A Cruel Week - by Dan Liebman

(Originally published in the April 18, 2009 issue of The Blood-Horse magazine. Feel free to share your own thoughts and opinions at the bottom of the column.)


Two stories from New York made headlines last week, but the fact they were linked together by some as being indicative of the current problems existing in the Thoroughbred industry was off base.

On April 6, Aqueduct stewards scratched Gato Go Win from that day’s Bay Shore Stakes (gr. III) after the horse’s trainer, Jeff Mullins, was seen administering an oral medication while the 3-year-old colt was in the security barn prior to the race. The decision of the stewards was the proper course of action, regardless of what was in the syringe. In New York, no medication (except the diuretic Salix) may be administered on race day.

As it turned out, what Mullins had in the syringe was Air Power, a cough formula manufactured by Finish Line for more than 30 years and sold over-the-counter in tack shops everywhere. A company representative said Air Power contains honey, apple cider vinegar, aloe vera, menthol, oil of eucalyptus, lemon juice, and ethyl alcohol.

Mullins admitted he made a mistake, which is true, considering nothing would have been said had he been racing in a state that does not have race-day detention barns, or had he administered the herbal elixir at his barn earlier in the day.

In this case, the security barn system worked, the horse was scratched, and Mullins learned a valuable lesson.

A few days later, authorities seized 177 horses at Ernie Paragallo’s Center Brook Farm near Climax, N.Y. The raid was conducted shortly after it was revealed in a New York Times article that four horses Paragallo apparently gave away months ago were rescued from a kill pen while awaiting transport to a slaughterhouse in Canada. A representative of a horse rescue agency said the four horses were malnourished and infested with lice and worms. One mare had a leg wound and torn vulva; another suffered from strangles.

The horses at the farm are now under the care of the Columbia Greene Humane Society, whose president, Ron Perez, told the Associated Press every horse was underweight.

On April 10, Paragallo was arrested and charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty. He was led from the Coxsackie Town Court wearing handcuffs and agreed to transfer ownership of 67 of the horses to the Humane Society.

When Paragallo entered the Thoroughbred game in 1991, he was a prime example of the type of new owner the industry continues to seek. He was young (now 51), energetic, and enthusiastic. He had the money to play, and play he did, first as a pinhooker, and later as an owner and breeder.

Paragallo’s Paraneck Stable bought a colt by Unbridled for $200,000 at the 1994 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga yearling sale. The following March, the colt was hammered down to Hiroshi Fujita at the Barretts’ auction of 2-year-olds in training for $1.4 million, then a world record. But the owner kicked the horse back after a bone chip was discovered in a front ankle. True to his brash nature, Paragallo said he would race the colt and prove everyone wrong. Which he did. Unbridled’s Song won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I), and after taking the Florida Derby (gr. I) and Wood Memorial (gr. II), was the favorite for the 1996 Kentucky Derby (gr. I), in which he finished fifth.

Today, Paragallo still owns half of Unbridled’s Song, a highly successful stallion who stands at Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., for a $125,000 stud fee. The sale of one season in the horse would take care of the purchase of hay, grain, veterinary supplies, and whatever else is needed to care for the neglected horses at Paragallo’s farm.

Officials in New York took quick action to terminate Paragallo’s ability to race in the state. Other states in which he is licensed should do the same.

Like Mullins, Paragallo said he takes full responsibility. Mullins made a mistake and paid the price; his horse was scratched. The same cannot be said for Paragallo; his actions were unconscionable and not easily forgiven.

70 Comments

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tbpartnerperson43

The rescues are full all over the country with TB's who must have horror stories to tell.  How many of them required just a bit more time or care when they started?  How many General Quarters are out there who weren't lucky enough to have a Mark Miller who actually 'trained' the horse. Trainers don't have the time to train a recalcitrant horse - their barns have too many horses.  So some resort to stronger bits, more tie downs, longer whips, bigger exercise riders, all in an effort to make the horse submit.     I was just shocked to see Paraneck Stable had stooped so low as to starve and neglect it's horses.  Cruelty comes in many forms.  Sorry, this is a bit of a ramble.

14 Apr 2009 10:03 AM
MikeM

Paragallo was lucky beyond belief in regards to Unbridled's Song. In appreciation, he ends up abusing these poor defenseless animals.Ask any trainer that worked for him(he has gone through a bunch),feed man etc. what kind of owner he is and you will not find it hard to understand what brought about these conditions. The NY Racing commission is also to blame as they had to know about his reputation but chose to look the other way. He deserves to be jailed for this hideous crime.

14 Apr 2009 10:35 AM
R. Harden

Why don't you address the horrible news from Suffolk Downs last week that the track is reinstating 3 of the 5 trainers it "permanently" banned last November under its widely applauded anti-slaughter policy?

Suffolk banned them when the meet was ending and now reinstates them before the meet begins. Some ban. Worst of all, they admitted guilt, wrote letters of apology and donated a lousy $1,000 to some horse rescue fund as conditions of reinstatement.

