It seems that things are really hopping in the Maryland horse world these days and we ran out of room in our November print edition for the following stories. Thankfully, the World Wide Web is not constrained by page counts.
Rescued West Virginia Horses Get Care in Maryland
Fifty-three horses and two cows were seized on September 11 by the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia from the Hidden Meadows Equine Rescue farm near Martinsburg. Eight of these horses were taken to Days End Farm in Lisbon for intensive care treatment. One of the eight was so emaciated that she died shortly after arriving at Day End.
The remaining seven horses are all receiving around-the-clock treatment by the Days End staff and veterinarians from Monocacy Equine. One of the horse, Zodiac, remains in a sling due to a lameness in his left hind, as well as for other reasons. Days End staff worry that without the support of the sling, he would not be able to catch himself should he stumble or lie down.
To read more about the WV horses at Days End, visit their blog at http://www.defhrhorses.org/apps/blog/
First Casino in Maryland Opens Its Doors
In the first four days of operation, the Hollywood Casino Perryville had more than 21,000 visitors come through its doors. The casino is the first to open in Maryland and holds 1,500 slot machines. The official grand opening was Thursday, September 30, but the facility was open that whole week as a test run. Dorothy Neal of Baltimore became the casino’s first jackpot winner, receiving $5,000 on September 27.
Preakness Winning Filly Retires
Rachel Alexandra captured the attention of the whole nation when she won the 2009 Preakness Stakes, becoming the only filly to win the race in 85 years. This win came after an impressive 20-length victory in the Kentucky Oaks. Owner Jess Jackson decided to skip the Belmont with the filly but continued to run her elsewhere, ending the 2009 season with a perfect 8-0 record. The record earned her the title of Horse of the Year.
This season, however, Rachel Alexandra has been marked with more defeats than wins. Whatever the reason for the defeats, Jackson has decided to call it quits and retire the filly to the breeding shed. He has already planned for her first breeding to be to his other Preakness winner, Curlin, who won the race in 2007.
Baltimore Task Force Works to End Animal Cruelty
A coalition of animal rescuers, law enforcers, government workers and concerned residents have joined together to create a task force for Baltimore County in hopes of finding better ways to identify and prosecute animal abusers. Although the task force is looking primarily at cases in the Baltimore City concerning cats and dogs, any animal abuse legislation that comes out of suggestions from this group could affect the way horse abuses are prosecuted as well.
Currently, “felony animal cruelty” is the official charge for someone accused of animal abuse. In the past, many police officers would just transfer abused or neglected animals to a rescue shelter and not charge the owners; now, however, this is beginning to change. Although the Baltimore Bureau of Animal Control is the first line of offense in cruelty cases (according to The Baltimore Sun), it has no power to arrest suspects or pursue a criminal investigation. This only the police can do, and the task force suggests educating more officers in how to do this better.
The task force has asked the city to dedicate three police officers to animal cruelty cases. Starting January 1, 2011, recruits at every police academy in the state will get some training on how to spot animal cruelty and dog-fighting. They also suggest that all current officers get a minimum of four hours of training in abuse investigations and the law as it pertains to animal cruelty.
The Baltimore Sun also reported that the city police department is already planning to name an animal cruelty specialist to each of its nine districts. That person would not work exclusively on animal abuse cases but would be trained to deal with those cases. Officials will also appoint a supervisor to monitor pending abuse cases to make sure they are handled appropriately.
The task force also suggests creating a court watch group to sit in the gallery at cruelty case trials in the city and having an attorney specializing in cruelty cases be assigned to the prosecutor’s office.
1998 Preakness Winner Dies From Pasture Accident
On September 27, Eclipse winner Real Quiet died in his paddock at Penn Ridge Farms in Pennsylania after fracturing five cervical vertebrae. Michael Jester, owner of Penn Ridge, told The Kansas City Star that the stallion was typically very quiet around the farm.
Real Quiet is most famous for missing a Triple Crown victory by a nose in 1998. He won the Kentucky Derby by half a length, and then went on to win the Preakness by two and a quarter lengths. In the Belmont, Real Quiet had a four-length advantage at the eighth pole but lost to Victory Gallop at the wire. Trainer Bob Baffert said, “He let people know you can get lucky and buy a good horse and don’t have to give a lot of money for him and almost win the Triple Crown.”