Big winner nearly dies on the way to slaughter

Press Exclusive earned $400,000 on the track and foaled 9 babies before she was a “downer horse” on slaughter truck

Press Exclusive earned $400,000 on the track and foaled 9 babies before she was a “downer horse” on slaughter truck

All that money, nearly a half million dollars worth of racetrack winnings, couldn’t help her as she thrashed in panic and fear.

Flailing beneath the hooves of 30 other terrified horses, last December in a tractor-trailer heading for a Canadian slaughterhouse, once-winning race mare Press Exclusive had lost her balance on the truck, and her place in the world.

No longer valuable as a racehorse or a broodmare — she gave birth to nine foals—she fell down among the legs and hooves of the other slaughter-bound horses, and was pummeled as she struggled beneath them, writhing in the shavings and manure.

“By the time she made it to Ottawa, where the kill buyer off-loaded her to do paperwork before proceeding to the slaughterhouse, a sale-barn vet wanted to kill her immediately because she was in such bad shape,” says Mindy Lovell, longtime Thoroughbred rescuer, owner of Spring Hill Farm and operator of Transitions Thoroughbred Program.

Press Exclusive
Sire: Press Guard
Dam: Gosh
Foal date: May 5, 1996
Earnings: $436,810

Covered from head to toe with deep cuts and abrasions, Press Exclusive sustained four fractured ribs and blows to the face that caused grotesque swelling.

Of all the horses Lovell has pulled from the junk heap of discarded horses, the mere mention of Press Exclusive brings her to tears.

“She made $436,000 on the track and produced nine foals, one after the other, as soon as she retired. The last foal that was weaned off her just ran through the Select Yearling Sale at Woodbine and sold for $16,000!” Lovell says. “With a horse like that, with high earnings and nine foals, Jesus, God, that’s not what she deserves at the end of the day.”

And so on a fateful day in December of 2012, as a veterinarian hovered near, insisting the sorry animal be euthanized on the spot, her poor condition making her unfit even for slaughter, Lovell and her personal horse-shipper intervened.

The veterinarian who manned the Ottawa holding facility where the truckload of slaughter horses had stopped and temporarily unloaded, agreed to send the mare on to Lovell, despite deep skepticism. Already labeled “condemned” for meat sale, the once flourishing horse wobbled on weak legs to a transport waiting to carry her off to Lovell’s Ottawa farm.

Her eyes were swollen shut from blunt trauma sustained enroute to the slaugherhouse

Her eyes were swollen shut from blunt trauma sustained enroute to the slaugherhouse

And when she arrived, a few days before Christmas, and Lovell saw her for the first time, fear clawed her heart.

“I’d seen a lot of emaciated horses before, but there was something really wrong here,” she recalls. “I asked my vet if it was necessary to euthanize her, and she said it was worth giving her a chance. She said the next 48 to 72 hours would tell us if she would make it. If she stopped eating, or she got down in the stall, it would be ‘game over.’ ”

Lovell had agreed to purchase the animal, sight unseen, after receiving word from her network of horse-rescue associates of the animal’s need. She’d raised the necessary funds to purchase the mare from the meat buyer, and when she finally saw the animal’s condition, she couldn’t give up. Not yet.

Even after Lovell’s veterinarian judged the mare’s body to be a 0 on a scale of 1-5, and the horse’s fate seemed hopeless, Lovell started in immediately trying to get proper nourishment and medication to the injured animal.

The mare was given antibiotics and Bute, and coaxed to keep eating, even when it seemed all hope was lost.

“The biggest worries I had with Press was her reluctance to eat,” she says. “So I started feeding her peppermints.”

Now restored to health, Press Exclusive is welcomed to the Equine Advocates sanctuary for permanent retirement

Now restored to health, Press Exclusive is welcomed to the Equine Advocates sanctuary for permanent retirement

The peppermints led to a healthy, fattening diet of hay, hay pellets, 18 pounds of daily grain, beet pulp and nutrients to aid digestion.

Gradually, signs of defeat were replaced with a reawakening of spunk.

“The day I walked into the barn in the morning and found her pawing for her breakfast, I was absolutely ecstatic, which is the opposite reaction I’d usually have to a horse pawing for feed,” Lovell says.

For months she kept vigil over the horse, and it took even longer before she was able to slow her hurried step to the barn to double check, one more time, on the fragile animal’s wellbeing.

By late winter, Press Exclusive was well enough to take a walk outdoors.

Her eyes were no longer swollen, and the cuts and other signs of trauma had also healed sufficiently for the mare to eagerly walk on the lead line, tentatively at first, and with increasing vigor.

“When I began to notice shavings on her coat, I knew she was able to lie down at night” and this reassured Lovell that she was out of the woods.

As she recovered, many fans and interested parties, shocked by the horse’s condition, had their eyes opened to the horrible fate that can befall a racehorse, she says.

Fans, as well as those who had been touched by the once great mare, opened their hearts and wallets to aid her recovery. An owner of one of her offspring even paid the “bail” money to make the initial purchase that rescued her from the slaughter pipeline and an executive at Purina paid for six months worth of feed, Lovell says.

