by | 11.17.2010 | 12:46am


Ernie Paragallo remained in jail awaiting The Paulick Report has learned that Ernie Paragallo is facing 22 counts of animal cruelty in connection with the poor condition of the Thoroughbred horses at his Center Brook Farm in Climax, N.Y., discovered when state police and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raided the farm on Wednesday. The Paulick Report first reported April 3 that several undernourished horses with lice and open wounds owned by Paragallo were rescued from a New York livestock auction in March.

He is being arraigned later this afternoon at the Coxsackie Town Court in Coxsackie, N.Y. According to published reports, Paragallo could face up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail for each count.

According to the New York Daily News, Paragallo had not made bail as of 9:40 p.m. However, the New York State Police told the Paulick Report at 10:45 p.m. that Paragallo had been released on bail sometime in the last hour.

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  • MED

    YES!! YES! YES!

  • Would it be wrong to hope he picks up the Coxsackie virus while he’s in the area?

  • Beth Kinnane

    Seems to me the State of NY needs to be raising the animal cruelty fine. Not trying to single the state out, most states probably need to.

  • Ted

    Soon this will pass, and he will be parading himself during the Keeneland Fall sale, just like Gentry, Cullen, Lundy, Biancone and others.

  • Noelle

    Why only 22? Are more charges pending? Is there any chance of a federal investigation?

  • reese

    gering Board and NYBreeders/Horsemen should seize 100% of current and future breeder/purse money to help undrwrite rehab and to pay the feed/groom/stall fees for Paranack’s Stable at NYRA. NYRA said Paranack(Paragallo) has 40 horses at NYRA.

    NYRA is supposted appointed new agent/trainer with no connection to Paragallo. Maybe they can make that part of the settlement with Paragallo. He gives up everything…horses and stable and PAYS restitution. He has money. Millionaire. Let’s see what legal power Ernie comes up with to avoid guilt and responsibility. Legal is the ONLY word he understands.

  • Alison Thompson Murphy

    Ray, awesome job. Ya done good!

  • Noelle

    Reese, FYG, it is the Paragallo daughters who are supposed to appoint the new agent, according to the NYRA. The NYRA has to approve the agent and it cannot be a Paragallo family member or current employee.

    Since the Paragallo daughters were put in place by Paragallo so that he could keep acting like an owner while avoiding an owner’s responsibility, I question the wisdom of this decision by the NYRA. To me, it looks like letting a banned trainer continue training through surrogates.

  • MED

    I think that along with Mr. Paulick bringing this to the fore and not letting it go away, public pressure in the form of our emails had a lot to do with why this was handled so quickly. We need to keep it up to be SURE Paragallo is finished in this business.

  • D. Masters

    I second the complaint….”What?…. only 22 counts?” Let’s see, there’s the 4 that got rescued by ERR and AC4H, then somebody said (van driver?) one died and at last count 177, majority (?) in bad shape at the farm in Climax, NY. Unfortunately for the ones that went to kill it’s too late and since the van driver never filed a complaint on the ones in bad shape going to kill nothing can be done. Is it against the law to sell equines to slaughter (for human consumption I’m assuming) in NY. It is in California, but old Gov Arrnnuld and his ag and hwy patrol constantly look the other way. Last I heard, the KBs HAVE to get their dealer license from the state….what a hoot, the state licenses individuals in the livestock trade that break the law in California on a weekly basis shipping horses to human consumption horse slaughter. Many TBs racers/exracers in their loads. Sad.



  • Tiznowbaby

    Paragallo doesn’t get it. He is maintaining he did not abuse those horses. Mismanaged yes, but not abused.
    He’s effing clueless.
    And the fact that his daughters retain their owners’ licenses confounds me.

  • Defrere

    Granted Paragallo deserves this. But this will be a another huge black-eye on the industry when the mainstream media picks up on it. “Owner of Kentucky Derby winner charged”



  • LCM

    I know that Paragallo was a client of Taylor Made Farm here in KY. I wonder if anyone there knew about his “treatment” of horses? I’m sure someone from Taylor Made would’ve visited his farm to “appraise” his livestock on a REGULAR basis.

    Ray you might want to give Duncan, Frank, Ben and Mark a call to see what/if they knew what was going on. While Paragallo must be held accountable, so to should all the complicit individuals who were aware of this obviously long term, ongoing case of cruelty. The idea that you can simply “look away” when you see bad behaviour isn’t acceptable. EVERYONE in this industry needs to step up and insist that the thoroughbreds we CHOOSE to breed deserve humane care from the beginning to the end of their lives. Not dumped somewhere in between.

  • JR

    It is appalling that New York only fines 1k per violation. That is where the problem lies. As long as owners, trainers (Mullins) are being slapped on the wrist they will continue. Look at Mullins’ rap sheet. There isn’t a month that he isn’t fined for a violation. That is just when he gets caught. Biancone and Cobra Venom. Give me a break. Dutrow, Assmussen,Pletcher et. al. They are allowed to continue by law.

    We need to get vocal and contact our representatives to put pressure and change the laws. Do not rely on NYRA CHRB NTRA or any of these phoney organizations. Ray you need to, start an internet petition to:

    #1 Track all horses bred (you breed you pay)
    #2 Support retirement farms
    #3 Make all drugs illegal (lifetime ban)
    #4 2 years mandatory jail for any gross animal cruelty

    Keep up the good work

  • Freespirit

    Interesting, LCM, I agree with what you’re saying about Taylor Made and anybody else that has been to his farm in the last several years. You’re right – it seems to me someone from Taylor Made would have made it up there. But maybe he was able to conceal all the bad stuff when they were there. Anyway, I agree that a $22,000 fine will be a drop in the bucket to him, and I sincerely believe he will never spend a night in jail. The animal cruelty laws in every state are way too lenient – just misdemeanors when they should be felonies. Well, at least he was charged, a step in the right direction. I think about those poor horses standing with no shelter in the upper New York winter with no feed, how horrible it all had to be for them – it would really be a proper punishment for him to leave him with no shelter during the winter in NY with just enough food to keep him alive.

  • reese

    IF NYRA enforces its BAN of Paragallo and his daughters from everywhere EXCEPT the fan areas….. No owner,agent or trainer affiliation for any Paragallo family member at NYRA track…No owner parking, no office, no stable ,nowhere………then Paragallo will hopefully fade away because Paragallo has to be the ONLY one giving orders and running the show.

    Make no mistake, Paragallo is the REAL trainer/decision maker when it comes to what horse races where. He controls everything at Paranack Stables. He is one site alot. or controlling everything by phone.
    JohnCampo is like an ass’t trainer even though he is listed as trainer because Paragallo. had to relinquish his owner license because he was being sued for non-payment of bills…20k to New Bolton to start. (Now, he just ships the injured horses to his “farm” to die slowly).

    Paragallo runs everything at the stable. Makes all decisions Has total control of Paranack Stable. He is the trainer, owner and racing manager. Runs the show.

    If Paragallo and his family are barred from NYRA except fan area, Ernie will fade. He has to be in control. He has to have the “spotlight”. He will never just sit in the grandstand” and watch.
    If Paragallo or family have NO input in how the “new trainer” runs Paraneck Stable
    that would be “torture” for Paragallo. No contact with “new trainer by any Paragallo ilk, daughter,wife…ALL of them… would force Paragallo to disapear. He has no say in anything regarding Paraneck. No power. Nothing. Legally, that is what NYRA has to do to get rid of this vermin forever



  • Don Reed

    Put him in a jail cell with Roger Vick.

    Or Bernie Madoff.

    Meanwhile, NYRA is “shocked.” Yeah, right.

    Every single person connected with the operation knew exactly what he/she were dealing with when Paragallo’s name came up in conversations.

    I’ll repeat that:

    Every single person on the NYRA executive roster knew of Paragallo’s long-established, almost-pathological disrespect for the rules of the game.

    And then they not only ignored the time bomb – they lit the fuse themselves when they allowed him to continue his disreputable racing operations.

