Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update: Polo Pony Deaths / Selenium Overdose to Blame

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Tue 28 Apr 2009
Source: Yahoo News, Associated Press (AP) report [edited]

Officials blame mineral overdose in horse deaths
Florida's top veterinarian on Tuesday [28 Apr 2009] blamed the deaths
of 21 elite polo horses on an overdose of a common mineral that helps
muscles recover from fatigue.

Florida's state veterinarian, Dr Thomas J Holt, said toxicology tests
on the dead horses showed significantly increased selenium levels.

The horses from the Venezuelan-owned Lechuza Caracas team began
collapsing [19 Apr 2009] as they were unloaded from trailers at the
International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington before a
championship match. Some died at the scene, others hours later.

"Signs exhibited by the horses and their rapid deaths were consistent
with toxic doses of selenium," Holt said.

The team was preparing to play in the sport's US Open and was seen as
a top contender.

A Florida pharmacy that mixed a brew of vitamins and minerals for the
team on order from its Florida veterinarian said Tuesday [28 Apr
2009] that the strength of selenium was incorrect. Jennifer Beckett,
chief operating officer for Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala, Florida,
would not say whether the incorrect amount was specified in the
veterinarian order or was a pharmacy error. "We continue to cooperate
fully with the authorities as their investigations proceed," she
said. "We cannot discuss further details." Lechuza had no comment on
the toxicology report.

The polo team had hoped to get a compound similar to a name-brand
supplement known as Biodyl. The supplement is used around the world
but hasn't been approved by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] in
the US.

Veterinarians often turn to compounding pharmacies like Franck's for
medications that can't be found on shelves, but the dispensaries
generally can only recreate unapproved drugs in limited
circumstances, such as for health reasons.

The FDA and state authorities are investigating.

Biodyl is a supplement made in France by Duluth, Georgia-based animal
pharmaceutical firm Merial Ltd. It wasn't clear how close Franck's
mixture came to the name-brand drug. Lechuza said what they ordered
was supposed to contain vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, and selenium.

The injections provided by Franck's were given to the horses just
hours before their deaths.

Dr Murl Bailey, a toxicology professor at Texas A&M University's
College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said selenium
is a common mineral needed in small doses by humans and animals for
growth and tissue stabilization. It can also help muscles recover
from fatigue.

"It's a naturally occurring mineral in the Earth's crust," Bailey
said. But he said it was generally not needed as a supplement since
most people and animals get it in their food.

Bailey said an overdose of selenium can cause the veins in the body
to dilate, "so there's really no blood coming back to the heart."

"The horses go into shock," he said. Necropsies previously revealed
bleeding in the horses' lungs.

Dr Tam Garland, a toxicologist at the Texas Veterinary Medical
Diagnostic Laboratory, said the horses' deaths would likely have been
painful, and irreversible after the overdose. "Hemorrhaging in the
lungs tells me these horses couldn't breathe," Garland said.

[Byline: Brian Skoloff]

Communicated by:
Sara M Volk, PhD
Department of Pathology
Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases

University of Texas Medical Branch
Galveston, Texas

Date: Thu 23 Apr 2009
Source: Fox, Associated Press (AP) report [edited]

A Florida pharmacy said Thursday [23 Apr 2009] that it incorrectly
prepared a supplement given to 21 polo horses that died over the
weekend [19 Apr 2009] while preparing to play in a championship match.

Unable to legally bring a supplement into the US to make their horses
more resilient, a Venezuelan polo team had the pharmacy mix up the
concoction. What happened next, though, was disastrous. The chemicals
were mixed wrong, and the 21 horses given the brew died in rapid
succession, some collapsing just before taking the field in a
championship polo match. The others fell soon after, one by one,
shocking a well-heeled crowd gathered to watch the US Open at the
International Polo Club Palm Beach in Wellington.

The Lechuza polo team had hoped to get a compound similar to a
name-brand supplement used safely around the world to help horses
with exhaustion but hasn't been approved by the Food and Drug
Administration. Veterinarians commonly turn to compounding pharmacies
for medications that can't be found on shelves, but the dispensaries
can only recreate unapproved drugs in limited circumstances.

A Florida pharmacy that mixed the medication said Thursday [23 Apr
2009] an internal review found "the strength of an ingredient in the
medication was incorrect." Jennifer Beckett, chief operating officer
for Franck's Pharmacy in Ocala, Florida, would not say whether the
incorrect amount was specified in the order that came from a Florida

Lechuza said the order was for a compound similar to Biodyl, a
supplement that includes vitamins and minerals. The team has been
using the supplement for many years without problems, but typically
uses the manufactured version instead of going to compounding

"Only horses treated with the compound became sick and died within 3
hours of treatment," Lechuza said in a statement. "Other horses that
were not treated remain healthy and normal."

While Biodyl isn't approved in the US, the supplement made in France
by Duluth, Georgia-based animal pharmaceutical firm Merial Ltd. is
widely used abroad. The president of the Argentinean Equine
Veterinarian Association, Fernando Ruiz, said the supplement is
commonly used on horses that compete there, and he's not aware of any

It wasn't clear how closely Franck's mixture came to the name-brand
drug, though. Lechuza said what they ordered was supposed to contain
vitamin B, potassium, magnesium, and selenium, a mineral that can be
toxic in high doses.

Compound pharmacies can, among other things, add flavor, make
substances into a powder or liquid or remove a certain compound that
may have an adverse reaction in different animal species.

FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said the agency's interest is now
"heightened" with news the deaths could have been caused by a medical
mistake at a pharmacy -- one that not only produces drugs for
animals, but also people.

Florida's State Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and
the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office are also investigating the
deaths, and the pharmacy and polo team said they're cooperating. The
state agriculture department wouldn't comment on the latest news, but
said testing for chemicals in the horses' blood and tissue continued.
They hoped to have some results by Friday [24 Apr 2009]. Necropsies
of the 21 horses found internal bleeding, some in the lungs, but
offered no definitive clues to the cause of death.

On its website, the FDA says it generally defers to state authorities
to regulate compounding of drugs by veterinarians and pharmacists but
would "seriously consider enforcement action" if one of the
pharmacies breaks federal law. It isn't yet clear Franck's broke the
law. The pharmacy has had no complaints lodged against it, according
to the Florida Department of Health.

A veterinarian not involved in the case said the laws pertaining to
compounding are unclear, and there is little oversight. "It's
confusing to all of us," said Miami veterinarian Zachary Franklin.
"We're not lawyers, we're veterinarians. Almost no one follows the
exact letter of the law," he added.

Franklin said veterinarians often turn to compounding pharmacies to
recreate drugs such as antibiotics, but it is much less common to
compound vitamin and mineral supplements, because the ingredients are
usually readily available. "I don't know what it is about this Biodyl
that they like so much," Franklin said. "There probably is no good
scientific reason to do that."

While polo's US governing body doesn't test horses for drugs,
officials in horse racing wouldn't bother checking for the
ingredients of Biodyl, said the head of a group that helps develop
policies for regulating the racing industry. "There's nothing in it
that would be worth testing for in terms of performance," said Scot
Waterman, the executive director of the Racing Medication and Testing
Consortium. "It's B vitamins and a mineral."

He said there's some concern in his industry about compounding
pharmacies, which can be difficult to monitor. "There are FDA rules
on what can and cannot be compounded but there is little oversight,"
Waterman said. "They play a very important role for the equine
practitioner but there is also potentially a dark side to the

Communicated by:

[Selenium is an essential nutrient in horses. However an IV overdose
has disastrous consequences. The consequences of this may be more far
reaching as the FDA has taken an interest in the compounder.

