Allegations Tarnish Cost of Freedom Retirement Story

by | 01.09.2014 | 4:50pm
Cost of Freedom was the center of a fundraising effort to retire the horse in late December

It started out as a feel-good story on the week before Christmas – two racetrackers in Southern California working together to retire an aging Grade 1 winner and millionaire who'd fallen to the bottom claiming levels. But that sweet story turned sour when one of the parties involved was accused of attempting to conceal and misappropriate funds being raised to purchase the horse and retire him to a good home. A complaint was filed with the California Horse Racing Board to look into the matter.

The horse at the center of the controversy is the now 11-year-old Cost of Freedom, winner of the G1 Ancient Title Stakes in 2008 and earner of $1,018,799. When he was entered in an $8,000 claiming race at Betfair Hollywood Park Dec. 21, John Malone, a former trainer and current head clocker at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar, made some inquiries about getting the horse retired.

Those efforts escalated after Cost of Freedom ran poorly, beating just one horse, though he was claimed out of that race.

Enter trainer Carl O'Callaghan, who Tweeted shortly after the race: “Retire cost of freedom hasn't he done enough? Runs 2nd last for $8000 (greed)”

Malone and O'Callaghan talked and hatched a plan to raise money to buy the horse, using social network platforms like Twitter and Facebook to reach potential donors. With assistance from an acquaintance, O'Callaghan opened an account on PayPal, and money started flowing in. Dozens of people donated to the cause on Dec. 22, the first day the PayPal account was set up and several wrote checks in increments as large as $500.

Malone, meanwhile, worked out a deal with Cost of Freedom's new trainer, Robertino Diodoro, paying him $8,666 out of his own funds while waiting to see how much could be raised. Mission accomplished: Cost of Freedom was retired.

Carl O'Callaghan with retired racehorse Kinsale King, now a show jumper

Carl O'Callaghan with retired racehorse Kinsale King, now a show jumper

An individual who'd heard about the fund-raising effort was concerned that O'Callaghan was handling the money, and contacted Thoroughbred owner Maggi Moss, an Iowa attorney who had found homes for numerous ex-racehorses and personally funded their retirements. The individual had heard stories about financial responsibility issues involving O'Callaghan, whose rags to riches tale was widely celebrated during the successful run of top sprinter Kinsale King, winner of the 2010 Golden Shaheen at Meydan in Dubai.

On Dec. 30, after talking with Malone, Moss put out a request on her Facebook and Twitter pages for anyone who had made donations to the Cost of Freedom retirement fund to email her with details. She received numerous responses.

The following day, Dec. 31, in a text message Malone asked O'Callaghan if he could provide an accounting of donations made via check, cash and PayPal. O'Callaghan replied: “Everything that has come in to me I will add up and send you.”

Two days later, on Jan. 2, O'Callaghan texted Malone that everything was ready to be picked up: checks, cash, and printouts showing what he said were all of the PayPal transactions. “I will send you the only two checks and all I have at PayPal,” O'Callaghan texted to Malone.

O'Callaghan had transferred $3,225.38 of PayPal donations to Malone on Dec. 30, made a second transfer of $300 to Malone later that same day, and a third payment of $70 on Dec. 31. The packet O'Callaghan sent to Malone included $225 in cash from three checks made out to O'Callaghan that he had deposited in his personal bank account, along with two uncashed checks for $90.

Included were two sheets of legal-sized paper with printouts from PayPal documenting a total of 57 transactions, separated into six different blocks, all of varying lengths. Malone shared the PayPal documents and other information with Moss, who could not find the names of numerous people who had contacted her saying they sent donations to the account O'Callaghan was managing. Furthermore, there were at least two unaccounted checks made out to O'Callaghan of $500 each.

That same day, Jan. 2, Moss wrote a letter to Rick Omieva, supervising special investigator for the California Horse Racing Board, asking the CHRB to try and determine whether O'Callaghan, a licensed trainer, had misappropriated funds sent by members of the public with the intention to purchase and retire Cost of Freedom.

“I am very hopeful,” Moss wrote, “that regardless of how this works out, that his bank accounts are subpoenaed, to try and rectify the monies people sent for this horse that is now missing. In my short time, I have now been able to locate at least six people that the money they sent (usually larger denominations) is missing.

“I have thru texts between John Malone and Carl…he has stated that he has now turned over everything that he has received thru Jan. 2, 2014.

“Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further information. This only hurts all the people that give to help the horses, and ultimately, I would like it to be revealed so this does not happen again.”

Two days later, on Jan. 4, not satisfied that the CHRB would act quickly enough, Moss went public, making allegations on Facebook and Twitter that she had “assembled the proof that Carl O'Callaghan has misappropriated money donated” for Cost of Freedom.

“What the (deleted) is going on with Maggi Moss?” O'Callaghan texted Malone. “She is saying you didn't get the money.”

O'Callaghan began calling Malone, as comments critical of O'Callaghan on social media mounted. In reactions on Twitter, O'Callaghan said it was all a “misunderstanding” and “just a small hiccup” because some of the money donated had not yet “cleared.”

“I turned over what I had at the time,” O'Callaghan Tweeted. “There was still checks in the bank that have cleared now.”

Moss wasn't buying it.

She sent a text message to O'Callaghan: “I have your text that you have turned over all the money you have on Thursday (Jan. 2). I have the printouts of people that have PayPal-ed you money and so much more. The only way this is ever going to be cleared up is if you fax me the original PayPal account and your bank accounts.”

The following day, Jan. 5, O'Callaghan faxed five pages of a complete transaction history of the PayPal account, which documented 101 not 57 transactions between Dec. 22 and Dec. 31, along with some deposit records from his bank account.

Comparisons of the complete PayPal transaction history with the PayPal printouts supplied by O'Callaghan to Malone on Jan. 2 show the latter documents were incomplete.

On the complete and accurate PayPal transaction history there were $5,518.18 in donations designated for the Cost of Freedom fund between Dec. 22 and Dec. 31. In the printouts O'Callaghan provided Malone on Jan. 2, the total PayPal donations from Dec. 22-31 amounted to $3,507.98. Also missing from O'Callaghan's printouts was $1,911 in transfers made to his personal bank account.

On Dec. 30, five checks designated for Cost of Freedom were posted on O'Callaghan's personal bank account. On Jan. 2, in a note to Malone, he listed only three of those checks ($100, $100, $25) and turned over $225 in cash. He did not list two separate checks for $500 each posted on the same day as the three smaller checks.

O'Callaghan denies that he concealed anything from Malone on Jan. 2. “She's making a big (deleted) song and dance about stuff missing,” O'Callaghan said of Moss on Jan. 4. “I've been busy with my family, and it's not like I need the money.”

Two days later, however, on Jan. 6, O'Callaghan turned over $2,911, representing the $1,911 he had transferred from PayPal to his personal bank account and the two $500 checks he deposited into his bank and that were posted Dec. 30.

O'Callaghan also denies that he “doctored” the PayPal printouts sent to Malone on Jan. 2, which he represented at the time as complete.

Yet, when asked by the Paulick Report, why the PayPal printouts were so irregular in length, O'Callaghan had no explanation other than to say, “The documents were not doctored. It's what I printed up in the racing office. The things (transactions) should have been in there.”

Upon closer inspection, it's apparent the PayPal printouts given to Malone were “cut and pasted” onto a legal sheet. Printouts from the PayPal website list 20 transactions per page. Comparisons between the printouts O'Callaghan gave Malone with the actual PayPal activity history show how the documents were accidentally or intentionally altered:

–On the first page, detailing the most recent transactions, eight of 20 transactions were cut off from the bottom, beginning with $1,411 withdrawn and transferred to O'Callaghan's personal bank account and continuing with seven donations.

–The second page was complete and unaltered, with 20 transactions, all donations.

–The third page listed just three donations, with 16 donations and one $500 withdrawal to O'Callaghan's personal bank account cut from the bottom of the original printout.

–The fourth page listed 11 donations, with nine cut off from the bottom of the original printout.

–The fifth page listed 10 donations, with 10 transactions deleted from the bottom.

–The sixth and final page had just one donation, made when the account was activated.

