An outpouring of help from horsemen, volunteers and businesses has coalesced into “a remarkable hands on effort” to help ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds in the somber waning days of the Suffolk Downs racetrack.
So says Dawn Carey Kirlin, CANTER New England board member, who along with Kim Rigolini and many other CANTER volunteers, is working hard to make sure racehorses have some place to go when the track closes Oct. 4.
An Open House set for Saturday, Sept. 27 has attracted the support of businesses such as Dover Saddlery and Poulin Grain of Vermont, as well horse shippers, who will stand at the ready to help transport the lucky animals.
“Basically, everybody is trying to do everything they can to help,” Kirlin says.
Since the closure of the 79-year-old struggling racetrack was announced a week ago, the number of horses listed for sale has continued to grow, Kirlin says. Though horses are selling to new homes at a brisk pace, new horses are being added on almost as quickly as others are being sold, she explains.
“We still have over 100 horses listed for sale,” she says. “But, we’re also selling quickly. Last weekend we sold 20.”
Because of the heightened activity, it has been a challenge to update the CANTER New England Trainer Listings page, she says, noting that a horse may sell before that information is updated on the horse’s advertisement on the sale page.
As news has spread about the track’s imminent closure, other Thoroughbred organizations have reached out to help.
Lisa Molloy of ReRun, Inc., of Virginia, contacted Thoroughbred advocate Lorita Lindemann and agreed to take two horses: Rich Hero, who has earned $250,000 in lifetime starts, and Soccer Goalie.
Molloy explains, “I had a gentleman looking for a very specific type of horse, and I contacted Lorita to see if there was such a horse at Suffolk. I happened to mention to her that due to the high number of adoptions we’ve had lately, I’d be willing to take a horse or two. That’s when she told me about Rich Hero, and that he was in dire need of a home. I agreed to take him, and then we adopted another horse, so I called her and told her we had another stall open up, so to put someone on the van with Rich Hero. And that’s how we got Soccer Goalie.”
Lorita notes that another Thoroughbred is en route to a good home in New Hampshire, to live with a family involved with 4H.
As incentives to prospective buyers, both Dover Saddlery and Poulin Grain have sweetened the pot. Dover Saddlery has donated “starter kits,” which include items such as lead ropes, halters and other goodies to be given to new owners. And Poulin Grain is giving out valuable grain coupons to new owners.
As efforts to re-home horses move into high gear, Kirlin notes the track has been very supportive, opening up its backside, and allowing free access for CANTER volunteers to take new horse listings. “We have someone out there now taking a listing for a horse who lost an eye in a race,” she says.
While some horses are being moved back to their New England farms, because local stallion farms have seen their business prospects evaporate with the loss of Suffolk Downs —there’s no further need for Mass bred horses, Kirlin explains. Those breeders and owners will likely have to recalculate their future plans for the horses they own.
For more information about available horses, please visit CANTER New England’s Trainer Listings, or this CANTER file of horses and Open House information, and consider attending the Open House at Suffolk Downs this Saturday. ♥
Please consider visiting the blog’s new store, Off-Track Products. Proceeds will help sustain this blog in the future, and go to charity.
13 responses to “All hands on deck to help Suffolk T-breds”
I live in California and have bought a few items through Dover Saddlery. What great people… Poulin Grain too, offering these incentives. . Good luck with all these horses. It is always so sad to see a racetrack close. When I was at Hollywood Park on the 2nd to last day, I really cried my eyes out. Just such a shame.
I hope they all go to great homes. Sounds like it has been really positive so far.
If I was not 6 hours away from Suffolk I would help ship horses to their new homes. I wish I could help, but distance makes it very hard to do.
I have no money to donate, but would love to help out in some manner. I hope all find homes soon–I’ll miss not looking at CANTER NE’s trainer listings every year… a sad day for Massachusetts, as I wrote in my blog. 🙁
We can help these horses even if we can’t adopt one. To make it easy to donate to CANTER New England and help them in their work to find homes for all these Thoroughbreds, you can go to http://www.canterusa.org and click on the Donate Button. Follow the prompts to make your donation.
I’m wondering if Dover’s offer extends to horses bought from Suffolk trainers unrelated to CANTER. Should I contact them directly about that? I’m picking up my little mare tomorrow.
I’m not sure and don’t want to say the wrong thing, but I was under the impression the package goes to people who got their horses from Suffolk right now, and I should think you qualify. Good luck with your mare!!!
Nope, looks like it’s CANTER-listed horses only. Which I find a little strange, as there are a ton of horses looking for homes that aren’t on the website :/ I’m not really upset about it, but it would have been nice.
Wish I could get another horse, but I have two already. A thoroughbred gelding, Elliott, living and working at a therapy program called Lifestriders in Waukesha, WI and a Hanoverian mare, Freda, that I show in hunters and hunter derbies.
Elliott is totally loved at Lifestriders and with his gentle personality, quickly became one of the favorites.
I hope this is the right listing page. Susan, if it isn’t, it would be great if you could post the correct site address here. Thanks.
I checked with Dawn of CANTER New England. All links lead to the same place, and are correct. As is the PDF link, which is on the CANTER website as well. Thanks for your diligence.
Thanks, Susan,that’s great. I can only hope that all horses at Suffolk Downs are as lucky now as my OTTB was the day that I fell for him!
Is this the “CANTER file” that you referenced in your blog today, Susan?
For those who can’t take in one of these Thoroughbreds, CANTER New England (equine rescue) would make good use of any and all donations to them. I believe that CANTER NE is a 501c3 non-profit, so donations will assist them in their work for horse welfare, AND your contribution should be tax-deductible on your 2014 federal income taxes.
That’s the trainer listing page, KWebers. The CANTER file is an easier to read format showing horses with thumbnail pictures, and also offers information about the open house. So, different.