Big winner nearly dies on the way to slaughter

Cross-posted from Off-Track Thoroughbreds


Press Exclusive survives her near death trip to the slaughterhouse and is now a happy resident at the Equine Advocates sanctuary.
Press Exclusive survives her near death trip to the slaughterhouse and is now a happy resident at the Equine Advocates sanctuary.

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.

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.

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17 thoughts on “Big winner nearly dies on the way to slaughter”

  1. Serenity: Not to worry. We need to stick together to fight the horrific abuse of ex-racehorses. I appreciate your point of view. I just want to make peace not fight. There is too much fighting and hatred in this world. I care so much for racehorses. I feel so bad about their plight. I’m so happy this horse was saved, but she should never be in this place to begin with. Her owner is a Woodbine Executive multi-millionaire made 11 MILLION, and this stil was not enought to provide her with a forever home. It really upsets me. All the best to you and yours.


  2. The racing industry makes BILLIONS per year off the bones and backs of thoroughbred race horses. The biggest winners are the wagering outlets. Most have no connection to the race horse other than making profit from peoples bets. They have no fiscal or social responsibility to the horses. They are disposable. Simple as that. Keeneland sales last week made over 57 MILLION dollars selling horses, and little or none to retirement rescue groups.

    The racing industry makes it all too easy for an owner to dump a horse when it’s no longer profitable. Claiming races are a dumping ground for old and/or sore horses. This industry has a “sense of entitlement” to the racehorse with respect to their profitability, viability, and disposal. They expect society to clean up the “dirt” they have left behind. While there are some responsible owners/trainers who provide homes after retirement – they are far and few between. This industry’s total focus is profit, and minimal focus on retirement. Unfortunately, this story is all too commmon, but so is lack of funding to rescue organizations, like this one, who are willing to provide. However, there is little or no funding for this groups, and they are left scrambling while the industry continues to make BILLIONS!

    I have advocated for a MANDATORY 10% fund derived directly from wagering, and sales companies such as Keeneland to be allocated to registered thoroughbred retirement farms. They keep denying this request while thousands of TB’s end up in the slaughterhouse.


    It’s a sickening display of wealth with 10% of people gaining while monopolizing stalls, and wins. The other 90% of people and horses pay the price! Governments should take a good HARD look at funding this irresponsible industry. They should finance themselves via wagering BILLIONS. It’s not up to taxpayers to fund this reputable, and allegedly corrupt, racing business.

    Recent developments in Pennyslvania show taxpayers not wanting to fund MILLIONS into the racing industry while their roads are falling apart, and children are suffering in schools due to lack of materials. This is insanity. The racing business should not get a dime from the public coffers. They spending tons of money hiring public relations firms to trick the public with inaccurate gross figures making themselves out to be heroes. Well, the racing business is no hero. It needs to go just like the circus and Sea World. They are all the same. Exploiting animals for profit. Forcing them into a life of misery, and disposing of them when they are no longer profitable.


    1. Everyone should take a look at the forgotten world of Quarter horse racing. There are NEVER any comments directed to quarter racing. Why is this? Thoroughbreds don’t make up a huge portion of slaughter bound horses but quarter horses are the number one breed going to slaughter. I can only imagine people go to the TB racing industry since it’s more popular and with bigger earnings. I have 3 rescued running quarter horses. There is a huge Hispanic work force in quarter racing. They probably send the horses directly to Mexico for slaughter.


      1. Buckinhard, we are working hard to correct this oversight and have articles in production. It is a huge, huge, subject … because QH’s are used for so much more than racing, as you know. Thank you for commenting on this again, and oiling our squeaky wheels!

        And now that you mention QH’s, is there a single retirement facility for them? Or do they just come under the heading of general rescues, and up to people like you?

        I rescued four of the most wonderful QH’s years ago out of a feedlot we visited. Good, young, sound horses, nothing wrong with them except some bad feedlot injuries. Most had given up and wouldn’t even take the hay and water we brought to them. The hardest choice I ever, ever made in my life; which ones to rescue, which ones to leave behind. It still haunts me.

        Three of the four are still with me. The oldest of them passed last year.


  3. So glad she was saved, but it just makes me sick that after our horses that have served us so well, this is the way we treat them. Disgusting and it makes me sorry for the human race. I don’t think God wanted us to be like this.


    1. I’m an atheist. There is no god! Why do people have to place a religious connotation on everything? It makes me sick. The only thing I have in common with this website is their excellent information regarding horses.


      1. There is a little something called “Freedom of Speech” and “Freedom of Religion”. If you don’t know what it is, it’s part of America’s First Amendment. It is my right, your right, her right, EVERYBODY’S right. I have ABSOLUTELY NO problem with you being an atheist or expressing your atheistic beliefs but please do not bash people who express their religious beliefs. Love and tolerance. Besides, this isn’t the place to argue about it. We’re here to express our love for horses. We would enjoy reading your comments on your views of horse welfare too. ;)


        1. That’s exactly the point. I never brought religion into this forum at all. I’ve always expressed my love for horses. However, It’s serenity that turned this horse forum into a religious forum by referring to god and religion. Just as there is a prayer to god for horses on this website so it just seems yet another way to bring religion into a non-religious subject. We all have a right to what we believe or don’t believe. Religious people seem to kidnap the concept of love and tolerance. There are many non-believers in this world that have plenty of love and tolerance just as there are many believers that have no love and tolerance at all. In fact, religion has been the major contributor to violence and intolerance throughout world history, but hey, perhaps you can change that in the future. I will raise a glass of wine to the horses and jug it down. All the best to you and yours. Serenity: you have a right to worship, but you don’t have a right to tell me what to do with my body or to butt into politics. Separation of church and state is a constitutional right to all Americans who are non-believers.


          1. The prayer for horses is for those who believe in the power of prayer. People who have no interest never need click the link, know what the prayer says or who it is to or about. I also have advocate from your plate promoting veganism and recipes which may offend some. No one need click that like or read it. But this is our blog, and we invite those who visit to read what appeals to them and ignore the rest!


            1. Absolutely. I find your blog informative, but will no longer visit due to the heavy religious overtones. Perhaps you can tell all the horses on the way to slaughter that your praying for them. I’m sure they will understand. Especially when they are getting carved up while still conscious. Boy the “power” of prayer really helps just like all the starving children in the world “gods children” wow what a nice fellow. Makes people suffer. Sure hope that prayer helps.


        2. No, I was merely stating that we have the right to freedom of speech and religion, just like Starry said. I was not preaching or anything. Wow! I cannot believe you thought I was preaching. Plz go back and read my comment again and see that I was merely stating that we have to freedom to worship whomever we like and state that in a public forum. I was not being ‘preachy’…but then again, people interupt things in their own way as they see fit.


      2. Because we believe in God. This is OUR faith. You have YOUR faith and beliefs. Leave us alone to worship as we may. Who cares what religion you are or the next person is. Do NOT condemn us for having a faith just because you don’t believe what we believe. So butt out and let us worship as we see fit. That is out right to do so.


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