Magna Fortuna: A Cinderella Story

Four years ago, Silver Option and Magna Fortuna were lucky to be alive. After changing hands several times, Silver Option ended up at Shipshewana Livestock Auction in Shipshewana, Indiana. As far as auction houses go, Shipshewana is one of the largest low end auctions in the Midwest and is one of the worst of the worst, notorious for its cruel treatment of the livestock that ends up there. Most of the horses that pass through there end up sold off to kill buyers, and Silver Option was no exception. In pain and condemned to suffer even more before eventually being slaughtered, only a miracle could save the mare. On that day, June 6, 2009, Gail Vacca, President of the Illinois Equine Humane Center (ILEHC) would end up being the miracle Silver Option so desperately needed.
As President of the ILEHC, Ms. Vacca was at Shipshewana for the express purpose of spotting violations to a new rule in Illinois. The Illinois racetracks had recently adopted a zero tolerance policy on allowing horses that had previously raced at the state’s tracks to be sold at low end auctions. Walking among the crowds of horses, Ms. Vacca eventually spied Silver Option. The mare was clearly in pain and definitely a thoroughbred, a violation of the new Illinois rule, so Ms. Vacca found the kill buyer who was in possession of Silver Option at the time and bought the mare from him for $300. A check of her tattoo would reveal little by way of identifying the mare at the time.
Back at the ILEHC, a visit from the veterinarian revealed that Lulu, as the bay mare had been dubbed, had a variety of foot issues. It was decided to give her a fighting chance by re-shoeing her and giving her pain medications to ease her suffering. As Lulu recovered her health, it became clear that not just one life had been saved on that fateful day. Lulu was in foal, but the ILEHC had no idea who Lulu was, let alone the parentage of the foal she was carrying. It was not until after Lulu gave birth to her colt, who was nicknamed Taxi, on April 15, 2010 that the ILEHC was able to track down someone who could solve the mystery surrounding the identity of Lulu. The mare’s official name was Silver Option and her colt Taxi was part of new sire Magna Graduate’s first crop of foals.
Several members of the ILEHC formed the partnership Rescue Me Racing, LLC, in order to give Magna Fortuna (Latin for “good fortune”), Taxi’s official name, the opportunity to do what he had been bred to do: race. On December 26, 2012 at Hawthorne, Magna Fortuna entered the starting gate for the very first time. Breaking from post 11 in a field of 12, Magna Fortuna was caught five wide in between rivals and finished 9th in the six furlong affair. Undaunted, Rescue Me Racing again sent out their miracle colt at Hawthorne on February 15 in another 6 furlong maiden affair. Under jockey Julio Felix, “Taxi” was again hung wide while being forwardly placed and once again faded out of contention to finish seventh.
Today, Magna Fortuna entered the starting gate at Hawthorne for the third time, this time stretching out to 8.5 furlongs in a maiden affair. With regular rider Julio Felix in the irons, “Good Fortune” broke sharply, powered to the front, and never looked back. The colt who had almost never even had the chance to live, let alone race, crossed the wire to win by a widening margin of 9 ¾ lengths.
Whether or not today’s win is the only one of the colt’s career or just the first of many does not matter. The fact that he is alive and even made it to the track is victory enough. Rescue Me Racing has and will continue to give him every chance to succeed. ILEHC continues to care for Magna Fortuna’s dam Silver Option. Thanks to the good care she has received, she is now mostly pain free and can be found gallivanting with her herd. 
Photo courtesy of Four Footed Fotos 


What the Nation is saying about Magna Fortuna: A Cinderella Story...

I find myself reading this story over and over. Wow!
Such a great story! Thank you for writing about this, Ashley. I hope "Good Fortune" continues his winning ways.
What a wonderful story ... so many good people out there who love these horses!
Thanks to the people doing the good work, and best of luck to this lucky horse!
Sadly, I have heard so many similar stories of good stock winding up in what amounts to a meat sale like that one.
Ashley. Thank you the story and the update on Magna Fortuna and his maiden win. As a small aside Ashley, thank you for your description of these low end livestock sales where animals are cruelly treated before being slaughtered. Unfortunately, this brutality is very common for all animals.
Ashley, Thank you so much for the update, and congrats to Magna Fortuna on breaking his maiden. I had read Magna Fortuna and his dam's rescue story, and this adds to the good news. GL to him in his career.
Congrats to Magna Fortuna on the maiden win. There are so many good people in racing who helped make this feel good story come true!


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Meet Ashley Tamulonis

Despite growing up in a non-horse racing state, Ashley has been a fan of the sport since a young age. Her love for horse racing was fostered through the kids’ book series Thoroughbred by Joanna Campbell, and it was her love of reading and horses that led her to educate herself on the ins and outs of the sport. Since becoming actively involved in the industry just a few short years ago, Ashley has had the opportunity to meet many important players in the industry, attend the Eclipse Awards, see personal favorite Mucho Macho Man race twice in person, and get to personally meet and befriend many of the fantastic fans and horsemen involved in the sport.


Before joining Horse Racing Nation, Ashley created her own blog Wired with Ashley Paige. The idea to venture into the world of blogging came to her when she realized that she had much to say about horse racing and no one to say it to at the time. Since joining Horse Racing Nation as a contributing blogger, Ashley writes as frequently as possible as the Florida Filly. Though she mainly covers racing in South Florida, Ashley also blogs about nationwide racing, industry issues, and from time to time offers her opinion on how various changes could be beneficial to the industry as a whole. Most recently, Ashley was selected to participate in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Polls.


An alumni of Macon State College, Ashley lives in Central Georgia with her husband Chris and their two sons Charlie and Michael. When she is not covering the races, Ashley works with insurance claims, a job she is able to do from home in order to spend as much time as possible with her family. Aside from horse racing, Ashley is passionate about football, reading, and history and hopes to someday author a historical work covering the Tudor period as well as biographies of horse racing’s stars, equine and human alike.