Press Exclusive enjoys the green, green grass of home

Press Exclusive enjoys the green, green grass of home

“A lot of people came through to help Press,” she says. They included Susan Wagner, executive director of New York-based Thoroughbred charity Equine Advocates, who offered the biggest gift of all: sanctuary.

On Sept. 10, fully restored of her strength, her swagger, and her Alpha Mare personality, Press Exclusive was relocated to her permanent new home, where she won’t be asked to do anything except to enjoy a romp in green paddocks with other horses.

In a transfer facilitated by Marlene Murray of the Race Fund, Wagner and Lovell agreed that the best thing for the fine mare was R&R, with no possibility of being bred or sold.

“Everybody followed her story. I remember waiting for her to arrive, and we were all waiting to see what she looked like, and what her condition was. We’d never seen a picture until she arrived right before Christmas,” Lovell recalls. “It was so bad that I had to warn people that it wasn’t pretty. She actually fell when she stepped off the van for the first time.”

She adds, “People were so shocked. She was such a great horse, and my hope now is that if her story can help make a difference, and inspire people to find other options for their horses, then she’s done her job. Press Exclusive was not an isolated incident, so I hope she will help a lot of people think twice about where their horses are winding up.”

—Author’s note: Stories like this one on Press Exclusive are now made possible through the sponsorship of the nation’s largest and oldest Thoroughbred charity, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Please take a moment and click through to read about their very special Second Chances program:

114 responses to “Big winner nearly dies on the way to slaughter”

  1. Jo Ann Natale-Varvatsas

    I know this a cold thread.

    This is miraculous for Press, but I can’t help but wonder about all the other horses going to slaughter who weren’t as fortunate as she. All lives matter.

  2. Loia

    Unfortunately, horse racing, like dog racing or ANY type of “animal exhibit” including Sea World, Busch Gardens, etc., ALL involve BIG $$$ and are run to benefit owners from the display and exploitation of animals. A proper Society doesn’t reward this type of treatment by participating in the sport…so like, stopping horse racing, for the DISGUSTING sport that it is, will never happen! Total crap!

  3. Jill Weaver

    This story is heartbreaking & heartwarming ….we have a “rehomed” Off-the-track thoroughbred and he is the sweetest, gentlest horse we have ever known. He was only 7 when we got him and 9 now. Half of that time he has been rehabbed from injury that many would have moved him down the road for and we were advised to do so. We are committed to him & love him and will stand by him whether he is able to do what we’d love him to do or not — jumping & eventing. I pray that this story impacts others to have a heart and have that heart when dollars don’t make sense. He placed his head in our daughters arms when she was 13 on a test ride …. he had us at that!

  4. rudolphfurtado

    The “UGLY” side of the World of horse racing. Anyone remembers “FERDINAND” ?

    1. Joan

      Yes, I remember Ferdinand and when Willie Shoemaker rode him. He wound up on someone dinner plate in Japan.

  5. Markie Madden

    This is a wonderful story that could have ended so badly! Bless those who are able to help horses this way! Unfortunately, though my heart is willing, I’m on disability and can’t do much to help. So, I’ve published a book that will hopefully educate new horse owners (and some not so new!) on the basic things horses need to be healthy! You can find Keeping a Backyard Horse at most online book retailers, and it’s free for most e-readers. Thank you for this wonderful article!

  6. Rachel

    Also some animals need to be put down maybe not in the way they are if they could make slotter house better and only horses that are so old or hurt that they need to be put down not just horses people get tierd of caring for

  7. Rachel

    Not all racing is bad some horses enjoy it

    1. Vicki Crisp Brown

      Really Rachel???? They enjoy racing so much that they have to be beaten with a whip to run !!!!! Would u enjoy that???

      1. Debby Walker

        Rachel is obviously not old enough to understand horse racing is an atrocity. Judging from her spelling and punctuation or lackthereof she is still a young child. She will hopefully learn as she gets older that treating animals of any type this way is cruel.

      2. Tashery Otway-Smithers

        I used to train racehorses in Guatemala and racewhips have flippers on the end-they do not hurt the horses.Jockeys ride with their knees up and cannot use their heels.It is a lot less aggravating for a horse to be slapped with a flapper than to have heels dug into their sides.

    2. Kathy

      Rachel I am sure if given the chance or if you could ask them they would opt out of horse racing! It is a cruel money driven sport if you can call it that.

    3. Trish

      I think American Pharaoh enjoyed the triple crown win. I hope they retire him to stud while he still enjoys racing.
      As far as the slaughter issues, exposing the greedy owners who need to eke out the last $500 from their investment it would be great to expose them, maybe include the name of the seller when the horse gets sold to the meat buyer.

      Especially since it is so sadistic and brutal it is probably considered a criminal act in most states. maybe the owners could be charged?

      If a horse is no longer useful and cannot be re-homed I guess euthanasia would be a better solution.

  8. Rachel

    I know some of you say you do not believe in horse racing because it is cruel or mean but sometimes horses like to race and some horse breads need that much exercise but if they do not like it or need it then they should not be forced to race

  9. Leah Gyarmati

    Who were the connections that 1) raced her and 2) bred her and gave her up? That should be publicized because, unfortunately, until people’s reputations are put on the line, many don’t care.