Suffolk management got the positive publicity when they announced this sham and should be blasted for reversing it when all eyes were on last weekend's Derby preps and they hoped no one would notice. I guess the Blood-Horse didn't or didn't care, perhaps because the track supports the magazine with advertising dollars.

Personally, I will never wager another dollar on Suffolk races that will benefit the hypocrites who run that place.

14 Apr 2009 11:12 AM
Vet tech

I liked your commentary. I was speaking with someone who use to exercise and is married to a trainer in Tampa Bay. THe attitude tends to be you cannot get rid of people like Paragallo so why try. I hope the racing industry wakes up a little more and flushes out the rest of the trash in the business. I have recommended to have the USEF control the racing industry they would make sure the trash is taken out on a regular basis.

14 Apr 2009 11:51 AM
Karin C-C

The Paragallo case brought back memories of the closure of Rex Ellsworth's farm out in Chino in the 1970's.  I was an Animal Science major at Cal Poly Pomona at the time, and about four weeks before the animal welfare authorities closed Ellsworth down, the Horse Production class I was taking that semester went on a field trip to the farm.

I remember being absolutely horrified at what we saw out there:  the mares with their bones showing, the hooves of many horses overgrown and in such bad shape the horses had trouble moving, the whole place run-down and in terrible shape.

I remember thinking:  the man who bred Swaps owns this?  And I felt ashamed for Thoroughbred racing.  A farm doesn't run down and the horses fall into a state of malnutrition/neglect on that scale overnight.  Things had been going bad for a long time.

And so it must be with Paragallo.  Given the description of the condition of his horses, things must have been going bad for months.  

Of course, now everyone is all over the situation, and Paragallo has lost his ownership privileges and people are hurrying to save the horses.

So how come the authorities in the racing world weren't on top of this before it came to this kind of pass?  All these horses starving and not one person in the industry knew what was going on? Please.  Just as with the Ellsworth case, I'm sure there are dozens of people in the industry who watched while those horses starved and didn't make a move.

This is the kind of thing that people in the Thoroughbred industry who want to see the sport survive need to get on top of before it makes the evening news with images of starving, neglected horses.  Dare I say that people who wanted to breed to Unbridled's Song were afraid to raise the issue of the neglect of the horses, afraid if they did anything about it, Paragallo would deny them access to the hottest stallion at stud right now?  

The Paragallo situation is shameful, the more so since it happened in the full light of day with many people knowing about it.  When Ellsworth's operation was closed down, I remember the being glad that people had finally moved to end something that had become a travesty.

The travesty now is that it happened all over again.  What is wrong with the Thoroughbred industry that nobody cares enough to keep neglect on this scale from happening?

14 Apr 2009 11:56 AM
Deby

I am donating a $100.00 to the Columbia- Greene Humane Society today.  I didn't know that he still owns a share of Unbridled Song!  There is no excuse for this guy.  He hasn't been at his farm in 9 months and a coworker that lives near the farm told me those horses were out in the ice storm back in December.  This is disgusting and other states better jump on this like NY did.  I frequent Saratoga and I better not see him there, even at a restaurant.

14 Apr 2009 12:37 PM
wesly

Mullins learned a lesson? He may have a learning disability since he obviously never learned a lesson in any of the other numerous cases he has been involved with. While his 'mistake' may not be as ghastly as Paragallo's that doesn't mean that racing officials should take his case any lighter. He needs to sit on the sidelines for about 6 months thinking about his mistake. Paragallo should sit in a cell.

14 Apr 2009 1:33 PM
LJ Broussard

tbpartnerperson43, I agree.  Grew up in the business, no longer ride professionally, and am now almost ashamed to admit I'm still a race fan.  Paragallo has buckets of money; there's no excuse for what he did; I want the industry to continue doing the right thing and help bring this man to justice.  Of course... there is no justice for however many TBs he's already sent down the slaughter pipeline, is there?

14 Apr 2009 1:33 PM
FourCats

What happened with the horses at Paraneck Stable was unconscionable, and everyone involved in the cruelty to these animals should be severely punished.  On another note, did I read your column to imply that 1 season to Unbridled's Song (ie. $125,000) would pay for all of the care for the 177 horses on the farm?  When my 2 horses were layed up on the farm, the day rate was $32 a day each and did not include vet costs.  Even if you cut that in half to $16, your annual cost for keeping 177 horses would be north of $1 million per year.

14 Apr 2009 1:35 PM
Adele Maxon

Paragallo should be jailed, fined and banned from ever owning horses again.  He still owns half of Unbridled's Song and reaps those benefits?  He should be totally ashamed. No excuse that he hadn't been to the farm in nine months.  Didn't he miss that he hadn't been paying any feed, blacksmith, vet bills??  "Mismanagement" my "a".  Don't get me started....

