? If the claiming race is $2,000 then surely he couldn’t ask for more than that. Maybe he would even hand the horse over if the right place could be found?

        Am I just naive?

      • Christine thank you! I think I am just as naive as you but…yes, I understood from those with a lot more knowledge that you have to be a trainer to claim him. As for Rusty, I suppose he would want to make some money off EE. I doubt he would just give him away. Remember… he was supposed to retire this poor soul back in 2018!! We know he has no heart and no conscience. I also suppose if he doesn’t make the $2000 prior to the race, he will send him out there Sunday hoping someone would pay the claiming $$. But I could be wrong…. I am still a novice

      • Rose suggested buying him outright. I don’t know if this is realistic from the standpoint of Rusty Smith but I venture a guess that he could sell EIGHTY EIGHT to a private party at approximately the same price that he would sell for at auction. I’m sorry if that sounds offensive but it sounds reasonable to me.

      • Ok everyone… just received a response from the Alberta HRB…they allegedly investigated and concluded there is no reason to scratch EE from Sunday’s race. Yes, his owner who “loves” his horses, who claimed to retire him in 2018 is now forcing him to run for the 156th time! I am not only heartbroken but I am feeling helpless. I prayed for a different outcome and perhaps I still believed in goodness. I was wrong. If we can save/buy EE from this butcher and find him a good home, I will help as much as I can…

  8. This is a claiming race at $2000.00. Canadian money cheaper than US. My friend from Vancouver says it is $1400.00 American. Will the guy negotiate ??

  9. Christine, I have not been keeping current on how much horses are selling for at livestock auctions. I did communicate with a woman in August that had saved a yearling gelding, not halter broke, (breed?) and paid $170.00 USD. That was in Idaho. I expect that a Thoroughbred gelding, 14 years old, would bring in the ballpark of $500.00 USD with the admission I could be wrong. It depends on how many people are bidding as well as other factors. I think if someone offered him $1,400.00 or $1,500.00 USD that would be something he ought not to turn his nose up at if he knew the horse would get a good home, not the slaughterhouse.

  10. I think if Rusty Smith saw he might not be able to race this horse without people calling up the track and making noise (!) he might be willing to sell him (particularly if EE does get scratched this Sunday).

    So, would that site listed by Nans be the best bet for a placement if we could secure the money?

    I am willing to make a GoFundMe for this. We need a way to contact Rusty Smith (he’s a bit hard to find online)

    • Christine, I don’t know any of these people with these rescues listed on the link. Some are in British Columbia and some are in Alberta. I am wondering if Gina Powell knows anyone at the places listed or if she knows a different way to get through this whole process. I think someone should talk to the owner/ trainer. If someone can make the connection necessary, maybe things can work out in a positive way.

      • wanda, i know of healing with horses. they have a few organizations of this kind in the us too. they use their ottbs to rehab prisoners, drug addicts and people with mental illnesses of some sort. hope this helps. i like them a lot.

      • Wanda I tried everything possible to obtain Smith’s contact details. He is not listed anywhere. Dot Stein at the track refused to share his contact details with me and so did the Alberta HRB. This guy is like a ghost, not a friendly one though.

  11. You can’t assume that Rusty would take $2,000 for the horse. He’s probably planning on the winner’s share of the purse + $2,000 if the horse were to get claimed. That is how a trainer thinks.

    • Former trainer, we were speculating the possibilities. I am wondering how the horse will come out of the race, if he will be injured or not. There are a lot of variables to consider. Thank you for your insight.

  12. First, the horse has to have a place to go.
    Then Smith needs to be contacted to see if he will sell the horse.. The racing office may give him a message.
    There needs to be a contact person – someone to spear head the effort to buy the horse, collect the donations and make the payment
    He would need a health certificate and a current coggins.
    Then transportation has to be arranged to where he is accepted.
    If he is crossing into the US there are designated points of entry where a fee is charged for a vet. exam….
    All hinges on a place for the horse and Smith being willing to sell him for a reasonable price. Remember we do not know what the condition the horse is in with all those starts.

    • Thank you, Rose, for bringing up all those different points. We need someone who has done this before and knows the drill. If I could travel to Alberta, I know it would definitely be a learning experience to go there and talk with people in person. I am not in a position to do much at this point in time. Of course, there is the added concern of keeping the spread of COVID-19 to a minimum plus the BAD AIR QUALITY from wildfire smoke is HUGE in the Pacific Northwest right now, has been for several days and will be for who knows how long.
      I am very interested to know the height and weight of EIGHTY EIGHT also. Does anyone here have that kind of information?

