Derby winning team keeps promise to help OTTB

Don't Quit Dreaming looked happy as he prepared to travel to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation last month. Photo courtesy Sue Kenny of Herringswell Stables

Don’t Quit Dreaming looked happy as he prepared to travel to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation last month. Photo courtesy Sue Kenny of Herringswell Stables

Making good on a promise to help an unremarkable racehorse who once passed through the hands of Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, a staffer of the famous horseman worked tirelessly to secure a sanctuary home at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation for a sweet gelding who’d run out of options.

Because of a note written by Graham Motion’s Herringswell Stables Ltd., and affixed to Jockey Club paperwork for bay gelding Don’t Quit Dreaming, Sue Kenny, an office manager for the famous horseman who trained 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom, hit the phones on behalf of the little-known racehorse who loves peppermints and needed a home.

Don’t Quit Dreaming
Sire: Grand Slam
Dam: Natural Carma, by Valiant Nature
Foal date: April 27, 2011
“I got a call at the beginning of September from a lady who saw our number and note on Don’t Quit Dreaming’s papers. We had written the message, ‘If this horse needs a home, please call us. This horse is not bred for slaughter.’ And we included our number,” says Kenny of Herringswell Stables Ltd.

Upon learning that the 5-year-old had been retired from racing in June from Thistledown racetrack, and that a second home was not working out, Kenny reached out to Sara Davenport, herd manager of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF, Inc.).

As luck would have it, Davenport had an open stall at the TRF’s Sykesville, Md. facility, and a deal was struck. “Sue Kenny called from Graham’s office and said, ‘What can we do?’ And it worked out perfectly because we were just considering adding a sixth horse to our prison program in Maryland,” Davenport says. “We were especially happy to work with Graham because he has been such a responsible horse owner. He may not have been the last owner for Don’t Quit Dreaming, but in the short time he had the horse, he made sure those papers said he wasn’t for slaughter.”

Sarah Stein of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Maryland welcomes Don't Quit Dreaming into the herd.

Sarah Stein of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Maryland welcomes Don’t Quit Dreaming into the herd.

Though Don’t Quit Dreaming was not in the slaughter pipeline, the animal’s newest owner could no longer keep the horse. She reached out to Motion’s office for assistance in her effort to find the horse a new home.

Kenny says she remembered the animal immediately, and was happy to help.

“I used to feed him peppermints everyday. He was a peppermint fiend,” she says. “His kindness is what I remember most about him. We see a lot of horses, but this one was special to me.”

The 16.3 hand “gentle giant” arrived at the TRF on Oct. 20 and was walked into his new stall, which is the first one on the right at the barn’s entrance, says Sarah Stein of the TRF.

“He’s a super sweet horse,” Stein says. “He’s very gentle and curious. I’m not sure he can ever be ridden, because he has an old ankle injury, but he’s pasture sound.”

Don’t Quit Dreaming will now be cared for by inmates participating in the TRF’s Second Chances program. In the program, inmates learn life and job skills while caring for ex-racehorses. And, on Sunday, Nov. 6, the barn will be open to the public for an Open Barn Fundraiser. Anyone wishing to meet Don’t Quit Dreaming, is welcome to attend the event, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 6900 Slacks Road, Sykesville, Md. Please contact Sara Stein at 410-952-8275 or Lizzy Beer at 610-656-2927 for more information.

6 responses to “Derby winning team keeps promise to help OTTB”

  1. Kellye K

    Thoroughbreds really need a “Full Circle” program like the Standardbreds have. This allows ANY person request their contact info be added to paper notes should the animal ever need a home. More than one person can add their info as well. It’s so easy to do and helps so many. I really almost cant believe it hasnt been implemented yet.

    1. Jill Pflugheber

      There is a program through the jockey club where you can add your information if a particular horse ever is in need.

  2. Alex

    Outstanding. Leaving the contact info and note on the horse’s papers in very cool.

  3. Wendy

    Yea for team Herringswell!! Love you guys!

  4. ShelleyB

    Sue Kenny and the whole Graham and Anita Motion team are awesome! They just helped R.A.C.E. Fund and several of us volunteers get You’re My Buddy returned from racing in Puerto Rico (even though they on had him for his first start)! So wonderful to read about their proactive effort to help Don’t Quit Dreaming, and her dream come true retirement!

  5. PATRICIA Dale

    Sue Kenney has worked quietly and tirelessly on behalf of countless Thoroughbreds over the years…Many many horses and owners sleep safely at night because of Sue’s efforts…..

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