May 18, 2010 5:48 PM by Elaine Sheridan
Thoroughbred breeder and former Wall Street executive Ernie Paragallo, who has earned more than $20 million in purses in 20 years of racing, was led away in handcuffs Tuesday after being sentenced to up to 2 years in jail and a $33,000 fine for mistreating dozens of horses on his Hudson Valley farm.
The 52-year-old Long Island resident was charged after state police and animal welfare investigators raided his farm in Coxsackie in April 2009 and seized 177 starving, parasite-infested horses. Paragallo was convicted in March of 33 misdemeanor animal cruelty counts.
Greene County Court Judge George Pulver Jr. said he was imposing the maximum sentence because Paragallo had insisted the horses received proper care, because he had shown no remorse, and as a deterrent to future mistreatment by other horse owners.
"I take responsibility, I'm sorry for everything that happened," Paragallo said.
Paragallo, former owner of 1996 Kentucky Derby favorite and fifth-place finisher Unbridled's Song, has had horses run in more than 4,500 races.
The state Racing and Wagering Board has suspended Paragallo from racing at New York tracks and they initiated administrative action that would prevent Paragallo from returning to.