Still Being Raced at 14 – With No End in Sight

A horse named Annadu was raced at Great Falls (Montana) this past Saturday. But the story here is not anything in particular that happened to her or how far back she finished; nor, for that matter, what number career race it was – though 58 times under the whip is nothing to sneeze at. No, this is about length, as in age, for you see this poor mare is 14 years old. 14. Take a moment on that.

When I come across these extended servitudes – and 14 may be the oldest I’ve seen – the first and obvious question is, when is enough enough? Alas, for the vast majority of racers out there, not until that last dime has been squeezed from their equine slaves. And indeed, Annadu’s current people – owner Narsis Reevis, trainer Wayne Lewis Smith – have her slated to be raced again tomorrow (yes, that will make it just six days after her previous race). Some other points of cruelty:

Annadu has been “For Sale” in all but five of those 58 races. And cheap, at that: prior to Saturday’s race she could have been had for a mere $2,500.

Relatedly, Annadu has been owned by at least nine different people, and trained by at least seven.

This most recent race came almost two years to the day after her last (presumably she was off having babies). Oh, and that race on July 28, 2019, was her second in two days. Yes, she was raced on back-to-back days. Reevis, by the way, was the owner then also.

contact: Great Falls Turf Club
contact: Sparky Kottke, president, 406.781.6599

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  1. I shared this on Facebook. How awful for this poor girl. What a tragic life. What can anyone actually do to help her?

    • That is a tough question because in order to buy her by claiming her to get her away from the people she is being exploited by, you must have the money for her claiming price and a licensed trainer put in a claim for her. Insulting the trainer is not going to save the horse. The saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar applies here. She needs a place to go with someone who has the wherewithal to provide proper food, shelter and daily care, plus veterinary care.

      • I hope someone who reads your post about her will want to step up and help her. That is a tough ask, but it can happen if the right group or individual is wanting to help her. It could happen though.

  2. I left a voice mail for Sparky. We all should call! This most definitely is abuse not to mention a safety hazard for the others in the race😡 That poor mare.

  3. Just called Sparky. Left a polite VM, regarding age limits in Montana and frequency of racing, particularly at this age. Wanda, can’t you buy a race horse without “claiming” them? What if the owner “gifts” the horse to another person and gets a donation?

    • Its best to be prepared to offer him something along with leaving him voice mails. He might take it out on her. I’m sure he knows the limits and whether or not he’s exceeding them. Just look at what he’s doing to her already! She’s already been and continues to be abused beyond limits. Can you formulate a plan? I’m not in any position to do so.

    • Christine, that’s a good question. I’m sorry I don’t have a definite answer. I’m hoping Joy can give some input on the best course of action to save ANNADU, foaled April 26, 2007.

  4. Do you know someone who can help her? That is the only way. Obviously those who have her now don’t care and aren’t going to care.

  5. Can we offer trainer claiming tag money to sell her before race? Wish I knew someone who could take her as rescue? I’m checking a rescue farm here in AZ.

    • Don’t you have to claim before the race? Then you get the horse after the race. If you claim you need to have a plan in place as to who will take charge of her and where she will go.

  6. Fourteen years a slave. Apologists, don’t even think about offering the tired rhetoric about how these horse love to run and are treated like royalty. Fourteen years of near constant confinement in dingy stalls, stud chains, whips, and needles filled with Lord-only-knows what kind of vile concoctions. Fourteen years of never knowing freedom or kindness or companionship. It sounds evil, but sometimes the two-year-old who dies on the track actually has it better. Their suffering and misery ends.

    • When you say $2500 claimed” do you mean someone has claimed her for tomorrow’s race? Or do you mean it’s a “$2500 Claiming race”?

      • Jan, Annadu is entered today in a $2500 claiming race – meaning she can be claimed/purchased for that amount. A claim slip must be filled out before the race, usually 15 minutes before post time, and the money needs to be in the licensed owner’s/trainer’s account (so you most likely need a trainer and an owner, both licensed in Montana). Different tracks/ jurisdictions have particular claiming rules but some general rules are the same. If there is more than one claim for the horse, a “shake” is done to determine who wins the claim. The new owner takes possession of the horse immediately after the race (if the horse is injured or dies, some tracks void the claim).

        Rose is correct – claiming is an ordeal and especially for those not licensed/involved in racing. It can be done but it’s not easy. The best way to go is to offer the owner (or the trainer, acting as the owner’s agent) an amount up front – not only to avoid the timing demands of claiming but to keep the horse from being raced again.

        And yes, as mentioned, the first hurdle is having a home before the offer is even made. It’s the most difficult part – AND the most important – of any purchase and/or rescue of any horse. Rescue organizations need to be “vetted” as there are (too) many that don’t have strict adoption rules (actually, horse adoptions scare the hell out of me – but there aren’t enough reputable sanctuaries for all the horses that are dumped by the racing industry).