Compounding pharmacies are extremely important in veterinary medicine
as there are many useful and needed medications that pharmaceutical
companies have deemed not profitable enough to manufacture. - Mod.TG]

[Wellington can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail interactive
map of Florida at
. - CopyEd.MJ]

[see also:
Undiagnosed poisoning, equine - USA (04): (FL) 20090423.1533
Undiagnosed poisoning, equine - USA (03): (FL) 20090422.1520
Undiagnosed poisoning, equine - USA (02): (FL) 20090422.1512
Undiagnosed poisoning, equine - USA (FL) 20090420.1494]

HR 2140: A Bill to Give Gamblers a Break at Taxpayer Expense


Last night, Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) introduced a bill that would eliminate the automatic 25 percent federal withholding on pari-mutuel winnings of $5,000 or more for bets that carry odds of 300-1 or higher. Rep. Charles Boustany, Jr. (R-LA) is the bill’s lead co-sponsor.

The “Pari-mutuel Conformity and Equality Act of 2009” (H.R. 2140) or PACE Act was introduced by the Congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives. Both Congressmen have race tracks in their respective districts and are members of the powerful Ways & Means Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax matters.

Compared to other gaming industries, the pari-mutuel industry currently suffers from an inequitable tax law that requires wagering facilities to automatically withhold federal taxes from certain pari-mutuel winnings as defined above. This burden impacts the amount of dollars horseplayers have to re-bet, which subsequently affects handle figures and ultimately purse levels and bloodstock markets.

Please watch for information from the NTRA on how you can help change the antiquated and unfair taxation of pari-mutuel winnings. We also encourage you to follow the bill’s progress at and ask you to consider supporting the NTRA’s legislative effort by becoming a member of the Horseplayers’ Coalition today.


Joe Bacigalupo

Director of Membership Development


Phone: 859-422-2677


Hey, no one istwisting their arms to gamble their money away. Why should we give them a tax-break at taxpayer expense, at a time when we need every dollar to get our deficit down?
Just say NO to tax-breaks for gamblers!

Click on title above to see and sign the petition;

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fla. Pharmacy Admits Blame in Death of Polo Ponies

Fla. pharmacy tells AP it made mistake in making supplement for dead polo horses
By BRIAN SKOLOFF , Associated Press

Last update: April 23, 2009 - 12:19 PM

Click on title above for full article and place for comments;

Update: 4/23/09 Polo Pony Deaths

-- Pharmacy that supplied medicine for polo ponies that later died says the medicine was incorrectly prepared.

From CNN Late breaking news;

Don't miss a prime time event: "The CNN National Report Card."
On President Obama's 100th day in office, CNN wants you to tell
us who made the grade. Rate the president, Congress and state
leaders Wednesday night 8 p.m. ET.

One CNN Center Atlanta, GA 30303
(c) & (r) 2009 Cable News Network

This message was sent to you at cjubic@NYCAP.RR.COM.

Gambling Lawyer Sues Casinos

March 10th, 2008 ·

Arelia Margarita Taveras had it all: she was a successful lawyer with her own law practice; she appeared on television shows; she was making a lot of money. Then to relieve stress and take a break, she decided to head to Atlantic City. That was the start of a downward spiral that she couldn’t control. She was addicted to gambling and lost over $1 Million. She stole money from her clients. She was disbarred and faces criminal charges. She lost her New York apartment, her parents’ house and owes the IRS $58,000. Eventually, she spent a year in rehab to come to grips with her gambling addiction. She now lives in Minnesota and works at a telephone call center.

So what does she do? She files a $20 Million lawsuit against the casinos claiming they should have known she had a problem and not allowed her to continue gambling. I understand that when someone has an addiction that it can control her life and she will do things that would otherwise be unthinkable. Nevertheless, I also think this is a case of someone not taking personal responsibility. She is going to have a hard time showing that the casinos owed her a duty to send her home. She was treated as a high roller at the casinos. She enjoyed free limo rides and brought her dog with her to the gambling tables. How would a casino know that she didn’t have enough money to gamble as she did? Why would it be a casino’s responsibility to monitor all of its gamblers to insure that there are no addicts?

Ms. Taveras is working to get her life back together. She should accept responsibility for her actions and move forward in a positive direction. Instead of wasting her time with this lawsuit, perhaps it would be beneficial for her to help other addicts in their recovery process. This might just be the career change she needs. It was her decision to gamble, she stole money from her clients, she spent days at the casinos. Does anyone take responsibility anymore?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

SOS for "Refinery"


Bred by Dr. Lance Bell of Kentucky, Refinery is a 2003 son of Victory Gallop who sold for $200,000 at the 2003 Fall Breeding Stock Sale at Keeneland. He would be sold again at Keeneland in 2005 as a two year old in training bringing a price of $425,000. Unfortunately, Refinery's racing career would not be nearly as lucrative as his purchasers had hoped.

Refinery ran his most impressive race on August 24, 2006 when he came in under the wire first and brought home $40,000 for his connections. At some point, while under the care of, and being trained by, Richard Mandella, Refinery underwent a posterior digital neurectomy which effectively deadened the rear portion of one of his hooves.

The procedure is commonly known as "heel nerving". The "logic" here is if the horse can't feel the pain, he will be able to continue to race,perform better, and bring in more money for his connections.

Refinery would only run twice more for trainer Mandella and owner B. Wayne Hughes before being claimed for $50,000 by Dan MacFarlane for owner Les Blake. Refinery quickly dropped in class.

Refinery did not race in 2007. We don't know the exact reason(s) why, but we presume that after being claimed by MacFarlane, Refinery was sent to Arizona to race. For reasons unknown to many, Mr. MacFarlane was not informed at the time he claimed Refinery that he had been nerved. Only two states ban nerved horses from racing and Arizona is one of them.

This grand gelding was sent back to race in California in 2008.

With no ban on nerved horses, Refinery was allowed to race eleven times on his now- deadened heel. He brought in only $13,000 for his connections. His days of running in stakes races are long over as he continues to run at the claiming level.

Refinery has been raced eight times in 2009 already, with two of his races being a mere six days apart. As is common for sore horses, Refinery attempted to go wide on the turn for home in his April 10 race as he had in previous races. He felt the sting of the whip 12 times as his jockey attempted to keep him from bearing out as well as to get the last bit of effort out of the gelding.

Refinery has been claimed twice thus far this year, first by James Haverty in January and then by Jerry Hollendorfer in April.

Every time Refinery steps onto the track, his life is in danger as are the lives of every other horse and jockey going out with him. When will he be allowed to quit? When he becomes an Eight Belles? Or will it be when he too is found standing crippled and terrified in a direct to slaughter pen at an auction? Read full article >>


Please help us save Refinery and others from being put directly into harm's way.

1. Contact the Thoroughbred Owners of California and in the subject line type "Attention Marsha Naify, Chair" and email her at .

2. Contact Mike Marin of the California Horse Racing Board at or call him at 714-240-1870.

3. Contact Alex Waldrop of the NTRA at and Eric Wing at the NTRA at .

4. Email James Gowen at the Thoroughbred Racing Protective Bureau .

Let all of these people know that you neither support the racing of heel nerved horses nor the deception perpetrated on the betting public.



Tuesday's Horse is not fully posted, but there is still plenty of news for Members, and non-Members.

Go here to view:

That's it, and thanks everybody.


Vivian Grant,

Int'l Fund for Horses
Become a Member
Pledge a Monthly Gift
Donate to the Fund
Donate to Charities
Visit Our Website
Tuesday's Horse
Subscribe to Alerts
IFH on Twitter

Skype us at fund.for.horses
Call Vivian at 202.657.5275

Int'l Fund for Horses, Member League of OIPA
Organisation Internationale pour la Protection des Animaux
OIPA is an NGO associated to the UN Department of Public Information

Tainted Vitamins to Blame in Polo Pony Deaths?

Will Insurance Cover these "accidental" deaths?

