On Kentucky Derby Day, investigators arrived at Hoover’s Stables at 8:30am. According to the sales catalogue, there were over 300 horses present and the barns were extremely crowded. Just like during our last visit, the horses had access to hay, but all the small water buckets in the pens were empty. Investigators noticed a group of Thoroughbreds in the pens. Several of them were very thin and some had multiple scares, sores or bite marks on their bodies.
A bay mare had a cut along her left hip. She was wearing a halter with the name “Olive’s Rose” on it. In the pen next to her was a young mare with white socks that kept laying down in the pen. Workers made her get up several times, but she continued to lay down as if too weak to stand. Investigators also noticed that several other mares in the group had halters with engraved name plates and were pregnant. When we asked someone at the auction about the horses, we were told that they were brought in by a John Duarte, who had them at a farm in Orefield for a Kentucky breeder. Apparently the breeder had not paid him in a long time and John decided to sell the horses at Hoover’s – which explains his motives, but does not justify the horses’ condition. Thankfully, several rescues and private individuals who were alerted about the horses being at the sale, were able to purchase them. Further research revealed that several of the horses observed at the sale had a quite successful racing career not too long ago. Animals’ Angels is still collecting more information, a more detailed report will be released soon.