When Horse Refused to Train at Saratoga, His Trainer, Orlando Noda, Repeatedly Struck Him and Called Him “Piece of Shit”

Back in August 2021, trainer Orlando Noda was fined $5,000 for an incident at Saratoga earlier that month. After a subsequent hearing, Noda was also suspended 90 days and ordered to complete an anger-management course. He is currently fighting those penalties, and last week received a stay from a NYS Supreme Court judge. So what exactly did he do? From the Gaming Commission’s “Findings of Fact,” which were based on two eyewitnesses (who, the Commission notes, had no axes to grind):

“On August 5, 2021, Respondent struck a horse – Win With Pride – with Respondent’s whip…in a very aggressive manner and in anger, cursing at the horse by calling the horse a ‘piece of shit’ while striking it. The horse was not acting dangerously when Respondent repeatedly struck – at least seven times [for] possibly as long as five minutes – the horse in anger or frustration. Rather, the horse was refusing to train. Respondent’s actions were not to encourage the horse, rather they were meant to punish the horse for its lack of cooperation in training.”

“repeatedly struck the horse in anger or frustration”

“called the horse a ‘piece of shit’ while striking it”

“actions were meant to punish the horse for its lack of cooperation”

In defense, Noda’s lawyer cites hearing officer David Devaprasad’s report arguing that the rules are not clear regarding “how a crop may or may not be used while training a horse or that specify what type of actions qualify as mistreatment of a horse.” To which the Commission replied: “There is no feasible detailed rule that could describe all ways in which behavior may be abusive, violent, or disgraceful that could apply to every situation. … In any event, it is self-evident that the abusive and violent [my emphasis] conduct found herein constitutes improper conduct.” No-brainer, defined.

(Win With Pride changed hands – was sold – in Nov ’21 and then again last March. He has been raced 50 times in all. I’ll keep you updated on the proceedings.)

16 Comments

  1. I honestly don’t know who is more revolting: the POS trainer or the slime ball lawyer defending his sadistic abuse.
    C’mon, apologists, defend this bag of Summers Eve. I dare you.

  2. Obviously, it doesn’t take a horseman to be involved in horse racing and this is just one more example of many examples. It’s sickening how many people are so abusive to horses and the lawyers defend them. There is no low that is too low that these NON-HORSEMEN won’t stoop to. Another obvious fact is that this industry must be stopped and banned completely at all levels.

  3. The sad part is the pro racing folks who are defending this slime ball. They say a horse that “froze” during training is a DANGER to other horses!! (Am I the only one who finds it ironic that pro racing folks always seem to pull out the safety and “dangerous” card as a rationale for their continued abuse??) I’m sorry- but if a horse is standing still- how is it a danger to other horses? Chances are- he had just come on the track, so was most likely at or near the outside rail, that means that other horses could simply be steered around him, as, at that point, they are either walking or jogging.
    I would also think that a jackass wailing on his horse and screaming at it would be MORE dangerous to other horses than his horse. I know my horses would most likely spook or move away from that very quickly!
    And as a post thought- the sadder part is – I heard horses called pieces of shit all the damn time, every day, at the track. If I had a $100 for every time I heard it, I could buy my own thoroughbred retirement farm by now. That’s the love they have for their “athletes”.

    • Nope. (You’re not the only one.) So many instances of their screwy, skewed abuse-rationale, but the one that comes to mind for me is the one to a “dangerous” Rich Strike following his Derby win. I still have to scoff at the “professional” outrider — without his own lead, apparently — who insisted on punching, yanking and sawing on Rich Strike’s bloody mouth to get the all-important, post-race TV interview.
      (Funny how all the other outriders since have learned to back off that horse when he’s feeling “savage.” Not Greg Blasi, though. He wanted his moment of “heroism.”) To hear the apologists tell it, their “hero” was actually protecting the lives of thousands(!) by wailing on Rich Strike’s face.

    • What you describe is very similar to the way horses and other types of animals are treated at a livestock auction or a slaughterhouse. The animals are a commodity to these human beings. The humans in this industry are not true horsemen.

  4. When an abuser like Noda does something like this you can pretty much bet that he’s done this before only this time somebody was brave enough to come forward.
    Now in the normal world reporting such blatant animal abuse is expected and not considered “brave,” but in horse racing?
    WIN WITH PRIDE was a 7 y.o gelding at the time of the incident.
    He made over $495,400 for Repole Stables and for multiple subsequent owners and trainers.
    This is the thanks he gets and one can only imagine the daily misery that thousands of racehorses are subjected to once they slip into the claiming hell holes.
    WIN WITH PRIDE is still in servitude to the exploiters in horse racing even after he’s more than earned his retirement and after he’s been beaten.
    Isn’t it funny how trainers who are financially struggling suddenly come up with money to hire an attorney which is costing more than just paying the fine like New York trainer Linda Rice.
    She was suspended about 3 years ago for alleged serious criminal activities which could have resulted in race fixing to some degree.
    Since her suspension she’s hired one of the most expensive law firms on Long Island called Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein who have filed no less than 147 appeals and/or responses with the latest appeal in June 2022 claiming that the Gaming Commission’s case is “unconstitutionally vague” and all charges need to be dismissed.
    These non-stop appeals have permitted Ms. Rice to continue training and one would have to ask when are the courts or the New York Gaming Commission going to call this a deliberate delay and order the case to be heard?
    By now, Ms. Rice’s attorney fees (if it is her paying them?) are about $1 million+ based on their hourly rate ($300 – $500) and the amount of appeals.
    One would have to ask where in the hell is Linda Rice getting the money?
    Many racehorses under the care, custody and control of Ms. Rice were permanently mangled, claimed, dumped, and killed during her “career” so where is the justice for them?

