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May 19, 2017
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President Trump's one-time dabble in horse racing reportedly left a thoroughbred named "D.J. Trump" nearly dead and without front hoofs, The Washington Post reports.

While Trump denies the story as "totally unsubstantiated and false," it is recalled in a book by John O'Donnell, Trumped!, and the Post was able to confirm many details of the story. Allegedly, racehorse trader Robert LiButti, a high-roller at Trump's casinos, wanted Trump to purchase his horse with Triple Crown potential, Alibi, for $500,000. The CEO of Trump's casinos, Stephen Hyde, saw the purchase as an investment to keep LiButti visiting the casinos.

Trump agreed, but demanded the horse's name be changed to D.J. Trump. Trump (the human) then argued his name was "worth at least $250,000 ... so he should only have to pay an additional $250,000 to complete the purchase," The Washington Post writes.

Then the story gets dark:

A few days before D.J. Trump was due to head north [for races], according to O'Donnell, a virus ripped through the horse farm. D.J. Trump didn't appear sick, but the trainer Jerkens recommended postponing a final workout in Florida, and the move north, for a few weeks. If the horse was sick, the trainer said, working him out risked a high fever, and possibly death.

Trump was impatient, O'Donnell wrote. He wanted his horse racing, up north, with no delays. Hyde relayed the order reluctantly: "He wants the horse to work."

D.J. Trump's last workout in Ocala was, in Trump parlance, a total disaster. A few hours after running, the horse's legs began shaking uncontrollably, then he collapsed in a heap. D.J. Trump had contracted the virus without showing symptoms, veterinarians concluded, and the workout had exacerbated his condition. [The Washington Post]

Ultimately, D.J. Trump lived — but his front hoofs had to be amputated, and he would never race. As the story goes, Trump was "unmoved," and, as he hadn't written the $250,000 check yet, he wiggled out of the deal.

"[Trump's] cavalier attitude about the horse, I think, bothered Steve," O'Donnell told the Post. “That [Trump] didn't care, that it was just a piece of flesh … That really disturbed him." Read the full saga at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange