ANIMAL CRUELTY

Racing thoroughbred among starving horses found at Miami Gardens ranch

 

ebrecher@MiamiHerald.com

For the first time in months, a forgotten, starving racehorse named Soy Yo grazed in the sun, after rescuers on Wednesday took him from a bleak stall on the same Miami Gardens property from which two other emaciated horses were saved Sunday.

The 4-year-old stallion, foaled in Florida on April 24, 2009, has the Jockey Club registration number M33367 tattooed inside his lip. He last raced on Feb. 13 at Gulfstream Park, when the owner of record was Carlota Stable of Weston.

Jeanette Jordan, executive director of the non-profit South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said it’s unclear who owns him now. She said that on the 1-10 Henneke Body Condition Scoring Chart, with 10 being obese, Soy Yo scored 1.

SPCA ranch operations director Laurie Waggoner took him to the group’s Homestead-area sanctuary and decided to put him in a pasture instead of a barn because he’d been locked in an 8x10 stall, Jordan said.

“She told me that he came alive and was so joyful,’’ Jordan said.

But no sooner did she get him situated than Miami Gardens Police called her back to the property, at Northwest 159th Street and 57th Avenue, near the Opa-locka airport, Jordan said.

There she found another “walking skeleton,’’ about which little was known late Wednesday.

Police arrested one man at the site on Wednesday, believed to be a caretaker: Andrew Winningham, 73.

Two horses rescued Sunday had been nailed into a stall without food or water. Jordan said that those two, each 200 pounds underweight, are recovering, but that one, Susie, is in dire condition. She said that the original horses survived by eating wood and their own manure.

Jordan described the area as a collection of “ranchettes.’’

Soy Yo wasn’t winning anymore, said Jordan, “and what I know happens, they want to get it off the payroll so they just hand it off. Then the horse enters a dark hole. But there were other people there feeding their own horses. It’s so hard to understand how they could see that and not do something.’’

Manuel Azpurua, 84, of Weston, who is listed as Soy Yo’s trainer of record for the Feb. 13 race, insisted he “gave away’’ the horse about a year ago to someone at Calder Race Course.

Azpurua said Soy Yo had “won three races and broke down in the front leg. Then he raced again and broke down in the back leg.’’

Jordan said that the South Florida SPCA, which already has more than 65 rescued horses in its care, is appealing for donations to help the additional animals.

“Anyone wishing to donate to help offset the cost of saving Justice, Susie and the new horses just coming in can do so at www.crowdrise.com/paintbucket,” Jordan said. “Any funds not used for these particular horses, will be used to feed and care for the 65 horses already in our care.”

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