In a note faxed by O'Callaghan to Moss on Jan. 5, he said the reason for the withdrawal of funds to his bank account was “to see how the heck we were going to do this.”

It wasn't until after being confronted that O'Callaghan told Malone about the two withdrawals totaling $1,911. The amount is similar to the total donations missing from the six pages of PayPal transactions O'Callaghan sent on two legal sheets to Malone on Jan. 2.

Malone, like Moss, is convinced O'Callaghan was trying to conceal or misappropriate donations designated to retire Cost of Freedom. Malone is considering legal action against O'Callaghan to determine if any other checks designated for the Cost of Freedom fund may have been cashed. The PayPal account that O'Callaghan told Moss and Malone had been closed was still active as of Jan. 6.

John Malone with Cost of Freedom

John Malone with Cost of Freedom

“I was hoping that some of the stuff I saw wasn't true,” Malone said of the transactions that were not included in the paperwork he received Jan. 2. “It's sad to think that this could happen in a situation that could have been a good story. I'm trying to focus on the positive, but this is really eating me up. I do not want to be associated with something like this.”

The good news, Malone said, is that the horse is enjoying being let down as he enters retirement at Malone's Temecula ranch. “My daughter Megan even said it seems like he's always been there. He's happy and in good hands.”

The CHRB on Jan. 9 said it would not comment on the matter.

  • Harry

    Hum, seems someone has finally caught Mr. O”Callaghan in a bad situation. The other thing is if they had not stepped in Diodoro would have hauled the old horse to Turf Paradise and dumped him in for $3,000 claim. That’s what he does with all his bad claims and cripples.

    • 4Bellwether666

      These folks sound like Horse pimps…

      • betterthannothing

        Abusers deserve to be banned from racing and abusive tracks deserve to be shut down.

    • Zaffiro

      Actually there was another group who had the money and a great place for the horse till present group got so involved. So COF would not have continued to race.

    • Rita Ledonne

      The WC version of DJ

  • Ray

    Keep it up Ray untili all of these filthy SOBs are run out of town (of course one does wonder who will be left).

  • DinkyDiva

    What a mess. I hope that there is no wrong doing in this situation. O’Callahan is a good guy as is Malone and Moss.

  • Ann Maree

    I believe in Carl and am so saddened that his good name has been dragged through the mud in an honest effort to be helpful. The whole thing transpired over a very few days and it is easy to understand that an instant accounting was not possible. Seems that his accusers may have judged him based on their own lack of character. They have lost a lot more than what they have tried to take away from Carl. As they say, no good deed goes unpunished. An innocent desire to help a friend turned into a nightmare for a very good man. There are many who stand by and support Carl. Bottom line, though, Malone would still be trying to figure out how to help finance the retirement of CoF, a laudable goal but one he obviously was ill-equipped either financially or had little knowledge or expertise to undertake. He should thank Carl and not be accusing him of anything dishonest. Go Carl O’Callaghan and Kinsale King!!!

    • Ann M. Adam

      Me thinks thou doest protest too much, lassie, Ann Maree. I back Clan Malone. Clan O’Callaghan has all the negative physical evidence. Nothing negative on the part of the other two, only your attempt to spin.

    • Chantal Smithless

      Because I recently was involved in a very small scale “rescue” of a Thoroughbred who was in a parallel situation to that of Cost of Freedom and which necessitated using social media and relying on the generosity of every day, middle income people’s hard earned monies, I hated to hear about this occurring. This incident is likely to make another endeavor on my part extremely difficult.

      That being said, I have heard the name “Maggi Moss” for years and heard it associated in only a highly positive way where it relates to the welfare and multiple rescues of our equines. Although I am not sure I agree with the WAY questions she had about Mr. O’Callaghan’s handling of donations was done (openly and before knowing all of the facts, etc,) I have to feel like she had “good information” that something was amiss and had the evidence to back up her claim or she wouldn’t have done what she did so quickly before the paper trail could be further altered.

      Everyone is going to have opinions on this unfortunate situation, and will end up “taking sides” either publicly or silently. I say innocent until proven guilty BUT if proven guilty then face not only the public wrath but the consequences of the law.

    • Beach

      It’s kind of weird that a bunch of the money seemed to reappear when questions started getting asked.

  • Jay Stone

    It’s pretty sad that a story of immense interest is being raked through the mud by people at high levels in this industry. There are thousands of people that want to help with the retirement of these animals that are now being turned off by this. Why would someone of O’callahan’s stature try to embezzle a few thousand dollars from this charity knowing the transactions would be highly scrutinized? Is he really that stupid?

    • Agave

      Yes. He is beyond stupid.

    • Numbered account

      Basically he didn’t think he would be scrutinized. And quite frankly, unless someone asked questions, he wouldn’t have been. Unless my information is incorrect, this endeavor isn’t a 501 c3 charity subject to IRS and other oversight. Rather this is a private fund. So someone needs to ask questions and take him to court. A time consuming and expensive process. So Carl may have felt a little off the top and no one the wiser.

  • Kelly W

    I think that people were rather quick to jump on some perceived, real or imagined, wrong doing that occurred over a very short time frame. I’m willing to extend the benefit of the doubt and take in to account an unfamiliarity with how PayPal works, the insanity of the holiday season and try to have some faith in my fellow man. At least give the man enough time to breathe before calling for pitchforks and torches.

    It is curious that all the omitted transactions were all from the bottom half of the print outs, if I am reading that correctly? That could have a very innocent explanation of not scrolling down far enough before cutting and pasting. Hard to say really, and with a witch hunt of sorts underway, who will ever really know. Perhaps I’m feeling mellow, but I am inclined to withhold from jumping in with the mob, I’m just too lazy to grab my torch and rally forth…I blame the excess of good eating of late.

    If, in the end, he did wind up doing something wrong then it would have certainly come to light and should have been dealt with then. Perhaps not by publicly bashing him via twitter, that only serves to taint the very small pool of people willing to donate to such causes to start with. Personally I see Ms. Moss, however noble her intent, as doing more harm than good in the long term. The details will fade, but impressions of wrong doing or fraud linger in people’s minds and may prevent someone from reaching for their wallet to help out the next worthy cause.

    • circusticket

      So you’re in favor of a cover up, just so things look good.

      Even if some people withhold donations in the future, at least all the money will end up where it’s supposed to, hopefully. Perhaps future worthy causes will get more this way, than if people donate more, but some is siphoned off.

      • Amanda

        I don’t think Kelly is saying she is in favor of a cover up, I think she’s in favor of not posting such tirades and name-bashing on public forums.

      • Kelly W

        At no time did I say anything that spoke of covering anything up or condoning anything of the sort. I said very plainly that I felt there was a rush to judgement here. When you factor in things such as the holiday season and just life in general not very much time had passed from the day the fundraising quest began until the point that very pointed and very public questions were being lobbed around. I advocated giving a bit more time before calling for his head.

        To quote myself, because I am always so very quoteworthy (heh) “If, in the end, he did wind up doing something wrong then it would have
        certainly come to light and should have been dealt with then. Perhaps
        not by publicly bashing him via twitter, that only serves to taint the
        very small pool of people willing to donate to such causes to start

        And I disagree completely with your ending statement, every dollar not donated because of cases like these clouding up public opinion is a very tangible loss for whatever the worthy cause is. Period.

        I think whoever is raising the money needs to be held accountable for every dime, I also think they should be given a reasonable amount of time….not months but more than what was allowed in this case…and if they are unable to provide that accounting then, and only then, should steps be taken. And at no time do I see social media witch hunting as a useful tool in these cases where the facts are NOT clear cut and questions remain. All it served to do was muddy up the water which will ensure that questions and doubts ALWAYS linger when this particular story is mentioned. How is that helpful?

  • JBL

    I have heard people around the track give O’Callaghan the nickname “Lyin’ Carl.” I wonder if this is the reason…..

    • 4Bellwether666

      That’s funny!!!…

  • Swaps

    If you are one of the people who contributed to the retirement of Cost of Freedom, you would not be very happy to hear that your money went into someone’s personal account. An accounting is a highly reasonable thing to request.

