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Jay Hovdey in DRF - can someone post?   Anti Slaughter Issues

Started by Barbi1958; 831 views.

From: Barbi1958


Alex or anyone, there is a great article in Saturday's DRF by Jay Hovdey on page 5, titled "No place for butchers' little helpers" about Richard Fields who owns Suffolk and is putting an end to horses going to slaughter from that track. Can anyone post this article? Thanks, it is worth everyone reading.

From: Guest


Here you go:

From Daily Racing Form

No place for butchers' little helpers

DEL MAR, Calif. - Richard Fields is just your average guy from the Bronx
who wears a cowboy hat through the rainy streets of Manhattan, owns a
casino and a racetrack, and spends as much time as possible with the
horses on his ranch in Wyoming.

He is also the first racetrack owner to go out of his way to endorse a
zero-tolerance policy when it comes to horse slaughter commerce in his
own backyard, while at the same time putting teeth in a house rule that
would ban any trainer caught sending a used-up racehorse to the butchers.

Granted, the Fields racing empire is made up entirely of Suffolk Downs,
the struggling Boston track in which he purchased a controlling interest
in April of 2007. Now in his second season as majority owner, Fields has
had a positive response from local racing fans, especially for reviving
the moribund Massachusetts Handicap with a $500,000 purse and
repositioning it as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Classic.

It was Fields's announcement on the slaughter issue, though, that caught
the media's eye last month, especially in an atmosphere of heightened
sensitivities toward racehorse welfare triggered by the death of Eight
Belles in the Kentucky Derby and the graphic HBO RealSports report about
a Thoroughbred going directly from the Mountaineer Racetrack backstretch
to a Canadian slaughterhouse.

"Just because their career is done, doesn't mean you're gonna barbecue
them," Fields said last week. "When was the last time we barbecued
somebody out of the NFL?

"Historically, I have a philosophy of not wanting to give up on these
animals. I've always loved horses. I can't explain it, but I grew up
wanting to be a cowboy. Recently we've taken three racehorses from the
track to the ranch, so we've been able to watch that transition. One
went on a trail ride up the mountain to about 9,000 feet. Another is in
training as a hunter-jumper. They're happy.

"What I really wanted to do was send a signal to the industry," Fields
added. "The fellows running the backstretch know the shippers who
present a problem, and they're banned from the track. All I did was to
say, listen, guys, if you think there's a new ownership who doesn't care
about this, you're wrong. There was already a policy of zero tolerance.
I just took it to another level."

You would think opposing the sale of horses directly from a racetrack to
slaughter would be about as controversial as coming down on the side of
Mom and apple pie. It should be a relatively easy position for a
racetrack management to take, but any penalties would require diligent
investigation to enforce. Livestock auctions that feed foreign slaughter
industries continue to flourish, even in states like California where
the slaughter trade is illegal. Enterprising buyers troll the stables at
every racetrack, offering trainers and their owners an easy way to
dispose of outclassed, broken-down claimers while providing enough of a
cover story to offer deniability all around.

Even a good-faith donation of a retired racehorse can backfire. Just ask
Ron Charles, president of Santa Anita Park and chief operating officer
of Magna Entertainment Corp.

In the fall of 2006, Charles learned that his former graded stakes
winner Champion Lodge had been pulled out of a feedlot in Colorado while
on his way to likely slaughter in a facility still legally operating in
Illinois. The last Charles had heard of his horse, he'd been donated to
a high school agriculture program when he could no longer stand training.

"If he'd been healthier, he would have ended up slaughtered," Charles
noted. "He was too lame to load, otherwise he would have been on that
truck. Just an awful thought."

Champion Lodge was rescued and nursed back to health by a local ranch
owner Margaret DeSarno, a pre-vet student who somehow scraped together
the $500 asked by the slaughter shippers. Charles offered to bring the
horse back to California, but DeSarno exercised her right of ownership
and has been rewarded with a much healthier and very grateful Champion

"She sent me a picture of him not long ago," Charles said. "He's a very
lucky horse, and he looks great."

Luck, though, should have nothing to do with it, and Charles knows it.
He also knows that the many private, nonprofit rescue and retirement
organizations can handle only a small part of the retirement population,
and that racetracks, with their financial and political clout, should
lead the way in finding a solution.

"For years and years we have been troubled by this," Charles said. "And
at first, it seems overwhelming. But the more we talked about it, the
more you understand that it's the right thing to do. It's a matter of
working out how to do a better job on a larger, more organized scale."

For his part, Fields is already searching for his own institutional
solution to the retirement issue.

"When you get involved in horse racing, and you realize there might be a
tendency to send horses off to slaughter, you've got to do something,"
he said. "We've looked at purchasing or leasing a large farm, to do it
on a New England basis. My position is, you've got to find them a home.
That may be easier said than done. But you've got to try."




In reply toRe: msg 1

From: Guest


I surely hope all racetracks will follow suit!!

 While going over results at the new track in Mi,I noticed in the last race at Pinnacle,Jaron Gold is back as a licenced trainer! He had a horse in the last race yesturday. He had a trainers license at  Detroit Race Course about many  years ago.

 Animal Angels did a report on him and was awful what these horses went through after he got them.


  • Edited 7/26/2008 9:12 am ET by rose20074
Msg 4 of 34 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 2

From: Guest


Thank you for posting this!

