The Great Falls Turf Club? A Dump That Allows for the (Extraordinary) Abuse of Horses

As I mentioned in a comment last night, the 14-year-old Annadu was a vet scratch yesterday at Great Falls. I have little doubt that this was owing to our efforts – all who pressured with calls and emails. Obviously, what happens to Annadu at this point is an open question, but at least she was not made to race twice in three days.

Along with Annadu, 5-year-old Scratch Me was, ironically enough, scratched prior to the 4th yesterday – this one coming from the stewards. Looking him up, I found that Scratch had been raced twice previously: last Sunday and this past Saturday. Yes, his owner/trainer, Clifton Dennis, not only intended to put Scratch to the whip on back-to-back days but thrice in a week’s time. And it gets worse. Scratch Me’s results in those two races? July 25: dead last, 37 lengths back; July 31: dead last, 17+ back. And, I repeat, Dennis aimed to throw him back out there again yesterday.

Oh, but I’m hardly done. Here are some other scratches at Great Falls yesterday – which, not coincidentally, was that track’s final day of its five-day meet.

Won Oak was a vet scratch prior to the 1st. Won Oak is nine, and prior to being raced last Sunday, hadn’t been on a track in almost three years. Owner: Wayne Hall; trainer: Jess Meineke.

Leesburg Lady was a vet scratch prior to the 3rd. The 5-year-old was raced Saturday, where she finished just ahead of Scratch Me, 15+ lengths back. So, owner Myles Murray and trainer Harlan Bird Rattler, too, had every intention of putting their charge to the whip on back-to-back days.

Truly Classic was a stewards scratch prior to the 3rd. Over her six most recent races – still at “maiden claiming,” by the way – Truly finished a combined 99 lengths back. Owner, Arc of Salvation Stables; trainer, Carolyn Reynolds.

Ninadavina was a vet scratch prior to the 5th. She was raced last Sunday and again this past Friday. Owner, Shainell Birdrattler; trainer, Shawn Bird Rattler.

Silver Flash was a vet scratch prior to the 6th. Silver had been raced Saturday; prior to that: July 2019. Same team (Murray, Rattler) as Leesburg Lady.

Between the Buoys was a vet scratch prior to the 7th. This poor mare was coming off a “pulled up, DNF” at Horsemen’s Park in June. Owner, Choya Young; trainer, Don Young.

Fort Dodge was a vet scratch prior to the 9th. Fort had been under the whip on the two previous Saturdays (7/24, 7/31). Owner/trainer, Harlan Bird Rattler.

Unusual Victory was also a vet scratch prior to the 9th. He had been raced last Sunday and this past Friday. Owner, Tristan Birdrattler; trainer, Joe Birdrattler.

Wild Card Playoff was also a vet scratch prior to the 9th. He had been raced last Sunday. Owner, Kevin De Roche; trainer, Harlan Bird Rattler (sounds like a pretty awful family, these “Bird Rattlers/Birdrattlers”).

And finally, Rebel Roar was a vet scratch prior to the 11th. Rebel was raced last Sunday and this past Saturday; ‘twould have been three races in a week. Owner, Mervin Dennis; trainer, Clifton Dennis (with whom we started).

This dump – don’t let the “Turf Club” in its name fool you – has much to answer for. I would suggest the Department of Commerce (contact below). Incidentally and relatedly, Great Falls pays first through last – giving these horrible people every incentive to throw those poor, abused animals out there repeatedly.

Montana Dept. of Commerce: 406-841-2700; contact form

17 Comments

  1. I can’t believe how the calls and e-mails made a difference for Annadu! Thank God Almighty! I hope better things are coming her way, please God. As far as the other horses “scratched” for racing, I appreciate your listing them and their situations, Patrick. We have to keep at this, obviously.

  2. This despicable abuse reminds me of the goat ropers at the 49ers Saddle Club arena in Spalding, Idaho back in the late 1950s. Just cruelty to animals for recreation and entertainment. 😩

  3. Thank you for posting all the information about the last day at Great Falls. I’m glad that they know eyes are on them. We have to keep the pressure on. It needs to be shut down and our Annadu needs to be rescued and rehomed as well as all the other poor horses there suffering in silence and serving out a long sentence just because fate put them at the awful place.

