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Horse found shot to death day before race at Balmoral Park

Published: Thursday, May 31, 2012 11:41 a.m. CST

(MCT) — Police are investigating the death of a race horse found shot in the head on a farm in Indiana a day before it was scheduled to race at Balmoral Park.

Lady May Z, an 8-year-old trotting horse, was discovered by its owner in a pasture on a farm south of Lowell Tuesday evening, officials said. The mare had been shot between the eyes.

"I think it was just a sick act," said Heidi Geib, who leased the horse and raced it at Balmoral and Maywood. "Somebody sick that thought that they would get pleasure from doing that."

Police said they believe the shooting took place between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. Tuesday. The horse’s owner, James Woodley,  had been training another horse on an adjacent track and had left to return that horse to the barn, the Lake County, Ind. sheriff's office said.

When Woodley returned to the pasture, he found the horse dead with an apparent bullet wound between the eyes, police said. A necropsy is scheduled for today at Purdue University.

The horse had been entered in a race scheduled for Wednesday at Balmoral Park in Crete, according to the sheriff's office.

Lake County Sheriff’s Detective Michelle Dvorscak said Lady May Z had not been racing recently, and the Wednesday race was to be a "practice run" to qualify the mare for future track events.

Geib doubted the race had anything to do with the mare's death, calling it a senseless act.

Anyone with information can call the sheriff's office at 219-755-3346 or its hotline at 800-750-2746.

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