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
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.”