    • Rose, you have made some really good points. My thought is that the horse most likely has a current Coggins which is required, here in the states, to be kept with the JC papers in the racing office.

      It is vitally important that this horse has a safe place to go once you take ownership of him. My suggestion is to try to purchase him directly from the owner/trainer rather than trying to claim him.

    • Thanks Christine! I sent emails also to 2 out of the 3 you’re mentioning. No response yet but I am sure they will get back to us.

    • Hi Christine! Just wondering if you heard back from any of these rescues? Bear Valley has not responded yet, old friends cannot take him and Canada Horse I send an email to also told me they are not taking TB’s. Thanks!

    • The Equibase stats has a different number of starts listed, 121 versus 155. I don’t know the explanation for the discrepancy. The point is to rehome the horse so I appreciate your efforts!

      • Wanda, you need to look at all three start “categories” on Equibase. For Eighty Eight, he’s got 121 starts for TB, 4 starts for QH and 30 starts for MX.

        FYI, one can always leave a message with the stable gate to have Smith call regarding interest in acquiring Eighty Eight.

  13. Two of the places Bear Valley and Free Spirit are about 3 hours from the racetrack. Old Friends is about 10 hours away. Hopefully one of them will respond and then we can go to step 2!

  14. We can’t assume that the horse would be sold at auction if not claimed. That assumption doesn’t even make any sense since a riding horse is worth more than the per pound price of a Slaughter horse. We have to accept that the horse is sound going into this race and with luck he could at least be a riding horse after the race. I don’t know the law in Canada but many race tracks in the US have anti Slaughter policy stating the owners or trainers who knowingly sell or donate a horse to a Kill buyer or livestock auction where killed buyers operate can be banned from that track.

    • We are aware of the anti-slaughter rules, at least in a vague sense of the word, and Thoroughbreds are standing in killpens anyway. So, just finding out the owner’s contact information is evidently one of the biggest hurdles at this point.
      I don’t know how honest he is about the statement that he “retired the horse in 2018 and has a goal to find good homes for his retired racehorses.” He evidently changed his mind about keeping EIGHTY EIGHT in “retirement” so what else could he change his mind about regarding this horse?
      Assuming people are wanting to reduce their expenses of buying hay for the winter, they take horses to a livestock auction whether it is a designated horse sale or not. If the horse is injured and/ or has other pre-existing conditions which we have no clue of at this point, he might not be good for riding. He could give the horse away if he wanted to and then that person could unload the expense of an injured and hungry horse onto a killbuyer and Mr. Smith could claim total ignorance and innocence. It’s been done by other higher profile people in Thoroughbred racing than Mr. Smith.

      • Finding the owner’s name is not a big hurdle. If you go to equibase entries for Lethbridge race 7 tomorrow you will see that Rusty Smith is the trainer and the owner

      • Former Trainer,
        Yes, we know his name is Rusty Smith. Do you have his phone number? Or, his email address? Or, his physical mailbox (postal service) address? Can you contact him? If his contact information were made available, I believe Christine and Andrea would appreciate you sharing his CONTACT INFORMATION with them as well.

      • Exactly, Mary. The key word is “knowingly.” If a horse is sold “knowingly” to a killbuyer…etc.
        That is why people in racing lie and use deviant tactics to get away with breaking that rule. Also, because they lack scruples.

  15. I think Step 2 would be contacting Rusty to see if he would be willing to sell. He had expressed the desire to see EE retired to a “good home”. I’m choosing to believe he might be swayed. Maybe I’m wrong but it is not impossible. I know racehorses aren’t supposed to be sent to slaughter but the reality seems to be otherwise.

    • Agreed, Christine! However, I tried to obtain Smith’s contact info but he’s not listed anywhere and the track refused to share those. Mind you that’s perhaps I told Dot Stein that we were looking to have EE scratched from the race tomorrow. If we call and tell them we are interested in buying the horse she may be a bit more cooperative. I think we have to wait band pray he makes it out ok tomorrow since they flat out refused to scratch him.

