Horsemen: ‘That’s it; we’re getting her out’

Rock N Cozy was retired last week through a joint effort by horsemen Carl Domino and John Murrell. Photo by Frankie Olaya and courtesy Sophia Domino

Rock N Cozy was retired last week through a joint effort by horsemen Carl Domino and John Murrell. Photo by Frankie Olaya and courtesy Sophia Domino

With the words, “That’s it; we’re getting her out!” two well-known philanthropic racing professionals teamed up last week to claim back a startlingly pretty race mare from trainer David Jacobson.

With swiftness and commitment to repay a kindness to race mare Rock N Cozy, New York trainer Carl J. Domino and Texas racehorse owner John Murrell united forces behind the mare, this time not to win races, but to see her through to a much-deserved retirement.

“I was worried about her,” says Murrell, a Texas racehorse owner and philanthropist who has donated tens of thousands of dollars to save Thoroughbreds from the slaughter pipeline.

Rock N Cozy
Sire: Rockport Harbor
Dam: Sari, by Cozzene
Foal date: Feb. 25, 2008
Earnings: $231,242 in 39 starts
Although trainer Jacobson has been criticized in some horse-welfare circles in the past, and just last year was absolved of wrongdoing in the case of another racehorse, detailed in this story in the Daily Racing Form, it was for the horse herself, and not who the trainer was, that Murrell and Domino made their move.

Rock N Cozy just wasn’t running as well as she once did, says Murrell, who notes that though she won her last race, the victory was due to poor competition more than anything.

“I loved that horse. She’s spectacularly beautiful. You don’t often see white Thoroughbreds, and she’s nearly white. But that’s not why I wanted to claim her. The reason is that I’m a sportsman, and though I want to make money like everybody else, I do care about the racehorses and … I wanted to do the right thing for the horse. She’s been very nice to me; I wanted to do right by her.”

Rock N Cozy enjoys some green grass as Carl Domino  looks on.

Rock N Cozy enjoys some green grass as Carl Domino looks on. Photo by Loretta Lusteg and courtesy Sophia Domino

And Domino was right there with him on that. For he had trained Rock N Cozy in partnership with Murrell for many years, and grown attached to the friendly mare who “looked for him” every morning in the shedrow, and who made a particular friend of his wife, Sophia.

“This was one of my wife’s favorite horses,” Domino says. “After we claimed her, she stopped dead in the shedrow as soon as she heard my wife’s voice. She’s such a nice filly to be around and we’re all happy to have her back.”

The reunion occurred on the backside of Belmont Park after Race 3 on May 20.

Before Rock N Cozy “emerged with control” from the starting gate to handily win against lesser rivals, Murrell had quietly wired $14,000 to be used by Domino to drop a claiming tag on her.

And though another person had also dropped a claim on the mare, Domino won the shake (the draw), and seven months after losing Rock N Cozy to Davidson, the mare was again entrusted to his care. “I think it was destiny that we got her back,” Domino says. “I had to out shake another claim” —but they got it done.

Like Murrell, Domino was motivated to get her back because he started to doubt the mare could hold her ground in the higher claimers. “No matter who had her, sometimes horses, when they get older are worth less money,” he says. “I didn’t want to see the mare” drop in class “and (possibly) wind up running races every week.”

Rock N Cozy after winning her first race for the Dominos. Photo courtesy Sophia Domino

Rock N Cozy after winning her first race for the Dominos. Photo by Wendy Smith and courtesy Sophia Domino

Likewise for Murrell, it was when he saw her claiming tag drop from around $40,000 to a poor $14,000 that he started to grow concerned that the mare might not end up in as good a situation as he and Domino could provide.

“She was claimed by Jacobson for $50,000 at one point and then for $35,000 last October,” Murrell says. “And then all of a sudden he put her in for $14,000, and I said, that’s it, we’re taking her out.”

As the two decide on the next steps for Rock N Cozy, both men say they are happy such a beautiful horse has returned to their fold.

Friends and business partners for years, Domino and Murrell both donate generously to horse charities. Domino, who was elected to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) Board of Directors last October, created the Jana Domino Thoroughbred Foundation in memory of his daughter, and uses funds to assist several racing-related charities, including the TRF.

Says Domino, “We got to the point (with Rock N Cozy) where we wanted to just take her now and get her a good home.”

53 responses to “Horsemen: ‘That’s it; we’re getting her out’”

  1. Eric Abramson

    I don’t know Mr. Murrell, but if Carl Domino vouches for him, that’s all I need to know. Carl Domino is a class-act, and a gentlemen. Period. He is truly one of the good guys in the sport/business. Carl has served on various boards and committees, and has long supported after-care efforts, causes, and charities. It has always been an honor and privilege to call him a friend.

    These two men and their efforts should be applauded, and should serve as a model for others. Thank you both very much.

  2. Jan Colton

    Happy for this mare and her connections. Please watch out for Midnight Hawk, claimed by Mr. Jacobson approximately 4-5 months ago.

  3. Anita Adamski


  4. Sandi Kleemann

    The racing world needs more honest and caring people like these two class men! As a previous owner for many years I personally want to thank you!

