Sequana was bred in NY by Michael LeCesse in February 2012. LeCesse, as owner/trainer, first raced Sequana as a 2-year-old. 36 more races followed before LeCesse put Sequana up for sale at the end of 2018 through “Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.” The takeaway line from the ad – which was just recently removed and replaced with the banner, “Sold for Racing” – was this: “The assistant trainer told us that Sequana is sound, but just not running as well as he used to, so it is time to let him find a new career.” (I copied the original ad; it can be found below.) So much for that. In January ’19, Sequana resurfaced in Puerto Rico. Yes, Puerto Rico and the Camarero Race Track – where racehorses go to die.
Sequana was raced 33 times at Camarero. Save for a single “win” three months after arrival, he was utterly hopeless, double digits back in every race but three. Worse, here are his last 25 races, beginning July 4, 2019:
35+ lengths back
30+ lengths back
20+ lengths back
15+ lengths back
17+ lengths back
82+ lengths back
26+ lengths back
29+ lengths back
24+ lengths back
32+ lengths back
18+ lengths back
37+ lengths back
31+ lengths back
“Did Not Finish”
27+ lengths back
34+ lengths back
90+ lengths back
60 lengths back
124+ lengths back
74+ lengths back
45+ lengths back
26 lengths back
“Did Not Finish”
80+ lengths back
And finally, just this past Feb 21: 46 lengths back, “lame.”
In the 23 completed races, that’s a cumulative 1000+ lengths back or roughly 44/race. In short, this is perhaps the worst case of on-track abuse I’ve yet seen.
After that February race, our VP, Joy Aten, reached out to LeCesse to see if he would be interested in helping get Sequana off that death-track and into a safe retirement. You know, considering he brought this poor animal into this world, and made multiple thousands off his toil. I’ll let LeCesse’s words speak for themselves.
LeCesse: “Why would I do that?”
Joy: “Because he was your homebred whom you raced.”
LeCesse: “Well I sold him – they’re like used cars, you sell them and you no longer own them – this is a business, you know. I’ve had people wanting me to take back broodmares I’ve sold – I don’t do that either.”
Joy: “So I think the industry should at the very least be honest and not claim they love their horses and that they are like family.”
LeCesse: “Well, we love them when we own them.”
On selling Sequana to PR: “There are a couple of guys from PR that come here [Finger Lakes] looking for racehorses to buy. They auction them off down there.”
On the horses who can no longer race – i.e., eventually every horse down there – where will they all go, there are not nearly enough homes?: “You know, I’ve seen pictures of horses that people keep in their backyards, they looked pretty good, they ride them from bar to bar.”
“Why would I do that?”
“They’re like used cars, you sell them and you no longer own them.”
“This is a business, you know.”
“We love them when we own them.”
“They ride them from bar to bar.”
A fine human being. But I’ll give him this, his honesty is refreshing.
Anyway, I then sent the following email to what passes for a regulatory agency in Puerto Rico:
Good morning, Mr. Carrion and Mr. Simmons. I am writing to respectfully request that the racehorse Sequana – most recent connections: owner Illuminati Stable, trainer Michael Cabrera – be henceforth permanently prohibited from racing at Camarero and, more to the point, safely retired.
After having been raced 37 times in the U.S., the then-6-year-old Sequana was offered “For Sale” by his breeder/owner/trainer, Michael LeCesse, at the end of 2018. The full ad is here, but the takeaway line is this:
“The assistant trainer told us that Sequana is sound, but just not running as well as he used to, so it is time to let him find a new career.”
Well, somehow Sequana resurfaced at Camarero in January 2019. To date, he has been raced 33 times there. Save for one win in April 2019, Sequana has been noncompetitive to utterly hopeless. In fact, over his last 23 completed races, Sequana has averaged over 44 lengths back. Again, that’s an average finish of over 44 lengths back. The reason I said “completed” is because in two other races, he failed to even finish. In his most recent race, February 21, he came back “lame” after bringing up the rear, 46 lengths back.
Sequana clearly has no business on a racetrack. What is happening is unmitigated animal abuse. It is unconscionable. And it must end.
I happen to know that there are people ready and able to take Sequana off the track and provide him a loving, forever home. I am calling on you – the people who ultimately have the final say – to do the right thing here. Please end this poor animal’s suffering.
Founder/President, Horseracing Wrongs
The following morning, I was informed that Sequana had been signed over to a rescue group in Puerto Rico. Liberated, at last. We will, of course, have to wait for the full evaluation (x-rays and such) to see if Sequana can enjoy some relatively pain-free years. Assuming, though, that he does survive, I will provide info on how to help.
LeCesse’s original ad:
Sequana, 2012 16h chestnut gelding
A handsome homebred of his owner/trainer, Sequana impressed our volunteers as a quality horse with great movement and excellent potential for many new disciplines. Indeed, our notes from our visit with Sequana are sprinkled with superlatives and the word “nice” over and over: “very nicely put together”; “nice topline”; “Very nice mover”; “really nice horse!” Because of the sharp shadows of a sunny morning, and the fact that he was already done up in standard front wraps by the time the busy barn workers had time to bring him out for his photo session, we don’t think his photos really do him justice. Come see this impressive horse in person!
The assistant trainer told us that Sequana is sound, but just not running as well as he used to, so it is time to let him find a new career. She said he is good to handle and has no vices, and like most fit in training race horses, will benefit from some let down time. He has had 4 wins and 15 top three finishes in 35 starts, but this year he has yet to make the winner’s circle. For his jog video, Sequana showed off a beautiful, light and flowing flat kneed trot with good reach, movement that will do well in the show hunter or dressage rings. This lovely guy is offered at a very attractive bargain price considering all his attributes and potential.
Contact: Mike LeCesse 585-303-9467 (call or text)