At the Fort Erie racetrack, where the distance to the Canadian slaughterhouse is frighteningly short, and where there are no laws or racetrack policies against slaughter, help for Thoroughbreds has recently risen up from the grooms, owners, trainers and racetrack officials themselves.
With the season over at a facility that this year grappled with the sudden loss of its revenue-generating slot machines, the track family has stepped forward, offering a barn, feed, shavings and other donations to help horses whose race careers are over.
For Alexis Kacho-Sinke, founder of Thoroughbred re-homing organization Second Start Thoroughbreds, tears come quickly these days as she arrives at the stall of a horse in need of help.
Not because something bad has happened, but because even during hard times such as theses, charity and kindness abound.
“Sometimes I show up at the barn, and there’s hay stacked for us,” she says, “and it makes us cry. It shows me that this little B track is like a family, and there are good people who want to help.”
Track officials went so far this year as to designate a barn for Second Start Thoroughbreds to house and showcase sale-horses to the horse-buying public!
“This year, the track has been awesome,” she says. “Having our own barn and stalls makes it so much easier to coordinate shipping” of horses to new homes.
With a looming Nov. 11 the deadline to have all horses off the track, five Thoroughbreds are in the possession of Second Start Thoroughbreds, and a total of 40 are for sale by trainers.
Although there is last-minute pressure, Kacho-Sinke has worked to get out ahead of the rush, by convincing trainers to sell their slow or under-performing horses in the spring. “I sold a couple in the spring for about $2,000 a piece, and this showed that horses have more value than the $120 meat price,” she says. “Our system is not perfect, but it’s working.”
Since she founded the horse charity in 2010, she has placed 285 horses in new homes, and many more before that.
And what is most encouraging is how her efforts have been embraced by both the good and the not so good in racing.
“There’s always going to be bad people in any sport, and people who don’t care about their horses,” she says. “Overall, most people are good, but, there are some bad, bad apples who are now using us, and in a way, that makes me feel better than when the good guys do, who would have given us their horses anyway.”
She admits it has been a hard, hard year for Fort Erie. When the government pulled slot machines from the track in March, only half the number of horses expected, were brought in to race.
“Normally there would have been about 1,400horses for a meet, but because people were so concerned” about the stability after the loss of slots “we wound up with only about 700 horses. And, by the end of the meet, we had 500 or less,” she says.
With the season now over, many horses are moving to tracks in Florida and West Virginia, while others will winter at a farms elsewhere, she says.
And for the ones with a temporary barn to shelter them, and the goodwill of the track keeping them fed and in clean shavings, there is hope that they will soon find new homes through her listings at Second Start Thoroughbreds.
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21 responses to “Ft. Erie track offers barn, feed to needy horses”
I am in Kentucky Full Time since Feb 2013… Always looking for Broodmares on or Off the track 214-601-1393
God bless you all. Keep doing what you are doing.
It’s so up lifting to see some compassion shown to these HORSES. I have donated to our local humane society to purchase hay for those in need. I am hoping many more will follow, as i am sure there is going to be a need over the winter.
I adopted an end-of-career racehorse from LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society, and it has been a wonderful experience! He is 9 years old now, practicing dressage for the upcoming show season, and going on trails with me. What a pleasure! Please find room in your hearts and barns, people: these are wonderful horses.
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What an awesome job these folks are doing. I’ve shared this on every Facebook group that I have and know of. Hope it helps!
Hey Kathryn, that’s really cool. Thank you for sharing!! 😉
l think the job you are doing is get if you need help or need some oats or please contact me
God Bless all the wonderful people involved in helping these horses.
I have a former racehorse from Fort Erie and he is an awesome horse!
No mention of Kim Sinodinos who works in conjunction with Alexis and tends to these horses every day and has walked miles around the barn area all year dealing with trainers and owners for the sake of these horses ,finding them homes all throughout Ontario,Quebec and the Maritimes.
I should have mentioned Kim! My oversight. Thank you for saying something!
Thank you going out to Second Start for assisting in re-homing these magnificent Thoroughbreds and the grooms, owners, trainers and racetrack officials for caring!
I Buy Racemares to Ship to KY, FL, TX etc… I have bought over 55 mares since Aug 2011… I Know Most trainers in USA & Alot now in CANADA… 206 432 1375 cell in S FLA>
Kudos to Alexis for doing the wonderful work she does. I’m so happy to see her “family” helping her out at the track. Wish I was closer and had more room and money to take another one or two home.
Thank God for Second Start. They have done an extraordinary job in making sure these superb animals do not get lost in this horrid system.
My husband and I took one of our owners horses because if she went home she would be euthinized for not being of use. We and another couple (God love them) are paying to keep her on a farm and hoping that somehow, someway, we can run her back at Fort Erie or in the States next year. Where there is a will there is a way. BUT, she is not going to be killed.
God bless all of you, my Xmas wish is short, a miracle for the horses and the folks involved.
Alexis deserves as much support as she can get for the work she has done for the horses this past year.
Wyndym Farm Standardbred Retirement
Good to hear something good coming from something bad. Keep up the good work all horses deserve a second chance. Maybe other tracks that are closing up will offer their barns to house horses so they dont end up going to the slaughter house. Thank You
Wonderful story! Cheers and major kudos to Alexis for her hard work – there’s a special place in heaven for people like her.
Hey KC, the baby must be sleeping if you’ve got time to write in. Nice to hear from you!! Yes, isn’t it wonderful? I didn’t know tracks would give barn space like that, even temporarily. It’s very cool.