WE NEED YOUR HELP — Support your hometown newspaper by making a donation.

Belmont employee arraigned on criminal charges for allegedly releasing horse


A Belmont Park backstretch employee was arraigned on Oct. 22 for allegedly releasing a racehorse in July, causing her to fall and die.

"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," Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement. "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."

According to Singas, Ramzan Antooa, 38, of Elmont, entered stable number 22 on July 30, and released Pasta, a 2-year-old mare, from her stall. This spooked Pasta, Singas said, causing her to run around the barn and then outside, onto the blacktop area, where she slipped and fell to the ground. Pasta — who was valued at more than $20,000 — broke her leg, which caused her to bleed profusely and die.

Antooa, who allegedly released the racehorse in retaliation for being fired, was arraigned on charges of grand larceny in the second degree, burglary in the third degree, criminal mischief in the fourth degree, aggravated harassment in the second degree, interference with or injury to certain domestic animals and petit larceny. He is due back in court on Nov. 19 and faces five to 15 years in prison.