Same Trainer Is Running a Pair of Mares Into the Ground at Belterra

Ongoing abuse at Belterra Park in Ohio:

Since being bought by Edward Fernandez – who doubles as trainer – 5-year-old Pew has been raced 10 times, all claiming, in a little over 11 weeks…

June 5, last, “earned” $264
June 11, last (25+ lengths back), $95
June 17, last (18+ lengths back), $76
July 8, 3rd, $690
July 16, 3rd, $760
July 24, second-to-last, $210
July 31, 5th, $216
August 7, 4th, $350
August 18, 5th, $222
August 25, 3rd, $770

Since Edward Fernandez became her trainer, 5-year-old Utopia’s Virgin (owner, Quiomary Valentin) has been raced 8 times, all claiming, in less than 9 weeks…

June 26, last (26+ lengths back), “earned” $67
July 8, second-to-last (19+ lengths back), $95
July 14, 5th, $134
July 23, 4th, $345
July 29, 4th, $335
August 13, 4th, $335
August 18, 3rd, $740
August 27, 3rd, $740

Belterra is a racino track, meaning not only does casino revenue “enhance” race purses, it also allows the track to pay “connections” (Fernandez here) first through last. Translation: These awful people have every incentive to run their (relatively) cheap horses – Pew was “For Sale” at $5,000 prior to her last race; Utopia, $4,000 – into the ground. While this may not technically qualify as animal cruelty under the law, I believe the powers that be should still get a sense of our wrath: Belterra.

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  1. This report turns my stomach. It is just so WRONG to treat these animals as if they were equipment to be discarded when they can’t be patched up any more.

    I wrote and hope others will, too.

  2. These horses are overworked because racing allows it. Racing does NOT care about the horse and, even worse, there is this utterly false image of “wonderful care” portrayed to the public. Some defenders make ridiculous statements such as “these horses are treated better than people” Really !!

    Edward Hernandez and others like him, and there are plenty, are abusing horses with the blessing of the industry including the track DVM’s.

    It is a disgusting game. The “cheap” horses are run into the ground and the ones that manage to survive wind up in the slaughter pipeline. Further, every horse, with the exception of the like of Songbird, can and does wind up in the claiming ranks to begin the descent into horse hell. And the “officials” do nothing, not even a basic rule in place to prevent the unscrupulous from running the horse to death.

    Patrick, thank you for your diligence in exposing the outrage that this business is.

    • You said it Rose, and you’re absolutely correct – this treatment of these magnificent beings happens because the industry ALLOWS IT…they DO NOT CARE.

    • Rose, your 100% right.
      They don’t care.
      The racehorses are just disposable commodities that generate millions in profit along the way.
      The system is set-up for failure, and DYING is built-in to this equation.
      Anybody who loves a horse would not subject them to this antiquated business model.

  3. I want to thank you for your activism regarding the care of racehorses. I was a thoroughbred trainer for over 30 years in the sport. It is so important that you keep up the pressure. When I came into it we all had a deep regard for the horses. It was considered a hobby for the rich but now there has been an aggressive push to be a bottom line business and the consequences are these types of trainers behaving in this manner. It’s a real mess…My friends in racing are signing on to you website to stay informed.

    • I met so many people when I lived in Kentucky that had moved there specifically to invest in horse racing. We all had “good” intentions only to find out that you have to be heartless, brutal, and abusive in order to remain in this industry.
      You can’t be “good,” and still participate with the systemic abuse of beating/whipping, doping, dumping, and/or dying.
      Would you support a spouse abusing another spouse because they have “Honeymoon phases?”
      I certainly wouldn’t, and neither should you. This is the same thing. Abuse is abuse.
      For those of you racing apologists who come on here and claim you are “good” while subjecting your horses to the necessary operating procedures? You are not “good” – you are abusive, and enablers of the abuse, and DYING.
      You can fool yourself, but you are not fooling others.
      You are either deliberately ignoring your moral compass in order to participate or you are well aware of what you are doing justifying it, and explaining it away on this blog.
      This industry is systemic cruelty, abuse, and inhumane treatment of racehorses.
      In order to remain active in this industry you must order the abuse in some capacity or participate in it either inadvertently or otherwise making you an enabler, a conduit, of the abuse.
      The horse racing Hall of (S)hame only indicts the people who uphold and/or participate in the abuse.
      Carolyn McDonald on another post said it so eloquently: “Ah yes, the hall of shame and the criteria to be met is indisputable evidence of intentional acts of animal cruelty upon the racehorses.”

  4. Since people r talking about these horses and trainer how about the horse that s running Sat sept 3 where s my sister !! U should b bad mouthing that trainer instead !!!

    • Debbie, there is no shortage of bad actors in this horse abusing business. However, these people are never held accountable because this is how the business operates. It is all about money. The safety and humane treatment of the horse is not consideration.

    • Actually her name is Wheres Your Sister… She is loved and well cared for. You don’t seem to have a problem bad mouthing this trainer but you’re real quick to stick up for another one. I know both of the trainers that are being talked about in these posts. I can’t say how Eddie is with his horses but as far as Where’s Your Sister goes, I’m the one that cleans her stall, does her legs up, grooms her, feeds her, and loves her every day of the week. Perhaps you should get to know the people that you are bad mouthing before you form an opinion of them. Have a good rest of the day!

  5. And another mare, Jill’s Reflection, will start at Timonium tomorrow, 2 Sept,. during the Maryland State Fair. This will be her 68th start since she began racing as a 2 yr. old in May 2013. She has never had any time off from this outrageous schedule and all with the blessing of this fine “sport”.

    I wonder if the person who had no trouble concerning 13 dead horses has any idea of the abuse and thorough exploitation horses endure before they die in the dirt or in the slaughterhouse. Is he OK with that too ?

  6. This is blatant animal cruelty, and abuse.
    I actually have concluded that horse racing is worse than dog fighting – hear me out.
    Dog fighting is a Felony in most states.
    The possession of dog fighting paraphernalia is also a Felony in many states with a maximum of 4 years.
    It’s horrific to see how these dogs, are maimed, and killed, but it’s equally horrific to watch racehorses get maimed, and killed. They DIE on tracks every day in this country.
    However, at least the dogs have some protection under the law!
    At least the dog fighter connections, and supporters of dog fighting get arrested, and charged when caught.
    At least these dogs get some sort of MINIMAL justice – racehorses don’t.
    In fact, the cruelty, and abuse is legitimized, and accepted by most members in society.
    There are so many parallels to both:
    1. Dog fighters keep bloodline records to increase the value of the dog. So does horse racing.
    2. The action takes place in a ring – a cruelty ring – so does horse racing.
    3. The connections of the dogs use drugs to increase performance. So does horse racing.
    One could argue that horse racing drugs are regulated, but many are still permissible. Moreover, illegal drugs have often been used (Dermorphin) and they are not regulated nor are the multiple drug violating Trainers who are re-licensed to train. A dog trainer/owner caught doping, maiming, fighting, and killing a fighting dog gets jail time! Racehorse Trainers that do the same to racehorses get accolades, and rewards.
    4. Lots of money laundering going on in both places it seems.
    5. Lots of people standing around the cruelty ring, placing bets, screaming for their betting choice (dog, racehorse) to win.
    6. Maiming, and killing of the wagering product (dog, racehorse).
    7. IF they are rescued, if they make it out alive, many are not adoptable. They have too many issues.

    Racehorses have no legal protection. They can maim, dump, and kill them. There are minimal laws to protect them. When, in fact, they charge somebody very little is done.

    How can this be permitted to continue in the 21st century?

  7. Legislation, legislation, legislation. If you can’t eliminate something, you fight to make it better. I’ve heard there are rescue groups who claim endangered horses like these mares. I can try to find out who and where. There should be rules and regulations on how many races a horse can run within a certain time frame, not state wide, but nation wide, to prevent these owners from just going from state to state. This man is a wicked SOB and needs to be banned from the sport. This is so heartbreaking for the horses.

