“Unretired,” 11-Year-Old Finishes 28 Back; Trainer/Owner Is Laughing All the Way to the Bank

This past Saturday, a horse named Tobias was raced at Kentucky Downs. He finished dead last (of 12), some 28 lengths back for trainer/owner Rafael Fernandez. Nothing unusual there, of course. But then there’s this: Not only is Tobias 11 years old, not only was his first race over eight years ago, not only was this his 47th race overall, but Tobias was apparently “retired” back in April ’19, then thrust back on the track in August of that year, then possibly “retired” again before returning – after a one-year layoff – to race at Presque Isle this past August. Imagine that. But wait, there’s more.

Tobias’ last nine finishes, all under the aforementioned Fernandez:

5/5/18, Great Meadow: 10th of 11
5/18/18, Churchill: 7th of 10
6/7/18, Churchill: 7th of 9
11/3/18, Pine Mountain: 6th of 7
11/10/18, Churchill: last of 7
4/20/19, Keeneland: last of 9
8/30/19, Colonial: 9th of 12
8/27/20, Presque Isle: last of 8
9/12/20, Kentucky: last of 12

That’s four last-place, two second-to-last, none higher than 6th – with an average lengths-back of almost 17. But here’s the thing: Over his last three races – since being “unretired,” that is – Tobias has “earned” over $2,000 for Fernandez, including $885 for that woeful finish (28 back) Saturday. (In fact, Fernandez has trained and co-owned/owned Tobias for all but 3 of his 47 races, in total banking $172,000 off him.) So you see, there’s still money on the table – a sentient being’s life be damned.



    • Thank you for commenting on Tobias’ sad face. I don’t know horses, but I thought so, too. He looks “fragile” and so lost, to me. Poor guy!

  1. This horse is clearly very sad! You can see it in his eyes and facial expression. He has clearly earned more than a well deserved retirement.Appreciate the picture of him as that shows how sad & unhappy a horse he really is.He should be out in a good field enjoying the company of other horses! Not locked up in a veritable prison cell!.

  2. Beautiful horse….he deserves retirement. Shame on you Rafael!!!!! I am sure he is not the only one that does this.

  3. Sweet Tobias! Another gorgeous, sensible being abused and re-abused by his loving owner! How is it even possible to take a horse out of retirement, at 11 years old no less and race him again after EIGHT LONG YEARS??!! I know all to well how corrupt this industry is but…are there no rules, no policies at all preventing these excrements from doing something so horrible? I wish we could save them all from a life of misery and cruelty. That will only happen when horse racing is but a faint, terrible memory

  4. I cannot believe armed with all this knowledge we have, these MONSTERS continue with their heinous crimes — they’re really the epitome of depravity and disrespect — SOMETHING IS VERY WRONG HERE — we CANNOT allow this to continue — WHO’s in charge?

  5. The re-abuse of poor Tobias is just another symptom of the end for this sick industry. It’s what we’ll see more of as the whole spectacle sputters and dies: panicked desperation to avoid being forced out from their ever-shrinking animal cruelty business.
    The crippling of younger horses is so prevalent — coupled with the public’s distaste for all things animal exploitation, and its resultant decline in breeding — that it’s created a veritable HORSE SHORTAGE for racing. Rather than bow out (ungracefully), those still hellbent on making a go of their quest for a champion are relegated to patch together some poor OTTB who should have been TRULY retired long ago. But what racing creeps are too blind to see is that this will only result in MORE on-track horrors, and more aversion to their awful anti-sport.
    But, hey, as long as Tobias’ connections get theirs…

  6. This is animal cruelty.This beautiful horse looks like he has had it. Under the whip for what? So his owner can use him until he drops dead! Where is justice? Not in the horse racing business! It’s all for the money and screw the beautiful animals they abuse! This has to STOP!

  7. The photo of Tobias – another racing slave confined and isolated…that royal treatment the apologists and racing-employed are always blabbing about.

  8. Sell this poor guy to someone who is willing to retrain him to be a trail horse, or just a pleasure riding hack for one person, who will take care of him, and love him for the next 15 years or so! He looks so bored, and sad. I bet riding on a trail, at a nice leisurely pace, with the occasional gallop, would suit Tobias just fine. He’d be seeing and investigating new surroundings with a patient rider/owner-I pray!
    If anyone is in the path of this latest hurricane, please, evacuate if its even implied that maybe you might want to think of it!
    If you live out west, and are in the fire areas, the same. Maybe its best, to just pack a bag, stuff your important documents, credit cards, small sentimental items like photos, a small bottle of laundry detergent, and some clothes and the laptop. Make sure your cell phone is charged. And head for a hotel thats not in the fire area. Don’t forget pet food, if you have a dog or cat, and a few of thier favorite toys!
    This time of year is so scary! Be careful!

  9. Tobias is a grandson of Secretariat. He would be a great candidate for retirement at Old Friends in Georgetown, KY. It is a wonderful place. Unlike most of you, I am a racing fan. But I saw Tobias’ name in the program and was horrified. He can’t run anymore (he’s only won 1 race in his career) and he is too old. That trainer is a no-name (probably for good reason) and should be ashamed of himself. So should the owners.

    • They ALL deserve “old friends”…..but,we all know that won’t happen as long as scumbag humans are pulling the strings….and you Must know that Melissa? True to their evil nature this industry keeps producing MORE poor souls who are born into the evilness that is ‘racing’. Can’t you see Melissa there are no homes for the horses. People SUCK.

  10. I dont know how you get your information but Im glad you do and that somebody is paying attention to the valient young horses used for racing and the deteriorating, unethical standards and practices within the horse racing industry today. Forgive my run-on sentence but Im too angry to fix it….

    • Pamela Cingano,
      I think you can contact the race track manager and ask although that may or may not work. I have not searched online anything about TOBIAS yet. We are hoping and praying for EIGHTY EIGHT at the present time.

    • Pamela, THANKS SO MUCH for thinking about saving sweet Tobias! I did a bit of research and it seems dirtbag Fernandez i.e owner/trainer is “working” at Herringswell Stables. According to Equibase he has been “training” Tobias at Camden, SC. I am hoping he can be saved and offered a good home. I couldn’t find contact details for Fernandez- I swear these people are like ghosts- but I will keep looking.

  11. The goal of this vile business is to fill races and the wagering coffers.
    Most all rules & regulations are developed to facilitate the billions in profits not the well-being of the racehorses.
    As Kelly mentioned the horse racing shortage has only exacerbated scenarios like Tobias & EE.
    There are plenty more.
    They require doping and dumping to keep this horror show going.
    The worse are politicians who continue to give millions in taxpayers money and/or casino profits without the approval of taxpayers.
    They cut back room deals with the HBPA to ensure their percentage profits and, of course, the racehorses are left out every single time.
    This is appalling under normal circumstances let alone during this Covid crisis.
    It’s long overdue for horse racing to stand on their own and if they can’t then that’s too bad.
    Let them drop dead like all the racehorses crumbling to the dirt on their killing rings.

  12. Poor beautiful Tobias. I guess your owner/trainer won’t be satisfied until he makes every last dollar he can from you. What a wicked so called sport.

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