Updated 19 Feb. 22; 6:12 am est.
The news of racehorse Creative Plan’s tortured life and death sickens us beyond words. We have been dealing with racehorse abuse and killing for more than 20 years. “The story of this horse stunned us to such a degree that we agreed unanimously to demand the abolishment of this noxious racehorse doping, maiming and killing machine,” states Vivian Farrell. More on that later. First, Creative Plan’s story.
Natalie Voss, reporting for the Paulick Report, 15 Feb 22, writes the following in an in-depth article entitled, “Morally Wrong: Sad Journey Of Creative Plan Raises Concerns About Horse Welfare At Turf Paradise”.
Turf Paradise has got a big problem.
According to statistics presented by Arizona state veterinarian Dr. Susan Gale at a special meeting of the Arizona Racing Commission on Feb. 2, 22 horses had died at the track since the start of its current meet on Nov. 5, 2021. Its rate was 2.8 deaths per 1,000 starts. The national average in 2020 was 1.41 per 1,000 starts.
At that meeting, a frustrated commissioner Rory Goreé went so far as to declare, “we keep killing horses like this, we’re going to be out of business … and I have to ask myself – how did we get to this point?”
The commission is due to have a regular meeting on Feb. 15, where Gale will give a track safety report, presumably including updated fatality numbers. One horse who likely won’t be included in that running total is Creative Plan.
The 5-year-old gelding by Creative Plan was euthanized Feb. 11 shortly after arrival at Premier Equine Rehab in California. He ran his last race on Jan. 7, a starter optional claiming event in which he struggled home last of nine.
“Upon our veterinarian’s evaluation yesterday which included X-rays, it was determined Creative Plan never should have been allowed to run at Turf Paradise on 1/7/2022 and would never be able to live a life without pain, even as a pasture pet,” said Jenny Earhart, owner of Premier Equine Rehab, in a Facebook post published Feb. 12. “I asked [the vet] so many different ways [if the horse could be rehabilitated] he started looking at me like I had lost my mind.”
Earhart’s veterinarian diagnosed Creative Plan with severely compromised suspensory ligaments and soft tissues in his left front leg. Both front fetlocks had osselets, but the right front was not evaluated further after the veterinarian saw the severity of the issues in the left front. That suspensory ligament was so swollen and had dropped so far against the back of the horse’s leg that the skin containing it had begun to split and ooze.
Earhart said she gave the horse a dignified last day before scheduling humane euthanasia.
“He got to eat grass,” she said. “When I got up to his stall, I try to stay really strong about everything, but when I got to his stall, he hobbled around and did an about face to me. He knew. He was smart. He was a good boy.
“It’s mind boggling to me that it was allowed to go on. It just seemed like it was so preventable.”
For many people, the story of how Creative Plan came to be euthanized at Earhart’s facility a month after his last start is a symptom of the way the system has failed to protect horses at the often-embattled racetrack.
Ferguson ultimately gave the horse to an employee named Joey Prentice. Prentice reached out to Mary Tate and Ashlee Wolf, who co-manage a service advertising retiring horses for sale to second careers and screening potential purchasers to ensure good matches. Tate and Wolf both saw the horse on or about Jan. 17, some ten days after his race. At that point, Tate recalled, both front legs were swollen and warm to the touch and the right fetlock made a clicking noise when the horse walked. Prentice told them he wanted to list the horse for sale for $750, but Tate and Wolf were hesitant to do that without more information about the horse’s prognosis.
“Neither of us were OK with the situation because the horse was in obvious pain standing, had an obviously dropping fetlock and he made that noise when he walked,” Tate said.
Tate offered to purchase the horse from Prentice to give him the humane euthanasia she believed was necessary. Prentice declined, and took the horse to Murphy’s Livestock Auction in Buckeye, Ariz. It was there, on Feb. 5, that Tate and others saw Prentice walk the horse to the auction ring.
Tate says she bid $500 for the horse and that the underbidder at $450 was a trader well known for purchasing horses for slaughter. Tate believes Prentice recognized her, and declined to sell the horse. He would later abandon the horse at the auction house.
— END QUOTE
There is much more to this story. This horse, who should have been euthanized, was instead shopped around at slaughter auctions so the owners cold get a last, fast few bucks. After all his pain and suffering, the last plan for the horse was to dump him at a slaughterhouse where he would die a gruesome and terrifying death.
It is time to outlaw horse racing. Since the year 2000, 40 racetracks (and counting) have shut down. Let’s finish the entire industry off.
Never happen? If you work long enough and hard enough you can make just about anything happen. This is possible.
Horse racing is struggling. It is not a major sport like it once was. It does not have the clout it used to, politically or monetarily. There are a million and one ways to gamble in this day and age. Who needs horse racing? No one. Certainly not the horses.
For the past few days we have been speaking with federal legislators about getting horse racing banned across the United States. No one we spoke with told us to forget about it, it would be a waste of our time and money. That is the first time that has happened. They all said the same thing — it will cost a lot of time and money, but it is doable. So, we are beginning to line up supporters who are excited about the prospect.
This is just the beginning. We will keep you posted.
Official Blog of The Fund for Horses