A successful race mare who was claimed in a four-way shake at the Saratoga Race Course last month was well on her way to continuing on with her demanding race career when her original breeder stepped up and pleaded that the mare’s new owners allow her to take the horse home.
And much to the shock of one-time racehorse breeder Kelly Zanella, the new connections of race mare Run a Dubb Dubb, 6, did not laugh. Nor did they quibble. Though race owner Michael Pino had won the shake on a claim on Dubb after the mare knocked in her 53rd race on Aug. 20, capping off lifetime earnings of $421,266, Pino and his trainer Lorita Lindemann readily agreed to put the horse’s future above their own.
Run a Dubb Dubb
Dam: Dominating, by Cherokee Run
Foal date: March 30, 2010
Earnings: $421,266, 53 startsZanella had nearly given up on ever getting her mare back, but in one of those life moments where a window unexpectedly opened after all doors seemed closed, she decided to give it one last shot. Up until this point, Zanella had followed her horse’s career online, worried, and visited the mare at different points along the way.
So when she finally agreed to ask a friend and horse trainer to put in a claim on the mare in Saratoga, she was devastated to discover they’d lost the claim. “After the trainer told me we didn’t get the horse because so many other people were trying to claim her, I literally walked out of the track, got into my car, and drove home.” The next day, Zanella did some research, tracked down the new owner and found her way to Pino’s trainer, who, unbeknownst to her, has spent many years championing the cause of retired racehorses.
“When I finally got up the nerve to go to the backstretch and introduce myself to Lorita Lindemann, I had no idea about her background with Thoroughbred retirement,” Zanella says. “But when I told her my situation, that I was the original breeder and I was hoping for a chance to buy Dubb back to retire her, Lorita looked at me in a way nobody else had: she knew where I was coming from. I told her I didn’t have a huge plan for the mare, just that I loved the horse and that she’d have a good home in Saratoga.”
A woman of her word, Lindemann quickly put Zanella in touch with Pino, and upon hearing her story, agreed to help the breeder retire the horse.
“I was really nervous when he called me,” Zanella says. “He doesn’t know me from Adam. But, after I explained that I’d spent months trying to buy this horse privately, and that I promised to give her a good home, he decided he would sell her to me. On the phone I started crying because I couldn’t believe it!”
Lindemann says her boss was so touched after hearing Zanella’s story that he agreed retirement was the right thing to do.
“Kelly had left the track brokenhearted because she wanted a chance to get her horse back,” Lindemann says. “For Michael and myself, this was just another horse. The mare clearly meant a lot more to Kelly than to us. So I took Kelly back to spend time with the mare, and took some pictures. This woman was just so happy, and it was a pleasure helping her. She is the perfect example of a breeder stepping up and taking responsibility for her horse. Just as the racetrack is round, everything came full circle for this mare and breeder.”
Though Zanella was never a big player in the breeding world, she brought Dubb into this world in March 2010 after doing painstaking research on bloodlines to create a leggy mare with talent, stamina and good temperament. After she sold the horse as a yearling at the Fasig-Tipton, she followed her career with pride.
“She was the last horse I bred who was still racing. She always stood out to me, and I remember distinctly when she was born, she was a tall, leggy, balanced horse,” she says. “To me, she’s a genetic treasure.”