Papiese family helps fund racing documentary

Back on Track is a documentary about off-track Thoroughbreds and the racing industry

Back on Track is a documentary about off-track Thoroughbreds and the racing industry

The 2011 Eclipse Award finalist for Outstanding Owner has joined up with a Texas horse rescue organization to help fund a grassroots documentary film about off-track Thoroughbreds.

This week, Richard and Karen Papiese, owners of Midwest Thoroughbreds pledged $12,000 toward the ongoing production of the film Back on Track, a documentary that examines the efforts within the race industry to help retired equine athletes.

The Papiese family agreed to pledge $12,000 toward the film costs after Donna Keen, president of Remember Me Rescue of Texas, began promoting the film on social media, and asking friends to contribute to the project spearheaded by filmmaker and student Kara Colvin.

Colvin recently graduated with a 4.0 from Savannah College of Art and Design, with a degree in film and television, and is continuing at the college to pursue her master’s in film. And central to her filmmaking activities is a documentary she has been making by recording interviews with top-tier jockeys, owners, and horse rescues.


Kara Colvin assists with the audio of an interview for the film

In the quest to interview top racing personnel, Colvin has crisscrossed Kentucky, the mid-Atlantic and Florida and has interviewed such luminaries as Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, and Kim Zito, wife of Hall of Fame trainer Nick Zito, as well as Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day.

When more funding for the project was needed, Keen took a passionate interest in seeing the film come to fruition.

“We need this film,” Keen says. “It’s such a good thing for horse racing. People think we’re mean to our horses, and we’re not. Most people in horse racing are good to their horses, and I think a film like this will show that.”

Shortly after Keen helped publicize the film’s effort to fundraise $12,000, the Papiese family contacted Keen to offer to match the $12,000.

“Rich called me personally to say he would match that initial $12,000 that they raised,” Keen says. “He says it is real important for the film to (have the funds) to be done right.”

Colvin explains that the lion’s share of the funds raised would go toward the purchase of a high quality camera, a Red Epic 5K camera, which is considered an “industry standard” and has been used to shoot HBO documentaries and other films, she says.

Donna Keen of Remember Me Rescue enjoys a moment with a friend

Donna Keen of Remember Me Rescue enjoys a moment with a friend

She reasons that the film, which aims to raise awareness about efforts being made to help off-track Thoroughbreds, would have a broader appeal in the film industry if it is made with the right equipment.

Colvin was thrilled that Keen took up her cause, and flabbergasted that the Papiese family agreed to fund the project.

“What Midwest Thoroughbreds did was huge and it was amazing,” she says. “It was a generous gift.”

This is the second time in recent history that the Papiese family has stepped up to the plate to help Keen. In March, they paid to build a first-rate barn for Remember Me Rescue.

8 responses to “Papiese family helps fund racing documentary”

  1. Kara Colvin

    Thank you everyone for the wonderful support. I am very committed to finishing this film and sending it out to the public. Richard and Karen Papiese, Donna Keen and Vicki Morgan have been incredibly kind and supporting of the film, I couldn’t thank them enough.

  2. Gloria Stagmer

    Excellent idea. The more information is out the to the public the better chance we have to improve the lot of these animals. The entire industry needs a wake up call to do better and be responsible for the horses and those working on the track.

  3. Barbara Griffith

    Vicki, I glad your organization helps some of the mares find homes. knowing what happens to so many of them has always been a sore point with me. Its like the nurse mares that have their foals taken away from them to raise a expensive mares foal. The nurse mare foals are left to die or are killed and their hides turned into expensive shoes. If they are lucky they are bought by a rescue that will raise them and find homes but many don’t.

  4. BACK ON TRACK RECEIVES FUNDING BOOST | Texas Thoroughbred Association

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  5. Susan Crane-Sundell

    I have so wanted this film to be made for a long time. The idea of showing what some responsible and ethical trainers accomplish with re-homing and working cooperatively with rescues will only have a positive effect on the industry. The more trainers and owners see great trainers and first-tier members of the industry support this process, the more the idea will become a protocol at the lesser tier tracks. Every track should have an independent horse advocate that looks out for the welfare of the horses and helps coordinate their after-care, retraining and retirement when necessary. This movie will help to foster that goal.

  6. MaryAnn Myers

    Great news!!!

  7. Vicki Morgan

    Every horse that comes to Remember Me that is able to be ridden is retrained prior to be re-homed, even the broodmares. We currently have a 20 yr old x broodmare going well under saddle that will make a great beginner’s horse. We are fortunate that RMR has the staff and facility to do this. Not all rescues can. Our founder and President, Donna Keen, feels that if we can give them new skills they stand much less risk of ever being in danger of falling through the cracks and ending up on a truck headed South.

  8. Barbara Griffith

    This is what needs to be shown. There is so much cruelty that goes on with trainers loading up injured horses with pain killing drugs just to get the last dime out of them. In all industries there are good people and there are bad people. Some breeders really care about their horses and some don’t. As I have said before why do the breeders ship their brood mares to auctions knowing knowing that the place is full of kill buyers? No one ever mentions the fate of these horses that after years of cranking out foal after foal like a factory they are discarded like garbage. Why not do some training so they will have a chance for a different life?

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