Monzante, Former Eddie Read Winner, Breaks Down in $4,000 Claiming Race

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Monzante wins the Eddie Read Handicap in 2008 Monzante wins the Eddie Read Handicap in 2008

Just about everyone made money off Monzante, a gelding by champion Maria’s Mon out of the stakes-winning Danzante, by champion sire Danzig. Monzante was foaled April 28, 2004, in Kentucky, and died on Saturday, July 20, 2013, five years to the day after his greatest racing triumph, in the Grade 1 Eddie Read Handicap at Del Mar. He took his final breath after not making the course in a $4,000 claiming race at Evangeline Downs in Lafayette, La.

His breeder, Juddmonte Farm, raced Monzante six times in England, winning once, with a second-place finish and two thirds on his resume, in addition to a fourth-place finish in a Group 3 stakes. He was then sold in the 2007 Tattersalls July Sale for 100,000 guineas (about $213,444) to an American group that sent him to California trainer Mike Mitchell.

Those owners, Scott Anastasi and Jay and Gretchen Manoogian, won nearly a half-million dollars with Monzante, $240,000 of it coming in the Eddie Read. Jay Manoogian grew up near Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where he got the bug for racing, and later moved to California. He is now president of Preferred Property Maintenance, which provides a variety of services for commercial real estate properties in Orange County. Anastasi owns a real estate agency in Redondo Beach. Racing is their hobby, not their vocation.

Though he was stakes-placed again and even ran sixth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf of 2009, Monzante had seen better days when he was sent by the Manoogians and Anastasi to the Kentucky barn of trainer Dale Romans after earning just $1,040 in his final California start, a fifth-place finish in an April 2010 allowance/optional claiming race at Santa Anita. There were no takers that day when the gray gelding carried a $62,500 claiming tag.

It had been quite a run for Monzante, competing against the likes of multi-millionaire Lava Man, Santa Anita Derby and Travers winner Colonel John, Kentucky Derby winner Mine that Bird, and two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Conduit. In addition to the Eddie Read win by Monzante, there was a third-place finish in the G2 Strub Stakes, a victory in the Santana Mile Handicap, a second in the G1 Charlie Whittingham Handicap, and a second in the Windy Sands.

He didn’t surface for more than a year for Dale Romans, coming back June 3, 2011, in a Churchill Downs turf claimer, earning his owners $4,100 for a third-place finish while running for a $50,000 claiming price. Three starts later, on Aug. 27, 2011, racing at Saratoga and carrying a $20,000 tag, Monzante was claimed by Eclipse Award-winning trainer Steve Asmussen on behalf of Texas owner J. Kirk Robison.

Including the claiming price, the Manoogians and Anastasi earned $512,864 off Monzante in the four years they owned him.

He was in Asmussen’s barn for eight starts, winning once at the $20,000 claiming level at Belmont Park, but earning a paycheck every time he ran. Robison got $39,880 out of the $20,000 investment when trainer Keith Bourgeois and owner Christine Hardy claimed Monzante for $10,000 at Fair Grounds on March 16, 2012.

Bourgeois ran Monzante just once, in a $10,000 claiming race on the Evangeline Downs turf on May 5, 2012. He earned $2,400 for finishing second, and was claimed by owner/trainer Jackie W. Thacker.

Thacker ran Monzante eight times last year, winning his second start with the gelding in a $20,000 claiming race at Evangeline on June 22 and taking a $12,500 claimer in September. After that win, Monzante was sent to Delta Downs in Vinton, La., where the son of Maria’s Mon ran three times, finishing ninth and last in his final start of 2012, a $15,000 claiming event on Nov. 23.

Equibase shows just one workout for Monzante, a five-furlong breeze of 1:02.80 at Evangeline Downs on June 1, as he prepared for his 2013 debut.

Monzante was sent postward in Evangeline’s fourth race Saturday as part of an entry favored at 2-1. The other half of the Thacker entry, a 10-year-old named First Command making his 74th career start, finished last of the seven runners who made it across the finish line.

Monzante never got there. Making the 43rd start of his career, he apparently broke down. The Equibase chart wasn’t clear on the injury the gelding suffered: “Monzante bobbled at the start, chased the early pace and stopped and was euthanized.”

The old warrior earned $29,965 for Thacker, his final owner, after being claimed for $10,000 just over a year ago.

Everyone made out alright on this deal, everyone but Monzante.

It really is shameful to see the life of a horse good enough to reward his owners with a G1 victory come to this sickening of an end. But other graded stakes winners have competed for a claiming tag before, and I suppose some of them have wound up at the bottom of the barrel at a place like Evangeline Downs, a casino-owned racetrack in a state that has a reputation for lax regulations on medication policies and little interest in protecting the welfare of the animals.

What could have prevented this tragedy? Stricter rules and tighter regulation by the Louisiana Racing Commission might have determined Monzante was not fit or sound enough to race again, but this was a human failure, not an institutional one.

Compassion, common sense, and decency by any of Monzante’s previous owners or trainers would have stopped the horse’s descent to the lowest rung on the racing ladder, where the endings are seldom good.

 

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  • Don Reed

    Some reactions to my sarcastic posts about the obviously despicable people in racing – the trainers, the owners, and the managements – have been scathing, in response.

    I only regret the intermittent times when I held back and tried to see the point of view of the vultures.

    Rest In Peace, Monzante.

    • Ida Lee

      I’ll just let you speak for me on this Don but I’m so sorry and hurt it ended this way.

    • railbird

      Good for you for this article. I’m glad you wrote it.

    • betterthannothing

      Vultures, you got that’s right!

    • Beach

      Hey, life is rough when it’s true. Fire away on the sarcasm…

    • Arthur and Stanley’s Friend

      Don, this is an excellent article. I think it should reach general media in order to reach the general public. A great many people know very little about horses, and they need to be told. Look how people and media treated the sad story of Barbaro. But most of them do not know that the increasingly inhumane and careless treatment of racing horses is what often ends in a story such as Barbaro’s, and that most of the horses who break down during races are not even treated with as much care as he had been. Even off the track horses suffer unbeknown to general public. I was in a women’s health facility recently, and I mentioned the “harvesting” of Premarin for estrogen pills. All the health workers there were shocked to hear how cruelly horses were treated during the process. They knew the drug, but not what was behind it. If people have easier access to articles such as yours, I believe they may be persuaded to take action for regulations to change, and against racing horses ending up like the hero in the book The Black Beauty. After all , the book was a starting point for some extremely inhumane treatments of horses to be ignored no longer.

      • RedShoesGirl

        i wish someone would do a investigative piece on how premarin is produced. i am ashamed i didn’t know for the years i had to take it. and the thing is, there is a synthetic product that is just as good. i “met” a couple of premarin mares once, they did not like people.

      • Don Reed

        I agree with you entirely, but there seems to be a misunderstanding here about the identity of the article’s author.

        It was written by Ray Paulick, not myself, and no better proof of this (aside from the obvious, with his name signed to it at the top of the page) could exist than if I had attempted to write it myself. A comparison of the drafts would be fatal to the idea that I could do as well as he did, and does.

        Actually, given the media’s hunger for bad news in racing (witness the 8 Belles hysteria of a few years ago), I am amazed that the story HASN’T been splashed across the front pages of the non-racing media.

        I am of two minds on this:

        A) The positive: There would be created the driving force necessary to get these burnt-out horses off the track and into retirement pastures before they’re Murdered By Entry.

        As with the Paragallo fiasco, there was a huge rush to support the ASPCA facility on the Hudson; then, that evaporated. But at least some horses were saved & a repulsive owner was forced out of the racing scene (thank God).

        B) The negative: Being lectured to by reporters and editorial board members whose morals sometimes are as compromised and repulsive as Ernie Paragallo’s. These are not white knights, generally.

        Thanks for taking the time to write the above. Your story about the women’s health facility was greatly appreciated by this writer who is a friend & supporter of but not affiliated with nor employed by The Paulick Report.

        Don

  • Lisa wintermote

    I couldn’t finish this piece with dry eyes. RIP Monzante. Shame on the connex. God help us all.

  • hollykruse

    In light of this, I’m trying to draw attention to the plight of General Perfect. Multiple stakes winner, earner of over $500,000, ran in 2011 Arlington Million, son of Affirmed’s son/Flawlessly brother Perfect. He’s entered in a low-level claimer at Mountaineer Park (in West Virginia) on Tuesday. He ran once this year (out of the money) and once last year (out of the money). It’s heartbreaking

    • pesposito

      I did a little research and unfortunately the owner, Pasquale Vizzoni. passed in March of this year. The sad thing is it appears that as soon as the horse got hurt (Arlington Million) he got rid of him. Of the 502,000 that he has made only 600 of it has been for the new owner Joseph Whalen and trainer Brenda Zook.

    • Susan

      While the former owner may be deceased, one can only hope a trainer who regarded him highly enough to run him in the Arlington Million would want to help General Perfect retire safely.

      • Mr. Moo

        what’s his claim price ?
        ..and.. you got someplace you could go with the horse ?

        • Tanzzee

          The claiming price is $5,000 – race 2

    • Joy Aten

      That you for caring about General Perfect! Both racing fans and anti-racing folks are aware of horses like General Perfect and Monzante (as well as horses that didn’t make hundreds of thousands, but still deserve to LIVE) day in and day out. Those caring folks put their own money and efforts towards getting the horse “retired” or”rescued” (depends on how one views the racing industry…the horse doesn’t care which word is used). The clock ticks as they do everything possible to get the horse to safety before one final breakdown or the trip to slaughter. While this desperate scramble plays out, those that made money off the backs of these horses have since moved on to another horse and another race. Heartbreaking, yes…wrong on so many levels, without a shadow of a doubt.

      • Arthur and Stanley’s Friend

        I agree with you Joy. I am not certain what will finally change some of these inhumane practices. I think that the general public is not informed enough to act alone. Change has to come from within the industry, as well: honest trainers, honest vets, and honest owners. Change has to be supported by humane organizations, humane laws, humane responsible racing organs. The general public will support it. Even now many former fans no longer are fans at all due to the numerous horse breakdowns during races. The unfortunate thing for the horses is that the winnings as well as the costs are high, and all that attracts a number of people who just don’t care about anything but the money. Perhaps the definition of horse as live stock should no longer be used. If they are viewed in a different light perhaps laws will come into existence which will require all owners to contribute an amount toward a safe retirement in order to be given permission to own a horse. I hope such a day will come. In the mean time it is so sad to see how these magnificent animals just descend lower and lower till they reach an inhumane end. It is like reading The Black Beauty. So heart breaking. RIP Monzante.

