Wednesday, July 29, 2009

60 Years Later Still as Haunting--- Death of a Race Horse

Today marks the anniversary of a newspaper article that was written by W.C. Heinz, in 1949 called Death of a Racehorse. It was written 60 years ago today. Many in the sportswriting world, feel it is one of the best sports pieces ever written. Its haunting, and moved me to tears. On the heels of news of another catastrophic break down at Del Mar, I was reminded of the statement "there is nothing new under the sun". A break down is a break down, doesn't matter if the horse is worth $ 2 million or $ 2000. We may end their suffering differently today than sixty years ago but we should be reminded each time that a horse has literally laid down it's life for our entertainment. Today,The Second Race wants to pause and reflect on 60 years of race horse endings.

Death of a Racehorse" by W.C. Heinz, July 29, 1949, New York Sun

They were going to the post for the sixth race at Jamaica, two year olds, some making their first starts, to go five and a half furlongs for a purse of four thousand dollars. They were moving slowly down the backstretch toward the gate, some of them cantering, others walking, and in the press box they had stopped their working or their kidding to watch, most of them interested in one horse."Air Lift," Jim Roach said. "Full brother of Assault."Assault, who won the triple crown ... making this one too, by Bold Venture, himself a Derby winner, out of Igual, herself by the great Equipoise. ... Great names in the breeding line ... and now the little guy making his first start, perhaps the start of another great career.

They were off well, although Air Lift was fifth. They were moving toward the first turn, and now Air Lift was fourth. They were going into the turn, and now Air Lift was starting to go, third perhaps, when suddenly he slowed, a horse stopping, and below in the stands you could hear a sudden cry, as the rest left him, still trying to run but limping, his jockey -- Dave Gorman -- half falling, half sliding off. "He broke a leg!" somebody, holding a binoculars to his eyes, shouted in the press box. "He broke a leg!"Down below they were roaring for the rest, coming down the stretch now, but in the infield men were running toward the turn, running toward the colt and the boy standing beside him, alone.

There was a station wagon moving around the track toward them, and then, in a moment, the big green van they call the horse ambulance."Gorman was crying like a baby," one of them, coming out of the jockey room, said. "He said he must have stepped in a hole, but you should have seen him crying.""It's his left front ankle," Dr. J.G. Catlett, the veterinarian, was saying. "It's a compound fracture, and I'm waiting for confirmation from Mr. Hirsch to destroy him."

He was standing outside one of the stables beyond the backstretch, and he had just put in a call to Kentucky where Max Hirsch, the trainer, and Robert Kleberg, the owner, were attending the yearling sales."When will you do it?" one of them said."Right as soon as I can," the doctor said. "As soon as I get confirmation. If it was an ordinary horse, I'd done it right there."He walked across the road and around another barn to where they had the horse.

The horse was still in the van, about twenty stable hands in dungarees and sweat-stained shirts, bare-headed or wearing old caps, standing around quietly and watching with Mr. M.A. Gilman, the assistant veterinarian."We might as well get him out of the van," Catlett said, "before we give him the novocaine. It'll be better out in the air."The boy in the van with the colt led him out then, the colt limping, tossing his head a little, the blood running down and covering his left foreleg. When the say him, standing there outside the van now, the boy holding him, they started talking softly."Full brother of Assault." ... "It don't make no difference now. He's done." ... "But damn, what a grand little horse." ... "Ain't he a horse?""It's a funny thing," Catlett said. "All the cripples that go out, they never break a leg. It always happens to a good-legged horse."

A man, gray-haired and rather stout, wearing brown slacks and a blue shirt walked up."Then I better not send for the wagon yet?" the man said."No," Catlett said. "Of course, you might just as well. Max Hirsch may say no, but I doubt it.""I don't know," the man said."There'd be time in the morning," Catlett said."But in this hot weather --" the man said.They had sponged off the colt, after they had given him the shot to deaden the pain, and now he stood, feeding quietly from some hay they had placed at his feet.

In the distance, you could hear the roar of the crowd in the grandstand, but beyond it and above it, you could hear thunder and see the occasional flash of lightning.When Catlett came back the next time he was hurrying, nodding his head and waving his hands. Now the thunder was louder, the flashes of lightning brighter, and now rain was starting to fall."All right," he said, shouting to Gilman. "Max Hirsch talked to Mr. Kleberg. We've got confirmation."

They moved the curious back, the rain falling faster now, and they moved the colt over close to a pile of loose bricks. Gilman had the halter and Catlett had the gun, shaped like a bell with a handle at the top. This bell he placed, the crowd silent, on the colt's forehead, just between the eyes. The colt stood still and then Catlett, with the hammer in his other hand, struck the handle of the bell. There was a short, sharp sound and the colt toppled onto his left side, his eyes staring, his legs straight out, the free legs quivering."Aw, ----" someone said.That was all they said.

They worked quickly, the two vets removing the broken bones as evidence for the insurance company, the crowd silently watching. Then the heavens opened, the rain pouring down, the lightning flashing, and they rushed for cover of the stables, leaving alone on his side near a pile of bricks, the rain running off his hide, dead an hour and a quarter after his first start, Air Lift, son of Bold Venture, full brother of Assault.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Del Mar and Saratoga-- Racing and Charity Go Hand and Hand

The Del Mar and Saratoga "boutique" Horse Racing summer season is in full swing and so are the events surrounding the summer race meet.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Bebe Neuwirth and horsewoman Josephine Abercrombie will be honored Aug. 6 at the eighth annual Equine Advocates’ gala at Canfield Casino.This popular event annually attracts leaders in the thoroughbred industry and fans who want to rub elbows with horse racing’s elite. They all have one thing in common — they are passionate about saving horses from senseless slaughter and neglect. Equine Advocates, a leading rescue organization based in Chatham, is the home of 75 horses that have been spared. Neuwirth will be recognized with the Safe Home Equine Protection Award as an outspoken advocate against horse slaughter and for her life-long commitment to protecting animals at awards dinner and charity auction. “It is our patriotic duty to ensure the safety and the well-being of horses in this country,” Neuwirth said. This annual event has always been Equine Advocates’ most important fund-raiser and will be even more so this year due to the down-turn in the economy that has affected most nonprofit organizations across the country. A limited number of tickets at $250 per person are available. For more information, call (518) 245-1599. All proceeds will go toward Equine Advocates’ horse rescue, sanctuary and humane education programs.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Event: After the Finish Line 2009 Annual Charity Fundraiser, Silent/Live Auction and Dinner

"A Tribute to the Majesty of Thoroughbreds" Where: Hilton Hotel- Del Mar Time: 5:30-9:30 p.m. Contact

Thursday July 30, 2009
Event: Don McBeth Memorial Fund Dinner with the Jockeys and Actor Tim Conway!

