Jockeys strike over horse treatment, owner quits
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 2010:
PHILADELPHIA–Michael Gill, the winningest racehorse stable
owner in North America in 2009, on February 2, 2010 announced that
he would sell his horses and sue his critics for defamation.
The Pennsylvania Racing Com-mission and the Penn National
Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania, opened investigations of
Gill’s racing practices after jockey Thomas Clifton led fellow
jockeys in a boycott of any race in which a Gill horse was entered.
The racing commission later barred Gill horses from PRA-sanctioned
Gill leases 49 stalls at the Penn National track, typically
running about five horses per racing card. Nationally, Gill has
fielded as many as 400 horses, but told media that he now has about
100. His horses won $6.7 million with 370 victories in 2,247 starts
in 2009, according to the data firm Equibase.
Thomas Clifton was the best known of several jockeys who fell
after the Gill horse Laughing Moon collapsed at the finish of a
January 23 race–the 10th time in 13 months that a Gill horse at Penn
National required euthanasia, and the second time in three days.
Gill was already widely accused of treating horses as
expendible commodities in the quest to win.
The Delaware Park raceway banned Gill’s horses due to
breakdowns in 2003.