Abuse Defined: Horse Slated For 148th Race Today

Just when you think this industry cannot revolt any more, that some within said industry cannot debase themselves any further, comes something like this: A horse named Aurora’s Secret is scheduled for the 5th today at Belterra Park. But Aurora’s Secret is not just any horse, for you see this pitiful animal is almost 13 years old and today’s cheap $5,000 claiming-race will mark his 148th time under the whip. Take a moment to allow those numbers to sink in. 13. 148. How, Stephanie Eilers (trainer), Larry Eilers (owner), Belterra stewards, et al., do you sleep at night?


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  1. If Aurora’s Secret was in Australia he would be protected under an Australian Rule of Racing and would be barred from racing as soon as he attained the racing age of 13 years.
    Shame on the American racing industry, which has a shocking international reputation for killing racehorses, for having no rules in place to protect these horses in any way whatsoever.
    Stephanie Eilers, Larry Eilers, the Beltarra stewards and so-called vets, you are repugnant vile creatures. You all should be dragged before the courts and severely punished for aggravated animal cruelty. You are also guilty of failing to meet community expectations in relation to animal welfare.

    • “A shocking international reputation for killing racehorses, for having no rules In place to protect these horses in any way whatsoever”. This is a well deserved reputation, Carolyn.
      Is it not interesting how the apologists pick and choose the instances when they come. to the defense of their beloved “sport”. Could it be that at some level they know this business is indefensible. Perhaps I’m being too generous.

  2. Repulsive, heartbreaking, and unacceptable.
    Any horse with back class is so vulnerable to such extreme abuse by this despicable business.
    Every single last drop of sweat, and blood is being squeezed out of many American racehorses who are dumped into the claiming ranks when no longer able to perform.
    Yet, their bodies are used to fill races, and increase wagering profits with total disregard for their pain, and suffering or even their deaths as they lie dying in the dirt.
    They end up running for their lives, and a flake of hay.
    Aurora’s Secret has, more than likely, been injected into her joints HUNDREDS of times with blood probably squirting out of the needle from over injections, possible pus, and infection.
    Then there is the dope, probably, to keep her going for these horrific people.
    There is no outside NEUTRAL animal advocate group, agency, or vets who can go in there, and diagnosis her suffering nor are there any mandatory vet records available for review to immediately cease this ongoing abuse of Aurora’s Secret or to even prevent a catastrophic breakdown.
    This is just the way they want it, and this is why this business has lost their social license.
    That said, we will never know the extent of the invasive procedures, pain, suffering, cruelty, soreness, lameness that poor Aurora’s Secret is probably going through, and will continue to go through in order to keep her running for these lower than scum people Stephanie Eilers, Larry Eilers who are directly responsible for this animal cruelty.
    The Beltarra stewards, and their cohorts are all enablers of this abuse.
    Just this one example alone clearly shows the legitimized cruelty going on for this antiquated business model.
    If decoupling were to pass, if their financial cash flow was stopped then this extreme animal abuse, and cruelty would end.
    If even one person in this pathetic business gave one iota of compassion towards the racehorses whom they abuse, there would have been somebody or some entity go in there, and remove this racehorse from her misery.
    Every one of you supporters are demented, delusional, masochistic pieces of crap.
    You need to all go stick your head in the dirt of the racetracks where you ply your legitimized animal cruelty under the banner of “entertainment.”

  3. I want to make something clear for those not in the industry. When (and if) a horse reaches the age of 13 the trainer actually has to get permission from the track stewards to run. So in Aurora’s Secret case, this is not a horse who ‘slipped thru the cracks’, or a misunderstanding, or an overlooked mistake. Those who have the power to help him has not and will not. My heart goes out to this poor horse who deserves retirement, and will probably never get to see it.

    • Even WORSE than I thought.
      These “officials” at Belterra need to be swamped with protests…..but how many people who care know about this outrageous situation. I for one, will let them know that people are watching.

    • TY for this additional information, 20yr+ industry insider – in my opinion, it makes the fact that this gelding is still running even more egregious. Even worse, I believe? – his number of starts.

