A Parx Racing official announced this week that the racetrack has imposed sanctions against a racehorse owner in accordance with the track’s zero tolerance of horse slaughter.
Sam Elliott, director of racing/racing secretary, announced that stabling privileges were revoked from the last owner connected to 4-year-old Thoroughbred Wolf King, who died shortly after he was discovered at the New Holland auction earlier this summer.
The owner, Mario Arriaga, who stepped forward to pay the $900 “bail” to purchase the animal back from meat buyers after the horse was discovered at the New Holland auction on Aug. 3, has appealed the decision to the Pennsylvania Racing Commission. He was granted a “stay,” which allows him to continue to run horses, but stabling privileges remain revoked, Elliott says.
Sire: Rock Hard Ten
Dam: King’s Interest, by Kingmambo
Foal date: Feb. 23, 2011The decision to invoke the racetrack’s zero-tolerance policy— which reserves the right to revoke backstretch privileges to horsemen found responsible for a horse winding up at an auction where they could be purchased for meat—was made by racing and re-homing officials at Parx after an investigation into Wolf King’s circumstances, Elliott says.
Wolf King, the son of multiple graded stakes winner Rock Hard Ten, last raced at Parx on July 6. Finishing third that day, he pulled up lame and was vanned off. It was later learned he suffered a fractured sesamoid, according to Danielle Montgomery, program administrator, Turning for Home.
On July 20, Wolf King was shipped off the racetrack property. On Aug. 3 he was discovered at the New Holland auction, says Montgomery, who adds that meat buyers were bidding on him at this point.
Montgomery says she received four or five phone calls alerting her to Wolf King’s predicament, but by the time the Thoroughbred was acquired and shipped to a veterinarian for evaluation, his injuries were deemed beyond repair. “He’d been standing on an injured limb for 10 days … he was in bad condition, he was in pain,” and the veterinarian recommended euthanasia, she says.
Meantime, Parx racing officials were deliberative and thorough in tracing every step the horse took since he left the track, according to Elliott, who notes that the owner was found to be ultimately responsible for “not adequately protecting his horse,” Elliott says.
Montgomery adds that though the owner says the horse was supposed to have shipped to a friend’s farm in Maryland, the owner did not produce a bill of sale. And in a short span, the horse was on the precipice of the slaughter pipeline.
Saying that no horse from Parx Racing should wind up at slaughter, Montgomery explains that the racetrack and horsemen fund their own in-house rehoming organization Turning for Home to safeguard horses. “Our program is built in in such a way that it should never happen,” she says. “We have dedicated a tremendous amount of thought, money and effort into this program to avoid a situation like this.” She adds that over 1,700 horses have gone through Turning for Home.
Meanwhile, Elliott says all horsemen racing at Parx have a responsibility to their equine athletes.
“All anyone needs to do is go to Turning for Home, and it’s done. The horse is protected. It’s built in,” Elliott says.