In May, Bully’s career went flat. He finished dead last, coming in 40 lengths off the pace in a claimer at Mountaineer, says Diana Baker, a Thoroughbred advocate and board member of the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
Fans, who had remembered the pretty chestnut from his glory days, began to speculate and worry about his fate, says Baker. After all, it wasn’t that long ago that the flashy gelding with the regal, white-star adorned head, had carried celebrity jockey Chantal Sutherland to victory, as seen on the popular television show. They still remembered him; they felt they had to try to help him now.
“I belong to a private Facebook group of women who are racing fans, and they remembered Bully,” Baker says. “Probably a half-dozen people were talking about him, and were concerned because he finished 40 lengths off. I saw how concerned they were, and said I’d be happy to try to help.”
And help she did.
After persistent efforts to locate Bully’s trainer, and a fundraising effort on Facebook that raised $1,500 to buy the animal, Baker was able to arrange to temporary shelter for him in Lexington, Ky., before moving him into the herd at Akindale Thoroughbred Rescue in Pawling, NY.
Akindale manager Erin Pfister, and longtime friend of Baker, both agreed that Bully may be beaten as a racehorse, but he still had ample amounts of star appeal.
“The day my daughter and I went to Lexington to go see him, before he transferred to Akindale, he was just a lovely, people-oriented horse,” Baker recalls. “He was a little light, but he still looked great.”
In short order, Bully had charmed a prospective adopter into trying him for 30 days.
It was not surprising, given his go-with-the-flow attitude, says Pfister.
“He just has that cool personality, he’s a saint,” she says. “The first day of riding, we didn’t have to lunge him first.”
In short order, he was paired up with a great prospective adopter, who is currently having a vet check done on the horse, Pfister adds.
“Cross your fingers and knock on wood that it goes well, because he has found the perfect family,” she says.
Whether this adoption works out or not, Bully is in good hands. A contributor to the Facebook fundraiser also contributed to a year’s care for him at Akindale.
So, though the television series he starred in was ultimately canceled, and he suffered a bad loss on the track in the spring, life for Bully is pretty darned good.
“He’s a very lucky horse,” Baker says. “Not many horses have a fan base that is willing to ante up the money to help him. It was a pretty stressful few days as we tried to get him—I was thinking the worst because of my pervious experiences in general— but Bully has wound up in the best possible hands.”
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