The sad saga of thoroughbred D.J. Trump, Donald Trump’s lone foray into horses

D.J. Trump, the ill-fated horse that Donald Trump planned to purchase in 1988. 

D.J. Trump had everything a young racehorse needed to become a champion: great genes, a wise trainer, and an owner with deep pockets. But then, as the story goes, the horse’s casino magnate owner made an ill-informed, impatient decision that nearly killed the horse, ultimately costing the thoroughbred its front hoofs.

As Saturday’s Preakness Stakes brings championship thoroughbred racing back to a region transfixed by the Trump Administration, it’s worth revisiting the disputed tale of Trump’s only documented foray into the sport of kings.

The story of D.J. Trump the racehorse comes from a 1991 tell-all book by former Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino president Jack O’Donnell. Trump previously has dismissed the story as “totally unsubstantiated and false” and derided O’Donnell as a “disgruntled former employee.” Trump Organization and White House press staffers did not reply to requests to comment this week.

In a recent phone interview, O’Donnell said he stands by the story. The other major witnesses are all dead or incommunicado, but there are a few pieces of documentary evidence of D.J. Trump’s short life that comport with aspects of O’Donnell’s recollection.

In the late 1980s, Trump was a highflying casino magnate in the midst of a frenzy of splashy purchases that spread his name and brand. He bought an airline (Trump Shuttle, which he gave up in 1992 after defaulting on payments), a power boat race (the 1989 Trump Castle World Championships, marred by rain, high seas, and a fatal wreck) and launched a bike race (the Tour de Trump, which turned out all right).
In 1988, according to O’Donnell, a big-spending customer of Trump’s casinos approached executives about getting their boss into horse racing. Robert LiButti was a portly, sometimes abrasive racehorse trader who got along well with Trump, according to O’Donnell. Trump and LiButti shared a fondness for large sums of money, tendencies to speak in grandiose terms, and explosive tempers.

LiButti owned a horse named Alibi that had Triple Crown potential, he told Trump executives. While LiButti was a braggart, the horse did have an impressive bloodline. Alibi’s father was Raise A Native, whom the New York Times called “the most influential sire of American thoroughbred stallions over the last 20 years” in his 1988 obituary. Among Raise A Native’s many champion offspring: Majestic Prince, the 1969 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, and Alydar, runner-up to Affirmed in all three 1978 Triple Crown races. LiButti wanted $500,000 for the horse.

Stephen Hyde, Trump casinos CEO, immediately saw the potential benefits to a deal with LiButti, who lost an estimated $11 million at Trump casinos from 1986 to 1989, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Hyde schemed it as a great investment,” O’Donnell said in a recent interview. “It’d be good publicity and an opportunity to reward a high-roller and good customer they wanted to keep happy.”

The handshake deal was struck in the skies over New Jersey, in Trump’s black Super Puma helicopter, in a scene O’Donnell described in his book, “Trumped! The Inside Story of the Real Donald Trump — His Cunning Rise and Spectacular Fall.”LiButti brought photographs of Alibi, which O’Donnell described as “a luxurious chestnut brown, with a shimmering coat and a princely bearing.”

“It’s a great horse, Donald, a champion,” LiButti said. “He’s gonna be another Secretariat.”

Trump reviewed the photographs, nonchalantly, before agreeing to buy the horse. There was one requirement, though: a name change. Alibi became D.J. Trump.

The plan was for the horse to work out in Ocala, Fla., for several months under legendary trainer Allen Jerkens. That fall, D.J. Trump would head north for a few races, to build momentum before the 1989 Triple Crown races

As weeks passed however, Trump still hadn’t paid. LiButti involved lawyers, and angry letters were exchanged, according to O’Donnell. Eventually, Trump agreed to a reduced price. His name was worth at least $250,000, Trump argued, so he should only have to pay an additional $250,000 to complete the purchase.

A few days before D.J. Trump was due to head north, 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, the casino executive, 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.

Veterinarians detected blood flow slowing in the horse’s front legs, and recommended a drastic procedure: amputating both front hoofs. The horse would never race, but might at least live, and the hoofs would grow back. Jerkens, the trainer, sobbed as he explained the developments over the phone to LiButti, O’Donnell wrote.

Trump, however, was unmoved. And, conveniently, he hadn’t cut that $250,000 check yet. When informed of D.J. Trump’s sudden illness, and surgery, Trump told his top executive Hyde he had decided to back out of the deal. Hyde was furious, O’Donnell said. Enraging LiButti was a horrible business decision, as it would send him gambling elsewhere.

