Following “public outcry,” says the racing publication BloodHorse, the case of the miscreant trainer/owner who left one of his horses in a stall with a broken leg for almost an entire month was reviewed by the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and the penalty subsequently changed. Instead of 45 days/$500, Mario Rodriguez now faces a one-year suspension and $2,500 fine. The paper, however, says more may be coming his way because…well, here’s Dr. Kathryn Papp on recent developments:

“One of his horses dropped dead in a stall this morning [Friday]. They pulled out every single horse, and they were jogging every single horse. They came across three lame ones. This horse that had died had been sore for several days with supposedly a really bad run-down. It was treated at 9:30 this morning by a private veterinarian for colic and then it just dropped dead about an hour later.” (Note to Ms. Papp: horses, fully sentient beings, are whos not its.)

Here’s the thing, not only should Rodriguez never be allowed to control (own) a domesticated animal again, he should be in jail for committing wanton cruelty against the most defenseless and innocent among us. But Racing doesn’t think so (nor, for that matter, society at large). And what does it really matter whether it’s 45 days or one year? Is there an expectation of rehabilitation? Can anyone say with a straight face that Mario Rodriguez will come back a changed man? Someone who sees a horse as more than a mere thing to be used? Please. The good bet is he does it again – maybe not to the extent seen here, but abuse nonetheless. And equally likely, Racing, unless accidentally exposed again, will, again, simply look the other way.

(An aside to any veterinarian – someone whose first priority should be the protection of and advocacy for domesticated animals – who still calls himself/herself a “fan” of this wicked business: For shame. For shame.)

(full BloodHorse article)


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  1. VILE.
    Continuous egregious acts of cruelty, and inhumane treatment being perpetrated on defenseless, voiceless racehorses daily while they keep their medical records SECRET so you don’t know what’s going on.
    In this case, there was a total absence of medical records for racehorses who were in a state of extreme pain, suffering, and/or possibly shock.
    Not only a total absence of medical treatment, which would automatically negate animal cruelty charges in any other setting, but a total lack of compassion on behalf of this trainer which is really an animal abuser lurking under a delusional cloud that is enabled by the entire horse racing industry – even revered!
    Every single trainer, at every single level of the game subject racehorses to the daily grind of doping, whipping/beating, intense confinement, legs constantly bandaged because they are sore, maiming, dumping when no longer profitable and/or even killing them – deliberately or otherwise.
    This is horse racing.
    This is the truth behind the mint juleps, fancy hats, and “entertainment” banner.
    I often wonder how an animal abuser like Rodriguez would feel if somebody shattered the bones in his ankle and confined him in a stall for weeks without any medical treatment and without any voice to scream out for help.
    Perhaps this would be the only plausible retribution, but we live in a country where even scoundrels and scum bags like Rodriguez are protected by the law.
    This is precisely why our animal laws in this country need changing.
    People like Rodriguez should be in jail, and should be put on a Felony Animal Cruelty list that can be accessed by the animal organizations to ensure that not one other animal will suffer under this monster.
    That said, our jails would be full of racehorse trainers because, unfortunately, many do exactly what Rodriguez did, but they just don’t get caught.
    The security gates around the track, the secrecy of medical records, and the apologists ensure that scenarios like this don’t get exposed.
    I’m sorry for you, Silent Ruler, that you had to endure such extreme suffering, but we will ensure that it’s not in vain.

  2. His “punishment” is a slap in the face of those horses. I’m not saying that the other trainer is any better, but a big name trainer was fined $10,000 and had a suspension for trace amounts of drugs (which were allegedly medicinally given many days in advance and not on the day of the race) being in the blood of a horse named Masochistic. No, it’s not better than this slumlord of a trainer at Penn, but Masochistic is okay. Silent Ruler had a fracture that was left unattended for at least a month.

    To make things somewhat square, this guy’s leg should be fractured and HE should be left in Silent Ruler’s stall, with only straw for his bed. No medicine. No doctors. Who knows what or if they fed this horse. How can you feed an injured animal and NOT treat him or her?!


    • I agree, Jenni, regarding what the punishment should be for Silent Ruler’s abuser. I also find the comments from industry members quite telling when it comes to what they have to say about the 7-year-old gelding Masochistic.