    • Concerned

      The checks that went into Carl’s account were written out in his name. He cashed the checks and added the money to the accounting. I think the biggest mistake he made was in accepting any money for Cost of Freedom in his own name. I’m sure if he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t have.

      • Beach

        But do you know what the Ethical do? They set up another bank account titled “Cost of Freedom Fund”, and do not deposit the money in their own personal accounts. And then, when the Cost of Freedom fund needs to be paid out, for horse hauling, boarding, vet care, or retraining or whatever they were going to use the money for, the money is paid–at which time the account can be closed. It reeks…

        • David Juffet

          Hey beach you got that right! He’s losing to much money betting the plodders he tries to train. Send him back to where he came from. He makes me sick.

      • Numberedaccount

        Carl could also have endorsed the checks made out to him to Malone and they would never have needed to go into his personal account. Commingling funds, which is what he did, is a very basic no no. Establishing a trustee account for COF or an account for the benefit of the horse would have obviated the need for depositing the funds in his personal account. But then if you trying to skim off the top, this was the way to do it. Carl is either the most incompetent business or he is exactly what is being charged.

  • Ida Lee

    I was holding my breath until I got to the end…”He’s happy and in good hands”. Should have started the article there…

  • Karen Tracy

    That’s a pretty carefully-worded paragraph seven, but very telling nonetheless.

  • Bo

    I hope and Pray that theses allegation’s are found to be untrue! O’Callaghan is a great trainer and always has appeared to be concerned about the well being of the horses. I like other’s hold out judgment, and if found to be untrue hope that this does not tarnish his good name! All of the people involved were trying to do the right thing and is one of the wonderful things about horse racing and the Good people involved in the sport. Which I think far out weigh the bad seeds!

  • hadrianmarcus

    I would have preferred to have read this story…after the investigation had been concluded. Investigation and trial by mainstream main and social media is a reckless albeit popular endeavor. In the meantime, three people have their reputations tarnished, and those who donated out of genuine compassion for a horse in need feel grifted and cynical. But it won’t be Malone, O’Callaghan or Moss that truly suffers…it will be the next horse in need of public assistance. Shame on the guilty party.. whomever they turn out to be.

    • Sandra Warren

      I don’t see how Malone or Moss have their reputations tarnished in this story. They’ve only done the right thing by asking questions.

      • rainbow

        I’m a bigger fan of Malone/Moss than ever!

    • GregS

      Great point on Diodoro, who much more of a menace to racing that Carl O’Callaghan. Too many claimed geldings have gone missing. Which likely prompted this intervention in the first place. #earnednevergiven

      • Karen Tracy

        Really? The first horse of his that comes to mind is Mr. Bossy Pants. Rumor was he should have bowed years ago, but he’s been a veteran SA downhill turf course specialist for him. Robertino claims a lot of older, cheap horses who obviously have issues, but darn if he doesn’t hold them out, is able to have some come back runnin’ big for him, while the ones that don’t probably shouldn’t have been on the track to begin with. The cheap claiming game is brutal and not for the faint-hearted; it is what it is. I’m glad it was RD that won the 3-way shake and was willing to let COF go. I’m not sure the other two would have.

        • Harry

          KT, you need to research how many end up in Az. running on the bottom or worse being pulled up or breaking down on the bottom.

          • Karen Tracy

            Harry, I would have to be living in a cave not to know RD and the other usual suspects on the SoCal circuit ship there and significantly drop their horses; please, don’t insult my intelligence. It’s easy to overlook successes and zero-in on failures while people gloat and point fingers, which is why I cited Mr. Bossy Pants. A trainer might be on a 30% winning clip, but just one breakdown and he’s a bum and subsequently crucified, especially by those that simply do not understand the sport. Cragmont isn’t the first and won’t be the last to go that route. Just because he won $100,000 while in several barns has nothing to do with what those front wraps may be hiding nowadays. To quote myself, “The cheap claiming game is brutal and not for the faint-hearted; it is what it is.” And I can tell you that as someone who has owned horses in claiming partnerships, that particular game is not for the squeamish. But in the case of COF, I’m glad RD did what he did and the gelding can live out his days in sunny Temecula.

        • Harry

          prime example today 1/11/14 Craigmont winner of $101,000 claimed by Diodoro for $10,000 in today for $3,000 @ Tup.

        • Harry

          Robertino claims a lot of older, cheap horses who obviously have issues, but darn if he doesn’t hold them out, is able to have some come back runnin’ big for him. Are you in favor of claiming and then dumping at a low level track, at times putting safety of horses and riders? seems like a vulture picking bones of old class horse to me. and it is not an isolated incident with many of these guys who keep barns in So.Ca. and Az.

        • Susan Crane-Sundell

          Yes Mr. Diodoro was more than gentlemanly in being open to the possibility of retiring Cost Of Freedom.

          Coincidently, Mr. Bossy Pants was in the news earlier this year He was given the drug carbazachrome salicylate or Kentucky Red by a member of Diodoro’s staff and it was detected after a race.Kentucky Red is used for respiratory ailments and is administered for EIPH. Diodoro was fined $2,500 and suspended for seven days last February for this. I guess Mr. BP’s problems aren’t only associated with suspect tendons, Maybe Mr. Bossy Pants deserves an equitable retirement with a trustee account in his name!.

  • HogHater

    Diodoro and his owner, Rick Wiest, really seem to have cut their losses on this one. The $8,666 covered the claim and almost all of the sales tax.
    I wish Maggie Moss could do a bit of additional digging and make sure that all of the $8,666 went only to the fortunate owner/trainer mentioned above.

    • Susie

      It sounds as if the horse was paid off in full by Malon before ANY money was ever released from the PayPal account.

      • HogHater

        Although $8,666 is a steep sum to have paid for a runner who just finished 10th in an $8k claimer, I’m OK with it if the owner and/or trainer kept the whole sum. My fear, and I have nothing to base this on, is that maybe a dollar or two of that donation-based $8,666 might have found its’ way into the pocket of someone else.

        • Amanda

          Elaborate a little?

          • HogHater

            Certainly, as I’ve stated above $8,666 is a very steep amount to have paid for an 11 yr-old gelding who just finished 10th in an $8k claimer. IMO, COF is probably worth about $2,500-$3,000. I’d hate for the good-intentioned public to have raised significant monies and have any of the proceeds go for anything but the purchase price (as steep as it seems) for gelding.

          • Karen Tracy

            The bottom level claiming rank is So Cal is $8,000. There are dozens and dozens of horses racing for that tag here that are not worth it, but the option is Golden Gate or out of state, which is where I believe Robertino had planned on taking the horse, with plans not to run for a tag. You personally may not feel the horse is worth that amount, but I believe there was a three-way shake for him that day and Robertino was the winner.

          • betterthannothing

            That price tag was before COF ran badly in his last race. So Cal runs claimers at Los Alamitos for $2,000. Remember Burna Dette? Then of course you have racing “up North” CA fairs and shipping to cheaper states.

          • Karen Tracy

            I’m referring to the local major tracks, SA or DMR. That horse never ever would have surfaced for $2,500 Los Al. Doug’s horse was dropped in class and, while her fate was extremely unfortunate, she had not compiled a race record like COF. In all these years, can anyone think of another horse than Doug’s? Remember when Baffert dropped Silver Stetson Man in for $16,000 and had no takers? That horse had compiled a great race record, but was never heard from again, and Bob’s continued to drop horses from Graded Stakes ranks in for lower-level claiming tags, raising more than a few eyebrows in the process. It’s just the way the game is played locally.

          • Beach

            I don’t like everything Mr. B does–but I blame the owners more.

          • Susie

            …. the most recent that I can think of being Tweebster. From Grade 2 to Claiming $12,500 in less than a year.

          • Karen Tracy

            That’s him! Thanks, Susie. I couldn’t think of the name, but Tweebster is of who I was thinking–poor guy.

          • betterthannothing

            HH, great point re. COF’s real value and inflated purchase price. I am so relieved that COF is retired and safe but that high profile deal sets a though precedent for future retirement and rescue deals, although that has happened before. As long as the industry cannot be trusted to prevent the racing of horses that should not run, charitable donors and rescuers will continue to have to step in and put themselves at the mercy of owners and trainers who may exploit their compassion.