Hyde also seemed troubled by Trump’s lack of remorse when told he had set in motion a series of events that had effectively maimed a prized racehorse, O’Donnell said.

“His cavalier attitude about the horse, I think, bothered Steve,” O’Donnell said. “That [Trump] didn’t care, that it was just a piece of flesh … That really disturbed him.”

After Trump reneged, Hyde agreed to buy the horse for $150,000, preserving the relationship with LiButti. A year later, O’Donnell flew down to Ocala with LiButti and Hyde to check in on D.J. Trump. The hoofs had grown back, but the thoroughbred moved gingerly.

Sad Honduran Traditions


On Roatan, a common old practice is to lock up puppies so that they don’t wander away or become stolen. They live all day in these hot, dark boxes without food or water. Very hard to change Honduran traditions when it comes to humane treatment of animals. It will take time and suggesting better ways to each owner to contain their pets in a more comfortable way.

Thank You GerMed USA

A great big Shout Out and THANK YOU to GerMed USA. They sent us out a very large kit of surgical spay neuter instruments, days after Caroline Norcross and I attended the Vet Convention in January. Customs just released them….5 months later. I do not have their contact info.   Now we have the surgical instruments, we sure have animals in need, all we need now are the vets!

Thank you Dr. Ian Cameron!

Dear Dr. Ian Cameron,
Thank you so much for volunteering a day of your valuable time and expertise to help our animals in dire need. What was to be a Spay Neuter Mini-Clinic from 12 noon to 5 pm, became an 11 am to 7pm marathon, even helping a nearly dead puppy found at the side of the road and brought in for emergency help.
You took the time to instruct all of us on how to run a clinic and explained in great detail all of your procedures, with a positive, friendly and upbeat attitude. Your love for animals is so apparent. I personally have never seen a vet kiss a dog on the nose, sorry I didn’t catch that in a photo! You have changed the life of so many of our animals in just 8 hours.

In addition to all the donated surgery, we sold many RRR Calendars and received generous donations. As you know we have no full time vet or facility, so you also helped us tremendously in building funds to purchase an older, used Vet Van, to go wherever we are needed.
On behalf of RRR, all my wonderful volunteers and especially the animals you saved from the agony of endless litters, please accept my deepest thanks and gratitude.

Again,Thank You so very much,
Penny Leigh
RRR Founder

First RRR Mini Vet Clinic!

RRR is very excited to host our first Mini Vet Clinic!

Spay – Neuter – Rabies Vaccine!

RRR is very grateful to Dr. Ian Cameron for taking a day of his vacation to set up our very first Mini-Clinic on Friday. We are also very appreciative of Tal & Marla for graciously allowing us the use of their Spanish Colonial Hotel Reception area in West Bay. The Clinic was to be held from 12 noon to 5 pm.People and Animals began arriving at 9:30. We began the surgeries at 11 am and barely stopped to breathe past 7 pm.
I had been sending out daily blasts for a week that RRR was having it’s very first Mini Clinic, First Come First Served. We handed out numbers. The only glitch we had was when Dr Ian began the surgeries, he wanted to do the male animals first, as they go so quickly. Until then, we had no idea this was his plan. 99% of our people in attendance were very patient and understanding.

As wonderful as World Vets, FL Vets & their organizers are, we are trying to do more. We certainly do not want to compete with or be compared to these large organizations. It is commendable that they train students vet procedures while helping our island animals.
RRR’s first little clinic was held to do as many spay neuters as possible and give Rabies vaccine. Secondly, we had a highly skilled vet training us on how to prepare and run clinics for all the vets who have shown an interest in coming to help. We still are diligently saving towards our goal of an older, used vet van and offering an incentive package for vets to come. It is all about the animals and nothing more.
Dr Ian, alone, one vet, spay neutered over 20 animals and handled an emergency of a puppy nearly dead at the side of the road. In 8 hours we gave 20+ dogs and cats a healthy, long life, stopped the creation of countless litters and the agony, starvation and diseases that go with unwanted animals.I am very thankful for all the volunteers who worked so hard and all the knowledge we gained from Dr Ian. Each clinic will get better and better.We hope to do clinics all over the island, where we are most needed…..why we so desperately need that van.
We are all so fortunate to call beautiful Roatan home, so it is only natural that we want to learn to take care of our island animals as well.
RRR has a vet visiting the end of the month to do a complete assessment of our situation. We are taking him on an extended tour and then we will decide, based on his expertise what the best course of action will be to putting together a team.
Thank you to all who helped and donated and your encouragement. It is just the beginning.