    • http://deafequinefanatic.blogspot.com/ Heidi Carpenter

      It IS possible to get the horse! You can offer to buy him outright before or after the race. I bought a 9-year-old horse from a trainer at Mountaineer last year, and this particular trainer is not easy to get in touch with. It CAN be done!

      • nu-fan

        You touched upon one aspect that is very pertinent: the inability, often, to reach those owners and trainers of horses and offer to take the horse in when the time comes where the horse is no longer viable for racing. I did go to The Jockey Club’s website and “registered” interest for a particular horse. However, when I’ve spoken with others in the industry, they usually direct me to the trainer. But, try to follow the horse when it gets claimed, which means going through the process all over again–and, hope that the trainer and owner do follow up! I often wonder how many horses might find homes if the process was simplified? Some, perhaps? Some is always better than none.

        • Mimi Hunter

          This is where the third party should come in – as a go-between BEFORE the horse hits one of the auctions.

          • nu-fan

            You are right. There needs to be a third party involved in connecting and tracking these horses. What I find so frustrating is that there may be many people who would be eager to take over the care of these horses but, right now, it is so hard for many of us to do so. I had one horse that slipped through my fingers because, by the time I was able to contact the owner, I found out that the horse was given to a buddy of his in another state. (Or did this horse end up going to that horrible fate of too many: the slaughter house?) The owner said to me: “Gee, if I would have known you were interested….” But, then, how was I supposed to know that this horse was being “retired”? This time around, I made a point of contacting the trainer of another horse that I am interested in. He seemed to be taken off guard and reminded me that the horse was still racing. “Yes, but, please let me know when the time, if that happens, when the horse does not fit into the owners plans so that I can take him. Put me on a waiting list.” Why don’t these waiting lists become standard? Seems so simple. Again, won’t help every horse but, perhaps, there may be many horses that would be placed in the care of those who will make it their number one priority to make certain that these horses will have a secure future?

          • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

            There doesn’t need to be a third party. There needs to be accountability and transparency regarding veterinary records. There should then be mandatory retirement for horses vets know are unsound. And they DO know. Mandatory retirement after x number of joint injections, etc. Vets are supposed to be for the HORSE. It’s time they were made accountable.

          • nu-fan

            There are bad apples in every walk of life and vets are no exception. Isn’t there a way to pull the licenses of vets who knowingly jeopardize the welfare of horses, much like is done with physicians for humans?

          • betterthannothing

            nu-fan: Vets are in all racing commissions, on the board of many racing organizations and all over barn areas. As a band of brothers, they tend to protect each other’s back.

          • Mimi Hunter

            Your missing a whole other sub-culture – those who recycle registration papers. I’ve seen dealer’s [not to be confused with killer buyers] sort through large stacks of papers to match-up a grade horse they just bought. I’ve been offered $200 for a set of papers – Which was more than the horse was bid to – I’d PO’d her. Or the EIA positive gelding who ‘lost’ his USDA quarantine paperwork and went to a dealer who brought back almost to where he was sent from. Or the other way: A TB mare who was sold – through a dealer – to a 16 yo girl, with no mention at all about the horse needing retraining. Took 3 horses & riders to run her down when she bolted. Luckily it was an indoor arena. The girl was unhurt but lost all interest in horses – hasn’t ridden since – about 40 years.
            With the internet, cell phones, etc. a network could be set up to maybe co-ordinate efforts. Ray has another article here [about Brownstone] that talks about another network who takes advantage of all the emotions about this topic to basically hold horses hostage for some ridiculous amounts.

          • nu-fan

            Yes, there are some scum bags out there that will jack up the price because they know that some will pay more to save that horse!

    • scoobynacks

      I’ve tried to find out about a horse named Yes It’s Friday (out of a full sister to Happy Ticket) who was in a similar situation, low-level claimer, although she never achieved the heights of Monzante or General Perfect before she ended up there. She won at Evangeline in April of last year for $5000, then nothing. I can only hope they wanted her to go out a winner and opted not to breed her in May, waiting til this year. If anybody knows where she is, I’d be relieved to know she’s okay. Given how horses can fall off the face of the earth and end up in a bad way, the minute I stopped getting workout notices on her, I got concerned.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        It’s not easy. The Jockey Club has a program where you can say you are willing to take a horse when it’s done racing. I put my name in for a horse and he has not raced since Feb. Had 2 starts Jan and Feb and made $0. Only made $18K in 9 starts last year – and $51K lifetime. I have never heard from anyone, and worry that something has happened to him. There should be a registry of deaths at least.

        • Mimi Hunter

          I’ve heard that most racehorses have ID chips along with the lip tattoo – that could be one way to track them.

      • nu-fan

        Yes, I watch “my” horse’s activities frequently. When I do not get workout notices, I get concerned!

      • Don Reed

        Just to make sure she isn’t running, add her name to your Equibase “Watch List.” If you don’t have one already, start one. It really is an amazing resource, given the general antagonism in racing circles exhibited towards well-organized and competent management.

    • Elizabeth

      I work in a racing office and most are pretty nice about if you want to get in touch with a trainer about purchasing a horse from them. Depending on the racing office policy they can either outright give you the trainers number or they can leave the trainer a message for you. I have done this on several occasions for people. Good Luck!

    • Patrick Hagan

      General Perfect was scratched out of tonight’s 2nd.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        One can only hope it was because of all the uproar over Monzante!

  • louisbille

    “a state that has a reputation for lax regulations on medication policies” – the strictest of rules could be in place, and dirtbags will still break them. To quote our next president (in squawking tone): “at this point, what difference does it make?”

  • Barbara Wood

    I don’t know how much more of this my broken heart can take. It is an obscenity.

  • Judith Smith

    i have a virtual stable full of over 30 older warhorses just like monzante. if anyone out there has some brilliant ideas about how to help these horses, i’de love to know them. we tried for months to get mr. barracuda retired and he dropped dead on the track too.

    • Lisa Wintermote

      Publish your list! At least make the connex aware that some1 is watching….

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        Yes! Publish your list.

    • RIP Monzante
    • Carol Rennecker

      Yes! Publish your list. Connections will be made aware and there are lots of us out here in the other parts of the equine world willing and hoping to help/rehome. It would be an option instead of racing them in claims races and lower/lowest rung races/tracks. I have 3 OTTB’s of my own, 1 is a war horse having raced 78 times. Advocate for these horses to groups such as Canter, New Vocations Racehorse Adoption and others. They are wonderful groups with the best interest of the horses first and foremost.

    • Beach

      I saw the news report on that, and his name and circumstances on the Racehorse Memorial Wall, and thought the whole thing disgusting. But I appreciate knowing that someone tried to help him. Thank you.

    • Monica Horn

      Write to the racing manager for the owner. (not necessarily the same as the “trainer”). A friend of mine followed a horse for years. Noticed that, while having no health issues, he began to fall down in racing ranks. Concerned, she wrote the racing manager. They offered to GIVE her the horse IF she could confirm that he was going to a re-homing/re-training organization that was reputable. The racing manager OK’d it with the owner and the owner paid to have the horse shipped from NY to MD. The horse was successfully re-trained and re-homed in MD. The former owner of the horse then made a rather large, anonymous donation to the MD-based OTTB re-homing organization. Good guys DO exist in this sport. We just need MORE of them!

    • cdw

      I followed Mr. Barracuda for years and would gladly have retired him to my farm (and let each of the connections who claimed him know as much); I have never been so heartbroken as I was the morning I woke up to read the chart for his race the previous day and discovered he died on the track.

      • Judith Smith

        yes it was horrifying. gail hirt called mr b’s trainer right after the race not knowing he died and the trainer said ‘Yep. you can have him now–he’s dead.’ how’s that for heartless.

        • Beach

          There aren’t even any words bad enough for that.

        • Roisin

          Nice guy !! I would like to think he is the exception but know better. However, HE is not dead yet !
          At least no one can hurt Barracuda anymore.

  • Jeanette

    Heartbreaking – again. Seems the trend with geldings is “race ‘em till they die.” A sad, sad state of affairs for a sport that I love.

  • nu-fan

    Too many horses are dying on the tracks or in other cases to just as bad endings. They are treated far too often as disposable products by those who should be looking out for the horses’ welfare, not their own pocket books. Any wonder why this sport keeps losing fans? I’m just hanging on by a thread…..

    • Stanley inman

      Nu fan,
      Totally agree
      It’s institutional
      Accepted behavior because we permit it
      Embarrassment is a powerful weapon
      An Agent for change

      • nu-fan

        Thank you, Stan. I always look to your opinions and value them very much. One thing that concerns me, however, is that in order for people to be embarrassed, they must have shame. Do they? I am seeing more and more acceptance, in our society, for doing shameful things.

        • Roisin

          I’m afraid you are right…

    • Joy Aten

      Please let go…

      • nu-fan

        But, one reason that I keep hanging in there is that things will not change if I leave. I can’t turn my back on these horses but hope that if more fans get involved in horseracing, perhaps, the fans, the general public, and government legislation will help make some improvements in this sport. Heavens only knows that the horseracing industry is not doing anywhere enough!

        • Joy Aten

          Nu-fan, no longer being a racing fan does not equate turning your back on the horses. Many former racing fans have chosen to stop supporting the multi-billion dollar racing industry, but are advocating for change and are being the voice for the horses. And these folks are the horses’ biggest supporters! Not only are they begging for change, they are daily putting their money, time, and efforts where their mouths are by coming to the aid of horses like Monzante.

  • Judith Smith

    here’s some that have eyes on them and need more–cost of freedom, distorted groom, hollywood left,irish majesty. and does anyone know where researcher is?

    • Focustwo

      As far as I know Researcher is still owned by Kinross and with Neil Morris. I ask about him occasionally. Not sure if he’s hunting. Don’t think he took to racing over jumps.

  • Paula Watson

    same plight of DANZON. where is she? disappeared after a 6.25K claiming race. just because she couldn’t be bred (no uterus, literally), she was raced to death. IT’S A SHAME!!! DO YOU SEE AN END TO THIS?

  • christine

    Ever a Friend, G1 winner fell through the claiming race ranks to ultimately break down at 9yrs old on the track at Aqueduct. Almost $700,000 in winnings and a fractured ankle. I took him in to try and heal him because I couldn’t fathom situation. Penniless and old, Ever is healed and happy but life was certainly not fair to him. Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue, New York

    • Barbara Wood

      God bless Amaryllis Farm.

    • MA

      The similarities are frightening. Not the only Mike Mitchell-trained claimers-turned-stakes-winners-turned-claimers.

      • betterthannothing

        Or dead like ex-claimer Sun Boat, who fell apart one month after running badly in the Pacific Classic.

        • betterthannothing

          Sorry, Sun Boat fell apart after the Pacific Classic and was dead a month later.