14 Apr 2009 1:50 PM
Kevin A. Burke

The entire Ernie Paragallo situation gives all in the Thoroughbred Industry a black eye, and to all in the Thoroughbred Community is incomprehensible. Various explanations and/or excuses have appeared in the reporting of this story. In reality, the reasons for the mistreatment and resulting hideous condition of the horses matter only to those who have legal jurisdiction, and to his clients, friends, family.

It does appear that those who were or tried to be close to Mr. Paragallo, now distance themselves upon the revelation of this story. All claim no knowledge or awareness of the conditions on his farm. Some claim they were not even that close to him. But this is not something that just happened overnight. The results of the mismanagement of the horses in his care came about slowly, with one small failure at a time,  building up to the catastrophe that resulted. The ultimate legal and moral responsibility belongs to Mr. Paragallo, but moral responsibility is shared by those self serving others who surrounded the world of Mr. Paragallo and remained quiet.

In my judgment the verdict of Mr. Paragallo can only be stupid. Like thousands of us all involved with thoroughbreds I live small, but dream big. To witness someone who has obtained the "Brass Ring" and to see him just throw it away, for whatever the cause, is just plain stupidity.

The ultimate victims of his actions or lack of action are the horses, they had no choice. Yet, involved in this situation are his daughters. They also did not choose their father, and must be devastated by the recent news. One of these daughters reportedly has a true affinity for the world of thoroughbreds and for racing. She now must spend the rest of her life with an asterisk. Aside from praying for the horses involved, (and sending a donation for their support), a prayer is warranted that his daughter is given better guidance then he gave her, and that she avoids the caliber of people who surrounded her father.

14 Apr 2009 2:23 PM
Real Fans Speak Up

These TWO incidences being used to paint our industry full of thousands and thousands of excellent farms and great trainers is a CRIME.  Police the media by choosing not to support those who use rare incidences to give us loads of bad advertising, and fail to counter it with the majority of good and true stories of our superb people who love and take excellent care of their horses. 

14 Apr 2009 3:28 PM
For Big Red

TO FOURCATS: I think there is a misunderstanding about what Dan wrote, "The sale of one season in the horse would take care of the purchase of hay, grain, veterinary supplies, and whatever else is needed to care for the neglected horses at Paragallo’s farm."

Unbridled's Song's stud fee is $125,000 breeding, payable when the foal stands and nurses. I don't know how many mares are in his book this year, but for example purposes let's go with the round number of 50, and let's say all have live foals that stand and nurse.

50 x $125,000 = $6,250,000. As half owner, Paragallo's gross in this low-ball example would be $3,125,000.

14 Apr 2009 6:10 PM
Saratoga

Dear Real Fans, While there are many, many good people in racing who take good care of their horses & treat them like their own family (and who would be really great subjects for media coverage) the fact is that bad stories happen to hit the news because they happen.

Blaming the media (or as Paragallo did today, blaming  animal rights activists for his arrest) will not solve the terrible public relations problems and fan attrition facing the industry today.

The best way to help stem the tide of lower attendance and handle is for the industry to become more transparent and to take the position, from the top down, that it is no longer acceptable to treat the horses as disposable commodities.  For far too long, issues like these have been red-lined, not discussable, too contentious, too "negative,"  don't ruffle any feathers. But with the power of the internet, there is no putting this genie back in the bottle.

Going forward, this is an opportunity for racing to look at licensing and inspecting breeding farms, and withholding breed registries for puppy-mill style breeders or those whose horses do not pass a vet inspection. That Paragallo's farm was allowed to neglect horses on a scale like this, with the whispers about it shushed, is evidence that a revolution is in order.

As long as horse slaughter - the enabler of neglect - is defended by some in the game, abusers will have an easy way to dispose of the evidence of their crimminal neglect and cash a check to boot.

14 Apr 2009 6:15 PM
RickS

Will all trainers in New York that give their horses Air Power 5 minutes before they leave their barn for the detention barn, please raise their hands!

Jeff Mullins did break the rules of NY, but, the security guards let him in the barn with the syringe. He hid nothing from security upon entering or when he actually gave it... fine him $500 and move on.

As for Paragallo... there is nothing I can say that hasn't been said.

I'm sure he is going to have to sell off his racing stock and his share of Unbridled's Song to pay his upcoming legal bills.

Ban him from the sport!

14 Apr 2009 8:12 PM
needler in Virginia

Real Fans....I haven't ever shoveled as much manure as you just wrote....and I've shoveled a lot in my life. Blame the MEDIA because Paragallo is a man with no conscience, no morals and no decency? Fair enough....let's be sure to blame the media the next time your kid goes to school with an outbreak of meningitis going on. It's all the fault of the media?? PLEASE! It's the fault of Paragallo. That's it. JUST HIM! The one or two-horse rescues that happen more often than we know aren't loudly publicized because the number is so small; in this case, the numbers are SO egregious that the media would have been been criminally remiss in NOT reporting the story. I've met a lot of TB breeders and owners in my 63 years....MOST are responsible, caring people who feel strongly the responsibility that comes with owning horses. SOME are none of those things, and a few are much worse in all categories. Eventually the truth comes out and thank goodness it came out about this "thing" in New York....and I'm speaking of Paragallo. So don't blame the messenger just because you hate the message.