Pamplemousse Grille 12th Annual Dinner-Del Mar
Where: Pamplemousse Grille
Details: Limited to 100 people. Tim Conway will tend bar and the jockeys will wait tables
Contact: Reservation: 858-792-9090

CERF (California Equine Retirement Foundation) 8th Annual Golf Classic
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Del Mar Country Club
Rancho Santa Fe, CA
We will be joined by the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club as DMTC's 2009 summer charity golf event. Hosted by Alex Solis and his celebrity friends in attendance. Dinner/Silent & Live Auction to follow a day of golf. For more information, click to see the brochure as a Word document or PDF. Call to be put on the mailing list. Contact:

12th Annual David Flores Golf Tournament to benefit the children in Tijuana, Mexico.
Tuesday, August 11 at Encinitas Ranch Golf Course in Encinitas, CA, near Del Mar Racetrack. Competitors at the golf tournament will play 18 holes under an open four player scramble format with 100% of each competitor's handicaps. Shot gun start is at 1:00 p.m. There will also be an awards ceremony and dinner reception at 6:00 p.m. For more information or to sign up, contact David Flores Golf Tournament, 9230 W. Olympic Blvd., Suite 202, Beverly Hills, CA, 90212, or call Jim Loya at (626) 825-6562.

CARMA Cares 2009 Charity Fundraiser

Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament
Silent Auction – Food and Drinks
Thursday, August 13, 2009 - 6:00 p.m.Del Mar Hilton (across from the track)$200 Early Bird Registration (before August 6) or $225 at the door for poker tournament.
For more information call (626) 574-6622.

Will most more events as the summer progresses!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Lukas-- The Worlds Smartest Horse- & the Good News He Spreads

I was recently introduced to Lukas, a beautiful chestnut gelding labeled possibly "The Smartest Horse In the World". Well, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about him.(Ad from California Horse Trader Magazine).

Lukas now 16, is a rescued off-the-track thoroughbred who had bowed both tendons as a young horse preparing for a life of racing. The injuries precluded him from ever seeing the starting gate in a race. Lukas changed hands a few times and at one point was malnourished before finding his trainer and owner, Karen Murdock. Lukas came into Karen's life when he was around 10 years of age. "I was only hoping to show him in a few lower level tests". "Put a few tricks into him and sell him to a good home", however Lukas had other ideas. And so a partnership based on mutual respect and rewards begun. They have been learning together for the past 6 or 7 years.

I watched in awe of a "Playing With Lukas" video on YouTube that shows Lukas identifying colors, shapes, and catching a rag being tossed towards his face. Horses would not normally want something flying around their head, so the level of trust is shown with just the simple act of his catching the towel. Lukas is motivated by carrots and responds throughout the video to patience, reassuring words, subtle hand gestures, clicks and smooches from Karen. All the while looking for that next delicious carrot.

Karen and Lukas want to focus on spreading the word that horses have a great deal of potential beyond the race track, and those facing bleak futures. "People everywhere mention to me that they didn't realize a horse could understand things like Lukas is able to". Lukas is able to perform at-liberty high level dressage moves to walking on his own down a driveway to play hide and seek with a towel. "If people know horses are smart, they are less likely to hurt them" says Karen. "It's a way for us to communicate and have fun together".

Karen Murdock is happy to offer Lukas and his talents to non profit groups and isn't looking to make a profit from the time and patience it's taken to build the bond between horse and owner. Karen says "I am just happy to be putting good out into the world".

To learn more about Lukas he has his own website at The video showing Lukas at work is To contact Karen directly regarding Lukas

Thank you to Doug and Karen Murdock for sharing Lukas with The Second Race, he is certainly the Poster Boy for this organization and the work it hopes to do for other horses in the future.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

An Equine's Rights??-- The Argument for and Against Retirement of Horses and Second Careers

In order to keep up to date on all that is going on in retirement, rescue, racing etc I subscribe to Google Alerts. With Google Alerts I am able to key in phrases or words from articles and blog postings that may be of use to me. I use key words such as Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Horse Rescue, Horse Charity to name a few. To say that I have had an education in the past month to how others see horse racing and animal rights would be an understatement.

For the most part I do not comment on what I see nor post. I rarely leave a comment to the original author of what is said. However, today I was floored to read on a vegan slanted blog post and the subsequent comments that I thought I would share their musings. First off, I love horse racing. I am going to be biased in my approach straight away. I love many people in horse racing, and again my take will be much different than those who are not associated with the industry. More importantly I love horses and I love being able to remove them off the track when they can no longer race for whatever reason.

So, back to the blog and posts--- The jest of the article was that it was "cruel to ask a horse to provide for it's own care after retirement by making it work as a therapeutic riding horse in order to maintain it's own keep at the facility". Subsequent posts stated that "the equine's rights were being violated". HUH? The blog post went on to argue a hypothetical analysis of what was in the best interest of the equine vs. the best interests of the human that it was transporting on it's back and was the exploitation of the horse beneficial to the experience of the person versus the forced will of man over beast. Yes, I will wait while you catch up.

I can't believe that this is all we have as lovers of animals to argue about?. Whether or not a horse should be donated or not to a charity that provides mobility to a child or a blind adult that they would not normally have, so that a horse can have something to do and feel good about itself in the process and by the way "earn it's keep", HUH? But then again should I really be surprised when the national news carried for an entire day the fallen fly that our leader, President Obama blotted off our American landscape?

Many find horse racing cruel, many argue that until all horses are free to roam we are exercising our will on them. Another remark stated that "horses are raped for a rich mans pleasure". OUCH! Breeding of horses is an industry, and yes covering a mare is not a chosen courtship as in the wild, however it is the way in which a foal is conceived in racing. Basic biology here, and it's to protect the stallion, mare and those that are standing there collectively helping with the process.

We can argue that a race horse shouldn't be raced at two, that they should be started at three or four, we can argue why and when if ever a horse should be whipped, and we can argue over the use of Lasix to enhance performance. However, the argument that the horse has "rights" as a human does, is insane and in my opinion misguided.

Race Horse and Equine rescue and retirement groups, and therapeutic riding centers do not need a bunch of "crazed" individuals ridiculing their efforts by suggesting a horse doesn't want a saddle on him and should not be made to be useful to society after it's racing days are over (if at all). I say leave these arguments dear animal lovers behind, and find something better to worry about, like the giant horse fly that I will swat and kill the next time it buzzes around my head.

Many of you wrote to say how outraged you were regarding the cruelty inflicted on the grey filly. Here is a follow up to that story. She has arrived at her forever home in San Diego county. Here is the news story.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

30 Year Old WA Hall of Famer-- Chinook Pass Alive and Well

(Article Reprinted from HorseBytes--Seattle Post Inteligencer)
Some stars require their personal stylist, their trainer and their manager to be accommodated before they will make an appearance.
I met such a celebrity on Saturday in the horse barn at the King County Fair in Enumclaw. His name is Chinook Pass. In his case, all of these roles are handled by one person, Jill Hallin, who is, to borrow a term from his publicity materials, his "long-time companion." And then there's Ellie, his entourage.
Jill does the heavy lifting. Ellie's job is just to hang out, allowing the thoroughbred to hog the limelight while she naps in the corner. Every now and then, though, the entourage decides to make a bid for some attention and emerge from the shadows.
"What happened to her ears?" a concerned visitor asked, clearly fearing that Chinook was responsible somehow.
Jill laughed. "She's a La Mancha. They are not supposed to have ears."
The bay gelding didn't look much like a ear-ripper to me anyway. He accepted the caresses of a stream of young people at the King County Fair, although he kept an ear flicked towards Jill most of the time. She was busy answering the multitude of questions, including mine.
Standing back by the table were Ron and Sharon Ellenberg. They came to the fair just to see this horse, but they don't want to intrude on the kids who are eager to visit him also until I urge them to step in for a photo.
They were there in the stands the day he came tearing down the stretch to win the Longacres Mile in 1983 by six lengths, the crowd roaring.
"They were all on their feet," Ron said.
"He was a wonderful horse," Sharon added.
That was 26 years ago and the last of his 25 races. Chinook Pass celebrated his thirtieth birthday in April at Emerald Downs. He's a member of the Washington Thoroughbred Hall of Fame and the subject of a series of articles written by John Loftus about the horse and his connections that reaches far back into the glory days of racing. With 15 wins, many of them stakes races, and nearly half a million dollars to his credit, Chinook is a well-known phenomenon. He was described by jockey Laffit Pincay as "the fastest horse I ever rode, and the fastest horse I ever saw. I have often thought that he might've been the fastest Thoroughbred that ever lived."
Chinook had the pure speed of a sprinter, who still managed to stretch out and win at a mile that memorable August day in 1983.
The first article in the series by John Loftus also relates how Chinook came to live with Jill, who worked at Donida Farm, where an attempt was made to rehab him and bring him back to the races again. When he didn't handle the return to training, he was retired and eventually became Jill's riding horse, doing dressage and showing. It's not a bad finish for an ex-racehorse who, regardless of his glorious wins, was a gelding and therefore not destined to pass on his genes. Continuing to work has obviously helped kept him going, though he is no longer being ridden. I ran my hand over his haunches and was suprised to feel so much muscle there.
Thirty is not unheard of for a horse, not even close to a record. But it is still fairly remarkable, particularly for a horse that gave so much so young, and I asked Jill what she thought the key to his longevity was.
"Routine," she said. "Structure. Daily turnout." She also watches his diet, but he has never colicked.
Emotional nourishment could be added to that list of key factors. When Jill removed Ellie from the stall during a momentary lull in the stream of visitors, Chinook was suddenly a very different horse. He emitted an uneasy rumbling nicker, and his eyes flashed white as he paced the front of the stall. The moment she returned, the anxiety subsided and he relaxed.
At home, Chinook has an equine entourage - Turbo, another retired stakes horse (registered name Turban) who ran from Jim Penney's barn, Heller (Hellerhighwater) whose career was considerably less grand, an Appy mare and a little POA named Charlie, most of whom are still working in Jill's lesson program (she is a British Certified Riding Instructor). They are all considerably younger, and crowd the fence when someone shows up with a carrot.
Chinook doesn't rush over like the others, but when he shows up, "he parts the waters," as Jill says. The others recognize his celebrity status and step aside.
He doesn't make many appearances these days, but since the fair in Enumclaw was close, Jill trailered him over. He might appear calm now, but he was all excited when they arrived, Jill told me, and pranced all the way to his stall.
For a horse that has traveled to Santa Anita, to Del Mar and to Hollywood Park, getting off the trailer still means something. Just like for his fans Ron and Sharon when they recall his race, the years fall away. His age may show in his swayed back, and his racing years in his bowed tendons, but his self assurance belongs to a horse that is anchored securely in this moment.
I think to the list of Chinook's longevity secrets we should add another - Jill Hallin, who says little of her own accomplishments with him, cheerfully shares his past with his old fans, and helps him acquire new ones.
Hopefully Chinook Pass will continue to make occasional public outings -- he can do more with one touch of his nose to help future generations appreciate former race horses than all the scribbling in the world.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Abandoned Horses a Sign of the Times--- Domesticated Horses Cannot Survive on Their Own

Last week I saw the story of a beautiful grey Quarter Horse that was found wandering in Nevada with a very large square patch of it's hide cut away. The person or persons that abandoned the horse, had the forethought to cut the brand off of the horse so that if it was discovered alive, it could not be traced back to its owner(s). Details and the photos are here. The story is disturbing and illustrates the lengths to which many horse owners are going to, to remove their responsibility to their horses. However there is a proper and correct way to give up your horse, this of course certainly was a horrific manner to complete that same task.

