Mascot won $240K, sold for $60 at New Holland

Mascot, shortly after his rescue

Mascot didn’t even look good to the kill buyers.

Skinny, limping and filthy, he went for a mere $60 at Monday’s New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania.

In his career as a racehorse, he earned $241,901 for his owners, working right from the start with some of the sports’ most talented trainers.  But those glorious moments in the winner’s circle were now far behind as he stood gingerly on his sore feet, trying to avoid the desperate kicks of other horses, tethered unnaturally close.

Finally, when instinct and adrenalin combined to provide the sheer strength to do it, he broke free. And where did he run?  Well, straight into the arms of A-Circuit rider Melissa Rudershausen, his rescuer.

Rudershausen was visiting family in Pennsylvania when she decided to make a stop at the New Holland sale, where she had purchased horses in the past.

And just happened to walk near Mascot as he hit his limit with the kicking herd, and busted free.

“He ran right to me and I caught him,” Rudershausen says. “He was in horrific shape, but he had the most wonderful expression.”

She was Mascot’s only bidder.

Race name: Mascot
Sire: Five Star Day
Dam: Bunny Club, by Slew o’ Gold
Foal date: Feb. 10, 2003
Earnings: $241,901
“He was led through at the very end of the sale,” she says. “The meat buyers weren’t interested for a few reasons. He didn’t have much flesh, was very lame, and he was a stallion, which is harder to transport without injury.”

Rudershausen waited with him until 7 p.m. for a horse trailer to arrive. Visiting from Ocala, Fla., where she currently resides, she hadn’t thought to bring a trailer with her to New Holland. And she certainly didn’t dare leave him while she arranged for transport.

When transport finally arrived, he was carefully driven for 45 minutes to her barn in Pennsylvania, where immediate veterinary care was obtained.

The news was good.

Aside from an abscess in a foot, which was drained by a veterinarian, and a few other issues, such as low body weight, his health is actually fine, she says.

“In just two days, he’s doing much better. He’s walking more soundly already,” she says. “Even though he’s a stallion, he’s a sweetheart. He doesn’t pin his ears or bite, but he does stick his tongue out for peppermints!”

Mascot is being given all the hay he can eat, and a handful of grain, at morning and night. And, he is grazing on a hand-walk, as he is still too lame to be turned out on his own.

Looking better already

Already, he is relaxing.

“The first day, his eyes were huge and he was so nervous,” she says. “But, he’s going to be OK.”

She should know. Rudershausen has rescued seven horses from New Holland over the years, and in a relatively short time, has helped them blossom into wonderful Sporthorses.

Two of her prior rescues, Body Rock and True Rock, turned out so well that she has named her fledgling Thoroughbred rescue after them. This week, she filed an application to certify Double Rock Thoroughbred Rescue in Ocala, Fla., as a nonprofit.

True Rock, who she sold to a friend, is competing at Training Level Eventing, and Body Rock is one of her favorite mounts.

And, when Mascot is well enough to travel, he will be moved from Pennsylvania to her Florida base, and trained as a hunter/jumper.

“Underneath it all, I can see that Mascot has a true Thoroughbred look and will be a really beautiful horse,” she says.

She only wishes more people would consider the auction houses when looking for their next horse.

“I feel that the auction is actually the best place to look for a horse to buy. It is easy to determine their attitude about new surroundings and you can actually put your hands on the horse to check for any major flaws,” she says.

While Rudershausen nurses Mascot back to help, she will get some help from an unexpected source.

Andrea Pollack, co-owner of Mascot’s father Five Star Day, has offered to pay for his veterinary bills.

Melissa, right, on Body Rock. Pictured with True Rock

Pollack was introduced to Mascot’s new owner via Thoroughbred advocate Deborah Jones of California, and promised to send a check to cover the horse’s medical care.

“This horse earned $240,000 on the track, and I remember seeing him race and admiring his ability,” Pollack says. “When I heard he was in dire straits, I wanted to help.

“You know, Five Star Day is a magnificent animal, and if this horse is anything like him, he has the potential to be really beautiful, again.”


42 responses to “Mascot won $240K, sold for $60 at New Holland”

  1. Carole Ann Mela

    Agreed great story but wish it didnt have to be such a horrid environment at New Holland. I cannot believe owners would subject their horses to this environment and give little to no information on the horses. I just resued there and had to quarantine for 3 weeks and play a guessing game with vaccinations, etc on a 14 yo (looked up his freeze brand). He was tied to 2 other horses with no water. He had an apparent injury in the past, would be nice to have a note what it was. This is what leads me to think the previous owner does not care!