  • bugweed

    I have no sympathy or fell the slightest bit of sorry for Paragallo, but when It comes to delving out a punishment, perhaps everyone should think about what is really an appropriate form of punishment. The reality is that he isn’t going to be going to some maximum security institution where one would hope that he would learn the “ins and outs” of taking a shower in max security. Nor do I think it appropriate that the People of the State of New York provide adequate food, clothing and shelter for him when he found it not important enough to do the same for his horses. Besides, while it’s emotionally cathartic to demand various forms of tortures and torments, we cannot legally abuse him, starve him, or allow him to become lice encrusted while in the custody of New York. It’s not constitutional, and it won’t happen no matter how much we howl. What is needed is a punishment of that makes an impact on Mr. Paragallo, and provides the state and the victims, some form of restitution. Therefore, I propose that Mr. Paragallo be given an option, 5 years in prison, or in the alternative, 1 year in prison and 5 years of probation with the provision that all income from the sale of seasons to the stallion Unbridled’s Song, be given to various Thoroughbred and Horse rescue operations for the next 4 years. I believe that NY has a prison farm at Walkill, and we could start by fully funding and expanding the Thoroughbred retirement operation. This program has a huge impact on the horses and the convicts that learn to take care of them. Do some good for a change instead of simply tossing away an opportunity. Retribution and anger are easy in the case, it’s time to take a different approach. And if you think locking away a person like Paragallo is really punishment, you know nothing of what really matters to a bum like him. I

  • smartmoney

    this is exactly why you need a PETA… until racing gets one ruling party to handle these cases…you would think this guy would have been starving himself…considering the multiple chins he’s wearing…

  • Joe

    Animal abuse often precedes or is coupled with other symptoms of character decay and cruelty toward humans. Animal cruelty, including within the racing and breeding industry, should become serious crimes. $5K bond, $1,000 per count, that’s disgusting! Animal cruelty laws need to become so severe that scumbags will think twice before neglecting and abusing animals. They should rot in jail for years.

    We need a national animal-offender registry just like we have the national sex-offender registry. This registry should have a special equine division with a breed-specific sub- divisions to better track offenders. Papa Ernie’s mug shot should be the first offender in the Thoroughbred division which should also include drug-positives, rap-sheets, catastrophic injuries, fatalities, last owner of horses found in the slaughter pipeline, hoarding and over-breeding cases.

    Convicted animal offenders and relatives should be kept away from all animals. If racing wants to become popular it has to become respectable first.

    DeFrere, please don’t blame the press for this week’s black eyes, it is only the messenger. Racing is to blame for its self-inflicted wounds. The NYRA and all must learn from this licensing scandal and animal tragedy and reform their licensing rules to eliminate miscreants.

    Racing needs to be governed by an impeccable central authority and impartial set of rules to eliminate delinquencies, incestuous relationships between licensors and licensees, and cozy relationships between racing commissioners, officials, horsemen and veterinarians. Paragallo is guilty but those who knew about his cruelty and did nothing are just as bad as he is.

  • Noelle

    I keep seeing comments to the effect that the Paragallo daughters are banned. I contacted the NYRA directly and they said that no Paragallo family member or current employee can replace Paragallo as “the owner’s agent” but that the daughters are the ones who will appoint the new agent – with the NYRA retaining the right to approve (or disapprove) their choice. To me, that doesn’t sound like they’re banned. The only one banned from the paddock and the backstretch is Paragallo himself, as far as I can tell. If I’m wrong, could someone please tell me where the NYRA is quoted saying something different?


    well well can we say loophole if the daughters can appoint a new agent who do you think he will report. to hhmmm ernie and 2nd do the daughters train or have any phisical contact with the horses if they do they should be held accountable also or do they just sit in the club house?anyone know ?