A ProMED-mail post

ProMED-mail is a program of the
International Society for Infectious Diseases

Date: Wed 22 Apr 2009
Source: The Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post report [edited]

Polo captain: tainted vitamin killed 21 ponies
The 21 polo ponies that died in Wellington Sunday [19 Apr 2009] were all
injected before the game with a vitamin supplement called Biodyl, and team
members believe a tainted dose caused their deaths, the team's captain
said. Juan Martin Nero, captain of the Lechuza Caracas polo team, told the
La Nacion newspaper in Buenos Aires that all of the horses had received
Biodyl injections before the game. "We don't have any doubts about the
origin of the problem," Nero said. "There were 5 horses that weren't given
the vitamin and they are the only ones that are fine."

Biodyl is a French-made supplement that contains vitamin B, selenium, and
chromium, La Nacion reported. Nero said that Biodyl "is what the horses are
always given. For us, the suspicions are that there was something bad in
the laboratory," Nero said. "They're common vitamins that aren't given to
improve performance but rather to help them recover from exhaustion."

Dr Scott Swerdlin, a veterinarian at the Palm Beach Equine Club who helped
treat the animals as they were dying, told the Post that Biodyl is not
approved for use or sale in the United States. But a licensed veterinarian
could obtain Biodyl by submitting a prescription to a pharmacy containing
the recipe for the supplement, he said.

If Biodyl shows up on the tests, now being done in Kissimmee and
Gainesville, an independent lab should determine if the Biodyl mix was
correct, said Swerdlin. "Biodyl is routinely used in Europe as a vitamin
supplement," Swerdlin said. "My practice does not use it."

"It's dangerous," Kentucky-based veterinarian Fernando Garcia told La
Nacion. "Ordering it from France isn't an easy task because you have to
specify what its use will be and in what animal. In the case of the polo
ponies' deaths, I don't think it was Biodyl but it could have been an

Well-known Wellington polo patron Neil Hirsch, who co-owns the
Bridgehampton Polo Club on Long Island, said vitamins are commonly used but
rarely administered on a game day. "Everybody gives their polo horses
vitamins," Hirsch said. "But they're given on a Monday or Tuesday when no
one's playing. You just don't give them the day of a match."

Dr Christie Ward, a veterinarian at the University of Minnesota, said that
supplements are generally unlikely to harm horses but that some contain
substances that could prove harmful in large quantities. Selenium, a
substance found in Biodyl, "can be toxic when administered at too high a
level," she said. But she added that "in general, there does not seem to be
any high incidence of adverse reactions."

As the investigation into the horses' deaths presses on, a swirl of
speculation is surrounding the renowned polo team's Argentine veterinarian.
Felix Crespo, a former competitive polo player, was the Lechuza Caracas
team's top man in charge of the horses' health, and he would have been the
one to oversee their diet and any supplements or injections they may have
received, people familiar with the team say. A call to Crespo's cell phone
in Argentina was answered by his daughter, who said he was still in Palm
Beach County.

[byline: Andrew Marra, Bill DiPaolo]

communicated by:

[Biodyl is manufactured by Merial in France. The product is not sold in the
US, but it is believed that the team purchased a generic brand in the US.
If that is the case, then it may be a compounded (specifically made by a
pharmacy) product. This is mentioned in the article above.

Even if the product is a compounded product it does not mean the pharmacy
is at fault. Any person seeking to maliciously harm the team or the animals
could have injected the bottles. Although the team captain seems certain it
was the supplement, it remains unproven as of this writing.

There is also the possibility of a mixing error, and that there is too much
or too little of a substance in the mixture. The moderator understands that
University of Florida at Gainesville, completed the gross necropsies and
that now the task of testing tissues and examining them histologically will
begin. Perhaps the university will reach out to other diagnostic
laboratories to help diagnose and confirm what has happened. There are a
number of good toxicology and veterinary drug testing laboratories across
the country.

We remain hopeful that urine on these animals was collected as it is an
excellent sample for testing for drugs, in the event the bottles of vitamin
mix were tainted with something. - Mod.TG

The state of Florida can be located on the HealthMap/ProMED-mail
interactive map at . - CopyEd.MJ]

[see also:
Undiagnosed poisoning, equine - USA (02): (FL) 20090422.1512
Undiagnosed poisoning, equine - USA (FL) 20090420.1494]

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Accused Craigslist Killer Owed Gambling Debts

I wonder if he played the ponies?

April 21, 2009

A police source close to the investigation of the Boston man charged with robbing two women he met on Craigslist and killing one says a search of Philip Markoff's house turned up guns and plastic ties, and police believe his motive in the crimes was to pay off gambling debts.

Medical student engaged to be married charged with killing a masseuse in Boston.But Markoff's fiancee, who lived with him, said police have got the wrong guy.

At first glance, Markoff doesn't seem to fit the murder-suspect stereotype -- the blond, clean-cut 22-year-old is a medical student and is engaged to be married this summer.

But according to police, he robbed two women he solicited throughpersonal ads on Craigslist, killing one of them, Julissa Brisman, in an upscale Boston hotel.

Markoff was charged with murder in the shooting death of Brisman, 26, at the Copley Marriott Hotel April 14. He was also charged with armed robbery and kidnapping in an alleged attack on another woman April 10 at the Westin Hotel, according to a statement released by the Boston Police Department.

His fiancee Megan McAllister told ABC News the police are wrong.

"Unfortunately, you were given wrong information as was the public," McAllister wrote to ABC News in an e-mail. "All I have to say to you is Philip is a beautiful person inside and out and could not hurt a fly! A police officer in Boston (or many) is trying to make big bucks by selling this false story to the TV stations. What else is new?? Philip is an intelligent man who is just trying to live his life so if you could leave us alone we would greatly appreciate it. We expect to marry in August and share and wonderful, meaningful life together."

UPDATE: April 22, 2009

Latest news story on the Craiglist Killer is that a search of his home turned up items belonging to the victims.
Wonder what girlfriend has to say about her honey now. Will she blindly stand by her man in light of this new evidence?
"There is none so blind as those who refuse to see"

Monday, April 20, 2009

Poison Suspected in Death of Polo Ponies

Ginny Powell of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic administered care to a dying horse on Sunday.

by Karen Crouse, NYTimes

April 21, 2009

WELLINGTON, Fla. — The Lechuza Caracas farm is set off from the road by a giant hedge, and through bare patches, one could see at least 10 horses, their tails flicking as they grazed in a field, in a tableau of normalcy that no longer exists.
On Monday, the deaths of 21 polo horses from Lechuza Caracas, a Venezuelan-based team, were being mourned. The team was preparing to compete in a quarterfinal match of the United States Open Polo Championship on Sunday when a few of its horses collapsed at the International Polo Club Palm Beach. As they were being tended to, several other horses became disoriented and collapsed in a dominolike chain.

By Sunday night, 15 horses were dead. Six others died overnight. In a few frantic hours, Lechuza Caracas’s most treasured performers had been lost. In the world of polo, the riders are considered less valuable. Some horses belonged to the owner of Lechuza Caracas, the Venezuelan multimillionaire Victor Vargas, and some were owned by the team’s individual riders.

Peter Rizzo, the executive director of the United States Polo Association, said that his organization opened an investigation Monday as state agriculture scientists in Kissimmee began performing necropsies on eight carcasses.

“We’re still reeling from this,” Rizzo said in a telephone interview. “I cannot even process the horror from yesterday.”

He added that veterinarians who treated the animals said they believed the blame lies with a toxin that all the horses consumed. An examination of the tissues, organs and blood of the dead animals should reveal whether the toxins were ingested or injected.

The veterinarian Paul Wollenman of the Palm Beach Equine Clinic, said in a statement, “We do know that based on overwhelming clinical evidence, this event was isolated to the Lechuza barn horses and the initial evidence shows no infectious element.”

At the Lechuza Caracas horse farm here, a makeshift memorial composed of bouquets of roses and perennials took shape at the foot of the keypad outside the front gates. Rizzo, who has been in contact with Vargas, said, “He definitely is in shock and mourning.”

