Prosecutors say fired Belmont worker's retaliation led racehorse to die

ELMONT, N.Y. -- A backstretch worker at Belmont Park caused the death of a $200,000 racehorse by releasing the filly onto blacktop, where she fell and broke her leg, prosecutors said Thursday. The worker released the horse in retaliation for being fired.

Ramzan Antooa, 38, released the 2-year-old filly named Pasta from her stall July 30, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.

Antooa was arraigned Thursday on charges including grand larceny, burglary and criminal mischief. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Nov. 19.

"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," Singas said in a statement.

Antooa was represented in court by the Legal Aid Society, which did not return a call seeking comment.

Belmont Park, just east of New York City, is the home of the Belmont Stakes, traditionally the third leg of racing's Triple Crown.