Technically she is a horse thief.
In the olden days, a horse thief knew they had a one way trip to the nearest sizable hanging tree. No discussion, no debate, no pleading with the judge. The horse thief was a no good, dirty rotten scoundrel.
However, in the recent Los Angeles Times it states that Gail Ruffu was a trainer at the Hollywood Park race track. She was the furthest thing from a horse thief and certainly not a scoundrel.
And thus begins the drama. It is true that there is one race horse named Urgent Envoy that disappeared from the race track stable on Christmas Eve two years ago.
It’s true Gail Ruffu was responsible. She is also the only one who knows the whereabouts of Urgent Envoy. She is not telling, she is not returning him and she insists she is not a horse thief.
Gail states, “You can threaten me with the electric chair, but I’m not giving him back as long as he is in danger.”
It seems that the horse fractured a leg and the veterinarians advised that the horse not race for a least six months. As part owner and trainer of Urgent Envoy, Gail sent the horse to the country for medical care and recovery.
Now enter the other half-owner.
In short time, someone brought the horse back to the race track. Some thought the plan was to administer pain-masking drugs and race him in spite of the injury. And, thus, the disappearance of Urgent Envoy.
Law suits were followed by court hearings. The judge was bewildered by the case, thinking it was about car theft. After all, how often do alleged horse thieves appear in the court room? Gail Ruffu was acquitted by the jury of being a horse thief.
But the story is far from over. The hunt is on for Urgent Envoy. Investigators are searching pastures, stables and backyards. The likelihood of this horse ever running a race, much less winning is pure fantasy.
The world of horse racing is filled with stories of healthy horses mysteriously dying during the night, and unhealthy horses being forced to race until they collapse.
There is no heart in horse racing. It is all about money.
Gail Ruffu has given up everything for Urgent Envoy. She has been banned from ever training at any race track in the United States. She lives in a cold tack room of an old stable.
But she has a cause and a purpose. Finally, here is someone who cares about these animals.
I hope they never find Urgent Envoy! And, by the way, Gail … we have an extra stall in our barn. They’d never find him.