By Jon Lees
Venezuela: A champion racehorse in Venezuela has been stolen and butchered for meat, sparking outrage in the South American country.
Ocean Bay won two legs of the Venezuelan triple crown, the Clasico Cria Nacional and Clasico Jose Antonio Paez, in 2016 before injury prevented him contesting the final Classic, the Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela. However he returned the following year to win five more times.
The seven-year-old stallion had been retired to Haras Alegria in Tocoron, 80 miles from the capital Caracas, when he was taken overnight on June 8 along with a pregnant mare.
Police learned his fate when part of the horse’s skeleton and a decapitated head were found near the town’s jail, according to a report in The Times.
Ocean Bay’s trainer Ramon Garcia Mosquera said in a tweet: “What a disgrace. This isn’t the Venezuela that I grew up in.”
Local criminals are suspected of the atrocity, part of a spate of horse kidnappings which earlier this year resulted in the slaughter of seven other thoroughbreds including Ocean Bay’s dam Stellar Babe.
Hunger is widespread in recession-hit Venezuea where horse meat is often sold to unsuspecting buyers who believe they are purchasing beef.