Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thoroughbred Aftercare Allliance is Launched

The Second Race was very happy to receive a copy of this Press Release today announcing the creation of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. Please read more about this exciting development for ex-race horses.

For Immediate Release:Contact: NTRA Communications: Eric Wing212-521-5316


A broad-based group of Thoroughbred industry stakeholders announced today the establishment of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA)—an organization designed to serve as both the accrediting body for aftercare facilities that care for Thoroughbreds following the conclusion of their racing careers and a fundraising body to support these approved facilities.

Funded initially by seed money from Breeders’ Cup, Ltd., The Jockey Club, and Keeneland Association, the TAA is comprised of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, aftercare professionals and other industry groups. “It is our responsibility as owners, tracks, breeders, trainers, jockeys, bloodstock agents, and anyone who has a stake in the game to take responsibility for the aftercare of these great animals who are the keystone of our sport,” said TAA board President and Thoroughbred owner Jack Wolf. "Securing support and funding from Breeders' Cup, The Jockey Club, Keeneland and so many other great organizations speaks to the credibility and importance of our effort and is so greatly appreciated.”

Additional support of the TAA has been provided by Adena Springs North, CARMA, Fasig-Tipton, The Jockeys’ Guild, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, The New York Racing Association, Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company and Thoroughbred Charities of America. The organization also received staff support from Thoroughbred Charities of America, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA). The NTRA will continue to provide that support on an ongoing basis. The TAA will accredit aftercare facilities based on a Code of Standards covering operations, education, horse management, facility services and adoption policies.

Simultaneously, the TAA will raise funds on behalf of accredited facilities via institutional contributions that are to be directed 100% to program services rather than to fundraising or general administrative costs.

“The Breeders’ Cup is proud to be one of the initial funders for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and fully support the TAA goals of an industry-wide, annually funded program committed to the placement or second-career retraining of retired Thoroughbreds on a national scale,” said Craig Fravel, President and CEO of Breeders’ Cup, Ltd. “Through the contributions of our sport’s stakeholders, we can help ensure that our horses are treated in a dignified manner throughout their lives.” “The Jockey Club’s involvement and support of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance is a natural extension of our other ongoing efforts in the area of Thoroughbred aftercare,” said James L. Gagliano, The Jockey Club’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “The accreditation and proper funding for aftercare facilities will greatly enhance the well-being of our equine athletes, and we encourage other groups and individuals from all segments of our sport to support this Alliance.” "Thoroughbred aftercare is something that touches us all," said Nick Nicholson, President and CEO of Keeneland. "We are proud to do our part, and I know that virtually everyone else will be equally proud to do theirs in order to make the TAA an ongoing success."

The TAA, a 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization with a 501 (c) (3) subsidiary, will fill out its staff and provide additional updates in the coming months. The TAA offices will be based in Lexington, Ky.
Photo by Cecilia Felix

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Children as Activists The Million Horse March

From the Facebook Page of The Million Horse March
In an effort to help Save America's Horses from slaughter, Equine Welfare Alliance in cooperation with Congressman Jim Moran and Prime Minister Alex Atamanenko, is conducting a Children's Letter Writing Campaign to Congress, the President of the United States and the Canadian Parliament.

We are asking that parents, teachers, riding schools, therapy centers, all engage their children in the civic process of affecting positive change through the petitioning of their governments. We have lesson plans written by the United Federation of Teachers Humane Committee, which parents and other adults may take to the schools for them to use.

The Million Horse March – Children's Letter writing Campaign is modeled after Wild Horse Annie"s 1971 program which was instrumental in the passage of 1971 Wild Horse & Burro Protection Act.

Join them on the Equine Welfare Alliance Children's Page
Our goal is the passage of Senate Bill 1176 and House Bill 2966 the American Slaughter Horse Slaughter Prevention act and Canadian Bill 322 An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption).