The Lechuza Polo team said in a statement: “For the last three decades, Lechuza Polo has participated in polo championships and tournaments all around the globe. In that time, we have not encountered such a dire situation like this as our horses receive the most professional and dedicated care possible.”

Spectators at the competition described a surreal scene: blue tarps popped up on the field as team officials tended to fallen horses, and veterinarians raced from the stands to form a triage unit to help the wobbly animals. Each of the horses was 10 or 11 years old and worth about $100,000.

“I’ve been playing polo for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Nacho Figueras, a rider for Black Watch, the team that was to oppose Lechuza Caracas. “The horses started collapsing. It was really a bad scene. Me and the other riders went and helped all the grooms. There were 20 vets on site and they were all trying to help.”

The horses began becoming ill 45 minutes before the scheduled start of the match. Several minutes later, officials announced that the match had been canceled and an exhibition match featuring the Black Watch team would be held instead.

The Lechuza Caracas team withdrew from the competition. The other players and club representatives have opted to continue with the event as a way of honoring the Lechuza horses. The semifinals will be held, as scheduled, on Wednesday.

John Wash, the president of club operations at International Polo, said in a statement, “We continue to stay in contact with everyone touched by this event and share in their grief.”

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mishap claims Two Horses at Finger Lakes track

Tin Cup Chalice

Kevin Oklobzija • Staff writer • April 18, 2009

---- and ---

Tin Cup Chalice killed in training
Race horse with North Country ties killed in freak accident
Published April 18, 2009 12:04 am - Champion race horse was raised in Ray
Brook by co-owners.


ROCHESTER, NY (AP) — Tin Cup Chalice, a champion race horse raised in Ray
Brook, was killed Friday in a freak training accident at Finger Lakes

Tin Cup Chalice, a 4-year-old gelding, was owned by trainer Mike Lecesse
of Farmington and Ray Brook residents Scott Van Laer, a forest ranger, and
Michale Glennon, a Wildlife Conservation Society biologist. He was raised on
the couple's Glen Laer farm in Ray Brook.

Tin Cup Chalice was jogging near the outside fence at the track in
Farmington, 25 miles southeast of Rochester, when he collided with Zany, a
4-year-old colt that had bolted.

Jockey Pedro Rodriguez was treated at a Rochester hospital for undisclosed
injuries and released. Both horses were destroyed. Tin Cup Chalice
sustained a catastrophic spinal injury, a veterinarian said.

"It's like losing a best friend, a brother," Lecesse told the Rochester
Democrat and Chronicle.

Tin Cup Chalice was named the 2008 New York-bred champion 3-year-old male
last Monday. Tin Cup Chalice also was chosen 2008 Horse of the Year at
Finger Lakes after earning $827,280.

Tin Cup Chalice last year became the first horse to sweep the Big Apple
Triple for New York breds. He captured the Mike Lee Handicap at Belmont Park,
the New York Derby at Finger Lakes and the $150,000 Albany Stakes at
Saratoga Race Course. The sweep earned his owners a $250,000 bonus.

He was being pointed to a stakes race at Mountaineer Park May 10.

Tin Cup Chalice overcame two near-death experiences as a foal and a

According to the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the collision occurred
at about 6:20 a.m. Friday. Tin Cup Chalice was galloping in a clockwise
direction, or the opposite way horses race in North America. He was on the
outside fence, which is where horses training in an opposite direction always

Zany was participating in a full-speed workout and bolted as he came off
the turn at the top of the stretch. The horses collided about halfway down
the stretch.

Tin Cup Chalice was eastbound and the rising sun played a factor.

"Pedro (Rodriguez) said he didn't even see the horse," track veterinarian
Bob Tugel said. "Five minutes before or five minutes after, he wouldn't
have been blinded (because the sun would have been at a different angle)."

Track veterinarians worked more than 90 minutes on Tin Cup Chalice before
it became apparent the injuries were catastrophic.

Lecesse said the horse was insured.

Ironically, Tin Cup Chalice was scheduled to make his season debut Friday
at Finger Lakes, but the race didn't fill.

"If he would have been in today, he wouldn't haven been on the track this
morning," said Lecesse, who added, "it's nobody's fault."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

UPDATE: Paragallo Horses Ready for Adoption, Free to Good Homes

Shame on the "well-known authorized agent" of thoroughbreds, Ernie Paragallo, who let this happen to 177 thoroughbreds on a 500-acre farm in Upstate NY. The perp was ONLY CHARGED with 22 counts of MISDEMEANOR animal cruelty. All of his racing privileges have been revoked.

Click on title above to see VIDEO:

ARTICLE: ----> I love Jill Rappaport; she writes: "Thoroughbreds--once beautiful thriving animals--were left for months during one of the worst winters we ever had to fend for themselves."

The Columbia-Greene Humane Society was tipped off and raided the farm, where they seized all the horses. However, the perp has only signed over 67 of the horses to the Humane Society, which ARE UP FOR ADOPTION, FREE to approved homes.

PLEASE CONTACT KATRINA at the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA at (518) 828-6044, x101; and/or e-mail at ( For more info, go to their website:
PLEASE INCLUDE your name and phone # on all phone and e-mail messages.

Donate here:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Banned Suffolk Trainers Reinstated

By Esther Marr

Updated: Friday, April 17, 2009 3:50 PM

Three of the five trainers that were banned from Suffolk Downs last fall for violating its zero tolerance policy toward horse slaughter have been reinstated and will be allowed to saddle horses for the East Boston, Mass. track’s 2009 season, which runs May 2-Nov. 7.

The trainers--Wayne Sargent Jr., Gerry LaFleur, and Tony D’Angelo--last November turned over five of their retired Thoroughbreds to Pam Pompell, who assured them she was taking them to a farm to be retrained for children’s camps or other types of programs.

In reality, Pompell and another trainer, Al Michelson, apparently transported the horses to a farm in Southeastern Massachusetts. Less than a day later, the horses were discovered going through the ring at a small auction house in New York that is known for selling horses to “killer buyers” who will re-sell them for slaughter.

“Gail Vacca, who rescues horses from auctions where they’re going to head to slaughter was the one that tipped off us that (the horses) were down there,” said Chip Tuttle, Suffolk’s chief operating officer. “We bought them out of the auction and donated them to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. So at the time, we made the decision to ban all five trainers.

“But we never said it was a lifetime ban. We never published a policy or put out a press release. We started this policy more than two years ago, and no one even knew about it for a year. We weren’t looking for attention on this; it was just our internal policy.”

Tuttle said over the course of the winter, Sargent, LaFleur, and D’Angelo, who were also refused stalls at Tampa Bay Downs because of the incident, had personally asked to be reinstated at Suffolk, but were denied. It was only after the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent Protective Association came up with an official proposal for why Suffolk’s decision should be reversed that the officials reconsidered.

“The New England HBPA really took up the cause for these three guys,” said Tuttle. “They said they were duped, that they shouldn’t have been duped, and that the circumstances were extenuating. (In the proposal), it said the trainers would each write letters acknowledging they violated the policy, promising that they wouldn’t do it again, and donating $1,000 to Canter New England and the TRF.”

After significant discussions with the trainers and the HBPA, the proposal was accepted.

“The decision was difficult, but none of these guys had an issue or a record of this in the past,” Tuttle explained. “The story that all three told was consistent, so we decided to let them back in.

“With the New England HBPA, we have stepped up our efforts to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and that every trainer on the backstretch understands whose responsibility this is,” Tuttle added.

He explained how the HBPA had developed its own video that every trainer will be shown as part of an orientation program. Suffolk has also standardized a bill of sale to be used on the backstretch so there are no more misunderstandings in horse transactions.

“There’s no transfer of horses without this bill of sale, and it spells out that the horses cannot be transported to or caused to be transported to one of these auction facilities,” he said.

