Injured racehorse makes it out of Puerto Rico

Joan Dunlap can't believe her eyes as she reunites with Mynah's Boy this summer in Pennsylvania.

Joan Dunlap can’t believe her eyes as she reunites with Mynah’s Boy this summer in Pennsylvania.

Mynah’s Boy stood on a doubled-bowed tendon at the Puerto Rico racetrack, a place where it’s said that a mediocre racehorse hasn’t a prayer in hell of making it back across the Atlantic Ocean.

His future held two possibilities: a good death, or a bad death, says Joan Dunlap, a Pennsylvania woman who spent six sad, exhausting months beating her head against the wall as she tried and failed to raise funds to get the gelding, a son of her very own cherished OTTB Mynah, to safety and properly retired.

“I was thinking it wasn’t going to happen, and I was about to send a couple hundred dollars to the track and ask them to dig him a respectable grave,” Dunlap says. “I was going to ask that they give him a sedative first, and then the final dose to put him down.”

Mynah’s Boy
Sire: Mingun
Dam: Mynah (GB)
Foal date: Jan. 28, 2009
This was her only hope for a gently and people-friendly Thoroughbred with bad legs, a bad eye, and stranded on the Puerto Rican island, where she learned during her many hours on the phone and emailing horsemen, that this racetrack, “is the very end of the road—they don’t return to the United States (mainland) from there,” she says.

“Down in Puerto Rico they don’t have a slaughter facility, and I was told they either find them a good home through their rescues down there, or they put them down at the track. Worst case is to be thrown out in the bush to fend for themselves,” she says. “Some die of starvation, and others wind up either in the hands of kids who run them on back streets, or being eaten by predators.”

Mynah's Boy sustained a double bowed in a tendon.

Mynah’s Boy sustained a double bowed in a tendon.

Try as she did to raise funds to fly the Kentucky bred back and find a safe landing, she received more pushback than sympathy from Thoroughbred advocates who, though kind, pointed out that there were so many horses in need on the mainland that saving Mynah’s Boy seemed a much lower priority.

“People didn’t believe he was worth the money or the support,” she says. “But I disagreed. This horse was bred in Kentucky and … just because he’s a low-end horse, and not a Derby winner, made no difference to me.”

But unable to shoulder the cost of transporting the horse herself, or offer him a place to live, Dunlap was resigned to sending a couple hundred dollars so his owners—who were always cooperative and helpful throughout the process— could put her mare’s fifth foal to sleep.

Mynah's Boy enjoys a good roll back on the mainland of the U.S.A.

Mynah’s Boy enjoys a good roll back on the mainland of the U.S.A.

And then in early May 2015, as Thoroughbred fans around the country turned their attention to the fabled Kentucky Derby, a Thoroughbred advocate with a reputation for being able to “move mountains” intervened.

Marlene Murray of the Thoroughbred charity R.A.C.E. Fund (Retirement Assistance and Care for Equines) contacted Dunlap and offered to mobilize her vast network to bring back Mynah’s Boy.

“She told me she believed that just because a horse may not be a potential sport horse after they’re done racing, that they still have value,” says Dunlap, adding that in the process, she and Murray were able to garner enough support to pay $3,000 to get the gelding flown back, quarantined, and stalled comfortably near Dunlap in Pennsylvania.

“The owner gave the horse away for free and we got that horse out of Puerto Rico in June,” she says, adding that she was told afterwards by rescue workers in Puerto Rico that this was the first time they’d seen a Thoroughbred like Mynah’s Boy make it out. “They told me this never happens,” she says.

Dunlap was reunited with Mynah’s Boy over the summer; her face lighting up with pure joy to see the fifth foal of her OTTB Mynah, safe and happy.

He may not have been the most competitive racehorse on the track, and his injuries will hobble his chances as a riding horse, but Mynah’s Boy still mattered. And after three years of monitoring the horse from afar, and six months of trying, her mare’s fifth foal now has a chance to just be a horse. A chance few if any get after they ship to Puerto Rico.