    • Don Reed

      Type in “Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue” in Google Images, there’s a host of wonderful photographs about the operation (which I didn’t know anything about).

      (Phil Mickelson won the British Open; the Mets took a series from the Phil after giving up 11 runs in the first game; and there’s a cause that G. Paltrow, actress, supports that actually makes sense. Pinch me)

    • Beach

      And God bless you for that. And love to Ever…

    • Sandra Krupski

      A well liked horse. Thank you for caring.

    • greg

      he was trained by Mitchell as well, seems once he’s done with them they’re days (months) are numbered. He absolutely RUINS them forever

    • Leslie Kuretzky

      God Bless you

  • Herman’s Kennel

    Please remember also Ravishly , another race horse who perished due to human error

  • Ann Maree

    I fear this is just the tip of the iceberg….there likely are many more Monzantes out there. RIP Monzante. :-(

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Countless.

    • nu-fan

      Yes!

  • ern

    Ferocious Won, $503,177, 10 years old, just finished last by 39 L in a $4,500 claimer at FL.

    • ern

      He is available for $1,500 from Finger Lakes Finest on FB. Adrianne Rohena 518-281-1810. Sound condition

  • Canthingsgetworse

    This last paragraph says it all and sadly Monzante will not be the last. Thank you Ray!

    Compassion, common sense, and decency by any of Monzante’s previous owners or trainers would have stopped the horse’s descent to the lowest rung on the racing ladder, where the endings are seldom good.

  • J. Cleaver

    I imagine the previous owners are going to say they expected the horse to phone them.

  • Burton DeWitt

    What makes Monzante different than any of the other 9yo geldings running every day in $4k claimers at Evangeline Downs? Nothing, Ray. I’m not saying this isn’t a problem, but the problem wasn’t that they let Monzante continue falling down the totem pole. The problem is that the bottom rung is far too low, and it attracts horses far from able to guarantee a safe exit from the track. This still is a business and these low-end trainers still need to get a return on investment.

    No matter how you might pretend these numbers add up, you are too smart to believe that Thacker made a profit on Monzante. Even excluding jockeys fees, Monzante brought in about $30k after jockeys fees from a $10k investment, or a net gain of $20k over 14 months. Including feed and stabling fees, a low estimate had that turn into a loss by March at the latest. If you ask a small-time, low-end owner-trainer to bite the bullet and not try to recoup some of her loss — a loss that will continue to expand over time if there are no takers — is a tough and almost unfair ask when there are races carded to attract these horses.

    It’s a shame that this happened to Monzante, and it’s a shame that his connections allowed this to happen. But to try to implicate the connections as the main fault when the system encourages and promotes this is also a shame. The problem is not the connections of Monzante: the problem is $4k claiming races. The problem is the system.

    • Stanley inman

      Burton
      All your assumptions are wrong IMO
      Conventional thinking is what has got us to this point
      It will leave you a victim like monzante
      If you buy into it’s logic

      • Burton DeWitt

        So what do you propose we do to curb the problem? Saying I’m wrong is one thing; offering an alternative solution is something I’d rather see.

        • Stanley inman

          Before we act we have to admit we have a problem
          Many horsemen would not agree with that idea
          Ray hit the salient points quite well
          We love the horse
          The sport
          The business of racing is killing both

          • Burton DeWitt

            True, I agree with that. But I think it is both a human and an institutional failure, and Ray writes off the institutional problems without offering a means to correct the human ones. I don’t think we can correct the human problems without correcting the institutional ones, hence why I think Ray missed the mark. But I do agree with you: these owners and trainers do need to acknowledge that there is a problem. Unlike you, I’m too disenchanted to consider that a realistic possibility!

          • RayPaulick

            There are possible institutional failures, and I intend to follow up this week with the Louisiana Racing Commission on 1) why Louisiana does not follow RMTC and RCI recomendations on medication guidelines; 2) the guidelines for or existence of pre-race examinations at Louisiana racetracks; 3) whether horses require a minimum number of workouts before racing.

          • betterthannothing

            The lack of work-outs is definitively one huge red flag that needs to be addressed as it is seen too frequently before break down at lesser tracks. I wonder how much training Monzante even had. Too lame to breeze but okay to go after a check? Total incompetence?

          • Stanley inman

            Institutions are led by leaders in a community
            be surprised how many breeders
            Even in the bluegrass
            have zero interest in racing/sport
            What is that about?
            That’s where the problem begins

    • Beach

      Maybe, but I’d rather work in a gas station than in a system like this, racing animals that shouldn’t be racing, until they break.

    • betterthannothing

      Inesperado (FR) a multiple Grade II stakes winner trained by Bobby Frankel was killed in a $4,000 claiming race in Northern California.

      The problem is owners and trainers who want to race horses cheap and into the ground. The system is as broken.

      Racing Thoroughbreds for as low as $2,000 claiming over 4 1/2 furlongs at Los Alamitos is a total disgrace as well as at fairs. We all know why a Southern California based horse hits $10,000 claiming especially those who used to be able to run.

      Burton:
      I agree with you, regardless of earnings, all horses deserve equal protection against abusers and the morally bankrupt system. The cheaper the race the more dangerous it is for horses. However, there is no doubt why high earners become slow and cheap, they are hurting and their breaking down and dying on the track makes it even more disgusting.

  • Rowdy Morris

    hey ray, have you ever handled a horse, why do you have to bash the last guy to race him, goto the top my friend

    • pesposito

      Please read more closely-I think he was bashing the owners that got rich off of the horse. As soon as a horse goes wrong and is going to be a drain they dump. The current trainer, who is probably broke and trying to make it from race to race is not the problem here. She is just trying to get some of this horses back class to win for her. She has no choice but to run him, knowing she is taking a risk. But she and her horses, family, etc. have to eat. I am using this as an example of life as a trainer at a cheap track. I’ve put in my share of time at finger lakes in all capacities.

    • LP

      Somewhere in the chain of ownership, someone has to say “enough is enough” before a tragedy like this occurs.

    • Roisin

      The “bottom” can’t function without the “top” and the “top” would not be able to “function” the way it does without the “bottom”. The “system” is dysfunctional ! The losers are the horses. An owner that refers to a Racing Thoroughbred as an investment better think of it as a “losing investment”. The way to make a small fortune in racing is to start with a large fortune !

  • Jay Stone

    Not knowing his physical condition or why he was euthanized its hard to comment. If he had bad problems at such an advanced age he Should have been able to Live out the rest of his life on a farm

  • Otis

    Thank you, Ray, for reporting this. Please keep it on the front page for as long as possible.

    Where is I Want Revenge?

    • Sandra Krupski

      He was sold to stud overseas for big bucks.

      • Otis

        Where did he go?

    • Knowitall

      I Want Revenge was finally bought from IEAH for stud duty.

  • pesposito

    I really like the transparency in your article, Mr. Paulick. I think if anything would help these greedy people to step up to the plate, maybe it will help if other people know about it. Image seems very important to most people. It really is a shame how many people do not seem to have emotional attachments to horses that have laid it all on the line for them,

  • jo

    Race until they drop and collect on the insurance. and perhaps with the drugs in them. apparently it was at a track that does not do drug testing? rip monzant. you should have had a better life.

    • pesposito

      The low level claimers are not insured.

  • amgm1431

    Thank you for writing this and naming everyone involved. Thank you also for drawing attention to lax rules at some tracks, too many tracks.

  • ASL

    Racehorse owners need to seriously start asking themselves, “hasn’t this horse done enough to warrant a safe and happy retirement.” If a racehorse doesn’t want to do what’s right by the horse, s/he needs to leave the business sooner rather than later. Everyone on that chain of ownership bears some responsibility, especially when the horse could no longer compete in anything but claiming races.

    • sammy

      i couldnt agree more all these owners should be ashamed of themselves but the truth is it happans all the tiime its dusgusting

    • Roisin

      All claiming races should be optional. That would help caring owners who want to race their horses and not risk losing them. I know it is not an answer to the huge problem but it would help some horses, at least.

  • Richard C

    All these big names – titans of the sport – are prominently mentioned and not one cared a bit once they cashed their final check. To call this barbaric is an understatement.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Yes! Before poor Monzante hit the lowest level, “higher level” trainers had him. Instead of saying to the owner (at any point) that the horse should be retired, they trained him, put him in claiming races and washed their hands of him. This is why I do not believe trainers “love” horses. They love racing – and that is not the same.

  • debbie

    “It really is shameful to see the life of a horse good enough to reward his owners with a G1 victory come to this sickening of an end.” It’s shameful that any horse comes to this kind of end. Breakdowns are always going to happen, but in many cases you can see from the starts when a disaster is in the making. Oversight, oversight, oversight. These animals deserve so much better.

    • debbie

      *charts, not starts

  • ztbs

    thank you for sharing this information and all the details. So many could have helped him and so many did not.

  • Darlene Allison Anders Sanner

    Thank you so much Amaryllis Farm Equine Rescue for taking in “Friend
    There is a name(s) missing from this article Nowhere is there a mention of pre race inspecting vet(s) Someone pronounced Monzante sound and fit to race all along the free fall drop Maybe if one along the way, esp the last, vet scratched and said this horse should never race again,the outcome might be different

  • Cindy Rullman

    Most disappointing of all is that His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah, who stands out as a graceful, elegant man in an increasingly graceless and inelegant industry, could allow this to happen to one of his horses. I can’t help but wonder if he has any idea that his people threw the horse away. I hope someone tells him and he takes appropriate action to ensure that it does not happen again.

    This is exactly why so many people, like me, who used to love everything about racing, no longer participate.

    • Neil Morgan

      Please don’t assume all racehorse owners are the same. Our Grade 1 winner Kalahari King (FR) was retired at almost his highest ever rating after running badly in a G1, and came home to live on our farm. Look at him on Facebook (search for Kalahari King) and you will see he is enjoying life.

      • Joy Aten

        Unfortunately, you are one of just a very few. Thank you for doing the RIGHT thing for Kalahari King. I would still be a racing fan if MOST owners were like you.
        RIP Monzante…you deserved so much more.

  • Beth Glass

    There is a worse fate. Race horses who make it to the races on the southwest side of TUcson get dumped in the desert with no tail hair when their racing days are over. Even Barbaro’s half brother found his way to this side of hell… The TB industry needs to become more responsible for the horses that they breed and race.

    • Knowitall

      What half brother of Barbaro?

  • Helpless in PA

    So what can the average person who is not involved in the racing industry, but who loves thoroughbreds, do to make a difference?

    • Cindy Rullman

      Support one of the TB rescue organizations! There are plenty of good ones and they all need the help. You can also contact your legislators and ask them to support stronger laws protecting horses: anti-doping, anti-slaughter.