Abandonment of a horse is a crime in all 50 states, the fines and penalties vary widely and admittedly these "crimes" are not being prosecuted. Having laws on the books, without enforcement is an empty threat at best. In Indiana in 2008 there was a reported story, that a sheriff department official when called upon to act on the starvation of horses found on a lot, said it could not as the county could not afford to feed them. Rescues, shelters and county facilities across the United States are reporting trailers being pulled up to their doors, with underweight horses being left on their doorsteps. Most owners beg for their horses to be taken in. People generally want to do the right thing and are not negligent, they just can't continue the burden of the cost to feed their horses.

The economy has forced all of us to rethink how we spend our dollars. Foreclosures have been the norm for the past two years, and people are having to downsize to stay afloat. Pets are now seen as luxuries and many owners have had to make the painful decision to leave them behind. In real estate dealings dogs, cats and other beloved pets are being found in foreclosed homes at an alarming rate.

Last year, the Los Angeles County shelter took in 188 abandoned or abused horses -- up 600 percent from the previous year. "There are no hard numbers on this," said Michael Markarian of the Humane Society of the United States. "The states don't seem to be keeping numbers. The economy has been hard on everybody, and animals are no exception." (excerpt from a CNN article dated 3/22/09)

A horse is not so easily left behind, it's not easy to hide a horse in a back bedroom. Leaving the barn door open and hoping the horse can fend for itself in the elements is a myth. Adding to this phenomena is that a domesticated horse is not suited for, nor would be accepted by a wild herd.

"To turn a domesticated horse loose into the wilds and think that he or she will blend right in is a somewhat irresponsible notion," Kerry M Thomas, Equine Ethological Researcher/Behavior Expert and Founder of THT, specializes in Equine Athletic Psychology. "A great number of variables fall into play, and the domesticated horse in a wild horse's world, especially a stallion, would have a difficult time belonging to a bachelor herd, and a very difficult go of taking over a breeding band. The life lead could very likely be more like the injured and abandoned wild horse unable to keep up. Diseases and other infirmities could be a serious issue and deeply damage a healthy band of wild horses and adversely affect the intricate social herd dynamics as well as the localized ecosystems. Then there is the issue of the breeding female infecting the genotype. In reality it isn't as much a matter of can they do it, but the question moves toward should they be allowed to. I say certainly not."

Google "abandoned horse" and you will find story after story of horses being found wandering in the Southern California desert, or showing up as this gray horse did on someone elses property.

So how does a responsible horse owner either try to hold onto their horse during tough times or give up their horse? Contact the local rescues in your area. They will have the ability to assess if they can in fact take in the horse. Most rescues network with each other and can give you other alternatives. The Humane Society is a resource as well. Many shelters are full and funds are not available. It will take work on the owners part to find a home. Consider donating your horse to a charity, so that the charity can sell the horse and proceeds from the sale benefit the organization and can also in some cases provide a tax write off for the owner. (Read my post Bartering has become popular with other services and could be conducted similarly between parties so that horse owners could keep their horses in hay, vaccinations and shoes. Allowing a dentistry clinic utilizing an owners horses, could help out students obtain their education and reduce the costs of having a horses teeth floated, thereby using funds to feed instead. Other alternatives are humane euthanasia and there have been recent clinics sponsored by NorCal Rescue among others at a reduced cost to assist owners. These decisions are difficult and ultimately up the the owner of the horse to make.

Posting a horse for "free" brings about a cautionary tale. Often times the person that answers that ad does not have the best interest of the horse in mind and are "fronts" for kill buyers. When possible in offering a free horse, do the homework to ensure that in fact the horse will have a good home. Visit where the horse will be living, meet the care givers, what is their experience, what will the horse be doing. Example a horse that is in someones' backyard as a pasture ornament might not be suited for trail riding, or jumping. Your horse if not suited to the expected 'new life' may find itself right back in harms way.

No one can plan for every facet of life and what will come it's way. Having a realistic plan in the eventuality that you may have to give up your beloved equine friend should be considered well in advance, not at a time when emotions are running high and hope is ebbing.

Let's hope we see less stories in the future of abandoned horses and we wish well the recovery of this beautiful Grey that sparked this posting.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The End of a Racing Meet Finds Me With a Renewed Sense of Hope?

It was Sunday late in the afternoon after the 8th race at Hollywood Park that I decided to visit the backside to see how Spring House was after his race.

Two weeks prior I had visited him in Julio Canani's barn and he was full of himself. You sensed he was ready for a big race. He was jumping out of his skin and the handsome dark brown gelding was a joy to be around. Spring House has become a favorite of mind during this past meet. As usual, the barn was a bustle of activity. If you have never been to the backside of a race track there really isn't anything else like it. It has it's own rhythm, culture and lifestyle. Saturday, the day before the race was much the same. I did note that there were more horse transport vans than usual, and rental vans had desks, chairs, tack and every other item you can imagine loaded up in them, but that was to be expected as the horsemen had been excitedly talking for a week about Del Mar, the next stop on the So Cal racing circuit. I watched as horse after horse were being lead up the ramps, and wondered who he or she was. All with their legs wrapped ready for the long ride down the highway, they were loaded up efficiently.

