Woman battles to keep rescued racehorse

Mary Perham
Campbell and ‘Nev’

A Castile woman could be headed back to court in two weeks to keep a racehorse seized on her behalf by the Steuben County Sheriff’s Department in early November.

Cheyenne Campbell’s court battles began two months when she noticed what she believed was the deteriorating condition of a thoroughbred, Never Give Up, on land owned by Christopher Martz, of 63180 Route 415 North in the town of Cohocton.

A competitive rider since she was 5, Campbell is studying to become a vet tech, works at her mom’s Dansville salon, and at a nearby stable.

“I’d drive by every day on my way to work, and the horse looked awful,” she said. “I had to do something, so I found out his owner/trainer at the track in Canandaigua, and told him about the situation.”

The owner/trainer -- Arcadio Lopez, according to court documents – told Campbell the horse was with Martz on a trial basis only and no ownership documents had been completed. Lopez then transferred the title documents to Campbell.

However, when Campbell, escorted by a state trooper, showed the ownership papers to Martz, he refused to give her the horse, she said.


Campbell then went to state Supreme Court Justice Joe Latham, provided her title documents and said the thoroughbred was seriously malnourished and suffering from exposure.

Latham issued an order of seizure without notice, and escorted by county deputies, Campbell went to the Martz property, with a big bucket of oats.

A five-year-old chocolate brown chestnut gelding, Never Give Up had raced as a 1,200-pound athlete at the Aqueduct and Finger Lakes race tracks.

As he was brought up to her, he appeared weak, thin and tentative, Campbell said.

“Then he saw the oats,” she said. “And he ran. He put his nose in the bucket and I couldn’t get his head out!”

An independent veterinarian examined Never Give Up when he arrived at Campbell’s home in Castile. He suffered from severe rain rot, hoof abscesses and was severely malnourished, according to the vet’s report.

Now fed frequent small meals, with an acre of land and other horses to socialize with, Never Give Up is beginning to kick up his heels a bit – once giving a little buck in high spirits, Campbell said.

However, Martz is appealing the seizure and Campbell will return to Latham’s court Dec. 10.

“I don’t know what Christopher thinks he can do,” Campbell said. “I have the paperwork, I have the title. And I really don’t think he should get Nev back.”

Martz could not be reached for comment.

‘Never Give Up’ on the track.