      • If he passes the vet checks and any pre-race medication checks on race day they can’t scratch him just because. If he has accomplished the required works and is racing sound they don’t have a rule that would keep a horse from running. It is very unusual for a 14 year old horse to even be racing fit and sound so at least he has that going for him as far as hopefully not getting splattered on the track tomorrow

  16. I tried the racing office at Lethbridge just now but no answer or option to leave a message.
    If someone wants to request Smith to call re buying EE, here is the FAX number: 403 3801909. My FAX is down, otherwise I would send a request.

    • Thank you, Rose. The wildfires are overwhelming in many ways and the smoke is overwhelming also. Last night in Lewiston, Idaho the AQI was 508, BEYOND INDEX. This morning the AQI is 418, HAZARDOUS.
      I really appreciate your help. I am not able to do FAX. The library might have one but COVID-19 precautions may make the access limited to that also.
      I honestly cannot fathom how the horses or any outdoor animals can survive this smoke. It is torture in itself.

  17. I will call the organizations in Alberta that I emailed and see what the chances are of getting the horse there. I can send a fax on Monday if I can’t get through to the office to leave Rusty a message.

    Also, perhaps he can be contacted through the Blackfoot Canadian Cultural Society. I can call them on Monday too.

    Is it the bad air from Oregon and CA blowing into Idaho or do you have your own fires Wanda?

    • Christine, it is a combination. There are several fires in Washington and Idaho but I think the fires in Oregon and California are burning more acres. Also, the wind currents changed from blowing East to West to blowing from West to East although it isn’t windy today. I believe Montana has some wildfires going as well.
      Thank you for picking up the slack so to speak. I am interested to find out if EIGHTY EIGHT gets claimed or not. I think contacting the Tribe is a good idea.

      • He got beat over 30 lengths and did not get claimed. The only reason to claim such an old horse would be to help him. Now, someone could go in and offer far less than the $2000 claiming price. Rusty might be happy to get him out of his barn.

      • Thanks, Susan. I had the same general thought that he is ready to unload the horse onto someone, but to whom? He might even try try to race him again just because that is what he does. After skimming over the Equibase stats on Rusty Smith, it “appears” he is in racing more as a hobby than as a business…? Who knows what motivates him though…?

        • A trainer who owns a horse who is obviously at the end of his career and just got beat over 30 lengths probably would not choose to put more money into him. I don’t know what the day rate actual cost would be in Canada but guessing it is a substantial amount. Most trainers have to pay exercise Rider, groom, feed, bedding, and vet care. You don’t want to invest that in a horse who has little or no chance of ever earning money. Most trainers would be happy if someone went to that barn tomorrow and offered to provide a good home for the horse

      • Christine, I left a voicemail for Dot Stein asking her to give my phone number to Rusty Smith because I wanted to know if he would consider selling E.E. So far I have not herd anything.

  18. Racehorses receive a huge amount of attention and many love the activities in a racing barn. I’ve seen more than a few retire, only to return because they were miserable.
    Your article, while well-meaning, shows how little you know about horses and racing in general. While many horses are raced one time too many, generally these older guys are solid professionals, who even if not placing, love their game. To keep a stall, your horses must race minimally. MANY trainers DO love the horses. MANY horses re-homed are failed off the racetrack… just don’t hear about those.

    • “Solid professionals” – a sentiment that is not only delusional but dangerous. Thousands upon thousands of these “pros” will be killed this year, either on the track or in the slaughterhouse. And you, as an apologist, are complicit.

    • Lisa Haymaker,
      Have you not read the names of the hundreds of individual horses and the details of the horses killed by the racing industry on this site?
      Have you not ever learned enough about horses to know that keeping a horse locked up in a stall 23 hours a day is bad for the horse?
      Have you not ever learned what causes some horses to develop neurotic behaviors such as cribbing and weaving?
      I could go on and on and on, but would you get the point?
      Horses are not happy to be abused or neglected.

    • Standard industry response is “you don’t know about horses”. A good number of us are former owners, trainers, and breeders and we know the horror show. You’re full of shit.

      • Also, it is not rocket science to know that when a horse is forced to do things against his or her will, it is not okay! It is abuse to force young, underdeveloped horses to perform as though they were adults which causes injuries and pain! It is not rocket science that the “hall of so-called fame” trainers have achieved that status by callously forcing multiple numbers of young horses to do what they are not exactly capable of doing and doping them. The FBI has exposed the fraudulent activities of several “horse-racing insiders” and although the FBI has not stopped the actual physical and psychological abuse of horses exploited for racing, the FBI has exposed the illegal drugs used to harm horses by certain named individuals who used them, and that this kind of fraud also resulted in the deaths of several horses.

