06/28/2016 11:21AM

Six underweight horses from Borell farm moved to TRF facility

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An update on the status of the 43 abandoned Thoroughbreds  in Mercer County was provided by Rusty Ford, spokesperson for the Kentucky state veterinary department, at The Jockey Club’s Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit at Keeneland. Ford was asked to address the some 200- people in attendance due to the high-profile nature of the situation.

Ford said that the state this morning has received permission to move six of the horses to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation facility in the state. Those six were deemed to be the priorities because they were either starving or severely underweight. The rest of the horses will remain at the current location and will be cared for daily as officials try to determine ownership of the horses and if there will be any criminal charges filed.

Ford said that a group of veterinarians visited the farm yesterday and they categorized the horses as follows: Three were severely underweight; 10 were underweight; 14 were of suitable weight; eight were overweight; and eight were of proper weight.

The Mercer County sheriff is evaluating the situation with attorneys to see if criminal charges will be filed against Chuck Borell and/or his daughter Maria Borell. The horses had met the criteria of the state veterinarians as being abandoned in early June. The horses had been in the care of or owned by Chuck Borell and Maria Borell at the leased farm in Mercer County, some 30 miles southwest of Lexington.

“The horses for the last three weeks have received elevated care daily,” Ford said. “They have received care since early June, when this situation was brought to our attention.”

When told that recent reports suggested that the state agricultural department was just now looking into this, Ford said that was not the case.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” he said. “This first came to our attention on June 3, and the horses have been getting care. The volunteers who have helped these horses are the ones who deserve a lot of credit. The condition of the horses today is much improved.”

Ford said that only three of the horses would be considered seriously underweight, but none of the horses are in a life-threatening situation. He said one horse has a serious hoof abscess.

The question facing authorities now is the ownership of the horses. Ford said that a number of people have come forward saying that they are the owners of the horses and want to take care of them.

Some of the horses are reportedly owned by Maria Borell, who trained Runhappy to win the Breeders’ Cup sprint for owner Jim McIngvale but was fired the day after in a dispute. Borell has trained horses on the Kentucky circuit.

Chuck Borell is reported as the person who leased the farm in Mercer County, with the horses under his care.

Joel Weiner More than 1 year ago
Disgraceful situation. There's plenty of blame to go around. Another black eye for racing. 
Rick Guior More than 1 year ago
Thank goodness for the TRF.  Very worthwhile organization.
Theodore Loving More than 1 year ago
Wow and I'm in Nebraska looking for horses to run in races here .smh
Emily Wilmot More than 1 year ago
Civil charges at a minimum? Make them pay every cent this has cost. I don't want to hear feel-good $15k from the Jockey Club or donated John Deere from the NTRA. Those resources could have benefited other horses, had these been properly cared for or at least not allowed to deteriorate. 
Mary Adkins-Matthews More than 1 year ago
After all the pain that Maria Borell has caused the horses in KY that she abandoned, Attorney Ted Dean has still not seized the horses. To request that the horses be seized immediately (859) 734-6320 He is the only one that can make this decision, not to mention that Maria should be charged! 
Brent Elston More than 1 year ago
these idiots need to be locked up with no food
Tito Rivera More than 1 year ago
They need to not feed these people food for 3 months,  to see how they like it.
Selena Buell More than 1 year ago
If they've been under state care since June 2nd why are they in this shape? Doesn't  that mean the state is also responsible for the lack of treatment and care? Mr Ford needs to go!!! He and the rest of his team failed to act.  It took almost a month to proper evaluation and that took place yesterday!  
Brent Elston More than 1 year ago
these idiots need to b locked up with no food