A 20-year-old rescue mare who once had nothing—not a name, not papers, not enough food to sustain her bedraggled frame—has had everything returned, even a relic of her past glory.
This month, an old win photo arrived.
It showed the horse once known as “No Name” to her rescuers crossing the finish line at Thistledown.
Crowning Glory, a granddaughter of Affirmed who was rescued by Miami-Dade authorities in South Florida two years ago, looked resplendent after a win.
For owner and caretaker Susie Martell, the photo was another piece of a puzzle in the life of the racemare she adopted shortly after the OTTB was rescued in a raid done in conjunction with the South Florida SPCA.
Sire: Caller I.D.
Dam: Crown and Scepter, by Affirmed
Foal date: March 5, 1996The gentle mare was skin and bones when she was pulled from a farm with starvation conditions so grim that another horse died shortly after rescue. Surviving Thoroughbreds were deemed by a veterinarian to have a body condition score of between 1 and 2. And, the Miami-Dade Agricultural Patrol arrested property owner Nivardo Beaton. (Please read the original story here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2014/06/03/6-starving-t-bred-mares-saved-in-fla-sweep/.
Martell was volunteering with the SPCA at the time, and while taking photographs of the emaciated Thoroughbreds, the gentle bay approached and nuzzled her. From that point on, Martell and the then-unnamed mare bonded in a new life together.
Martell adopted the bay when she was well into her recovery, and embarked on solving the mystery of the horse’s identity. The racemare’s old lip tattoo was too faded to read, and after many failed attempts, she ran DNA testing. Please read about that here: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2015/03/30/dna-test-reveals-id-of-seized-mystery-mare.
After testing revealed the true identity of the mare she’d named Hope was in fact Crowning Glory, and that she was a granddaughter of the fabled Triple Crown winner Affirmed, Martell sought to learn more. But the age of her horse, who turned 20 this month, stymied her efforts to track down anyone who remembered her mare.
Until earlier this month, when one of Martell’s good friends and fellow equestrian tracked down a win photo and presented it to Martell as an early birthday present. The photograph, which was taken on July 26, 1999, was obtained from a kindly woman at Pin Oak Stables in Kentucky, who rummaged through old files and discovered the artifact.
Seeing a photograph of her mare, who has blossomed under her care, somehow cemented more than words that her mellow, borderline fat mare was really, in fact, the horse revealed in the DNA test. For she would recognize that face anywhere, even in a photo taken so long ago on a cloudy day at Thistledown.
“When my friend Carolin Phillips presented me with this picture, I just burst into tears,” Martell says. “To see her as a three-year old was something I never thought I’d be able to do. I never could picture her running on the racetrack or winning a race. So when I saw it, after all this time, I just cried.”
She adds, “She only raced 13 times before having five foals. The gap between her time as a broodmare and ending up in a place where she almost starved to death is a mystery that makes me sick. But now I have the vision and memory of how she was before all this. It’s an amazing birthday gift! I can’t wait to frame it!”