Well Spring House did not win his race on Sunday, but I was proud of him just the same and wanted to say goodbye before I left. The difference in 24 hours was amazing. The backside at this late hour of the afternoon was a ghost town. Barn after barn were cleaned out, some looked as if nothing had occupied the stalls even a day prior. When I reached Julio's barn, Spring House was happily eating up his mash, and barely flicked his tail in recognition that someone was standing outside his stall. To me that was a sign of a happy and hungry race horse, and so I said goodbye and told him I would see him soon. As I was getting ready to leave, for some reason I looked down the shed row and noticed five or six heads peering out from their stalls. To that point, I hadn't paid attention to who else occupied the barn.

The horses looked forlorn and there was something different about them that drew me to walk down the row. I noticed several of the stalls were empty, most with trash strewn about and these five or six horses. One in particular with the brown eyes that only a horse possesses stared at me. I stared right back and found my pulse quickening. Where was their hay, where was their food, and where were their caretakers? I looked around and there was no one in the barn at all. And then a thought crossed my mind, have these horses been left behind? Are these the "less than's" that I worry about at the end of a racing meet? Surely someone was coming for them? Another horse was eating the straw in his soiled stall, and I was beginning to feel a sense of panic that I couldn't describe. I was imagining things, I told myself, too much time spent thinking about rescuing horses had made me jaded. I faintly heard my friend say "who left these horses here"?

As we both stared at each other and the horses, a van pulled up to the barn. We slowly, in our own thoughts, walked to my car. We looked back in unison to see if the proximity of the van to the barn somehow ensured that we were correct and the van was there to take the horses to the next stop, Del Mar. Surely no one would leave the horses behind, I told myself over and over again. Yes, of course don't be silly Sharla, of course someone will wrap their legs and give them a small bit of hay as they drive down the highway to make the trip less stressful, of course they will, of course they will be running in Del Mar enjoying the cool beach air, of course........ I drove home in silence.

For a story about a horse that was not forgotten read this post from The Blood Horse regarding Boule D'Or.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Horses on the Hill Day & Horse and Owner of the Day

Today is Horses on the Hill day and time to call Congress on behalf of America's Horses - Help End Horse Slaughter! Visit for more info. Please call and cross post!
As horse advocates come to the US Capitol Hill today to show their support for H.R. 503 and S. 727, the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, it is important for those unable to join us call their elected officials. Please follow the information below to make your three calls. Be sure to share this information with everyone you know so they can be heard. A call, an email and a visit all make a tremendous difference. Thank you! For more on horse slaughter and how to help visit
Date: July 14, 2009
Time: 10am – 5pm
Number: Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your two US Senators and US Representative’s offices just ask to be connected to your two U.S. Senators and your U.S. Representative. They’ll ask for your address and connect you. Its super easy! Your 30-second phone calls urging your legislators to “please support H.R. 503 and S. 727 to protect horses from slaughter” are critical.

Rescued (Retired Actually) Horse and Owner of the Day--- J J Bob and Ruth

The latest featured horse's story is a bit different, JJ Bob is a registered Paint (his sire was an Appaloosa and the dam was a Thoroughbred). Ruth says that she sold her jumper to claim JJ Bob off the track so she could retire him at the end of the fair season in Northern California. JJ Bob's first job after retirement was to become a pony horse at the track at Golden Gate Fields.

After Ruth left the track JJ Bob was trained to learn to participate in pole bending and barrel racing. JJ Bob was so talented he became triple A rated in both events. Ruth went on to become involved with cowboy mounted shooting and she and JJ Bob have won state, regionals,nationals and a world championship!

Prior to Ruth claiming him, as a race horse he was 2yr champion and Horse of the Year for Appalossa's in 1992. JJ Bob equaled the world record for a 1/4 mile in his 1st start as a 2yr. and holds the 4 1/2furlong track record at Vallejo. JJ Bob had 50 starts, 19 wins, 7 seconds, and 3 thirds and earned $ 125,065 during his career from 1992-1997.

Now that is what I call a race horse and a wonderful friend and find! Thank you Ruth for sharing your story.

There are many more JJ Bob's out there that can do many jobs or activities off the race track. Please contact your local equine retirement facility to see what you can do to help by volunteering, sponsoring, fostering or adopting a former race horse.

You will never regret it!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New York Racing Association & Other Groups Pledge Support to Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation

July 9, 2009 (Edited Press Release)

The New York Racing Association (NYRA) and many members of the Jockeys’ Guild who ride at its three racetracks, along with the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) and The Jockey Club, have jointly pledged more than $100,000 in financial support in 2009 to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), which provides humane retirement options for Thoroughbreds at the end of their racing careers, it was announced today. NYRA will contribute $50,000 while NYTHA and The Jockey Club will donate $25,000 each. All 29 of the regular NYRA-based riders have pledged to donate, through a voluntary checkoff program, $1 from each mount.“This is an example of industry stakeholders working together to do the right thing for the welfare of racehorses when they can no longer race,” said Diana Pikulski, executive director of the TRF. “We are very grateful to NYRA, NYTHA, The Jockey Club and the Jockeys’ Guild and we would encourage organizations and individuals at other racing circuits around the country to follow their example.”“This is an interim step while the New York racing community works out a more comprehensive and detailed plan to deal with this issue,” said Hal Handel, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NYRA. “We want to have something in place that we can all be proud of.”“We make our living because of these horses,” said John Velazquez, four-time leading NYRA jockey. “Because of that, we love to be a big part of helping out with retired horses and enabling them to be better cared for.”“After the situation with the Paraneck horses, I felt strongly that we needed to do something to make sure these horses are well taken care of after their racing careers,” said Richard Migliore, a fixture of the NYRA jockey colony. “They give us so much that it is really important we try and take care of them when they are done racing.”The NYRA jockeys’ donations will be retroactive to June 27.
“Regardless of the amount raised through the checkoff, we will guarantee our $100,000 matching donation to each of those two charities,” said Alan Marzelli, president of The Jockey Club. “In so doing, we will earmark $25,000 of the contribution to TRF for this New York-based effort.”The Jockeys’ Guild is an organization that was formed and is governed by Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse jockeys who ride throughout the United States .
Founded in 1983, the TRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to retiring Thoroughbred racehorses after they are finished racing. TRF operates retraining and adoption facilities and satellite farms across the country as well as vocational training in equine care for inmates at nine correctional facilities nationwide. TRF currently maintains approximately 1,800 horses. Additional information is available at

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Papi Chullo and the Thwarted Efforts of a Few

Papi Chullo in his return at the Big A in November (photo credit Ernie Munick)

This morning I was going through my in box when I noticed a "Green but Game" Blog posting which said the following:

Randomly visiting the Mammee Ridge farm site to see if there were any new photos of Papi Chullo I was stunned to find news of his death!

