“Gramps, don’t tell anyone,” said Jane Allen Blayman to Bert Allen on a late December day in 2009. “But, I’m on my way to Hagerstown to get this horse. People are worried.”
As she raced to rescue a weanling, sight unseen, the fourth-generation horseman and her grandfather “rattled awhile” —an expression he used to describe their lengthy phone conversations—about a horse who would subsequently be saved and named in tribute to the dear old man and the good horsemanship he espoused.
The weanling grew to neither big nor gorgeous by racehorse standards, Blayman says. But she was special.
She was the last racehorse she discussed with her grandfather before he died. Blayman named the filly Rattle Awhile after the family colloquialism, in tribute to him.
Dam: Miss Amazona
Foal date: May 6, 2009“I had her for 30 days before my grandfather died. So when I decided to register her and name her” I chose the name in remembrance of him, she says. And when she was ready for training, she prevailed upon her father, a race-trainer in his own right, to get her prepped and ready for the track.
Rattle Awhile ran at Pimlico and Colonial Downs from 2012 to 2013 until Blayman made the difficult decision to sell her.
“At the time, I was pregnant, and someone wanted to buy her. So I sold her with the right of first refusal, but regretted the decision after that,” she says.
She kept tabs on the filly after placing her in her virtual stable, and privately rejoiced when the filly turned in a first-place finish in January this year. After five more races with somewhat lackluster results, Rattle Awhile dropped off Blayman’s radar, and the horseman immediately tried to get answers.
“I learned in July that the horse had been sold,” she says. “I was in the process of trying to find out which riding facility had my horse” when two months later, she learned the worst.
The unremarkable looking racehorse turned up in posts on the OTTB Connect Facebook page over the Labor Day weekend: she was at New Holland and needed to be bailed out.
“I was pissed, I couldn’t believe she wound up at New Holland,” she says.
Picking up the phone, she contacted Nancy Carson Hynes who had paid $600 to buy the Thoroughbred from the meat buyer and quickly made arrangements to get her back. Agreeing to refund the entire purchase price to Hynes, she set out on Sept. 4 to East Lancaster Maryland to pick up her old friend.
“The whole time I was driving out there, I was reminiscing about the conversation I had with my grandfather,” she says. And when she arrived to collect the bay Thoroughbred, all bathed, and waiting, the pair didn’t miss a beat as she led the animal to the van, and drove her back home. “What Rattle Awhile went through is something that never should have happened,” she says. “She’s a viable, young horse who’s in good shape. This is a business where you’re not supposed to form sentimental attachments, so I guess I’ve broken that rule with her.”
—Blayman notes that the work to rescue Rattle Awhile would not have been possible without the help of Daun Imeratore, Nancy Diaz, Kelly Conner, Diana Levy and Lowcountry Lens and Nancy Carson Hynes. ♥
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8 responses to “A filly named for grandpa saved from meat buyer”
Your grandfather would be proud. Great job. That is what counts!
So sad that someone would send a horse that had won for them to New Holland but so happy that things turned out so well for Rattle Awhile. It doesn’t always happen that way unfortunately. Thanks to Jane for being so diligent in tracking her down and all who helped her. Rattle Awhile is indeed a special horse. A happy healthy life to her and Jane for doing the right thing by her.
It takes a linkage for one horse at a time, but darn it, when can it take a country to stop the madness of slaughtering our beloved horse…THEY ARE NOT LIVESTOCK. Good story. Good ending
Very true, it takes a village to save these horses and once again, in this case, it did. Thankfully through the village Jane was able to get her horse back. Very happy ending. Thank goodness for all those people who came together to save this mare!
Good story–happy ending. Too bad we can’t get a law against tatooed TB’s going to the meat man without running their tatoo through the registry. We could track them better. We should be able to register the first choice agreements with their #. Soooooo many TB’s get lost in the shuffle.
It takes a village to save horses from going to slaughter. So glad everything worked out well for Rattle Awhile and she is back home and safe.
People have to remember that even with a piece of paper and a handshake, once the horse/dog/cat/pet whatever is out of your care there are absolutely no guarantees on that animals safety. This doesnt just happen in the racing industry. I have seen pleasure horses and pets, end up in bad situations after being sold with a first right of refusal in the sales agreement.
Does this mean that you can’t trust anyone? No. But a piece of paper is just that to some people.A simple piece of paper. This is why I have it in my living will that should I die before my OTTB, that he be humanely PTS and buried with respect. And I trust my husband to follow through with that request.
Congratulations! I rejoice at your happy reunion. I, sadly, found out first-hand that agreements may as well be written on the wind. I had such an agreement with my homebred filly. Even though she was sold to someone else, I contacted that person to tell them I wanted her back if she should ever wish to sell her. Again, my filly – by then a mare and dam of a prize-winning, conformation filly – had been given away to someone. Not only that, the person who gave her away “didn’t know the name of or a way to contact” the person to whom she gave my girl. Some people’s word is worth absolutely nothing. I fear the worst.