A former backstretch employee at Belmont Park was charged with releasing a racehorse onto blacktop, resulting in the animal suffering a fatal injury, according to Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas.
“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,” Singas said in a release Thursday afternoon.
Ramzan Antooa, a 38-year-old Elmont resident, entered stable number 22 at Belmont Park and released a two-year-old female racehorse named Pasta out of her stall on July 30, according to the DA’s office.
The release from her stall spooked the horse, resulting in her running around the barn and onto the blacktop area where she slipped and fell, Singas said.
Pasta, who was valued at more than $200,000, broke her leg, causing the horse to “bleed profusely” and die shortly after her fall, according to the release. Singas claimed the defendant allegedly released the horse, knowingly, in retaliation for being fired.
“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,” Singas said.
Antooa was arraigned before Judge Robert Schwartz and was charged with second-degree grand larceny, third-degree burglary, fourth-degree criminal mischief, second-degree aggravated harassment, interference with or injury to certain domestic animals, and petit larceny, according to the release.
Antooa was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court on Nov. 19. If convicted of the top count, Antooa will face a maximum sentence of 15 years, according to the release.
Efforts to reach Belmont Park officials for further comment on the alleged incident were unavailing.