From ANIMAL PEOPLE, December 1992:

The November 16 edition of Sports Illustrated
shocked the horse world with an expose of horse murders
committed to collect insurance money, based on the con-
fessions of convicted horse-killer Tommy Burns, nick-
named the Sandman for his ability to “put horses to sleep”
in deliberate “accidents” with electric current. Burns is to
be sentenced for interstate insurance fraud and cruelty to
animals in December. He got caught when instead of elec-
trocuting one horse, he broke the animal’s leg with a crow-
bar. He had allegedly been hired to kill the horse by Donna
Brown, wife of former U.S. Equestrian Team member
Buddy Brown. The FBI is reportedly investigating numer-
ous cases to which Brown made reference, possibly includ-
ing the death of renowned stallion Alydar at Calumet Farms
in November 1990. Alydar was put down after suffering an
extremely unusual leg fracture. Calumet Farms was $120
million in debt; Alydar was insured for $36.5 million, but
projected revenues from the horse for 1991 were only $7
million because most of his breeding rights had already
been sold.

Mr. Brooks, the mount of renowned British
jockey Lester Piggott, broke a leg during the Breeder’s
Cup Sprint on October 31 in Hallandale, Florida, and was
euthanized on the spot. Piggott broke a rib and a collar-
bone. Four horses including the legendary Go For Wand
died as result of injuries suffered during the 1990 Breeder’s
Cup card, but the 1991 races went without incident.
Racehorses are whipped too much, California
race-caller Trevor Denman told viewers on a recent national
telecast. Denman called whipping “an injustice” that is
“totally out of hand.” Hall of Fame jockey John Rotz
agreed. “There are more races lost than won with the
whip,” he told racing writer Maryjean Wall of the
Lexington (Kentucky) Herald-Leader. “The horse is tired,
the jockey is tired, and the whipping is not done in rhythm
to make him run faster. It throws him off stride. His lungs
are overtaxed and his muscles are tired, and you give him a
good whack and he quits.”
The Horsemen’s Council of Illinois and the
American Horse Council are collaborating to present a
day-long conference February 6 on “Defensive Strategies
for Dealing with Animal Rights Activists.” The focus is on
dealing with media. Activists probably aren’t welcome, but
might also learn something. -Registration is $50, c/o Joy
Meierhans, HCI, 43-W, 734 Old Midlothian Turnpike,
Elburn, IL 60119; get details from 708-557-2575.
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