01/10/2014 5:59PM

Jacobson absolved of wrongdoing in racehorse found headed for slaughter


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association found there was “no wrongdoing” on the part of trainer David Jacobson involving the finding of the horse Toque at an auction for horses bound for slaughter in Pennsylvania last September, according NYRA steward Braulio Baeza Jr.

Though Toque was rescued from an auction in New Holland, Pa., he was euthanized about 10 days later on a farm on Long Island due to infirmities.

Under NYRA house rules, any owner or trainer found knowingly to sell a horse for slaughter can have their stalls permanently revoked. Jacobson was the leading trainer on this circuit in 2013 with a record 164 victories.

“Our finding is that there was no wrongdoing on his part,” Baeza said.

Jacobson claimed Toque for $25,000 from trainer Charlton Baker and owner Francis Paolangeli on March 21 at Aqueduct. Toque, a half-brother to the multiple stakes winner Notacatbutallama, finished fifth for $6,000 at Monmouth on May 27. Jacobson then shipped him to Suffolk Downs, where Toque was pulled up midway through a $4,000 claiming race for which he was the 1-5 favorite on June 19.

According to records Jacobson provided Daily Racing Form, Jacobson transferred Toque to Maura O’Connor on June 28. O’Connor, whose daughter works as an exercise rider at Aqueduct, has a farm in Massachusetts where she houses myriad breeds of horses, including only a few Thoroughbreds.

According to O’Connor, who spoke to Baeza and later Daily Racing Form on Thursday, Toque and a non-Thoroughbred that belonged to O’Connor had become too ornery to be on her farm. O’Connor gave both horses to someone she thought had found a home for them. O’Connor had given this person, whom she declined to name, several horses in the past without incident.

“I thought we were doing both a favor,” O’Connor said. “Boy, were we wrong.”

On Sept. 6, Jacobson, received a call from Helen Volshonok - a Manhattan resident who volunteers for Another Chance 4 Horses, a rescue, rehabilitation and placement facility in Bernville, Pa. - notifying him that Toque was found at auction in New Holland, a small town in Lancaster County in south-central Pennsylvania.

“In the case of Toque he did come into action right away when made aware of the situation,” Volshonok told Daily Racing Form. “He did seem to be worried about Toque when I called him. He should have come up with a better plan for him, absolutely. Maybe that’s something he should think about.”

After reaching out to O’Connor, Jacobson authorized her to buy Toque for $580 to get the horse out of the sale. On Sept. 9, the horse was picked up at New Holland and sent to another farm in Pennsylvania for a week. On Sept. 16, Toque was vanned to Mil-Ridge Farm in Calverton, N.Y., where Jacobson sends many of his horses that are getting time off.

Robin Gibbs, who operates Mil-Ridge Farm, said when Toque arrived, he had a high fever. Gibbs said that Toque was treated with penicillin and Banamine but the fever did not go down. She contacted veterinarian Dr. Camillo Sierra, who on Sept. 17 said the horse needed to be euthanized. Sierra contacted Jacobson to tell him that’s what needed to be done.

“He was unable to eat, his throat was really bad and he wasn’t responding [to medication],” Gibbs said. “He was so sick and wouldn’t come out of it.”

Sierra was hospitalized and unavailable for comment.

Toque, who began his career with trainer Peter Pugh for owner/breeder Happy Hill Farm, won 10 races from 30 starts and earned $176,996.

The New York stewards were made aware of Toque’s situation by NYRA chief examining vet Anthony Verderosa as well as through social media, where many made derogatory comments about Jacobson and his practices.

“When it’s in the best interest of the horse I retire them, whether they’re 2 or 12,” Jacobson said. “I’m not batting 1,000, but my average is way up there.”

Corrections: An earlier version of this article misstated the type of facility Toque was rescued from. He was found at an auction for horses bound for slaughter, not at a slaughterhouse. Also, the New York farm where Toque was sent is Mil-Ridge, not Mill Ridge.



Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
Really, David? Where is St. Sincere, you lying jerk?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
u need to understand its not personal just business it costs the same to feed horses that earn there keep as it does to keep one in the shed row
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
It is amoral. That is why there is an NYRA rule against it. duh.
sjm80s . More than 1 year ago
I STILL do not know how the United States of America allows for such brutality. I look at all of these political scam jobs that are in place for the most worthless of human beings to be allowed to just exist yet horses who do nothing but serve us have to face such a brutal demise. Where is horse meat going? How do we impede its use? Where are we being sold this thinking it is something else? WHERE!
Daisy1Oopsy . More than 1 year ago
Going to Canada most probably - in the back of an open truck - Toque would never have made the trip. Someone knew he was sick. I hope whomever was going to be feasting on him gets to read about just what they are eating and thinks twice about ordering Viande de Cheval again in France, Sakura in Japan.. Beware of meat in any foreign country. Some butchers mix it with beef. Been fighting this problem forever, about 40 years when i discovered what their fates were. A shame it happens and i say quit breeding them or allowing them to breed then toss them if they don't bring home the bucks. Toque made over $175,000 and he should have received better.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Absolved of wrongdoing? So Jacobson had no idea the horse was lame when he entered a horse who'd run a 94 Beyer at Aqueduct two races previous for a $4000 tag at Suffolk? Toque was pulled up at 1/5 that day. I hope Jacobson sleeps well at night. He embodies everything that's wrong with horse racing.
Gaye Goodwin More than 1 year ago
I hope he has a heart attack and suffers an early demise - TOMORROW! Yes, he OBVIOUSLY knew Toque was not worth anything ads a runner, but it is Jacobson's MO to squeeze EVERY last dine out of any animal unfortunate enough to be under his "care". The NYRA should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this creep to have a license.
diane esper More than 1 year ago
Doesn't anyone notice the scandal revealed here? Didn't you read about the big brouhaha a eyear or so ago when France threatened to embargo horsemeat horsemeat from Mexican slaughterhouses because their law prohibits the use of any animals for human consumption that have been given drugs? They stated Mexidan certification was no longer credible. Anyone care to argue with that? How could any horse from the U.S. meet that standard? The racing industry was looking at disruption until the French backed down and reported they had been convinced Mexican certification would become air tight. In other words, the necessary pressure was brought to bear to save the day for business. Was Toque drug-free? There is no particular reason to believe the story of his last illness either.or was it a case of destrying the evidence. Hopefully the vet is feeling better now.
Kell More than 1 year ago
tou all sound like you lost money on DJ,,,,,and you makew me sick..god forbid it's the almighty todd pletcher,,or d wayne "the electrician" lukas...those guys are out and out cheats,,,,i bet you all just loved that big mouth dutro and that drugged up colt of his big frown...
Mark More than 1 year ago
DJ is not Baffy immune to the no comments allowed after the "no wrong doing " ? No bias here . none what so ever . LMAO... wow .
ratakabundai . More than 1 year ago
I love thoroughbred horses and thoroughbred racing, but I am not oblivious to the dark and sordid underbelly of the game. Relying on the goodness of trainers and owners will never prevent thoroughbred race horses from being slaughtered. According to official statistics...one of every three thoroughbreds born in the U.S.A. will have their life ended in a slaughterhouse. The only solution is through that dreaded term...regulation...until the industry is mandated to set aside enough money to assure that every thoroughbred that races will be guaranteed a full life with dignity, horses that can no longer produce on the track will be slaughtered. And in the 21st century, no sport can grow its fan base if it is known that a portion of its former athletes will be slaughtered. Unfortunately, we live in a capitalist system that opposes regulation and treats living beings as simple commodities. but once again I want to congratulate leading trainer Jacobson for his fine work with Uncle Smokey...three races in fifteen days...well 2 and a half anyway...at least we can be comforted in knowing his life will not end in a slaughterhouse.
Karla More than 1 year ago
Shame on NYRA for allowing DJ to walk on this. The only reason he made any attempt to "save" the horse is because Maggie Moss was making noise on the horse's location so SHE could rescue him. Asking DJ pointed questions on his where-abouts that he didn't want to answer. Since the horse didn't survive the ordeal, I have to ask, just how much effort did DJ put into his rescue attempt. Looking at his past record, not very much. I don't think it's really a matter of $$. I'm sure MM would have been glad to gave him the $$ for the horse as would other horse rescue organizations. I think DJ is just deep down a user and abuser of horses. RIP Toque
Peter More than 1 year ago
NYRA has made the biggest mistake by letting DJ back in the game since he was kicked out for the Hugable Tom starvation . You think a leopard changes his spots? Or perhaps an apple doesn't fall far from the tree {Buddy}. What good is this guy and how in the hell did he get back in the game.. Take your $ and Buildings and just leave. Social Media is a b#$%! Dave. Do us all a favor and just slink back under the rock that you came from.