    • scoobynacks

      If nothing else, contribute to the Barbaro Fund at the University of Pennsylvania or things like that so that horses that get sick or injured can survive those injuries thanks to new technology or medicine. Think what might’ve happened to Paynter a few years ago.

      Do your research and make sure the TB rescue is a real rescue and not trying to get money out of you by pulling on heart strings, otherwise people get burned and are scared to support legitimate rescues. Some people will pull horses from a kill pen and plead for money to save them, and you’re either being intentionally overcharged or one of many people contributing money for the same horse. There are also some animal rescues that are run by hoarders under a 501(c)(3) banner. They care so much they actually overreach and it ends up being bad for the animals that they love and are wanting to help. An organization like Old Friends run by Michael Blowen is a way to sponsor some of the horses we’ve loved on the track who are now retired and hanging out in a pasture. It’s not about having them up for adoption, just giving them a place to live out their lives. Many are pensioned stallions or geldings who had careers like Monzante and now get to be safe.

      • RedShoesGirl

        i think your reply hurts more than it helps. absolutely people should do their research on rescue facilities, but to ask them to send their money to ultimately well-funded organizations like old friends is damaging those that are trying to get by on a shoestring. i am not talking about animal hoarders. how many low-level claimers are living out their lives at old friends? if they are taking in mostly stallions or geldings, what happens to the rest of the mares? where do they go?

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          I agree. Old Friends does help horses, but they do not really do it for free. I know someone who had to beg OF to take a horse and people had to come up with $$$$ for them to do it. Many of their pensioners are supported by previous owners. They have many visitors and many donations. Support other groups who don’t have such good support.

          • RedShoesGirl

            thank you.

          • betterthannothing

            RSG: Our Mims Retirement Haven

            If you want to support old broodmares too famous to be sent to slaughter after their productive days are over you could donate to the non-profit Our Mims Retirement Haven in Paris, Ky.

            Jeanne and her volunteers do a terrific job on a shoe-string. Some of their mares were found in awful conditions despite their accomplishments, after being left “on the back 40″ to fend for themselves, sometimes with cows eating cow hay. This is a great rescue and a bunch of unsung heroes without a PR machine like Old Friends.

            That rescue organized the return of champion Turkoman, a retired stallion related to Our Mims –the rescued mare who started it all– to his old Southern California farm (read Paulick Report story) where he is most comfortable.

          • RedShoesGirl

            that rescue sounds great, but i am already donating to two rescues as it is. no more $$ for someone on a fixed income. :-(

  • Lina_TX

    Thank you for writing this up on Paulick Report, where hopefully it will get the attention this deserves. I still find it hard to believe that Evangeline Downs even let the horse start, one work only after having been off for more than half a year pretty much sounds like a prescription for disaster to me.

    • Nancy

      Evangeline Downs is pretty much an “anything goes” track — if it looks like a horse and can, more or less, move forward, it will start — and the LHRB only minimally regulates any of the LA tracks. I doubt we will ever know Monzante’s actual physical condition as he went in the gate, nor will we ever likely know what was or had been in his system.

      • Beach

        It’s a sad commentary on anyone who considers himself or herself to have veterinary skills, that the horse was ever allowed near a starting gate.

  • RedShoesGirl

    i don’t understand how he died. he just stopped breathing?

    • Daine

      I watched the stream on the track website. It looks like an injury. He’s running a good race, and then he kinda jumps up a bit. his head goes up and he slows down, and I’m about 80% sure he’s favouring his front right. :/ Such a shame.

    • 4Bellwether666

      Quiet frankly my dear they ran him in the ground…

  • Fern Blair

    While we are at this, does anyone know where I Want Revenge disappeared to?

    • Knowitall

      As I said above, bought for stud recently, and I believe he is at a farm in Kentucky. Not disclosing who bought him just in case it isn’t public knowledge yet, but it is well known horsemen.

      • Patti Davis

        I read (above) your comment that I Want Revenge was overseas for stud duty? MANY people on different forums have been asking after him. I, for one, would love to know his situation.

        • Knowitall

          I’m not the one who posted a comment that he was sold overseas. If he was it was a flip or brokered to final destination after being purchased a few months ago by Kentucky horsemen. Several offers were made on him the past couple of years but his value had dropped significantly due to the mismanagement by IEAH, and yet for a long time they held out for a better price. Regardless, I feel certain it is ok to say he is not in harm’s direct way at this time.

  • Cynthia Hand Levario

    God Bless Robert Cole, for claiming back Shake You Down and putting out to retirement in the Thoroughbred Retirement Program. Stakes winner that went down the ranks but then Mr. Cole did the right thing by the horse. There are people out there that care about the horses and have a love of the sport. I wish there were more of them out there.

  • old horse lover

    OMG. This is disgussing.Poor horse.He tried and did all he could for everyone that had him and he was just run into the ground. May he rest in peace.and all the owners and trainers that had him and pushed him down the spiral to yesterday.I hope you like who you see when you look in the mirror.

  • Beach

    Too to many, they simply become rocks out of which you(plural) try to squeeze blood, and then you break them. I hope you’re happy. Monzante, may he rest in peace, is in a better place because he is now delivered from all of you who did this to him.

  • David Ramirez

    Reminds me of the movie, Requiem for a Heavyweight. Monzante was a really nice horse in his day.

  • Stewart

    Ray,

    Let me 1st say thank you for this story…it needs to be told and heard. It is tragic and there is no excuse for greedy and uncaring owners to let a horse spiral down the ranks like this after having the noted success on the track.

    With that said, I really wish you would do some research into the business that you focus your career covering and stop sensationalizing things that absolutely do not need to be. I realize you have never owned a horse and while this does not prevent you from reporting accurtate information, it is irresponsible to make claims that an owner “earned” anything without factoring in day rates, transportation, trainer %, jockey %, etc.

    The tragic facts stand on their own and there is no need to make claims about everyone making money off the horse when you have no basis to support this. Doing some basic accounting with average day rates and other expenses will clearly contradict your statements.

    Why not stick to the facts, leave out the sensationalized nonsense and / or spend some time learning the economics involved with thoroughbred ownership. The story is bad enough as it is, throwing in baseless comments about everyone making money off the horse adds no value whatsoever.

    Again, thanks for the article. Without this site stories like this would not have a forum.

    • RayPaulick

      I’m well aware of the costs associated with ownership.

      • Stewart

        OK, then why make comments you know are not factual? Why use “earned” when you know this is either false or a play on words because it technically doesn’t mean they netted this amount (although it is clearly implied).
        I want to stress again that I appreciate the article and there is no excuse for what happened to this horse. But this doesn’t make you distorting the facts right.

        • LP

          People who invest in horses do so because they have the disposable income/funds to do so. Nobody ever goes into it thinking that they are going to make a mint. If you cannot afford to care for the animal during and after his career you need to not get involved. There must be some sort of responsibility for the horse where owners are concerned. To say that the article consisted of sensationalized nonsense is crap. Maybe you need to re-read the article or know what in the hell you are talking about.

          • Stewart

            LP,

            I own horses and have done so for over 20 years. My horses are well taken care of, are retired when required and I ensure they have a good 2nd career after racing is done.

            Appreciate and respect Ray for what he does but hold him accountable like anyone else. Just because he is calling out something that is wrong should not give him a free pass. Maybe you should read the article again.

            “Including the claiming price, the Manoogians and Anastasi earned $512,864 off Monzante in the four years they owned him.”

            How is this not misleading? They “earned” 512K implies very clearly that they made this much money. These are the owners (in my opinion) that should have prevented the horse from spiraling down the claiming ranks by reclaiming him. But regardless, they did not “earn” anywhere remotely close to 512K off the horse after factoring in the 213K purchase price, training / etc. fees for (4) years and trainer / jockey commisions.

            “Robison got $39,880 out of the $20,000 investment when trainer Keith Bourgeois and owner Christine Hardy claimed Monzante for $10,000 at Fair Grounds on March 16, 2012.”

            Again, how is this not misleading? How do you “get” 40K out of an “investment” without factoring in the (7) months of costs? And I assume the 10K claiming price is included in the 40K number. If it is (as it was stated in another example in the article), this owner lost money on the claim.

            “The old warrior earned $29,965 for Thacker, his final owner, after being claimed for $10,000 just over a year ago.

            Everyone made out alright on this deal, everyone but Monzante.”

            And again, regardless of what you think of Thacker for giving the time off and running the horse for 4k, Thacker took a loss and did not “make out alright”.

            What happened to this horse is despicable. Ray running this site and reporting this type of information is respectable, appreciated and very much needed in this industry.

            Spinning facts and yes, sensationalizing the story, is not necessary.

          • LouisBille

            Today’s journalists put agendas on the front page, and facts on the back, behind the funny pages – and Ray has learned from the best (or worst) The Chicago Sun Times. Blur your vision with endless appeals to emotion, while the facts are minimized – The Chicago Way. Dead horses and greedy, rich owners smoking cigars, etc.

            Perhaps Ray should go to his breeder buddies/advertisers who flood the market with too much product? That is where this heinous cycle begins, but how many owners/trainers buy PR advertising?

          • betterthannothing

            This “heinous cycle” begins with people like you calling horses “product”.

          • Scott Goddard

            Betterthannothing just delivered the most astute post in this entire chain.

          • Beach

            Ditto

          • Stewart

            So I say numerous times that I appreciate Ray brining this type of information to the public, that there is no excuse for this happening and also add that I personally take very good care of my horses (active or retired).

            I call out Ray for obviously twisting facts for the sake of further sensationalizing the story (a story that was bad enough based on the facts and didn’t need to additional nonsense). He has no defense because he knows how he writes and that he massaged the facts to fit his need in the article.

            And from this you get that I call horses “product” and I am the problem?

            Why can’t you respect Ray without holding him to any standard of responsible journalism? Accusing me of being the problem is not only ridiculous but it doesn’t address the fact that Ray has a strong tendency to manipulate the truth / sensationalize his articles.

            Pointless argument I guess….generally get no where trying to throw some objective and logical criticism on this forum.

          • RayPaulick

            Stewart,

            When I refer to Curlin being the world’s richest horse, I say he “earned” $10,501,800. I know there was insurance, vet bills, day rates, transportation, mount fees, etc. To say a leading owner had so much in “earnings” does not take into account their expenses. There is no manipulation here.

            Incidentally, who are you suggesting lost money on this horse?

          • Stewart

            Ray,

            You know your Curlin analogy is not reasonable in this case…not even worth continuing this discussion. You know how you write an article, you know to some degree what the costs of ownership are and you know how you spin things.

            No one made money on this horse other than the 1st (2) owners. If you think otherwise than you really do not understand the economics of thoroughbred ownership.