          • Susan Crane-Sundell

            Oh come on people. Cost of Freedom was running at the $8K claiming price. His owner/trainer were paid fairly by John at the claiming price + fees. That was the price. John gave them a CASHIER’s Check for said amount.It came from his own private funds. He acted in totally good faith and paid what was considered market value for poor old Cost of Freedom. Now everyone gets dragged through the mud because a private individual who took a horse home in good faith had someone else start a fundraising effort to help him defray the cost of purchase when he was willing to take on all the expenses of housing the horse for the rest of its natural life? We’re losing sight of the original goal here. John wanted to help an old warrior. He did so . The rest has nothing to do with the original deal.A man bought a horse. A private deal is a private deal. The claiming price was the price. Whether it was “fair market value” outside of the market is immaterial. Horses don’t have a blue book that we all follow.

    • John Malone

      Hog…rest assured Diodoro got the money. It was deposited in his account at Santa Anita via Cashier’s check made out to Los Angeles Turf Club. The amount was what they had in the horse including California sales tax.

  • MSD

    Let’s just say if I funded money, I would be pretty upset and would want to know where it went. People are trying to make excuses for how great of a guy O’Callaghan is and how he didn’t do it and people who are accusing him shouldn’t be because they don’t truly know if he did it. Well…you don’t truly know that he didn’t do it either. Yes, the horse is happy and safe. That’s wonderful. But money is important and it’s not fair to people that donated to just assume everything was a misunderstanding. It’s all fishy….

  • Quilla

    It should be easy enough to get PayPal involved and then all transactions would be accounted for.

  • Erin Thompson

    1. Crowd funding websites are made for this. They provide TRANSPARENCY.
    2. Also wish accusations would not have been made by these parties on social media – damaging to all. I understand asking those who donated to speak up on social media, but beyond that – unnecessary.
    3. Also wish PR would wait to report until matter is settled rather than contributing to speculation.
    4. Can’t believe Diodoro got almost $9k for this horse..nice business model for him

    • Sandra Warren

      Don’t forget that when Diodoro made the claim, he had to pay CA sales tax of almost nine percent. Looks to me like he did not make any money at all, just got back what he paid for him.

  • Flag Is Up

    First, I’ve known John Malone for 35 years and I’m really happy he took the time to put this together for the good of the horse.

    Second, if you think this crap doesn’t happen a whole lot with these save the horses campaigns then you aren’t as smart as you think!

    • 4Bellwether666


  • L. Anthony

    We can all learn from this story, but should never be hindered from giving to protect our horses, the very heart of the racing business. It is important to make certain that those people working to save our horses are willing to provide the correct information and an a accounting of donations collected, and are not running the funds through their personal accounts without record to the public when requested. There are so many legitimate, hard working, caring warriors who dedicate their lives to picking up the pieces when our beautiful, valiant horses are run to near death or cast aside.
    I encourage everyone to please continue to support those organizations and non-profit rescue efforts, such as Tierra Madre in Arizona, and the Sweetwater Ranch in Chatsworth, California, among many. Those that follow the law, and which have an open door, open book policy. We should never stop forging forward to save our horses, despite this unfortunate case.
    In the end, it is all worth it. Especially when we see the positive results. And we owe it to our horses to give them respect, good care, and love. As for Cost of Freedom, it is clear that Mr. Malone’s efforts to save this horse are heroic, and it is more than heartwarming to know that Cost of Freedom has finally received all of three of these things.

  • Karen Gogue

    mmmm, “An individual who’d heard about the fund-raising effort was concerned that O’Callaghan was handling the money, and contacted Thoroughbred owner Maggi Moss, an Iowa attorney who had found homes for numerous ex-racehorses and personally funded their retirements. The individual had heard stories about financial responsibility issues involving O’Callaghan” Vindictiveness spews hate – why not name that source Ray?? And any solid proof. Hearsay until proven …

    • Ann M. Adam

      The negative physical evidence, which IS solid and was provided by PayPal, points in one direction. This was compared to the poorly done and notably altered copies provided by O’Callaghan. All the defensive suppositions in these posts are not evidence. I’ve no clue what source Ray is supposed to name??? Haven’t those of you protesting understood what was plainly written? It JUST this public kind of social media that will cure the ills of racing. I sense many a knee jerk reaction from those that desire the status quo. That would ring the death knell of racing. The goose that laid the golden egg would have been killed, all for greed.

  • Susie

    Lyin Carl is an amazing salesman and master manipulator…. UNTIL you get to know him. Then his lies become crystal clear and his phony mannerisms are enough to make you sick to your stomach. Anybody who is involved in the backside and truly knows O’Callaghan will tell you what kind of individual he is. And poor Kinsale King- talk about a horse that should have been retired a long time ago. How many times did the horse have to limp and gush blood before enough was enough? There are two things you all need to know about Carl O’Callghan: 1.) Never trust him with money and 2.) Never give him the benefit of a doubt. If its coming out of his mouth, always assume its a lie.

    • Knowitall

      Then how did clocker John Malone not know this?

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        Perhaps he was not a part of the backbiting, ugly world of slander that pervades the backstretch. Perhaps he took friendship where he found it and took people for their best and didn’t judge people until they proved themselves unworthy (no accusation or finger-pointing implied).

    • Kelly collinsworth

      Suzie, tell us how you REALLY feel. Sadly, this story gives creedence to the rumors that have been floating around about Irish Carl. I’ve read a lot of happy, feel good stuff about Doug O’ Neill and Wayne Lukas, but to me, the two of them don’t have a nickel’s worth of integrity. I’m sure it pained Ray Paulick to write about this. DRF does not have the stones to print this, but Ray does.

      • I have no opinion about this affair, but the DRF comment I think is accurate.

      • Jay Stone

        Kelly, I totally agree with you about the DRF. My question is how did an article about possible embezzlement from a horse charity lead to knocking Lucas and O’neill?

      • Burned

        Seriously, you have to throw other people under the bus THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO with this matter at all. Talk about having an agenda! Here we go again…stick to the matter at hand, which was that a large cookie jar was given to Carl and he quickly took advantage of it. Facts are facts, stop with the other nonsense.

        • Kelly collinsworth

          So often, I’ve heard glowing statements made about horsemen in horsemen friendly publications like the form and on suckup tv outlets like TVG, that dont bear any relation to reality. Any one who spends any time on the backside knows that Baffert is one way when the tv lights are on and another way when the lights are off, unless he’s taking cheap shots at people. O’Neill has a nice guy reputation, but could ANYONE with a mountain of medication violations be that good of a guy? And Wayne Lukas, I worked at San Luis Rey in the late 1970s when Lukas, his first of 5 father in laws, Rod Kauffman, and Darrell Vienna were arrested on FELONY counts of harboring illegal aliens. Only some slick lawyering got the charges down to non felony that would allow everyone to keep their licences. In the case of Darrell Vienna, he never could have become a lawyer later in his life if the felony changes had stuck. Irish Carl has been portrayed as a sweetheart of a guy, but everyone knows his shady ways with money. Let’s be real about people and the way they are portrayed.

    • 4Bellwether666


    • tdg

      Your an idiot !! Facts are clear he helped himself to some of the money.

  • Jay

    Only in America, but don’t expect the CHRB to resolve this quickly. Seriously, the ones that will suffer the most are the horses that will no longer receive the funding for a second life.

    • 4Bellwether666

      CHRB…Ha Ha Ha….

  • Victoria Jensen

    I am not judging as I don’t know the true facts on this situation but can say I was married to a h/j trainer in my past & witnessed a lot of fund manipulation. Hope I am wrong in this case.

  • Heather S

    I usually admire some of these folks who report on racing and perform rescue work. But, this business of calling people out publicly and humiliating them on social media (without the so called offending party being found guilty of a crime) is irresponsible reporting, as well as an uncivil way to conduct oneself. It is unreasonable and unfair to do the social media version of a public lynching when one has a dispute with another party. There is a right way to handle disputes and this isn’t it. On top of this being an improper way of conducting oneself, I wonder….Did the standard of “innocent until proven guilty” change since I left law school?

