ELMONT, N.Y. (AP) _ A Belmont Racetrack security guard was charged with cruelty to animals for bashing three horses in the face with a stick and throwing bleach that damaged one animal's eyes, police said.

Terrance Knight, 18, told police at the time of his arrest Sunday afternoon that he was petting the horses and they nipped at him, Nassau County Police Detective Dennis Aylward said. He was scheduled to be arraigned at First District Court today.

The injured animals, Slew's Ghost, West Texas Wind and Lord Charles, were each hit in the face with a stick. Slew's Ghost also had bleach thrown in his face. The seriousness of their injuries was not immediately known, Aylward said.

The injuries were discovered after a groom noticed Knight raising a shovel, threatening to strike a horse, Aylward said. The groom called out and Knight dropped the shovel and returned to his post, police said.