  5. Deborah Backlund Rourke

    Truly a asset to the horses and horseracing itself. We thank him for all he is doing for these horses!

  6. Cheryl Ann

    Thank GOD she is safe! I have an OTTB myself. He’ll never run again in a race, but he is pampered by our grandson and has a good retirement life.

  7. Coranto M.

    The rabid Jacobson-haters show themselves for what they are.

  8. Daryl J Conner

    He is beautiful, happy you got him .May be a another good ending, so many don’t get it .

  9. danielle Palombi

    I too have a Carl Domino racehorse. His name is Chaysen Alex and though he won his last race out, he suffered a tendon injury. Rather than race him again, he placed him with a tb rescue where he was to be the owners personal horse. Because his injury limited him to flat riding, I became the lucky owner. Mr. Domino is a rare trainer who puts his horses first

  10. Susan Crane-Sundell (@sabaahslight)

    I missed this. Thank goodness another horse that Jacobson would have ruined was saved. She is exquisite and can now have a quality life being a horse. This mare was a lucky girl.

    I and so many others would like nothing more than to keep raising “Jacobson awareness” until we get his license revoked permanently. He is a human stain on the face of racing in NY and the NYRA lets him get away with literal equine murder because he rakes in the almighty dollar.

  11. Pamela Cingano

    May God Bless you two men abundantly and all of you who are working so hard to save these creatures. Like Jo Anne Normile, author of Saving Baby.
    I believe that the QH Association condones horse slaughter. I also believe that a nation can be judged by how they treat their animals. I have 2 grade horses that we rescued a year ago, they also deserve to live. I am against back yard stallions and over breeding in any breed, for greed.

    Enjoy this quote:
    “We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings: they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”
    ― Henry Beston, The Outermost House

    P.Cingano, Beaverton, MI

  12. D Futoma

    Thank you as well. Very nervous about Rapscallion, a Graham Motion horse just claimed by Jacobson. Graham Motion the exact opposite in carefully spacing races.

  13. Susan Humphrey

    According to the pedigree inquiry, she is a 2008 mare with 39 Starts, 3 Wins, 9 Places, 11 Shows.
    Her career earnings are: $231,242.
    It sounds as though she is still sound, so she still has a good life ahead of her and there was very little chance of her heading to slaughter. Market price, she would only bring about $400, at the current rate. Even as a trail-riding horse, she is worth much more than that. OTTB are easy to transition into a different “job”.

  14. Liz Gray

    Lucky mare to end up with true horse lovers! Bravo

  15. Drury Hopson

    Thank you for doing what should be done by everyone who races! Way back in the late 60s and early 70s, my uncle took the horses he had finished racing (Appendix QH) and gave them to me to retrain. Between the two of us , loads of horses went into wonderful hunter homes. I don’t think one of his animals went to slaughter!
    I’d love to give her a forever home as a Dressage/trail horse!, should she need a new home

  16. Jane Johns

    Great story! My first choice for her would be as a riding horse for your wife since they already seem to have a connection. I hope this beautiful mare gets to retire from racing and has a great second career as a riding horse. She would make a very classy hunter.

  17. comedyflyer

    I just wish it did not take so damn long to get them out….to their well deserved retirement…a big shout out to those who saw the need in this horse & to all the others who make these stories possible….

  18. Wendy Smith

    The photo of Rock N Cozy after winning her first race was taken by me.
    Also, the photo of her grazing was taken by Loretta Lusteg.

  19. gj

    Thank you she is gorgeous almost looks like she is a black horse painted white on some area’s 😉 . That is what my dream is to buy all the horse’s that need to be retired and I agree Jacobson needs to be banned I have no respect for nyra letting him abuse horse’s . Hopefully karma will get him 😉

  20. Viktoria kS

    Yes! Thank you Gentlemen! You are a shining light in the world (and afterworld) of horseracing. As one who has rescued 8 Thoroughbreds myself, and who keeps safe the 8 others that my partner and I either bought, raced and/or bred, I can’t thank you enough for being there for this mare and so many others! God Bless!!!

  21. Daryl J Conner

    So many ending up in the slaughter houses and this is a good ending and she will be retired and loved and cared for. Thank you for the effort and time you put in to saving her from a horrible fate.

  22. Delrene Sims

    Thank you gentlemen. She is just a beautiful mare.

  23. Greg Jones

    Mr. Domino and Mr. Murrell, bravo and thank you! Both the complete opposite of Jacobson, wish every horse under the so-called care of Jacobson were so lucky.

  24. Zig Pope

    Bravo! Well done!

    Every time I see some racetrack give Jacobson an award, I want to throw up.

    1. S.Allen

      Me too…he lost my respect a long long time ago.

  25. Nicki

    so nice to hear, I love this type of good situation, Hurrah to Mr Domino and Mr Murrell true caring horsemen, she is a beauty I’d have her but then I’d have them all if I could 😉

  26. Marsha

    I’ll take care of her.

