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
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