06/27/2016 8:17PM

State officials examine abandoned horses on farm tied to Borell

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Kentucky Agriculture Department officials met with Mercer County officials Monday to look at 43 abandoned Thoroughbreds to evaluate their condition in a case involving horses that had been in the care of or owned by Chuck Borell and his daughter Maria Borell.

Rusty Ford, spokesman for office of the Kentucky State Veterinarian, a division of the Agriculture Department, said a team of veterinarians looked at the horses on a farm in Mercer County, some 30 miles southwest of Lexington, and reported that the vast majority are now in good condition.

“The Department of Agriculture and the state veterinarian department agree that the horses meet the criteria as being abandoned,” Ford said.

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

When told that recent reports suggested that the Department of Agriculture 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 two 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.

Ford said that Department of Agriculture officials met Monday with the Mercer County Sheriff and attorneys. Veterinarians from Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington also were on hand to help.

Determining who owns the horses is an issue that may require legal proceedings.

Ford added 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 the race in a dispute. Borell has trained horses on the Kentucky circuit.

Chuck Borell has been reported as the person who leased the farm in Mercer County.