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Man charged after riding retired racehorse 18 miles on concrete

May 23, 1997

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) _ He was dehydrated, his hooves were split, huge sores were beginning to emerge on his body _ a retired racehorse named Aldrovandi was in pretty bad shape after being ridden 18 miles on concrete.

``The horse was beat to hell,″ said Laurie Waggoner, an investigator with the South Florida chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Aldrovandi was placed in her care after his ordeal.

Trainer George Parrish sold the 4-year-old colt Wednesday for $1,000 to Samuel Carter, who claimed he was taking Aldrovandi from Hialeah Park to friends in Georgia. Parrish assumed that meant Aldrovandi would be transported by van.

But Aldrovandi showed up at Calder Race Course in suburban Miami before dawn Thursday _ underweight, with sores on his back and his hooves split from the 18-mile ride, said Rudy Espinosa, a detective for Metro-Dade police. He did not know what route Carter took.

``He was dehydrated, there were huge sores over his body from the tack..., sores from his spurs. There was swelling. He had a chain around his chest,″ said Waggoner. ``He’s got saddle sores like nothing ... I have ever seen. He had three shoes on.″

She said that when first spotted at Calder, ``The horse was tied to a park bench and (Carter) was sleeping on the bench.″

A veterinarian at Calder treated the retired thoroughbred with intravenous fluids and Aldrovandi was resting Friday at a farm in North Dade. He was expected to recover, Waggoner said.

Carter, 46, was charged with a felony count of cruelty to an animal and a misdemeanor count of confinement of an animal without sufficient food or water. The charges carry up to six years in prison and maximum fines of $15,000.

Carter, who was freed after promising to appear for his next court date, said Aldrovandi would have been destroyed if he had not taken him from Hialeah, Espinosa said.

He said Carter told him he had ridden to Calder in hopes of finding a job at the track.

Parrish, who raises horses on his ranch in High Springs, had bought Aldrovandi for $500 last week from another trainer for use as a riding horse. The animal had lost by 36 lengths in a $6,500 claiming race on April 16.

``It was a 4-year-old thoroughbred _ registered, papers and everything. He just couldn’t run,″ Parrish said Friday. ``He was down to running weight. I like them a little heavier for riding so I wormed him and was feeding him real heavy.

``It isn’t a crime riding a horse 18 miles. You ride them 25 miles on a trail. Maybe he tried to run him on the concrete. If he did that then that horse is going to fall down and hurt himself.″

Waggoner said a judge will decide whether Aldrovandi should be placed in the custody of the SPCA or be returned to Carter. The horse also could be ordered sold at auction.

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