    • It’s too disturbing to really think about the daily misery and suffering these horses are subject to. I remember a certain horse at a training track in 1977. He was confined to a box stall with no opening in the back to an outside pen. There were no outside pens. This one GELDING would weave from side to side constantly and the groom told him to stop. His groom verbally warned the horse that if he didn’t stop, he’d have to shut the top half of the stall door. So, of course, the horse can’t stop weaving. So, of course, the groom shuts the door on the horse so he’s locked up this dark stall with no windows and no way out and it’s so disturbing! It is just too disturbing to even think about it. It’s absolutely horrible how horses are made to suffer.

      • Stereotypical behavior in intensely confined animals is all too common.
        Sadly, racehorses are totally dependent on their caregivers, but in the case of Ms. Rice and Mr. Noda they don’t resemble caregivers, rather full on exploiters that seem to have no problem abusing and/or killing racehorses.
        Then they hire attorneys to defend them, their right, at high costs well beyond the fine amount just to beat the system it seems – or the racehorse in some cases.
        Former stable employees of Ms. Rice claims that she has never taken care of any racehorse she has claimed over the years, but dumped them.
        Yet, here she is spending probably close to $1 million in legal fees (if it’s indeed her paying?) She refuses to take care of racehorses when they are not earning, but she can spend this amount on legal fees?
        So typical of most all high level trainers cementing the “piece of shit” mentality.
        What’s so arrogant and astounding is that in her latest appeal her attorneys actually mention the name of racehorses that were successful in earnings while they were in her racing stable.
        Yet, many of the racehorses named were subsequently dumped and some ended up at the kill auctions!
        I don’t suppose they mention her cripling and killing record like most top trainers!

        • She likes to do things (pass cash in envelopes in exchange for “favors”) UNDER THE TABLE; that was one of the reasons that she was supposedly supposed to be suspended and all that. I wouldn’t be surprised if she is still doing transactions under the table with who knows who and for what favors.

          • Horse racing is full of repeat offenders for serious cheating, doping, killing and outright criminal activities.
            That’s because the system supports their nefarious activities and that’s why it’s tough to find honest people in horse racing because they can’t compete with this level of corruption.
            Sadly, it’s the racehorses who pay the price every step of the way and these people don’t give a shit about them despite what they say or construe for the public.
            It’s disgraceful that our elected politicians are in bed with them because they continue to rubber stamp their hundreds of millions in subsidies, especially in New York state, denying our public education system the monies that were supposed to be going to them.
            Hopefully, this will all change soon and it’s the only hope for the racehorses.

  5. Gina, Does the HBPA help these “licensed trainers” such as Linda Rice pay the attorneys’ fees when appealing suspensions? It was clear in the articles I read that she bribed different people for information about the horses entered in certain races and other information so that she could have an UNFAIR advantage to enter her horses in races that she could get the win.

    • You would have to ask the HBPA or Linda Rice, but I doubt if you get any answer or a truthful one at that.
      Of course there would be paper trails or electronic trails in today’s world.
      In 1978, polticians in Washington were given the alarm bell that horse racing was dead in the water so they through them a lifeline.
      It was called the Interstate Horse Wagering & Integrity Act which gave horse racing the legal right to administer gambling across state lines with little to no oversight plus nomimal operating fees and taxes in their respective states.
      No other gambling venue in this country has ever been given this “unfair competition advantage,” according to the Las Vegas casinos that opposed it.
      They needed an organization to control and administer this Act.
      Consequently, they authorized the “horsemen groups” to approve and provide wagering signals which includes about 10% of any and all wagering income to automatically go into the HBPA coffers and they do.
      The HBPA nets billions, compliments of our politicians in Washington, and they control most all stable activities on tracks in the USA with this leverage from what I saw.
      Fast forward from 1978 to around 1998 when the HBPA and politicians were back at the public trough again claiming that the Interstate Horse Wagering Act was not enough to keep horse racing going.
      This is even questionable because you never get to see their books or their books have never been independently audited that I’m aware of.
      Hence, another lifeline came in the form of casino subsidies around 2000 which netted the HBPA, yet again, a percentage of the casino subsidies while increasing the purse money.
      So they sure as hell have the money to hire expensive attorneys to have their way, block any type of neutral oversight, or any attempt to hold dopers and cheaters accountable which seems to be the case with Linda Rice and so many others.
      This financial set-up guarantees the HBPA money, but not the racehorses who actually earn it and we know they pay the ultimate price tag every single damn day!

  6. I would suggest that the useless piece of shit is with a doubt the useless trainer and definitely not the horse. The abuse in the horse racing industry is getting worse as each day goes by – OMG this is so brutal and so uncalled for in each case. These poor horses do not deserve to be treated like pieces of meat to be whipped, doped, struck – all in the god damn name of horse racing – which involves nothing but pieces of shit humans. It needs to be banned everywhere and the sooner the better.

  7. Obviously the lawyer defending this vile, deranged, violent POS agree that with beating a horse is totally okay. Just goes to show what an absolute POS he is as well. Still, never mind, no doubt the ‘trainer’ will get off scot-free and the lawyer will still receive his fat payment.

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