I wrote this letter to the following people back at the beginning of last month. I said I wasn't going to post it on here, but changed my mind. I actually thought I posted it until this morning when I referenced it on another blog, then went looking for it. I didn't post it, just saved it... I don't work real well in the AM. I have received one response. I am still terrified of going to the track, because I'm the worlds biggest chicken.
I took out the woman's name but other than that it's exactly the same as when I sent it out. I thought maybe it would give other people an idea of what they could write to help stand up for horses.
The Horseman’s Benevolant Protective Association (HBPA)
Frank McDonald, President
3702 W. Valley Hwy North
Auburn, WA 98001
Dear Mr. McDonald,
My name is (Chicken who doesn’t want her real name on her blog), and I am the proud, owner of Denali , (Reg. Name: Storm City Slew) an OTTB who has brought a joy to my life that I didn’t know was possible. I am writing you this letter over my concern of how I bought “Denali.”
I attended the Enumclaw Auction in July 2008. I came across her standing in the corner of her small pen chewing on her lead rope. Something about her made it impossible for me to leave her. I talked to her owner, Horse Trader, who told me she was a 3 year old appendix, who she was “selling for a friend.” She said she was ridden by the “owners” kids down by a river. It didn’t matter to me; I loved her and couldn’t leave her in that horrible place with the chance of being sent to slaughter. She was healthy, and a good weight, the perfect addition to a feed lot.
The next day I went to visit “Denali” in her quarantine pen when I noticed she had thrown a shoe. I picked it up and was shocked it was so light. I grabbed a friend to help my hold her so I could check for a tattoo. Sure enough, my 3 year old Appendix was a Thoroughbred. There are multiple databases with information on racing Thoroughbreds – it didn’t take long at all to find out her registered name and who her trainer was at Emerald Downs. When I talked to him, he was shocked and horrified that I bought Denali at the auction. He had given this horse to Horse Trader because she told him it was for her kids and that she would have a good, safe home. I asked him when he had given Horse Trader this horse – it was ONE day before she landed at the feed lot. Clearly, she is taking advantage of her position at the track and intentionally deceiving trainers and owners who mean well by their horses.
The trainer gave me tickets to come watch a race and I attended with my husband. While we were there I saw the woman who sold me my horse. I was even more confused when I saw her talking with a jockey. I put two and two together and realized that the woman, Horse Trader is the wife of Jockey Horse Trader’s husband..
Here is my question. How can Horse Trader, a licensed professional and agent, be allowed to do this? I love going to the track now and watching the horses run. It makes me sick to see her there, knowing that unlike every other professional I have met at Emerald Downs she is willing to send the horses that make her a living, to a gruesome, violent fate – just for a few more dollars. It is people like Horse Trader that give racing a bad name.
Even sadder is that by getting to know trainers and owners, I now know that Denali isn’t the first Emerald Downs Thoroughbred to be taken to auction under false pretenses, and unless something is done, she won’t be the last. Before I bought my horse, I thought that horse racing was a horrible sport. I thought that the horses were used up and then thrown away. After meeting Denali’s track trainer, and others I realize that the best kind of horse is an OTTB. They are loved on and given better care than most expensive show horses. I had no idea, and I don’t think that many people do. It’s sad to think that she is allowed to lie to trainers and “promise good homes” and take these horses who have given everything on the track to an auction, where they often go to slaughter.
I still have Denali's auction tag hanging in my house with Horse Trader 's name written on the back. It reminds me how close she came to being crammed into a trailer and shipped off to Canada. Her new dressage trainer boasts that she is one of the smartest horses she's worked with, and is always impressed with how quickly she catches on.
Suffolk Downs and MEC have taken the lead in ending cruelty to race horses after their career ends. New York trainer, Paragallo, is in the news for starving 117 race horses. We all know that there are a few bad apples in every sport. It is only when a racing agency or authority does not hold offenders accountable that there is public concern. I would like to see Emerald Downs hold the Horse Trader Family to a higher standard. Whether or not you agree with sending horses to slaughter, know that the majority of the population DO NOT agree. And I would venture to say that after watching these magnificent athletes compete - not ONE of your guests would want to contribute to an industry who sends them to slaughter.
Please consider disciplinary action toward Horse Trader and Horse Trader ‘s husband to show your contributors and audience that you do demand ethical behavior while they represent your race track. Additionally, for a small bit of justice to all of the defenseless horses she has done wrong by.
Thank you for your time. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you want more information.
Chicken who doesn't want her name on the blog.
Ron Crockett, President, Emerald Downs
Jack Hodges, VP, Emerald Downs
MaryAnn O’Connell, Director, HBPA