NY claimer hits it big after Puerto Rico rescue

Saratogaatseventy was rescued earlier this year from Puerto Rico by New Yorker Jane LaSure. Photo by Jerry Hook

Saratogaatseventy was rescued earlier this year from Puerto Rico by New Yorker Jane LaSure. Photo by Jerry Hook

All roads led back to Saratoga Springs for a New York racehorse whose name and history were so intertwined with the leafy epicenter of summertime racing where her racing career began.

After running her heart out in the low claimers far and wide, Saratogaatseventy found her way back to Upstate New York last month after two of her fans moved heaven and earth to rescue her.

Jane LaSure of Cazenovia, N.Y. and Marlene Murray of the Thoroughbred charity R.A.C.E. Fund, tag-teamed in a joint effort this past summer to fundraise and ship the race mare home after the beautiful, gentle animal completed her 71st race on the Camarero Racetrack, in Puerto Rico.

Sire: Cuvee
Dam: Last Day of Winter, by Green Alligator
Foal date: April 13, 2008
Earnings: 71 starts, $38,718
“The irony,” says LaSure, “is that she’s a New York bred who I met in Saratoga, who has this great name, and who is now retired with me living within two hours of the city.”

Though in hindsight the full-circle journey that returned Saratogaatseventy to New York seems simple, it was years in the making, says LaSure.

She explains that she and her husband Peter first met Saratogaatseventy at the Saratoga Race Course in 2010. They weren’t in the market for a horse at the time, but couldn’t help noticing the “cute little mare” while they visited a friend.

“Our friend Tim Snyder, who has since passed away, had invited us to come out to see his horse Lisa’s Boobytrap. He’d started having some good fortune with the horse and ended up in a stake’s race in Saratoga and asked us to come watch,” she says. “But while everyone else was fawning over Lisa’s Boobytrap, my husband Peter and I were looking at Sara” who’d been pointed out to them and described as a “nice little filly.”

Sara as she appeared in Puerto Rico before she was flown back to the state of her birth.

Sara as she appeared in Puerto Rico before she was flown back to the state of her birth.

The couple soon became so smitten with the mare that they took a few road trips to watch her compete, eventually placing her name in a virtual stable so they would be apprised of the animal’s whereabouts.

As Saratogaatseventy was shipped around the country, traveling to Finger Lakes, Golden Gate, Thistledown and beyond, the couple kept their eyes on her: “I was following her for a very long time. I couldn’t believe the number of times she raced, and the miles she put in, and the fact that she kept placing and showing, or not doing well at all,” LaSure says. “Then one day she disappeared from the radar the way claimers sometimes do, and then all of a sudden she reappeared in Puerto Rico. And I remember telling my husband that they don’t come back from there.”

Aware that Puerto Rico lacks resources for Thoroughbred aftercare, and worried that the cute little mare they’d once admired would wind up running until she was used up and without options, LaSure wrote a letter to Marlene Murray at R.A.C.E. Fund. She began with the simple statement: “A virtual stable is not for the fainthearted.”

By coincidence, Murray had been following Saratogaatseventy too!

Sara is greeted during a homecoming party back on New York soil.

Sara is greeted during a homecoming party back on New York soil.

“I was following Tim Snyder’s races and when I saw that Sara ended up in Puerto Rico I figured there’d probably come a point where we may try to help retire her,” Murray says. Murray and LaSure waited for their chance, and in June, they made their bid.

“This past spring I could see Sara was starting to trail off with the racing, and I called Jane and asked if we could raise the funds to bring her back. Could she and her husband give her a home?” Murray says. It was a call LaSure was thrilled to receive.

“We hadn’t spoken for a year when she called to tell me that she had a board meeting at the charity and planned to ask about doing a rescue, but that she couldn’t do the rescue unless Sara had a place to go. While we were talking my husband was listening and he kept nodding his head yes!”

Thrilled to offer a safe haven for a horse who had no other post-racing options, LaSure says Sara is blooming in her home state, standing as a beautiful testament to good luck and coincidences and reunions that were meant to be.

“Some people have been amazed that she came back from Puerto Rico, because most horses don’t come back,” she says. “I hope the word gets out that low claimers are just as important as the big-name horses. And that the plane to Puerto Rico goes both ways.”

11 responses to “NY claimer hits it big after Puerto Rico rescue”

  1. Lynn Denise U.

    The Virgin Islands is where the real dead end happens. I’m proud to say my team has shipped over 50 US-bred Thoroughbreds back to the States to adoptive homes after racing since 2004. We have no breeders assistance but are thankful for the many many generous private unconnected” donations and also partial assistance by the VI government as well as an occasional and well landed gift from After The Finish Line of California. We agree, every horse, not just top earners deserve a worthy retirement. These are the horses that make up the race. If not important why not just race two or three big guns at a time. Every horse counts.

  2. ShelleyB

    What occurs to me is that there is both good & not good in Puerto Rico racing, just like here in US. However, there are much fewer resources in PR (aftercare programs, funding, land) for TBs when racing is through. It’s not a very big island and the economy has been somewhat depressed. That’s why we work to help US-bred TBs return to US. I wasn’t involved in Sara’s retirement and return, but have helped with 3 so far. It takes a good bit of planning and teamwork on both PR and mainland US sides. Thank goodness for Kelley Stobie and Horse Rescue Caribbean / Save the Horses! Thank goodness for the former connections and new people who take these horses in. And, thank goodness for R.A.C.E Fund and other TAA accredited aftercare programs that help this effort in addition to all their work to help TBs still here in mainland US!

  3. Jimmy Calzada

    I posses a nice ranch in PR where
    to retire These animals if financial resources are provided by someone.

  4. HighNoseTheHighway

    Puerto Rico’s thoroughbred industry is as good and experienced as any of the states. There’s a clear implication in the article that the horse had to be rescued from hell. Very nice and objective!

  5. gladimirodavila

    Remember Bold Forbes, Dawn Glory and several other horses which came out of PR and made it big in New York and California? Your article implies PR thoroughbred industry is still in thecdark ages.

  6. Mary McLeod

    Thank you for the excellent news! Sara looks so happy and healthy in her NY photo: clearly a change from the Puerto Rico photo. Three whinnies and high hooves all around, Mary in Boone

  7. lisa healy

    what a wonderful story for one very lucky horse ! so glad she found a way home. thank you to everyone involved .

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

    It takes a village to help horses, especially when they are in Puerto Rico. There are many people that needed to be mentioned in this article. First of all, the R.A.C.E. Fund Board of Directors for making the decision to bring Sara back from Puerto Rico. All of the contributors on YouCaring that donated to help raise funds for Sara. Kelley Stobie who is the boots on the ground in Puerto Rico, Sara’s former owner and trainer who did the right thing and donated Sara to our organization when her racing career was over. Linda and Greg Jackson and Allegre Equine Air Transport, Lorraine Horse Transport, Danielle and Nikki Dougherty and Danica for the fabulous care they took of Sara while in Florida and Creech Van Lines for bringing Sara north to New York. It has been a long journey for Sara but she is finally back in the state where she was born. We could not ask for a better adoptive home for Sara than with the LaSure’s as they adore her and she will always be safe and loved. Welcome home Sara!

  9. Teresa Fasolino

    Great news ! Thanks for some good news this morning. Another horse comes back home from Puerto Rico. We are all thrilled for Sara.

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