The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF, Inc.) this week welcomed racing warrior Immortal Wink into the herd of the nation’s largest horse charity following an all-out effort to retire him last month from a Puerto Rico racetrack.
The 10-year-old gelding raced 142 times, earning north of $100,000, before he made the last leg of his journey home this weekend. Following quarantine at racehorse charity Florida TRAC, he was vanned to the TRF’s Ocala Fla. facility at the Lowell Correctional Institution. Upon arrival, he was to begin retirement life working with inmates at the Lowell Correctional Facility participating in a unique racehorse/prisoner program called Second Chances.
Indeed, it was a second chance for Wink when the TRF agreed to provide a retirement home for the warhorse.
Dam: Uppermost Inmymind, by Loach
Foal date: March 6, 2006
Earnings: $111,193 in 142 startsWorking with horse advocate Michelle “Shelley” Blodgett of Florida and Wink’s co-breeder Kathy Von Gerhard on an effort to retire Wink, Diana Pikulski of the TRF assisted with their fundraising before offering the final piece of the puzzle: a lifetime home for the hardworking gelding.
“Immortal Wink is a true warhorse. We were thrilled to help his connections get him back to Florida, and even happier that we were able to offer him a lifetime of grass and companionship,” says Pikulski, director of external affairs.
Pikulski says the TRF was inspired by the horse’s story.
Acknowledging that Puerto Rico lacks resources to provide aftercare to a retired racehorse, and that returning a racehorse to a retirement facility on the mainland is no small feat, she says she was thrilled to help the Thoroughbred beat the odds.
“His story is what got me,” Pikulski says. “The number of races he’s had, and his age, made him of real interest to us. The most challenging part of any horse rescue is providing the long-term care. For us to be able to offer him a position, with the help of everyone who fundraised and assisted in this, made the whole thing possible. The whole thing is the guarantee of lifetime care. This is what we’ve committed to give Wink.”
News of Wink’s departure from quarantine was tweeted by a race fan NotCloudyAllDay, a person instrumental in drumming up interest in the Thoroughbred to begin with.
After publicizing Wink’s lack of retirement options in Puerto Rico, Wink’s co-breeder Kathy Von Gerhard and horse fan Michelle “Shelley” Blodgett united to do something about the horse’s predicament. Please see earlier story: http://offtrackthoroughbreds.com/2016/07/15/after-142-starts-immortal-wink-flies-on-home/
After launching an online fundraiser, the pair connected with Pikulski to obtain a place for the racehorse at the TRF. In an earlier article, Pikulski said the TRF was honored to take the horse. “He is a warhorse and we are thrilled that his connections could get him back here— which isn’t easy,” Pikulski says. “We are happy that we can offer him a lifetime of grass and companionship.”