The Case of the Missing Derby Horse

I just saw this in my Facebook feed:…bee-disappears

Other than hoping the horse is found soon and safe, I don’t have much to add in the way of intelligent commentary.

But I couldn’t help sharing it because it seemed so strange, like the plot of a Sherlock Holmes tale or Dick Francis novel. In fact, I couldn’t help but think of “Silver Blaze,” a Sherlock Holmes story in which a crooked trainer tries to lame a top racehorse to bet against him…only for the horse to turn against him, kill the trainer, and then is found on the moors by a rival horse owner, who attempts to conceal Silver Blaze by covering up the horse’s famous markings.

I don’t know if anything equally dramatic will be found to be at the bottom of this but it’s still a very, very unusual story. The horse’s tack trunk is also missing and it sounds like the barn has a fairly rigorous security system in place.

Sounds like it Has to be someone that knows the security codes! Hope he’s found safe

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I am sure Emily has an inkling what this is about or who has him. Still a crazy story.


Interesting. In my experience (which has nothing whatsoever to do with this case) when a horse is moved unexpectedly and with no notice, it’s because the owner is afraid of retaliation directed toward the horse if notice is given.


Can they check the log on the gate to see whose code was used? Or if it is a generic code, at what time?

All those gates and no cameras?


Why would someone take a highly recognized horse, I am willing to bet that this will turn out to be a fight over standard of care and billing etc. Poor allergic horse without his meds…


Sounds like a bill-paying dispute.

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Am I ready that article correctly…Emily was going to auction the horse due to a $57K+ bill so someone picked it up (and the wrong tack trunk)??


I only know what the article said. Someone posted that link on Facebook.

I hope the horse is fine, wherever he is.

Yep. No coincidence that notice to auction was posted today and horse went “missing” this morning.

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And also:

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Given the information in the post from the farm, I don’t think too much of Ms. Williams’ interview with The Chronicle where she made it sound like the horse’s disappearance is all a big mystery. The horse was removed due to non-payment of a sizeable debt, most likely to prevent his sale at auction. I highly doubt he is in any danger.

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I don’t know anything about this situation, but in general, trainers, when your client’s bill is 30 days late, stop. Just stop. Stop giving them lessons, stop riding their horse, stop encouraging them to show, stop taking their horse to horse shows for your own benefit. Give them 30 days to pay up or move out. Anything you do and don’t get paid for after 30 days past due is your own fault. If the rest of the world operated the way trainers do business, the world’s economy would have collapsed decades ago. Trainers need to accept some responsibility.


So it’s the trainer’s fault if an owner doesn’t pay? What do you suggest the trainer should do if the owner doesn’t pay the bill after 30 days? Eat the past due balance and tie the horse to a tree out front??


Well, what seemed like a mystery now seems to make more sense. (When I first posted, I only had the information from the original article I saw on Facebook). But why was the removal of the horse presented as a mysterious disappearance by the trainer, including giving out a phone number if someone spotted the horse?


No, they are saying to not continue showing and racking up bills on the horse until it’s paid up. Putting yourself out there for 30 days is a lot easier to take than for 300 days.


I worked for a BNT in the 90’s who let a customer’s bill get up to 90k…it happens. Horse was sold for the money, there were lawsuits. It was ugly