    1. June Bullied

      right on leah. these evil owners shd be made known to all public so they can be shamed and harassed. greedy bunch of bastards.

  10. Anna Underwood


  11. dannika

    I just did a 3 min speech in grad 6 and it was about race horses and how there drugged and always throne away like a peace of trash and being killed every day I think it needs to stop if u don’t want ur horse then why own one like come use ur brian for once

    1. Fireweed

      Thankyou, Dannika, for speaking up for animals! When I was around your age my favorite book was ‘Black Beauty’, a lovely story by Anna Sewell about awonderful horse. The whole book is available for free online now-a-days…I hope you let someone in your family know who could read it with you! I think you’d enjoy it!

  12. Ken B

    There is no respect for all our creature. They serve there purpose and then discarded and they do not deserve that. All creature deserve to live and be treated with kindness.

  13. Smita Baidya

    It happens with the Dogs in military service … once saving so many lives like a soldier they are either put down or kept in poor condition. This is the time we should respect animals for their contribution towards mankind. We have snatched their freedom. At least we should not snatch their lives.

    1. Brenda

      Our veterans aren’t even respected this much, do you really expect them to respect animals for their service? Doubt that will ever happen even though it is very sad.

  14. Michelle

    Firstly we need to stop looking at any animal as property and something we can own and do with as we please. These creatures have been on this earth as long as we have, whenever have we suddenly decided that we can just take something and own it and sell it and kill it to eat and do as we please. They are intelligent, feeling creatures just the same as a human being and in some cases I would say the animals are more so. The sheer arrogance of man astounds me we are the most dangerous egotistical race of creatures on the planet and things need to change drastically!!

    As for the people who take these animals in and rescue and care for them I think they are wonderful human beings and it helps to restore some of my faith in humanity.

  15. Samantha Moore

    She’s a good person for stepping in to rescue this poor animal who was once so proud and majestic before people used, abused, and ran her into the ground. I just don’t get how her owners could just throw her away like that… Like even if you care more about the cost of keeping her than making her last years comfortable, after all she did for you, don’t you think she deserved to be euthanized at home? She gave her life to you to make money off her, and your response is to sell her into a long and torturous drive–in the back of a truck where she’s packed in with other stressed and frightened animals–at the end of which she’s slated to die?

  16. Tracey Heap

    The owners of these race horses arnt animal lovers they don’t care what happens to the horse when it’s no longer usefully. They should be made by law look after and keep there horses. With the best of care my sister has saved many horses from slaughter not racehorses horses that arnt worth any money at al no one wonts them she doesn’t have money even buy herself a winter coat to wear to keep her warm while she works her fingers to the bone for hours on end cleaning stables for ponys that are no use to anyone and she keeps them til they die and they don’t go to slaughter they are put to sleep in a field dignified

  17. Sarah M

    I rescued a 10 year old Cob Mare, I was told she was headstrong and no one wanted her because of it. She has been the sweetest loving horse you could ever find.
    Always rescue them whenever you can, they will pay you back

  18. Michele Rescuer

    One word Karma

  19. Joan Parsley

    I don’t believe in horse racing period. Too many horses are injured horribly and then even the ones who win often end up being sold for slaughter. If man wants to run a race let him. A horse can’t stop when it feels pain. They are drugged, and pushed far too hard to win for their mostly greedy owners. Down with horse racing, I say!

  20. Kathy Hall

    As far as finding the previous owners, unless things have changed, these horses are lip tartooed. Sending the Tattoo number to the Jockey Club is the main source of finding the horses’ correct names as well as other information about the horse and owners. This pathetic industry must be stopped and the quicker the better. Some of the horses ending up at slaughter have been stolen from people who would never do this to their horses. Others have been purchased fraudulently. And owners offering horses for sale at ridiculous prices are ultimately sending their child’s mounts to certain death. And this country needs more education on why not every stallion or mare should be bred. Then there’s the issue of mustang being sold by the Bureau of Land Management–yes a US Government agency–illegally for slaughter. There is an Act that actually was passed in the 1970’s to protect these wonderful horses from this atrocity, yet the paid off people we are voting into Congress ignore the law in place and try to amend it constantly. This mare, and the winning horse Ferdinand–winner of the Kentucky Derby if I remember correctly, went to slaughter. I fear the same will happen to California Chrome as he was also sold after his defeat in the Belmont Stakes last year to a Japanese breeder. And for those who think only the old and infirm horse are going to slaughter—WRONG! The buyers want young, healthy, fat horses and care nothing for where they came from, what breed, stolen or purchased fraudulently.

    1. ausscyn

      Youe wrong Kathy, about California Chrome. He was NOT sold after the Belmont, nor the Breeders’ Cup, nor the Dubai Cup. The Perrys & Coburns LOVE Chrome & he is happy & training in England for Ascot. There should be a percentage taken from ea. T’bred purse for the humane retirement of these horses.

  21. Liz Mitchell

    I don’t have thoroughbreds but have bred and completed show jumpers and eventers for over 45 years. We all have a duty of care to those horse that provide us with the thrills and results that these wonderful equine athletes provide us with as owners and competitors. Whatever the discipline. Once they finish their competitive/ breeding life then we are responsible for their final years and if that is euthanasia then It should be in their own paddock with someone that cares for them holding them. All I can say is that we must name and shame the wealthy owners who discard these wonderful animals with no thought to their final days. Money is not an issue fir them so they must be held accountable.

