MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a backstretch employee was arraigned on a grand jury indictment and charged with allegedly knowingly releasing a racehorse onto blacktop, causing it to fall and suffer a fatal injury at Belmont Park.
Ramzan Antooa, 38, of Elmont, was arraigned before Judge Robert Schwartz on charges of grand larceny in the second degree (a C felony), burglary in the third degree (a D felony), criminal mischief in the fourth degree (a D felony), aggravated harassment in the second degree (an A misdemeanor), interference with or injury to certain domestic animals (an E felony), and petit larceny (an A misdemeanor). The defendant was released on his own recognizance, is due back in court on November 19 and faces a maximum of five to 15 years in prison if convicted of the top count.
“This defendant is accused of releasing a young racehorse named Pasta from her stall, causing the horse to become frightened and run onto blacktop where she fell and died a painful death,” DA Singas said. “Every animal deserves to be treated with care and compassion, and my Animal Crimes Unit remains committed to prosecuting this and all of our animal crimes cases.”
DA Singas said that on July 30, the defendant, a backstretch employee, allegedly entered stable number 22 at Belmont Park and released a two-year-old female racehorse named Pasta out of her stall. This caused the horse to spook, run around the barn, and then outside onto the blacktop area, where she slipped and fell to the ground. Pasta – valued at more than $200,000 – broke her leg, which caused her to bleed profusely and die shortly after the fall.
The defendant allegedly released the racehorse in retaliation for being fired.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Hernan of DA Singas’ Animal Crimes Unit is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by the Legal Aid Society.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.