Certain that her Georgia riding academy didn’t need more horses, yet equally certain the T-breds on the backside of Suffolk Downs racetrack needed her, Beverly Bochetto of Blue Skies Riding Academy rocketed off to the defunct racetrack two weeks ago and took home five Thoroughbreds.
As though conducting a tactical military maneuver, Beverly Bochetto and her barn manager A.J. Martin flew to Logan Airport on a Tuesday, and went straight to the backside. Working their cell phones like operatives, they connected with longtime Thoroughbred advocate and trainer Lorita Lindemann, who worked as a liaison between Bochetto and backside personnel.
Not all trainers readily bought Bochetto’s story, when she told them of her 30-acre facility in Georgia, which caters to a modified Girl Scouts program.
“Some of the people were a little leery of us, they were afraid we were kill buyers,” she says. “But we really do have a beautiful 30-acre facility, which we own.”
And in the end, Bochetto wound up taking one stallion, two geldings, and two fillies from Boston to Georgia, where they are now getting their barn legs under them, she says.
The proprietor of a certified nonprofit, which teaches horsemanship to young girls and patterns itself after the Girl Scouts program, and which also rehabilitates horses, says she decided to get involved after ignoring news reports of the impending racetrack closure.
“I knew the whole Suffolk Downs thing was going down and I was doing my best to ignore it,” she says. “I knew if I mentioned it to my daughter Sammy, who is an instructor here, that she’d say Mom, we cant’ take another horse. And then she came to me one day and asked if I knew what was happening at Suffolk Downs.”
“I looked at her and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ And she said, ‘We have to do something.’ ”
So she picked up the phone, and contacted Lindemann, who exclaimed, “Come on down!”
Bochetto’s act of kindness is one of many to soften the blow of losing the racetrack.
“I’ve never seen anything like the outpouring we’re receiving,” says Lindemann. “I mean, here’s this woman, she calls me up, flies here an tells me she will take as many as she can.”
At the end of the expedition, Bochetto took in stallion This Ones for Nina, geldings Nacho Earl, 4, and Surprise Me, 5, and fillies Sob Story, 4 and Vintage Prado, 3.
The group has been stabled together, one alongside the other. And Bochetto says they have as much time as they need to get their feet under them, and adapt to their new 30-acre farm in Georgia.
“Right now we’re getting them used to a new feeding schedule. They’ve been banging their buckets at 3 a.m., and my barn manager AJ has been yelling, ‘You’re not at the track anymore!’ We’re slowly moving up their feed time to a later hour,” she says. The stallion is to be gelded this week, and assessments will be done on the horses before they’re gradually introduced to a life that promises happy children and the crackling sound of peppermints being unwrapped.