Stakes placed TB leaves meat truck to help vets

Sonofaqueen, a graded stakes winner was tied to a meat-buyer's truck before he was saved.

Sonofaqueen, a graded stakes winner was tied to a meat-buyer’s truck before he was saved.

A stakes placed T’bred who’d earned north of $350,000 during a lifetime spent racing, stood tied to a meat truck; his head hung in defeat.

“This is the part that makes me want to cry. He just stood there, with his head dropped, and an attitude like he’d just accept whatever’s next,” said Nicki Smith, a Thoroughbred advocate with the Exceller Fund. “What’s so heartbreaking is he would have willingly walked on the trailer because he has such a pleasant disposition.”

But it wasn’t Sonofaqueen’s time to die.

Though he’d already been purchased by a meat buyer at the New Holland auction in February, and had been weighed and tied to the trailer in preparation to load, the 21-year-old racing warrior was granted a last-second reprieve, Smith said.

Barn name: Prince
Sire: Believe the Queen
Dam: Whobeatsgonnabeit
Foal date: April 9, 1994
Earnings: $357,022 in 71 starts
“Kelly Smith of Omega Horse Rescue flipped his lip and was able to identify him. And she called us to help raise the bail money” to free him, Smith said. After his rescue, he temporarily resided with a horse farm in Pennsylvania until his next calling brought him to Oklahoma to help war veterans.

In September, Sonofaqueen began working for Hooves on the Ground, which is offered by The Right Path, a member center of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International.

The 17-hand gelding, who last raced in 2002 before disappearing from the radar, has taken to his job so easily that he has quickly become the program’s favorite horse.

He’s so high class and super sweet that people call him Prince. And he is,” Smith said, adding, “I think it’s important to note that he had been off the racetrack for a long time, and nobody knows where he’d gone before he wound up tied to the slaughter truck.”

In this photo by the Exceller Fund, Sonofaqueen walks with a veteran, and carries another, passing the American flag. “The Exceller Fund launched a racing warrior campaign to build awareness around the racehorse with more than 50 starts. A lot of people might dismiss an older horse like this, who had so many starts. To them I say, just look at him! Instead of being slaughtered, he’s proudly making a difference in the lives of America’s heroes.”

10 responses to “Stakes placed TB leaves meat truck to help vets”

  1. Sabina

    Such an amazingly positive story.

  2. pm

    Omega Horse Rescue, Kelly Smith’s organization, is fabulous. One of my fave charities. Find her on FB and contribute to her worthy cause.

  3. Lisa

    Great story! I’ve come across a few like this guy who spent their life winning for their owners on the track only to be sent to auction when their winning days were over. Glad this guy has been saved and is leading a useful life.

  4. Patty W.

    Another great story Susan about an OTTB. Keep them coming!!

  5. Cheri


  6. Vivian Santangelo

    Great story. I’m trying to track down what the status of the horse Wayzata Bay is but I’m not in the horse world so I’ve come to a dead end. Would you please provide me with a contact that could possibly help me. Thank you in advance.

    1. Niki

      Unfortunately Wayzata Bay died in 2009 according to the Jockey Club.

      1. Vivian Santangelo

        Sorry to hear that but thank you so much, at least I know his fate as sad as it is.

  7. Andi Puckett


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