      • In the meantime, I contacted two rescues in Ohio. Suzy told me if someone can claim the mares, she will help place them in good homes. For every word written on this blog screaming and complaining about the mistreatment of these thoroughbreds, how about turning the words into dollars and launch a fundraiser to claim the mares? Could probably even make the owner a cheap offer, IF the real concern if for the horses.The mares can’t wait until you outlaw the sport of horse racing. I’m just giving everyone concerned options, the ball is in your court.

      • That – “IF the real concern is for the horses” – is a cheap shot. Dollars, as you say, and saving isolated individual horses without simultaneously calling for an end to racing (and the other exploitative equine “disciplines”) do nothing for horsekind. Here’s my challenge to you: become an abolitionist – say no more to using horses for human ends. When that day comes – and it will – rescue will no longer be necessary; until that day comes, rescue will always be necessary.

      • Karen eliminating the racing industry can be done. And I do think the biggest solution is legislation. Legislation to end subsidies. Without the subsidy racing will not survive. Legislatures need to be petitioned to end subsidies for the racing industry, and use the money toward education, roads, ect. Put the vote to the people on whether or not to give the money to the racing industry or fund education…they will vote the industry down.

      • Ms. Sweatman, I live in Ohio so which two rescues have you contacted? I’m familiar with most of them and I am thrilled that “Suzy”, whoever the heck she is, will help place them in good homes. Will she also do vet and farrier references AND make sure they are adopted out under a contract? Again, give me the info that I have requested.

        For every Pew and Utopia’s Virgin, there are thousands more who are “running for their lives.” Do you have a plan in place to claim/buy these horses? Will “Suzy” provide transport from Belterra to a foster facility until she can find these horses a soft place to land? Can you reach out to the trainer and make him an offer for the two mares? You might be surprised. He might take you up on that offer and I hope that he does.

        I think it is now time that you took your own advice. Turn your words into dollars and start a fundraiser to “save” these two mares. Once you raise the funds to save BOTH horses, I can facilitate the claim. The ball is in your court, Ms. Sweatman.

    • Karen, the only way to stop this is to shut the industry down, and we will.
      There is no amount of legislation that can change the fundamental business model of exploitation, and the operating procedures of whipping/beating, doping, maiming, dumping, and/or DYING.

      • Saving two horses is better than saving none. You have to leave earth to land on the moon. Animal rescue is one horse at a time, one dog at a time, one cat at a time, one lion, one elephant. If we looked at the big picture and nothing else, no animals would be saved. It’s not out of reach to help the mares. It is out of reach to eliminate a sport that has been part of America for almost 200 years. It’s not going to happen. The answer lies in legislation for better treatment of the horses and rescue. If I had the money, I’d go get the mares myself. I haven’t worked in a year due to an accident, and I’ll probably be dead by the time I get my settlement. It kills me to not be able to do more. ONE HORSE AT A TIME, Patrick.

    • Start the fundraiser, Karen….the racing industry certainly will not stop the abuse nor will “they” spend one dime to help them out! So go for it – the same individuals simply do not have the time nor the money to rescue every racehorse. So why not you?

  8. I did send a message to Belterra Park. But since racing is a law unto itself, they just thumb their noses at questions/comments. They are accountable to nobody. However, they do need to know people are watching and bad publicity is not good in the long run.

    The only thing they understand or care about is if the money dries up.

