ERNIE PARAGALLOearned a reputation in thoroughbred racing as a brash, outspoken, hands-onowner who wasn't afraid to meddle in the day-to-day decisions of his trainers.Yet after his arrest last Friday on 22 counts of animal cruelty, the51-year-old investment banker suddenly came across as oblivious. New York statepolice and animal welfare officials seized 177 horses, all suffering fromvarious stages of malnutrition and neglect, from his 511-acre Center Brook Farmin Climax, N.Y. Paragallo apologized for "mismanagement" and said hehadn't visited the facility in nine months. "It wasn't knowingneglect," he said of the breeding operation that was manned by workers, whotold investigators they hadn't been paid in weeks, and according to anothersource, were given only a three-week supply of food to last the winter.
Last month anequine rescue organization found four undernourished horses owned by Paragalloin a New York kill pen, the final stop before the slaughterhouse. Thatincident, along with complaints from concerned owners of broodmares boarded atthe farm, prompted the police, the Columbia-Green Humane Society and anofficial from the New York Racing Association to raid Center Brook on April 8.According to one official, the scene was "a disaster," with emaciatedhorses confined to manure-filled stalls.
Paragallo's racingcareer is almost certainly over; last Friday the New York State Racing andWagering Board banned him from any involvement in the sport within the state.He rose to prominence in the fall of 1995, when his brilliant colt Unbridled'sSong won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Sent off as the Kentucky Derby favoritethe following spring, Unbridled's Song, who went on to become one of thecountry's top sires, finished fifth—and Paragallo never had another racehorseof quite that caliber.
Earned runs allowed by the Indians' Cliff Lee in his first two starts thisseason, both losses.
Starts before Lee allowed his 11th earned run last season, when he won the ALCy Young Award and suffered his second loss on July 6.
Days between saves for the Cardinals' Dennis Reyes, who last Thursday got hisfirst since Sept. 27, 1999.
The Thunder's record in home sellouts this season, the team's first in OklahomaCity.
The Thunder's record in home games that drew less-than-capacity crowds.
LANCE WHEELER/AP (PARAGALLO)
HORSE COLLAR Paragallo, owner of Unbridled's Song (top), was arrested last Friday.
TOM G. LYNN (UNBRIDLED'S SONG)
[See caption above]