            The bottom line is who made money is not the point of the article…the fact the horse was tossed aside by any owner after have significant success at the track is. This point is valid as I have said many times already and it is great that you are bringing this to the attention of your readers (and subsequently the industry).

            Just leave it at that.

          • betterthannothing

            “I call out Ray for obviously twisting facts for the sake of further sensationalizing the story”

            Okay Stewart, please list Ray’s “twisted facts” to see how objective and logical your criticism truly is.

            His using gross earnings is standard in the industry since net profit accounting per owner per horse is not publicly disclosed. No one expects anything else except you. Please focus on the tragic facts instead of trying to shoot the messenger.

            And because I genuinely love and respect horses I never call them “the product”.

          • Stewart

            I have never called a horse “a product” in my life….still have no clue where this is coming from.

            I already stated (and restated) the facts and why I take issue with Ray mixing in misleading info rather than sticking to the facts (when the facts are MORE than enough to get the brutal point across). I also stated at least (4) times that the primary focus is and should be on the tragic facts. And I have also repeated that this doesn’t make manipulating facts right or responsible.

            All done….move along…nothing to see here.

          • betterthannothing

            Sorry, Louisbille called horses “product”!

          • LP

            Those who own horses cannot expect to make out alright; it is glorified gambling at best. How you view the article is strictly your opinion. After reading the comments I would say that most interpret the article in a different light than yourself. Somewhere in this chain of ownership, regardless of the initial investment to purchase and own this horse, somebody needed to cease the insanity before the unfortunate occurred, as it did. Regardless how one views the article and its contents, hopefully it will increase awareness.

          • Stewart

            I agree with everything you said with the obvious exception of how I view the article. At the end of the day raising awareness and hopefully putting some pressure on the individuals in this chain of events will provide some positive change. Just want to say for the final time the article could have the same effect without stretching the truth. Agree in principle, agree to disagree on the method used.

          • Beach

            Thacker’s still alive.

  • larryburndorf

    And you picked this story up due to him breaking down, otherwise you wouldn’t of said a thing about Monzante. Am i correct?

    • RayPaulick

      I can’t answer that honestly because I did not know about him being entered for $4,000 until after the race was run.

      • larryburndorf

        Did you write an article about Diamond Stripes running for a nickel?

        • Knowitall

          Someone did back then, because DS ended up in clover at Old Friends.

          Or is this going to become a game of, “why this one and not that one so just don’t write about any of them”?

  • RayPaulick

    For what it’s worth, the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has absolutely zero influence over Evangeline Downs. Neither Evangeline or the other Boyd Gaming track participate in the NTRA’s Safety Alliance. In fact, only a handful of the “racinos” – racetracks with slots or casinos – are members of the Safety Alliance. These tracks have the most resources to ensure safety and appear to do the least to protect jockeys and horses.

    Your efforts would be better spent lobbying the Louisiana Racing Commission or publicly traded Boyd Gaming.

  • Marie Kennedy

    It’s just sickening that these people have no feelings for the horses who make them an easy life while the horse goes straight to hell.

  • Black Helen

    WHERE ARE THE PRE-RACE EXAMS AND SCANS BY VETERINARIANS?? THEY SHOULD BE REQUIRED BY EVERY TRACK IN THE COUNTRY, THIS IS THE EASIEST WAY TO CATCH MANY OF THESE PROBLEMS.

    RACING NEEDS A NATIONAL GOVERNING BODY TO IMPLEMENT STANDARD PROTOCOL.
    TO BETTER CARE FOR IT’S PARTICIPANTS, BOTH EQUINE AND HUMAN.

  • Hossracergp

    If you have been previously charged with animal cruelty and neglect, maybe the racing commission shouldn’t grant you a license. It doesn’t take much searching to discover that Thacker had not business near a horse, let along being a licensed “trainer”. If you are the type of person who allows an animal to starve, how can you act in the best interest of racing?

  • Kate Downey Corcoran

    Another tragic poster child for everything that is wrong in racing. Went through the hands of two Eclipse Award winning trainers on his way down. No one thought enough of him to allow him the retirement he deserved. We can’t change the lack of ethics on the human side of this equation, but I sure as hell wish we’d change the medication rules to allow these poor horses some kind of safety net against the greed that is churning this sport into oblivion.

  • Lexington 3

    Why wasn’t this article published in the days BEFORE the race, after the Entries first came out?

    Why wait until days later, after the horse has died?

    It is every bit as easy to read horse names on the Entries (before the race) as it is to read them on the Charts (after the race).

  • Amy

    Heartbreaking! And like many, question my love of the sport! One possible thought: tracks should not allow a horse to run in X number of claiming races. Or, perhaps end the “claiming” races. It is a dumping ground anyway. And, since this is the sport of kings, and the money involved is mind-boggling, set up a fund for each horse entered, or require farms to set up “retirement” homes for all horses produced. In the world of dog sports, those people involved in the AKC National clubs, are required to take back any dog they have ever produced!!! It is called responsibility.

  • 4Bellwether666

    Its a damn heartbreaker when an “Old Warrior” is just run in the ground by a bunch heartless money grubbing human beings…Bless His Soul…ps…This is a great piece of reporting from the PR and please keep it up…ty…

  • jane raymond

    You used the words compassion & common sense, I’m going to supplement them with two words I used – foresight and intervention.
    A total of eight people could not see the forest for the trees with this horse over a period of 25 months! He went from a $62k tag to $4k in that time and not a one of them had common sense (back to your word) to step back and say “I think this horse has had enough. We should find an OTTB facility”.
    Run him, loss, pass him on, run him, loss, pass him on. Every single one of those trainers should have seen the pattern – shame on all of them!

    • Beach

      I hope the trainers with resources have a lot of fun looking in the mirror these days. And shame, too, on the owners who don’t care and just see those horses as a playing card to be dealt to another person.

  • Pat Diers

    God Bless you Ray. You put into words what our little racing group was feeling. My friend Teri let me know about him right after he was put down and we have been posting his record his photos all over Facebook. We don’t want his death to be for nothing, Let this be our “shot heard ’round the world”
    Pat Diers

  • ronda markle

    I think the only good thing I see here is at least he was euthanized on the track, because I don’t think his greedy owner or trainer would of kept him around and he would altimatly have been shipped and ended in the slaughter house which is the very worst for any horse to have to go to. People wonder why we are losing are costumers at the races.

    • Roisin

      And who would have known about that brutal end ?

  • Leslie Kuretzky

    Very well written. I hope this goes viral to show everyone that Monzantes death was not in vain,. RIP Monzante , You deserved SO MUCH better than this :(

    • nu-fan

      It’s worth a try. Send this link to your newspaper and see if they will print it. Newspapers are having a tough time and need to rethink their purpose. If it is only to print the obvious, they will continue to decline. They should be journalists first and report on those things that need to change. And, I’ve never been ceased to be amazed at what I get when I just ask….

  • Steve

    More irresponsible and sensationalist journalism by Ray without even knowing all the facts. Hopefully Ray will have another job to do after he destroys horse racing with this type of “journalism”.

    • Knowitall

      It is “irresponsible” to report the truth? Other than knowingly gilding the lilly about the profit turned after expenses, etc. And at the bottom level, horses are running to create cash flow as much as “profit.” Ray told the truth here even if it does happen every day and has happened forever. It is a sad, if sensational, story.

      As for Ray, he has probably timed his retirement with more foresight than Monzante received.

    • ziggiepop

      And then there are people that blame the messenger. Ray does not need to print a word to know it is those within the industry that are killing it. Welcome to the internet, where secrets no longer remain hidden.

    • nu-fan

      No, Steve, don’t blame Ray for this. Fans start noticing the horses that are vanned off the track and start questioning the “sport” when this occurs far too frequently.

    • Beach

      Ok, if YOU know the facts, tell us the facts.

  • Susan Salk

    These types of stories are the ones that I suspect the public remembers. They blight out all the good, positive strides being made to help Thoroughbreds like storm clouds hide the sun. It’s just a shame. I wish more people would conduct themselves with more forethought and concern a) for their horses and b) for how their behavior reflects on an industry that is putting food on their tables.

    • Joy Aten

      Of course WE remember them!…I hope to high heaven that each and every horse that paid the ultimate price with his/her life for this multi-billion dollar industry is remembered! Those “good, positive strides” are coming a day late and a dollar short. It seems you might want just the “happy ending stories” told, but the long-overdue changes needed to protect the horses will not be worked towards unless these tragedies are exposed.

      I remember…each horse that died or ended his/her career being tossed aside deserves NOTHING LESS!

  • PEGGY SPRINKLES

    WHO IS JACKIE THACKER AND WHERE DID HE COME FROM? I WAS MARRIED TO A JOCKEY FROM GROVE CITH OHIO AND HIS NAME WAS CALVIN THACKER. ANY RELATION

    • Don Reed

      Which hyphenated name would look-sound better, “Thacker-Sprinkles,” or “Sprinkles-Thacker”?

  • backsideborn

    The owners should all be horse whipped!…SHAME on them> all of them, every single greedy one…and it wont beuntil something is done to them that thwy will even admit they have to do things differently…they will continue to say: oh well, the horse had every chance to win…under me….

  • PEGGY SPRINKLES

    REST IN PEACE MONZANTE

  • guest

    I see the “you don’t know what you’re talking about and have no right to write unless you’re one of us and have skin in the game” mob has arrived. Nice. It’s called editorial. If people with skin in the game systematically behaved with like decent human beings with regard to their animals such commentary would be unnecessary and you’d be a lot more popular of a mob.

  • Steve M

    Thanks Ray for being an advocate of the horse. This type of event happens frequently. Whether a former stakes winner breaking down in a claiming race or a less talented horse faltering in an obscure event.

    But this can be a game where bad stuff happens to well meaning people and nice horses. Truthfully it’s just not horses – this issue impacts athletics in general. We just don’t euthanize football players.

    When discussing this with Warren “Jimmy” Croll in the 1990′s, while he trained Holy Bull, he said “if they last long enough they all end up running for the nickel.” The bottom line is “there is something wrong with an industry that kills two dozen of its athletes every week” (Time 5/13/2013).

    What could be a partial solution? How about asking breeders to pony up 2% for each auction sale horse price and owners a $25 donation for each time a Thoroughbred starts. A small percentage could also be legislatively allocated through the wagering process. This money could be managed (The Jockey Club and the American Association of Equine Practitioners for example) and dedicated to racehorse rehab facilites, research, or pay for the humane euthanasia of horses with no future; as determined by a panel of local experts.

    Horse racing is losing 4% of its fan base annually. Animal welfare perception is playing an increased role in the decline. We still have a great sport. The clock is ticking.

  • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

    Thank you Ray. It’s almost unbearable to hear this kind of story, especially knowing it is not a rare event. But we all need to hear it and keep hearing it.