Final date for submission of letters is March 20th, 2012 with presentation in DC on March 27th, 2012.

Letters, poetry, drawing, etc which convey what horses mean to the children can be sent to the following address
Million Horse March - Children's Letter Writing Campaign
Attn: Jo-Claire Corcoran
301 Tazewell Avenue
Bluefield, VA 24605

The address for the Canadian Letters will be:

Million Horse March - Children's Letter Writing Campaign
ATTN: Chelsea Burton
Box 127
Chalk River, ON K0J 1J0

The due date for the letters is March 20, 2012 and the presentation will occur on March 27, 2012. See More

Saturday, January 14, 2012

If You Can't Say Something Nice....

Today we received a criticism that I felt was worth responding to in a public manner so that whomever the person was that stated their comments anonymously on our blog post yesterday regarding "A Conscious Decision" can read our response and for those that don't understand what we do can see our response.

The person wanted me to know that the majority of owners and trainers do care about their horses and take care of them after their retirement from the racetrack. I agree, if they didn't my phone wouldn't ring. Simple as that. The person also stated that I repeatedly "bash owners and trainers" for their lack of responsibility in caring for their horses when their racing days are over. That there is an implied "tone" to what The Second Race publishes. I laughed at first, and then decided to respond formally.

My response is...prove it....prove that I personally or The Second Race as an organization repeatedly bashes anyone. My response is you will be hard pressed to substantiate your claims. I on the other hand do not say things about what trainers or owners do if its a negative, you will rarely find me ever re-post statements that others make, articles posted or get involved in the he said-she said that you often find on Facebook and other media outlets (or any racetrack). If you can find where I have done that, let me know I'd love to see it.

This person said that they used to be someone that trainers called to place their horses and that groups like mine are nothing new, the only thing "new" is utilizing social media to place horses.

I agree there has been a network of private individuals and groups for years helping horses find new homes. Most worked quietly behind the scenes and did and still do, great work. However, if this person has been around the track as long as they state they have, than they know too that there has been a network of folks that have been on the backside taking horses straight to the slaughter lots, match racing and other less than perfect endings for years. That is a fact that cannot be argued. I have literally just missed "the truck" in the years that I have been doing this. Tremendous inroads are being made by many inside and outside the industry to ensure horses are taken care of and this should be applauded regardless of who is doing the work. The Second Race isn't interested in stepping on toes, and we are simply another vehicle to help those that need it. Nothing more, nothing less. However I feel that we have made an impact and will continue to do so. We have irons in the fire now that can substantially help. I guess that means we will have more detractors, but we will also have more "wins" when it comes to a horse finding a new home or career. Many of these "irons" will require numerous groups and individuals working together collectively. Perhaps this person will think differently about our efforts, or perhaps not. Time will only tell.

This person said that they know "of several owners and breeders that will have nothing to do with The Second Race since certain comments and posts were made". Hmm this morning I was in the barn of three prominent trainers. They had no problem asking me for help along with the breeder that I visited earlier this week. I know how often my phone rings, I know the number of messages I receive and I know the numerous emails I receive requesting assistance every day. There are numerous horsemen to use us, or someone else. Makes no difference to us, but it won't be because we "bashed" them.

This person also felt that I wasn't aware of the distinction between horses directly off the track and those that have to be "rescued" several years later by groups like mine. The Second Race to be clear was formed and uses the "niche" of a transition team in tandem with breeders, race tracks, owners, trainers as an option to place horses. It would not be in the best interest of The Second Race to not have good working relationships with all of those entities. It's not logical to state that we "bash" them.

When we rescue a horse off an auction lot, or purchase one off of Craigslist or any of the numerous ways we find horses years off the track, we rarely EVER call the former owners, breeders or trainers. That isn't our style. Many others cannot make that claim and create problems going so far as having volunteers not being able to go to auction lots to flip lids to see tattoos, because the broker on the lot doesn't want the trouble. The Second Race will often, in working with those that go to auction lots looking for ex-race horses not say one word about who the horse is to ensure that the folks that like to "out" former owners/trainers can't do it. So again, you need to prove your ascertains of our activities that "bash owners and trainers".