        The money, although a good chunk is needed and there are SO many horses needing help (so we have to pick and choose which horses to help), is actually the easier need to meet. Purchase price, transportation, even a donation to go with the horse if going to an organization are all needed – adding up to several thousand.

        Hope I answered most of your questions about how to help Annadu.

        • I know what a claiming race is. I couldn’t tell by your statement what you specifically meant and that is why I asked for your clarification. The only thing that really matters is if anyone can actually help this poor horse. Everything else is dust in the wind. I wish I could. The only good place I know of is Hasty’s Haven.

        • I would like to make a suggestion to all of us concerned about Annadu. In the past when I’ve been following a race hore who I’ve been very concerned about and watched as they go from owner/trainer to owner/trainer and continue to fall in the claming price categories (I’m not sure if you can go lower than $2500). But what I do is call or email or social media contact — the owner/trainer to let them know that someone cares about the horse and inquire about the horse’s well being. This way they at least know that someone cares and is watching. Would anyone here like to join me in this campaign? We could follow and coordinate.

          • Jan, if you want to add me as a friend on Facebook, I can hopefully do something. I’m on Facebook but not Messenger.

              • Jan, I live in Lewiston, Idaho and my current profile photo is of one of my daughters and the big Anatolian Shepherd/ Great Pyrenees cross dog on a leash with the hills across the river to the north in the background.

  7. Of course you can buy the mare if the owner is willing to sell and accepts the offer.
    Claiming is more involved with short deadlines and plenty of nail biting time.
    But first and foremost, there has to be a safe place for the mare to go with readily available and paid for transportation.

    This extreme situation does not surprise me. I spent several years in Montana and I can say horses have it tough there. Years ago, Ed Butcher, a state legislator, tried hard to open horse slaughter plant(s) in the state – actually said he would be head of the line to slaughter the first horse!!

    As far as back to back races and racing a 14 yr old horse, you will be told it is not against the rules!! Of course, that is because there are no rules to protect horses in this game!
    There is no central governing body and therefore each jurisdiction is free to make rules or not make rules as they see fit. This is probably by design because setting national standards might result in some protection for the horses. The horse abusers would not like that!! Whatever works for making money at the expense of horse is the unwritten rule.

      • Jan, I certainly hope there is someone! Thank you for your persistence!
        The Great Falls Turf Club is allowed 5 racing days: July 24, 25, 30, 31 and August 1, 2021. The racetrack is at the fairgrounds. Some of the reviews mention the State Fair under the Montana ExpoPark Fairground in Great Falls, Montana on Google Maps.

        • I could only help joining financially. I really hope that this time this poor horse can be helped getting away from those abusive people before they maybe kill her. I am too far away to help otherwise…


    Annadu – here are her stats. As you can see she has gone down substantially since the highlight of her career earnings in 2014. This year she earned about $270.00.

    I did speak to Sparky today who said he’s had some calls about her and said that the owern and trainer are fulfilling the rules and that’s all they are concerned with. He said the owner was the one who raised her.

    • I found you on Fb, Jan. I just watched the video shared on Facebook of Amber Cobb screaming at and whipping a horse while inside the stall. I am horrified!!! It’s horrifying!!!! She should be in prison for Felony Animal Cruelty!
      This despicable industry is responsible for so much carnage.

    • THREE RED SEVENS is a TB gelding with 66 starts owned by the same owner as ANNADU. She now has 57 starts after being raced today. She finished in sixth place out of six horses starting in this $2,500 claiming race. Narsis Reevis also owns another horse, named MY FOOLISH BEAU, that he raced on July 24th and the next day on July 25th.

  9. OMG! I just saw Annadu listed inn the 4th race at great falls! Is it possible to have a horse in back to back races? They surely are trying to kill her. Depraved, sick, cruel sub-humans !! Let the ending of these mass deaths be soon! Poor baby

  10. Sadly, these cases are always “put your money where your mouth is” to resolve. Equine rescues are overflowing, and many are closing due to a lack of funds. It always blows back to cash flow. Horses are expensive. Even rescues are not a guarantee the animals won’t face abuse or starvation. If I could wave a magic wand, I’d end the breeding of ALL animals. They won’t face extinction. Complaining to the track, or harassing the owner will eventually get Annadu sent to slaughter. This won’t end for horses being run to their deaths until people start pushing for laws, legislation, and oversight of the sport. If the government can close down private businesses and force us to wear masks, don’t tell me it can’t be done, but enough people have to want this abuse by the industry to be reigned in. Until then, Annadu will die, one way or the other, unless the right person takes pity and opens their checkbook.

    • All different kinds of animals are being surrendered and abandoned more so than usual due to the exceptional drought conditions, plus homelessness. The article said that in California there is only one cutting of hay this year, instead of three cuttings of hay. I was thinking there might not be any hay cuttings at all in some places. The drought and wildfires are not even close to being over yet.

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