    • I’d be willing to bet Lisa Haymaker benefits from the existence of horseracing…

      Lisa, your comment shows how little YOU know about equines – if they were able to make their own decisions, it would not be the “huge amount of attention” and the “activities in a racing barn” they would choose. That said, what exactly does that “attention” look like? Standing in a stall 23 hours a day? – with a hay bag at the level of their face and (if they’re “lucky”) a stall ball? Getting a quick jog on the track in the morning then back to the isolation and confinement of their stall? Do YOU understand that nearly constant ambling about with their herd is what makes for a happy and healthy horse? – obviously you don’t because you’ve either bought the lie racing trainers spoon-feed the ignorant (who do not learn about equine behavior for themselves) OR you just believe what makes you comfortable with your choice to support horseracing.

      The idiocy of claiming a horse loves to race because he’s “miserable” when “retired” is another indicator of how little you know about horses (or is the easy excuse to continue putting the horse at an increased risk of injury and death by keeping him in training/racing)…AGAIN, you are either that ignorant or that selectively blind. Horses are creatures of habit and they CRAVE routine – so take a horse from the only life he’s known, even if that life has been one of risk and exploitation, and he’s going to experience stress and anxiety. Does there EVER come a point for the folks who think like you, Lisa, where you will retire that “miserable” horse? – or are you going to race him to his grave because he “loves the game”? IDIOCY, right? – but that’s your excuse for keeping or putting back a horse in training/racing.

      Finally, you claim horses love to race – well they also love to eat – since you support putting a horse at increased risks of injury to “let” them race because they “love” it, why not place a 50-pound bag of grain in front of them and say have at it? Although you (should) know better, and as the more intelligent being looking out for the creature (the horse) who depends on us to ensure their health and well-being, your way of thinking is damn scary – and like I stated a paragraph or two ago, shows you’re the one who knows nothing about what is best for the equine. And that includes making decisions FOR him that he might not immediately “like” but are in HIS best interests.

    • Hey Lisa H you went silent on us?? ! Typical! You spew nothing but utter imbecility and then, because you can’t hold your own…poof you’re gone! I am sure you are a horse whisperer in your spare time and all these horses whispered small “nothings” in your ear such as how much they LOVE to race, to be isolated, to be drugged and abused by the likes of you and/or those you support. Right?? You are such an oblivious moron!

    • Oh, one more thing…i hope you receive the same kind of “attention” these wonderful horses receive…

      • Maybe Lisa and her cohorts will get together to buy Eighty Eight and retire him in a safe place.
        Surely she would concede a 14 year old “solid professional” like E.E. with 156 starts at multiple low level tracks while being passed from owner to owner deserves a decent retirement, you think?

      • Rose, all sarcasm aside, I believe she would kill him by running him to death and tell everyone that she loved him like family and that EIGHTY EIGHT died happy doing what he loved. She is delusional and dangerous just as Patrick stated. She could have been taking lessons from Donna Brothers. They sound the same and both are very nauseating (barf).

  19. Hi All! Good news! I just spoke Debra Battrum at Old Friends Canada and they have agreed to take Eighty Eight. We would just have to get him transported there (10 hours away), and provide some kind of donation for his care. No specific amount but it would be great if we could come up with $500-1000. Rusty should chip in here. I think if we could get the horse AND paperwork (very important to get the pedigree paperwork and a document saying he sold or gave the horse to Old Friends Canada) from Rusty (hopefully at no charge or very minimal) any money we raise can go to transportation (about $400) and care. Exciting!

    • OMG! Really?? Christine, this is FANTASTIC news. Thank you!! Now I suppose we need to persuade Smith to part with EE. And find out how much he is asking for him. I am pretty certain he would not pitch in..not even a dime to help us out. I am not sure what the best way of approaching him would be. I have Dot Stein’s email (the racing Manager at the track where Smith is/was racing EE) but I am not sure if we should go through her given she was not helpful at all in providing me with Smith’s contact details. What do you guys think??? Thanks SO much again, Christine.

      • I am wondering if Old Friends in Canada will be able to do the contact details with Rusty Smith if they have the money in hand to pay his asking price. I am wondering if we should just offer him the claiming price of $2,000 CANADIAN currency. I am wondering if making donations straight to OLD FRIENDS in Canada would be best because they will be needing the money anyway for his care and everything.

