Tuesday’s Horse have been dancing around on how to cover Joe Drape’s reporting in the New York Times on the troubled Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF).
We do not quarrel with Drape’s action. Drape is right to expose any operation taking in millions of dollars to give sanctuary to off the track Thoroughbreds, who appear to have left some to starve, even to the point of death. It is scandalous. It is shocking. It is heartbreaking.
However, from long years’ experience, we also know that the TRF have had management issues in the past, but resolved them and done stellar work.
Our question is, and one we are looking into, is why the people managing the farms contracted by the TRF to house these horses and care for them did not alert someone, anyone, and force them listen, instead of allowing the horses to be go neglected to the point became so emaciated some actually died?
Interestingly, in a caption to an image accompanying Drape’s breaking report of March 17, 2011 (see link below), it reads, “When Gayle England, whose farm is highly regarded as a special care facility, complained of a general lack of regard for the horses, 26 TRF horses were taken from her.”
How do you explain that?
In the meantime, Bill Finley, in a special for ESPN, asks in light of it all, who will save the horses?
When it comes to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the New York Times, reporter Joe Drape and the thorny problem of old race horses going off to be butchered in a slaughterhouse, there has been a lot of finger pointing of late. I’m not sure any of it has been constructive. Today, four days after Drape wrote a story in the New York Times that leveled serious charges against the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and the TRF responded with accusations that Drape is a lousy reporter who badly misrepresented the facts, the industry is no closer to solving a problem that has existed for as long as the sport has.
Every day, horses come off the racetrack that aren’t talented enough to become sires or broodmares. They are too old, too slow or too infirm to keep racing. There are thousands a year that fall into this category. Some find good homes. Some get neglected. A lot get slaughtered. How many? No one is quite sure, but the number is no doubt in the thousands.
For far too long, the horse racing industry’s solution was to do nothing. The issue was rarely if ever raised and few had any idea that a lot of old broken-down racehorses were sent off to the slaughterhouse. It was the sport’s dirtiest little secret, and a lot of people wanted to keep it that way.
This is a gem of an article. Please continue reading here >>
Remember Ferdinand. Remember Exceller.
- “TRF: No Easy Solution,” by Ray Paulick, Ray Paulick Report, Mar. 22, 2011
- “Thoroughbred Foundation Loses Financing for Care Evaluations,” Joe Drape, New York Times, Mar. 22, 2011
- “Ex-Racehorses Starve as Charity Fails in Mission to Care for Them,” Joe Drape, New York Times, Mar. 17, 2011
- “Who Will Save the Horses?,” Bill Finley, Special to ESPN, Mar. 22, 2011
- “Remember Ferdinand: Tragic Death of a Derby Winner,” Ray Paulick, Blood-Horse, Jul. 25, 2003