“Because of his injuries, we knew that he was not really adoptable, and probably not rideable. He’s only 6. But I believed he deserved a chance anyway,” she says. “None of this would have happened without Marlene Murray and a team of incredible people who stepped forward” to deal Mynah’s Boy a better hand than ignoble death in a land far from his birth.

18 responses to “Injured racehorse makes it out of Puerto Rico”

  1. Gloria Stagmer

    What a heartwarming story. My family has owned horses for over 20 years . I can not imagine leaving this gorgeous animal behind. He is much loved in his forever home and I know he will reward his owner many times over. Horses sense love and respect and they return in many ways. Bless everyone who helped. You brighten my heart with this story or compassion and commitment.

    1. Lynne Jones

      Gloria: Well said. How true. I do feel horses sense when someone loves them. I wish more breeders would step up to the plate and track the horses they’ve brought into this world and make sure they do not end up on a killer buyer’s truck.

  2. Carolin Phillips

    What a beautiful and heartwarming story…thank you to all who made it possible for this magnificent boy to be rescued…may he enjoy a very long and happy life.

  3. Joan Dunlap

    This was a true effort of Many People that reached out to help one another and make sure Mynah’s Boy was given a proper racing retirement. A majority of these people were from Puerto Rico, from the race track, from equine welfare advocacy, equine transportation professionals, the individuals that operate the PR/US Quarantine facility and individuals with hearts of gold in PR and the US that either donated the funding, their professional services, time and networking. In order to achieve all this we had a very caring track owner that has a good heart, is a good person and wanted to do the right thing for Mynah’s Boy. He did the right thing. In fact, after Mynah’s Boy’s last race his owner kept him at the race track while we completed our funding and logistics to return him to the US. Something he or the PR track officials didn’t have to do. The breeder, (I am not the breeder), donated to this cause and helped us. The TB world stepped up to the plate to help me. I have been told by those that helped us in Puerto Rico that there are many, many horses that Do have happy endings and go on to purposeful lives on the islands. Mynah’s Boy didn’t have this option because of his injuries. The islands are small and therefore rescue and sanctuary facilities are minimal. These horses’ stories are no different than what they experience here in the United States. We just should not forget about them if they ever do cross an ocean to race in another country. It is Not Puerto Rico (or any country) that is the problem. It is an issue of individuals that either do not place value on the horses once they can no longer perform their man given career, make money, don’t find reason to care for the horses any longer, limited finances or housing, or don’t have the network of people to help them properly find Good Homes (the latter plays of huge role). That is universal with no boarders to cross and is not discipline related.

    Please visit Mynah’s Boy Facebook page – Mynah’s Boy – Retired from Racing. Read through and see posts about all the wonderful people and organizations that have been a part of Mynah’s Boy and his retirement from racing. Sometimes it just takes one individual to start the process, but it takes a village to complete and continue. My role and concern has always been for what was and is best for Mynah’s Boy and finding the right people to help. Everyone who has touched his life has given tremendously. We are forever grateful.

    1. Lynne Jones

      Joan: God Bless You and all who assisted in bringing Mynah’s Boy home to the U.S. I wish I had the funds to buy and give a home to all horses in need of a loving, caring owner. I have loved these animals as a young child seeing them in a pasture in Iowa – and not even pronounce “horse”. I finally got my first horse at about 17 while in high school but only had him for about a year as my mother had arthritis and we moved again to Arizona hoping to find a climate that would relieve her pain. At approximately sixty five I finally got my first rescue and try to help where I can to save one. May all our “icons” find good homes where no killer buyers can get monies to survive on the back of these beautiful animals.

  4. Juandaful

    So wonderful to see a breeder follow up with the animals she has bred. This story has such value just in getting that info out there–if every horse which was bred would have the ability to be returned to breeder, none would fall thru the cracks. And maybe irresponsible or large breeders would decrease their numbers. Too many poor horse souls end up in a place where they shouldn’t bc they don’t have lifelong guarantees of the folks who brought them into this world being responsible for their fates. Thank you to this breeder who refused to leave her mare’s get behind.

