Coaltown Legend: A Breakdown Waiting to Happen

Abuse in racing comes in various forms, not the least of which is running a horse into the ground. Consider a gelding named Coaltown Legend, nine years old and 63 races into a career that began before Barack Obama was elected president – the first time. In his last three starts – all claiming, all at Penn National, and all for the same connections – Coaltown Legend finished last of 7, 27 1/4 lengths back on May 28th; last of 7, 13 3/4 lengths back on June 6th; and last of 7, 13 1/2 lengths back this past Wednesday. To recap, that’s three dead lasts for a 9-year-old racehorse in the past four weeks.

To horseracing the industry, the horses are but expendable assets – movable, replaceable cogs in a gambling machine. Simple chattel. As such, if Coaltown Legend’s current masters – trainer Bryan George and owner Marcus Rodriguez – choose to run him till he breaks, they can. And there is nothing to be done about it.

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  1. The poor animal is obviously not able to run anymore.

    This fact does not deter “trainer” Bryan George or owner Marcus Rodriguez ! They and the others like them are just animal abusers in a shady “business” that tolerates and even condones such abuse. What a shame .

    Just this past week a “trainer” at Delaware, Juan Vasquez, attacked jockey Trevor McCarthy in the winner’s circle. He was fined a mere pittance and will serve a 90 day “suspension” !! Meanwhile 2 days later he was “allowed” to start a horse at the same track ! This guy is a loose cannon and this is not the first time he has been I trouble. Oh, and he must attend an approved Anger Management course !

    My point is, this business is outrageous in every aspect and tolerates degenerates like no other business, with the exception of other animal based industries. And, with such an explosive temper I wonder how the horses in his barn suffer ????

  2. Rose, the “penalties” are merely a slap on the wrist. I saw a groom at Beulah Park go into a stall where a horse was down and kick him to make him get up. The groom’s nickname is “Rooster”. He works for Enrique Calderone. Rooster was called into the stewards office a day or two later, and he denied kicking the horse. Yes, he denied it and got off. Remember, racing is a sinister and a corrupt industry and those that participate in it are complicit in the atrocities that occur.

  3. “Rooster” is not dead yet ! What goes around comes around and there is a little thing called universal justice, maybe !
    Mary, the business is a sick subculture and has no place in a civilized society.

    I keep posting here because people need to realize what goes on.

  4. And another racehorse that has run at “THE SPA”…Coaltown Legend, not even one year ago. This wonderful gelding, ranked 19th by wins in 2011 and earner of well over a quarter million, is now struggling as Patrick pointed out at the dump, Penn National. Coaltown Legend has earned $327,769 – none of it for securing a safe retirement for himself. And now he is running for his life for a lousy 4K. Any problems with this, racing apologists? While I believe whether they earn one dollar or one million dollars the racehorses deserve to live and to live not crippled by racing injuries, there is something especially insulting to a horse that has given so much and has received nothing in return. When a horse has done what this 9-year-old racehorse has done, isn’t there ANY respect for him by those in the industry?…and ANY sense of making certain he doesn’t have DIE making money for everyone but himself? Unbelievable.

    • Exactly, Joy.

      One rarely hears from the staunch supporters when it comes to the obvious abuse of horses such as Coaltown Legend and so, so many others. Perhaps that is because there is no way such abuse can be rationalized, at least by rational human beings !!

    • Safe, yes…sound, who knows. And thank goodness for Patrick’s never-failing exposure of horses like Coaltown Legend…horses that continue to be exploited by the racing industry year after year. Without this exposure and making the public aware of what a particular horse’s connections are making the horse endure, they would continue to feel they are “flying under the radar” and not be nudged to do the right thing and retire the horse. Amazing what many sets of eyes watching over a horse will do. I’ve been doing this long enough now to KNOW it makes a difference.

      Thank you once again, Patrick…Coaltown Legend will hopefully live life as a horse should.

  5. COALTOWN LEGEND IS NOW AT AKINDALE FARM HOME WHERE HE BELONGS. COALTOWN TOOK CARE OF ME FOR 3 YEARS SO I TOOK CARE OF HIM. ITS A GREAT ENDING FOR A GREAT HORSE

    • HOW did you take care of him Mr. DeFilippis? You state here he took care of you for THREE YEARS?…and you didn’t have the decency to RETIRE him when you fell on “hard financial times”?…but chose to make money off him AGAIN and SELL him? Save it, Mr. DeFilippis…

    • Angelo, Joy Aten is correct. YOU were the owner and YOU needed to take care of the horse, NOT the other way around. This horse was used and abused and 400 pounds underweight when “rescued”. So typical in horseracing…..