From Sunday May 10th:
It is with regret that we announce the death of Papi Chullo who died this morning. An necropsy performed by Dr. Clifford Bradford indicated that the young stallion suffered a heart attack.
Papi Chullo, a Graded Stakes winner of 7 races and US$390,062.00 endeared himself to racing fans throughout the United States. He arrived in Jamaica to stand at Mammee Ridge Farm, and became an immediate favourite of the staff and the local community alike.
Two mares have been confirmed to be in foal to the late Papi Chullo.
He will be missed

Huh?, after I blinked two or three times and really looked at the picture of the beautiful grey I sent a message to Dana the author of the blog. We both said the same thing, why didn't any of us hear about this?.

I was taken back a couple months ago prior to his death in May, to our efforts ("our" being a Facebook Group of primarily New York racing enthusiasts headed up by Ernie Munick) to attempt to purchase Papi Chulllo off the track or to see if the group that had him would consider retiring him without one of us dipping in for a claim or private purchase. Ernie had posted a picture of Papi Chullo from November (see above) and it was surprising to me to see him in New York, because my first recollection of him was when he was racing in Southern California years earlier. Many people in the group thought that he deserved much better than the $ 16,000 claimer that he was running in or the level he was pointed at, and were concerned that it was a slippery slope to who knows where.

Before you knew it his fans in the group were stating that we could raise the money to buy him (yes it reminded me of an ol' MGM musical, "Sure Billy, we can put on a show or raise a barn in a day") . Maggi Moss, prominent owner in the mid West, stated she would contact the owners on the group's behalf and would in fact make the purchase if we could find a place for him to go. Wheels were put into motion, different people took on different roles to accomplish this feat but unfortunately our efforts were for not. I remember being disappointed at the response, especially because one of the owners of Papi Chullo could have benefited from the positive publicity at the time!

It is sad that Papi Chullo wasn't able to live out his life in the warm Caribbean sun, but his life and death serves as a reminder to me that there are owners, breeders, trainers and racing fans that truly care about race horses. Small efforts are started and successfully accomplished all the time. The Fans of Barbaro are a perfect example of a ground swell of activity and networking coming to the forefront and impacting a larger community for good. There will be many more "Papi's" out there and many more efforts to bring them out of racing into a soft place to land. Hopefully the next ending will not be so bittersweet.

RIP indeed Papi Chullo.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Kentucky Horse Council Provides a new DVD for Potential Horse Owners

Release: July 06 2009 (Edited)
By Essie Rogers

Understanding the responsibilities of horse ownership just became much easier thanks to a new DVD, HorseSmarts: Essential Advice for Today’s Horse Owner, from the Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) and produced by Marvo Entertainment Group. In an effort to meet the needs of new and potential horse owners, the Kentucky Horse Council collaborated with equine industry experts to produce a 60-minute film. The DVD contains 10 chapters, including horse selection considerations, nutrition, hoof care, safety, tack, veterinary care, preventative healthcare, facilities, trailer loading and transportation, and all about the Kentucky Horse Council. Supplemental information and articles are included in PDF format on the DVD and can be viewed and printed after purchase. “Our goal in creating this DVD is to help all horses receive better care and to provide resources so that new horse owners have a safe and enjoyable horse ownership experience,” Millard continued......the video is now available for purchase from the Kentucky Horse Council. Filmed on location at horse farms and equine facilities throughout Kentucky, HorseSmarts features renowned jockey Chris McCarron as the host.

For more information regarding the DVD or to order a copy, visit or contact the Kentucky Horse Council at (859) 367-0509 or email

The Kentucky Horse Council is a non-profit organization dedicated, through education, to the protection, growth and development of the equine industry in Kentucky. The Kentucky Horse Council provides educational programs, grants, scholarships, personal liability insurance, trail riding programs, and an annual statewide equine industry directory.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Internet Listing Finds TB "Strider" in WA State and Groups That Can Help, including The Prodigious Fund at Emerald Downs Race Track

When I started The Second Race (and the publishing of this blog) it was with the intent to share information along my journey as I build up the network. The Second Race has a fan page on Facebook. A fan posted a photo of a Thoroughbred gelding currently on a feed lot in Yakima, WA. The location of this feed lot for the most part is kept quiet along with who does or does not own it, and what may or may not be, the owner(s) association to racing or breeding in the state. Allegiances are formed which are beneficial to both parties. It's difficult to be in "bed" with the kill buyers and auction owners but in order to rescue horses or to be allowed on their lots, groups do what you have to do. So is the case where this horse currently resides. Here is his story from Rebels Equine Feed Lot Sales:
Strider ~ Bay Gelding ~ On the feedlot ~ $550 3 - 4 yr old, 15.1+h, bay TB gelding. This horse rode nice. He is basically track broke but seems to be very level headed and not to have been ruined mentally. He walked, trotted and cantered nicely with no issues. He has an infection in his eyes and we washed them and put some of the FLO Clear Eyes in them before we left and he was very good and appreciative. He would make a nice riding horse that could go in any direction.

I see hundreds of images a day of horses that need help, but for me, when I see a race horse in particular, something stirs inside of me and I feel the need to help. It appeared from the pictures posted that "Strider" had racing plates on and his bridle path seems to be growing out.