NAVC Vet Convention in Orlando

Hello Everyone!
There is no place like Home….
Caroline Norcross (Ms November and I (Ms April) just attended the world’s largest vet convention, NAVC in Orlando.
The Vet Convention was just terrific and mind blowing. We have lots of organizations, vet colleges, med corps, instrument manufacturers and willing vet groups promising to give us aid to help our animal population. Now we have to get to work and get it all organized. Much more to come. We will be posting our achievements and photos on the RRR website and FB very soon.

After long days in the exhibit hall, the evening entertainment and receptions were unbelievable. We got to see Jack Hanna! Once again, it reaffirms what I have always believed: Animal Lovers are the best people in the world.

I arrived home to a unique situation. Apparently there is a 12 foot boa constrictor giving birth & hissing in my old bodega and no one will set foot in there.
Does anyone else you know ever have these types of problems??? Gotta love it.
Does anyone want to adopt an adorable boa family?
Just call me Jungle Woman…….(sigh).

FB: R.R.R. Roatan Renegade Rescue

Attention Vets and Vet Techs!!!

We are offering:
2 weeks free lodging and 25% off food in west Bay beach,ranked one of the top ten beaches in the world!

What we need in return:
One week of vetting, mainly spay and neuter, vaccines! 2nd week is yours for enjoying our gorgeous island! We have no facility or full time vet! We need meds, anesthesia and surgical instruments! RRR will have everything set up and ready for you whenever you are able to do a clinic on Roatan! We have our calendar girls to host you, and show you our beautiful island! ScubaDivingDivas will provide diving and you can get you certification if need be. Whatever you need to bring can be shipped directly to me in advance! Just email me or call me and let RRR and let me know when you are coming! Thank you so much for any help you can give our suffering animals!

Our list of needs:
Spay/neuter surgeries, Vaccines, Mange treatment,
Worming meds, Flea/tick infestation,
and Heart guard preventative and treatment

Thank you in advance for everyone’s effort and donations!

Calendar Unveiling Event

“Roatan Renegade Raw”

Sunday, September 1, 2013
1 pm to 5pm
The Beach Club San Simon
West Bay Beach

Selling calendars at $20.00 each plus have your calendar girl sign it for $5.00 An afternoon of surprises, raffle, silent auction and our RRR wristbands at $5.00 The Bar will have animal related drink specials Please come and help this great cause!

Why RRR?

RRR is dedicated to raising funds to help with our overwhelming, growing, homeless and starving animal population. To raise awareness and a significant amount of funds to help, RRR has created an inspired, collectable calendar. Our calendar features gorgeous ladies from all over the world, who now call Roatan home. These women all are passionate about animal welfare and want to help in any way possible, so have agreed to “take it all off” and pose with their rescue animals in locations set all over our beautiful island. We have used their personal passions in life as the theme of each Calendar Girl’s month, all quite different and unique. This calendar is to create attention to this critical need and to raise funds. This is not a glamour pin-up calendar in any way. These lovely women glow with radiance and beauty for a very important cause. As in the movie “Calendar Girls” it is said that “a flower is most glorious in its final bloom.” Nothing could be truer with our RRR Ladies. GOAL: Our goal is to raise $15,000 to purchase a Vet Van that can travel anywhere the animals are in need. Continued donations will keep the van maintained. RRR has a strong veterinarian supporter who will help with the outfitting of the van, medications, supplies, etc. At this event, we will be introducing each month’s model who will tell their personal rescue story.

For any further information or possible donations, please contact:
Penny Leigh 3391-1490 / 2445-5039

Fund Raiser Progress!

Current Progress:

We have paid off all initial debt incurred in the making of the calendars, all $9000!.

Vet Van


“Until one has loved an animal, part of one’s soul remains unawakened.”

– Anatule, France, 1844

More Added! Raffle Prizes & Silent Auction Items for RRR Unveiling Event!!

These just came in, the response is overwhelming! Be sure to read the Updated List of Donations below!
Don’t Miss This!
Great Prizes
Great Food & Drinks
& most of all, for a GREAT CAUSE. 
Come Out and Help Us Help Our Suffering Island Animals! 

Roatan Renegade Rescue Calendar Unveiling Event
Sunday September 1 1pm-5pm
San Simon Beach ClUb (adjacent to Mayan Princess)
West Bay Beach
Selling Roatan Renegade Raw Calendars for $20.00 each
Calendar Girl autograph $5.00
Yappy Hour Special Animal Named Drinks
Full Menu plus specials for RRR Event
Live Music
Tremendous Raffle Prizes and Silent Auction Items
Not to be missed!!

RRR Goal: to raise funds to purchase a used Mobile Vet Van

RAFFLES – Tickets – $1.00!