  6. ATTACHED TO COALTOWNS PAPERS WERE ALWAYS A LETTER FROM AKINDALE, THAT THEY WOULD ACCEPT HIS RETIREMENT. THE CONNECTIONS AT PENN NATIONAL INCLUDING THE RACING OFFICE DID NOT EVEN LOOK AT THE PAPERS. A GIRL TOOK HIM OFF THE TRACK DESI KREAMER WHICH I IMMEDIATLY CONTACTED AND SHE GAVE COALTOWN UP AFTER I TOLD HER HIS STORY. THE AUTHOR OF THE ARTICLES ON COALTOWN HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH HIS RETIREMENT. I FOLLOWED HIM AFTER I WAS NOT HIS OWNER ANYMORE AND HAVE PLEADED AND BEGGED FOR HIM. 2ND OFF THE CLAIM HE WON BUT HAD A POSITIVE FOR CAFFINE. THERE WAS NO DAYS GIVEN NO SUSPENSIONS AND I WANNA KNOW HOW PENN NATIONAL ALLOWED HIM TO RUN BUT ALSO BREEZE AND TRAIN THE WAY HE LOOKS RIGHT NOW. FEET WERENT DONE HES AT LEAST 400 POUNDS UNDERWEIGHT. I AM HAPPY HES HOME SAFE I THANK AKINDALE, I THANK ALTHEA ROY FOR PICKING HIM UP, I THANK DESI KREAMER FOR LETTING ME TAKE HIM, I THANK ANGELA FROM BROOKLYN BACKSTRETCH I THANK DEBROAH JONES, I THANK MANY OTHERS ALSO AND I THANK MY FAMILY MY WIFE AND KIDS MY MOM AND DAD FOR RAISING ME TO TAKE CARE OF OTHERS THAT TAKE CARE OF YOU. I DIDNT FORGET YOU COALTOWN, MAY YOU HAVE THE BEST RETIREMENT LIFE A HORSE CAN HAVE. SEE YOU SOON BUDDY

    • Angelo, I am thrilled that Coaltown Legend is now safe. We can’t really say “sound”, can we? However, with that being said, I wanted to address a comment you made about a letter being attached to his papers in the racing office. Letters and stamps mean nothing. There is a rescue that uses a stamp on the papers when they adopt out a horse after that horse is done racing. The stamp says…”Not to be raced or sent to slaughter”. You would think that a major rescue, whose directors are immersed in racing, would know that the stamp means nothing. First of all, papers normally do NOT follow a horse to a kill auction or to the slaughterhouse. Secondly, even if the papers are stamped “Do Not Race”, that means nothing. The original papers must be sent back to the JC and then the JC “negates” that registration. Just wanted to enlighten those who follow these horses. By the way, why did he have caffeine in his system? Could someone have used that drug as a performance enhancer?

    • First and foremost, I am ecstatic that Coaltown Legend has been RESCUED from racing. RESCUED. And as is most often the case with racehorses being RESCUED from racing, it was not prompted by a former racing connection. No, once again, it was those who never made a penny off the horse’s back…once again, it was the non-racing public who exposed the failing horse’s plight. In a racehorse “feel-good” story about Coaltown Legend, the racing-supporting writer states; “Instead of breaking down in his last race, as was predicted in conversations on social media, the 9-year-old Coaltown Legend…made it home to retire…”. To that writer I would like to say (and I must say it here as she has not allowed my honest comments on her blog), how many Thoroughbred racehorses have been RESCUED because of our faulty “predictions”? How many have been RESCUED from racing because of our fears they would “die in the dirt”? Thank GOD we speak out about our fears and thank GOD there are those who watch over these laboring racehorses. Your haughtiness over what you termed our “prediction” that didn’t occur doesn’t go without notice. If only you could gloat more often.

      I hope others who believe the fretting over CL for no good reason take a look at his photo upon his arrival to the rescue farm. A photo of the horse STANDING (movement will always show more rib and photos add weight) shows an appallingly thin horse…not “racing lean”…no, extremely thin. Even the (racing apologist) writer of the aforementioned piece couldn’t avoid the fresh-off-the-track gelding’s condition, mentioning how his body had “shrunk around protruding ribs” and using the terms “tired”, “weary”, and “underweight”. This WAS a horse that was waiting for help.

      To Angelo DeFilippis, to Kate Feron, you both left Coaltown Legend unprotected. Feron raced him “successfully” until she put him into claiming races and he was claimed away…what did you THINK was going to happen, Ms. Feron? You had the MEANS to go after him and get him to safety…you didn’t…you just “put the word out” that you’d take him back. Unbelievable. Mr. DeFilippis, I don’t know your excuse or reason for SELLING him, but if you were truly that concerned for CL, why didn’t you RETIRE him when you were done with him or could no longer “afford” him? Lots of empty words.

