JC / Railbird



From Glenye Cain Oakford’s interview with owner George Strawbridge:

“Then, you have the PETA video … maybe that was a turning point. I’m not saying it is, but it could be, because it takes the question out of the realm of just cheating. Maybe the majority of people don’t care about the cheating because maybe they just see it as racing insiders cheating each other, but when PETA shows up with this video, that expands the equation to cruelty to animals, which I think most people do care about. If you love horses, you don’t call them rats and treat them like commodities.”

And you don’t “feed” them unnecessary drugs. More on that point, and the HBO Real Sports segment that aired earlier this week, from Tom Noonan:

The more disturbing reality, however, is that horses are given too many drugs, even if they are “legal.” They are often given, as HBO stated, to make a horse run faster or to mask a painful condition, and not because it is necessary to treat a diagnosed medical issue. One segment of the PETA video that was replayed by HBO was of a vet describing Lasix as a performance-enhancing drug. Almost every horse racing in this country is racing with Lasix. Thyroxine is being “fed” to horses not because it is necessary, but because it is viewed as a performance enhancer.


What the SPCA found at the upstate farm owned by Ernie Paragallo:

“On the Henneke scale where 9 is obese and 1 is emaciated, there were plenty of ones and twos.”

… All 177 horses showed signs of malnutrition, according to Joe Mahoney, spokesman for the state Racing and Wagering Board.

“The people who saw these horses were appalled by what they observed,” Mahoney said.

Multiple charges of animal cruelty are now pending against Paragallo.

Bill Finley is absolutely right: “After his day in court and should he be found guilty of the heinous charges of animal cruelty, Ernie Paragallo … must be banned from the sport forever.”

Related: Matt Hegarty’s must-read DRF article on horse slaughter.

4/9/09 Update: Paragallo’s credentials revoked in New York. But Paraneck Stable horses stabled at Aqueduct remain in the barns there: “If the horses are going to leave here and go back to that farm, we don’t think that would be a terribly happy outcome,” said NYRA VP Hal Handel.

4/14/09 Update: From NYDN, Graphic photos of neglected horses found on Paragallo’s farm. The owner-breeder was charged with 22 counts of animal cruelty on Friday, April 10. Jeff Scott raises a question many are asking, “how could conditions at Center Brook Farm deteriorate so drastically?”