  • Spanky

    Any time a horse goes down it’s always a sad
    story whether it’s a $4,000 claimer or a stakes horse. The Louisiana Racing
    Commission does a very extensive pre- race examination and just because you
    only see one published work doesn’t mean he didn’t work several times at the
    training center where the trainer is based. Many training centers only offer
    published works once a week and if you don’t work on that day it’s not
    published. I also doubt the trainer
    would leg up a jockey if he thought it was unsafe. Not trying to make excuses
    but need to consider all the circumstances.

    Too bad Scott Anastasi and Jay and Gretchen Manoogian didn’t claim him at $20,000 or $10,000 and retire him as the horse had done so much for them.

  • ShuveeIL

    Not pouring fuel on the fire here, but where was this (level of) public outcry when Bob Baffert dropped multiple graded stakes placed Tweebster into the claiming ranks (first into an AOC for $40k, next in for a $12,500 tag) and he broke down in the latter race? Owner: Kaleem Shah Oh, I remember now, that precipitous drop was meant to be a “confidence booster,” according to Mr. Baffert.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Actually it was posted and people did comment. And really a much bigger crime. Multiple graded stakes winners do not need confidence boosters for losing at $40K. There is just no integrity.

    • Knowitall

      Damn, girl, you must have missed that lynch mob? To help you out, the difference here is that Tweebster wasn’t run down the ranks for years on end with many opportunities to do right by him. Not defending Baffert or Shah on Tweebster, but other than their high profile gaining notice of this particular incident of disposal, guess what? Former stakes runners get dropped into some level of claiming races EVERY DAY AT EVERY TRACK.

      But you know that, don’t you?

    • Don Reed

      Bob ALWAYS gets a free ride. Just like Tiger. Watch their reactions when people like Ray actually hold them accountable for what they do (or don’t do). Watch that painted-on, PR grin vanish!

    • RedShoesGirl

      there was an outcry in the racing pubic, but i doubt any in the overall public.

  • betterthannothing

    If equine medical records were transparent, we would know what injuries caused Monzante to fall from a graded stakes winner to a $4,000 claimer. We would know how many times his joints were injected and what was done to him until the day he died. Most of all, if those records were transparent and horses were protected with surveillance and security to assure that records are true, the abuse of that horse and others like him would have been prevented.

    Racing must become decent and transparent otherwise, at its worse, it is not much better than a mexican rodeo that brutally trips horses although cruelty in racing is not caused intentionally and not considered entertaining like it is at mexican rodeos.

    Race horses need to be protected from abuse before they are run into the ground, are dumped or killed. No authority exists solely and purely to protect the welfare and safety of race horses. Horses must become more important than money.

    An authority must be created just to protect horses. It would eliminate many problems related to their abuse.

    Earners of $500,000 or more should be banned from racing under $50,000 claiming. Earners of $250,000 or more should be banned from racing under $25,000 claiming and so on. I would like to see no racing under $5,000 claiming and the bar should be progressively raised from that level to promote decency and safety. Barn surveillance, banning abusers, criminalizing cruelty in racing. using minimal therapeutic medications within three or four weeks of a race, off-competition soundness monitoring, exams, transparent medical records, thorough pre-race exams, etc. are other measures that need to be taken to save horses like Monzante.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      I agree with all you say, and love the idea of controlling how far a horse can drop after racing at high levels.

  • Knowitall

    I just read on Railbird’s blog that former stakes horse Convocation was recently claimed by David Jacobson in NY and then dropped way down to a claimer a Suffolk Downs last week.

    But he was scratched.

    Because his former owner Centennial Farms bought him so they could retire him.

    So in between the bad, lets celebrate the good guys. Hat’s off to Centennial.

    • Don Reed

      I was wondering what Jacobson was doing, slumming around at Suffolk Downs. Think about it – the leading trainer of the last Belmont meet shipping horses to that downtrodden track. Why? 11th ranked trainer nationally with $3.5M in purses so far this year, and his name is on a program up there, and not in a graded stakes race, either. Weird and worse than weird.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        Yes, the horse cannot even make enough money to come close to paying the bills. What is the point of running them into the ground? Why would a trainer ranked 11th in the nation run at Suffolk? Why is every dime more important than a horse’s life?

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      That is wonderful! What a lucky horse – and what a great person to buy him back.

  • Smittymon

    I have owned a lot of horses over the years .Some faster than others but cared for them all after there racing days were over always found a home for them ,sometimes it took a little time and money ,one time only I sold one that I had just claimed for 10,000.00 well she hurt herself the very first time we worked ,no more racing for her sold her as a broodmare for three thousand, To my surprise she was entered to race at Charles Town race track. I Called the person I had sold him to told him I was going to stop the horse from running if I could .He told me to cross all my t’s and dot all my i’s.,because he had a Lawyer , I told him there were no t;s or i’s in #### you.
    I called the jocks agent told him about it he took his rider off and called the state Vet and sent her the x-rays and they scratched the horse and never ran again.Never sold one after that,just found good homes for them .

    • janna

      thankyou for that comment needs to be a way to designate the papers as NEVER to race again & the jockey club just turns a blind eye&says they cant do it…sometimes not the fault of present owner..we all know the jockeyclub can really do any dam thing they want…
      eed a program in place with maybe a reasonable fee to mark these papers&the minute they hit the race office horse is off grounds once again personable responsibility…every owner needs to figure that out

    • nu-fan

      You did the right thing. Wish there was some way to get you and the others who are in the industry to get together and form an organization to make certain that the racing industry raises its ethics. Think about it. Do you know others who have your decency and higher ethics? Band together and use your influence. And, as far as attorneys…I bet there are plenty who would like to represent such a group! Plenty of young graduates who might do it without charging a fee, just to get more clients.

  • Alicia Chittenden

    Thank you Ray for your commentary on this very important issue. New ownership in Thoroughbreds has become all about the money with no responsibility for these wonderful spiritual creatures. How honest of Monzante, to carry-on trying knowing that his life was reaching the end. It is a crime to our equine society and a sadness to all of us trying to help this situation.
    Alicia Chittenden

  • Steedara

    It is a sad world, showing such greed and lack of care for those who provide the success and money for their owners. I always considered my horses my children. I sold very few for fear of what might happen to them in the future. My one race horse raced for his owner/trainer because I didn’t think I could afford the training and racing myself, plus I was always working to support my horses (24 at one time). When he retired from racing I bought him back and began his show Career. It seems only right that a percent be taken from every horse that races and earns money, so that when the time comes for retirement there is money available to take care of him while a suitable home is found, not pushing him/her until they breaks down.

  • swaps55

    I am just a racing fan who got a solicitation the other day for Thoroughbred retirement funds. And I thought why don’t the guys with the big bucks fund this?

    If every Thoroughbred sold at auction or privately incurred a five percent surcharge from both the buyer and seller, both would feel only a little pain. Well off people threw away $700 million on all Thoroughbreds at auction last year. This surcharge – deducting five percent from each side of the transaction, would have generated seventy million dollars. Do this year after year and the retirement fund starts to get funded.

    But of course, people handling the funds will start to rip it off. Human nature, as we saw when banksters even sold non=existent mortgages in the 2008 economic collapse.

    • nu-fan

      From another “just a racing fan”, I have to agree and thought the same for some time. When one sees some of the high prices that are paid for yearlings, don’t they have some extra money to set up a fund for the future care for these horses? Of course, then, there are those horses that are bred for very little money and with people who probably should not be in the business because they do not have enough money to participate in this “sport of kings”. I fault the owners as much as anyone. If they didn’t invest into buying horses, it may restrict breeding to those who know how to do it right.

  • madprotester

    Sad but true this happens far to many time not just in Thrbds but Stdb’s and 1/4 horses. The racing industry is in trouble and this is a big reason. Where is the integrity of this sport. Owners and trainers that let this happpen should banned from owning or training. It is just Greedy selfish behaviour. No reguard for the horse. It is a problem that really needs to be dealt with.

  • slvrblltday

    I remember a day, not long ago at all, when the racing media we had
    would not have given this story a drop of ink or a column inch.
    Sickening, but glad these stories are getting TOLD. Thanks Ray Paulick.

  • Roisin

    I’m at the point where I think the unfortunates that are euthanized at the track are the “lucky ” ones. Lucky because they are not loaded, hurting and sore, on to a truck to begin a horrific journey to a brutal end

    I have always despised the claiming aspect of racing. And these “claimers” support the top tier of the business while they endure a life of misery going from barn to barn….

    One of my horses was a $4,000 claimer when I managed to get someone to claim him for me. I watched his last race as the jockey whipped him unmercifully when he had no hope of catching the winner and was lengths in front of the runner up. The horse was on a truck the next day to his home. The jockey needs a taste of that whip !

    I’m following some other claimers now as they descend through the ranks.

  • Deirdre Doyle

    Let’s not forget that many OTTB end up with a far worse fate: being sold at auctions to kill buyers who ship them in trucks with thirty other horses to Canada or Mexico for a horrifying visit to a slaughterhouse. You see it over and over and over again. The rescues do what they can, frequently contacting former owners, trainers, and breeders, who frequently refuse to help the horse. Shame on us all that such noble animals end their existence in suffering and terror.

    • ziggiepop

      And you are correct about the selfish and greedy former owners, trainers, and breeders who could well help and will not. How about the Canadian (and he runs at the Spa) owner of a good mare that lost her foal, and the owner was going to slaughter sell her. The breeder tried desperately to buy her for more then the owner would have gotten for killing her. The owner said no and sent her to die at the hands of bolt gun and slit throat. As far as I am concerned, he should not ever be allowed to run a horse on US soil.

  • Mary Turner

    I, too, would like to thank you for bringing this story to the forefront. Also as mentioned in another reply, the transparency is appreciated and sorely needed.

    Back in the 60′s, Panama had a policy to retire race horses once they had earned a certain amount….perhaps that is still the policy in that country. I’m sure that would be an explosive concept here in the US, especially if ROI wasn’t a factor in calculating the ceiling for earnings. It’s unlikely that such a policy would ever be considered in our capitalistic society. Plus also….it’s just difficult to legislate moral issues…like greed, and irreverence for the horses that provide the income. Grrrrr

  • Pam

    Optimizer? How many times have they ran him so far? Lucas will run this horse into the ground. I am going to follow him and start posting when he starts to fall in the claiming ranks which he will. You cannot run a horse month after month, year after year without it breaking down. Just maybe when the slid begins we can stop it.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      You should check Equibase before saying things like this. Optimizer has run 8 time this year, 2,2,1, and earned $453K. His best year to date. Horses are not full grown until between 6 and 7 (I took in a 6 year old mare on Derby weekend last year. She has grown an inch since then.) A horse without problems can be very sound once he matures. Kelso is a great example. There are many sound geldings.