12 Italian Leather Sterling Silver designer pet collars	   Value: $240.00
$20.00 each

Eldon's - Pet Food Aisle Spree!	   Value: $200.00

Spay/Neuter/Vaccines/ Medications for Needy animal	   Value: $150.00

Penny - 7 Icy Cool Dog Vests ($20.00 each)	Value:$140.00

Upachaya - Five Roatan Island Board Games ($22.00 each)   Value: $110.00

12 Gift Baskets of home baked Pet Treats & Toys		   Value: $120.00
$10.00 each

Penelope's Island Emporium-West Bay Mall-gift certificate  Value:$100.00

Kristofer Goldman's Welcome to Roatan Five CD's 	   
($13.00 each)	   Value: $65.00

Anne Jennings Brown - Five Roatan Odyssey books - 
water damaged in shipping, looks bad, Reads Great!	   Value: $60.00

Steve Cowley - Six bags Montecillos Coffee ($10 each)	   Value: $60.00

The Beauty Shop - Mani-Pedi-Wash-Blowout Mega Mall	   Value: $44.00

Penelope's - Large beige floral painting	   Value: $35.00

Kent's Blue Bahia - Sandy Bay -Ladies tank top & matching 
beach skirt                                                Value: $30.00

Flying Pig Restaurant - West End	   Value: $30.00

Kent's Blue Bahia - Sandy Bay-Ladies tank top & matching
beach skirt	   Value: $30.00

The Lily Pond - Meal for Two - West End	   Value: $30.00

Waldina - 2 throw pillows- fabric of your choice     Value: $30.00

Multi-Servicio Printing -French Harbour-printing services  Value: $25.00

Buena Vida Cafe - West End 	   

Sunday Brunch - Bring Your Dog for Treats! 	   Value: $25.00

Blue Marlin - West End  - Bar Tab  	   	   Value: $25.00

Monkey Island Restaurant West End - Dinner &/or Drinks     Value: $25.00

Pink Seahorse - West End- Food & Beverage	           Value: $25.00

Blue Parrot - Sandy Bay  	   Value: $25.00

RASxpress - credit towards your mail account	   Value: $25.00

Foster's West Bay Restaurant and Bar	 Value: $25.00

Roatan Rum Factory - West Bay Road	   Value: $25.00

Patricia Bathgate - Pat's Pepper Paste (yum!)
3 large jars - home made- $8.00 each	    Value:$24.00

Coconut Tree Mini-Mart - West End 	   Value: $20.00

Roatan Ladies Network Event - complimentary Admission      Value: $20.00

Rick's Cigar Bar - West End - Cigars or Booze	   Value: $20.00

Coconut Tree Restaurant - West End - Food & Beverage	   Value: $20.00

Pepperoni Pizza - West End - 1 pizza	   Value: $20.00
Penelope's - Small floral painting 	   Value: $20.00

Butch & Sherry - Bulk Gourmet Bistro - Brick Bay	  Value:$20.00

Penelope's - Complaint Dept Sign	   VALUE: $18.00

Haircut by Nadia - Glam HairStyles, Mangrove Bight	   Value: $17.00
Lusty Lizard Restaurant -Dixon Cove - Lunch                Value: $15.00

Beach Grill at Blue Bahia - Sandy Bay - Friday Fish Fry 
 & Key Lime Pie	   Value: $15.00
Carniagro - Multi-Vitamins for Dogs & Cats
Value: $14.00

Patricia Bathgate - Pat's Pepper Paste (yum!)
3 small jars - $4.00 each	   Value: $12.00


Mayan Princess Resort - West Bay Beach
All Inclusive Package for 2	Value: $1150.00

Infinity Bay: 3 night stay with breakfast	        Value: $750.00

Bull Dog Security Alarm System fully installed	Value: $749.00

William Shepherd - Captain Action Fishing Charter
38' Topaz	Value: $700.00

Zeppelin Dive & Sail - Three hour Customized Sunset 
Cruise on a 47' Zeppelin, for Four, including drinks
 and appetizers - Wayne & Elly Smith	Value: $600.00

Alex & Marilyn-Afternoon Sailboat Cruise & Romantic 
Sunset Evening at the Calabash Bight Yacht Club for 4   Value: $350.00

Peter & Jackie - 3 Hour Fishing Trip- Mangrove Bight	Value: $350.00

Solar/Wind Energy Performance & Financial Analysis 
Profile by Fuentes de Energia	Value: $350.00

