President’s Message:

Frederick Bourgault Indicted for Beating of Racehorse Finish Line at Pine Bush Training Facility in Crawford

Pat Valusek, president of New York State Humane Association
Pat Valusek, President of New York State Humane Association.

Justice is coming for a racehorse named Finish Line, though he is not alive to see it. In July 2023, Finish Line was beaten nearly to death with a metal pipe by his trainer, Frederick Bourgault, after the horse accidentally had stepped on his foot. As a result of the beating, Finish Line had to be euthanized by a veterinarian called to the scene.

In an attempt to hide the crime, Finish Line was quickly buried at the Pine Bush Training Facility in Crawford. Fortunately, the State Police were tipped off to what had happened and launched an investigation that included exhuming the horse and having him transported to Cornell for a necropsy. The results showed the horse’s skull was cracked as a result of the beating. Based on the SP investigation, Bourgault was charged with two felonies and indicted by an Orange County grand jury earlier this year. We can’t thank the State Police, the District Attorney’s Office, and Cornell enough for their excellent work on this case.

The Orange County DA’s Office is prosecuting Bourgault. When DA Hoovler was asked for comment, he said, “As a society we cannot tolerate the mistreatment of horses or other animals, who cannot protect themselves. Animal abuse cases are a high priority in my Office.” NYSHA has great faith in this department and its excellent prosecutors. Finish Line is not here to witness it, but his death will be avenged.

Sadly, this was not Bourgault’s first offence. A Canadian national, he has a history of abusing horses and faced penalties in both Canada and New York for kicking and excessive whipping. But incredibly he has still been allowed to continue to work on racecourses here. Let’s hope his conviction as a felon will end his shameful career.

In sum, there is more than enough suffering and exploitation in all forms of horse racing to go around. People should stop – just stop — going to this blood sport, so it will end — the quicker the better.

Please be kind to animals,
Patricia Valusek

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XLIII, Spring 2024.