    Before anyone cites freedom of the press – Yes, I get that. But freedom of the press doesn’t give one the right to damage a person’s reputation by biased reporting in my opinion. If it’s true, then report on the facts. If Carl is arrested for embezzlement, then you have a story to report.

    I have gotten so turned off to social media these days. I do not know if it is just in horse racing (I doubt it), but people have become incredibly nasty to one another on Facebook in particular. When did it become okay to treat one another in this manner? It isn’t that hard to be nice. I know people are super passionate about their causes and that is fantastic, but perhaps if ego was not quite as important, we might be able to have reasonable conversations and really work towards resolving issues in a productive manner.

    A side question I have and I am sorry if some find it offensive, is that IF one needs to rely on public donations for the care of a horse (not the purchase – it is my understanding that Mr. Malone is still seeking donations for upkeep), perhaps it is not in that party’s budget to take on such a responsibility? I do not ask this to be mean but simply out of concern that Mr. Malone may not be able to financially support t horse on his own and in the end, the horse may need a new home. In addition, if people are continually donating to his cause, might that impact other horses who are just as worthy of receiving donations to help them get to their forever home? Mr. Malone, if you read this – I am not trying to be nasty to you, but I am concerned for you in that you may not have the financial means to provide for your new horse. I speak from experience in that I too have an OTTB, and know it is not cheap to care for a horse.

    In the end, I hope people can just move past these things and focus on the issue of thoroughbred aftercare. The one thing we all agree on, I think, is that our celebrated equine athletes deserve to retire with dignity. It doesn’t matter if it is a one million dollar horse or a low level claimer… these horses give us everything they’ve got and they deserve better than this silly infighting. I love that folks so believe in the cause and I know that EVERYONE who is involved in these discussions truly does want what is best for the horse and for our industry. It would be great if somehow we had a way to organize this effort and make it happen.

    Honestly, I think a lot of the time, we humans don’t deserve the magnificence of the horse… I think we could learn a lot from the quiet dignity and class of our equine heroes.

    • “I have gotten so turned off to social media these days…”

      Someone I have known for years shocked me today with her completely uncharacteristic severe comment about something: “Social media is evil.”

      She didn’t have to tell me twice.

      Someone used to have to BE in the crowded theatre before he or she could yell “FIRE!” and create the deadly stampede.

      Today, from anywhere – even thousands of miles away – the same insane, deceitful activity can be perpetuated.

      The only good I see in it is that the criminals are so stupid, when they rip off the Social Security Department, they get caught because these same “disabled” people (receiving cash benefits AND higher pension checks) have posted photos of themselves riding Jet Skis, etc. Save the prosecutors a LOT of time, let me tell you.

      • Heather S

        Exactly. Social media is prevalent in cases nowadays. Anything on Facebook, Twitter, etc is discoverable. Even deleted posts on Facebook are discoverable (the case which decided this is Romano v. Steelcase).

        • The second you sign up for Facebook, you might as well take the keys to the front door of your house and throw them in the garbage.

          My friend has been forced to use it due to her association with a part-time employer.


          Speaking of social media, I would have responded to this sooner, but Disqus, which had to have been designed by the same cross-eyed code writers who gave us October 1st, 2013 (the debut of Obamacare), has now disabled the Google-sign-in mechanism, in an obvious (& successful) attempt to force PR readers/posters to use only Disqus.

          This means that after people post a response on this (or any other PR article page), it (the response) just sits there. EVEN IF you
          signed in & posted using Disqus, the mechanism is broken.

          In the past, I’d receive a message that you (or anyone else) had responded. Now? Dead silence. To find out if there had been responses, now, it’s necessary to come back to the page (this

          Disqus, with their blue symbol a grotesque imitation of the “handicapped” symbol in public assembly buildings – is an alleged “communications” company.

          Ray, GET RID OF IT!

    • Beach

      I wonder if the “I hate social media” chant is actually productive. This could follow the tenet of “It’s not bragging if it’s true”. It’s also not slander IF it’s true, Counselor. And since when is being arrested a litmus test for truly being guilty?

      I think this story should have come out, and there’s a lot of detail here. And if this turns out to be untrue, I’ll eat every word I just said. And if it’s not true, it’s possibly slander(one must meet the legal definition of slander)–and the slandered also have the option of hiring an attorney.

      • Heather S

        Thanks for your post. Perhaps my thought didn’t come through correctly, but what I dislike about social media these days is the nastiness and lack of common decency and courtesy. I do not like seeing people who know little to nothing about a situation jump on a bandwagon of hate, making comments about how someone should be thrown in jail, beaten, hurt, etc. I have seen it many times on Facebook this last year. Even if the allegations here turn out to be true, people should still conduct themselves online with the same level of decorum that they do in person, and people are not doing that with this situation and also many others.

        Two other points: there is a reason for the judicial process. An arrest does not equal guilty. An arrest means that the parties on both sides will be able to present evidence, and a determination of the guilt of a party is made (standard: beyond a reasonable doubt). My point was that reporting an arrest is factual journalism and not biased. Reporting someone’s alleged behavior from a one sided perspective is sensationalized journalism, in my opinion.

        My second note: Slander is the incorrect term. Slander refers to a false statement that was made orally, while libel is defamation that is written/printed.

        • Beach

          I don’t believe the PR is the “Open Season” that Facebook can be.

          Reading the blotter is about the only “unbiased” version of arrests I’ve seen in print journalism.

          “O’Callaghan also denies that he “doctored” the PayPal printouts sent
          to Malone on Jan. 2, which he represented at the time as complete.

          Yet, when asked by the Paulick Report, why the PayPal printouts were
          so irregular in length, O’Callaghan had no explanation other than to
          say, “The documents were not doctored. It’s what I printed up in the
          racing office. The things (transactions) should have been in there.”

          This man seems to have been asked for HIS side of the story. What the reporter chooses to report on, is, of course, the reporter’s choice. But I see more than one side here. And again, correctly(MY BAD), if Mr. O’Callaghan feels LIBELED, then he can retain counsel, too.

    • Susan Crane-Sundell

      Heather, while I understand your questioning of the feasibility of being able to pay to keep an OTTB, I can assure you that Mr. Malone will provide Cost of Freedom with the very best home possible. He owns a small ranch and has seven horses en
      total. All of which are very well cared for.

      When this all began he wasn’t in the market for another horse, yet he agreed to give COF a wonderful home with sound aftercare and a stimulating environment.

      Because this occurred so suddenly he may not have been able to provide all the immediate funding that is needed to purchase a horse especially at the holidays. He was being fiscally prudent in realizing that his money would be needed for aftercare and long-term provisions for the horse. Hence the fund.

      Many 501(c)(3)’s take donations to obtain and care for horses.They provide permanent homes when the industry itself turns their backs on equine athletes who have descended in the ranks or become infirm. Many people who direct these non-profits end up contributing a large percentage of their own income or savings to these deserving horses. A number of my friends run such organizations and I can assure you that they would rather put money into the horses in their care than any other purpose. They aren’t buying designer clothing. None of them draw a salary and everyone in their barns puts in hours of volunteer work so that the horses are well provided for. They take the term non-profit and live it, believe me!

      I totally agree with you that we need to organize an effective and equitable way to fund thoroughbred aftercare. Because we don’t have a national oversight organization and compelling enforcement. No owners, breeders or trainers are required to put money directly into thoroughbred aftercare. Some states have programs to contribute paltry sums, others have nothing in place. Some breeders/owners/trainers contribute to aftercare organizations, many do not.

      This whole incident and, in general, the way that private sales of old warriors are conducted makes it very difficult to maintain the trust of the good-hearted public that provides most of the money for “bail money” for old warriors and Kill Buyer bound TBs. Just recently we began a good-faith effort to raise money to buy an old warrior. We had raised about 60% of the funding and then the owners reneged on the deal. Every donated penny needed to be returned to each and every donor,. dashing their hopes on the rocks.

