The Horse Race Insider is a privately owned magazine. All copyrights reserved. “Bet with your head, not over it.”

The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


By Kathy Parker –

Michelle Crawford, a breeder and owner of horses with her husband, Al, at Crawford Farms in New York, has helped organize the rescue of 53 Standardbred horses held for ransom as they were destined for a kill pen. Michelle worked with the Standardbred Retirement Foundation to raise money to rescue the horses and now they are reaching out to find homes for the horses. 

“I called and texted and asked for help,” said Michelle. Meadowlands chairman and Allerage Farms owner Jeff Gural donated $10,000 to the rescue effort while the Crawfords, Diamond Creek Farm and Brad Grant also made substantial contributions. On Facebook, Michelle posted, “Collaboration!! WE DID IT!!!

So many people worked tirelessly to get them out! I love the people that love our sport so much! These faces are among the last 16 that were saved from a horrific ride to slaughter tonite because of owners, farms, trainers and rescues and their unprecedented commitment to our horses and our sport. I cannot thank you enough for standing up for what’s right!!!

Jeff, Brad, Tony, Ronnie, Mark, Rene, Judy, Gerda, Nanci, Adam, Nick, Howard, Russ, thank you for joining me in standing up to the slaughter pipeline! After this we will get ready to fight the real fight and make a change in this industry for the better! Our horses don’t deserve this! Let’s end the racket of extortion and inhumane treatment of our horses!!

Now….this is a great beginning to a Merry Christmas.” It has become common for people to buy horses cheaply and then ship them to kill pens and notify equine rescue groups that the horses will be sent to slaughter unless a ransom is paid. Thoroughbred racing recently dealt with one particular individual who built a business on holding horses for ransom. 

The Standardbred Retirement Foundation, founded by Judy Bokman and Paula Campbell, has been rescuing Standardbreds and providing a forever home for them for 30 years. Michelle Crawford’s concern for the welfare of Standardbreds led to the creation of the Standardbred Transition Alliance. “It’s easy to get frustrated with trying to make a change,” said Crawford.

“At first, we were raising money to be able to humanely euthanize these horses, but we raised enough to save them and now we’re looking for homes for them. Unfortunately, because we’re a working breeding farm, I can’t take horses from a kill pen.” Crawford said the most disheartening part of equine rescue is the “extortionists” that have begun shaking down horse enthusiasts.

“You never really know who you’re donating to when they ransom these horses,” she said. “It’s 2019. How is it that people can engage in extortion like this? Two months ago we paid a ransom to save a horse and the horse still went to slaughter. It’s very disheartening to pay hard-earned dollars to these extortionists “

Kathy Parker for

Facebook Share
Twitter Share
LinkedIn Share

⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *