Thirty-six years ago, the old stallion’s father won the Triple Crown.
That feat of racehorse mastery, much in the news as California Chrome attempts to accomplish what Affirmed did in 1978, threw into sharp contrast the life of the great racehorse’s 24-year-old, little known son.
Last month, an old stud named Perfect sold in a farm dispersal and onto a broker, and was facing an uncertain fate when a team of Thoroughbred advocates stepped in to provide him a retirement befitting the son of Affirmed.
“When I got the call asking if I had the facility and the room to take in an older stud who needed to be retired, I’d never heard of the horse, so I looked him up. When I found out who he was, I said, you know what, I need to help,” says Jim Rhodes, of Equine Rescue of Aiken. “Given the Triple Crown (connection), I consider it a privilege, I really do. Whether we have another Triple Crown or not, and the odds are against California Chrome—I think there have been 20 odd horses who have won the first two legs and been defeated in the Belmont—it takes an exceptional horse to win all three.”
Dam: La Confidence, by Nijinsky II
Foal date: April 15, 1992
Earnings: $121,825, 16 startsAnd what Rhodes sees in Perfect, as the ex-racehorse stretches his legs on the South Carolina sanctuary, is a reflection of greatness that he carries in his blood.
“If you look past the age, you can still see a very athletic animal, a high-bred, very well-bred horse,” Rhodes says. “I am proud to have him, really proud to have him. It makes the whole farm feel good to have him here, and I’ve told several people about him, and they’ve come out to take their picture with him, because they also understand his legacy.”
It’s a legacy not lost on California-based Thoroughbred advocate Deb Jones, who teamed up with Marlene Murray of horse charity R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc. to help ease Perfect back on the right track. Jones contacted Rhodes to ask him to take the stallion, and worked in concert with Murray, who offered the stallion a temporary stall for layup and health checks. Jones praises Murray for “dropping everything” to help the horse—“The R.A.C.E. Fund is not one of those organizations who will turn their back and not help,” Jones says. “Marlene works her butt off and when I told her about Perfect, she immediately offered him a temporary stall, got some weight on him, and took care of everything.”
And now, as Perfect enjoys three meals a day of beet pulp and grain and all the best-cut hay he wants, comes the added thrill of helping a horse with such a powerful legacy.
“I’m out here in California, and naturally I’m rooting for California Chrome to be the next Triple Crown winner,” Jones says. “So I was pretty excited to learn this horse was sired by the last Triple Crown winner.”
It may not have been a perfect trip — from track, to dealer, to rescue — but, in the end, life in his permanent retirement home is richer than any award in the winner’s circle. Just perfect.
Equine Rescue of Aiken is a certified 501 c 3 charity that relies on donations to care for 64 horses, most of them retired ex-racehorses. Those wishing to make a contribution, may do by clicking this hyperlink.
19 responses to “Perfect landing for a Triple Crown winner’s son”
Is Perfect still around? We own one of his son, Almost Perfect! He has been jumping and loves his job.
Unfortunately, tonight Perfect’s best offspring, General Perfect, makes his 53rd career start, in Race 1 ($5000 claimer) at Mountainer Park in West Virginia. 11 years old, multiple stakes winner, earner of $500,000. He once raced against Gio Ponti at Arlington. In his last start, he finished 10th and last (“outrun”). It was a $15,000 claiming race in October 2013 at the Meadowlands. I have followed General Perfect for years, and this makes me both sad and sick.
Would just like to say that Jim Rhodes has taken many horses that did not have a famous sire or dam and he would have taken Perfect whether he was by Affirmed or not so that said there is nothing wrong with him having a horse sired by the last Triple Crown Winner and letting folks come to visit Perfect and learn about his history. Keep up the good work Jim. Perfect is looking good and is content, safe and happy and that is what matters most.
Jim- I love this story! I spoke to your wife last night and I will be calling you later this morning. I would love to air this story on our newscast so many more can learn about this amazing story and all the wonderful things you guys do out there. Keep up the great work!
Bev’s comment was snarky and judgmental. Enough of the cajoling. She should apologize.
Easy to shoot arrows when uninformed and looking to undermine.
People can always misinterpret anything. There are many people who can see one sentence differently than other people. It is better to research where you can instead of letting one sentence misguid you to a wrong conclusion. I don’t know this rescued but I would research a place before making my decision and I would hope others would too.
What a touching story. It is truly amazing what happens when kind hearted people work together!
This old gent deserves a grand, happy retirement, and it looks like he is getting just that. He looks FANTASTIC for an elderly stud by the way- didn’t really notice a sway back or overtly knobby knees.
Bless these people for opening up their hearts and homes to Perfect <3
Bev Don’t want to belabor a point, but perhaps you should check out Aiken Rescue for yourself and then make an informed decision. Jim is always one of the first people to step up when I and my merry band of rescuers need to get a horse to safety.
You can write to or call Jim. Give him a chance to show you all he great work he is doing before you judge him and determine that you would never donate to his worthy sanctuary.
He took in Flashman’s Papers for us with just one phone call!
I think that many things can be misinterpreted but would hate for a horse to go without because of such a detail. People get misinterpreted all the time, many times when they are trying to do good work.
Please don’t take my comments the wrong way either. My group works with JIm and he is completely dedicated to all horses.
Ladies, I commented on the quote. Anyone in the public eye needs to carefully choose their words when they make public statements. The way Jim commented clearly makes someone like me, who doesn’t know him from Adam, question his motivation. I don’t know the man and as I previously said, I hope, Susan, you are right. But as an outsider looking in, I will probably never know, and will not the word of people I don’t know to “assure” me that is not what he meant. I hope it is not, and I hope that he continues to help more horses in need, but at this time, my donations will go elsewhere because I am very uncomfortable with the statement that was made, and there is no room for misinterpretation. No need to address me specifically moving forward. I read a story, was concerned about something in it and took the opportunity to make my concern known. I have accomplished that and have no reason to continue to comment or read the comments of others regarding this situation.
It takes special preparation and accommodations to take in a stallion. Space is an issue and they need more room and special stabling accommodations. Rescues have to consider this and Jim is always at the ready to take in new horses. He’s a very kind and thoughtful gentleman.
He took in the three wise mares at Christmas without hesitation during the height of the holiday rush. They were Thoroughbreds but not horses with incredible racing credentials.They needed a place to live.
Jim is also a racing aficionado and racing historian. I think what the quote is referring to is him commenting on how much it means to him to be able to help a horse who has a racing legacy.
Jim is an outstanding, dedicated rescuer and please give him the respect and admiration that he so richly deserves.
We have worked with Jim on many hard to place horses, and I assure you that Susan is right about the intention. It would be great if any one of us could open our doors and pledge to save every horse, but of course that is not financially possible. Jim has gone out of his way to save the horses that other rescues have to turn away, and he truly doesn’t care where the horse comes from or how much it made, if he can find a way to help, he does. If you would like to donate some money to help this cause and save horses, the Equine Rescue of Aiken is a great place to start.
Well, I hope that is the case, Susan, because based upon the story, that is not what he said.
I believe Jim has taken in three other studs in the past, who are too old to be gelded. He’s a horseman and he has the capacity to handle them. It was an added bonus, just a cool thing that this one turned out to be a son of Affirmed.
Do you even know what it is like to try to work around a stallion? Are you aware of what it takes to properly keep one? Studs are not always nice horses to be around. In fact some are outright dangerous. Jim is a horseman with the facilities to handle stud horses. He has the skill set that is needed. Aiken Horse Rescue does a fine job with horses of all breeds.
The comment Jim makes, “When I found out who he was, I said, you know what, I need to help,” says Jim Rhodes, of Equine Rescue of Aiken. really disappoints me. What does it matter at all “who” this horse is. He needs help. You should be willing to step up to the plate whether he’s the son of a triple crown winner or he’s by a stallion you never heard of before. Very disappointing position to take as the head of a “rescue”. Maybe you should clarify the description of your organization as “rescue that doesn’t always take the horse if it isn’t the son of a famous horse.”
Of course Jim Rhodes takes all kinds of horses, and he has about 64 of them now. These are mostly Thoroughbreds, some who have no great history. Not many people will take an old stallion,and Jim opened his facility to the horse BEFORE he knew of his great father. That’s the spirit with which this story was written. Jim was being honest when he admitted how excited he was to learn that Affirmed was the horse’s father.
Right, Susan. Not every rescue is equipped to take in, or has someone with enough experience who can manage, a retired breeding stallion. Most rescues cannot and do not take stallions.
We keep 65 rescue on the farm and have helped hundreds over the last 7 years…. you right it doesn’t matter who he was but we have been an adoption center not a sanctuary so he did not fit our norm
Hello, great story on Perfect! I own one of his daughters, Perfect Love!
She is an 8 yr old mare that I rescued from auction 3 yrs ago. She is
blind in one eye maybe from a racing injury, and was sold to the
feedlot pen destined for Canada. Today, she is a beautiful big gray mare
that has a second career as a hunter. My daughter is competing for
Miss CT next month and just had the most glamorous photos taken of
her and Pearl, Perfect Love’s barn name. So happy to hear Perfect is happy
All the Best,