Whatever nerve I have touched with this person I feel that its too bad that this person has decided to post untruths instead of working with us and adding value to our network to help horses. Seems this person could be a valuable resource. Everyone is allowed to have an opinion, but responsibly temper those thoughts with the truth please. We are pro-racing, we are pro-breeding, we love race horses and enjoy the horsemen we meet every day in the game. That is a fact.

I am so confident of the work that we are doing that I had no problem publishing the comments for all to see. I am not afraid of the words, because I think they do not have merit. I appreciate that the person did say a group like The Second Race has the opportunity to do good work. I agree, and we do what we can. Ironically, as I write this public response, umm who was doing the "bashing" exactly by their comments?

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Conscious Decision

We are reviewing some of our past blog posts that we think are worth repeating. Here is one regarding making a responsible choice when deciding to own a race horse:

"I am a great champion
when I ran, the ground shook
the sky opened
and mere mortals parted
... parted the way to victory
and I met my owner in the winners circle
where he put a blanket of flowers on my back" (from the movie, Dreamer)

How many of us have had the thrill of being in the Winners Circle? Whether your horse is the favorite or a 55-1 long shot, nothing matches the thrill of winning! Your horse, your time to celebrate! The excitement is the same for the millionaires and the syndicate that has 25 people buying into a $ 15,000 claimer, its the victory that we remember most.

But after the excitement, the back slaps and the high fives, the horse that brought the victory goes back to its barn and may or may not ever win again.

When that happens, what happens?

That choice is equally the responsibility of the owner and trainer. Both work in tandem to ready the horse for its race, and both should be responsible in ensuring that when the horse can no longer perform, that it finds a responsible, safe vehicle for retirement.

Becoming involved in horse racing is a choice for every person that participates in it, only the horse bred to race doesn't have a choice in the matter. That doesn't mean that they don't want to run, that's an argument for another day (and one that we won't debate--as we know that horses are bred for and love to run). The choice is made (based on his or her abilities) to become a race horse. If a human can make the decision to consciously breed the horse, break the horse, train the horse and race the horse. Then that same conscious decision should be made to provide a retirement for that horse after it can no longer race.

A race horse is a created, dependant animal for our pleasure and entertainment. Only education and the truth provided by the race track industry will ensure that owners (including new and prospective) and trainers employed by the owners understand their responsibility to their investment....when the finish line is no longer an option.

To learn the process of surrendering a horse to The Second Race or for our assistance in networking to help place a horse go to our website page

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Rainbows End the Story of Judges Decision

The Second Race will feature a story on at least a weekly basis of a horse that needs to be adopted through us or in conjunction with another group we have partnered with to help a horse. We are kicking off the new year with the story of Judges Decision aka "JD" who is looking for his forever home. The Second Race was told in July 2011 by JoJo of a horse on Craigslist that was for sale for $ 500 and in someones backyard. A horse on Craigslist is a daily occurrence and so are the notifications to our offices that one is in need. We don't respond to many of the posts, we simply can't. However something about the forlorn look of Judges Decision made me want to help. And then in an ironic twist a personal friend of mine actually rode Judges Decision and earned his first stake race in America on him. Where "JD" had been from the time he left the winners circle to being advertised on Craigslist is a bit of a mystery, with few gaps filled in.

JoJo a friend of The Second Race agreed to take him in after his purchase. Here are her words regarding the day she met him and the progress he has made to this day:

It was the ad that caught my eye, with this picture of a pitiful looking skinny old horse. Normally, I would have said something like, poor old guy I hope he finds a good home; but he pulled at me through that picture and I had to go see him that day. I called my friends, Sharla at the Second Race and Deborah at Emerald City TB Project told them about the situation and they both saw that he needed help; we were going to get him out of that situation, the net was cast.

