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By Susan Salk on December 31, 2013
Scanning the entries at Betfair Hollywood Park’s claiming races last week, John Malone stared in disbelief at a familiar name: Cost of Freedom. The one he calls “an original class horse,” and winner of more than a million dollars, was running for an $8,000 claiming tag at age 10. “I just felt bad,” Malone says. “He ran third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (in 2009) and won over a million dollars. All I could think was, ‘Why is he still here? Hasn’t he done enough?’ ” Decades in the horse business himself— as a Thoroughbred trainer in the past and […]
By Susan Salk on December 30, 2013
The night before Christmas, 10-year-old Ellah Dubeau-Kielty wasn’t thinking of gifts from Santa. Not this year. Instead she was consumed with thoughts for the sweet T’breds residing at Mindy Lovell’s Ontario rescue, and she worried about whether they’d have enough hay and grain to make it through the darkest months of winter. Ellah had learned from her equestrian mentor Marilyn Lee, a well-known Thoroughbred trainer and advocate, that Lovell was fundraising for hay and feed, and the child leapt to help out, eschewing all thoughts of gifts as she set about fundraising for the horses. Lee had announced to all […]
By Susan Salk on December 27, 2013
Borrowing a friend’s old jockey saddle, Jackie Acksel, a middle-aged mother of two, swung onto the back of the luckless racehorse and folded into traffic heading toward the starting gate at Delaware Park. Ignoring the gentle ribbing of stewards yelling, “Don’t fall off!” the one-time jockey set her legs into an unnaturally cramped angle caused by leathers that were too short, and piloted Smalltownman to the scene of his comeback. It was August 2011 and just a month earlier, Smalltownman had put in a poor performance at Parx Racetrack in Pennsylvania. And as she watched from the sidelines as the […]