I sent an e-mail to the gal that posted the original picture on my site. She explained that they (Rebel Equine) had taken over the work that had been started by a now defunct rescue group. I was put in contact with the Administrator, who goes to the lots, evaluates the horses that are there, and then works the computer, networks and discussion group postings to secure a home for them in advance of the sale. Once there is a commitment of a home/or sponsorship, a purchase is made. I asked after the horse's tattoo and if there was any other identification (papers) on the horse at the lot?. She stated that someone would return to take a look at a potential tattoo and they would contact me immediately to run the identification. I will run the tattoo number through the Jockey Club Registry ( to hopefully ascertain who the horse is. In the meantime I wanted to see if the state of Washington, and the associated breeders, horseman groups, or race tracks had established provisions for retired/rescued horses. On the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association website ( I discovered that Emerald Downs initiated the The Prodigious Fund in 2008. It gives owners the opportunity to make contributions to accredited Thoroughbred rescue, retirement and rehabilitation facilities through a voluntary $1 per start minimum contribution from their horsemen’s bookkeeper accounts. Two of the recipients from 2008 were Second Chance Ranch (, and Chez Cheveaux (, it is my intent to contact both of them today to network on behalf of Strider. To be eligible to receive funds, organizations must be a registered 501(c)(3) charity with a proven track record in the field for at least one year and must be Thoroughbred exclusive or dominant in their efforts.

The date to have him off of the lot and safely in a new home is this Saturday, July 10. I told the group that is currently watching him that I will do whatever I can to help to network this young gelding off the lot. Please join me in these efforts, and write me if you are aware of a facility, group or private person that would be willing to take him in. Time is of the essence. He will need to be quarantined, as all horses from lots should be. He does have an infection in his eyes, so its important that he receives the care he will need as soon as possible.

Upcoming Events and Fund Raising Opportunities: (The Highest Bidder Wins The Rachel Alexandra Pink Halter She Wore In the Post Parade During the Preakness)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Donating Your Horse To Charity & Featured Rescued Horse and Owner of the Day

Recently, I was asked if I would network to find a new home for a pony (this is not the pony by the way). The owner had stipulated that the pony was to go to a non profit organization only, so that the present owners could receive a tax write-off. This presented two issues that I hadn't come across before. 1) attempting to find a non profit that would be suitable for a pony that was a bit head strong, and didn't like the routine of a round pen, but wanted to go all day long on a trail and 2) the owners nor I were aware of what the tax code was for this type of donation.

I did my research on the Internet and found that donating a horse or pony isn't as easy or as "profitable" come tax time as one might imagine. Several factors are involved (I am not a tax professional by any means, so please consult one before considering donating your own horse). The actual tax deduction depends on the type of charity you are donating your horse to. Depending upon the charity that you chose you could potentially receive a deduction for 30-50% of the value of the donation. That value is further calculated and limited based upon your income tax bracket. In order for a horse donation to be a tax write off you can not receive any goods in exchange for the donation.

Determining current market value of the horse if over $ 500 may require an appraisal. You can claim only the current market value, not the original purchase price of the horse. You can't use a "comp" as you would in real estate to show similar horses and their prices, as a means of showing current market value. The American Society of Equine Appraisers (ASEA) can provide you with a qualified appraisal professional. Note: The person conducting the appraisal of your horse, cannot have a vested interest in the charity or horse, nor a relationship to the owner or trainer.

If the charity is going to sell the horse to raise funds, you are able to use the net sales price to determine the value of the donation. It's important to note that if the horse is being actively marketed for sale and the horse is still at your barn (a clear title has to be transferred to the charity first), you may be able to deduct some of the expenses of keeping the horse fed, shod, vaccinated, etc.. Documentation is key in establishing that the horse was actively being marketed, or the deductions will not be allowed.

If the horse is a business asset, a CPA needs to assist you to determine if the horse is considered a capital asset that you are depreciating, or an inventory asset of goods for sale. If an inventory asset, it matters when that horse was added to the inventory.

In the case of the pony that I was networking on it's owners behalf, I did find a non profit "dudette ranch" that was willing to accept the horse. There are stipulations to this type of donation (or to a therapeutic riding center for instance) and that is that if the horse is going to be used rather than sold, a tax deduction is allowable providing that the equine non profit uses the horse for a minimum of three years without selling it. This rule is in place to make sure that a horse isn't gifted, a tax write off is made, and then the horse is brought back to its original owner. Note: If you give a horse to a riding stable for instance, that isn't a 501 (c) non-profit, you cannot claim a deduction at all.

To update the story based upon what the owners learned, they have decided to keep the pony at this time.

Featured Rescued Horse and Owner of the Day: Lauren Knows and Alanna McPartlin

Lauren Knows aka "Roxy"

Was found on a feedlot in
Yakima, WA by Columbia
Basin Equine Rescue in August 2008.

Alanna McPartlin, was looking through the photos of the horses on the the rescue's website, and "really felt that she was the one". Alanna states that her older OTTB (off the track thoroughbred) was ready for less strenuous work and she needed a new event prospect and friend. Lauren Knows was not a successful race horse earning about $ 12,000 on the track through 2007. Alanna was able to adopt Lauren Knows through the help of a generous donor. Alanna renamed the mare "Roxy" and says that she has tons of sport horse potential. Roxy is currently in training to be an eventer and will also be shown in dressage. "She has been a ton of fun to get to know and retrain. She has a super sweet disposition and is a great worker". Alanna remarked "there are a lot of thoroughbreds that come through the feedlot at various times of the year. It is very sad".

Looks like Alanna and Roxy are going to have many fun adventures ahead of them.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fireworks & Horses, Launch of the Women's Horse Industry Association & Texas Govenor Signs Incentive Fund Bill


CONTACT: Catherine Master
(615) 730-7833

No one could have predicted the incredibly fast start the new WOMEN'S HORSE INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION would have. Thousands of women visited the group's website and hundreds of member have signed up.
"We could not believe the response to our association. It' been incredible and we now have hundreds of members not only here in the United States, but from around the world. We have member from all areas of the horse industry including farms, trainers, owners, vets, authors, bloodstock agents, jockeys and more.So many women signed up that it crashed our webserver! I've been involved in numerous associations and I have never seen anything like the response we have had. I can only compare it to a race horse blasting out of the starting gate like a rocket," states Executive Director, Catherine Masters.
Masters credits the media including Bloodhorse and the Horse for helping to spread the word about the association. "Many, many publications and people have shared the news about this association and we are grateful.Women really wanted an association like this and now our job is to make sure that it really works for them," she adds.
The association is open to all women working in the horse industry and covers all disciplines. For additional information on the Women's Horse Industry Association, please call (615) 730-7833 or visit
The Second Race is a proud member of Women's Horse Industry Association.