    • I’m happy to donate the use of my trailer. It’s extra tall (for my extra tall OTTB:) 2-horse slant-load/padded. Logistically, it’s probably not the best option this time, though, because I’m way out in the SW, and EE is, well, not. But, for future reference (or if other methods are too pricey, etc.), you all can reach out to me. I authorize Patrick to release my e-mail contact info to trusted followers of this site.

    • Christine, do you have the transportation details? Who would do the transport? I’m wondering how you came up with the figure of about $400.00 for transport. Yes, this is absolutely exciting, and also weird about the owner/trainer being so reclusive and low-profile.
      Thank you so much, Christine!!!!!!!!

    • Christine, that is great news! One of the biggest hurdles is having a safe place for Eighty Eight. Old Friends would be great for him.
      I will let Patrick know he can release my phone number.. I will do what I can to help,

    • Christine, there is a Horse Transport company that has several good reviews on their Facebook page posted by very happy customers. Northern Horse Transport in Canada, Sayward, BC.

      • Hi Everyone! I think I’ve made good progress today. I’m in communication with Dale Johnson in a round about way who will communicated with Rusty and let us know shortly. I think it is important that we all remain positive as that is the best chance for a good outcome. I know that seems hard to do at time, but right now, it would be best.

  20. So, here’s all that I know right now. It was Debra Battrum at Old Friends Canada who said the transportation from Lethbridge area to them in BC would be around $400 (10 hours). I have looked into a few transportation companies and hope to get a better idea tomorrow. Old Friends does not have the funds to help buy him, in fact, they need funds to help with EE’s support (it is a request, not a demand).
    I think it is reasonable that Rusty gives the horse up at no charge because the fact is, that horse will not win any more races and keeping him costs a lot. Winter is coming and from what I read he does not ship horses south to race. So, what would be the incentive to keep him? In a perfect world Rusty would be the one to ship EE to the new home.
    I also think there may be positive press in Rusty giving him to Old Friends. Maybe we could get Dale Johnson, who wrote the first article to do a follow up on this? It would be good press for both Rusty and Old Friends.
    The two other rescues haven’t gotten back to me unfortunately. They are much closer to Lethbridge (only 3 hours away).
    The main goal right now is contacting Rusty. I’m not sure how to do it but I may just start calling all the people on the list from the CEO, to Doug F. and Dot (again, I know you already left a message Rose) and maybe the tribal office. Any other suggestions?
    Patrick, please feel free to release my personal email to anyone in this group. Maybe we should have a Zoom call?

    • Christine, I am so glad you’re able to accomplish this much so far! I think your idea of asking Dale Johnson to get involved to create positive press is great, but I can’t speak for the racing industry side. It would be appropriate to have a follow-up story on Rusty Smith finding a good home for EIGHTY EIGHT (at OLD FRIENDS of CANADA) in my opinion.
      Keep up the great work!!!

    • Even though Rusty Smith is not the one doing the finding at this point, if he agrees to release ownership and possession of his horse, he in effect found a good home. You might be able to call Dale Johnson and ask him if he could contact Rusty Smith to get the ball rolling on this. I just thought of that while I was typing.

      • Yes Wanda, I called Jeff Robillard (Marketing and Communications) at Rocky Mountain Turf Club to see if he could connect me to Lance and/or Rusty today. Left a VM. Will let you know.

    • Christine, you can text me if you want to. My email is down.
      Thank you for pursuing the contact aspect. Once we know what Rusty Smith will consent to then we will need to look at the financial end and the transportation. I think $400.00 for a 10 hour trip is on the low end. We will see.

    • Christine, you are FANTASTIC. Thank you so much for everything you have accomplished so far. One of the rescues in AB has gotten back to me and told me they cannot take him 0:( but since Old Friends is taking him this is now a non issue. The missing piece is now getting in touch with Rusty and hoping he will part ways with EE. I want you to know you are not alone in this and I am willing to help you with whatever is needed as much as I can. I am sharing my email here so please reach out if you need to. I am also looking into transport etc. so keeping in touch would also avoid doubling up on efforts. Wanda and I also spoke a few minutes ago and I think if we keep in touch and brainstorm, together we can and will make this happen. My email is Thanks again, Christine!

