All roads led back to Saratoga Springs for a New York racehorse whose name and history were so intertwined with the leafy epicenter of summertime racing where her racing career began.
After running her heart out in the low claimers far and wide, Saratogaatseventy found her way back to Upstate New York last month after two of her fans moved heaven and earth to rescue her.
Jane LaSure of Cazenovia, N.Y. and Marlene Murray of the Thoroughbred charity R.A.C.E. Fund, tag-teamed in a joint effort this past summer to fundraise and ship the race mare home after the beautiful, gentle animal completed her 71st race on the Camarero Racetrack, in Puerto Rico.
Dam: Last Day of Winter, by Green Alligator
Foal date: April 13, 2008
Earnings: 71 starts, $38,718“The irony,” says LaSure, “is that she’s a New York bred who I met in Saratoga, who has this great name, and who is now retired with me living within two hours of the city.”
Though in hindsight the full-circle journey that returned Saratogaatseventy to New York seems simple, it was years in the making, says LaSure.
She explains that she and her husband Peter first met Saratogaatseventy at the Saratoga Race Course in 2010. They weren’t in the market for a horse at the time, but couldn’t help noticing the “cute little mare” while they visited a friend.
“Our friend Tim Snyder, who has since passed away, had invited us to come out to see his horse Lisa’s Boobytrap. He’d started having some good fortune with the horse and ended up in a stake’s race in Saratoga and asked us to come watch,” she says. “But while everyone else was fawning over Lisa’s Boobytrap, my husband Peter and I were looking at Sara” who’d been pointed out to them and described as a “nice little filly.”
The couple soon became so smitten with the mare that they took a few road trips to watch her compete, eventually placing her name in a virtual stable so they would be apprised of the animal’s whereabouts.
As Saratogaatseventy was shipped around the country, traveling to Finger Lakes, Golden Gate, Thistledown and beyond, the couple kept their eyes on her: “I was following her for a very long time. I couldn’t believe the number of times she raced, and the miles she put in, and the fact that she kept placing and showing, or not doing well at all,” LaSure says. “Then one day she disappeared from the radar the way claimers sometimes do, and then all of a sudden she reappeared in Puerto Rico. And I remember telling my husband that they don’t come back from there.”
Aware that Puerto Rico lacks resources for Thoroughbred aftercare, and worried that the cute little mare they’d once admired would wind up running until she was used up and without options, LaSure wrote a letter to Marlene Murray at R.A.C.E. Fund. She began with the simple statement: “A virtual stable is not for the fainthearted.”
By coincidence, Murray had been following Saratogaatseventy too!
“I was following Tim Snyder’s races and when I saw that Sara ended up in Puerto Rico I figured there’d probably come a point where we may try to help retire her,” Murray says. Murray and LaSure waited for their chance, and in June, they made their bid.
“This past spring I could see Sara was starting to trail off with the racing, and I called Jane and asked if we could raise the funds to bring her back. Could she and her husband give her a home?” Murray says. It was a call LaSure was thrilled to receive.
“We hadn’t spoken for a year when she called to tell me that she had a board meeting at the charity and planned to ask about doing a rescue, but that she couldn’t do the rescue unless Sara had a place to go. While we were talking my husband was listening and he kept nodding his head yes!”
Thrilled to offer a safe haven for a horse who had no other post-racing options, LaSure says Sara is blooming in her home state, standing as a beautiful testament to good luck and coincidences and reunions that were meant to be.
“Some people have been amazed that she came back from Puerto Rico, because most horses don’t come back,” she says. “I hope the word gets out that low claimers are just as important as the big-name horses. And that the plane to Puerto Rico goes both ways.”