Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Full Circle Day

Monday started out as any other day with planned activities and horse work to be accomplished. What I didn't know at the time was that the day would be a "full circle day" for me and would be profoundly moving as well.

I arrived at Santa Anita and went to see a trainer regarding a filly that had been injured the day prior during morning works. I had been told about her injury the night before and was following up on her prognosis and if our services were going to be needed. At that time, it was still up in the air, the owner didn't want the horse anymore of course, and the trainer wasn't sure how badly she was hurt. I told them to keep me posted. While at the track enjoying the morning works, I was called by another trainer to take in a filly that too had been injured during the morning. She had a fracture that was beyond the scope of what The Second Race was able to adequately care for, there was a possibility that surgery would be required. It haunted me for the rest of the morning that I said "no" to a horse. I felt bad that we couldn't provide the necessary care for her. Logically, we won't be able to say "yes" to all, but emotionally for some reason it was difficult. Perhaps because the other pretty grey filly didn't look like she was going to be able to be helped as well.

After leaving the track, I proceeded to the January mixed sale at Barrett's. The sale features yearlings, racing prospects, race horses and broodmares. Its a mixed bag of horses, that some cynically say are the ones that are basically a "fire sale" of horses.

I went to the Bloodstock agents that were expecting me, having been contacted that there may be a couple horses that would need homes, should they not sell. After leaving some brochures for a few other farms and agents represented in the sale I proceeded to the pavilion to watch the sale. The year prior it was distressing to The Second Race that there didn't' seem to be much of a market for the broodmares; visibly pregnant and under some stress. Many did not have bids, and we had vowed this year to be prepared to provide homes for them should the same happen this year. We were prepared with vans and caring folks to have room for up to ten horses.

This sale felt a bit different, and it seemed there were enough buyers. The horses weren't selling for much, but at least they were garnering bids. When to my surprise a beautiful horse appeared before me, I soon learned it was E Z Warrior that was being sold as part of the Zayat holdings. E Z Warrior had been a $ 1.2 million dollar purchase as a two year old at Barrett's. He had 15 starts and earned $238,448 winning the Hollywood Juvenile Championship Stakes at two, and won the San Miguel States at three. He entered stud in 2010. Now here he was 5 years after bringing a large sale price, being offered for sale. It just struck me as ironic. He sold for $ 5,700 my friend and I stepped outside the pavilion to snap a few photos of him that the handler graciously allowed us. E Z Warrior was clearly not comfortable being in the environment.

In the meantime the trainer with the grey filly, came up to me to tell me he wouldn't be sleeping tonight, as he had made the decision that she needed to be put down. He walked away, a weight on his shoulder.

Soon a very handsome gelding went through the sale and did not have a bid. He looked to be perfect for the show ring and I went to the bloodstock agent and introduced myself and our services. I said that if he didn't have a home to go to, or if there weren't other plans for him, I would be happy to take him. I was assured that he would have a home by one of the grooms that works for the agent. But she had a lovely grey open mare that if she did not have any bids, she would call me and give me the mare. I asked a friend to track her, and received a call two or three hours later that she had sold for $ 1,000-- she had a home.

It was time to leave and go to Hollywood Park, I was taking a friend to LAX with a short visit beforehand to see Lava Man. I hadn't visited with him since Santa Anita had re-opened and was hoping he would remember me. I was happily greeted with his tongue shooting out of his mouth as he does when he sees me with a small nicker and lots of head shaking to hurry up and see him. It was the salve that I needed for a hurting heart. The filly that I had said "no" to, was still on my mind. I decided to take a look at her.

She was in fact a beautiful filly, and that only made it worse. Now I felt obligated to help her emotionally, was it a good idea that I had done this, I didn't know. She was delightful but I could see a visible difference on her back end and knew that we really couldn't help her.

While walking back to see Lava Man, I saw a plain bay horse with the sweetest doe like eyes, the kind that draw you in and make you melt. He had the perfect name in Spanish which translated to Cookie Monster. I went to him and he immediately won me over. I cupped my hands and he laid his muzzle within the palm of my hands. He just kept it there and let me kiss his whiskery dough like muzzle over and over again. How did he know that this was exactly what I needed. It was then that I realized it was a full circle moment.

The Second Race hadn't been able to help any horses that day, as much as we had tried, but the horses that evening, helped us to be okay with it too.

To see the horses that are waiting for a new home, visit our website at www.thesecondrace.com or our Facebook page.

Photo of Lava Man by Doug O'Neill Racing
Photo of E Z Warrior and Galetta Monstruo by Julie Ziek


  1. I can't believe EZ Warrior only sold for $5,700 for such a nice stakes winning and good looking horse.

  2. Wow...I have been following you on FaceBook and in the fickle industry of horse racing, where a million dollar horse in a couple years, goes for pennies on the dollar---some only to meet their demise on the tracks...all I can say is God Bless You and your organization!! I wish and pray that there were more groups and help before more good horses are lost...one way or another. You are a Horse Angel for sure...

  3. While the sale disheartened me somewhat, it was nice to meet some of the horsemen & women that you introduced me to. There are some that truly care about the welfare of the horse - gives me a bit of hope!

    I truly hope EZ Warrior and the others we saw go to homes that have owners with the attitude of those I met on Monday.


  4. POST SCRIPT-- Life always has a way of surprising you. I was contacted this morning about the very same gelding that caught my eye. Perfecto Diablo has a pinched nerve and possibly EPM. His new owner has contacted us to find him a home. We are going to speak with the vet about him that gave his diagnosis and are considering taking him into our program to work on his issues.


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