Tuttle hopes all trainers will from now on comply with the track’s retirement placement program, which takes unwanted horses at the end of each meet. The program humanely retired more than 40 horses to different organizations from its racing stables last year.

Equine Strangles at Fraser Racetrack, BC

Click on title above to read more

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thoroughbred Rescue Initiates Derby Day Challenge

On the eve of the 135th Derby in Kentucky, an expert in retraining former race horses for second careers says more thoroughbreds are in danger of going to the slaughterhouse.
Every day we see more and more thoroughbreds sold to be slaughtered
These are animals that have often earned millions of dollars during their racing careers.
What makes this situation even more tragic is that we see so many healthy, young thoroughbreds shipped abroad to be slaughtered
These are horses that are perfectly able to perform well at second careers as pleasure or show horses.
If enough people contributed even a single dollar to horse charities that would help us save so many animals from certain deaths or starvation

Monroe, WA (PRWEB) April 14, 2009 -- On May 2 some of the world's fastest thoroughbreds will race in Kentucky's annual Derby. Yet Melodee Shelley-Bolmgren, founder of the nonprofit organization Chez Chevaux, which rescues and retrains thoroughbreds, says that ex-racers are in greater danger than they have been in years of being sold for slaughter and today announced the Derby Dollar Challenge to raise funds to support expanded thoroughbred rescue.

"Every day we see more and more thoroughbreds sold to be slaughtered," Shelley-Bolmgren says. "These are animals that have often earned millions of dollars during their racing careers." She says Chez Chevaux has received record numbers of calls in recent months from horse owners who can no longer care for their animals.

Shelley-Bolmgren says it costs thousands of dollars to care for a horse each year and, unlike cats or dogs, unwanted horses are often shipped to Canada or Mexico to be sold for meat. "What makes this situation even more tragic is that we see so many healthy, young thoroughbreds shipped abroad to be slaughtered," she says. "These are horses that are perfectly able to perform well at second careers as pleasure or show horses."

Like many other nonprofits, though, Chez Chevaux cannot take any more animals without additional funding as pleas for assistance have increased dramatically during the recession. She says even a dollar's contribution can help save their lives.

The Derby Dollar Challenge:
The inaugural Derby Dollar Challenge is attempting to raise $135,000 by May 2 in recognition of this year's running of the 135th Derby. Donors can make online contributions to Chez Chevaux. Contributions can be made via check or PayPal and are tax-deductible.

Shelley-Bolmgren says even small contributions from individuals help prevent the killing of thoroughbreds, noting that donors should not feel uncomfortable offering what they consider small amounts. "If enough people contributed even a single dollar to horse charities that would help us save so many animals from certain deaths or starvation," she says.

How to Contribute to the Derby Dollar Challenge:
A donation of just a dollar can help save the lives of animals. To take the Dollar Challenge, please go to Chez Chevaux:

Facts about Horse Slaughter:

During the last few decades, millions of horses have been slaughtered in the U.S. and Canada and their meat exported to Europe and Japan for human consumption.
It is estimated that a third of all slaughter-bound horses in the U.S. were bred for racing.
Young, sound and purebred horses, as well as those that are infirm and old, are sent to slaughter.
Thoroughbreds and other horses are often shipped up to 30 hours without food or water. When they reach the slaughterhouse, they are driven into a killing factory and bludgeoned with a four-inch bolt gun which drives a spike into their skulls. Their throats are then slit, often while they are still conscious.
Most horses sold at auction are bought by "killer buyers," middlemen for slaughter plants, and often go straight to slaughter without disclosure or the knowledge of the original sellers. Horse slaughter was often not the intent of the animal's owner.
Very little horse meat is used in dog food; it's too expensive, with some cuts selling for over $20 per pound.
Chez Chevaux rescues and retrains thoroughbreds. Founded by noted horsewoman, Melodee Shelley-Bolmgren, Chez Chevaux operates to retrain at-risk thoroughbreds, saving them from abuse and slaughter. Chez Chevaux is a 501C-3 nonprofit, which can be found on the Web at Melodee is a frequent speaker at events such as The Homes for Horses coalition and has received numerous grants from groups such as the ASPCA and Thoroughbred Charities of America. A video detailing Melodee's efforts in rehabilitating a starving thoroughbred can be found at


Click on title above to see vid;

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

April 13, 2009: UPDATE on Paragallo Horses

Click on title to see article and pics;

New York Thoroughbred Breeders Association to go "No-Slaughter?"

According to this article, apparently they are thinking about it, and more!

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, an owners' group, has proposed a task force to broaden programs that assist thoroughbred owners forced by financial hardship to sell their horses, while developing a policy that punishes any owner, breeder or trainer who either directly or indirectly allows a horse to be sent to slaughter.

Click on title above to see full article;

Monday, April 13, 2009

Another Brainless PSI "Horse Lover"

Click title above to go to the Pro-slaughter blog and comment (rebuttals) Needed please! This is another PSI (pro-slaughter idiot) so-called horse lover who believes horse slaughter is necessary and furthermore she argues, it is NOT evil! Also, like so many other PSI's (blind because they refuse to see) ...she blames the closing of the U.S. equine slaughter houses on the "over-population" of "unwanted" horses today.

Does PSI NOT do her homework? Does she NOT know that more American horses are being shipped to slaughter then ever before? What does she NOT understand about meat-market auctions and feedlots in every state or that SLAUGHTER IS STILL AN OPTION for any American who wants to slaughter their horses?

Sheik Mohammed in Hot Water

SHEIK MOHAMMED is under investigation following the positive swabs returned
by one of his endurance horses after races in Dubai and Bahrain. Of course,
Sheikh Mohammed is the head honcho of both Godolphin and Darley racing and
breeding juggernauts and ironically his wife, Princess Haya al-bint is the
president of the International Equestrian Federation, who will hear charges
against Sheikh Mohammed.

Princess Haya has long campaigned for a drug-free sport and has informed the
seven person committee that she will stand down from her position and take
no part in the hearing and adjudication on the charges against her husband.

His horse horse Tahhan - tested positive for Guanabenz - used to treat

The horse also tested positive after a Bahrain race to 16b-Hydroxy
Stanozolol and anabolic steroid used to build muscle and build oxygen
carrying red blood cells. The drug is a metabolite of Stanozolol which was
used legally on Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown but was also the drug
responsible for seeing Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson disqualified from the
Seoul Olympics.

Sheikh Mohammed's staff issued a statement saying that he strongly condemned
the use of the drugs and was totally unaware of their use on his horse.

The statement did however add that "His Highness has volunteered his
acceptance that he is "the person legally responsible."

Saturday, April 11, 2009


He's gonna need all the money he can get, to pay the vet bills on 177 starving and neglected horses.

Paragall Raking in Millions By Ray Paulick

Ernie Paragallo may or may not have financial problems in his private life. But he very likely has a legal problem, stemming from the reported discovery on his upstate New York farm of horses that were not being fed or cared for properly or humanely. Police in New York on Wednesday took control of Center Brook Farm and its 170-plus equine occupants.

In one published report, Paragallo claims to be spending $5,000 per week on feed for the horses on his farm. That sounds like a lot of money to many of us, but Paragallo has played at the top end of the racing and breeding world. One of his racing stable’s former stars, Unbridled’s Song, winner of the $1-million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in 1995, has been an extremely successful stallion, standing as the property of a syndicate at Taylor Made Farm in Kentucky.

Unbridled’s Song is the sire of two of this year’s leading Kentucky Derby contenders, Old Fashioned and Dunkirk.

According to sources, Paragallo owns as many as 20 of the 40 shares in Unbridled’s Song, whose 2009 live foal stud fee is $125,000 (down from $150,000 in 2008, and $200,000 in 2007). Each of those shares leads to roughly two live foals per year, meaning that if Paragallo owns 20 shares he will get $5 million or more in revenue in stud fees from Unbridled’s Song when this breeding season’s foals are born in 2010 (20 shares=40 foals, times $125,000 stud fee). Over a three-year period (factoring in the higher fees from 2007-08), Paragallo’s revenue from Unbridled’s Song could approach $20 million.