      “He needs rest and relaxation after his last race.” Masochistic was raced only 6 times in 18 months – what about the many “cheap claimers” who run 6 times in 3 months?…some in just 2 months? “He’s been in training a long time.” A long time? – what about all of those 8, 9 and 10 year olds (and older) who are still running? Yet when some “bleeding heart” mentions concern for one nearing a decade and still being raced, apologists bellow “9 or 10 is not too old!” So which is it? Masochistic, at 7 and with 16 lifetime starts needs “rest and relaxation” – but the countless others who are even older with 30, 40, 50 starts and more are just fine to be raced twice a month with no breaks at all? And during that rest and relaxation?…he gets to “just be a horse.” Yes, it’s quite clear that racehorses live nothing that resembles what a horse’s life should look like.

      And I’ve always found it surprising that a good number of racehorses need something to increase their appetite (like Masochistic) – that many go off their feed following a race. What horse won’t eat themselves into a colic or laminitis episode because that is all they WANT to do? But horses don’t want to eat after being raced? – it’s pretty damn telling what it does to them, isn’t it.

      (and Jenni, my questions were not directed to you…but to those who talk out of both sides of their mouths – industry members, supporters and apologists)

  3. I could cheerfully kneecap people like that piece of slime, and leave THEM without medical treatment for weeks. There is simply no excuse for what he did!

    This despicable Mario Rodriguez should be dragged before the courts and sent to jail. He should NEVER be allowed to train or own a racehorse ever again.
    He should be blacklisted by The Jockey Club forever. For the Pennsylvania Racing Commission to only suspend him for 12 months and apply a paltry fine is not only unacceptable but it clearly sends the message to the public that animal cruelty inflicted upon these innocent horses, as in the case of Silent Ruler, is not taken seriously.
    Defend this, racing apologists!
    And what is the Humane Society of the USA doing about this outrageous act of animal cruelty upon Silent Ruler?
    What are you, WAYNE PACELLE going to do about this particular case of deliberate and intentional animal cruelty?
    NOTHING as usual ?

  5. Rodriguez should never be allowed to go near horses again. But the Racing commission membership should also be questioned and legal action should be taken against them because they are feckless and allow abuse with a minor fine of disgusting people such as Rodriguez.

  6. As a former owner/trainer who regularly stabled at a “B” track called Ft. Erie, but also stabled at the high profile tracks such as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, Ellis Park etc. etc. I want to make clear to anybody reading this that Silent Ruler isn’t the first horse to be confined in his stall, suffering, with no medical treatment.
    When I left the business back around 2009, I saw many racehorses standing in stalls with little to NO bedding, minimal vet care when needed, being denied hay, being given very little food/calories, and/or horses running that everybody knew had previous fractures.
    When I submitted a complaint I was told by the racing commission that they had to determine injuries by diagnostics (x-rays

  7. Mario rodriguez has been doing this shit for a long ass time…ask anyone around the track of course hes not going to change and obviously he doesnt give a damn about his horses dont their pps speak for themselves, how in the world these people that this is their job or life cannot relise it…well they do or else trainers wouldnt be giving this guy their used up horses that are through….penn national and the pa horse racing commission are a joke these moves are just bullshit moves to quiet the angry mob and they are hoping it is just going to go away and seeing how the comment thread is closed on both the paulick report and the bloodhorse i feel as if they hope we all just move on….heres my question what is it going to take for some authority to step in and put and end to this…i dont see how the commission doesnt look into the necropsy reports then look at the treatment sheets and do some damn correlation between the 2 that would be very telling to what these trainers are doing but they could care less is all about that gambling dollar and turning a profit….i am sick to death about the stories in the news time after time year after year seeing and hearing all the bullshit first hand the no ambulance where a horse walked back to the barn with a broken cannon bone had to be euthanized by personal vet….the horse that laid on the track for an hr and ten min because there was noone to man the ambulance…..all the horses found at new holland after racing at penn weeks or months before….the fact the hbpa executive director can run horses at the same track hes paid by….steph beattie after admitting to drugging horses all the time still holds a training license for pa…wells being ruled off license revoked but somehow running at presque isle in june of 2016 its neverending it seems….and im willing to bet even when he is suspended his horses will still be running just under miltons name not marios see it too many times to think otherwise…..corruption runs deep out at the penn gill had it right its all about who your in with……for all the common knowledge around the track aint shit being done about it “good folks” non existent theyve all done their dirt….and dont think its the casino money its always been this way that influx of cash just made it worse GREED