  • To mirror Joe’s comments, MohandasGandi said it best when he proffered that a society should be judged by how it treats its animals. There is a great need for a centralized authority, but the case again is the common denominator of states’ rights. I hate to constantly repeat that theme, but there it is. Just about every issue facing racing (including issues of abuse) run into the same brick wall. A complete lack of uniformity in virtually everything. Abuse is one area that seems to overarch the rest, but again Paragallo gets $1000 a whack in NY whereas he might get a 5-10 years with some new shower buddies in California. Naturally, I’d vote for the latter. Lotta lonely guys in San Quentin.
    So here we are heading into Derby week and we’ve got The Three Stooges (Mullens, Paragallo and Garrison) running the PR department. Geez.
    Thanks for pushing this piece Ray.

  • richard coreno

    This sport is doomed…here is yet another major player who is an utter piece of garbage. And – again – this is happening at the highest levels of the industry… can only imagine the abuse where the spotlight never shines.

  • Gavemylifetoracing

    A “sport” full of scumbags and scumbags in training. A disgrace to the hard-working people of the industry. This trash was great as long as he was supplying horses to the track. He should have been ruled off long ago. Can’t believe Zito once worked for the guy for over a day. Talk about people on the opposite spectrum of class.

  • Reality Check

    Why was Paragallo charged with only 22 counts? Was it too much work for the sheriff/investigators to look at or body score the remaining 155? Was it too much paperwork for the sheriff/DA’s office? There is no way those 155 were well fed and healthy. Is it unrealistic to think that if all of us horrified by this situation contacted the NY DA’s office and complained, that they would not follow through with more charges? If people really want to get Paragallo out of the race horse/breeding business, it’s going to take a lot more than 22 charges. He has plenty of money to stall this in court forever. He can come up with a hundred new attorneys who could request continuances to allow them to come up to speed on the case. To read that he is not worried about the charges is just baloney. Why were the daughters not charged? As owners, they are responsible too.

    It’s going to take tons of money, care, work and time to rehabilitate these horses. Some will not be adopted and have to be taken care of for the rest of their lives. Someone has to pay for all of it, and that someone should be EP. The judge should order that he needs to pay for every penny of the care for the entire 177 until the end of their life, or until they are adopted. There are simply too many honest, hardworking people in the horse business who do care about their horses, people who feed their horses better than themselves. I know, I’ve been there and I know many others!!

    We have all these organizations with initials, but not one of our key industry groups has said that they are going to be a leader and stand up for these horses. That they will get behind an effort to stop the abuse and cruelty!! Yes this is a black eye for racing, but don’t make placid statements. Turn it around! The Thoroughbred industry has the eye of the national media on it right now, we need to stand up as a group and say WE WILL NOT TOLERATE IT! They will see to it that anyone who abuses horses is driven out of the industry. Abusers will not be allowed to register horses with the Jockey Club, They will not be allowed to own stallions. They will not be allowed anywhere on the backside or frontside of any track in the U.S. The tracks have the right as private property owners to exclude anyone for any reason. Our leaders need to say that they are hiring lawyers to ask a court that any income from the horses will not go to EP, Every dollar from stallion income, race earnings, regional breeders awards, will go towards taking care of these horses FOREVER! In addition, if there is any money left over, that money should be distributed to horse rescue organizations. Money and jail terms will get their attention. They also need to ask the courts to forbid Paragallo from ever being involved with a horse ever again, not owning,breeding,partnering,standing stallions.

  • Reality Check

    Another horse beneficiary saw these horses too, the employee who usually works for the state department of agriculture. Every foal to be registered as a NY bred must be inspected by this person with 30 days of its birth. In addition, it is required that the inspector check that the dam is on the premises too.

  • Reality Check

    The Animal Legal Rights Defense Fund ( [NOTE: This is NOT a PETA- like organization.] ALDF has a petition to Congress you can sign on their petition page for the right for all animals to be free fr om abuse and cruelty. The petition is called “Animal Bill of Rights.” 262,794 people have already signed this page. You can also print out petitions to gather signatures for your group/event. ALDF has lots of info on the various state cruelty laws. What I did not know, that according to their article from April 2008, is that Kentucky ranks dead last in the nation in its laws protecting animals. Please help change the laws.

  • defrere

    Joe – I am not blaming the press. What I meant is this is a different story in the mainstream news than in the thoroughbred news. Many – as the comments show – feel that EP is a bad guy for racing – and its is good that he has been charged. The average american seeing this on CNN will just put him in with everyone else in racing.