Horses and Fireworks - An Explosive Combination

The ILPH (International League for the Protection of Horses) is appealing to everybody organising a firework event, whether a big display or a just a happy gathering in a back garden, to make sure that they give horse owners in their area advance warning. Many horses and ponies can become stressed and upset by both the sight and sound of fireworks going off and if they are out in their fields it could have tragic consequences. Horseowners are advised to:

* make sure they are aware of firework parties in their area;

* stable their horses and ponies if there are to be fireworks nearby;

* give them plenty of hay to keep them occupied;

* check on them during the evening to make sure they are okay;

* check the field in the morning for any stray fireworks that may of landed there;

* have sand and water available in case of fire

Edited Press Release July 02 2009 reprinted from

All American Quarter Horses, American Paint Horses, and Appaloosas conceived by mares and stallions living in Texas during 2009 are eligible to be nominated to the new Texas Equine Incentive Fund. House Bill 1881, which was signed by Gov. Rick Perry on June 19. It becomes law Sept. 1. The bill creates a voluntary monetary incentive program to keep Quarter, Paint, and Appaloosa horses breeding, showing, or racing in Texas.

The Texas Equine Incentive Fund will provide rural jobs in the state of Texas by providing incentives to raise and show horses in Texas, rather than other states. The funds for the program are raised within the horse industry and will be administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The rules and guidelines for the program will be determined by a panel representing each of the stock-horse breeds.

Texas is home to about 900,000 horses. More than 450,000 people are employed by or involved in the industry. For more information, contact the Texas-Bred Horse Association at 214/223-4188. Watch upcoming issues of The American Quarter Horse Journal for more information on this program.

The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit Release Hoof Care DVD & Horse and Owner of The Day

The Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit’s Shoeing and Hoof Care Committee is now offering a free educational DVD. The Hoof: Inside and Out examines the physiology of the equine hoof and demonstrates proper care and shoeing techniques. “This DVD provides some basic information that will be helpful to owners, trainers, grooms, and anyone else involved with the racehorse, to have a better understanding of the hoof and its care.”
The 65-minute DVD, which was produced by the Keeneland Association’s broadcast services department under the direction of G.D. Hieronymus, includes seven segments:
Introduction and Overview, Welfare and Safety of the Racehorse Summit, Physiology — The Equine Limb, Basic Hoof Care and Trimming, The Basics of Horse Shoeing, Types of Shoes,
Farrier’s Role and Communication (with Trainers and Owners
). The video is available for download (at no charge) from the summit’s website at (Note: this is a large file download.) A DVD copy of The Hoof: Inside and Out can be obtained free of charge (limit one per customer) by contacting Cathy McNeeley, The Jockey Club’s administrative assistant for industry initiatives, at (859) 224-2728 or

Horse of the Day & Owner----- Mind Ya Bizness & Gillian Stupples

"Mind Ya Bizness" aka "Biz" is a registered 5 yr old paint stallion that Gillian Stupples came across in her travels about an hour outside of her hometown in Nov of 2007. Gillian says he was probably a couple of weeks away from death. He was so emaciated he could barely stand, his front legs were buckled and shaking. Someone had shot Mind Ya Bizness in the hind end and the wound was rotting and had maggots in it. Somehow, Biz trusted Gillian and allowed her to dig her hand into the wound twice daily to clean it out and she reports "he never made a fuss. He would stand perfectly".

Gillian was in for a bigger surprise, when after a couple months she realized he was a stallion. Biz's testicles had shrivelled up due to the emaciation, so she had assumed he was a gelding. "One day a couple of months after I got him home I was putting on his blanket and saw them hanging there much to my surprise"! Gillian reports that Biz is fat and happy and has his first baby on the ground, a colt out of a thoroughbred mare Betty Blue was named Cash Bizness. Biz is used as Gillian's trail horse.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Jockey Club Program Fund Benefits Charities & Horse and Owner of the Day

Matt Iuliano, Vice President of Registration Services at The Jockey Club wants to remind those that are registering their foals in the coming months to utilize the Retirement Checkoff Program. The program benefits two organizations that provide post-racing care for Thoroughbreds. They are matching funds dollar to dollar up to $ 200,000 in 2009. The two charities that are benefiting from this program are Thoroughbred Charities of America(TCA) and Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF). Visit the website at for more details or call 800-444-8521

Horse and Owner of the Day-- Byeairmail and Karan Kees :

Byeairmail born 2001, rescued 2008

Last week I asked for readers to send in pictures of their off the track race horses or horses found on auction lots and saved from slaughter, and share their stories. Our inaugural OTTB (off the track thoroughbred) is Byeairmail a Breeders Cup nominated 8 year old, beautiful bay mare. Byeairmail earned $ 26,000 during her racing career and then went on to be an unsuccessful broodmare, as her story is that she was found on a feedlot after losing her last two foals.
Byeairmail now named Rhoda was rescued by Columbia Basin Equine Rescue, in Yakima, WA. Byeairmail was gifted to Karan Kees by a wonderful lady named "Kay" for Karan's 50th birthday. Karan says Rhoda was the best present ever, and that she loves her more than life. Karan and Byeairmail reside at the Bluebird Bluff Farm in Spokane, WA were they enjoy trail riding and it took no time at all to have a race broke TB and broodmare adapt to their new life together. Karan says "she will be LOVED till her last day". To learn more about Columbia Basin Equine Rescue go to

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