Suffolk Downs has taken action to enforce its policy of zero-tolerance toward the sale of racehorses for slaughter.
Track officials recently informed a Thoroughbred owner, who they would not identify, that he was no longer welcome at the track after two horses associated with him were discovered at the auction pens at New Holland, Pennsylvania.
Suffolk officials also are sorting through their response to another individual who may be involved in the transport of horses to auctions frequented by slaughterhouse buyers.
“The vast majority of our horsemen are responsible about the welfare of our horses,” said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs. “Unfortunately, there are one or two bad apples. We hoped we wouldn't have to take action on this policy, but in the last two weeks, it came to our attention that two horses from Suffolk Downs wound up at an auction. The owner who transported them is no longer welcome at our facility.”
Tuttle said the track purchased the two horses from the auction and donated them to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Tuttle stressed that the incident was a rare exception to the prevailing attitude of local horsemen. He cited the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association leadership's strong support of the zero-tolerance policy.
Sam Elliott, vice president of racing for the Boston track, outlined the policy earlier this year, and it has since attracted attention across the industry. Trainer Nick Zito cited his support for the policy as a factor in entering Commentator in the Massachusetts Handicap on Saturday.
Last edited by Barnfairy; Jun. 4, 2009 at 03:58 PM.
This isn't the 1950's any longer, and the sooner other tracks figure that out, the better.
On a side note, I'd be very curious to know who the offending parties are. I have some idea who it very likely could have been.
The zero-tolerance policy at Suffolk Downs that rules off horsemen who send runners at the end of their careers to slaughter has been tested for the first time, with an unidentified horse owner no longer allowed on Suffolk's property following the discovery of two horses at a known slaughter auction in New Jersey.
The discovery came within days of Commentator's 14-length victory in last week's Massachusetts Handicap. Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, outspoken in the anti-slaughter movement, noted the track's policy as part of the reason he and owner Tracy Farmer sent the multiple Grade 1 winner to Suffolk for the Mass Cap.
Suffolk officials were alerted by horse-rescue activists that a gelding, Dunemoor, who had been working at Suffolk Downs but did not race there, was in a pen slated to be shipped to a foreign slaughterhouse.
Sam Elliott, the track's vice president of racing, on behalf of the track purchased the gelding and another filly named Dahlia Denda, who had raced once at Suffolk but was based at Penn National, at the auction. They were sent to the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund's farm in Walkill, N.Y.
Dunemoor, a 6-year-old gelding by El Amante, was owned by RV Racing Stables and trained by Reuben Monjes in his last race, a sixth-place finish in a $20,000 claimer at Delaware Park in August 2007. He won 3 of 21 starts and earned $62,970.
Dahlia Denda raced for Alvis Lockhart and trainer Gregorio Rivera in a $5,000 maiden claiming race at Suffolk on June 6. She concluded her career by finishing seventh in a $5,000 maiden claimer at Penn National on June 19. Dahlia Denda failed to win in seven lifetime starts.
After investigating the circumstances, no trainers are being sanctioned, but the person who purchased the horses has been "uninvited" to Suffolk, according to Chip Tuttle, Suffolk Downs chief operating officer. When the track announced the policy earlier this year, it stated trainers who were caught sending their horses to slaughter would lose their stalls.
"We believe this was an individual who was not forthright with the trainers he approached about where he would be transporting these two horses," said Tuttle, who would not identify the buyer. "All the horsemen here have been very supportive of the policy. We believe the trainers in this case didn't knowingly allow this to happen."
Cheaper racing circuits have long been places where buyers for slaughter auctions have done considerable business, offering cash for broken-down animals to horsemen who themselves are struggling to get by. Suffolk officials, on behalf of the track's principal shareholder Richard Fields, instituted the policy as a way to aggressively promote adoption and second careers for the track's horses. To that end, those buying for slaughter have been identified.
"We know who they are and they are not allowed to conduct business at Suffolk," Tuttle said. "One buyer also works for a transportation company. He is allowed to bring horses to the track, but he can not leave with any. He tried once and was stopped at the stable gate, and the horses were returned to their stalls."
Commentator's appearance notwithstanding, Suffolk did not set out to score publicity points with the policy.
"We didn't institute this with the hope of recruiting horses," Tuttle said. "This started out as a retirement policy, and it morphed organically. It was an unintended benefit that it appears this policy struck Mr. Farmer and Mr. Zito as worthy of their support."
Well the individual who misrepresented his intentions with these horses is the same person being lauded in another thread on this forum. Having dealt with him personally he is a very slick lying bastard, so I have no problem seeing how he could mislead someone.
How the horses went from supposedly being donated to a Boy Scout ranch or to the CANTER program and ending up in the kill pen destined for slaughter is where the story gets a bit fuzzy. Pompell and Michelson told the Paulick Report they donated the horses at no cost to a horse trader named Dave Costa, who owns Chipaway Stables in Acushnet, Mass. Costa, however, said he paid Michelson for the horses and intended to send them to his farm in Florida, where he hoped to sell them as polo horses in the toney Wellington area of Palm Beach County.
Costa said he sent the horses to New Holland to “overnight” before someone he hired would drive them to Florida. Costa changed his mind when he got a call from the van driver who said someone was willing to pay $1,500 for the five horses. The new owner then sold them by the pound to the auction company and put them in the kill pen, the area designated for horses not being auctioned off but sent directly to the Canadian slaughterhouse.
That’s where they were when Elliott of Suffolk Downs rescued them.
A classic line:
Costa claimed that he had never heard the term “kill pen” before. “All this is a bunch of b.s.,” he said. “What’s a kill pen? I’ve seen pigs in that pen, cattle, saddle horses. It was the only pen available, and the guys receiving cattle said to put them in that pen. The horses may have even been marked to keep them out of the sale.”
No matter how the horses wound up in the kill pen, hours away from the final ride of their lives, one thing seems certain: Suffolk Downs is serious about enforcing the anti-slaughter rules adopted under the leadership of Richard Fields, who bought controlling interest in the track last year.
Ok so call me a dope, but I don't know how to link articles, could someone please link the article here from the thorougbred times, so I can then bash those two pieces of **** they knew exactly what they were doing and are SO stupid they didn't think they could get caught. I could go on and on about what pieces of crap they are. And what's up with Costa, he's a horse dealer!! OF COURSE HE KNOWS WHAT A KILL PEN IS!! Man, he really sounds stupid!!! Luckily Lorita got wind of this (after they left the track, but I bet before they even made it Chipaway.) and started the ball rolling to find them. Lorita needs a medal!!!!
Lorita has been a lifesaver to so many horses - she had called me about Wayne Sargent's 3, and by the time I got to Suffolk to check them out they were already MIA and she had alerted Sam to the problem. Every single person who was just banned was irresponsible, and absolutely knew better.