      Thoroughbred rescue in most cases, when being done by those of us who have just “regular’ jobs and who want to give back, becomes a “chicken or an egg” problem. Do we try to raise the money for a good faith purchase and hope everything goes well? No owner will even listen to us if we don’t come cash in hand. Or do we try to get a contingency agreement in place and get laughed out of the barn? These are just the tip of the iceberg problems plaguing potential horse rescue advocates. If we want to claim a horse, price plus fees has to be in place before a race, and a claim has to be made by a licensed trainer.We have to generate those funds. So essentially until there are funds in place that are generated by the industry to support the aftercare of TBs, situations like the Cost of Freedom social media debacle will continue to occur.

      I have become long winded, but let me just close by recounting a conversation I had with a fellow rescuer the other day when contemplating the rescue of yet another “Old Warrior”: Me: “Do you think we could ask his breeder and former owner for a small donation, they are among the leading owners in contention for an Eclipse Award this year? Other (wiser) Advocate: (starts smirking and chuckling) “Are you kidding? They have never contributed a dime towards retiring any of the other horses that they bred or owned that we have here on the farm. You’re showing your naive side girlfriend.” And so it was. Another “Old Warrior” will depend on the $5 and $10 dollar donations of good-hearted people, most of whom have never even ridden a horse!

      • Linda Broussard

        Thank you, Susan, for a well-written and accurate synopsis of the situation in general.

      • Heather S

        You make good points, Susan, and your post is eloquently written. I too have several friends who do volunteer work for rescue non-profits and I’ve seen the hard work that goes into the whole process. I hope I did not come across as stating that people should not donate at all — I have and will continue to support rescues and believe they are worthy causes. I also have an OTTB of my own. Your point about John and his financial situation makes sense.

        Some folks and I have talked of doing a “Warrior Fund,” where folks could donate $5 a month towards these very type of situations. If it happened, it would be a 510c3 group that would run it…however, as always – it’s difficult to get everyone to agree on things. No doubt that people will disagree on which horse should be rescued, etc.

        Social media has helped raise awareness of the issue of thoroughbred aftercare. I don’t like the idea of putting people on the defensive and name calling them all over social media because they may not have helped one of their previous horses…seems a bit counterproductive and some people are quick to jump on a negative, name calling bandwagon. I do like the idea of educating owners, breeders, etc. and positively encouraging them to do right by the horses (perhaps that is me being naive, LOL). Also, I think it is perfectly reasonable to set aside a percentage of a purse for aftercare. And… I do think a national governing body could be instrumental in pushing these kinds of changes forward. But, hey…what do I know… I’m a small time owner, and I feel an obligation to make sure any horse I’m involved with does not meet a bad end. I guess I think that most people feel the same way about their horses that I do but maybe that isn’t the case…

        LOL…now I am rambling…

        I admire the people who give their time and energy to this cause, so thank you to you and your cohorts who give so much to help our equine heroes.

  • Burned

    What amazes me more than the article, is the comments. Maggi Moss should be applauded for her efforts not questioned about her motives! Please people think!! Thank you PR for reporting.

  • Knowitall

    The Cost of Freedom in this case seems too damn high!

  • Tb fan

    Isn’t ms moss a lawyer? She should Know first hand what “due process” is? To make allegations and tarnish reputations, and for the PR to spearhead those allegations is disheartening. What’s happened to spreading great news about this industry? Instead “industry leaders” focus on the negative!
    Ray Paulick and Maggi moss act so concerned, maybe they should be a little more concerned about the wrong doings they have done In their own lives before spearheading a witch hunt. Since when are you the judge and jury?

    • Mimi Hunter

      ‘Burned’ – If you wrote all three of these comments, you have done a complete 180 degree turn in the space of 9 minutes. Interesting.

      • Burned

        I only wrote one comment. I am very clear that any comment that supports what was done by Carl, is beyond ridiculous in my opinion. Ms. Moss and Ray Paulick gave him opportunity to do the right thing, without anyone knowing, he did not do that. I have not written anything else, except another comment today and this response. Sorry don’t shot the messenger.

        • Mimi Hunter

          Sorry to hear that – I don’t shoot messengers – I wrote to comment on the fact that the 1st post said pretty much what you just said [pro Moss and Ray]. The second one was kinda neutral – the third was anti-Moss, Ray, & Mr. Malone. Then there were a bunch [2 or 3] that were very anti Ray and anti censorship and the choice of language went south too. They all said they were written by ‘Burned’ Somebody hacked into your account? Might want to check that out.

  • Kristen

    How did adults used to settle their issues before social media? Imagine a time when one adult actually picked up a phone and discussed a problem with the other adult instead of making a public statement to people who are not involved in the situation and who do not have any of the facts! Racing is hurting, and this behavior is not helping.

    • Beach

      Unless you’re saying you think the accounting was forged, they do have some “facts”, at the very least. They have the accounting. The behavior that is not helping is putting, basically, “rescue money” into a personal account and then some of it goes missing. And why does it not help? Because the people that give for these animals will question whether or not it is prudent on their parts to give at all–they want to help the horses, not enrich trainers. Get it? It’s a trust-thingy–and people don’t like their money taken and/or used for things it’s not given to be used for–and the ones ultimately hurt are the horses because people start second-guessing their $$ giving.

  • Tb fan

    Tb fan
    4 minutes ago

    Isn’t ms moss a lawyer? She should Know first hand what “due process” is? To make allegations and tarnish reputations, and for the PR to spearhead those allegations is disheartening. What’s happened to spreading great news about this industry? Instead “industry leaders” focus on the negative!
    Ray Paulick and Maggi moss act so concerned, maybe they should be a little more concerned about the wrong doings they have done In their own lives before spearheading a witch hunt. Since when are you the judge and jury?
    0 0 Reply

  • Bryan T

    good is a relative term

    • So is “grief,” with, in this context, some of our family members qualifying as “relatives.”

  • Bryan T

    “An individual who’d heard about the fund-raising effort was concerned that O’Callaghan was handling the money, and contacted Thoroughbred owner Maggi Moss, an Iowa attorney who had found homes for numerous ex-racehorses and personally funded their retirements. The individual had heard stories about financial responsibility issues involving O’Callaghan”

    Why would this anonymous individual be so concerned for no reason? Clearly, O’Callaghan has had an issue of this sort in the past that was swept under the rug, and the concerned individual who contacted Moss was rightfully wary that it may be happening again, which appears to be the case. Kudos to this anonymous individual, shame on Carl.

    It looks like a federal check/wire fraud investigation is warranted (donations came from other states) and may happen as a result of this information. Contrary to what some posters on here think, there is no right to due process in the court of public opinion, so hopefully, for those peoples’ sake, Carl will get his due process in the court of law.

    • Heather S

      People have “heard” lots of things, and hearing that someone is X doesn’t mean it’s true. Also, let’s say that Carl had an incident with one person in the past who told everyone and his brother about it… There are still underlying questions and certainly facts that we do not know about, correct? How do we know anything about these incidents if we weren’t a party to them? I for one would not like someone calling me something I’m not based on “heard stories.” LOL – I hear Tom Cruise is gay but I have yet to see or hear something that turns this rumor into fact. :)

      As far as due process in public opinion… I agree with you. What I object to is something that I see far too often in social media, and that is a lack of civility and just general decency towards one another. It’s simply not the proper forum to carry these things out in public. I understand that probably the intent was to get people to not deal with Carl and not donate, but if the entire thing turns out to simply be a misunderstanding, a man’s reputation and possible livelihood has been irreparably damaged. That is why the court of public opinion is so dangerous – because people do the damage first and get the facts later and do not think of the long term harm that could befall the party being ostracized.

      • Terri Z

        What’s amazing is that a lawyer, Maggi Moss, publically made these accusations. She could have called up the track and gotten in touch with Carl herself to rectify this matter. Instead she chose to do this in a public forum.

        • Grace

          Terri, do you really think Maggi didn’t talk to Carl many times??? Trust me, Ms. Moss does her homework. I think I would believe people that actually know or have worked for Carl rather than a bunch of his “friends” on Facebook that have never met him or been around him on the racetrack.

