In the wake of the assault of Accolade at Delaware Park last Thursday, his owner, Glenn Fagan, gave this statement to WDEL:
“As the owner of ACCOLADE, the 3yr old gelding that was beaten in the head by the assistant starter on Thursday in the gate, I am disgusted at what I witnessed. I am bothered by the fact that the head starter after witnessing this attack didn’t pull my horse from the race or at the very least make him a non starter for all the people that had wagered on him. The time, effort and patience needed to have your horse ready to compete at a top level on a specific day and race is difficult, not to mention expensive. The one factor that people can’t handicap, is an employee of Delaware Park taking his frustrations out on your horse.
I am happy to see the outrage and indignation that this matter has received on social media. My 14 yr old daughter and I travel 50 minutes each weekend to feed Accolade his favorite snack, peeled red delicious apples and baby carrots. She was in tears watching our horse getting beaten over and over and over and over and over again. She didn’t sleep Thursday night, as the image of the abuse replayed in her mind. …If this type of behavior is routine in the racing business, then I must rethink my participation in the sport of kings. I am not a litigious person, but the lack of empathy on the behalf of Delaware Park is intolerable.”
While Mr. Fagan seems a bit more concerned with his (and the bettors’) monetary interests here, there appears to be at least some anger in how his horse was treated (though I’d wager that has more to do with his daughter’s feelings than his own). But then, he offered this followup to the station:
“When I made my statement to you I was extremely upset over the incident that occurred at Delaware Park on Thursday. My trainer, Abel Castellano had not informed me that upper management, John Mooney, had not only reached out to him, but had sent the State Veterinarian to check on the welfare of Accolade as well. Though I personally have not heard anything from Delaware Park, I’m glad to know that they were concerned for the safety of my horse.
Abel had also informed me that the assistant starter involved in the incident, someone that he had known well and respected, had apologized to him as well. I understand that this man has worked for Delaware Park for some 20 years in an extremely dangerous job and a moment of frustration shouldn’t ruin his life. Able informed me that he is the best and most experienced starter on the team.”
So, this animal-abuser (who should have been arrested) is acquitted (in Fagan’s mind) because he apologized and works “an extremely dangerous job.” So much for “rethinking his participation in The Sport of Kings.” Look, since buying Accolade on March 23 of this year, Fagan has had him “For Sale” twice – April 19 at Gulfstream, May 27 at Pimlico. And that, people, is all you need to know about how he truly views these animals – the “apples and carrots” drivel aside, just things to be used. But even more telling is this: A man who punched – punched – a horse four times in the head is, according to the horse’s trainer, “the best on the team.” You can’t make this stuff up.
Accolade, before and after Thursday’s race…
(full WDEL article)