14 Apr 2009 8:52 PM
Highline

It is not possible that not one person in the New York Thoroughbred industry did not know what was going on at  Paragallo's farm.  Perhaps the Jockey Club should have representatives, such as the AKC has, who would travel around to farms/ranches of those who breed or own more than a certain number of registered Thoroughbreds, and are active in the stud book. Bad care and neglect would be found and reported and the people responsible would lose their ability to participate in the registry.  As far as Mullins goes, what constitutes medication?

If the state he was in prohibits a practice, certainly he is bound to follow it.  Stupid of him not to do so.  I predict there will be no triple crown winner again, as long as the security barn procedure is in place at Belmont.  Not because of medication, but because of the change for the horse, from its own stall and familiar surroundings, to a totally strange one, just before a big race especially.  Big Brown certainly didn't like the new surroundings.  Who knows what he may have done in the Belmont if he had raced under the same conditions as Secretariat, Affirmed & Seattle Slew (going from his "home" stall to the paddock)?  If Belmont officials were only concerned about "medications", they could put an agent at every horse's stall.  Sad, no more triple crown winners.  Sad for racing fans especially.  

14 Apr 2009 8:59 PM
sceptre

I can assure you that the Paragallo matter is far from an isolated incident. I've been in this business as an owner, breeder, etc. for nearly 50 years and in my opinion the majority of horses, particularly on farms, are not cared for as they should be. This industry has received a free ride from the media for far too long, so don't complain when a few truths manage to leak out. More importantly, stop trying to protect the industry at the expense of the horse.

14 Apr 2009 10:09 PM
LCM

I would like to know who the vets were that were doing the work at Paragallo's farm?  You can't have in foal mares without "some" vet work being done...so who are they and how are they going to be held accountable for the obvious neglect and cruelty inflicted?  Thats what I want to know.

14 Apr 2009 10:24 PM
gammyp6

The excuses this Paragallo has come up with are unbelievable. But I know many more people knew for certain or had an idea of what was going on. Again people choose to look away. All states need to step up and put in place very severe consequences against meds,slaughter,cruelty, etc. I don't know if it will happen.

14 Apr 2009 10:44 PM
Ann

A picture is worth a thousand words.

www.ac4h.com/TheOnlyWord.htm

www.ac4h.com/CoconutMartini.htm

www.ac4h.com/FinelyDecorated.htm

Whatever punishment Paragallo got, it wasn't enough!

14 Apr 2009 11:39 PM
Terry

The stories of good care aren't news, because good care is what is supposed to happen and what is expected to happen. It's news when the unexpected happens, hence these stories make headlines, and so they should!

The scary thing is that, for every farm where the abuse is "detected" there are certainly a bunch more equally bad farms that are unreported to the authorities. It's true with child abuse, with puppy mills, and with every other kind of abuse. People need to recognize it when they see it and, above all, act on it.

How many people worked there or visited there and never reported it??? Maybe the farm workers should be charged as accessories for failing to report a crime they had to have known about for months.

15 Apr 2009 2:25 AM
Liz

The Jockey Club needs to deny Paragallo the right to register a foal and he should never be allowed to race or horse or own a horse, even in partnership.  I will never place another bet at Suffolk Downs, the hypocrisy is mind boggling.  I believe that thoroughbred racing needs a centralized organization to regulate the sport.  It is too fractured at the moment.  Someone has to have the ability to say 'hey you - your out '.  (Not without an appeal process of course).  Trainers would not be caught continuously medicating their horses if medication was simply not allowed.  Horsemanship has been replaced with drugs.  I used to think there was hope for this sport, now I am not so sure.

15 Apr 2009 7:57 AM
DONNA

Ann, thanks for the links. Such a shame what those former race horses now look like. My heart goes out to them and all the others that were at Paragallos farm. I hope he gets what he deserves. He should never be allowed to even own horses.

15 Apr 2009 9:47 AM
j greene

the industry should make an example of paragallo and send a message that the horse makes the industry not the other way around

15 Apr 2009 10:29 AM
Karen in Indiana

Ann, you're right on all counts. He hasn't received punishment yet, but just going from what the press has been reporting that he's been saying, he still seems to think he can talk his way out of it. And he's justified in thinking that as it appears he's talked his way out of being accountable for his actions before - four years ago when some of his horses were taken away from him, when he had his license revoked for non-payment of bills. That was when he transferred his license to his daughters and started acting as their agent. And those are the times we know about.