  4. FYI re Great Falls Turf Club:

    website: greatfallsturfclub.org
    Note: they have meetings. Next meeting TBA
    Instructions say to email GFTC for details: gfturfclub@yahoo.com
    phone numbers: (406) 750-4268 and (406) 750-4249

    I’m going to email “for details”
    Jan

    • Right, Nancy, and that “someone” being a bunch of people outside of their own social group. The “Big Man On Campus” might be getting a reality check.

  5. This place needs to be shut down. I will be contacting the Attorney General. It scares the hell out of me thinking

    how many horses could have died yesterday had Horseracing Wrongs not made its presence felt. Thanks to all

    of you. If any of you have any information on Annadu , please let me know. I will do everything I can to find her

    a good home.

  6. No doubt that through the efforts of this site and its followers, several Montana horses were spared their typical overuse and abuse this weekend. (Folks in the racing industry visit this site more often than we do; when it’s their OWN shitty little, extra-horrific animal-tormenting center for gambling that’s in the spotlight/crosshairs, they really take notice.)
    Lucky for them, they’ll have the unwavering support of the rest of the industry, who won’t dare speak out against their obscene practices, because:

    A. It would only draw (more) unfavorable attention to everyone in this sick game, not just to the cretins at the dumpy bush tracks.
    B. It would mean acknowledging the tireless work of Patrick and everyone at HW, who remain the true advocates for racehorses. Can’t have that, can you, Great Falls Torture Club?

    So they’ll probably just continue on their merry way, until next year’s triumphant meet. Then, the GFTC will have to find new and creative ways to less-obviously torment their equine victims for degenerate gamblers’ amusement.

    • They have the Professional Indian Horse Racing Association and the All Nations Indian Relay Championship. (Billings Gazette)

      • Wanda, I googled what this Indian Relay Championship racing actually is, it is barbaric and horrific! These horses are in such a panic it takes several grown men and a harsh bit to hold them in place while they wait for the rider to hop on and run for their lives. I saw a rider striking a horse in THE FACE during the lap in one of the videos. This makes me hate humanity on another level.

        • I hate what happens to the horses!!!! Thank you for sharing this, Marina. I knew it was a rough ordeal for the horses but I didn’t see them slap horses in the face. It’s definitely cruelty to horses and I hope everyone will contact the Montana Department of Commerce and Montana State legislators about recognizing this as being something that must be punished by law. I saw two pictures, one of Narsis Reevis, owner of ANNADU, and Myles Murray on a different team than Reevis. This is from a 2016 article online: “Wet conditions mark opening night of the All Nations Indian Relay Championship” by Mike Kordenbrock at Billings Gazette. It sounds like a kind of situation where a person would say, “All hell broke loose!”

  7. Congratulations! Well done. Thank you!
    P.S. I am a CHRB licensed Trainer and I am glad you were able to influence the scratch of these horses. Your ability to gather and share such information in behalf of the horses used for racing is amazing. Also encourage you to continue publishing the names of the human connections practicing this type of self-centered “horsemanship”. Good step in the right direction.

    • This despicable and callous disregard for the well-being of horses is absolutely NOT HORSEMANSHIP!!!! IT IS ABUSE!!!!!

  8. We truly are not civilized.
    For the “Montana cowboys” horse abuse is the norm and nothing is done about it. I left messages and asked for return calls. Surprise! I never got one call!!
    Also, the annual Omak Stampede Suicide Race will be held in WA on 12 Aug. Horses and riders race down a 225 ft embankment at a 60 degree angle to cross the river and race 500 yds to an arena. Every year horses are killed which adds to the excitement- very sick, very primitive and not remotely civilized.

    • The Omak Chamber lists it as Omak Stampede & World Famous Suicide Race. In a Seattle Times article dated August 16, 2005 online it says this event attracts about 30,000 visitors to Okanagan County and brings in $500,000 to the area.

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