      And Mr. DeFilippis, you stated you would like to know how Penn National allowed him to RACE at FOUR-HUNDRED POUNDS UNDERWEIGHT (your words). Are you serious?…this kind of thing takes place all over this nation at hell-holes just like Penn!…this is nothing new, Mr. DeFilippis!

      Coaltown Legend, we cared about you and never even laid eyes on you, never made a dime off your weary back and tired legs, and never had anything to gain by coming to your aid in exposing your plight and “predicting” what would likely happen to you had you kept racing. Thank God we were wrong…thank God we cared…thank God you are safe.

  7. Yes, Joy ! I’m happy too !
    I got two horses adopted by two wonderful sisters who are also experienced riders. One is a beautiful grey OTTB daughter of Put It Back and the other is a 13 year old former brood mare. I’m very happy about the adoptions and will keep in touch with the new owners. Also I’m getting a 15 yr. old former brood mare who raced as a 2 and 3yr. old at Calder and Belmont. These brood mares are so at risk, too.
    I know of another mare who is 6 yrs. old and still active. She was recently claimed by Servis. She is crooked and raced through 2 winters at Aqueduct. Her name is House On Toilsome and she is the daughter of Lion Heart. I dread checking on her and I’m so afraid I will see the dreaded DNF… vanned off, because we know what that means. I only wish I could do more for these unfortunates. There so many in danger.

    • Rose, thank you so much for rescuing those most fortunate horses and responsibly placing them into loving homes. You are the PERFECT example of the caring individual who recognizes the abuse in horseracing, is therefore anti-racing and says so, yet gives of one’s own money and time to assist the horses the industry cripples and tosses aside! Yet you are also the example of the individuals who endure attacks by those in the industry and even by the “equine advocates” that support horseracing. The attackers only “like” you if you rescue their horses but keep your mouth shut about what they did to the horse!

      So THANK YOU, Rose!

      “You are just as guilty as the abuser if you know about animal abuse and do nothing.”

    • Rose, I wanted to thank you, too, for helping these horses find loving homes. That is the most challenging aspect in horse rescue. Everything that Joy has said is absolutely correct. You speak out against horse racing because of the atrocities committed against the horses and you speak out publicly even though you have been attacked. I respect and admire you so much.

      • Joy, Mary and Patrick, thank you for your kind words. I really need to do much more for these horses in dire need but I’m not independently wealthy, unfortunately ! All three of you do an awful lot more and are far more knowledgeable than I will ever be.

        Before there is an “attack” from those who say people who try to help these unfortunates think they are so wonderful and so superior, let me say nothing could be further from the truth. The reason I brought up these two great adoptions is that I was almost giving up hope and then it happened almost out of the blue, so to speak. I wanted to share something positive along with the good news of Coaltown Legend’s retirement because good news is a very scarce commodity in this business.

        I also want to thank everyone who supports ending horse abuse. I believe people do what they can and it all adds up.

        As has been said, alone we can do so little, together we can do so much !

  8. PS House On Toilsome was claimed by Contessa and started with as little as 3 days between races. Her last start for Contessa said she threw her head, hit the gate and was off in a tangle. I’m surprised she survived that one. She is now at the $900.00 claiming level with 9 starts this year.

    • Poor House On Toilsome…SO many racehorses are needing someone to help them! And just where are all of these “great people in racing” that we keep hearing about??? Lies.

  9. The glowing words of thanks to Ms. Feron (Coaltown Legend’s breeder and original trainer) for her “part” in rescuing the gelding from the bottom-of-the-barrel claiming game by a racing apologist in her “feel-good” story, prompted me to take a look at CL’s charts. You see, Ms. Feron claims she “put the word out” that the gelding could come back to her when his racing days were over. I personally don’t see that as taking an active part in making certain the weary racehorse got the retirement he long deserved. While she was merely giving lip service, the gelding SHE raced NINETEEN times for earnings of over FIFTY-EIGHT THOUSAND DOLLARS was having to labor in another FORTY-FIVE races. She put him up for sale in a claiming race at Aqueduct in February of 2010, and Jacobson snatched him up for 15K. Feron made a killing off Coaltown Legend that day as the dark bay made nearly 11K for his first place finish PLUS the 15K price tag she put on his head.

    For another 4 years and 45 races, Feron had opportunity after opportunity to claim him back. This year alone, Coaltown Legend ran 8 times for tags as low as 4K. In three of his last four races, he came in dead last. Where were you, Ms. Feron? Regarding the 9-year-old, you are quoted: “This was my special horse”…again I ask, WHERE WERE YOU, MS. FERON, when your “special horse” was running his heart out at the notorious Penn National and coming in last for a mere 4K? Anyone who looks just a little bit closer at this story can clearly see you didn’t give a damn…if you did, your “special horse” – Coaltown Legend – would not have been a story in the first place.

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