15 Apr 2009 10:35 AM
denise

when I read this it made me sick and mad at the same time. I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent there can be. I also think he should loose ownership of ALL the horses and race tracks across the country should ban him. there is no excuse for the treatment this horses received. apparently he never visited the farm to check to make sure things are running smoothly. also, the so called help to take care of this horses should be prosecuted. it's not all his fault. but he had the responsiblity to make sure things are done right. just because of who he is........he should not be exempt from the law. this is my feelings on this guy. the horses have a hard time surviving as it is after their careers.  

15 Apr 2009 12:33 PM
Gail Vacca

I too would like to know who the vets are that have been out to Paragallo's in the past couple of years. I would also like to know if the mare/foal inspectors who work for the NY Thoroughbred Breeders Assc. could have possibly been negligent in reporting what they most certainly would have had to witness while at this farm doing mare/foal inspections for the state-bred program.

It boggles the mind that these horses were allowed to get in such horrible condition and that vets and the NYTB might have been turning a blind-eye.  

We need to implement welfare criteria and educational processes in all states that have state-bred programs, and train mare/foal inspectors to act as humane investigators as well. This is an easy thing to do. The inspectors are already charged with visiting these farms to make sure that the mares and foals are indeed in residence, why not have them run through a welfare check-list while their at it?      

15 Apr 2009 12:35 PM
ezevans

needler...you always hit the nail on the head!

15 Apr 2009 1:21 PM
Hardworking senior

I am a single senior hard working woman w/3 broodmares + a yearling-I work full time + am a USEF Steward so work weekends too in order to provide for my horses-I would go without to make sure they had feed/hay/wormer-farrier/vaccinations etc-There is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for someone like Paragallo not to do the same-

I think the owners of Gato Go Win were the ones who paid the price for Mullins "honest mistake"-Hope he gets a chance to prove how good he really is!!!

15 Apr 2009 4:05 PM
Robin

Absolutley,utterly disgusting situation!!  The guy should not only be banned from racing, but banned from any ownership of horses or any animals. Too often the excuse is made oh-I didn't know.  Well someone had to.  Didn't anyone work at that farm?  Jail time is too easy, he should be made to work the rest of his life picking trash off the streets, because that's about all he's worth.  Glad I don't know him!

15 Apr 2009 4:22 PM
normajean81258

Thank you Ann, so very much for the pictures of 3 of the 4 hortses reccued from the Kill Pen: TheOnlyWord, CoconutMartini & FinelyDecorated. Though no one WANTS to look at their once beautiful bodies in this horrific state, it hammers home the fact that over 187 horses at Paragallo's stables were in or on their way to this condition. This is unacceptable. I can only hope that now, when someone sees this happening, that they will speak up so something can be done about it, instead of walking away and saying nothing. What does this say about us as Human Beings, that anyone could knowingly allow this abuse to occur? There are many people out there who knew about this, and Paragallo is a liar, and must be an idiot to think that the public will believe he "didn't know" about this neglect. As I stated in my other post from last night, (which by the way,I don't see here) the man deserves Jail Time. And should NEVER be allowed near a horse again.  

15 Apr 2009 7:32 PM
Barry Irwin

There has to be more to the Paragallo story than meets the eye.

Mullins: every trainer knows that nothing can be administered in New York on race day except Lasix.

15 Apr 2009 9:10 PM
RickS

I missed something earlier, why are several of you attacking the media over Paragallo?  As soon as this story broke, and the first chance they had, about 7 reporters surrounded Paragallo in the Aqueduct paddock. Also, they could only report on what his answers were to their initial questions. As both a horseman and journalist, I think the reporting, that i've read, has been very good... most journalists seem to want to "hang" him!

15 Apr 2009 9:48 PM
goodwin

A central authority could boot out forever all those involved in allowing the horses to get in this condition. Racing needs to consolidate. period.

15 Apr 2009 11:06 PM
normajean81258

Here is a link to the Center Brook Farm for TB's in Climax, NY, where the Paragallo Horses are being cared for. There are some pictures, and also a link for donations. It also gives these facts: 22 counts against him, could mean 1 year of jail time for each count or $1000 for each count. Well... 22 years in jail or $22,000????? If it can't be both ~ I vote for JAIL.

Here is the site: http://www.cghs.org/horses.htm    

15 Apr 2009 11:49 PM
darlene

paragallo should be banned from the sport the Thoroughbred industry needs to have  no tolerance of abuse these horses are beautiful animals and deserve to be cared for regardless of how they did on the track. I hope one day the Thoroughbred industry will see to it that all the foals born each year will be taken care of like they are all champions on the track. abuse neglect and slaughter of these beautiful thoroughbreds must stop.  Darlene.

16 Apr 2009 12:26 AM
MikeM

More than meets the eye? I'm puzzled by what you mean by that. You can find out all there is to know by asking the numerous trainers that worked for him or is propensity to be very slow to pay his bills.

