06/12/2010 11:00PM

Rescued horse sparks investigation by NYRA


ELMONT, N.Y. - The New York Racing Association is conducting an investigation to determine whether there was a violation of its anti-slaughter policy as it pertains to the horse Ultimate Journey, who was rescued last month from a potential trip to a slaughterhouse.

According to an Internet report on Examiner.com, Ultimate Journey last month was purchased for $300 at the Camelot auction house in Cranbury, N.J., by Sharon Catalano-Crumb of the group New Jersey Horse Angels Rescue. Horses sold at that auction often wind up at slaughterhouses in Canada. According to the report, the horse is currently residing at a facility in Howell, N.J., but will eventually wind up being placed somewhere by the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Ultimate Journey last raced at Aqueduct on Dec. 30, 2009, where he finished eighth of 11 in a $7,500 claiming race. He was owned by Fred Robinson and trained by John Campo Jr., the brother of P.J. Campo, a NYRA vice president and director of racing.

Earlier this year, NYRA announced an anti-slaughter policy that states "any owner or trainer stabled at a NYRA track found to have directly or indirectly sold a horse for slaughter will have his or her stalls permanently revoked from all NYRA tracks."

Charles Hayward, NYRA's president and CEO, said via e-mail that "the investigation is to find out exactly what happened and to determine if there was any violation of anti-slaughter policy."

John Campo said the horse sustained an ankle injury in that Dec. 30 race. John Campo said the horse suffered an ankle injury in that Dec. 30 race. After keeping the horse in his barn until early April, Campo sent the horse to a farm in Monticello, N.Y., hoping the ankle could be rehabilitated. When it became apparent that the horse would not be able to make it back to the races, Campo said a friend of his eventually gave the horse away to someone in Amish country.

"We wanted to find him a good home and a friend of mine who does a lot of business with the Amish found him one," said Campo, who estimates he has given away 20 or more horses in his career without a problem.

However, a few weeks ago, Campo got a call from Catalano-Crumb telling him that she has purchased the horse at Camelot. Campo said about two weeks ago he sent Catalano-Crumb some general antibiotics he felt would benefit the horse. Campo said he has not heard back from Catalano-Crumb. Attempts to reach Catalano-Crumb via e-mail were unsuccessful.