    • 20yr+ industry insider, that isn’t true here in the state of Ohio. Racing a 13 year old isn’t against racing rules. However, according to the track manager at Belterra, it is “common courtesy” to reach out to the stewards and let them know that you are planning to race an older horse. If the horse is still a maiden, or has just won a few races over his/her career, the stewards would, most likely, deny the entry but under normal conditions, such as this one, they will allow the horse to run because it is perfectly legal to do so. However, like Joy said, my horror over this situation, even more so than the age, is the number of times this horse has had to put his “life on the line” for some freaks to bet and be entertained but we shouldn’t be surpised since this is horseracing.

      • My apologies…this must have been a house rule at the track I was at. And who knows that may have even changed. I hope this old warrior doesn’t die in the dirt.

      • Standardbred horses can’t race past age 13. Some states enforce age restrictions for Thoroughbreds, but some don’t. Among the major racing states, California, Florida, and Kentucky do not have a cutoff, but New York’s limit is 14.(drf how old is to old for a racehorse) tho the article is from 2010 I believe here in pa there is no age limit just have to post 2 timed workouts within 60 days and pass pre race exam I think alot of states operate this way

    • No problem, 20yr+ industry insider. As we know, every racing jurisdiction plays by its own rules. I called the Ohio Racing Commission yesterday but I placed my call shortly before they closed at 4:30 so I left a message for a call back. I wanted to know the “rule” as to the age limit on Thoroughbreds racing here in Ohio. As soon as I hear, I will post on the blog. However, limits on age could differ according to the state in which the horse is racing.

    • You Are right Mary.
      Difficult to believe such callous people are mascurading as normal. They are not close to the norm because most people are not cruel and would take issue with what these horses are forced to endure in this subculture.. Trouble is the business has been able to hide the abject cruelty and somehow promote the notion that racehorses lead a pampered life.

  4. ON the Subject of HORSE ABUSE.

    Colorado Springs, Colorado – For the last 2 years, Sherri Brunzell has been fighting her animal cruelty charges when 14 dead horses were found rotting in her barn –

    and nearly starved to death was a famous Quarter Horse Duel Peppy.

    In 2015 Brunzell was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 5 years probation, not for the dead horses, but for the live horses and llamas suffering in her barn.

    Brunell and her legal team have been fighting the sentencing, but the Colorado Supreme Court declined to consider the case, and she must report for jail by 7:00 pm tonight. As part of her sentencing, she cannot own, manage, possess, lease or care for horses during her 5 years of probation.

    My comment:
    this woman should go to jail for 20 years minimum.



    Ending horse slaughter: A glimmer of hope on the Hill
    Posted on Apr 28, 2017 by Vivian Grant Farrell

    Rep. Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR) wrote the following in his April 26, 2017 newsletter entitled “Ending horse slaughter: A glimmer of hope on the Hill”, and taken those words right out of our mouths.

    These are strange times in our nation’s capital, with looming discussions of government shutdowns and tax giveaways for the wealthy. In this era, Congressional victories may seem difficult to come by.Yet I wanted to tell you about one glimmer of hope that I saw today on Capitol Hill. Just a few hours ago, the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, which I co-chair, held a briefing to highlight the issue of horse slaughter, the horrific killing and processing of horses for human consumption.

    The Caucus, a bipartisan group of over 120 lawmakers committed to passing legislation that promotes animal welfare, was formed to highlight important issues affecting animals and to educate members and their staff on the need for sensible animal protection legislation.

    While it may sound foreign, horse slaughter is still prevalent in the United States. Each year, over 100,000 horses are purchased in the U.S. and shipped to slaughterhouses across our borders in crowded trucks, without food, water, or rest, only to be slaughtered using often gruesome methods.

    In order to educate my fellow Representatives on this issue, I invited experts from all over the country to testify on the need to end horse slaughter now. The panel that testified included animal welfare experts, as well as celebrities like “Pretty Little Liars” star Huw Collins and sportscaster Bonnie-Jill Laflin. The room was packed, and the presentation was powerful, personal, and highly effective in conveying the horrors of horse slaughter.Today’s event showed that people are paying attention, and something can be done.

