JC / Railbird

Horses Archive



On the Santa Anita backstretch, November 6, 2009.


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?”

Unlikely Sight

Trainer Steve Asmussen on whether Curlin might start once more in 2008 before heading to stud next year:

“Without stepping on my own tongue, I don’t see anything worthy of him,” Asmussen said by phone yesterday.

Curlin’s Next Start

… will be the Woodward at Saratoga on August 30, owner Jess Jackson announced this afternoon. After the turf experiment that resulted in a second-place finish in the Man o’ War last month, the colt is returning to dirt, “where he’s a champion,” said Jackson, who didn’t rule out another attempt at running Curlin over grass or taking a shot at the Arc next year (noting though that there’s only a “slim” chance that Curlin will race as a 5-year-old). The move is terrific news for NYRA, which historically has struggled to attract a crowd during the final weekend of the meet. Now, if only Dutrow and IEAH could be enticed into sending Big Brown — at that point, four weeks off his Haskell win — to meet Curlin at the Spa, we’d really have an exciting entry on the calendar.
As for what happens after the Woodward, Jackson indicated the Breeders’ Cup Classic was a possibility, “but it’s an untested surface,” referring to the Pro-Ride track being installed at Santa Anita, and said several several other races were under consideration, including the MassCap, Jockey Club Gold Cup, and the Japan Cup. “We’re going to keep all those options open,” said Jackson. “We certainly want to show Curlin off at his best.”
Aside: How great is it for Suffolk Downs that Commentator, Big Brown, and Curlin have all been mentioned as possible starters for the Massachusetts Handicap on September 20? That the race is being considered as a Breeders’ Cup Classic prep for horses of that caliber after being forced into hiatus in 2005 and losing its G2 status in 2007 speaks to the excellent work that the track, under owner Richard Fields, has done to revive New England’s signature race.

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