  9. Karen, the ball should be in the horse racing court, and a percentage of the billions made at the expense of their lives needs to be readily available for the thousands of racehorses standing at kill auctions each year;the ones that are dumped for everybody else to look after.
    So go make some phone calls to the industry-funded horse racing aftercare programs.
    Let us know how it goes, and let me make something perfectly clear:
    I will continue to be a voice for the voiceless racehorses despite people like you who seem to expect everybody else to clean up the mess that this industry creates.
    Go ask the exploiters, go to the connections of these racehorses.
    Let me further remind you that I didn’t breed horses specifically to run in circles for bets – the breeders did.
    I didn’t break, train, and run into the ground the many racehorses that end up in situations like these.
    I also didn’t run them sore, beat them, dope them, and/or dump them.
    So go to those people.
    Heck, call the wagering companies (TVG, Xpress Bet, Bet America, Betfair) to name a few.
    They are the ones who make billions off these racehorses.
    I spent a small fortune over the years doing the very thing that you suggested.
    However, ALL the rescue groups COMBINED can’t save all of these racehorses.
    That’s the sad truth because they over breed, and the irresponsible breeding specifically to fill races amounts to about 20,000+ per year.
    There are hundreds on waiting lists for homes now.
    So take YOUR words, and stop placing the blame on people like me by requesting that I do something.
    I’ve done much more than you can possibly imagine.
    I will continue to use my words to shut this hell hole down.

  10. Gina, you are correct about overbreeding and the fact that it’s impossible to save all the race horses. You are wrong thinking I blame you or anyone else. I simply don’t feel words are going to save a single horse. The industry doesn’t care what you think.They don’t care what you say. They don’t care if you protest, scream, yell, or throw yourself on the ground. It’s hard for me to read about a horse being abused and not want to ACT on it. Believe me, if I had the means, those mares would have a home. I spend all the money I have on animals. I have 5 rescues. That is 5 animals who are not dead or still being abused. It’s not a lot, but it’s something. I guess we both acknowledge the problem, but we have different ideas as to how to resolve it.

    • Karen, I don’t give a flying fu*k what the industry thinks of me.
      Further, I don’t do this to get a reaction from an industry that legitimizes pain, suffering, cruelty, abuse, whipping/beating, doping, dumping, and/or dying so I don’t know where you came up with that ridiculous suggestion.
      I will continue to protest, scream, and educate despite the industry.
      I do this for the racehorses. I do this to be a voice for these voiceless victims not to get a reaction from the industry.
      I do this to educate the ignorant masses who have bought into their delusion by placing bets.
      There is only one way to resolve all of this, and that’s for this industry to shut down.
      So I will continue to use my voice as I see fit, and I don’t give a damn what the industry thinks nor do I give a damn about what you think.
      Go rescue those racehorses because there are plenty more to come.
      Perhaps you can even set-up a financial network of industry supporters especially the wagering companies who make billions off these racehorses and give little or NOTHING towards aftercare.
      Once you go through this process, like I have for years, then you will realize that it’s something the industry fails to do on a massive scale because they are irresponsible parasites.
      This is a legitimized, and systemic system of abuse, and disposal, and that’s why it must end.

  11. Not all racetrack owners and trainers treat there horses the same ! U guys just want to see the bad things happens and talk bad about it !

    • Anybody, and I mean anybody who participates and/or supports this cruelty circus, and death camp are either abusers, enablers of the abuse or both – usually both.
      This is blatant animal cruelty, and if conducted in any other setting in this country it would be grounds for Felony Animal Cruelty charges.
      Whipping/beating, doping, dumping and/or dying is on the menu for any active racehorse, and then they often become the menu.
      So take your delusional crap Debbie, and all of your delusional pro-horse racing buddies to a certified Intervention where it belongs.

    • You are wrong Debbie. ALL tracks allow trainers to start horses as frequently as they want.
      The NYRA said it is “up to the trainer”. There are NO rules to protect the horse from trainers that will run horses to death. A full raising card is the mission of the track and that alone is what they care about.

      • I am sorry but I do mean racehorse owners and trainers not racetrack owners . They do not care about the horses .

    • The connections of racehorses are either abusers and/or enablers of the abuse.
      Those are the only 2 categories that ALL horse racing people fall into including the racetracks that provide the cruelty ring for this abuse to take place.
      So go peddle that nonsense to ignorant people who know no better.
      Than tell us your real name so we can confirm who you are.
      Cowards hide behind delusions, and horse racing is one big delusion.