  22. Lisa

    When I was in my early 20’s in KY I was lucky (lucky I thought) enough to be invited to join 5 others in a box seat, on the rail, at the KY Derby the year Ferdinand won. I took an unobstructed picture of him in front of me as he crossed the finish line. Born & raised in Louisville, I loved the track because I was horse crazy.

    Now, I won’t (and didn’t) watch the races any longer. I found out Ferdinand was bought by Japanese syndicate. Lived there until his offspring didn’t produce any winners. People bid the highest bid for a “plate of Ferdinand” and a Kentucky Derby winner was eaten.

    I worked at two thoroughbred farms throughout the past 20 years. I’ve seen how brood mares are used and thrown away. Babies by the thousands every year are born.

    The problem with starting a list of people who have let their horses go to slaughter are too numerous to list. The biggest hurdle is that every single breed imaginable end up at slaughter. Something more productive must be done.

    ~Spay, Neuter & Geld~

    1. Amy

      Having been sickened by your report on Ferdinand, I googled and searched for anything related to his demise. Nothing I could find, say’s he was eaten. Sold to slaughter, yes, but nothing about “the plate of Ferdinand”. Before I pass this story on, is it an assumption, or fact. And if fact, resources please.

      1. Neila Wood

        A groom that had handled FERDINAND in Japan said that he was sold to a slaughterhouse and that is where he ended up–ON A PLATE–the Japanese DO EAT these horses(SIC) that is why now when a horse from the US is sold to Japanese interests must sign a paper saying that if the horse is no longer a viable asset that they will be brought back to the US–just like SILVER CHARM who was brought back here–I had most of the story on FERINAND in the BloodHorse magazine when this happened–another stallion was EXCELLER–same fate—

  23. sandy

    Such an awesome story. Thanks for not giving up on her

  24. Daphne

    People who judge the worth of a creature like this by the money it made humans do not love horses: they love money.

  25. Teri Schols

    Beautiful and touching story. The people and sanctuaries that aid in these rescued are truly a gift from God. They donate unlimited number of hours and even with donations have enormous amount of out of pocket expense. people with true passion. I thank you for all that you do. I do often wonder if the owners of Passion that put her on that truck ever voiced their thoughts. I know their reasoning and it’s sad but purely a business to them and when the product is no longer generating its keep and cash flow, the product goes away. Anyway. Thank you for the happy ending

  26. Lin Lawler

    I own a thoroughbred breeding stud in UK. I have been left to care for 5 ex-racehorses who won money for their owners; foaled a number of foals and have been abandoned here without any form of payment for the last 5 years. Although living out all year, they are rugged during winter months and fed copious amounts of haylage. None of their owners have ever offered to contribute a bag of feed or a bale of hay. The easy way out would have been to euthanise them but they have been loyal servants and deserve so much more. One of my foals is in California(Sweet Return) he won just short of $3m and is now a stallion at stud.

    1. lesley tarleton

      Good on you for keeping these rejected horses but why oh why are you breeding more? As for stallions, dont even go there.I see so many older stallions, living isolated from others because they cant mix with mares in case they mount them and they can be aggressive with geldings. Most have no future at all.Where will he end up? Will the new owner keep him when he stops making money?I doubt it very much .

      1. lesley tarleton

        the above comment is for Lyn Lawler in the Uk.

  27. Bambi

    I can’t believe the kill buyer still asked a fee for her when his vet was going to euthanize,,,humanely!!?? Saved the kill buyer $350.disposal fee from my way of thinking. Couldnt sell her for meat after drugged.
    I have a OTTB and 3 saved from slaughter. Highly registered horses. The mare had a sweet (also able to register) 10 wk old filly at her side who was SO sick from holding pens and being trucked across the US (montana to wa state) my vet didnt think she would make it through the night.
    Traced her back several owners and found she had at least 7 other foals. She was 14. The previous owner had no idea she would go to slaughter even tho she sold her to an auction. She was downsizing her 80 horses. She got $150 for the 2. I paid $350 for the 2 and sold the, now 2 yo filly, to my good friend for $1000 and she thinks she got an amazing deal!!

  28. Sandy Bryan

    I know I’m late coming to this story, but if you REALLY want to help and stop this from happening in YOUR country, there is something very important that you can do. There is a law that has been stalled in DC – the S.A.F.E Act would make it illegal to transport any horse within this country to a slaughterhouse (Canada and Mexico). Contact your senators and representatives and tell them to PASS THIS ACT! Also all of our states could pass the same type of legislation – as it looks like NY state is about to do. Keep on NY and get them to pass their bill, which would stop all US horses from being transported in their state to slaughter, as it would block access to two Canadian slaughterhouses (forget the names).

