Stop Keeneland From Condemning Racehorses to Slaughter

Terrified, confused, and alone, My Elusive Dream was about to enter the gates of a horse slaughterhouse in South Korea. Her fate seemed to be sealed. At the eleventh hour, PETA and Korean group Jeju Vegan staged a daring rescue.

Watch to see how we dramatically saved her from certain death:

My Elusive Dream, a 16-year-old Thoroughbred, had raced at top U.S. tracks such as Saratoga and Belmont. Once highly valued, she sold for $140,000 at the Keeneland Sales auction in Lexington, Kentucky, when she was just 9 months old. She was bred by Cynthia Phipps, a member of the prominent Phipps horse racing family. When My Elusive Dream’s brief racing career was over, she was sold at Keeneland again for breeding and had five foals in the U.S. While pregnant again, she was sold a third time at Keeneland in 2018 to a South Korean agent for just $7,500.

Being sent to South Korea is a death sentence for racehorses. There, most of them are considered disposable once they’re no longer profitable for racing or breeding—and they’re sent to slaughter for human consumption, companion animal food, or cosmetics. PETA undercover investigators filmed horses inside the largest Korean horse slaughterhouse being beaten and then getting shot in the head and hung up by one leg in front of other horses.

In South Korea, My Elusive Dream was repeatedly forcibly bred and bore three more foals. After she gave birth the final time in April 2023 and that foal was weaned, My Elusive Dream was callously sent to a meat farmer. Fortunately, PETA intercepted his truck en route to the slaughterhouse and saved her from being butchered.

My Elusive Dream is an offspring of El Prado, a legendary stallion who was owned by The Stronach Group in North America. After hearing about the rescue, The Stronach Group extended a generous offer to take her and give her a permanent home at its facility in Florida.

My Elusive Dream is transferred from a truck bound for slaughter to a truck heading to a sanctuary.

Although this story has a happy ending, it’s a stark reminder of the failures that have led so many other American Thoroughbreds to be turned into meat in Korea. Keeneland Sales, the world’s largest horse auction house, knows the dangers that await American horses in Korea but has failed to act, avoiding doing anything that would risk the lucrative commissions it makes from Korean sales. In contrast, The Stronach Group joined PETA in 2020 in calling for North American auction companies, breeders, and owners to institute policies that prohibit the sale of Thoroughbreds to South Korea without a meaningful and binding assurance that they will be protected after their racing and breeding careers end.

Please join PETA in demanding that Keeneland stop condemning hundreds of American horses to death every year. It must immediately prohibit sales of racehorses to South Korea by denying licenses to Korean buyers and by adding a clause to the “conditions of sale” stipulating that no sales can be made to Korean connections until there is a comprehensive aftercare system in South Korea. As long as Keeneland continues to funnel horses to South Korea without a guarantee of a safe retirement, the carnage will continue.

Please leave polite comments on social media urging Keeneland to immediately deny licenses to Korean agents and to add a clause in its “conditions of sale” voiding any sales to Korean connections without meaningful and binding assurances that horses will be protected in retirement and that the Korea Racing Authority will allocate sufficient funding for a comprehensive aftercare system:

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind