Quick Call may not have the racing legs that once carried him to victory twice in Saratoga’s Forego Handicap, and earned $800,000 in his race career, but he still has the attitude.
“He’s still pretty much the same,” says Jim Tremper, farm manager at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s (TRF) Second Chances Program at Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York. “He doesn’t look for company, from horses or people, and if you need something from him … you have to go out and get him. He commands respect.”
On this, Quick Call’s 30th birthday, the gelding with the deservedly proud face is as much a hero to humans as he was during his racing heyday.
As a racehorse he was nicknamed “the Horse for the Course” after performing so handsomely at the nation’s most prestigious meet, the Saratoga Race Course.
Dam: Sadie Mae
Foal date: Feb. 27, 1984
Earnings: $807,817Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day guided Quick Call to victories in the Forego Handicap in 1988 and 1989, and warmly recalls the gallant steed who just missed a third consecutive win at the Forego in 1990—losing by a nose to Lay Down.
“Quick Call loved Saratoga,” says Day in a press release from the TRF. “I am happy he is still alive, and living in that part of the country.”
Prior to retirement, Quick Call made 89 starts in a six-year career, and scored an exciting upset victory over Sewickley in the 1990 Tom Fool Handicap at Belmont Park. The son of Quack worked for Hall of Fame trainer Sid Watters.
The racehorse moved to the Wallkill, N.Y. facility in 2001 to retire, and be cared for by inmates participating in the Second Chances program, which teaches them essential life skills by allowing them to work with horses such as Quick Call. Connecting with 1,000-pound animals with opinions of their own teaches inmates respect, empathy and responsibility, a press release stated.
And if Quick Call takes exception to the way he is being treated, he is not shy about correcting his handler, Tremper says.
“He lets you know right away,” Tremper says. “But, he is kind and easy enough to handle. We use him to teach and he won’t run off or anything like that.”
As a 30th birthday celebration is planned by the TRF—details will be available on the TRF Facebook page—Diana Pikulski, vice president of the TRF, says Quick Call exemplifies the value of the older ex-racehorse.
“Every horse matters—for his or her whole life,” she says. “Quick Call, like most horses, was active, bright and vibrant throughout his 20s and today at 30.
“He is an individual and important part of the Wallkill community, his established herd of horses, and the TRF teaching program. His life represents every racehorse’s life. Our industry needs to think in terms of a horse’s whole life— not just the few racing years. As for the fans and the public, we want them to know that TRF is here to give their track favorites the life they deserve after racing even if they cannot go on to be riding and show horses.”