    Also as David B Magee said, donate to the groups in this country who are REALLY fighting for and saving OUR horses – racers and wild. Many of these groups actually go to court (mostly for the wild horses that are being rounded up – during foaling season and kept in feed-lots and secretly sold to slaughter. Here’s a few that I have followed their actions and progress – Front Range Equine Rescue, Animal”s Angels, Protect Mustangs, The Cloud Foundation (PBS specials on Cloud the Stallion), Gentle Giants Draft Horse Rescue, In Defense of Animals. Be careful, there have been cases of fake rescues actually working with the slaughter industry. They get many of their horses for free on craigslist (against their rules – but it still happens). I like to contact those giving away their horse and warn them about kill buyers and what could happen to their family pet… you can do the same in your area.

    If you really want to help the horses – all you have to do is GET ACTIVE – DC needs to hear from ALL of us. And donate if you can….

  29. sue sheldon

    what a special person you are to save that mare It made me shed tears to see how people are so mean and selfish when it comes to any living thing that they just get rid since it has aged and no longer any good to any one that mare is so lucky that you noticed her bless you both

  30. José Guedes

    Simply, you are angels God put on Earth!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. sandra a spinello

    God Bless the people who saved this beautiful animal….I had no idea that owners would just discard their property(a horse in this manner…just breaks my heart to know that many other animals have to suffer like this. I hope that the owners will be taxed and forced to allow these animals to live out their lives w/others that can love and care for them. I know that greedy owners find a way to collect insurance of their animals and do not care how they are injured or killed to gain the money. I truly believe that these folks will reach their Karma for how they have lived their lives. These horses could be used for so many good things such as for disabled children or any children for that matter. Again animals of all kinds can teach humans much just by being there for them. Unconditional love is what they give.

  32. Kristina

    Good job there are still decent, big hearted people out there!

  33. Sophie

    This is a truly remarkable story of true courage spirit love and devotion wow and credit to the kind people who have this horse a life worth living. For those who put her in such a state should be condemned to a life of misery.

  34. David B Magee

    Don’t JUST TALK. Contribute !!!!!!!

  35. Lucere Whitney

    From desperate heartache to a full and grateful heart. Relief. Thank you for saving this lovely soul. She is beautiful!

  36. debra Randall

    Hey wonderful to see what kind people can achieve, thanks for saving such a beautiful animal.

  37. Donna McCuaig

    This is so sad, but at least one off that truck got a happy ending. I will never understand how people think that animals are disposable “things” with no thoughts or feelings.
    I rescued a thoroughbred mare and later found out that she was the great great grand daughter of Man O War. I got her from people that got her from the stock yard and were about to take her back. We went through alot of tough times until we finally found the perfect people to board with. I am happy to say that she lived her final years living happy, well fed and very very loved as I’m sure Press will.

  38. J. Olafsson

    What total creeps to sell this horse so callously! They should be named. Horse slaughter should be banned.

  39. Connie Gibson

    How heartless can people be How could they just throw her away Just because she could’nt race or have babies it did’nt make her useless

  40. Carla Porter

    I’m just sickened with how we undervalue, mistreat and kill animals. Sadly there isn’t enough animal rescuers in the world.

    1. David B Magee

      Talk. Talk. Talk. Get involved ! Skip your 2nd Latte` and redirect 5 bucks (or more) today to one of the many organizations actively saving the lives of deserving horses
      which merit your help !!!

  41. Cary

    Thank you!!!! <3 we must change this world with LOVE <3

  42. M Parker

    What a pack of bastards – she made them all that money and they didn’t even have the decency to give her a peaceful retirement but subjected her to this appalling treatment. May karma catch up with them and they get what they deserve.

    To the wonderful people who saved her – fabulous – we need more like you in the world.

  43. christine foley january 21st 19.10

    what a lovely story brought tear to my eye i love exrace horses so kind had then for 32 years still got them train well they are your best friend for life well done good luck

  44. Karen Barker

    I LOVE the idea of a website that exposes those who regularly ship their ‘used up’ money-making horses to slaughter. How would we do that? Could we reliably get that information from somewhere? Would we be subject to lawsuits? The other point I’d like to make is that racing needs to end, period. I get so angry with people who follow racing and then claim to condemn slaughter. Because the industry breeds and uses so many horses, slaughter will always be an integral part of the industry. So there’s no point in claiming to save them on one end when you’re responsible for putting there in the first place. If a person follows and supports the racing industry, they are supporting inhumane slaughter, period. A HUGE thank you to Mindy Lovell and Susan and all the others who saved this beautiful mare.

    1. Shirley VH

      Yes, Karen, I wondered about a lawsuit also. Sometimes its easy to get the info. You just go to the DelMar pedigree website (there is another name that I have forgotten) and it tells you who bred the horse (after you put in the correct name) and who owns it. And often what happened to it. That part is after the name comes up on the pedigree. If it is a quarter horse you go to the same site under Other Breeds. The quarter horses actually send many more to slaughter than do the TBs.
      The site shows you how much it won and how many races it ran. But many of the QH are sent to slaughter not just from racing, but for other reasons.

  45. Kay Wallbridge

    what a really heart warming tale so pleased to hear about this wonderful horse and her champions.

  46. mary ann malott

    I became undone reading this!! unbelievable that this beautiful hoarse was treated this way..and yet you took the chance and BLESSED THIS BEAUTIFUL HOARSE..thank you just doesn’t seem enough. I pray that God Blesses you and your family as you have for PRESS..

