Damn This Industry: The Unspeakably Cruel End of Ladie Verrazano

Ladie Verrazano was made on February 20, 2016. She was first put to the whip a day after her third birthday. That race, at Delta Downs, was of the “claiming” variety (all horses were “For Sale” prior to the start), and in fact, Ladie was sold her first time out. 11 more races – all “claiming,” all in Louisiana – followed, with three different owner/trainer teams. In that 12th race, at Delta December 30, 2020, Ladie “was eased and vanned off.” Her final racing owner/trainer was Edmond Godfrey.

Less than seven months later, on July 17 of this year, Ladie was spotted in a Texas feedlot – a stop in the slaughter pipeline. She was emaciated, covered in rain rot, and crippled. Her “bail” was set at $1,250. Fortunately, that ransom was raised and paid, and Ladie was picked up that night. This is the condition in which she was found:

Ladie’s first stop was Red River Equine Hospital for evaluation. She could barely walk; radiographs revealed that she had foundered – perhaps the most painful thing a horse can experience – in both front feet. She was also lame in the hind, probably owing to the constant shifting off her painful front. As if not enough, her right front hoof was bleeding, and she had multiple abscesses.

Nine days later, her foster wrote: “Unfortunately Ladie has declined this past week with the current treatment plan. The infection has not improved in her feet and while [some of the abscesses are draining], there seems to be plenty more. I did learn that she broke down on [sic] her last race and didn’t finish. We believe that was the breakdown of her fetlocks where you can see the bone fragments floating.”

Three days after that, Ladie was put down. She was just five years old.

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  1. This is a beyond tragic story of a noble animal that had been so abused that she died painfully after having been rescued. It brought tears to my eyes and disgust for the many owners, trainers, and other abusers that should be shot for their acts of extreme cruelty. Thank you, Patrick Battuello for caring and exposing her vile story. It makes me contemptuous of the human race. THIS IS HORSE RACING – the “sport of Kings”. GODDAMMIT

  2. What a horrifying life Ladie was living being so cruely treated. Ladie was just a baby when her pain was over, what a terrible end for a beautiful girl who had such promise. The people involved with Ladie should be ashamed of how she was treated, they do not deserve to own any animal especially a magnificent animal like Ladie. RIP sweet girl! This is the horrible life of a race horse!

  3. She knew nothing but pain her entire short life. Damn to Hell everyone in this industry for their heartlessness.

  4. Edmond Godfrey, being the last known owner and trainer of this exploited Thoroughbred mare named LADIE VERRAZANO, deserves to be named and shamed, but everyone involved in the ABUSE and TORTURE and NEGLECT of this young FILLY that barely lived long enough to be called a MARE deserves to be named and shamed. If “NAMING AND SHAMING” is what it takes to help stop these atrocious abuses of horses, so be it!!!
    I personally would not have normally advocated NAMING AND SHAMING the previous owners (and trainers) of horses before the horse is dumped into the slaughter pipeline, but NAMING AND SHAMING is what it takes to bring attention to these atrocities in many cases!
    It boggles my mind to read about a person who is financially well off enough to own horses and have the money it takes to have them and travel with the horse or horses and then claim to not know that there is such a thing as the slaughter pipeline. It boggles my mind to think that anyone who has the wherewithal to own horses could be so naive or ignorant of the reality that horses are slaughtered for their meat. Beware if you care about your horse.
    It is obvious that the RACING PEOPLE DON’T CARE what happens to the horses. If anyone is in HORSERACING now and claims to CARE about their horses, that person should be making plans to get out of the horse-abusing, horse-killing, DEGENERATE gambling racket.

  5. These people are the Taliban of the horse world.
    The mind numbing aspect is nobody is ever held accountable for such abject cruelty.
    Where was Ladie for those 7 months – who put her there – who is responsible for the shameful condition of that very young mare. Many people were involved in Ladie’s sad journey. They have answers but nobody asks any questions…
    And last week a feedlot in PA had 61 Standardbreds tagged for slaughter.
    This is never ending.

    • It IS shameful! I donated $$$ to the Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) to rescue those 61 Standardbreds. Two of my 3 horses are rescues & 1 is an off-the-track Standardbred dumped with the Amish–who are SUPER cruel to animals & they planned to sell him to slaughter when he was too injured to work. Thank goodness a rescue scooped him up. Standardbreds make the BEST riding horses. Legend hadn’t even turned 4 when the Amish got him & was only 7, but skinny, injured, covered in bites & just a sad, shut-down horse when I met him. He’s a happy healthy goober now.

      • The Standardbred Foundation does amazing work. Of course it is a charitable organization and racing refuses to help.
        And according to the Blood Horse magazine, a flood of low priced horses sent to Puerto Rico from the US is overtaxing the CTA rescue to the extent it will have to shut down by Jan.
        Once again, where are all those “good people” in the business we keep hearing about?!!

  6. I don’t have the words! I am typing thru my tears. I do have a question though. Surely she was being given all kinds of meds and pain killers but was it worth the pain she still had to be in for those 9 or 10 days? I guess I am just wondering why she was not put out of her misery sooner? Like Rebecca said all that little girl knew her ENTIRE life was pain and suffering. My heart literally breaks everyday when I read Patrick’s posts.

    • Horse rescues I’m familiar have to get more medical information before they put down a horse they rescued. You’d be amazed at the horses they’ve managed to bring back to health. They sure like to try. At least she knew kindness & love before she died. Some horses never even get that.

  7. How very tragic to ruin a mare like that. They are not horseman but animal abusers. I am sickened at their lack of responsibility. If I were to do this to one of my animals I would be arrested. There is no justice for these poor creatures. Stop horse racing.

  8. At least she was loved for the final days of her life….Damn to hell all the owners, trainers, jockeys and all involved in this heinous ‘sport’. But don’t forget that ALL those concerned profess to love their horses like a family member, that’s why sooo many of these innocent, abused horses end up in the slaughterhouse.

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