I called the number on the ad and was given the address of where he lived by a very disinterested female who could not or would not give me any information about him over the phone. She just said go here and I will meet you there. So I went there. My girlfriend and I pulled up at a pasture along the side of the road; I looked beyond the fence and saw the grey standing across the way. The grey stood away and just looked at me. His dark eyes searching wishfully, his nose to the air; did I have something to eat? or was I going to eat him?

The pasture gate was padlocked and there was no way to get in, or out; so we waited, and waited, for the owner to show up but she never did. I called and did not hear back from her. A couple of days later I was able to reach her. I told her I was still interested in the gelding and really wanted to see him, could she please meet me again? She agreed and once again I went out to the location and waited and waited. A woman came out of the house adjacent to the pasture; I asked her if I could come in and look at the horse as I was waiting for the owner to show up. She told me she did not have the key to the gates, but if I could squeeze through the side I could come on in. She was a renter, I thought it strange that she didn't have a key to the gates on the property, what if there was an emergency and a horse had to be taken out? This “pasture” really is a dirt lot there wasn't a blade of grass or green anywhere within the fences, but there was plenty of tall green grass outside and just out of the reach of a hungry horse.

I walked up to the grey gelding for the first time and saw how skinny he was, his feet were flared and chipped. He put his head in my arms and looked me straight in the eye. That did it, I told him then and there he would not be left behind. I wasn't sure how he would react to me, he stood quietly and patiently while I put the halter on him and easily walked him into the renter’s back yard. I gave him a couple of cookies and he hung out with me eating some grass and leaves. About that time a car pulled up; I put on my happy face and asked her if she was the owner of this beautiful grey horse and that I was interested in buying him. She said she was anxious to get “rid” of him, she did not need another mouth to feed and I told her I was ready to take him home and wanted to clear up the business part of the deal. She told me her step-daughter was out of town and she would take the money. I wasn't comfortable giving her the money so I said I would be back to pay for him and pick him up when the girl returned. That was the longest couple of days of my life.

I finally got a hold of the owner. She was a young blonde girl with two toddlers at her side. She explained to me that she got him as payment for babysitting someone's kids and that she really did not want a horse, but she thought she could get some money for him. We had the trailer and we were ready to go. Oh, what if he won't load? He hopped right in. It was such a happy day for me and I felt so thankful to Sharla and Deborah for seeing the need and without any hesitations, stepping up and helping to bring him out of that situation. He was coming home to foster with me.

JD never was a million dollar winner. The wins were elusive for him, and he was claimed and ended up with his last racing owner in 2003. I contacted her and she recalled him, but didn’t have any memories, she only had him for a couple of months and then “found him a good home”. The reality of this world hits me hard; one loss, one bad day can have such an ever-lasting effect on a horse. Green pastures are not guaranteed for most of these horses that are bred to run and sadly the majority end up like JD, lost and forgotten.

It has only been a few short months that he has been with me. He has come from being a skinny depressed horse; to being beautiful, healthy and happy. He has a nice conformation and looks very much like his sire (Lit De Justice). His character is loving and willing. He just started with a trainer, who works with him under saddle once a week. She was surprised to find what he already knows; his walk, trot and canter cues are spot on, he knows his lead changes. He’s collected and flexible. She is sure that he has had some formal training somewhere in his past. We are continuing his lessons and he is always surprising us.

I wonder what his life was like; how he ended up in that situation what led him there? Someone loved him and cared for him at one time. He went through some hard times,but like the rainbow at the end of a storm he is special and loved again.

Judges Decision is available for adoption through either The Second Race or Emerald City TB Project. His adoption fee is $500. To request an adoption application contact us at He is currently located in the Sacramento area (Northern California).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sometimes You Feel Like a Nut

I live in an area of Pasadena, CA where there seems to be an overabundance of squirrels. I am situated not far from the San Gabriel Mountains and perhaps through several generations these furry creatures have found their way to living in the old pine trees in our neighborhood. I am a beach girl, as in the "O.C" and I didn't see them growing up.

