Suffolk Downs has taken action to enforce its policy of zero-tolerance toward the sale of racehorses for slaughter.
Track officials recently informed a Thoroughbred owner, who they would not identify, that he was no longer welcome at the track after two horses associated with him were discovered at the auction pens at New Holland, Pennsylvania.
Suffolk officials also are sorting through their response to another individual who may be involved in the transport of horses to auctions frequented by slaughterhouse buyers.
“The vast majority of our horsemen are responsible about the welfare of our horses,” said Chip Tuttle, chief operating officer at Suffolk Downs. “Unfortunately, there are one or two bad apples. We hoped we wouldn’t have to take action on this policy, but in the last two weeks, it came to our attention that two horses from Suffolk Downs wound up at an auction. The owner who transported them is no longer welcome at our facility.”
Tuttle said the track purchased the two horses from the auction and donated them to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. Tuttle stressed that the incident was a rare exception to the prevailing attitude of local horsemen. He cited the New England Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association leadership’s strong support of the zero-tolerance policy.
Sam Elliott, vice president of racing for the Boston track, outlined the policy earlier this year, and it has since attracted attention across the industry. Trainer Nick Zito cited his support for the policy as a factor in entering Commentator in the Massachusetts Handicap on Saturday.