  47. Mrs E Fentem

    What a great story or a horse that has given it’s best to it’s owners, with a fantastic ending. But what a disgrace that any animal should be subject to such terrible inhumane treatment at the end of it’s life'<3

  48. Lauren Alyson

    Great story – this made my night. Big thanks to everyone who helped this mare and prayers that even more can be saved – no matter if they come from racing or elsewhere.

  49. Georgina Jasman

    Bless the people that nursed this courageous mare back to health! No, after what she accomplished and gave to the human, she did not deserve to be sent to a slaughterhouse never mind to have what happened to her!!! Shame on the owners that did this.

  50. caryn mcgovern

    my husband and i have rescued many horses and my own soul mate, jk, who was a race horse then once shed won money and bred foals she was sold to a riding school who couldnt use her and so ignored her. she was in a terrible state when we had but we brought her back to health with the power of herbs, she tought me so much when she was fit again and we spent many wonderful hours on the mountains riding with her best pal sox, who is still alive and well at 22. jk died at aged 35 from a tumour behind her eye, she gently went to sleep in her stable with sox calling one last goodbye.i still miss my soul mate and always will so reading stories as above brings it all back, the struggle, the work, the love and committment that goes into getting these beautiful creatures to health, those that have worked for us and shown their love for us deserve the help and love back when we can not to be dumped on the trash to breed flies for fishermen or meat for heart swells with pride and gratitude to those that saved the most lovely Press Exclusive and returned her to the green fields she so deserved. thank you.

    1. David B Magee

      As Ghandi stated, “the Greatness of a Nation and its Moral Progress can be Measured by how it Treats its Animals.” Thank God for people like you. I was
      quite moved by your story and comments, which made me cry. Horses, all inn-
      ocent creatures, in fact, can teach us so much. Their wisdom and soulfulness
      far exceeds that of the human species. We are here to learn from them, but
      firstly to nurture and protect them. It is the height of our arrogance that far
      too many of us have so little humility and respect when it comes to our blessed creatures. Bless you. You have my deepest respect.

  51. David B Magee

    Bless You !!!!! A miraculous story which made me cry. Martin Luther King, Jr., whom
    we honor today, spoke, too, of our responsibility towards innocent creatures. The
    thoroughly unacceptable truth about thoroughbreds is how many we have not been
    able to save. Please donate to this deeply worthy charity, TODAY, as I am doing, and PLEASE SHARE with EVERYONE YOU KNOW who cares about God’s perfectly inn-
    ocent creatures the extremely urgent need to protect them. Be of Service Today.

  52. Jean M. Shaffer

    I agree that they should tax the horses winnings to make them a nest egg in case they are disabled or retired. Also, there are humane ways to euthanize these noble horses so that they do not die in terror and pain. Maybe there should be some kind of mandatory gelding rule unless they are taxed a great deal to own stallions. I really don’t know, all I do know is that things are not working the way they are now. And these are only the stories you hear about – so many in the country, stashed away in fields, no food, no water, no shelter and nobody usually knows they are there until it’s too late. I live in Tennessee and this is happening more often and seldom does the owner get in trouble. It’s a sad world where things like this are allowed to happen. Bless all of you in the rescue business and the ones who get the word out. You are my heroes!!

  53. Marjory Wroe

    A heart-breaking story with a happy ending. However–what about the thousands who are not so lucky? I have 3 ex-racehorses. My first one I bought as a 7year-old. She is now 21 and still going strong. She has a superb temperament and has hunted, competed in all disciplines including Endurance which she excelled at. At the moment she
    is ‘teaching’ my grandson how to jump! The other two are hunting and competing regularly. I love thoroughbreds and urge anyone who has the patience and knowledge to take on ex-racehorses and give them a new lease of life. They will repay you hundredfold!

  54. Lara Cozens

    Great story! But as another person commented so sorry for the 30 on the truck who went in the meat chain. Why can the government and racing bodies ask that all winnings/earnings from Horse racing have a levy attached which allows for horses to be pensioned off once they have fulfilled their work. This would make sense and also prevent horse meat entering the human consumption food chain as it recently did in England much to the horror of horse lovers and people who thought they were eating beef or pork.

  55. Kathi Lynne Butler

    I read this story to my boyfriend who didn’t know quite that much about horses. He was astonished that this could happen to a beautiful horse and was glad about the way it ended. I think if we could only get the word out about our race horses, more people would take action to insure the safety of our horses, no matter how they do in the race.
    Kathi Lynne Butler

  56. sharon leane

    Race horse owners should be made to pay extra taxes on their winnings so it generates funds for the animals when “thrown away” to be given a good life by rescue centres and the owner having supplied its keep funds.

  57. Top racepaard gered van de slacht - Bit Magazine

    […] Bron: […]

  58. Michele Jankelow

    Thank you! A thousand thank you’s! I own sport horses and yet observe racing with a keen interest. When it comes to money, the human race lack respect, dignity and honour. For her to make money for them, status and more she was “their girl” but tragically once she stopped producing she became redundant! This must take place time and again! If I could apologise for the human race I would! I cannot sell horses for this very reason. I breed and I keep them lest their lives be too tragic, too painful and too discarded! I am please this lovely lady has returned to health and her rightful dignity to life!



    1. Shirley VH

      Pat, I do not know how old you are but I am 85. I have traveled to Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Oklamomah, Missouri and now Texas. I have not seen “fields” of lame, skinny, sick horses waiting to die. I am sure there are a few such horses as the Rescues are kept busy and are mostly full. I would agree with HUMANE euthanasia, but that is NOT slaughter, which is horrifying. The horses fight for their lives in the shoot and need to be shot several times with the captive bolt. Then they are hung by a hind leg and bled out.

  60. SRBuck

    Perfectly said, JKalb.

    It goes without saying that … the love of money is the root of all evil. It is the love of money which fuels the equine slaughterhouses and the racing industry.

  61. JKalb

    No animal should be the center of an “industry” that’s not human-food-oriented. (I don’t like the idea of raising animals/birds for food on giant “farms” either, but I come closer to understanding the need for it). Humans created this mess by exploiting horses for profit. The answer to overbreeding (and the need to dispose of the results by cruel slaughter) is to stop racing horses, plain and simple.

  62. Kathryn Dube

    Wonderful outcome to a sad, sad business at times! Reminds me of the wonderful story of “Snowman,” used up work horse who came within a whiskers breath of the slaughter house as detailed in the well written book “The Eighty Dollar Champion” by Elizabeth Letts. “Snowman” became a world-class jumping champion thanks to the rescue and training of Harry de Leyers, a Dutch immigrant in the early 1950s. Check it out. Harry noticed something in his eyes, and spent his last eighty dollars to rescue the horse.

    1. Katie B

      I was thinking the same thing- read that book shortly before Christmas.

  63. Nancy

    While my heart rejoices for her, what about the other 29 on that truck? I have done dog rescue for about 7 years, and I weep for the 10 who die for every one we save. What makes the difference in one dying and one living? I ponder this often.

    This has to stop. A truck overturned in NY state heading up 87 for Canada, to be slaughtered over the border. Many, many young TBs are shipped in tight, tight containers, with no food or water, to france for consumption. This is the filthy secret of the racehorse industry and why I will never, ever go to the track.

  64. Peggy Bailey

    When a TB foal is registered a fee should be charged, put into an escrow account, drawing interest, to support the foal when their racing days are over or their showing days, etc are over. Require parts of purses or prize money won to be put in their IRA account. Every name change there would be a fee, USEF, would do this for show horses. You need a USEF for most shows, events

    1. Julie Blackwelder

      You idea is common sense and has merit, but the powers that control shows and racing will NEVER agree to sharing any $ for the care of these horses. Even if you could get the legislation passed, I doubt it would be possible to stop the thievery and graft which would deplete the horses accounts. Yes, I am cynical, but I am also a realist. In the years ahead, your idea will become reality, but it is far in the future and neither of will live long enough to see it. Do what you can to lay the groundwork. Get people used to the idea. Appeal to those with caring hearts to support you, and someday our society will advance to the point where we realize that all life has value and should be protected. I believe someday it will happen. I wish you strength, courage, wisdom, and good luck.

  65. julie cracolici

    Absolutely sickening. Yes, one was saved
    but what about the horror all the others suffer.
    Really turns me off of thoroughbred racing completely.
    The mentality of foals as a “crop” must be changed.

  66. Rosemary homeister

    In my experience 90% of the men handling animals have no heart for them. They use and abuse horses dogs cats pigs cows etc etc every minute of every day. Women come and save them. What could be done? How could politicians allow horse slaughter when they know how inhumanely they’re treated? I can’t figure out why they don’t care. Maybe because they push a pen all day and never get out in the field to witness these attrocities. I work at the track and try to watch for any cruelty. The other day I stopped an exercise rider who was going to hit his horse on the head. I will continue to do whatever I can to prevent abuse

  67. LindaVA

    This blog makes me cry on a regular basis, but that’s a good thing. They are tears of happiness for the ones that are saved, and a reminder of how much we have left to do to save the rest.

  68. Sandra Hardie

    Thank God there are angels like this in the world. The previous owners who so heartlessly sent this lovely mare to the meat market should never be allowed to keep horses. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe how awful they are.

  69. Jackie Frost

    Bless your hearts for saving her. I can’t believe the owners didn’t pasture her. How damn cruel and greedy can you get? I’m glad to see somebody out there cares enough to at least try. 🙂

  70. art schiel

    Good job with rescue. May God bless your efforts.


    Thanks, Shirley.

  72. Barbara Griffith

    This is another example of the throwaway mentality of the racing industry. Every single year they breed at least 25 to 30 thousand foals hoping to produce one that is a winner. They do not care what happens to the horses once they are sold.
    To them and their tax write offs the horses are a commodity they sell just like a car lot. There are a few breeders that actually care what happens to their horses but the majority do not. Because if they did this brood mare would not have been on the slaughter truck to begin with. Call your Senators in DC and ask them to cosponsor the senate bill S.541. It is the US Senate that has refused to pass any bill that will put a stop to US horses being shipped to slaughter for years. They simply have never had any interest in it but they do have a interest in the donations they get from lobbyists representing the Racing industry and the other pro-slaughter breeders the Quarter Horse industry. There are other special interest but these two organizations seem to
    be the worst of the worst. I said the same thing when I first read the article about this mare. She is the face of the horse slaughter industry.