  8. Mario Rafael Rodriguez isn’t a “horseman” – he’s an abuser of sentient beings who are at his mercy. Horseracing isn’t a sport! – it’s a business – a business where horses are mere tools of the trade so individuals like Rodriguez can have a job. Those “tools” get worn. Although worn, most get additional use squeezed out of them and many get passed on to others. But they’ll eventually get used-up. They will fail. And then they’ll be thrown out.

    I only looked at three of Rodriguez’s horses and of those three, two of them he never claimed…You R Wonderful (mentioned in a Paulick Report article about the abuser Rodriguez) and Just Another Toy.

    You R Wonderful is a 4-year-old chestnut gelding. Rodriguez has raced him 21 times from January 20 to December 1. The following (from the PR – link below) describes a veterinary assessment of this young gelding, discovered to be one of three lame horses in Rodriguez’s barn; “[You R Wonderful was ] lame at the walk and had an injury to his suspensory ligament and a crack in the cannon bone on [sic] the same leg. The horse also had a bowed tendon, which appeared to be an old injury.” Again if I may remind you, Rodriguez raced this youngster 21 times in just over 10 months – including 3 times in July, 3 times in September and 3 times in November.

    Just Another Toy…this 5-year-old bay gelding has been raced by Rodriguez 21 times in 2017, as well. The poor fella has had the horrific misfortune of being owned by the abuser for just over two years. His PP’s just make me shake my head in sorrow and disgust.

    You R Wonderful was never claimed by Rodriguez. On 1-5-17, he ran for Jay Young (O) and Kimberly Graci (T). On 1-20-17, he was running for Rodriguez.

    Just Another Toy was also never claimed by Rodriguez but the PA-bred ran for him the first time on 9-18-2015. Just 16 days earlier, the bay raced for Ted Hoover (O) and trainer…Kimberly Graci.


  9. Actually, this is the face of racing, a corrupt, deceitful and cruel gambling business that, for unjustifiable reasons, is allowed to police itself and, essentially, operate outside written law as well as the laws of decency.
    The only thing that surprises me about this case is that racing failed to contain it and is taking heat in terms of PR

    Rodriguez is not the exception in racing and that needs to be emphasized. People like him are in racing because the overuse and abuse of the horse is the modus operendi of this business. The code of silence usually protects even the worst.

    In this case, Silent Ruler was not so silent ! His “voice” was heard loud and clear.

    • Rose, THANK YOU – every point you made was 100% SPOT ON!

      (and I, too, have marveled at the irony of Silent Ruler’s name, all that he endured IN silence and how that curtain of silence has been at last thrown wide open)

  10. This corruption goes so high up the chain,that anyone who want’s to stick their hand in the pie it’s there for the taking.Here’s an example,I am currently employed on the backstretch of one of the major N.Y. Tracks.I personally witnessed the administration of a performece enhancing drug on race day.I reported this activity to the N.Y. State gaming commission,I gave them the name of the horse,the name of the trainer,the race he was running in and called them just as the race was going off.All that the gaming commission was concerned with was who I was,at one point I was told,they don’t take anonymous tips,then they asked me if I had any recent incidents.I told them the horse is coming through the stretch right now and winning at 15-1.Is that recent enough.I asked who I was talking to,and I was told he did not have to tell me his name.So much for transparency.The upshot of this was,I’m assuming since there was no investigation,someone at the gaming commission gave this trainer a head’s up because his winning percentage plummeted after my call.Could this be corruption at it’s best.Who is overseeing the overseer’s?It makes one want to leave the game.I love the horse’s but this is one SOB dirty game from top to bottom.

