PETA Seeks Investigation of Racetrack Vets for Allowing Lame Horse to Race

Group Asks Pennsylvania Regulators Why Chronically Injured Thoroughbred Was Raced Almost to Breaking Point

For Immediate Release:
February 13, 2017

David Perle 202-483-7382

Harrisburg, Pa.

This morning, PETA sent a letter requesting that the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission investigate the procedures of state veterinarians and stewards at Presque Isle Downs, where the horse Charlie’s Quest was raced three times in approximately 30 days during the 2016 season. Less than a month after his last start, two separate veterinary examinations revealed that he was unfit even for recreational riding, let alone racing, and that he suffered from bone chips, arthritis, soreness, and severe lameness in all four legs. Yet veterinarians at Presque Isle Downs apparently cleared him as sound to race each time.

PETA is calling on the commission to take all appropriate actions to address this matter with officials at the track and to assess the pre-race health and soundness examinations at all Pennsylvania tracks in order to prevent lame horses from racing.

PETA first encountered Charlie’s Quest during its 2013 investigation of Thoroughbred trainer Steve Asmussen, in whose stable Charlie’s Quest was called a “rat” because he wasn’t winning enough money, and he was also scratched from a race at Saratoga Race Course in New York when the state veterinarian there found him unsound back then. After that, he changed owners twice and raced in West Virginia before being moved to Pennsylvania. PETA purchased him, and he now lives on a spacious farm. New York regulators have just introduced sweeping new drug rules as a result of PETA’s investigation.

“Forcing horses to run despite soreness and lameness leads to fatal breakdowns, and by all estimates, Charlie’s Quest was one race away from being one of the hundreds of horses who have died on Pennsylvania racetracks,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA is calling on Pennsylvania authorities to adopt safeguards immediately to prevent injured horses from racing.”

PETA’s letter to the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is available upon request. For more information, please visit

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