“Notinrwildestdremz”: Abused Horse, Rescued, Runs in Race

by Erica Hill of CBS News

“I’ve been amazed at the progress that she’s made”

(CBS News) In the stands of Belmont Park Wednesday, Sean and Angelika Kerr were nervous.

Their four-year-old filly was about to run her first race.

The expectations for the rookie were admittedly low – in so many ways, her name, “Notinrwildestdremz,” pronounced: not in our wildest dreams, said it all.

“I don’t know if you remember the news, where some of these horses looked like Holocaust victims,” recounts Sean.

In the spring of 2009, police and a local humane society raided an upstate New York breeding farm, where they found deplorable conditions: 177 horses close to starving, their bodies ravaged.

The animals were confiscated and put up for adoption.

Among them, two young fillies and a gelding – each of them severely underweight and in desperate need of care.

“So we drove up,” recalled Angelika, managing partner of the 5R Race Horse Stable, “looked at them, and the decision was to be made which one we take. … So, we said, ‘Let’s take all three of them.”‘

With that, Captain Crime Scene, Driving Miss Dixie, and Notinrwildestdremz suddenly belonged to the Kerrs.

With three recovering horses now in their care, the couple knew they’d need a little help.

They created 5R Stables, and sold shares to finance their new mission.

What are the five Rs?

“They stand for rescue, rehabilitation, racing, re-training and retirement,” says Angelika.

More than 100 people have a share in 5R, whose goal it was to rehabilitate the three horses.

For two of the horses, the focus was on rehab – physical conditions as a result of their time at that breeding farm in upstate New York meant they’d never train as racehorses.

But Dremz – that’s her nickname – stood out.

“She came out of the barn with this confidence. I went, ‘Oh my God, she’s a racehorse!”‘

Through careful nurturing and rehabilitation, Dremz’s potential began to emerge, and the Kerrs went looking for a trainer.

They found Billy Turner, who has a rich pedigree of his own. Turner trained 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. And though nobody imagines that kind of success for Dremz, Turner agrees there’s something special about this horse.

“I must admit,” he says, “I’ve been amazed at the progress that she’s made.”

Two weeks ago, on the muddy main track at Belmont, Dremz impressed during a training run. The Kerrs and Turner knew she was ready to compete.

Which brings us back to the nervous couple up in the stands and Wednesday’s sixth race.

In the end, Dremz did not win. In fact, she finished dead last.

But that’s OK, because the race itself was a victory. She’d already beaten the odds.

As Sean and Angelica hugged, he said, “She did it. She did it!”

To see Erica Hill’s report, click on the video in the player above.

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“Luck” Ran Old, Unfit, Drugged Horses, Says Necropsy Report

Story by Vickery Eckhoff as printed on Forbes.com

Does HBO’s explanation sound plausible to anyone, given the misinformation it’s shared thus far? I thought not!

Outlaw Yodeler hadn’t raced much, was suffering from severe pain and inflammation and had been given strong pain-killing drugs. Marc’s Shadow was arthritic and hadn’t been raced in four years. Still, both horses were run twice daily during racing sequences to shoot “Luck,” the now canceled HBO series; both suffered explosive fractures; and both were euthanized.

Those are the findings drawn from necropsy and eye witness reports and detailed in a letter sent Monday by PETA Attorney Lindsay Waskey to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. The purpose of the letter was to seek an investigation into individuals responsible for the horses’ deaths.

HBO may be “heartbroken” about the demise of “Luck” but if Matthew Chew, Heidi Agnic, DVM, and David Milch are found to have violated any laws, they may have plenty more to cry about.

Chew was the trainer for both Outlaw Yodeler and Marc’s Shadow on the set; Agnic supervised their veterinary care and Milch was the creator, producer and writer for “Luck.” According to Waskey’s letter, each was involved in “causing two seemingly unfit horses to be overdriven and inflicted with unnecessary pain, resulting in death, in violation of Cal. Penal Code § 597.”

Outlaw Yodeler, a five-year-old dark bay gelding, suffered his fatal injury on April 30, 2010. Marc’s Shadow, a grey, eight-year-old great-grandson of Seattle Slew, suffered a catastrophic breakdown on March 28, 2011. A third unidentified mare was euthanized last Tuesday after breaking her neck and suffering head injuries caused by what HBO says was a fall while being led by a groom.

Does HBO’s explanation sound plausible to anyone, given the misinformation it’s shared thus far? I thought not.

Given what that accident, Waskey’s letter and the necropsy reports reveal, HBO may want to retract its meaningless statement that “We maintained the highest safety standards throughout production, higher in fact than any protocols existing in horseracing anywhere” and lawyer up.

Outlaw Yodeler had received a potent cocktail of muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory and painkilling drugs, including Butorphanol, which is administered to horses undergoing certain types of surgery. He also showed evidence of suffering from severe pain and inflammation and had raced only once in 2010, possibly due to injury or because he was physically unfit.

Marc’s Shadow was arthritic and out of shape according to multiple witnesses. These allegations are confirmed by his necropsy report, which describes “degenerative arthrosis to both the right carpus and the left carpus” and an injury in which his “leg exploded into more than 19 pieces, some of which were poking through his skin,” according to an equine veterinarian who reviewed the report for PETA…..

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