All this to say that squirrels amuse me. Well maybe not so much, but who would think that this morning one of these scampering rodents would teach me something.

Squirrels need "tools" in order to survive. That got me to thinking much like the squirrel that uses my roof line to travel quickly from tree to tree gathering his food source, using the tree and a rock or other tools at time to crack open the meat of a delicious nut, The Second Race needs tools to sustain itself.

When The Second Race was originally envisioned in 2009, it was to be a national network, a private for profit business. It was not going to be a "rescue" of any sort and it was not going to take in horses (for at least three years into its growth). It was going to help those that already did that work facilitate the growing trend of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Blog Posts and Online Communities) to more quickly place horses into new homes. It wasn't going to be a wide net for all horses, but a specific niche that I felt was missing in the market (all race horses and those bred to race would be eligible for assistance). And a there was going to be a tool (that I still don't want to discuss), that would be unlike any of its kind to help those looking for horses find one in need.

The Second Race in 2009 had a 10 year business plan. An online community was created (and still is paid for but never launched). Facebook was utilized to gauge interest and a website was created. Twitter, still in its infancy didn't seem to click with me personally, my thought was it was a bunch of self absorbed people that needed to alert anyone that was just as self obsessed of their every move. I didn't see the value of it three years ago for what we were going to do. (We recently returned to Twitter and use it for specific purposes--but not placing horses).

The funny thing about a business plan, its as good as the time given to make it happen. Its as good as the tools used to implement it and its only as good as the paper its written on. If the squirrel doesn't climb that tree to get to the "fruit" of its labors, its all for not. A business plan, any business for that matter must stay a step ahead of its competition, it must listen to its customers and it must be able to redirect and reinvent itself to stay relevant in a fickle world.

The Second Race answered that need by opening itself up to taking in horses, this was done by a complete leap of faith, that has had its hiccups along the way. Lots of lessons have been learned since that time and continue to be learned. Mistakes made and feelings hurt. Egos run rampant in this industry and we have had our detractors. But we have had solid alliances from the start. The Second Race had to change its path and unfortunately many of the original initiatives and goals have been shelved. The Second Race had to begin the process of becoming a non profit. Not having a large source of income to spare to file our paperwork, I did it myself. As much as I believe I am a bright accomplished person, we can't always do everything and should have used financial resources and legal help. So because I didn't I had to re-do my paperwork several times. In the process of redoing it (our filing) we had grown so much that we re-did our mission, included new board members, and created an advisory board of race horse trainers to assist us. All the while not a non profit, but taking in more horses. We absolutely put the cart before the horse in this case. And as the squirrel knows that he has to store lots and lots of nuts in the ground to sustain him through the winter, our pending non profit status will help us feed itself so that we can go back to using our mental resources in growing The Second Race to the next level. To return to our original intent which was to be a national network to quickly and efficiently help those that help ex-race horses of any breed re-home their horses and move on to helping the next.

That squirrel that I watched this morning scurry from branch to branch with a frenetic but calculated purpose made me remember why I started The Second Race and what will help us succeed for the long haul. We have to have tools in our arsenal, just like the squirrel needs the assistance of the earth, the tree, the nut working in unison, we too need to work in tandem with many sources to help us increase our brand and sustain our dream and mission.

In the first 90 days of 2012 we are going to do what we can to finalize our non profit status, we are going to do everything we can to re-home the horses we currently have under our roof, and then we are going to dust off our original business plan using the tools of the knowledge and experience we have learned in the past 2 1/2 years and we are going to get back to the basics thereby able to replicate ourselves in several ways to help many more horses in 2012 which all along was our goal when we started The Second Race in 2009.

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