Yes, he certainly can afford to feed and provide proper veterinary care for his horses.


More Black for the Industry Eye

"Gotcha!" By Ray Paulick

Michael Garrison had his occupational permit revoked and he was fined $1,000 and suspended indefinitely as the clerk of scales at Charles Town Races & Slots in West Virginia after an investigation determined he was not reporting overages of assigned weights of riders weighing out before races. Seven jockeys were suspended 30 days and fined $1,000 each for violation of the West Virginia rules of racing pertaining to riding weights and dishonest or corrupt practices.

Garrison was escorted off the Charles Town premises by security personnel following the first race March 27, according to chief steward Danny Wright and association steward Robert Lotts. Acting on an anonymous tip, track security had installed surveillance cameras in the weigh-out area adjacent to the clerk of scales office and Garrison was allegedly observed being derelict in his duties by not reporting overweights of the riders.

After hearings were conducted on Wednesday, the fines and suspensions were announced. The seven jockeys suspended are: Alexis Rios Conde, Tony Maragh, Anthony Mawing, Luis Perez, Lawrence Reynolds, Jesus Sanchez, and Dale Whittaker. The suspensions are effective from today (April 9) through May 8.

Garrison refused to testify at the hearing, according to Kelli Talbott, deputy attorney general representing the West Virginia Racing Commission. He was suspended for failing to use due diligence in the performance of his duty as clerk of scales, in violation of West Virginia rules of racing.

No evidence was presented that bribes may have been involved.

“No riders admitted to accepting or giving money or anything of that nature,” Wright told the Paulick Report. “That never materialized.”

Former rider Mark Munden has assumed the clerk of scales duties.

Paragallo: Investigations before the Bust

NY - Under Investigation, Paragallo Says Some Horses He Owns Are Underweight

Published: April 6, 2009

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is investigating
whether Ernie Paragallo, a prominent New York thoroughbred breeder
and owner, has neglected and abused horses on his Center Brook Farm.

Ron Perez, the president of the Columbia-Greene Humane Society/
S.P.C.A., said investigators had been on the farm in Climax, N.Y., south
of Albany, within the past 10 days. He also acknowledged that a woman
who had picked up two horses that were malnourished and infected with
parasites filed a complaint with the state police on Saturday.

The woman, Colleen Segarra, said she was allowed into a barn where at
least 16 other horses showed signs of distress and neglect. She said they
had no bedding, like woodchips, and were severely undernourished.

"You could see their hips and spines and they had lice," said Segarra, who
is a member of the New York State Horse Council, an animal-protection
group. "They were in debilitating condition."

Segarra said she offered to take more horses off the farm as well as to
summon and pay for a veterinarian to tend to them, but was told by
Center Brook's farm manager that she could not without Paragallo's
permission. She told the police that the manager had said that he
had not been provided with enough food over the winter and that he
had trouble properly feeding the more than 125 horses on the
511-acre farm.

Paragallo denied those charges and said he had spoken to and was
cooperating with investigators from the S.P.C.A., a nonprofit organization
that has legal authority to make arrests in cases of animal cruelty.
Paragallo said he provided 14.7 tons of hay and 5,000 pounds of feed
a week for his horses.

"It was a rough winter," Paragallo said Monday. "I'm not going to lie —
there's seven or eight that are maybe 75 or 100 pounds underweight.
The investigators suggested we change our feed, and we're doing so.
There's a mare there that we're feeding three times a day."

Paragallo has been a fixture on the American racing scene since the
early 1990s when he was a leading buyer of yearlings and 2-year-olds
at auctions in Kentucky, New York and Florida. On Saturday, he was
at Aqueduct watching his colt Cellar Dweller compete in the Wood Memorial.

In 1994, Paragallo purchased Unbridled's Song for $200,000 at a Saratoga Select Yearling Sale, and the colt went on to win the Florida Derby and the Wood Memorial, where he sustained a cracked hoof. That injury was blamed for his disappointing fifth-place finish in the 1996 Kentucky
Derby, where he was the favorite. Still, Unbridled's Song — of whom
Paragallo owns half — is one of the most successful stallions in horse
racing, commanding a $125,000 stud fee and producing more than
100 horses that won $1 million.

Since 1996, Paragallo's family-owned Paraneck Stable has been among
the nation's leading racing outfits, starting 4,686 runners that have
earned $20.6 million in purse money.

The S.P.C.A.'s Perez declined further comment because the investigation
was continuing. In New York, a person found guilty of animal cruelty, a
misdemeanor, can face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine for each

Several individuals and rescue groups have come forward with harrowing
tales of horses under Paragallo's care. Last month, four undernourished
and neglected former racehorses belonging to him were rescued from a
New York kill pen, one step from being slaughtered.

They were among more than 20 horses from Paragallo's farm that were
sold to slaughter for $680.

Paragallo said he had given the horses to a Florida-based breeder in
December with the agreement that he could breed the mares back to one
of his stallions based in New York or Florida. However, a horse transporter,
Richie Baiardi, said that he had picked them up at Paragallo's farm at the
end of February with the intention of taking them to Florida but could not
because of they were "bags of bones, literally walking hides," and would
not have survived the trip.

All four mares are being rehabilitated by Another Chance 4 Horses, a
horse-rescue group, at its farm in Bernville, Pa. Three other mares are
recovering at a boarding and training center in Fulton, N.Y., operated
by Lisa Leogrande, who discovered the horses in the kill pen.

In January 2007, another rescue group, Equine Advocates, took three
horses from Center Brook; they required more than a month in an equine
hospital in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. The veterinarian who treated them,
Dr. Bill Barnes, said the horses were "starving to death."

Another Chance 4 Horses and Equine Advocates have produced
photographs that show the horses coming off the farm undernourished
and unhealthy.

Segarra said the two horses she removed Saturday, a mare named
Hunter's Circle and a yearling she produced by the Paragallo stallion
Griffinite, were "badly debilitated."

She said: "The yearling looked like a weanling, and the veterinarian I
had look at them said it would take at least six months to rehabilitate
both of them. I wanted to take more with me. The ones I had to leave
behind are haunting me."

Friday, April 10, 2009

NY TB Breeder Starves 177 Horses

Thursday, April 9, 2006:

One-hundred and seventy-seven (177) neglected thoroughbred horses were confiscated today from Paraneck Stables, a thoroughbred breeding farm in Greene Co., NY., manged by Ernie Paragallo, owner of "Center Brook Farm," another thoroughbred breeding facility.


Please call the appropriate authorities as listed below to request full prosecution of this case. Remind them that animal cruelty and neglect are serious crimes and we are talking about 117 living beings here!

New York State Dept. of Agriculture & Markets
John Huntley, DVM, Director (518) 457 - 3502

Greene Co. Prosecutor,Stephen K. Haller
(937) 562 - 5250

The horses are in the care of;
The Columbia Greene Humane Society
and SPCA;

CGHS/SPCA has been helping animals since 1955, they are a no-kill facility that receives no public support. We heartily urge you to give them support now if you are able. You can imagine the cost involved in caring for 177 severley neglected horses. I am sure anything you may be able to give, even the smallest amount, will be greatly appreciated.

You can email them at;
for more information or
you can make a donation through Paypal by clicking the link below;

or give by credit card over the phone.
Contact Katrina or Ron at (518) 828-6044 and tell them you would like
to contribute to the horse fund.

