The tortured life and death of Creative Plan

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”.

The Horse


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.

This image shows the condition of Creative Plan’s ankles just prior to euthanasia in February. Photo courtesy Jenny Earhart.

“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.


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.

Outlaw It

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.

It Took Creative Plan’s (Horrible) Death — Not the Hundreds That Came Before, for Turf to Get Its “Wake-Up Call”?,, 16th Feb. 2022

Tuesday’s Horse

Official Blog of The Fund for Horses

7 thoughts on “The tortured life and death of Creative Plan”

  1. not to mention all the horrendous doping in American racing. anyone in the UK trying such a thing would be struck off for life. British racing has its own problems, but racing over here is an absolute travesty.

    I agree. shut it down now, and bloody well keep it shut down. and that track in Arizona should be burned to the ground and the earth salted afterwards. enough is enough.


  2. Mr. Doxey: how about starting the FAIRNESS issue with the HORSES, as the horses have NO choice and NO voice in what happens to them. Unfair to gamblers? Ever hear of the lottery? Unfair to trackies? Go train for another job that doesn’t involve cruelty to animals and illicit drugs and egregious violence. Unfair to trainers? If it were up to me, quite frankly every horse trainer I’ve ever known would be vastly improved by spending the rest of their miserably soulless lives in a penal colony with the overseers allowed to do to the trainers what the trainers did do the horses. Just exactly WHO do you want to be treated with fairness? I ask again: HOW ABOUT STARTING WITH BEING FAIR TO THE HORSES?


  3. If anyone actually wants to see horse racing continue in the USA (I DO NOT – I WANT IT STOPPED IMMEDIATELY AND FOREVER) there are three effective means of halting these atrocities. First, and maybe the most effective financial impact for “investors” seeking tax shelters (think syndicates of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, dentists, and other professionals) REMOVE horse racing’s “profit pass” in the Internal Revenue Code – the pass that gives horse racing and all of its attendant industries — from breeding to training to racing and all forms of racehorse ownership — an ironclad TAX SHELTER. The IRC provides that all facets of the horse racing industry are considered to be “in pursuit of profit” so those industries and sub-industries are not subjected to the same restrictions as other equestrian endeavors (and leaves racing and its investors largely immune from audits, and negative rulings in IRS rulings and opinions as well as adverse US Tax Court decisions). Without the IRC sanctioned tax shelters, you would find those investors dropping off into nothingness and looking for other tax shelters that hopefully do not include any living creatures! Second: the deadly racetracks that year after year after horrific year continue racking up equine injuries, disabilities and deaths MUST BE SHUT DOWN permanently. So-called “bullring” tracks and poorly constructed dirt tracks predispose even healthy and sound horses to injuries and deaths — and JOCKEYS as well, as so many horses are injured WHILE racing in these venues causing terrible accidents). Third and most importantly: the people who commit these atrocities MUST be severely criminally prosecuted with MANDATORY JAIL TIME and HUGE FINES – jail time and fines so extreme that these dual punishments effectively act as deterrents. No “plea deals” – and no “appeals.” MANDATORY JAIL TIME, MANDATORY IMMENSE FINES. And following fully serving time (and not in a country club prison, either!), and full payment of those fines with no bankruptcy relief allowed – those people permanently BARRED from all forms of equine competitions. Banned not just from racing but banned from ALL forms of equine related sports from rodeos to country-fair pleasure classes to endurance racing. Banned from all animal ownership, not just horses. BANNED. FOREVER. Americans apparently do not understand or pay attention to ANYTHING but severe punishment. As long as there is money to be made, tax shelters to take advantage of, and the attitude toward all animals as being throwaways, PUNISHMENT SEVERE AND PROLONGED AGAINST ABUSERS WILL BE THE ONLY WAY TO STOP THIS.


  4. To Bruce Doxey, why is horse racing “too unfair to too many?” Is it because of the money so many have invested in horses, tracks, concession stands, farriers, vets, tack, jockeys, and the myriad of other things I’m not even aware of in the racing business? How can there be a “more creative solution” that won’t harm young horses in the long run?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Horse racing cannot be saved. Corruption is rife and money is the only currency. The systemic cruelty involved in the racing industry is shocking. This is not a sport it is a blood bath. Thoroughbred breeding is so flawed as to make it almost impossible to prevent breakdown: did anyone take genetics 101? Many industries have disappeared across the generations. People move on. We no longer hold public spectacles where gladiators battle wild animals. Horse racing should go the way of the gladiator: to the pages of history. Future generations can then marvel at the cruelty and insensitivity towards sentient beings by their ancestors. As has been said many times, you can love horses, you can love horse racing, but you cannot love both. That is a logical nonsense.


  6. I do care about the lives of the horses. But I do feel that there has to be a more creative solution than simply outlawing the racing industry. This is too unfair to too many.


    1. Not to be rude or dismissive, but there is no “creative solution” to how diabolical horse racing in the US has become regarding the treatment of racehorses. The story posted here is not a one-off. This type of cruelty, abuse and death occurs on a routine basis in every horse racing venue in the country. Do not take our word for it. Go to and see documented evidence of just how many racehorses are abused, maimed and killed. Horse racing in the US has become beyond reparation, and needs to end.

      There is plenty of online racing for people to bet on. And that is pretty much all any of this is about — wagering. For owners and trainers, it is ego.

      Liked by 2 people

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