    • betterthannothing

      Optimizer? A very well bred colt who has already won over $900,000. When colts like him retire they become stallions.

      • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

        Not when they’re geldings they don’t.

    • ziggiepop

      Who owns him?

  • Sabrina

    This is what gives racing such ab bad name… Trainers,Owner and Breeder need to learn that people are not going to like a sport where there Champion is having such an ending.. Why not give some momey back to the animal and give it to a rescue with a nice donation to show you care.. but what am I saying, they do not care…

  • cal gal

    glad you wrote this story, how sad, and what jerk owners and trainer…:(

  • swiss305

    Death in a claiming race is horrible and probably preventable. But, remember that there are worse alternatives such as abandonment or sale to slaughter. A horse who breaks down on the track is at least quickly euthanized. I have to think of that or I can’t follow this sport at all. So much needs to change.

    • ziggiepop

      But we do not know how they were treated before the break down. And as far as I am concerned, if you sent a horse to a known kill auction, or sell it to someone you know will send them to such an auction, that is abandonment.

    • nu-fan

      Agreed. It has to change, otherwise, fans and the public will continue to leave this sport. By the way, haven’t seen you post comments as much recently. Glad to see your comments here.

  • twadwis

    So if Thacker starved three horses to death in 1990 what are the chances this horse was fed as he should have been……want to bet he was thin ??

  • Gina Powell

    Thx Ray for your coverage of this story. Three things: First, claiming races are dumping grounds for sore and/or unwanted horses. Claiming g races are not necessary. They still can run for a purse minus the tag. So don’t let them tell you that claiming g is necessary for the sport – it’s not. Second, corporate barns (large outfits with high profile trainers that monopolize this business) such as Mitchell are a revolving door of horses. They keep stake horses, and get rid of non-performing horses at lower levels. Third, the industry does nothing to support small outfits whose horses are like family, and do everything to support the large outfits including huge blocks of stalls, while denying others, writing races for them, and even overlooking g rules. They get carte Blanche treatment giving them an unfair advantage. In the end, the horse loses, shame on Juddmonte Farms and the owners that earned $500,000. Either one if them had the means to take care of MONZANTE, and save him from this horrific fate.

  • Knowitall

    Many seem rightfully upset about Monzante. So why not rescue his stablemate First Command in his memory before it’s too late? One horse at a time. Just a thought…

    • nu-fan

      You are so right: one horse at a time. But, indiscriminate breeding has to stop as well. Otherwise the pipeline of these horses continue and there are only so many who can take them in.

      • RedShoesGirl

        exactly. and while breeders think they can breed the next zenyatta they will keep trying no matter how many of those foals fall through the cracks.

        • ziggiepop

          Until we start holding the breeders accountable for every one they breed. Both stud and mare owners should be on the line for “cradle” to the grave responsibility.

          • nu-fan

            And, perhaps, if that happened, they would be more careful on how they breed.

      • Roisin

        lt is almost overwhelming. As long as the breeding continues at such a high volume there is no way to keep up with all the horses at risk. It is like mopping up while the source of the flood continues unabated. I’m maxed out, but still added a beautiful sweet unwanted broodmare. Now there are eight that are safe.

        Horses are bred because there is money to be made and lots of it. Also there is dishonesty at these sales, but that is another topic. There is absolutely no accountability from breeders, owners/trainers and the bottom feeders. And so many of these unfortunate horses suffer outrageously as they descend in the downward spiral of the claiming game.

        Meanwhile, the big names rake in the money and never give a backward glance. These people do not care a whit about the horse except for how much money it can make and how it can promote their careers.

        • betterthannothing

          Sad but true, well said Roisin.

  • Nona Kaenel

    This horse should have been someone’s jumper, dressage, trail or rail horse a long time ago. Some people have no morals or ethics. Just disgusting.

    • RedShoesGirl

      how about you? your friends? your acquaintances, anyone you know willing to take in a horse and retrain it? or support a horse with monthly donations to a rescue facility?

      • nu-fan

        Actually, I have met people who have done just that thing: taken the former racehorses and retrained them. And, these individuals have told me that contrary to what many say, these retired thoroughbreds are easy to train and make excellent horses for other equestrian events as well as just as companions.

        • RedShoesGirl

          nu-fan, i know we are on the same page here. i am just asking if others on this topic are helping in anyway besides griping. look at all the comments – are those folks putting their money where their mouths are?

          • nu-fan

            RedShoesGirl: You and I seem to always on the same page. One thing though that always troubles me is the way that it seems the emphasis is on “other people” to help out with these horses. My contention is that those who are in the horseracing industry (and make money off of it) should bear the greatest burden of the responsibilities of their equine athletes. Too many horses and rescue groups, and, at the same time, not enough of you, I and others to take care of them. But, what is the industry doing in a very meaningful way, not just surface public relations efforts?

          • RedShoesGirl

            i understand, but since we can’t force those in the horse racing industry to take care of these horses, then we have to. and that means everyone who is willing to complain should be willing to help even if it is $5 a month.

      • Nona Kaenel

        Hey RedShoes – See the horse in my profile? He’s 21 now. I claimed him when he was 3. He’s spoiled rotten. And where did your horse come from or do you have one? So shut up.

        • RedShoesGirl

          i beg your pardon? since my landlord does not allow pets in my small house i make a monthly donations to a horse rescue group. do all of your friends have horses or support one? my point is it is very easy to criticize the business of horse racing and if people are tired of horses being abandoned or sent to slaughter, then they should be wiling to help in some possible way. and if they can’t have a horse, well, $5 a month should be easy enough to manage.

          being rude is the last resource of a small and angry mind.

      • Nona Kaenel

        See that horse in my profile? You see him? I claimed him when he was 3 and made him into a top barrel horse. I retired him at the age of 7 due to injury. He is 21 now and spoiled rotten. I didn’t throw him away. Next time you open your mouth, you better not assume. Where did you get your horse or do you have one? These horses need new careers and homes.

        • RedShoesGirl

          how many times are you going to reply to my one message? oh wait, your last reply telling me to shut up went away as well as my response, so trying again. my point was that people that criticize should be helping out and not just using words. even $5 helps. it’s great that you claimed a horse. but again, not everyone who decries the lack of horse rescues jumps in to help.

          i didn’t say you didn’t help horses, i simply asked if you and your friends do.

          as for having my own horse, my landlord does not allow pets, but i do contribute monthly to one horse rescue organization and occasionally to others. for someone on a limited income it is a chunk out of my pocket but i believe what i espouse.

          now, before you become rude again think about rudeness as being the last resort of a petty and angry mind unable to see the larger picture.

          oh, lovely horse you have.

  • polowonder

    It’s not only the people involved, but the system itself which promotes the idea of making a fast buck and let the next guy take care of the problem. Claiming races were created as an easy way for racing offices to classify horses other than by handicaps. Now that every horse in every race earns a beyer figure (there are even pars at most tracks for all types of races) wouldn’t is be just as easy to classify horses by beyers earned over life or last race or last ten? Take the temptation of a quick profit and out away and care will increase greatly as well as the elimination of profiteering.

  • Tom

    Diamond Stripes who won over 1.4 million dollars and raced in the 2007 BC Classic was racing in a 5k claimer just over a year ago at Sunland Park. He eventually retired to Old Friends

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      That is just too sad – but good that he was saved before something bad happened. But how does it happen? Why are horses who have already earned their money and clearly are not sound – or would not be sliding down the ranks – just treated like dirt? I hate that the higher level trainers just dump them instead of trying to find them homes right then. And I’m sure that somewhere along the way, when he was earning big money the trainers said how highly they thought of him! Yeah, until he couldn’t make any more money.

  • Denise Matthews

    First, thank you for writing this and exposing the truth about running the horses to their death for a few dollars. There will be more, unfortunately, before the rules change to protect the horses. Another point that needs to go along with this is the fact that, should the racing industry change the rules to set aside money from the purses to fund their retirement, now we need to have a place for them to actually go to.. We need more farms, run by competent people to care for them. As it stands right now, there are only a handful of them in the US, and thousands are born every year. The whole system needs an overhaul! RIP, Monzante…such a shame…

  • RedShoesGirl

    so how many people commenting in this thread actually donated money to horse rescue since this story ran, since i posted the links where you could help out a couple of places?

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Personally I own 3 TB’s I purchased who will have homes for life (as long as I am able). I also run a horse rescue, so have 8 other horses who will have homes for life. I would do more if I could afford to.

      • RedShoesGirl

        you are awesome!

        • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

          Well I am lucky in that I can do something. It is impossible NOT to do what I can. Horses are marvelous animals who give all they have and ask for extremely little.

    • old horse lover

      Give every month also to St Jude Hospital.Help the helpless every way I possibly can.

  • thevoiceoftruth69

    I think some people are painting claiming races in a bad light. I know many people who successfully campaign claimers and do it with class and the horses are happy. People also lose sight of the fact that many horses enjoy training and the compeition. I think this horse should have been given the dignity of retirement, but to say claiming races are evil is said with a lack of true understanding. Racing can be exciting whether it’s a $4,000 race at Delta or the Breeders Cup. With better oversight, the system can be fixed as it currently is setup, but illicit drugs and abuse of thereapeutic medications allowed by jurisdictions. Most people I know who have claimers stop with them at the appropriate time.

    • ziggiepop

      And the illegal horse racing in the desert by the Mexicans are also exciting, but it doesn’t make it right. And that racing is evil and not a mention of stopping that.

  • hoofandpick

    Claiming races are evil. Injured race horses are forced to run in claiming races to “pay for their room and board.” Trainers tell you this. Drug cocktails are mixed, swished and injected into race horses to block the pain associated with their injuries. No one should wonder why these catastrophic injuries occur. Imagine, crippling arthritic knees, ankles, hocks, fractured withers before the age of 4 in a race horse?
    Thank you Ray for posting this article.

  • Kate Quigley

    Such a tragic story, but thanks for writing it. Maybe raising awareness will save others from a similar fate.

  • Sandra Warren

    One thing I would say to people who would like to buy one of these horses and retire it off of the track, is that you get more flies with honey than vinegar. Be nice! Calling trainers and telling them they are SOBs and you are going to call the stewards if they continue to enter a horse not only makes them not want to talk to you, but also sours trainers about talking to anyone who would like to buy the horse. If a horse is running competitively for $8000, you can’t buy him for $500. I’ve managed to get a number of these good horses, and it’s very easy when 1) I’m nice; 2) I know what the horse is actually worth right now. I don’t think I’ll shock anyone if I say that there are more pigheaded people in racing that would cut off their nose to spite their face than in any other industry in the world. If a trainer has been criticized publicly on every forum on the internet, he’d rather die than retire that horse to an organization that he knows will only say, “Thank God we were there to get him now before he died.” Be nice before and after the sale, be prepared to pay what the horse is actually worth, and you will be successful.

