Passed up and overlooked, warhorse Rich Hero had nowhere to go as Suffolk Downs closed down last year.
After an honorable career spent battling his way to the winner’s circle enough times to earn $250,000 in 63 starts, no kind consideration came his way at the end, when Suffolk Down announced plans to permanently close, and many horses were put up for sale.
Despite several pleas on Facebook by CANTER New England that Rich Hero was in great need of a home, and after several failed attempts by horse advocate Lorita Lindemann to secure him a foster home, or placement in a Thoroughbred center, the pure chestnut gelding’s story looked grim. Until that is, Virginia-based T-bred trainer Lisa Molloy of ReRun, Inc., found she had an available stall.
Sire: Maria’s Mon
Dam: Idle Rich
March 23, 2005
Earnings: $248,103, 63 starts“I was aware that Suffolk Downs was closing, and I had gotten seven horses adopted out that month, so I called up Lorita and told her I had a stall,” Molloy says. “That’s when she told me about Rich Hero, and I agreed to take him before I even saw his photos. She told me people weren’t interested in him because he was older and he’d run a lot.”
Molloy agreed to take him and also Soccer Goalie from Suffolk Downs and she is happy she did!
“I was quite pleased with my decision when Rich Hero showed up. He’s very nice, a really classy looking horse in good condition and carrying quite a bit of weight,” she says. And though he has the bearing of a monarch who expects things to be done for him on his own timetable —when he stands next to the paddock gait to come in, he expects it to open immediately—he is already proving to have a great disposition.
“He’s got a lot of personality, like he knows he’s a special horse,” she says. “And he’s in good shape. His legs are good” despite the wear and tear of a lengthy career “and I think he’ll be ideal for low-level pursuits, like trail riding and low-level dressage.”
She adds, “The older warhorses don’t have anything left to prove, so I prefer that they go to laid-back homes.”
Along with Rich Hero, Molloy also welcomed four other retired racehorses to her farm: Radiohead, Marco Be Good, Artie Luvsto Party and West Side Corral were all shipped to her Virginia facility from Saratoga, N.Y., while Soccer Goalie was placed at ReRun, Inc. New York chapter, she says.
Molloy paid close to $2,000 to ship the ex-racehorses to her facility and has since invested approximately $400 in shoes, vaccines, and wormers for some of the horses, she says, noting that her ReRun, Inc., chapter is in need of donations to help in the care of her 25-horse herd.
It has been a successful year re-homing horses, says Molloy, noting that after taking in 71 Thoroughbreds from a range of trainers, she has re-homed about 40 so far.
To Lindemann’s ears, Molloy’s phone call was like the singing of angels the day she offered to take Rich Hero.
“She is truly a blessed soul to do what she did,” Lindemann says. — Originally published on Oct. 15, 2014.