National ex-racehorse charity CANTER was prominently featured last weekend in an NBC news story that aired at the start of its Breeders’ Cup coverage.
The three-minute vignette included interviews with Allie Conrad, executive director of CANTER Mid Atlantic, and Jessica Morthole, volunteer re-trainer. In addition, it featured footage of CANTER PA volunteer Amy Smith riding an off-track Thoroughbred.
The nationally televised story, although brief, shined a welcome spotlight in the middle of horseracing’s richest meet. The lens focused on the hard work being done to support horses who rarely shine in the big leagues, and if they do, often fall through the cracks.
“There’s still a huge chasm of awareness in the upper ranks to what the reality is for Thoroughbreds who wind up at the low end of racing,” says Conrad, a member of CANTER’s national board of directors. “People at the top end of the sport who deal with horses sold for big money don’t believe their horses could wind up in dire straits, with a rescue trying to scrounge up $400 to buy them when they’re broken down.”
A news crews filmed Conrad, her associates and the horses for eight hours, gathering material for the segment. And when filming stopped, and the cameraman and reporter, who also supply regular television features for the Kentucky Derby coverage, packed their equipment and headed back to their studio, they expressed great enthusiasm for CANTER’s efforts, Conrad says.
“They’re usually off interviewing stars like Bob Baffert and Graham Motion, and they hadn’t done a story on aftercare of Thoroughbreds before this,” she says. “They thought it was really impressive, in fact, the interviewer said, ‘I think I need to come down and get an off-track Thoroughbred.’ ”
To see the spot, please click here.