      • Beach

        Perhaps any party being “ostracized” really did something wrong. I can understand you having a problem with people’s tone and words on Facebook and other blogs–to be cliche, “It’s a jungle out there.” It may not be what you are trying to say, but you’re coming across as believing in NO journalism at all–and/or, Opinion pieces are not allowed in papers like the NYT because they are not “factual”. I grant that not all journalism is pretty, and some people abhor journalism. Perhaps other than setting your desired example, what, then, drives you to write here?

        I don’t know her personally, but by all accounts to date, Ms. Moss is a smart and tough cookie. In a case like this, if there wasn’t fire where there was smoke, I’d bet she’d keep her lawyerly self out of it. My gut feeling, which is probably worth nothing, is, again, that this whole thing REEKS. And not only that, it is sad, because trainers and rescuers and lawyers probably have more important things to spend their time on. Also, to what degree is all this an utter disservice to the horse?! Ugh

        • Heather S

          You bring up a good point. Actually, I have written opinion pieces for newspapers many years ago, so I do believe in op-ed pages. I thought The Paulick Report was more of a news outlet for horse racing news, but as I’ve seen, it is more of a blog, and blogs are usually driven by opinions. It’s not driven by facts. I misunderstood the purpose of this site and I certainly accept responsibility for that. I’ll no longer consider The Paulick Report as a source of true, factual news about horse racing.

          I have always admired Ms. Moss because we share common interests – horses and law. What I find distasteful is how this transpired. I think even Maggi has stated that the way she presented the information was probably not the best. I may be a bit old school, but I personally think it is better to obtain all of the facts and let a neutral party (most likely a court) sort out the matter and come up with as close to the truth as possible. While I have met Carl and do not get a dishonest vibe from him, I don’t profess to know the truth. What I do know is that it is not worth risking harm to a person’s reputation, livelihood, etc. on speculation. Would you like it if someone posted something negative on Facebook about your private business and tons of random people started commenting on what a jerk you are without knowing all of the details? I know I would not like that.

          As far as disservice to the horse… that is more of an “earthy” comment. … my point was simply that horses are noble and we aren’t always worthy of their company because we aren’t acting quite as noble.

          • Beach

            I’m in full agreement that much of this could be a disservice to the horse.

            I won’t elaborate on my spouse’s job, which I live by extension, but you must trust me–and I consider myself an “instinctual” person too–regardless of the “vibes” you are getting off anyone, you have NO idea what they are really doing.

            I for one never said Mr. O’Callaghan was a “jerk” or even that he was “guilty”. I said that I believe the whole thing reeks. And I don’t think it was his “private business” if he took donations, basically from the general “public” on PayPal or otherwise, and then some of the money seems to be temporarily missing, reappears when there are questions, was possibly placed in his personal account instead of a “fund” for the horse’s retirement; does not seem to have been spent on the horse yet, etc. Sure, I wouldn’t particularly like my business discussed on Facebook or otherwise, but I try to keep all my business squeaky-clean. And if I didn’t like what was being said or thought it was wrong, I would jump in to defend myself and PROVIDE all of the details from my side of the story. Of course, with the “informed consent” that it might fall on deaf ears anyway.

            I read the PR, the DRF, and the Blood-Horse, for starters, for horse news. If you ever come up with a source of 100% “true, factual news”‘ about horse racing, let me know and I’d like to read it, too.

            And sadly, I find it hard to view courts as “neutral parties” considering that both they and juries have sent innocents to jail. I fully admit, up front, too, that I should get a t-shirt with a “Cynic” decal. No star in my crown or anyone else’s–but over the years I have come to believe that a cynic is simply a realist with a bigger mouth. Buy a ticket to the circus–and what you get is life. :-)

  • concerned reader

    one may surmise that most comments, even ones with no insults, vulgar language, or slander, aren’t being allowed anymore..

  • Mimi Hunter

    Is it a shame that this was all aired in public ? Probably, yes. Is it a shame that this happened at all ? Again, probably, yes. Would it have become common knowledge without the public airing ? Probably not. Is it good that this is out in the open? I think so. It would have been a lot more damaging if it was brought up 6 months or a year from now by due process ? I think so. Racing has a reputation for keeping things quiet but often not quite on the up and up. Bringing these problems out into the sunshine is probably a good thing.

    • 4Bellwether666

      The TRUTH will set you FREE!!!…sometimes…

  • greg

    absolutely seems like guilty until proven innocent here, and BTW, what does Moss have to do with any of this, she’s in IOWA and has NO dog in this fight, except now maybe she’ll collect lawyers fees going to court. No good deed goes unpunished today. Very sad from every perspective

  • 4Bellwether666

    Let’s face it folks…a ton of human beings are born with LARCENY in their hearts and SCREW the CHRB…

  • GreggJ

    Bravo to all the honest and caring people who donated their hard earned money to help Cost of Freedom. Thank you to Mr. Malone for stepping up and giving Cost of Freedom his deserved and earned forever home! Thank you to Maggi for stepping up and helping expose Carl O’Callaghan, and for everything else she does to help these brave warriors, she is a true equine saint. Shame on Carl O’Callaghan, quite sad you felt the need to steal from these big hearted people, quite pathetic. Also, shame on Nick Hines (aka “Sarge”, lol) and Battle Born Racing Stable, talk about greed.

  • Marlaine

    Just another fine mess for Thoroughbred industry. And we wonder why tracks are closing, doping regulations unresolved, irresponsible breeders,owners and trainers and the lists just keep growing. As a fan of horse racing and the Thoroughbred horse for over 50 years I know bad things happened in the past, I was hoping that things would be getting better for the future of racing but I am afraid the future looks most dismaying in this country.

    • Terri Z

      A national racing commission and national wide rules for medications and retirement would help to address these issues. Racing’s future may look bleak in other areas of the country, however, at Gulfstream Park it is not. And the owner of Gulfstream, Frank Stronach, has retirement facilities for all of the horses he has owned. You take care of your horses and your facility and good things happen.

  • Amanda

    There’s a fine line between people who help horses because they love horses and people who help horses because they love the publicity and the limelight.

    • Jay Stone

      That goes for any cause in life. A donation of a small ammount to a worthy cause is sometimes more meaningful than a large one from a wealthy person needing a tax deduction.

  • Terri Z

    This whole situation emphasizes changes need to be made in the way things are currently done. Why can’t the Jockey Club require that a small percentage of the sale price of a horse goes into a retirement held in escrow for that horse? If this were a requirement to register a horse with the Jockey Club, then more horses would be more likely to have a decent retirement. Owners of home breds, could be required to put a modest amount of money into the retirement escrow account. Maybe a small portion of the horse’s winnings could go to their retirement account. Horse owners need to show more responsibility for their horses.

    • Jay Stone

      Believe me there is plenty of money in the mix to pay for retirement if there was any cooperation between groups in this industry. Between sales and mutuel handle the fund could be established. It would take a Herculean effort for it to ever happen. The only one who has shown any inclination to help is Stronach.

    • Knowitall

      You make an excellent point that all claiming prices should have a percentage that goes to TAA via the tracks. As a percentage of all handle should go to TAA, and not via increase in take out, but in an equal contribution via all participants in purses, and the tracks/ADW/simulcast fees.

      • Susan Crane-Sundell

        TAA is doing everything they can to vet 501(c)(3) organizations as accredited retirement centers, They have not even made a dent in the number of registered retirement organizations that would like to accredited, never mind NEED to be vetted..They don’t have the manpower or the funding to get the fundamental necessities accomplished at this point. This is not through lack of trying or lack of best intent, Again FUNDING is the bottom line problem here. Perhaps they could use a staff that is compensated for their time so that they could vet organizations as a full-time occupation, not just when the experienced members have free time. This could be funded by an owners/breeders consortium that would be doing themselves a favor in the long term by having better aftercare for their “byproduct”- retired racers. Accrediting these organizations results in less incidents of unfit rescues taking in racehorses and we get to read less stories like the one from Texas last year when at a certain unaccredited unregistered rescue had 3 out of 4 “rescued” horses die due to improper care.

  • tdg

    Can someone post Carl O Callaghan’s phone number ?
    I would like to have a chat with him.