  73. José Guedes

    You are angels God put on Earth!!!!

    1. Lisa Heaton

      No doubt they are all Angels!! Thank you for this beautiful story of rescue & rehabilitation, of salvage & salvation. Your good hearts give me hope in our own humanity!

  74. Delrene in Carlsbad, Ca.


  75. cheri vaughan

    At House of Vaughan, we can read Press Exclusive’s story a million times and still be moved. We remember when we became aware of her and her spectacular story of recovery which is nothing short of a miracle. She is a miracle in our eyes. Bless to the highest her connections!

  76. Shirley VH

    Well this man,: Frank D. Di Giulio, Jr., was the owner and breeder. He has won over 13,000,000 with his horses. He won over $800,000 last year alone. Why couldn’t he just retire this poor mare.

  77. Shirley VH

    I think that someone should make a website or side bar of the names of all the owners who finally sent these wonderful horses into the slaughter pipeline.


      Good idea Shirley! Never thought of that.

    2. Maw Kettle

      DITTO Shirley!! Even more than that, I think all slaughter houses that kill horses should be identified (so peeps could protest!) & the slaughter of ALL HORSES~GOD’S MOST MAGNIFICENT CREATURES~ should be OUTLAWED!!

      1. Nancy Krysiak

        I so agree Shirley and Maw. Can we start a web page or a page on Facebook.
        These owners should be held accountable!

    3. Gloria Briere

      I absolutely agree with Shirley VH,Maw Kettle, and Nancy Krysiak. Had also suggested same previously. How do you go about getting a list of owners who send their horses to slaughter started? Would be willing to help. Let’s not just think about it. Let’s figure out how to do it. Please get back to me.


        Gloria, i dont knw how to start lst but am willing/eager to join the effort. A watch dog active group with todays social media would have a powerful punch. No stone unturned. Help!

        1. Shirley VH

          EEk lost my reply. As I said before, if we know the horses correct (Jockey Club) name we can find it on Pedigrees on Line THOUGHBRED DATTA BASE. Not the Equibase one as it only gives scant info. If the horse is not listed, there you can list it by putting in its name and the name of its Sire and Dam, Susan Salk usually includes that. Then the rest of the stuff should pop up. They list owner, breeder, trainer. Not sure of the legality of such a list, but I am sure we could List it as Horses Gone to Slaughter and then just include the name of the owner. Hope this helps. I love the pedigree site and started with it when it was DelMar Pedigree site. Still comes up for me under that name. But it is so interesting. You can get to the All Breeds site from there also.

          1. VICTORIA RACIMO

            thanks — will research all and get back to you if i find something interesting or helpful for the cause.

  78. marion mohrman

    Oh Mindy you are the best! We have to find a way to clone you, all the best to you and your forever 4 legged friends now in 2014 The Year of the Horse and for many years to come.

  79. Mindy Lovell

    I have had many thoroughbreds come in here over the years, many in very poor condition as Press was. Press is the ONLY horse that ever came in here that I did not know or have a pretty good idea if she would make it. That choice was hers. We had done everything we could to help her. At the beginning I watched over her very closely, waiting for the signs and hoping and praying that I would not see them. She chose to live. She made all the right decisions about what she should and should not do to prevent further damage. For all that she had done in her past and all that she went through, she more than deserves the retirement she earned and to be spoiled and treated like the queen she is in that retirement at Susan Wagner’s. IMO she earned it long ago and I cannot thank Marlene and Susan enough for giving this very special mare what others chose not to.

    1. debra carey

      Thank God that there are people like this to rescue these horses. Never would I have ever imagined something like this happening to a racehorse after retirement. This story is so heartbreaking but with a very happy ending!

    2. José Guedes

      Mindy, you are one of these angels God put on Earth!!

  80. Cynthia Minchillo

    Every day I read these stories and I wonder what is wrong with people!!!! I’m so thankful I have my mare out of a bad situation and into a similar life, where she really is not asked to do a thing but be happy!

  81. R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Press Exclusive’s story depicts the horrific abuse and cruelty that horses go through on the journey to slaughter. No horse should have to endure this. So glad that Press Exclusive was rescued by Mindy Lovell and the R.A.C.E. Fund was able to help get her in a safe and wonderful permanent home, Equine Advocates. Press thrives today. We love you Press.

  82. Patricia Bewley

    When we read these heart wrenching stories and ONE of the terrified ” 30″ on that truck makes it we rejoice. when will it stop so we can really rejoice that none are on that truck?

    1. Paige

      So true, what a lovely story, but when will people take all of the horses on the slaughter truck? That’s when it will fail and they hey no horses, no horses no money for them. Just remember to you nothing will change BUT for that horse the whole world will change <3


    Thanks to Mindy Lovell -Transition Thoroughbreds, Susan Wagner – Equine Advocates, Marlene Murray – RACE Fund, this near-death champion mare now lives a happy, much earned retirement life. Would that no horse ever suffers like she did anymore. Thanks to all involved.

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