  2. Christin H

    I am so glad there are people in this world who are kind enough to save at least a few of the horses that succumb to this sad ending at auction. It frustrates me when i see horses treated this way. I would love to own a horse i just can’t afford one, yet as soon as the racehorses stop earning their owner’s money they just throw them away? Instead of sending them to auction or to a kill buyer they can send one my way so I can have my dream of owning a horse! Which i will treasure and love!

  3. Delrene Sims

    Updated story today on Mascot. He looks amazing. thank you for what you do for these horses in danger. I wanted to read the backstory on him from today’s Off Track Thoroughbred e mail I received. The best to all of you!!!!

  4. Leslie M. Kuretzky

    What a great story. KUDOS to all involved.

  5. michael blowen

    Susan As usual, a great job He reminds me of Clever Allemont, our oldest retire at 30 He came here nearly 4 years ago looking like Mascot He’s gained nearly 370 lbs and is doing great He’s our m ost lovable stallion I just wish we could take them all We’ll just have to work harder

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  7. Annette Wilson

    I cannot understand Humans and how they can use animals up then toss them out like Trash. Glad she found her way so sad for those that don’t

  8. Jill

    I can honestly say, Melissa is one of a kind. I have owned True Rock (co-founder of Double Rock TB Rescue) since July 2010 – 2 months post New Holland and he is one sweet, talented horse that I would not have had the opportunity to know and love without Melissa. Every horse she rescues and rehabs comes with a clause that should you not want it, can’t afford it, or your situation changes, it will always have a home to come back to with her. So kudos to you Melissa .. and i’ll probably tag you in this on FB so you see it too 🙂

  9. Esther Douglas

    Yeah!!!! Another OTTB Happy ending. Way to go Melissa. And Susan.

  10. BOB

    But the big question we don’t ask about is where is the breeder? Where is the last owner? I’ve owned and bred many thoroughbreds and when the time came to retire them I did and found them a home. If they were claimed away I made sure at the end of their career I got them back too.I’m not rich by any means but it’s the right thing to do. Albert Einstein said it best you can judge a character of a nation by the way they treat their animals.

    1. Laura Harmour

      You are a kind man.

  11. Patty

    Melissa is the daughter of one of my closest friends and she is a beautiful person inside and out!!!! Thank you Melissa and I hope that you and Mascot have wonderful adventures together in the years to come.

  12. Oda

    Some people are users – they use animals as well as humans because they are so self centered. This is what causes most of the abuse in our society, animal and human alike. Great find – thank you for making a difference and show what’s possible. 🙂

  13. Maryann Harvey

    I don’t know how people can dump such wonderful animals and in a year this horse looks to be in bad shape, not fed enough or cared for. So glad that he was rescued, but it is something for all horse people to think about. It is abuse.

  14. JSmith

    Well done to Andrea Pollock for stepping up and helping with the vet bills. There are just too many horses bred every year, while you can’t expect breeders to take responsibility for every new horse they help create, you kind of can, because if they didn’t keep breeding, we wouldn’t have all these horses in horrible situations. Same goes for cats and dogs. Until we have restrictions on breeding, we are not going to solve the problem of unwanted animals. None the less, Andrea did the right thing in this situation and should be commended.

  15. Mary Ellen Slaboski

    God bless you, Melissa, for all the good work that you do!

    And….God bless you, Andrea Pollack, for your generous and caring spirit!!
    Over the years I’ve learned about more and more instances of Thoroughbred owners/breeders/trainers going to great lengths to make sure their horses have a good home upon retirement from the track. I’m convinced this is more the rule than the exception.

    I have always liked Five Star Day! Thank you for helping a “family member” in need, Andrea. You are one of the good ones!!

  16. Mary Jo Conway

    I lived in PA until ‘ 92. I went to New Holland auction for years and I purchased several horses with good results overall.
    I bought a horse out of the killer pen for $100.00 and he was wonderful as a school horse. My best school mare was standing there tied short near the auction chute. She perked her ears up and looked at me for a very long time. I bought her and she taught my daughter and numerous people how to ride. She became a wonderful foxhunter and school horse.
    I agree,the auction can be a great place to find the diamond in the rough.

  17. Terri

    Bless you Peggy for that last post you made, all that land and willing to help!

    You know, I have to say: If I owned an animal that made ME a quarter of a million or more dollars, that animal would have a lifetime home, in fact that horse would have the master bedroom if I could get him in the house! LOL Seriously, any horse making greedy owners that much money, then them dumping the poor horse when he/she is no longer able to fill their pockets are the types of people that need to be thrown out on their asses of the TB industry forever. I don’t know how they can be so cruel.
    I thoroughly enjoyed the story, and wonder if the original owners of Mascot can be looked up and identified…..thanks to those who have a heart.

