06/28/2016 12:21PM

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.