Click on title above for petition calling for full prosecution of this case;

NY Breeders Out of Control

New York State has some of the most lucrative race-horse breeding incentive programs in the entire country. For New York breeders, the rewards go beyond the mere selling off of offspring, as they continue earning dividends throughout their horses' New York racing careers. And at the $30,000 claiming level and above, owners can earn additional money for simply campaigning a New York-bred in New York State. For registered New York stallions, the stallion owner continues to benefit financially beyond the standard stallion stud fees as his or her stallion's progeny race and earn purse money at New York racetracks.
In addition, there is the New York Stallion Stakes Series, which is restricted to eligible progeny of nominated registered New York-based stallions.

More on the "NY Bred" Fund;

On Thursday, April 9, 2009, 177 starving and neglected NY
Thoroughbred racehorses were confiscated from Ernie Paragallo's
"Center Brook" Horse Farm in Coxsackie, Greene Co., NY.


Last summer, 82 starving and neglected NY Thoroughbred racehorses were confiscated from Geraldine Trupia's "Norcrest Farm" in Troupsburgh, Steuben Co., NY.


There is no doubt that breeding incentives (including state and federal
tax breaks to the equine industry) cause overbreeding. Studies have shown that when breeding incentives are in place, horse-slaughter statistics rise;

Independant studies as well as the USDAs own reports show that
most horses sent off to slaughter are young, healthy registered
American Quarter-Horses and racing horses. No one denies that
there is a problem with over-production of equines in America today, particularly in these tough economic times. No one can deny that overbreeding results in an increase of equine starvation and
neglect, and needless, senseless slaughter.

While we strongly urge full prosecution of any case of animal abuse
or neglect, we believe it is time for the industry to step up to the plate
and take responsibility for their part in the promotion of such
irresponsible breeding. While organizations such as the American
Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and the National (and New York)
Racing Associations encourage us to "breed baby breed," nothing is
ever mentioned about the concept of "responsible" breeding or a
long-term after care plan for their industry casts-offs.

Please contact the following organizations to let them know, NOW is the time to take responsibility for the part they play in the over-production, abuse, starvation, neglect and needless slaughter of so many horses.
Tell them they need to get their breeding under control. Replace
incentives with rewarding disincentives. The breeding of less horses
but of better quality would be a boon to the industry, as would the establishment of a long-range retirement plan for all NY bred ex-racehorses. Tell the New York Racing Industry to "set the pace" for
the rest of the horse-racing world; less breeding and more retirement plans would be a good start;

New York State Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund Corporation
Saratoga Spa State Park
19 Roosevelt Drive
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Phone: (518) 580-0100 Fax: (518) 580-0500
Martin G. Kinsella, Executive Director
Jim Zito, Web Site and Advertising Coordinator

New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc.
57 Phila Street, 2nd Floor
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
Phone: (518) 587-0777 Fax: (518) 587-1551 Fax
Jeffrey A. Cannizzo, Executive Director

Genesee Valley Breeders Association
P.O. Box 301
Shortsville, NY 14548-0301
Phone/fax: (585) 289-8524
Mary Beth Hasenauer, Secretary

Finger Lakes Racing Association
Route 66 & Beaver Creek Rd.
Farmington, NY 14425
Phone: (585) 924-3232

New York Racing Association
P.O. Box 90
Jamaica, NY 11417
Phone: (800) 221-6266 (outside New York)
(800) 522-5554 (within New York)
Paul J. Campo, Racing Secretary

New York Stallion Stakes
Phone: (718) 641-4700 ext. 3806 (Aqueduct)
(516) 488-6000 ext. 4806 (Belmont and Saratoga)
Carmine Shirlaw, Coordinator

Please also see the petition we have made asking for full prosecution
of the Ernie Paragallo / Center Brook Farm case involving the neglect
of 177 racehorses;

Thanks for caring.

Together, we can make a difference!

Click on title above to see and sign petition;

NYRA "Shocked and Appalled" at Paragallo Plight

Of course, they knew about the situation since 2005 when they suspended Paragallos licence for financial instability. Still, Paragallo racing, the neglect and the breeding went on,...

The NYRA also fails to mention that there was horses confiscated from ole ernies farm back in January 07' wherein Sue Wagner of Equine Advocates in Chatam Ny wound up caring for some of his neglected horses.

(see post entiteld Paragallo: Investigations Before the Bust)

Click on title above to read a Times Union article

SOS for Tampa Bay Downs TB's

Urgent Plea For Thoroughbreds Destined For The Slaughter House
Posted by: "xr7catcar" xr7catcar
Thu Apr 9, 2009 11:55 am (PDT)

Hello, My name is Donna , I'm a volunteer for the Hankes Horse Ranch in Zephyrhills, Fl. We're contacting everyone who has a love for horses to find out if you've heard about what is going to happen to the horses at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar, Fl at the end of the racing season in April. Have you heard about that? I hadn't heard about it either til I started volunteering for their Horse Rescue in Zephyrhills...

Well, basically, the thoroughbred racing horses at Tampa Bay Downs, that for one reason or another, are no longer wanted by their owners are abandoned in their stalls. Tampa Bay Downs then has to find a way to dispose of these poor animals. Usually they are bought very cheap by slaughter house buyers and they are doomed to a torturous death. I'm not going to upset you with the details but trust me it's not pretty. The good news is, it doesn't have to happen! Why should these beautiful horses who have raced their hearts out be doomed to die when they can go to the Hankes Horse Ranch in Zephyrhills? They've got 7 acres of pasture all ready for them to retire on, a loving reward for all their years of service to racing. And you can help!

Julie & Bruce Hanke have made it easy for us to help the horses because they've already done the hard part, they've started up the ranch and opened their arms and seven acres to these horses. Aren't they wonderful? Without them we wouldn't stand a chance of saving these horses, now all we have to do is help them help the horses! Will you help the horses?

Here's how you can help and here's what they need: Hay, feed, and Vet care. You can donate once $5.00 - $1,000 towards all of the horses or sponsor one of the horses with a $100 monthly donation. Please remember, no donation is too small because all of these donations together from caring people like you make it possible to save their lives. When you choose to sponsor a horse monthly we'll email you pictures every month and update you on the horses progress. Every donation brings these horses one step closer to the ranch and we're truly racing against the clock right now because these horses will literally die the end of this month if the Hankes can't intercede as soon as possible.

So do you wish to sponsor a horse monthly or do you prefer a one time donation towards saving their lives? Please call me ASAP @ 727 475 1300 so I can give you the Ranch address and answer any questions you may have. On behalf of these beautiful horses I thankyou so much, Donna

Paragallo is done...

Our local (no-kill) humane society just confiscated all 177 of his horses, all
badly neglected;

Click on title above to see article;

Please if you can help out the wonderful people at
Colombia Green Humane Society and SPCA.
They are caring for all 177 of these horses.
Call Katrina at (518) 828-6044
or email her at:

Thanks for caring


~ Greg Baum ~

Monday, April 6, 2009

NY TB Breeder Floods Killpens w / "Unwanted" Horses

No wonder the New York Horse Counsel is so Pro-Slaughter!

NY Breeding Incentives Partly to Blame;

Prominent Horseman Faces Questions About Neglect Posted

Sun Apr 5, 2009 4:59 am (PDT)

Click on title above to read article in the New York Times;

(with bloggers annotation in parenthesis)

Published: April 3, 2009

Four undernourished and neglected former racehorses belonging to Ernie Paragallo, a prominent New York thoroughbred breeder and owner, were rescued from a New York kill pen last month, one step from being slaughtered. They were among more than 20 horses from Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y., that were sold to slaughter for $680.

"Finely Decorated," who had lice, was one of four rescued mares.

The four mares were “hundreds of pounds” underweight, infested with lice and parasites and in “horrible condition,” according to Dr. James Holt, a Pennsylvania
veterinarian who examined them.

While Paragallo says he had given the horses away four months ago and was not aware of their sickly state, the discovery comes at a time when the thoroughbred industry is under increasing scrutiny of the health and welfare of its equine

Paragallo’s colt "Cellar Dweller" will run in the
$750,000 Wood Memorial on Saturday at Aqueduct, and his most famous
horse, Unbridled’s Song — of whom he is half-owner — commands a
$125,000 stud fee in Kentucky.