  18. Peggy Kuhn

    Please if anyone knows of a horse you can help please do so…..If anyone knows of any horses that need help in Tennessee or Kentucky please let me know I have 263 acres and willing to help I own 2 horses that I purchased at a sale before they went to kill buyers and they are the most loving, kind wonderful friends anyone could have……..If anyone needs my help you can reach me at I will help in anyway I can…..Seeing Mascot breaks my heart but he at least has a happy ending with a wonderful life!!!!!!Thank you to the person that got him!!!!!!!!

  19. Leslie Wetzel

    How very wonderful of you! I have done auction rescue several times, and it is a rough go, but so worth it. The ones left at the end are at most risk. No advocate, so the buyer knows nothing about the horse. Obviously, you had a lip tattoo, so could find out, which is a blessing.
    Thank you, and good luck with your new non profit. I am a new one also, working on 501 submission. So glad Deb helped out! I have worked with her before, and she is a warrior, for sure! And a very generous lady!

  20. Sarah@MilesOnMiles

    Awesome, Awesome, Awesome. I really hope we can get an update on Mascot 6 months from now-he’s got the look of eagles and is going to be fabulous! Throwing away a horse that won nearly a quarter of a million dollars should be criminal-luckily it sounds like he had wonderful people in his life once upon a time that are stepping up. Congrats Melissa, on your new boy:)

  21. Lisa

    Beautiful! So thankful for people like you all. I am aware that the Amish are also famous for running puppy mills. They seem to stay above the law and have their own crazy ideas when it comes to animals. Probably much more that we do not know about. Blessings for your heart.

  22. Anne Hambleton

    I want to track down Melissa and send her a copy of my kids book, RAJA, Story of a Racehorse – between Ocala, New Holland and PA. etc. it could be her story. Are you Michelle??

    Melissa – if you see this, please send me your address Its my gift to you – think you will get a kick out og it! website is:

    Anne Hambleton

  23. Kim

    God Bless you, Melissa!!!! And may Mascot have a long and happy life ahead of him!!!

    1. MK


  24. Lisa Melone

    Another story giving me tears over lunch, even though it has a happy ending, thankfully. What luck for this poor boy that Melissa was there to save him.

  25. Tori Wisell

    what a beautiful story, a rare happy ending. Lucky horse!

  26. Lydia Williams

    He hasn’t run since January 2011 so you wonder where he’s been for a year and half.

  27. jill pflugheber

    More distressing is that several more OTTBs from the same Amish consignor will be at Mondays NH sale.

  28. Jennifer Selken

    Stories like these make me so thankful that my 3 OTTBs had people in their lives that looked out for them and gave them a chance. My 2 mares never won a race, but one of them is developing into a nice hunter/jumper and the other is a wonderful mount for my 11 year old niece (even though she was a considered a problem horse on the track). Thank you Melissa for giving Mascot a chance and thanks Susan for sharing his story 😉

  29. Wendy Treadaway

    Wonderful story, Sue! I love to hear about the happy endings on your blog amidst the so many sad stories elsewhere. Will be looking for a website or FB page soon for Double Rock so we can support Melissa and her rescue efforts.

  30. Fran

    Every week- more big $ winners go through New Holland…. and also those that won nothing.. I have had both.. TB’s are the all around best horses!!
    Great story Sue!!

  31. Elizabeth Dickerson

    If you are looking for a good TB, head over to Camelot in New Jersey and buy Deluna. She is part of this whole deal. Hip 448.

  32. Amy Bush

    Awesome…just awesome! Thank you for rescuing these wonderful animals!

  33. sybil

    this is a great story, Sue, and one that is repeated every week in one form or another…an OTTB sent to auction and pulled by a person who sees past the superficial injury or condition….it’s so unfortunate that the owner of these horses did not recognize their true value. And we wonder what will happen when the convenient dumping ground of the auction and the kill buyer disappears next year, July 31, 2013, when the new EU regulations take effect and none of our horses will be eligible for slaughter-for-human-consumption as they will not meet EU food safety standards.

  34. louise martin

    Oh Susan,

    I truly hope that maybe this will encourage more to go to New Holland to look for a horse! This is a truly wonderful story. It breaks my heart. I cannot believe there are not enough politicians and actually, human beings that are outraged with this horrible, horrible practice.

    Melissa is truly and angel! Although I have never had the privilege of meeting her, I have heard so many wonderful things through mutual friends. Good luck, Melissa! I know Mascot will be just fine and so very happy!! I propose the Mascot become the official “Mascot” for all of the Off The Track Thoroughbreds!!!

    Thank you Susan for this most wonderful story!

  35. Natalie Keller Reinert

    This one has movie rights written all over it. Well done, everyone!

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