      • Dear Patrick,If my staying on the track can save one horse from abuse or a catastrophic break down it’s worth.If I were to tell you too much about myself my anonymity would be non-existent.For certain I would be thrown off the track.Example: This particular trainer is not using this particular PED as much as he once did.The evidence lies in the fact he is not winning as much therefore his horses are not artificially overextending themselves to the point where they’ll breakdown.The racetrack would really prefer I not be on the grounds, but first they have to know who I am.Right now I feel by me leaving the track ain’t going to effect a damn thing in a positive way but staying will have some minor effect.Nothing is going to end this abuse and corruption,it’s highly naive to believe this.So make it easier on yourself,do what you can but don’t expect this travesty to end,it goes to far up the ladder.It’s a losing battle.

    • Dedicated…you want to stay? – then stay. No industry member gives a damn about you – if you leave, it won’t affect the bottom line at your track nor will it affect the industry as a whole. You are replaceable – just as every single enslaved racehorse is replaceable.

      Folks like yourself are a dime a dozen – blunt, yes, but true. And yes, YOUR leaving will do absolutely nothing – so stay and rescue as many abused and exploited horses as you can. And you know you will be rescuing the industry’s horses until you are no longer able. That screams volumes, doesn’t it.

      And we will keep exposing and educating. All one needs to do is keep up on racing publications to see industry members (who DO matter to the industry) lamenting the progressive decline of American horseracing. It is failing…too slow for those of us who love the animals, exploited for a mere gambling game – but failing, it is. I receive messages nearly weekly from intelligent, compassionate individuals who used to “support” racing…either by way of betting on the big races or by occasionally visiting the track for a “day of fun”. We reached them – and they are now reaching others. Will horseracing in our nation be a thing of the past in my lifetime? – I have my doubts. But my children will witness its final demise, I’m certain.

      Good luck.

  11. I think that perhaps we need people who truly love the horses working in the industry. If everyone who loves horses, leaves, who does that leave us with? Corrupt trainers, owners, jockeys and more. There is also the issue of (as unpalatable as it may be), of people having to put a roof over their heads and food on teh table.

  12. Dear gaynor and John Henry,I am Dedicated,and I’ll take your comment as supportive and understanding as legitimate horse lovers.If all the loving people walked away from these horse’s,what would be left.i think my decision to stay serve’s my purpose and also may help the horse’s,for several reason’s.

  13. Dedicated – thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Many racehorses in the stable area are allegedly owned by members of the racing commission under syndicate names which essentially hide the true ownership.
    So it didn’t surprise me to read your comment about reporting this incident.
    As an active member in the stable area you can almost always figure out the trainers who are merely program trainers for the racing commissions or CEO’s of the racing commissions.
    They usually get lots of stalls, get away with lots of things that other trainers don’t, are winning at high percentages, get minimal penalties (if any) when caught – all of these repercussions handled by yours truly – the racing commission that probably own those horses.
    Yes, it’s corruption at the highest level.
    Have you ever watched BLACKFISH??
    Okay so what the hell do I mean, and how is this related to your predicament?
    Every single SeaWorld trainer said they stayed because they loved to take care of the marine mammals and to comfort their suffering from being confined in, essentially, a concrete bathtub.
    I was where you are now in terms of how you see things, and so were the SW trainers, but then most of us realize that we could no longer rationalize what was going on around us.
    Further, we all realize that we can do much more for these animals being away from the industry, and I can attest to that.
    Taking care of them is actually upholding the ongoing exploitation of them, and us trainers who left just couldn’t stand watching them suffer anymore.
    Maybe some day you will come to this conclusion.

  14. Ive come across some of marios former horses.these 3 are at mahoning valley in ohio all trained by a sharron ceccato……traveling afoot owned by ceccato and a catherine angelo…..just another toy owned by ceccato and ten n change stable llc……rock hard doll owned by ten n change stable llc…….now i question who these people are how or where they aquired these horses and i would like to note that ten n change stable llc is a new owner showing only 22 starts in the past 2 yrs…..im not a gambler but id be willing to bet that rodriguez fits into this equation somehow…..these poor horses just getting run into the ground it just never ends until their life is over……here i am id cut a finger off to have a horse not for me so much but just to give them life freedom let them live their own life and here these people are just taking advantage anyway they can for a couple bucks to fill the thrill of an ego or for the rush and excitment, ill never understand or accept this never

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