  12. Has anyone gotten a response from Belterra?

    Debbie, racing is so full of inherent evils that it must end. Period.

    If you are a horse owner or trainer, please tell me you’ve never raced a sore, medicated horse. Tell me your jockeys don’t hit their horses to make them run faster. Tell me your horses weren’t started as 2-year-old babies. Tell me that you have retired all your ex-racers to your own pastures or you have kept track of and will take back any horse you’ve sold.

    “Racetrack owners” don’t give a s**t about the horses. All they care about is dollars. (Maybe you you meant race horse owners. Either way. It’s about money.)

    And the LAST thing anyone here wants to see is something “bad” happening. The reason we fight racing is because too much bad already happens and we want to stop it.

    • Well said Faith.
      The only exception I have to your comment is that the rich owners usually do it for their egos, for some trophies in their office den, for conversation at the country club because they don’t need the money.
      This doesn’t make it any better.
      The only way to stop the “bad” is to end this cruelty circus, and carnage.

      • Rose, I have tentative lunch plans with the GM of the Belterra track this Friday, the 9th. I believe you have my email. If not, Patrick has my permission to give it to you. Copy me on what you sent to Belterra and to whom you sent it. I will ask my contact why you didn’t receive a response.

      • Mary, I sent my message under “contact” via the track site. I used the “Public Relations” heading for my comments because I thought it would have a better chance of being read.
        I believe I sent it on the 2nd.

  13. I was just just saying not all people in the business treat there horses like u guys say ! No I never raced my 2yrs old and a sore horse . U can t judge me and my career i do for a living . I do keep track of my horses when I donate them to a rescue or sale them . So I don t feel u should bad mouth me when u don t even know me !

    • Ok Debbie, so in order for me to verify the information you have stated here regarding your actions then we need your CORRECT name!
      You know the name you use to own or train your racehorses – that would be a start.
      I can tell you right now once you give me your name I can find out exactly what you have done to what racehorses.
      So before you come on here, and make these claims stop hiding behind, what could be, a fictitious name.
      Until you provide this information then anything you say is disputable.
      “So I don’t feel you should bad mouth me when you don’t even know me.”
      Your 100% correct Debbie – we don’t know you. That’s the point.
      We don’t know you because you are hiding behind a name.
      So I invite you to come forth, stop hiding, and expose who you really are.
      Then we will find out who and what you are!
      Until then, peddle your trash somewhere else.
      I can say with 100% certainty that anybody who owns or trains racehorses subjects them to the operating procedures of: whipping/beating, doping, dumping, maiming, and/or dying.
      Once you reveal who you are I can confirm that at least 1 of your racehorses, if not all, has been subjected to these abusive procedures that qualify as animal cruelty.
      So if you want to come on here, and dispute what my non-supporters say, then back up your comments with your name.
      We are all waiting for your response Debbie or whatever your name is.

  14. Yea u r right I don’t know u and probably would never want to . U r taking everything wrong I have been saying . I do agree with something but not all . This is my life and I know I don t have to explain who I am . I know what I do with my horses so that all that matters to me !! U was the one who got negative with me when I say that all horse people r bad some DO CARE ! :)

    • “This is my life….who I am.”
      The racehorses have no life because you take it away from them so that they can run in circles for bets.
      This is not caring – this is not love.
      Then after they are whipped/beaten, doped, maimed, dumped, and/or killed then you make it everybody elses business to save them.
      So whatever your name is – NO YOU DON’T CARE!
      Anybody who cares about a racehorse would not subject them to this cruelty ring, and death camp.
      You are living a big delusion to the point where you don’t even know your own name.
      There’s no such thing as “good” people in this industry.
      There’s just abusers, and/or enablers of the abuse – usually both.
      So it doesn’t surprise me that you feel entitled to taking a horse’s life while worrying about only your own.
      Typical abusive behaviour that is rampant in this industry.