    On the very first day of this Congress, with my colleague Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL), I introduced legislation to bring an end to this abysmal practice of horse slaughter. H.R. 113, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, now has 97 bipartisan co-sponsors.

    The momentum from our briefing represents a critical step in helping to usher this common-sense and humane legislation through Congress. I am committed to putting the resources of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus behind the bill until it becomes law.Whether it’s fighting to strengthen existing laws, or working to push forward new ones, we must continue to fight for policies that protect animals in the United States and abroad. Today’s briefing was a small, but significant step in this Congress, and I am proud to have worked to provide a glimmer of light amidst this strange and unusual time.

    Source: Rep. Earl Blumenauer Media Center E-Newsletters »
    March Against Horse Slaughter was a big success and mobilized so many advocates. We knew we were having a big impact in support of these sorts of efforts.

    We are so grateful for Rep. Blumenhauer’s encouraging words which verifies what we have been seeing and reporting from the halls of Congress.

    Keep up the good work. Let’s do this. There is little reason for us to fear that the President will not sign it into law if the 2017 SAFE Act is passed. More on that in another post coming up very soon.

    • Please check here to see if your Representative in the U.S. House has co-sponsored H.R. 113.


  6. Aurora’s Secret ended up 5th beaten by 8 lengths. The sad part is – this horse has hit the board about 70 times – but only made a paltry 150,000 because he has had his ass run off at these low level crappy tracks to earn that much. Such a hard knocking horse that I’m sure this is why they want to get every last dime out of him even at 13. Especially now that purses are a little better in Ohio.

    • Thanks, SD – I had checked, as well, just wanting to make certain he finished OK (although, as we’ve seen, that doesn’t necessarily indicate the horse is OK). He made $82 for the Eilers. Good grief.

  7. The horseracing business shows it’s true colors when it allows this blatant abuse to continue.
    This is one tough warrior but even the toughest succumb to such a grueling life. He should be retired. But as we know, he has to have a place to go and not many of these horses do. The numbers of used up racers shipped to slaughter is a disgrace to this gambling business.
    And yet, there are those who defend racing.- hard to believe !

    • Both owners,and trainers know full well that they are risking their racehorses life every time they send them out to that cruelty ring.
      These owners are well aware of the excessive dope and joint injections being used because they get the vet bills that itemize everything that is given so they can pay the bill.
      Both the owners and trainers are blatantly aware of the pain, and suffering that their racehorse is going through.
      Yet, they continue to endorse this animal cruelty, and that makes them enablers of the abuse.
      Aurora’s Secret is showing us just how callous, abusive, and pathetic these supporters are.

  8. I just heard back from the Ohio Racing Commission. Here in the state of Ohio, there are NO rules on age limits. However, individual tracks can put a limit on age but, again, that is up to the track. For Standardbreds, the age limit is 14. Hope this helps clarify the age questions.

  9. I have contacted Stephanie a few times to offer a free retirement home at our sanctuary in Wisconsin, I have even offered to pay for the shipping. This is not fair to this horse he has ran his race and is now needing a place to be safe and just be a horse. I have not received a response from Stephanie as of today but have now found out he will be starting his 150th race on 5:26 with a 5000$ claim. If our sanctuary had the funds I would claim him. We are a 501c3 organization located in Wisconsin. A year ago we rescued Madame Mistletoe from euthanasia. We are willing to take Aurora into our sanctuary where he can live out his remaining years just being a horse. I will continue to reach out to her for Aurora’s retirement.

    • Bless you jody, it’s a shame what these geldings go through all because they can’t make their connections money other then the track, I will say though it looks as if the horse has been with the same connections his entire life now I haven’t looked at every race but alot of them and the same connections show up every time. Whether that means anything I’m not sure all I know is the horse has raced alot of races a year for many years the realities of racing are not in his favor

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