The money has been raised, the “call” has been placed.
And the excitement is rippling through Our Mims Retirement Haven as the facility readies for the arrival of a great racehorse.
Today, the 1997 Breeders Cup Sprint Winner, Elmhurst, is expected to step onto a trailer in California to begin a 2,300-mile journey to the bluegrass of his new retirement home in Kentucky.
“My emotions are running between extreme excitement and nervousness,” says Our Mims founder and president Jeanne Mirabito. “And I can’t believe how lucky I am. So many people have donated time and money to make this happen, and we’re thrilled.”
They are excited because the dark bay gelding who won the Breeder’s Cup in a flashy come-from-behind dash worthy of Hollywood, is also family. The 1990 colt is the grandson of Our Mims, the racehorse for whom the Paris, Ky. sanctuary is named.
Ordinarily, the pastures are reserved for female ex-racehorses who became broodmares. But for Elmhurst, they’ll make an exception to the usual admittance clause.
“There should be mixed reviews among the ladies about a boy coming to stay,” Mirabito says, noting she expects behavior among her mares to range from flirtation to outright turf challenges.
But Elmhurst is well used to proving his worth.
Race name: Elmhurst
Sire: Wild Again
Dam’s mother: Our Mims
Foal date: 1990“Elmhurst has a fantastic story with winning the Breeder’s Cup Sprint,” says Cheryl Belluci, director of fundraising & promotion at Our Mims. “He came from dead last to win. He wasn’t on the radar, and he came from way behind. He overcame all the odds, and I think it’s the connection between Elmhurst and Our Mims that’s really getting people.”
So many people and organizations have donated time and money to make sure that Elmhurst is transported in style from the Rocking Horse Ranch in California, where he spent many wonderful years teaching children to ride.
The outpouring of financial donations and services has been overwhelming, Belluci adds.
- Brook Ledge Horse Transportation donated over half the cost to ship Elmhurst across the country, and expects he will reside in his own box car.
- Three Chimneys Farm donated a Point Given halter, which fetched $1,125 in an online auction.
- Producer Feeds in Paris, Ky. is providing shipping boots for Elmhurst to travel safely and will be sponsoring him once he arrives at Our Mims. Producer Feeds also sponsors Lotka, who is similarly retired at the sanctuary.
- And, Thoroughbred Charities of America contributed funds used to restore and refurbish Elmhurst’s new stall.
Her reaction to all the help? “I’m blown away!” Belluci says. From the Point Given halter to the donated transit and everything in between, the outpouring from fans, and those who just want to help, is like a “dream come true,” she says.
Mirabito says that she’s always aware of Elmhurst’s name on the pedigree charts of Our Mims, and now that he is on his way, she will do everything to ensure the gelding feels he has “come home.”
She has painted his stall door the same light blue and green combination he once wore as a racehorse, and has created a window where he can look out toward the ladies. The stall has also been refurbished entirely, down to new flooring and mats.
When he arrives, he will be treated to freshly baked cookies, the kind a child would get at grandma’s, she adds.
“Our Mims was my friend. And before she died, I promised her I’d help her (decedents),” Mirabito says. “So to have Elmhurst come here is amazing. It’s beyond anything I ever expected.”