    1. Lynne Jones

      Since finding out about horses going to slaughter from racing, I’ve said breeders should be responsible for all the animals they bring into this life of racing. I’m now encouraged that other people are agreeing. Maybe, hopefully in the near future, this will be the norm. Then we have to find a way to save all the unwanted horses from going to auction and the possibility that these fine horses will end up on a terrible killer buyer’s truck. This is one breeder that deserve much praise and thanks.

  5. Lyndsey shaw

    what a lovely story it mad me cry thank god there are people like you in this world to make it a better place

    1. Lynne Jones

      Lyndsey, well said. I wish we (all who have applied to this information on Mynah Boy’s return to the U.S.) could pool together to start helping more of these U.S. animals to come home or better yet, prevent them leaving the U.S. As said before, God Bless All who had a role in bringing this beautiful horse back HOME.

  6. Lynne Jones

    Joan, God Bless You and R.A.C.E. I truly believe that all these horses deserve to live out their lives until God takes them or because of illness they have to be put down. I also firmly believe that a breeder should be responsible for the horses they have breed and responsible to take them back at a time when that horse may end up at an auction and/or slaughter truck or as in this case, Puerto Rico. I don’t understand why anyone would let one of these beautiful animals to ship to Puerto Rico. These animals are “America’s icons, and our wild horses and burros are suffering because of BAD INDIVIDUALS that don’tt care about horses, etc. This is unforgiveable and each and every human having a part of killing God’s dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, etc. deserve their end journey in the destination staring with an “H” and ending in a “L”. God Bless all in saving this “beautiful” horse and he is beautiful. I save what I can and if I could save them all, I would. – and I do mean all. But unfortunately, I’m unable to do so. But this is a great story and I wish all the horses now that may end up in Puerto Rico will be stopped from going and end up in a rescue or loving homes. All these animals deserve this.

  7. R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

    Although, I was not contacted about this story or had any input concerning its content, I would like to add that there were many people involved besides myself to bring Mynah’s Boy home. First and foremost, it would not have been possible without the help and assistance from Victoria McCullough as she played a major role in making this happen. In Puerto Rico, Ruffino Rodriquez, Kellie Stobie, Greg and Linda Jackson, Lynn Utech, Island Horse Welfare Foundations. In the States, Joan Dunlap, Danielle Doughtery, and Flying Changes Equine Rescue so a big thank you to all of you. It took a village to make this happen for Mynah’s Boy and thankfully for him it was successful.
    Marlene Murray, President
    R.A.C.E. Fund, Inc.

  8. sunraecreative

    So happy about Mynah’s Boy’s ending…a happy ending. While Mynah’s Boy was in Pennsylvania, he was supported, loved, and cared for by Flying Changes Equine Rescue, a non-profit equine rescue in Western Pennsylvania. Many hours were spent hand-walking and rehabbing MB by Flying Changes staff and volunteers. If you would like to check out their facebook page ( and website (, please do so to keep up with their rescue efforts. They were there to support MB with stall, feed, vetting, exercise, and funded his care while he softly landed in Pennsylvania. I truly believe that they are the untold angels of this article.

    I just wanted them to receive the recognition that they so rightfully deserve.

  9. Jen Flint

    This is a great, heartwarming story! Thanks for sharing and caring.

  10. nancy atkinson

    Joan, I wish I had known. I am still working at 67 to support my OTTB rescues. HOWEVER, I have a discover card that would have covered this for you. Can’t take it with you and can’t think of a better reason to use the card.

    1. Joan

      Thank you Nancy – please feel free to send a friend request via FB. I’d be glad to provide you more info on my experience with helping Mynah’s Boy, and stay posted on Mynah’s Boy FB page 😉

  11. nancy atkinson

    wonderful story and beautiful,
    lucky horse. My big question is–Why does the US let these poor horses go to Puerto Rico to end up as described? We need the big rescue operations to lobby legislation. At least if they go, it should be required that they be returned. Very bad yet solvable situation.

  12. HorseLuv73

    Happy that he made it out of Puerto Rico! Just give that injury time to heal. When it’s finally healed, he may not be an upper level horse but he may be able to go on to a low level career or be a trail horse.

  13. Marilyn Lee-Hannah

    Early Monday morning goosebumps…thank you to all those who cared, and put their care into action.

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