16 Apr 2009 9:33 AM
Adele Maxon

Barry; what do you mean there has to be more to the Paragallo story than meets the eye?  Thanks.

16 Apr 2009 10:02 AM
ptr1973

its a disgrace what has happened at the old Schoenborn Farm. Paragallo,et.al are a black eye to the industry. Wonder what his insurance covers???

16 Apr 2009 11:57 AM
nyfalcon

oats, water and hay!!!

it works for me!!!

why is it so hard to do.

is america addicted to every drug in the world  and now we have to use them on our poor racehorses?? come on!!!

some one hire me as a consultant please!!

horse sence is not so common !!

16 Apr 2009 3:00 PM
GerrieP

Saratoga, your comments make perfect sense.  

I do have to ask whether other members of Paragallo's family can still hold a license?

16 Apr 2009 4:04 PM
GerrieP

Ann, your right a picture is worth a thousand words.  The price horses pay for incompetent, ignorant, owners is despicable, PERIOD!

16 Apr 2009 4:08 PM
needler in Virginia

ezevans.....thanks; get me riled up and I can swing a pretty mean hammer. Wish Paragallo would stand near me when I do!! His actions and attitudes are indecent, inexcusable, indefensible, inhumane ...how am I doing so far??

Hope we have a FAR better week than this last one. Racing cannot take this many black eyes and bruises and emerge undamaged........ the Paragallos and others like him (that includes those who saw and said nothing) are the blight racing MUST eliminate or all is lost.

16 Apr 2009 6:59 PM
lobieb

The thoroughbred industry is screaming"Keep government out of racing."  Tell me this.....since the racing industry can't govern their own then someone needs to step in and do it for them.  With as many agencies as them have they hem and haw about everything and never get anything accomplished and they wonder why we say let the government intercede since they have not the slightest wish or any type of reason to regulate themselves.  Enough said but it's the truth.  As for Mr. P. throw him in jail on bread and water, no toothpaste or brush, no soap or water and nothing to cut his toenails with and see how he likes it, maybe that would be a rude awakening for Mr. Big Shot.

16 Apr 2009 7:04 PM
Dawn

The comments have gotten so long, that I didn't have time to read all of them.  A lot of people have a lot of really good ideas.  In "A Cruel Week," Leibman connects these two cases to point out that they are not connected.  I follow the sport of Thoroughbred racing because I love to see the horses.  If I am ever able to own a horse again, I have a responsibility to the horse to care for it for with simple compassion.  It is very, very simple.  Keep the horse's welfare in mind.  Life and death should be met with dignity, and compassion.  

16 Apr 2009 7:56 PM
JettJodi

The people involved in the abuse of these horses are doing more than any anti-racing group could ever do; destroying the publics perception of this sport, which will inevitably be its demise. Anyone who knows anything about racing knows what needs to be done to fix it & to protect these innocent animals, yet the people in charge just want to sit around "discussing" solutions. Time is short, take some ACTION!      

16 Apr 2009 9:01 PM
Sharon

Well everyone on this farm should be brought up on charges for they did not feed or care for the horses nor did they report that there was no feed coming in. It is the actual people at the farm who did this by not reporting to the Humane Society that they were not getting money to pay for feed. That the horses were starving. The foreman at the farm could have called the racing industry and reported this. Heck call the TV news stations. Why aren't Paragallo's daughters being charged too since he says they own the farm and he just runs it? They are the owners and just as guilty. Paragallo should lose all rights and not be allowed to own a racing thoroughbred even for breeding purposes. No stallions with his name on them or mare should be allowed to make money for him. He can still make money off any stallions or breedings

16 Apr 2009 9:07 PM
Scott

To all who dont know how this happened, and why no one did anything.  You don't understand the legal process.  I was at a farm that did just what Ernie did, reported it to the SPCA.  No proof, no foul.  Testimony does not do it.  The horses must show neglect, and this takes a while.  And then it's too late.  Talk to the local SPCA, you will understand.  It is very frustrating.  By the way the farm I am talking about is still operating, and the SPCA is still watching.  Recently, a mass Strangles outbreak.  And still it goes on.  We need political help on this one.  The horses need rights before excess situations occur.

16 Apr 2009 10:45 PM
Trudy

The SPCA is taking care of all 177 horses, even though Paragallo only turned over about 70..what is up with that?  Why is he not paying board, every month (or week) on every horse the SPCA is taking care of?

17 Apr 2009 10:55 AM
Tony

To Scott; Strangles outbreaks are currently happening in many central Kentucky Thoroughbred Farms, both large and small farms, Mom and Pops Farms as well as the very top farms in Kentucky are battling Strangles. Having Strangles does not mean you are abusing or neglecting your horses, so pay attention to what your write and stop generalizing !

17 Apr 2009 5:41 PM
Linda

a poster said he was going to say some prayers and anti up a donation to help care for P's horses. Why the hell isn't P paying for his own horses, regardless of who is taking care of them. Get a judgment against him and get the money.