Here is the original article about Champion Lodge that was published in the DRF. Since this happened to a horse that made a large amount of money for Ron Charles, he knows first hand the dangers of slaughter. I hope he considers inspiring Magna to follow Suffolk's lead.

It was discovered after this article was written that the horse had severely foundered (as well as suffering from acute renal failure). He was in a very precarious state when Charles offered to ship him thousands of miles away. We followed the vet's advice and continued with the current plan of (intense) treatment. It worked. Champion Lodge (knock on wood) is doing very well. He still visits the vet every few weeks and is re-evaluated. Sadly, he has suffered life-long consequences as a result of being in the slaughter pipeline.

He has been sponsored by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. His bail from the killer's was donated from the Exceller Fund. SO MANY horse lovers helped out in various ways. Some sent treats. Others connected us with the nation's top veterinarian's for a second opinion (which literally saved the horse's life), to helping support his ongoing expenses. Shortly after we found Champion Lodge, CO TB Rescue was incoporated.

For those who have met "Champ", they know that he is now a vibrant, energetic, delightful animal that embraces every day.

Champion Lodge at Santa Anita, April 2006, just before being donated to the riding program
Champion Lodge at the feedlot in September 2006, only ID's by his tatto (showing that he was imported!). He was extremely lame and barely able to walk.:
At the vet school, where he stayed for 2 weeks:
December 2006:
Photobucket Taken this summer:
Msg 5 of 34 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 4

From: AutumnSmoke


Margaret, what a fabulous, life-saving effort this was!! What a thrill it must be to know that you brought this horse out of suffering, and very near death . . .  whether via slaughter or due to his horrible condition. How ironic that his poor condition saved him from slaughter. So many others in a similar condition have been slaughtered.

The photos are disgusting and heartbreaking. He must have surely thought he'd gone to hell. In three months' time they put him in that condition? Were there any charges filed in regard to neglect or cruelty?

Good luck with your school work. Don't get in any airport taxi's ;-)

Msg 6 of 34 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 3

From: annielouky


OMG Rose.

So a kill buyer with a trainer's license.

Perhaps the AA report should find its way to the track as well as the Racing Authority?


In reply toRe: msg 4

From: Guest


Thank you Barb for this article,hopefully all racetracks will stand up for horse racings number 1 player! The horse!

 Thank you Margaret,so heartbrakeing seeing Champion Lodge in that feedlot,the blank stare said it all!At his new home,you can see the spark of dignity back in his eyes!

 Those in horse racing need to stand up and protect these horses that run their heart out for them,a shame some toss them like a used up object.


  • Edited 7/26/2008 9:49 am ET by rose20074
Msg 8 of 34 to GuestGuest 
In reply toRe: msg 7

From: CherylJone2


one cannot possibly fully appreciate Champ's present state unless you meet him.

He's amazing.  He's silly, has a great sens of humor, gives the best smooches, and is a total pocket horse.  

A couple of months ago, there was a gathering at Margaret's farm and several CSU students were there helping with chores and fence painting.   The babies, Will and Peg, kept every one amused by helping with the painting, and each ended up wearing a considerable amount of the pretty terracotta paint,  but Champ stole everyone's heart, which is a particular gift he has.   After finishing their chores, the students came into the barn for short courses in grooming and foot care, and Champ, supervising the goings-on, had everyone in hysterics demonstrating his skill in stealing cookies from my pocket.   After he had successfully taken all that I had, he "pretended" he was going to pilfer the contents of the pockets of those within reach.   That was the key element.   "within reach" but not actually reachable.   It was just so funny.   He knows he's funny, too. 

Later on, he had us laughing again as he and the other horses were playing  in the pasture.   He pilfered Slick's (Margaret's palomino) halter, and tried very hard to remove everyone else's, running around all silly, hitchkicking and looking as though he hadn't a care in the world.   I think it was Tori who found Slick's halter later, but it wasn't easy :)  

As you watch him play, loving life and everything about it, it's impossible to not think that things could have been very different.   Each horse I've seen in the lots, or read of here on the boards, and various newsgroups, I can't help but think that each one of them is a Champ to somebody.   and how they so deserve to be loved like he is.


From: Guest


Yes, Jaron Gold has been in racing a very long time,I remember him  at DRC not at Hazel Park where I started out with racing.

I remember some mornings while on the way to the track I would see him bring in his stock trailer,how conveinant for him. Me at the time,young and not in the know of HS.

A  AA report surely should be in order, the Campbells that own Pinnacle with investers ,I am sure ! Somewhere I had read a article about the Campbells and how they strongly support the welfare and finding good homes and new careers for their horses when done racing.

Here is a link showing the race,you will see Jaron Gold as trainer and owner. All the young ones he names he puts Gold in the name. The AA report on him surely shows what he thinks of horses!


  • Edited 7/26/2008 11:53 am ET by rose20074

From: Guest


Thank you for sharing the info on Champ !!He sure sounds like he is quite a character! Horses all have their different personalities.

 It is so heartbreaking knowing   there are more like Champ that end up in the slaughter pipeline. Hopefully 1 of the bills in DC will move forward and all our horses will be safe from the brutal slaughter pipeline.


  • Edited 7/26/2008 12:01 pm ET by rose20074