    • Christine, one more thing…I have Dot Stein’s e-mail. I wanted to reach out to her, cc the CEO and Doug Fenske at Horseracing Alberta but I wasn’t sure if going through her/them is the most effective method. I think I need suggestions and advice, please.


  22. I agree we need to stay real positive and not insult anyone right now. Christine Travers you are a Godsend!!

    • Elke Winkler,
      We have established that the horse, EIGHTY EIGHT, has a place to go to have a good home. However, getting Rusty Smith, his owner and trainer, to come forward to speak with any of us has been difficult. He has not been forthcoming in contacting Christine or Andrea. So, we are still hopeful that he will eventually agree to letting the horse go to OLD FRIENDS CANADA in British Columbia. Thank you for asking.

    • I’m sorry everyone, there is no news. I called Jeff at the track and left a VM but it was Friday afternoon. I will try again Monday.

    • Beverley Morris,
      I wish we could say he is safe for certain, but the reality is we have been led to believe he is and/or will be safe within the control of Rusty Smith, his owner and trainer. Supposedly or allegedly, the owner/trainer will give EIGHTY EIGHT to “a girl” which is vague, to say the least. Supposedly, he won’t be raced again but we have no guarantee of that or anything. Christine was able to communicate with a “representative” of sorts who spoke on behalf of Rusty Smith regarding EIGHTY EIGHT. So, in my opinion, this attempt to rescue this horse is an ongoing story. OLD FRIENDS CANADA would take this horse but Rusty Smith has not agreed to let him go there. I have no idea who “the girl” is, and am still wondering if this is a euphemism for something?????

  23. From a previous long term industry insider for all it’s worth.
    People in this business will deliberately not sell their horses to people whom they deem “enemies” of horse racing.
    They would rather send their horse to a kill pen or directly to slaughter than give racehorse rescuers the ammunition to say “look at what we did.”
    Of course I sincerely hope that your successful at saving EE.
    One example of unplanned negative pubilicity came when Mindy Lovell, rescued multiple-stakes winning mare PRESS EXCLUSIVE who was literally on the slaughter-bound truck here in Ontario Canada.
    She made over $436,000 back in 2005 and was dumped – you can Google the story.
    Nevertheless, the last time I conversated with Mindy back in 2013 she refused to speak out against horse racing or even advocate for it to be banned because she claimed that she would be jeopardizing her well-established relationships on the track which is common among racehorse rescue groups.
    She also told me that high profile owner of Press Exclusive Frank D. Di Giulio, who made all the money off of this mare, and his complacent Trainer Bob Tiller who dumped her donated some money to Mindy if she let the story die down and not talk out against horse racing.
    They only did it because it hit the front page news and just because they got caught because they couldn’t care less about this mare once they were done with her.
    Of course the usual excuse, “..but it wasn’t us that dumped her.” YES IT WAS.
    Nevertheless, I totally disagreed with her silence, her stance and that’s where we parted company.
    At the time, she was struggling financially, and on November 29, 2013 she was pleading with people to donate for the 43 OTTB’s on her farm
    Presently, Mindy is supposedly financially ruined, because neither owners, trainers, any pro-horse racing entity came to the rescue, and although I feel sorry for her because her heart’s in the right place, remaining silent and protecting this vile business did her no good at all and neither the racehorses.
    This business is deliberately, and maliciously set-up to fail the racehorse every step of the way.
    Dying on the track, surviving daily abuse only to get dumped in the end no matter how much money they make, and the ultimate horrific ending of bleeding out on the slaughterhouse floor.
    This is horse racing and the only time this vileness will end is when it shuts down.

  24. Wanda Diamond Giving a horse to a girl sounds really nice. Makes you think of a horse crazy young girl who will dote on her horse and he will of course live happily ever after, be loved and well fed. Hopefully Rusty is not just saying things that sound really nice.

    • Of course, it sounds nice, except for the fact that it sounds “not nice” in that it sounds more like “a brush-off” unfortunately. It would sound much nicer if he would have come forward and agreed to release ownership and possession of EIGHTY EIGHT to OLD FRIENDS CANADA. We know about OLD FRIENDS CANADA being a well established sanctuary for horses at risk to no longer be at risk. We don’t know this mystery girl or if there is any truth to this at all. I don’t believe in fairy tales. I do believe in the facts. The facts are that this horse is, logically speaking, still at risk until we know otherwise.

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