17 Apr 2009 6:17 PM
Daniel

I have dealt with strangles.. Like Tony says, many farms deal with diseases, and sickness passed around.. The thing is its not abuse to have animals sick it happens, if every parent was reported for child abuse because thre kids had colds, then no parent would have a child.. I mean come on.. What happened here is a blatent disreguard for the well being of animals.. It wasnt mismanagment, as an owner/breeder, i check my horses weekly, why hadnt he.. cause he didnt care, he was racking it in with USong, and didnt care about these animals..

Strangles/West Nile, etc it does occur and when your shipping in and out horses then you risk getting sickness.. but its not abuse or neglect.. To have horses with lice and un attended injuries and rain scour etc, THAT IS..

Racing needs to be very firm, and stop doing this half assed, oh your in trouble your fined, banned whatever,and then there like oh well okay you seem sorry you can race again. NO

These wonderful animals throw there lives on the line for us, they try and try time and time again for us.. and all we do is turn a blind eye to the neglect and abuse, and then when it is brought to light we all act stunned and saddened.. Well damn it get with the program.. Abuse is there, and no wonder PETA points at us daily.. We give them pleanty of foder to do so..

I love this sport, i will never leave it.. Thank god that things like this are shown cause it shows how racing handles issues, and right now.. The people in New York need to be applauded, even if they are acting slowly, at least they are doing somthing..

We need to get a clue, racing cant handle more black eyes.. We have got to show the world, that we mean business, that we are first and foremost about the horse, and that rules are enforced with no way for somone to get out of it.. You do wrong to these animals then your gone.. No more three strikes.. ONE TIME AND YOUR OUT..  Oh and this BS where trainers claim they dont know what a med can do is rediculous, at 15 i knew what things did..

I guess you can always criticize. And there is nothing wrong with feeling strongly about abuse, but we have to find ways to fix the image of racing.. or we will see more tracks closing, and more horses being abused..

17 Apr 2009 7:04 PM
normajean81258

Linda, I gave a donation to the Columbia-Greene Humane Society. Why? Because the horses can't wait for the courts, they need to be taken care of now, they've waited long enough. Paragallo will get his, but the horses need help now.

The CGHS took 67 Horses and they are now up for adoption, the others are still at the farm, but being cared for by the Vets and caregivers of the Society.

The Today Show ran a video and interview, heart wrenching, but accurate. They do show the horses, so get a tissue: msnbc.msn.com

18 Apr 2009 12:23 AM
Rhonda from Saskatchewan

All of this has happened over and over again. Not just in the horse industry but in every endeavour that involves animals. It also happens with the human beings in this world.

When taken to the lowest common denominator,what it comes down to is a lack of respect on the part of many (majority?) for the right to a dignified, decent life and death for EVERY living being.

Simple as that!

Lip service just doesn't cut it.

Be proactive not reactive.

18 Apr 2009 12:13 PM
Scott

To Tony, not the problem with strangles, its was the in and out of the farm, and no vets were called in.  There was no treatments being done.  No isolation for the horses who didn't contract the disease.  I understand strangles.  It was the neglect I didn't like.  Horses with out water, hay and feed.  This is what bothers me.  And the SPCA looks on with out power.  MidAtlantic area.  

18 Apr 2009 7:18 PM
massbredtexan

I am a thoroughbred owner(all Suffolk Downs retirees), compete in eventing, and have been a life- long racing fan.  My horses are my children and what Paragallo did disgusts me. I share the views of most of you in this forum and hope that we all can play a part in stopping the likes of him.  

I must address what R. Harden wrote about Suffolk Downs. I personally know many of the people that run Suffolk and Harden, you could not be more wrong about them and what happened with those suspended trainers. My guess is that you may be a local Bostonian with some sort of personal vendetta, or at best you just jumped to conclusions without knowing all of the facts.  I suggest that anyone who reads this forum ask the connections at Old Friends how they feel about Suffolk and their efforts to prevent situations like those at the Paragallo's farm. If you do, you will not get the negative feedback that Harden spewed. Reading such false information really makes me mad. We are all in this together, and the folks that now run Suffolk are the good guys/gals.  Please ya'll, pay no mind to Harden's opinion of Suffolk.  He/she is dead wrong!

19 Apr 2009 1:55 PM
Liz

The situation at Paragallo's farm has been going on for years.  I personally saw the condition of the place 10+ years ago when I took client mares there to be bred. Today there are three "rescued" horses at a farm near me that came from a field full of abandoned horses at his farm three years ago.  Until now nobody seemed to care. Thank God that this place is finally getting the attention it has long deserved.

19 Apr 2009 6:09 PM
Tony

I can almost assure you that no Vet had stepped foot into that farm in months, due to lack of payment.

Paragallo would not pay for enough feed & hay, much less for Vet services and expenses.

