Multiple Graded Stakes-Winning Quarter Horse Trainer Arrested, Summarily Suspended For Allegedly Abusing Horse - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Multiple Graded Stakes-Winning Quarter Horse Trainer Arrested, Summarily Suspended For Allegedly Abusing Horse

Rodolfo Sanchez, multiple graded stakes-winning Quarter Horse trainer, has been summarily suspended in Texas after a video surfaced on social media appearing to show Sanchez repeatedly whipping a downed horse.

According to Don Ahrens, director of security and parking at Sam Houston Race Park, an investigation revealed the incident took place at the Val Verde County Fairgrounds in Del Rio, Texas. (The fair grounds are not a racing commission-sanctioned facility, and does not host racing.) Ahrens said Sanchez claimed the horse in the video had an issue related to being saddled.

Two videos posted to Facebook capturing the incident, one of which was four minutes long. Both show the man purported to be Sanchez hitting a chestnut horse with an object while the horse is secured with a short tie to a tree. At various times during the beating, the horse is standing or flailing and at other times the horse is shown lying on the ground, having fallen with its head craned upwards due to the length of the tie. The video shows the horse breathing heavily throughout the incident. Other people are visible in the video, sometimes handing something to Sanchez and quickly backing away. Ahrens said the tool Sanchez used seems to have been a short whip with a bit of PVC pipe attached to it.

The full video is available here. (Viewer discretion is advised.)

“A lot of these guys use something like that when horses are on the walker and stop,” Ahrens said. “They'll reach out and tap them to get them going. If they go down, I've heard the same thing, that they'll just start wailing on them. It's not OK.”

Ahrens said the Texas Racing Commission issued a summary suspension to Sanchez on April 9 and gave him 72 hours to request an emergency hearing of alleged rule violations. After that, the summary suspension will remain in place until a formal hearing is scheduled. As of late April 12, Ahrens said he had not received information indicating Sanchez had requested an emergency hearing.

Ahrens also indicated Sanchez had been arrested related to the incident. Local outlet The 830 News reported Sanchez is facing a felony animal abuse charge from the case, which prompted cooperation between the Maverick County Sheriff's Office, Val Verde County Sheriff, and the U.S. Marshall's Office. The horse shown on the video is alive and was seized by county officials, who are caring for the animal at a Val Verde County barn. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Val Verde County Sheriff's Office indicated the horse had tentatively been identified as Fool for It, a 3-year-old maiden filly who has made three career starts.

Val Verde law enforcement also said Sanchez is believed to have the care of between 15 and 17 other horses located in Maverick County. Maverick County authorities are investigating the condition of those horses and no determination had been made Wednesday about whether they could or would be seized in connection with the case.

Sanchez has just one start in 2022, having just finished a 60-day suspension for a testosterone overage at Delta Downs issued by the Louisiana State Racing Commission in February. His suspension ended on April 2.

According to Equibase, Sanchez began his training career in 1998. He is the winner of multiple graded stakes races, including the 2006 Grade 1 Retama Park Derby with Jesstified and more recently, the 2016 G3 TQHA Classic Stakes with Jess Toast Winner. His horses have earned over $4.8 million from 5,182, including 470 wins.

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