  27. MK


  28. Lauren

    Fabulous story!!! Thankfully, there are trainers out there who really care about the fate of their horses. Melody Conlon is a trainer in Southern California who really cares about her horses. She trained Handsome John who suffered a career ending injury and took the time and energy to place him with a respected and reputable horse rescue in the area. I ended up adopting Handsome John; now fully healed and living the good life as a pleasure horse. Melody Conlon also utilized a stunning palomino mustang from the same horse rescue as an outrider at Hollywood Park until it closed. This “win-win” arrangement is a real winner!!

  29. Michelle Y.

    The more I read about John Murrell and Carl Domino, the more I like them. The more I read about David Jacobson and Drawing Away Stable, the more of a sick feeling I get in my stomach.

    Thank you to the men with a heart and a conscience to saving this mare. As for Jacobson…dude, get a clue and stop abusing these horses.

  30. Stephanie Morse

    She is beautiful. She looks like a Hanoverian mare I bred that I lost to colic a couple of years ago. I love her name. And I love her connections. I’d love to see her in the hunter derbies.

  31. Janice Scott

    Yes there are good people in racing ones who care at the high and low end.I bought from a Charles Town trainer a horse on the CANTER site that he went the xtra mile for.Bought him back from a fellow trainer and held him for me until I could buy so he would not be raced after he clearly had lost interest.True their are not enough and since he cares he is not one of the most winning trainers but I thank God for him and those like him ,as does my Kismet formerly Monster Dinner.

  32. Lynn

    what about the ones that aren’t running ? just waiting for someone to give them a home?
    I have 2 – anyone want a free one?

    1. Anon

      I’m sure a meat buyer would love to meet them both.

  33. Sharon

    Thank you…………………….

  34. Kathryn Webers

    It can’t be just a coincidence that bad things happen to Jacobson horses. Like Ea, a dear Dynaformer gelding. When this former stakes runner fell to the bottom rung and showed that it was time to leave racing, Jacobson claimed him to squeeze the last out of Ea.
    Fortunately, a few friends won our claim and we took Ea out of racing and away from Jacobson.
    There are ways to profit from TB racing. Unfortunately, there are those who operate as Jacobson chooses to, and that’s at great cost to the horses. Unacceptable.
    Susan Kayne, I’m so sorry for what you went thru, and glad that you took appropriate action.

    Shame on NTRA, NYRA etc for allowing predators like DAJ to continue in racing. Ban him now, as well as any surrogate entity that Jacobson would use to train/race. The entire sport is poisoned by the presence of such predatory individuals.

    Yes, a ban, for life. That would be the right thing for the sport, and for the horses. Do it for them.

  35. Gaye Goodwin

    Yea! John Murrell! Keep on being YOU!

  36. Susan Kayne

    I am thrilled this horse is safe and so happy that John and Carl stepped up on her behalf. iT DISGUSTS ME THAT dAVID jACOBSEN continues to profit from horses he refuses to do the right thing with… Retire, rehome, give to loving forever homes are sanctuaries. This man is made millions on horses as throwaway commodities. His actions speak louder than words. How pathetic is the state of New York racing to have allowed him to be licensed after he had been ruled off for his previous abuse of horses. This is not hearsay, this is factual first-hand information. Unfortunately, I had a horse in training with him for a few weeks and his treatment of the horse was unconscionable.

  37. Marilyn Lee-Hannah

    I am getting a really great feeling about Mr. Murrell and do wish I could contact him somehow. This is the same compassionate horseman who got our Future Kings to safety a few months ago. I would like him to know how much his coming to the rescue means to so many of us, horrified by the slaughter pipeline. I would love to send him photos of Kings now, winning in the show ring.

    That mare is gorgeous…thank you gentlemen.

    1. Sue

      Marilyn, Mr. Murrell also helped Beyond the Roses and me get Porfido off the track. Porfido now resides at Old Friends, KY.

  38. Crystal W

    Wonderful men!

  39. Janet

    Drawing Away Stable tore my heart with Saginaw, the way that broken horse looked at his fans before he was loaded onto the ambulance from the track, if only, someone would have gotten him, before it was too late, because this outfit will run them until they can no longer walk…

  40. sandy merrifield

    Thank You for getting her. I would love to see David Jacobson banned from racing for life. He has run many horses to there death. Kudos Gents!!!

  41. Karen Reese

    Beat story ever. I love her, want her! Love that she recognized your wife’s voice. I find that my training projects always remember my voice and look for a snuggle. Love what you have done

  42. Susan

    Thank God for people like Mr. Domino and Mr. Murrell. “ARGHHHHHHHHH” D. Jacobson…that’s all I can say about him here.

  43. Michelle

    First, thank you for doing this good deed. I hope you can find her a good home…..if I had a farm I would take her in a heartbeat. What a beautiful horse…….

  44. Lainie

    There are good people in racing. Not as many as there should be. So happy this mare made it out alive. Many don’t.

  45. Debbie Gillis

    Wonderful couple, happy this beautiful girl did not end up eventually selling at a low end auction. She deserves her nice retirement.

  46. Louise Martin

    Thank you gentlemen! So much love…………..

  47. Jen Baron

    Lucky for her… what about the thousands running for 5K or less?

    1. SlowMoneyFarm

      Claim ’em!

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