Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year & Our Resolution for the Horses in 2011

Happy New Year! The words are always filled with hope that the following year will be easier, kinder and better for each of us. This is also the time when we reflect on our accomplishments, and disappointments, and how we can reach our personal goals or change something we would like so to improve ourselves.

The Second Race is no different. We have had accomplishments and road blocks along the way in 2010. We have learned much and have had to re-think some of our plans. We have targets that we missed and some we achieved ahead of schedule. Most importantly we realize that there are many things we can do better.

Our goals for 2011 are:

1. To be awarded our non profit status and to begin applying for grants with our newly appointed grant writer.

2. To create an Advisory Board to better serve The Second Race combining industry professionals with equine experts outside of racing.

3. Launching our Online Community

4. Obtaining stalls at a local race track to transition horses off the track safely and quickly into our foster program.

5. Working with other non profits to partner on several projects that have been discussed; bringing them to fruition

6. Better placement of horses; quicker turn around time--using advertising sites to place and adopt our horses.

7. Conduct three fundraisers in Southern California, and one in Northern California

8. Begin building a national data base that will serve as the 'for profit' foundation for The Second Race and will allow for 100's of horses to be placed each year.

9. Creating brand (marketing awareness) using media, newspapers, online communities, etc.

Our commitment to ex-race horses and those bred to race is strong. We have a foundation built that will propel us into the New Year with bigger, and better ways to serve. We need our network of supporters to help us, and we look forward to your efforts to help the horses with their "second race".

Best wishes to all in 2011 and good bye 2010!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Ahhh Feels Like Home & Photographs in Black and White

On a beautiful sun filled Tuesday morning I made the pilgrimage back to my mecca, Santa Anita Racetrack and Clockers Corner to see the new dirt track installed during the summer and fall meets at other race tracks.

There was a distinct "buzz" and excitement in the air as horsemen gathered with owners and racing fans to see the new track. Gary Stevens, Jim Cassidy, Mel & Gary Stute among others were stationed throughout Clockers holding court and sharing their thoughts on the resurfaced track with each other. Jim Cassidy, trainer told me that there were about 350 horses on the grounds and most were jogging over the dirt, getting a feel for it with good reports. The mood was jovial, with everyone from the guard gate to the cafe saying hello and wishing each other well. There is a community at a race track that is unlike any other I have experienced and it was nice to be "home" again.

James Cassidy's Evening Jewel out for a morning look around.

I loved being back at my favorite track. There is nothing like the glorious foothills framing the horses as the work in the mornings. It's "my church" and it welcomed all of us in attendance, with a long exhale and a good to be home hug.

Speaking of morning works and the backside of a race track, there is a new coffee table book by photographer Juliet Harrison that is sure to be a hit with anyone on your gift giving list.
The book, Track Life, is a culmination of four years of trips to the track at Saratoga Springs, New York.

Juliet shared with us, "it is hard being a traditional B&W photographer in that setting. I spent the first two years trying to figure out what my vision, my imagery would be of the track. Standard track photography would not satisfy me. Taking distant photos of horses on the track during the race as they sped by did not work. Not in Black and White. Not having the flash of color to draw the viewer’s eye, made race photos in B&W basically boring". Ms. Harrison's inspiration came from what I too find inspiring and that is the life on the back side, the preparation of the race horse before and after their race. "These are the things that I found interesting to photograph. And they are what I have chosen to share. Track Life is my vision in film. And I see it as a thank you and homage to the experiences I have had there", says Juliet.

Ms. Harrison is generously donating a portion of the sale of her book to two organization's ours, The Second Race and LOPE, in Texas. We appreciate the beauty of the subject, the art of her images in black and white, and the support of ex-race horses.

To purchase a signed copy of Track Life, go to or purchase directly from Blurb (the book won't be signed). The link there is

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Our Holiday Letter to You

Do you give the horse his strength or clothe his neck with a flowing mane? Do you make him leap like a locust, striking terror with his proud snorting? He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength, and charges into the fray. He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; he does not shy away from the sword. (Job 39:19-22) and so begins the opening lines in the movie ‘Secretariat’.
I thought it so fitting that the opening voice over would speak to the beauty, the strength and the fearlessness of the horse, and my mind in the dark theatre went to the race horse. The race horse bred to succeed, to compete at the highest level, to go bravely forward and fulfill his or her destiny.