Pristine Bay - Black Pearl Golf Course -
Two Rounds of Golf	Value: $290.00

Tasha Crook Photography - One Hour Photo Shoot	Value: $250.00

South Shore Canopy Zipline Adventure for FIVE	Value: $225.00

Sueno Del Mar- 2 night stay-Presidential Suite-West End Value: $200.00

Sand Castles Professional Interior Design Services;
in depth consultation: Staging for Sale, Updating Your
 Rental property, easy fixes to make your website pop!	Value: $200.00

Picnic Day for 4 - Maya Key - Port of Roatan	Value: $168.00

The Shop - Coconut Plaza - one teak chair	Value: $168.00

Paddle Sports - Paddle Board Escorted Tour for 4	Value: $160.00

Purchased at Penelope's & donated by Sue Page:
32" Italian hand blown vase	Value: $155.00

Wendy Lopez - La Pina Spa - Pineapple Villas
French Harbour- Massage, facial, mani, pedi	Value: $150.00

Heather Donnelly - One Dream Ticket Entry - 
Roatan Dream Home Raffle	Value: $150.00

Penelope's - Triptich Acrylic Abstract Art (3 pc)	Value: $150.00

Roatan Builders - 2 - 2 hour consultation on the Do's
 & Don'ts of building on Roatan - top TWO Bidders	Value: $150.00

Larissa - Frenchy's 44 or Little French Key	Value: $150.00

An Evening of Music with Bobby Rieman	Value: $125.00

Penelope's - Brown Geometric Outdoor Art	Value: $125.00

Roatan Businesses - Advertisement for one year on		Value: $110.00

A Day of Beauty at Destiny's - Coral Stone, Sandy Bay   Value: $100.00

Penelope's - Large, brown plaid abstract Art by
Paul Juszkiewill	Value: $100.00

Penelope's Blue Flower Retro Artwork	Value: $99.00

Alex & Marilyn- Sunset Beached Boat Artwork	Value: $80.00

Kirk Obryan, Accountant - 2 hour consultation
"How to establish a Roatan Business"	Value: $75.00

Roatan Dental Center - Consultation & Services
Mega Mall - French Harbour	Value: $65.00

Blue Harbour Tropical Arboretum- Tropical & Hydroponic
Tour for 4
Value: $60.00

Purchased at Penelope's & donated by Sue Page:
Large pewter pineapple tray	Value: $52.00

Umbul Umbul- Indonesian furniture & Accessories
 Gift Certificate	Value: $50.00

Ms Deb of Steel Pan Alley - private voice lesson	Value: $50.00

Peggy Orange - Private Swim Lessons - 3 hours	Value: $50.00

Ace Hardware - Gift Certificate	Value: $50.00

Zobeida's Shop - French Harbour	Value: $50.00

Lion Fish Louie's - Meal for 2 - West End	Value: $50.00

Ana Svoboda - famous tiramisu - serves 15-20	Value: $50.00

Barefoot Cay - Barefoot Divers -
Pig Roast Lunch for 4	Value: $50.00

Claudia Malacarne - 1 hour massage West End	Value: $50.00
Blue Marlin Restaurant - Dinner - West End              Value: $40.00

Tracey Pewtoran - Professional Bartending- 4 hours-
Any Event	Value: $40.00

West End Suzy - Handmade agate ring	Value: $40.00

Nanny Lu-Lu - 4 hours child care- 4 children max	Value: $40.00
Real Value: Priceless!

Casa Rustica - West Bay - Mix Max Cardio workout for 
one month		Value: $40.00

Diane Coming - just back from safari! Collection of 
African crafts including giraffe salad tongs, wood 
bowl,wood trivet and serape material	Value: $30.00

Blue Harbour Tropical Arboretum- Tropical & Hydroponic
 Tour for 2 	Value: $30.00

Hungry Munkey- Lunch for 2 - West Bay Mall	Value: $30.00

Blue Harbour Plantation- large selection of lettuce, 
parsley and mint	Value: $25.00

Sun Downer's Bar Tab	Value: $25.00

Mangiamo Market & Delicatessen - West Bay Mall
Luncheon for 2	Value: $25.00

Blue Harbour Plantation - large selection of lettuce,
basil and chives	Value: $25.00

Kathy Shupe- Personal Pet Grooming - in home service	Value: $25.00


Island Posh - Coral Stone Plaza - Exquisite replica
Sunglasses, Handbags and Watches	$200.00

Gilberto & Kelly Gonzales - Life Force Landscape &
Maintenance Co., Kelawra, BC, Canada	$180.00

Walter Herbert & Susan Scogin, soon to be Roatan 
residents and supporter of felines 

Vanda & Peter Brown - Palmetto Bay/CA	$ 50.00

Bob Magyar  Puerta Vallarta MX	$ 25.00