Paragallo said Thursday that he had given the horses away to a Florida-based breeder, whom he did not identify, in December with the agreement that he could breed the mares back to one of his stallions based in New York or Florida. In fact,
Paragallo said, he had intended to ship another batch of horses to the

“We were going to move 60 horses and get the added benefit
of earning the breeder’s reward if any of the babies did well
at the
racetrack,” he said, referring to a New York state incentive program
for breeders. “It was a home run for business.” (herein lies the peoblem)

Paragallo said he could not remember the last name of the man he gave the horses to,
his telephone number or his farm address. (Yeah, right) On Friday, however, a horse
transporter, Richie Baiardi, said he had picked up the horses at
Paragallo’s farm at the end of February with the intention of taking
them to Florida but could not because of their poor condition. (Indicating, of course, that the horses were in poor condition when he picked them up at Paragallos' Farm)

Baiardi said that he subsequently called Paragallo, who was not at the
farm at the time of the pickup, and complained about the horses’
condition. Baiardi, who said he was in North Dakota on Friday, said he
had van logs, receipts and other documentation at his home in Florida
to show that he had picked up the horses in February.

“They were a bag of bones, literally walking hides,” Baiardi said. “I knew I
couldn’t get health certificates for them, and I didn’t even think
they’d make it to Florida. I didn’t want to take them, but the guys
working on the farm said if I didn’t they were just going to die right
there. They told me, two had already died that morning.”

It was Baiardi who took them to the kill pen, and sold them for the $680, or
about $25 per horse. He said he had no other choice.

Paragallo,reached by telephone Friday, denied Baiardi’s account and said that the
150 horses on his farm, which is about 20 miles south of Albany, were
well cared for. (Of course, these are the ones that could possibly still earn income for the owner, they havent become liabilities, yet)

“We keep our barren mares thin, and we found that has worked for our breeding program,” Paragallo said. (Thin is one thing, starved is another)

He also said that the workers on his farm could not have urged Baiardi to
take the horses or anything else. “None of them speak English,” he said.

Holt, the veterinarian, said that blood and fecal tests showed that the
mares had suffered extreme neglect — they had bacteria infections, were
riddled with parasites like lice and worms and had skin diseases and
open wounds.

“It didn’t happen overnight,” Holt said.

Two of the mares had won races for Paragallo’s family-owned Paraneck
"Theonlyword," who had a puncture wound in her leg and carried
lice, won more than $50,000 and "Coconut Martini," who had a swollen leg and lice, nearly $35,000. The 17-year-old mare "Finely Decorated," who was also infested with lice and is possibly in foal, was purchased for $80,000 as a 2-year-old. She was the dam of Interior Designer, who won
more than $174,000. The mares’ injuries and ailments were documented by
Dr. Holt at the behest of Another Chance 4 Horses, a rescue group whose blog first reported the discovery of the mares. All four mares are being rehabilitated at their farm in Bernville, Pa.

Lisa Leogrande, who operates a boarding and training center in Fulton, N.Y.
tipped off the group to the Paragallo horses. She said she goes to
auctions for horses intended for slaughter in the hope of saving them.
In mid-March, she said, she went to the kill pen and saw the horses’
name bands, which are often used by big breeding operations to identify
their horses in pasture. She traced several back to Paragallo.

She rescued three of them — including an 18-year-old mare named "Casa
" who had won nearly $280,000 and two graded stakes races — and now
has them at her training center. She then notified Another Chance 4
Horses, which is led by Christy Sheidy, in the hope that her group
could rescue the rest.

Sheidy said the kill pen operator, who does not want to be identified, (the unholy alliance thing) said the horses were in such bad condition that he had to feed them for several weeks just to get them in shape for the trip to the slaughterhouse. (

Sheidy’s group bought the four mares, but was too late to save the rest from slaughter.

“There were a bunch of mares that someone didn’t care about anymore, and
that’s awful because they had been substantial contributors to that
breeding operation, were well-bred and valuable,” Leogrande said. “I
couldn’t understand why someone would leave them like this.”

After news of the mares’ rescue broke Thursday, chatter began to make its way around Internet message boards and blogs like the Paulick Report, inflaming a long-contentious issue.

It became so heated that Paragallo posted a long response Friday, asserting that he did not know of the mares’ ultimate destination.

“In December two vans arrived at our farm and picked up the 24 barren
mares, the drivers said they would be back in a couple of days to pick
up the rest,” he wrote. “After a week we called back the gentleman who
had called us but I never got an answer, safe to say he never came back
for the rest.”

While Paragallo denied responsibility for the mares’ condition, he said he was responsible for their fate. “They were my horses and what happened to them is a tragedy and a travesty, and I take full responsibility, but I didn’t send them to the killers,” he said. (No, he just starved them near to death and sent them to someone else to send to the killers)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Could mans best friend be a horse?

By Barry Tompkins
Posted: 03/28/2009 04:09:12 PM PDT

People keep asking me about Bill the Dog and why I haven't written about him for several months. Well, Bill's just fine, but he hasn't come up with any good column ideas for me for quite some time, so I couldn't really justify droning on about how our house remains safe from squirrels (Bill's primary job), or how he inevitably finds the lap of the house guest who least likes dogs to prop his head on at a dinner party. While we get big laughs out of our guest's wild-eyed wondering when exactly Bill's teeth will sink deeply into their privates, it's not quite column fodder.
Until today, when Bill's book club began reading the latest tome from Joe Camp - the creator of one of Bill's heroes, Benji. Joe has written a book, "The Soul of a Horse," in which he suggests that we mere humans have something to learn from our equine friends.

Now I must admit that at first blush I was looking for something humorous in that premise until I started doing a little research of my own.

To begin with, other than the Budweiser Clydesdales, the only horses I ever took notice of had numbers on their saddle cloths and were ridden by little Hispanic gentlemen with names like Jorge and Braulio. I didn't even know they named the critters until I was in my 30s. It was always, "C'mon 2, baby needs a new pair of shoes."

Rumor around the back barn was always that a horse was dumber than a pig. And, while I had never measured a pig's IQ score, I assumed that it was somewhat low in reading comprehension and thus a horse was pretty much akin to a bag of rocks on the intelligence scale. Until the man who gave us Benji gave me insight.
Camp suggests that we humans accept leadership as innate, but that we could develop better leadership skills by acting like a horse. He says that the herd hierarchy mirrors relationships among people. "The stallion," Camp says, "doesn't bully the herd. His job is procreation and protecting the herd from predators. The true leader is the matriarch - the older and wiser mare. She's the one who decides when everyone eats, rests, moves and sleeps."

The mare uses discipline with discretion, but more often politely seeks good behavior. No intimidation. Thus, the herd fortifies its belief in her as a leader. What a concept for humans.

Upon further review - as they say in the National Football League - it turns out that horses share many of the same qualities as we humans: Adaptability, mischief, playfulness, loyalty, jealousy and stress. I guess it's just my luck that I happened to pick the ones with mischief, jealousy and stress every time I go to Golden Gate Fields.

Horses are also social and accepting of others. They meet each other with necks extended and bowed, they touch noses and exchange scents by blowing short blasts of air into each other's nostrils (ironically, exactly the same way I met my wife). It is, say the equine experts, the equivalent of exchanging business cards - which, of course, would be impossible because scientific research has proven that horses have neither wallets nor pockets.

I sincerely hope that Bill the Dog and his book club friends learn something from Joe Camp's book. I've been telling him for years that when meeting a peer, the other end generally smells better.

As for myself, I no longer am using the daily racing form for source material and prior performance statistics when I go to the racetrack. I'm merely looking for innate leadership skills.

Barry Tompkins is a longtime sports broadcaster who lives in Marin. Contact him via