    It is the leadership (or lack of) of racing which bears the most of the blame. Without serious changes, the sport is doomed. You would think the Barbaro, Eight Belles, and steriods would have been a wake up call to the leaders. I guess not.

  • Louie Dula

    i hope they throw the book at that rotten piece of crap!!
    Ray… PLEASE inform your readers that Montana is trying to build a slaughter house… and it’s passed the local law there. and it up for the Governor to sign into law. I can’t understand how that can happen… and they also said that South or North Dakota also wants to build slaughter houses. and the moron who sponsored the bill’s last name is BUTCHER. HOW APPROPRIATE!!! someone has to sop this…. people need to write to the Governor and voice their opinion.

  • Joe

    Louie, it must be inconvenient for pro-slaughter groups that Butcher is the bill’s sponsor. Is the AAEP calling him Mr. Harvest, Mr. Process or Mr. Euthanasia yet?

  • Noelle

    To smartmoney, this is exactly why you don’t need a PETA. PETA would be useful and effective if they took responsible, principled positions and acted on them. They don’t . They attacked Larry Jones and Eight Belles’ jockey with no evidence of wrongdoing by either. They characterized horseracing itself as “cruelty” and demanded that it be ended, period.

    PETA might actually do some good for the horses if they took the time to identify racing’s many real problems and then focused their considerable energy into bringing those problems to the attention of the general public.

  • LCM


    I’m tired of PETA being “bashed”. Maybe their focus on Jone’s wasn’t the best approach last year, but he was the trainer and caretaker of that animal at the time of the breakdown. One can’t ignore that. Let’s focus on the REAL perpetrators here, the owners (Paragallo) and the organizations (Jockey Club, NTRA, NYRA, etc) that allow him (and others like him ) to be involved and even prosper in this industry. Stop diverting attention away from the real issues. ANIMAL CRUELTY is very prevalant in this “sport” whether you or anyone else wants to admit it. Without a high profile organization like PETA, the attention and resulting “changes” would’ve never come about. They wouldn’tve even been discussed in any serious manner. I’m also disappointed in the lack of press from the Humane Society and Wayne Pacelle in particular. Last year he warned the Tbrd industry “they’d be watching”…. Well Wayne? Haven’t you seen enough?

  • This is part of a bigger problem ,a breeder’s incentive program that rewards and promotes mediocrity which has resulted in puppy mill like production at ny farms.Owners breed based on the potencial for a breeders award. The purses for ny breds are high,but take a look at the beyers in those races.The breeding stock at Paragallos farm were just vehicles for getting breeders awards. The animals themselves have no real value. To someone who views this from a strick dollar and cent perspective, it’s easy for them to justify the means to the end. There has been more than one other documented case of neglet and abuse in NY in the past 2 years.I wonder have any one of those other breeders have been denied breeders awards ?Yet the fund wasn’t able to pay out all the awards from 2008 to legimate folks who take care of thier animals and try to improve ny breds. This may be a black eye on racing,but if we don’t get our act together,there won’t be any racing in a few years,only casinos where the tracks use to be. The breeding fund is in a positon to effect real change in ny,if they care too. They do visit the farms on a yearly basis and track the foal crop. They would be the one to know if a farm is not taking care of thier animals. Once identified,an inspector can report the neglect and awards should be suspended pending investigation. This would put every breeder on notice.

  • PGA

    The whole thing doesn’t make sense. If he is having cash flow problems, why not sell some of his stock? He has plenty of value in his barn. Nothing good can come out of starving these poor horses. Sounds like this guy is in over his head. A little late but some one should have told him to SELL SELL SELL anything of value and give away anything of no value but it sounds like this guy should have scaled down months ago.

  • Finally, after reading several posts about rid body lice your one clarified some things i was confused about them.

  • […] horses that previously raced for the Paraneck Stable managed by Ernie Paragallo, who was recently charged with 22 criminal counts of animal cruelty at his Center Brook Farm in upstate New York, have been entered to race at Delaware Park on Monday […]

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