19 Apr 2009 8:59 PM
workhorse

The last 2weeks are going to be very  painful for the racing  industry. I'm sure the TV coverage of the Kentucky Derby is going to be full of these stories. I believe that E Paragallo should have his license revoked for life. The damage he will cause will take years to repair. As for Mullins, trainers know the rules. It's a joke to only suspend him for 7 days. That punishment does not show a commitment to stop cheaters. We will on our greatest day be an embarrassment. What a shame, the horses of this years Derby have done all they could to help save our sport. Our people are destroying it.  

19 Apr 2009 10:12 PM
jmewill

Oats water and hay!  It worked well for Charlie (Whittingham)!

Mullins: will probobly never learn any lessons, has been in troouble several times, more to come I would think!  Airpower is Harmless/useless BUT "nothing but Lasix" means nothing but Lasix!  Mullins should know that!

Paragallos: Just another big money guy exploiting the "horses" that put money in his bank accounts and it's a damn shame he isn't left somewhere to starve.  This is one of the industry's problems that will not go away, and worse yet it is publicized and talked about , but WHAT will really get done about it?  Ernie will get some lawyer to get him off, pay some fines, and hopefully lose permanently all those horses.  It really doesn't matter whether he EVER was at that farm, someone was there everyday and I assume could not secure feed and care for the horses cuz Ernie wasn't paying his feed bills.  The blame here falls squarely on him and he should pay through the nose and do jail time for this.  Make him an example for all those other rich guys that haven't been discovered yet, because we all know this isn't a single isolated incident.

20 Apr 2009 9:18 AM
Carolyn in ND

Mullins - this is another example of why there should be uniform laws nationally.

Paragallo - he should go to jail!  & never be allowed to own any breed of horse!

20 Apr 2009 11:49 AM
amysruffian

Paragallo and everyone connected to him should be locked up for this. There needs to be more monitoring of all farms too.

What an S.O.B.

20 Apr 2009 4:15 PM
ToniDawn

All monies that Paragallo or his family would get from breeding fees should be turned over to the horse rescues forever.  Paragallo should never be allowed to profit from one of these magnificent creatures ever again.

20 Apr 2009 8:44 PM
diastu

Karin C-C contact me off blog at <dms@mail.maricopa.gov> we were classmates and went on that Cal Poly field trip together!

20 Apr 2009 9:28 PM
tbpartnerperson43

I keep coming back and make every effort to read the recent posts. Only one person has really made the point that the Paragallo farm has been substandard for years.   It takes time for animals to get in the condition in which they were found.  There must be many people complicit in this neglect.  Can one really believe that the NYRA had no knowledge of what was going on out there?  The vets knew... the feed men knew... the help sure knew.  And no one cared.  Why is that?  If the man isn't ruled off for life, the industry deserves what is happening to it.  

20 Apr 2009 10:21 PM
Karen in Indiana

If you look at my previous post last week, I said that it seemed Paragallo still wasn't taking responsibility for his actions and that he though he could talk his way out of it because he's been allowed to do that in the past. So what should we make of the fact that he was supposed to have a hearing and his lawyer asked for it to be postponed and there has been no date set for another one? That's an absolute dance on the graves of the horses who have died.

21 Apr 2009 10:26 AM
MVP in NYS

There are few horse vets in the Albany area..no doubt the ones who helped seize the horses from Mr. Paragallo had treated some of them at one time. HOWEVER it is not the SPCA but the NYS tax payers who are paying to treat Mr. Paragallo's horses. Mr. Paragallo needs to pay us tax payers back,pay some bills,pay some fines lose his horses AND go to jail.

But that will probably not happen.

25 Apr 2009 3:49 PM
horse lover

this is to lcm? Re; the vets they would not go to the farm unless there was cash waiting for them. it was on a cash basis. the mares that were in foal were bred to stallions on the property. no need to check them hell why bother they don't even get fed you think they're going to get a pneumabort k vaccine - PLEASE! Ernie Paragallo is out of excuses PERIOD

27 Apr 2009 12:25 AM
grassfire12

For those of you that are posting on this site, how many of you have laid your eyes on these horses? How many of you have seen the conditions of the farm? How many of you have ever met Mr.Ernie Paragallo? I know the man, and I know how he feels about his horses. He spends thousands of dollars a year to take care of them, from feed to vet bills to the farrier. Mr. Paragallo has spent many thousands of dollars to promote the industry. He has give thousands of dollars to relief funds and charities in the name of this industry. I have laid my hands on these horses, I have looked at these horses. Some of the horses might have been a little lite in weight( maybe 50-75 lbs)but they are not starved to death like everybody is saying. Several of the horses that are at the center of this case are in foal. There is no way they could have come into heat let alone be carrying a foal if they were in the shape you people are talking about. So until you have been there and seen things you need not throw stones because those very stones you are throwing may come flying back at you someday.

06 Mar 2010 7:24 PM

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