      • Ok !! Guess u guys don t believe in good people and some of u r haters so I will leave it at that !! Yes I know my name is Debbie after that it doesn t matter .

    • “Yes I know my name is Debbie after that it doesn t matter.”
      It does matter Debbie when you come on a blog, insist that you have never subjected your racehorses to one, some or all of the abuses going on in this industry, then even defy non-supporters by basically calling them liars.
      So yes it does matter what your full and authentic name is so we can verify what you say.
      Until then, I consider everything you say as a lie, as a delusion, and you probably do perpetrate pain, suffering, and/or abuse on your racehorses.
      Just because we don’t support the ongoing maiming, and DYING of racehorses doesn’t make us haters.
      Moreover, WE state our full names backed up by direct experience, and FACTS which is more than I can say for you.
      So we are anything, but haters – we actually love the horses because we don’t exploit them like you do.

  15. Yesterday, I met with the General Manager of the Belterra track and asked him about Pew and Utopia’s Virgin. According to him, there aren’t any rules in Ohio in regards to how many times a horse can be raced within a certain length of time. A horse can literally be raced every other day and there are no plans to change the rules. He did say that both horses were visually checked by a vet last Friday, September 2nd, and both were in good weight. He also said that Edward Fernandez is a “good” horseman in that he does take care of the horses in his barn. There you have it. No big surprise.

    • This comes as no surprise.
      ZERO accountability.
      Legitimized animal cruelty.
      Systematized animal cruelty via racing commissions that are supposed to look out for their well-being.
      They are running their own private racehorse cruelty industry with little or no oversight while collecting millions in wagering/casino profits at the expense of the racehorses.
      They know damn well that if they put a time factor on entries for racehorses then that would greatly reduce their fields resulting in lower wagering profits.
      So the slave masters must ensure that their slaves keep running, and bringing in profits.
      Can you imagine how many racehorses have died prior to horseracingwrongs exposing the FACTS?

  16. Jills reflection raced today at parx racing in race one the chart saysJILL’S REFLECTION dropped back after the start and stopped abruptly. I’m not sure what happened to this girl but I’m gonna go to penn on Wednesday and ask the trainer what happened if I cannot reach her I’m going to ask the jockey that was riding her .

    • There are simply no words for the abuse of this horse. I am so sick and tired of the apologists defending an industry that is rotten to the core. My thoughts are with Jill’s Reflection. If anyone steps up for her, I will donate since the racing industry is nowhere to be found.

    • Thank you, Billy. I will refrain from saying what I’m thinking about those who exploited JR as well as those who ALLOWED it.

      I hope the abused mare still has a chance…

  17. Billy thanks for the update. I’m afraid they have finally worn down, if not killed, this tough mare. She hung in there for a long and brutal “career”. What a life she endured.
    Please share what you find out.

  18. So I went to penn national on Thursday to speak with the trainer of jills reflection……I told her I follow her races seen she raced Monday at parx and politely asked if she was ok and if anything was wrong with her. I got a short she is fine and she turned and walked away not sure if she was caught off guard, her horse was about to race or she’s just plain ignorant but that’s all I know

  19. Thank you Billy.
    A turt response for legitimized animal cruelty.
    There are only 2 types of people in horse racing.
    Abusers or Enablers of Abuse.
    She would be the later category, but it’s the commissions who allow the ongoing abuse of Jill’s Reflection who are clearly enablers of the abuse.
    They choose not to end the abuse by permitting her to run instead of invoking a non-competition rule.
    Even if they did, I’ve seen in other similar examples, connections just run in another state.
    This is a common maneuver by these abusers including Trainers with multiple drug violations who seem to utilize doping cocktails in order to force sore/lame horses to run that can result in catastrophic breakdowns.
    So sad that Jill’s Reflection is one example of many.
    This is the dirty world of horse racing.

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