  • Larry Ensor

    To me the most disappointing thing about this whole fiasco is the fact that this horse was claimed for $50,000 midway through his 4 year old season, 2008 by Sadler for Mr. & Mrs. Barber. Two months later he wins a Grade 1 race. For the next 2 ½ years he wins and or places in stakes and puts over $685,000 in their pockets before letting him get claimed for $32,000. He won just shy of $300,000 the year before, 2010. In 2011 looking at his race record, 6 starts, 2 placing and 1 third, $52,000 in earnings clearly his best racing days were most likely behind him. So in September of 2011 they drop him from Stakes/Allowance races to a $32,000 claimer for the first time since they claimed him. Instead of a being retired and looked after.
    If I had a horse do this for me I he would have a nice paddock at our farm with his name on the fence. Proud as heck to have owned and campaigned a Grade 1 winner.
    No disrespect to the Barbers but from what I understand I don’t really think they needed that last $32 grand to put food on the table, feed and hay in the stalls and pay the help.
    Harris Farms, a multi-divisional operation bred and won $130,000 with him. I would like to think between the 2 of them something could have been worked out at the time. I would like to think a breeder and stallion owner would be proud to have “one of their own” a Grade 1 winner on the farm to show off. Not to mention “give a little back” to a horse who gave them so much.
    I would have liked to think between the 2 of them he would have been claimed for the $8 grand and found a good home. With no fan fair.
    Given his name anti racing social media may have fun with this one. It is certainly fodder for their cause. And we in racing wonder why so many people think race horses owners, the industry represent nothing but greed?
    I just don’t think owning horses is a game of musical chairs. Not wanting to be the one left holding the bag when the music stops.
    To each their own.

    • betterthannothing

      Excellent points Larry. The racing business lacks compassion and ethical conduct. The money is there and why racing needs reforms to protect the welfare and safety of horses because conscience is lacking even toward horses that have earned a lot of money. Never mind when horses failed to earn their keep, often through no fault of their own!

    • Karen Tracy

      The Barbers are brothers, not Mr. and Mrs.

    • jumpjockey1

      Larry I agree 100% on everything you said . I have 3 at home turned out who paid their dues and deserved their retirement . 2 who were graded stakes horses and one who couldn’t win for the bottom at charlestown but is the greatest part time fox hunter ever . People need to be accountable and realize that karma comes around for us all .. doing the right thing by these horses should be number 1 . Its sad that this horse earned his previous connections so much and he has ended as the side story in this mess . I met Carl years ago when he was on the east coast . I do hope he is innocent but it doesn’t look good and maggi moss is no fool so she must have been sure of her facts before going public .. it just will make it harder for the next poor old warrior who comes along to have people bail them out when they read stories like this.. the cost of freedom just got higher ..

      All the best to you and Laura


    • Beach

      Larry, thank you for saying all of that. I think part of the problem, too, is that people not only see greed, they see corruption. I’m just a peon with no money, but if I had a Grade I winner too, he/she would also have a paddock out back of my house. I get how the system can work or not work, but I couldn’t stand in the Winner’s Circle with him/her, take the pretty picture, and then dump him/her–or pass him/her into what I know are nefarious hands.

  • Suzanne

    No good deed goes unpunished!
    Bless Malone and Cost of Freedom.

  • Bob Fasching

    I think this story is typical of the race track culture and the con artists who wander every back side in America. I’m not saying all are like this, but a majority are.
    But the real issue I see here is a horse like this is even allowed to race anymore. I know this is a business but when a horse that used to be of the highest quality is running for $8,000.00 the stewards should step in an say no and this horse is done and cannot race in California.

    • betterthannothing

      Exactly Bob. If racing was humane and ethical, compassionate people would not need to scramble to protect certain horses from being abused, run into the ground, and in some cases, going to slaughter. What happened in the Cost of Freedom case is a symptom of an industry in dire need of major reforms to protect its athletes.

    • Jay Stone

      That power is not in the stewards hands. Unless the track vet intervenes that decision is strictly up to owner and trainer. The age or class of a horse is never going to be used as a factor to retire a horse by anyone but owner or trainer

  • tdg

    Does anyone one have Carl O Callaghan’s phone number to post ?

  • Heather S

    Kudos to the site moderator for taking down the “phone number” posts. That shows integrity.

  • Mister C

    I can’t understand anybody who says this was a “rush to judgment.” The article is pretty clear about what allegedly happened. As for Mr. O’Callaghan’s name being tarnished, the ball is in his court. If he could provide clear evidence that no funds were misappropriated, then I’d be inclined to believe his story. Furthermore, he could pursue legal action for defamation of character.

    Until that happens, I’m inclined to believe O’Callaghan stole some money.

  • Roisin

    My goodness all this mess could have been avoided by setting up a trust fund at some bank for the donations. That is the only way to avoid any “questions ” regarding the disposition of monies.

    • Kristen

      I agree, but when people start accepting donations, they do so with good intentions, and they don’t expect to be facing allegations of fraud or misappropriation of funds. Setting up a Paypal account is quick and easy, and donations can be made quickly and easily. Friends often make their own contracts based on good intentions, then they end up fighting when something goes wrong. Problems could be avoided if they went to an attorney to write the contract in the beginning. But people don’t plan on having problems, so they don’t think they need an attorney. It’s human nature.

  • pete

    Personally, I disagree that the story is totally tarnished. The fact that a deserving race horse has finally been retired to live a happy, relaxing life far outweighs any issue involving crooked humans.

    • Louise V.

      Pete… you are so right!

  • Knowitall

    Wonder if Sadler followed through on his pledge of $2,000 after all this mess came to light? At least the trainer that reaped the most from the horse was willing to help even if the wealthy owners that made hundreds of thousands from the animal were not. That, to me, as Larry Ensor says so well here, is far more distressing than an off beat one horse wonder trainer who tried to help and was floating himself money. Not condoning it at all, just picking my spots of indignant outrage;-)

    • Ron

      Glee club John, with all his influence in the TOB (and his love of Winstrol) doesn’t seem to be saying much about COF. As for Carl, so much maligned and impugned by these scandalous, one-sided, outrageous accusations, he will certainly be filing a libel suit.

      Uh, well, won’t he?

  • Guest

    O’Callaghan is a trainer……a vampire…trainers generally could care less about their owners and even less about their owners……bottom feeding vampires

  • vinceNYC

    O’Callaghan is a horse trainer..what do you expect….a profession of bottom feeding vampires

  • Wildagaindan…23

    To heck with free markets – that mantra was disproven when the banksters demanded a bailout in 2008 to solve their free dealling ways. A surcharge of three to tive percent should be added to every Thoroughbred sale and the funds earmarked for supporting retired racehorses…managed by honest people with vigorous audits. Tired of seeing people throw money at art collection horses and trying to squeeze money out of claiming horses while this ongoing scandal of neglect goes on and on.

  • Karjo

    When you ask the public for money, you need to be accountable to the public for that money. As much as the “Head Buried In The Sand” poeple don’t like it, I commend you Mr. Paulick for asking the hard questions and putting it all out there. It goes without saying, I’m a Fan. Maggie Moss, You are my Horse Advocate/Rescue Guru.

  • james dean

    Common everyone….. he is commonly known at the track by the nickname “Carl the Liar”
    Why do you think that is?

  • Atimeofgrace

    Well, I thank The Lord that the CHRB has closed this case- along with the police official and local layers that all joined the CHRB to review this case. They noticed Carl that he was accused wrongly. Plus he was more than willing to drive CHRB over all documentation without hesitation. Thankfully to Carl’s supporters and contacts, he was able to raise over 6 grand with the heart to help John Malone retire COF. Which I thought was a huge gesture he didn’t have to make. Just a shame that it brought so much wasted time and slander … But as it goes- The light always shines through. So we are thankful that COF is retired and can finally put, what was only supposed to be a good deed, to rest! And y’all should learn that if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it at all, regardless. Most of the time, no one really knows the whole story until both people have the chance to tell it…. We could make the works such a happier place :D

  • jae coleman

    Thought-provoking article , For what it’s worth , if someone has been looking for a AQHA TRANS12-171 , We found a fillable document here

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