    • nu-fan

      I’m glad that you mentioned this about some trainers. One horse that I have been following had a trainer who graciously corresponded with me when I asked him to put me on the “waiting list” should the owners decide that the horse was not longer needed. This horse continued doing well on the track but recently got claimed. When that happened, that original trainer contacted me and assured me that he would continue looking out for this horse for me. In the meantime, I am going through the process of trying to get a hold of the new trainer to make certain that he had my contact information. Know nothing about this new guy but know that I wish that he was still in the hands of the original one. My senses told me that was the trainer I could trust. Also, he came with high recommendations from one of the track management.

  • cindy

    The Thoroughbred industry makes me sick.

  • Ohio Bred Girl

    Ought to be a regulation that if a horse wins at X level, he can’t run below Y level. Not sure what those levels should be, but for my money a G1 winner shouldn’t run below ALW.

  • Ohio Bred Girl

    It’s not always this way. Happier ending involving an owner: a friend and I worked to have a non-graded stakes winner claimed from low level ranks. His trainer at that time flatly refused to sell him. We couldn’t afford his $4K claim price, but his *original* owner, who’d won the stakes with him four years before that, sent us the money. The horse is now living the good life. Stories of good owners need also to be told.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Great to hear a horse got what he deserved. He’s a lucky boy. And nice that the previous owner cared enough to actually send money.

    • Beach

      HUGE KUDOS!!

  • Tonto

    Maybe horses need a 401K plan

    • nu-fan

      They need a “social security” plan paid for by the breeders and owners.

  • Sam

    Too bad this happens all that much in horse racing. I don’t know what the answer is, other than enforcing the regulations so the horses don’t get doped up too much. Much of this is caused by GREED. I love horses too, but have finally quit betting on them. My guess is – nothing much will be done unless we quite horse racing entirely – and that ain’t gonna happen.
    Slammin Sam

  • R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Stringent pre-race veterinary examinations must be carried out for every horse that races because if certain owners or trainers do not have enough common “horse sense” or compassion to quit on a horse before it is fatally injured or injures a jockey then the veterinarian should.

  • we’re watching

    I recently attended Monmouth races and in the first race everyone raved about a horse claimed by the trainer and dropping him to 5k. He surely would win at 4-5. Instead, without much announcing of the fact, he stopped suddenly on the backstretch and his racing days were over. Out came the curtain on the backstretch and not many people other than me knew the fate. The ambo comes out, the winch is drawn, and away goes the fierce fighter. Saw him in the paddock next to me, and not ten minutes later, the big guy was gone. Something needs to happen to prolong the life of these lower level athletes.

  • Mary Jo

    Thank you for the article and, as someone mentioned, for naming the connections. I am also glad to hear something about I Want Revenge – have been trying to get info on him for years. Would love to know what country. But on a positive note, Convocation, was purchased by Centennial Farms (his first owner, I believe) from Jacobson after learning he had put him in a 4K claimer at Suffolk Downs!

    • Roisin

      As far as I’m concerned Jacobson is the king of claimers and I don’t mean that as a compliment !

  • betterthannothing

    Ray Paulick tweeted: “Looking for suggestions here: How does horse racing prevent the next Monzante outcome, or should it even try?”

    Not only racing should try, it must pass serious reforms to avoid horse abuse and ban the ignorant, desperados, morally bankrupt, cruel and crooked owners, trainers, vets and assorted enablers.

    Since the industry will not reform itself, a national racing commission must be created to reform and police racing, establish uniform rules and higher standards. What is going at some tracks like Evangeline Downs –one of the most lethal TB tracks in the country– is totally unacceptable. Within the national racing commission, a department should exclusively dealing with protecting the welfare and safety of race horses.

    • betterthannothing

      going on
      be dealing

  • Kroeber

    The Blood-Horse deleted Steve Haskin’s article on Monzante. Several people have requested an explanation but none has been given. Hm, could it be that some of the entities that have been called out are advertisers?

    • Don Reed

      The Bloodhorse is STILL in business?!

      Nothing personal about Steve Haskin, who is a very decent guy and considering the amount of contaminating boilerplate he has had to pump out, still quite the capable and perceptive writer/author.

      But on the whole, how BH remains afloat is beyond me. It might be, at this point, a vanity publication, in which case articles about situations like Monzante would be their least priority.

      I subscribed to it for many years, thought highly of it & filled scrapbooks with their articles and photos; aside from being a perfect astronomical black hole as far as humor was concerned, it was a pretty good deal for this racing fan.

      Today, it reminds me of the sad final years of Milton Berle, once one of America’s greatest comedians, now reduced to pathetic, Side Show Bob roles just to stay in some sort of spotlight.

  • Convene

    Couldn’t someone at some point just have said, “Thanks for the great ride. Now how would you like to be somebody’s riding buddy?” Surely to goodness he earned that much. I always liked this horse and this is heartbreaking – and disgusting.

  • frances perney

    The sad fact is there are too many horses and not enough land to retire them. I love TBs, always have, and love them in disciplines other than racing. (Once rode a super cow-y TB, she was a BLAST!) But the simple fact is that I don’t have enough money or space to save them all. I am currently retraining an OTTB that was a claimer and somehow ended up in a distant county walking down a rural road, about 400 lbs underweight, lame and dragging a halter and rope. After a year of lay-up with constant re-wrapping (his entire left leg was covered in rope burns, and there was a huge one right over his hock – luckily it never got infected or got in the joint), he was cranky and rude and who could blame him? He raced for seven years and now not only didn’t have a job, but was on stall rest. He finally got his clean vet papers two month ago and we’ve been in works getting in shape, etc. His attitude is totally different – he’s not rude now, though he is more full of himself! He loves having a job again. I have a place to retire retire him to when he doesn’t want to work any more, but I’m lucky in that sense in that I know people with land who are willing to take on an extra horse.

    This is taking a lot of time and money and resources that frankly, I can’t do again right now. He is too much of a horse to be just a trail horse currently, he isn’t balanced enough yet to even keep a 20m canter circle for dressage, he still needs retraining, and luckily I can give that to him and have him in a facility where he can thrive and still afford it. But many people don’t have that luxury.

    I think it’s time we stop breeding so many horses. Cap the number of mares a stallion can cover, or how many foals a barn can produce in a year.

    (I tracked down my horse’s breeders, and was delighted to see that they now have a page on their website devoted to their horses in careers other than racing when that didn’t work out. I can’t wait to add my guy to the list.)

    And seriously, support organizations like CANTER and look at their training listings and support those trainers too. I got my boy really only because he was so cheap – I can’t afford a $5k claimer right now. This is also why I think humane euthanasia needs to be talked about more realistically. Don’t run them into the ground. If they aren’t happy and healthy and there’s no room at the inn, please don’t let them suffer. It’s a responsibility that every owner has, and I think all the people in named in this great article should have taken a moment to think about whether putting him down might have been the best thing for him. But that’s a big difference I see in horse people – whether horses are “companions” or “commodities”. Sadly, commodities are where the money is.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      Very well said.

    • betterthannothing

      Frances, re. rope-burns: do you think your horse was tripped repeatedly? Thank you for saving him. Jen Roytz who writes great stories about OTTBs for the Paulick Report might be interested to feature your horse.

    • RedShoesGirl

      exactly and kudos to you!

  • minismom

    the price on “mistake” is best offer over 750.00 not one 1 – sorry for the confusion

  • JL Livingstone

    Thank you for this truthful and disturbing report. Some people have as much greed as they have money.

  • betterthannothing

    Thank you for that sad story. Since he is capable of starving horses to death, get away with it and still keep his owner and trainer license in LA, it must have hurt like hell to pay a vet to euthanize Monzante. The more we know the uglier it gets.

  • Joy Aten

    I didn’t forget her, and never will. I suspect the same is true of many others that were disgusted and saddened by what was done to her. Just because these horses’ names are not in print repeatedly in some forum does not mean we’ve forgotten. Monzante, Burna Dette, Brave Miner, Winds of Love, Slade, Dream Deliverer, Lou’s Expectation, Celtic Trick, Storming, Cabriolass,……gone but never forgotten….

  • RedShoesGirl

    that’s a pretty sad story.

  • Bridget Rosser

    Excellent and well balanced article. The racing world needs to wake up and realise the public at large are slowly being educated to their dirty secrets. No-one is asking for anything exceptional but for owners to take decent responsibility for their horses, even more so, those that actually are successful. Saying “he died doing what he loved best” simply does not cut it any more and just because it has been going on a long time does not make it right. Thank you for such a brilliant piece.

    • http://www.theracehorseexperiment.com/ Maureen Tierney

      That ridiculous statement “He/she died doing what he/she loved” makes me ill every time I hear it. TB’s love to RUN, not necessarily race. And I’m sure the horse would rather be alive.

  • Kris

    So what major changes can we all expect nationwide in the operation and current rules of racing???
    Can’t wait to hear what will actually be officially done to prevent this after all the outrage over yet another racehorse death has subsided…..how many million does that make it??
    I don’t care if the Racing Stewards agree with the outrage…I only care about what official nationwide changes they will make immediately to prevent this murder in the future.
    Talk is cheap and meaningless without corrective action from those in charge nationwide.

  • Catherine

    My initial interest in horserace began through following Zenyatta. I went to Del Mar, Hollywood Park, and Santa Anita to watch her run. Since that time I have become aware of the fate of most of the racehorses and it is not a pretty picture. If owners are not willing to take responsibility for their horses then why not impose an automatic fee deducted from the purse earnings? – just as jockeys and trainers earn a percentage why not set aside a percentage for the horses? What about all the money that is wagered?- if the house gets a percentage why not a percentage for the horses? The money is there and if owners and those who profit from horseracing can’t discipline themselves from within to provide for the humane care of these wonderful animals then they need to be disciplined from an outside source. The industry needs to make it a priority, honestly face the issue rather than trying to cover it up. If not then the enthusiasm of new fans will turn into disillusionment with the industry as reality settles in. RIP Monzante and may your story help bring a much overdue change in the care of all racehorses.

  • Alison

    Did you ever think that by rescuing horses off the track, you are allowing racing to continue with no major changes? To change the laws the horses have to suffer terribly and rescues do prevent some major suffering AFTER the horses racing career is over. It’s a battle for public opinion!

    • ginger2000

      The number of horses rescued is tiny compared to the number of racehorses who die or are sent to slaughter. Even if there were no horses rescued racing would continue – just more horses would go to slaughter. This is not a case of puppy mill breeders, where not buying from a pet store might make a difference.

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