An alleged case of horse neglect on a Midway, Ky. property leased to trainer Wayne Murty is being investigated by the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Woodford County Animal Control.
According to former Hopewell Farm owner Rick Trontz, the 42-acre site in Woodford County is part of his previously-owned property, which is in receivership and slated to be auctioned July 16.
"Murty was leasing the farm from Hopewell," said Trontz, adding that he believed Murty had only been a tenant since April. "All the horses were his. It's a terrible thing...it's just sad—they've been in the business a long time."
Receiver Tim Cone told the Herald-Leader there were animal investigators on the farm July 1, but he was unsure of how many animals were involved or other details behind the case. "I think maybe they had to put one down," he told the newspaper. "It's not pleasant."
"I don't know for a fact, but I think (Murty) brought in more (horses) than he was supposed to, because there was a ton of grass on that place," Trontz told The Blood-Horse. "There hasn't been anybody on that piece of land for a long while, so that grass was well-grown."
Kentucky state veterinarian Dr. Robert Stout said due to the ongoing investigation, he could not comment on the situation. Woodford County Animal Control officials, as well as Murty could not be immediately reached for comment.
Hopewell was formerly a breeding, foaling, and sales prep operation encompassing nearly 600 acres along Old Frankfort Pike and Pisgah Pike. The farm has been listed for $14.7 million.
Hall of Fame member and 1997 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) winner Skip Away spent his stallion career at Hopewell until his death in 2010. Other prominent stallions that formerly stood at the farm include Volponi, Najran, David Copperfield, Royal Anthem, and K.O. Punch.
"Unfortunately, when my name is mentioned with all this, people think I have something to do with (the neglect situation)," said Trontz. "But when I had horses, all of them were over-the-top taken care of; we never cut any corners."