Of course not all horses bred to race even make it into training, let alone a race track in America. The odds are against a race horse that does make its first start to have much of a career beyond the national average of 4.1 starts for its entire career! Yes, its entire career and most race horses that do start, start at the age of two or three.
So from the hopes and dreams of a breeder, trainer, or owner come literally thousands of horses born each year to fulfill their purpose for being bred, to be a race horse.
Race horses are a thrill; they capture your imagination and take you on a ride that lasts less than two minutes. Nothing compares, in my mind to the athleticism of the horse.
It’s been our privilege this past year to help 53 horses safely move on to their next career, home or permanent retirement while working with owners, farms, lay up facilities or trainers across the United States.
In April of this year we were able to expand our services by providing a foster facility in Valley Center, CA that was donated to us by the ranch’s private owner. Without this generous donation we would not have 15 horses owned by The Second Race that are currently awaiting adoption (some are completing their rehab before being available). Our mission this year has been fulfilled in ways we couldn't have imagined when we began The Second Race in June 2009, our time frame has leaped ahead to accomplishing our goal to be a national network for retired race horses and those bred to race.
Our nonprofit status should be granted any day. We are working with several groups to support our mission including other non profits, equestrian trainers, lay up farms in and out of the state of California, and race tracks which are encouraging us to partner with them to provide a safe harbor for the horses from their tracks.

With our growth come expenses. We have secured a grant writer that will work diligently to secure major funding for us in the coming year. The Second Race will need to take advantage of every avenue to raise funds. We have several events planned including a Bowling Tournament in February, A Day at the Races in April (in southern California) and on Kentucky Derby Day (in northern California). We have a fun event planned for Del Mar and look forward to other opportunities to raise funds. Our expenses per horse are $ 300 a month, so sponsorships are encouraged of our horses starting at $ 150 per month details on how to help can be found on our website.
We have been blessed to receive many donations of hay, medical supplies, grooming equipment, fly masks, and halters for the horses. Volunteers have signed up and come down to our foster facility to work with our horses. We have equine massages, aromatherapy (lavender works wonders) and spa days for our retired race horses. The Second Race has had professional photographers take beautiful photos of our horses to assist with their adoption. The media has started to recognize us and we were interviewed for magazines, blogs and appeared on air during the fair meet in Fresno. We had the opportunity to provide commentary for a documentary being filmed on Kinsale King and we were a school project for a graduate student in visual arts. We encourage you to become involved with The Second Race or to visit our retired race horses. They enjoy the interaction and actually it helps to socialize them for their adoption.

The Second Race was fortunate to have generous donations of racing memorabilia, halters and horse shoes worn by famous race horses, saddle clothes and coolers. We had beautiful original artwork and photography gifted to us and more. Help is needed and gifts in kind are always accepted. We have silent auctions coming up with our events and if you are able to provide a vacation, jewelry, racing memorabilia, professional services or other costs underwritten to support The Second Race and our foster horses, it would be greatly appreciated.

The Second Race is happy to report some success stories this year. We were able to transition A to the Z, an earner of $ 800,000 on the track to Amy Hess, an equestrian trainer that took him to his first horse show. He placed first in two of his “baby green” categories. Horses like A to the Z, provide a forum for other Thoroughbreds to be considered in the show jumping world. We adopted out other horses that have begun dressage training, jumping and polo pony training as well. It’s so fun to receive the updates, photos and to hear the accomplishments of the retired race horses!
Not all horses can go on to a new career and we are blessed to have loving, permanent homes for horses like Go Flags Bro, that fractured his pelvis and needed a new home where he would never been ridden.

The Second Race, as a national network sent horses from California to Colorado, Ohio, Idaho, Illinois, Arizona, Florida and Texas. Without our ability to use social media to network, these horses would not have found homes so easily. We are committed to moving horses across the US to find them homes, and need to partner with van companies to reduce shipping costs. This is one of our objectives for 2011.

Lastly and most importantly at the end of the year we want to thank the thousands of supporters we have. The donations received, the company partners that donate a portion of their sales to us, and to the racing fans that inquire about the horses, that care deeply what happens to them when they are no longer coming down the lane towards the finish line.
On behalf of our Board of Directors, our foster partnership and volunteers, thank you for a successful year and from the horses “a neigh and nicker” for your love and support. The Second Race cannot succeed without people like you! We wish you a prosperous and blessed 2011.
Sharla Sanders, Founder, The Second Race

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