Stories like this make my day ... An old horse, in this case a top-level horse, finds a loving home where he will live out his remaining years with dignity and in comfort. Our Mims Retirement Haven is one of my favorite of the many wonderful organizations who dedicate themselves to bettering the lives of thoroughbred race horses. The following is a press release I received from my friends at Our Mims today describing the journey of a 21-year-old gelding named Elmhurst. You may remember his explosive rally to win the 1997 Breeders' Cup Sprint.
Our Mims Retirement Haven, in conjunction with Rocking Horse Ranch of California, is proud to announce the return of Elmhurst, the gelding who captured the 1997 Breeders Cup Sprint, to Paris, Kentucky.
Elmhurst, the 1990 gelding by Wild Again and out of the Raise A Native mare Mimbet, rushed from last to win the Sprint under jockey Corey Nakatani. Bred at Calumet and purchased in training by C.N. Ray with trainer Jenine Sahadi, Elmhurst finished his career of 51 races with 8 wins, 10 places, and 6 shows for total career earnings of $1.1 million.
Retired to Ray’s Evergreen Farm in Paris, Kentucky, Elmhurst was eventually shipped to California where he slipped below the radar to re-surface in 2008 at Rocking Horse Ranch in El Cajon. The Ranch is a non-profit dealing mostly with rescue horses that arrive in horrible shape and owner Kathy Plaisted works miracles with these horses to bring back their true spirit. The Ranch offers camps, riding lessons, and many hands-on activities to youth and adults struggling with life’s challenges.
“I remember the night Elmhurst arrived” says Sandy Bird, a neighbor and friend of the Ranch. “When you have seen the condition most of the horses arrive in, to see a healthy and beautiful Elmhurst arrive was something special. He was scared and uncertain, but the boy had a presence that cannot be denied. We knew he was something special but really had no other information.”
Bird continues: “We did an internet search one day and found the You-Tube video of him winning the Breeder’s Cup Sprint in 1997. The look he gave us said, ‘Finally… how about a peppermint!’ The Ranch has shown him love and care for the past few years. Visitors to the ranch love him, and he loves being with people.” In 2011, Bird used Google to look up Elmhurst’s lineage and came upon his granddam — Our Mims. “I was just looking to see if there was anyone else out there who cared about this horse as much as we do. Turns out, Kentucky loves Elmhurst just as much!”
Bird called the number on the Our Mims Retirement Haven website, and Mirabito answered the phone. “I think I said something like ‘We have Elmhurst’ and the joy in her voice almost made me cry. I told her we were looking to find Elmhurst a place that would be his home forever. His new home would have to be perfect and we had a long list… long list of things that had to be done, references checked, etc. I asked for her help to see if there were such a place. She called me the next morning, and said ‘We want him.’ We have worked out the details over the past few months, and we are going to miss him like crazy but are so happy and grateful that he is literally ‘going home to his Grandma’s ranch.’ We have every intention of visiting Elmo (his California nickname).”
Plans have been underway, and both non-profits hope to move Elmhurst soon. Brook Ledge Horse Transportation has donated over half the cost to ship Elmhurst across the country and Three Chimneys Farm has donated a Point Given halter to help with residual costs. Producer Feeds in Paris, Kentucky is providing shipping boots for Elmhurst to travel safely and a round or two of feed for him once he arrives at OMRH. Elmhurst’s stall at the Haven has been refurbished and additional drainage put in place with grant money from Thoroughbred Charities of America.
The Haven is looking to donations from supporters to help pay the rest of the bill for Elmhurst’s trip. Fans and supporters will be able to go to the Haven’s web site at http://www.OurMims.org/elmhurst.html and purchase post cards for $5. Purchased post cards will be on display for Elmhurst’s arrival, and then will be mailed to the donors with a Paris postmark. More information is available on the Haven’s web site.
Haven President and Farm owner Mirabito remarked: "Every time I look at Our Mims pedigree page I see the name Elmhurst. Now I'll see him in person and in our pasture! Its almost like a dream; Our Mims’ grandson is coming home!"
“This is a fantastic opportunity for the Haven,” added OMRH Director of Fund Raising and Promotion. “Elmhurst is coming home, that’s how we see it. And this is a win-win for us and Rocking Horse Ranch. We love it when a horse comes into our barn already healthy and bright. Kathy and Sandy have taken great care of Elmhurst, and we appreciate it so much that they have entrusted us with his future.”
An arrival date has not been announced but anticipated as soon as funds are attained.
Rocking Horse Ranch will be offering a halter worn by Elmhurst during his stay at the Ranch to raise funds for El Cajon nonprofit organization.
Our Mims Retirement Haven is a 501(c)3 nonprofit chartered in 2007. Named after famed Calumet racer Our Mims, the 1977 Eclipse Award Champion 3-Year-Old Filly, OMRH takes in retired Thoroughbred broodmares. The ladies live out their lives in the barns and paddocks of the Haven with appropriate feed, exercise, vet, farrier, and dental care. OMRH is supported by direct donations, sponsorships, grants, and the sale of items on eBay and their online store.
Current ladies living at the Haven include Timeless Sue (granddam of Bourbon Belle, great granddam of Not Bourbon), Hana Bride (daughter of Coastal), west coast runner Bel’s Starlet, champion racer Lotka, starred broodmare Cruella, Australian-born Princess Royale, Ms. Stalwart (dam of), Missy White Oak, Ms. Royal Flagship, Taba Dance (daughter of founding lady Taba the dam of Turkoman), Little Miss Porter, and Trail Guide. OMRH has been the home of Sugar and Spice (champion half-sister of Our Mims), Taba (dam of Turkoman, great granddam of Point Given), Iza Valentine (1987 California Broodmare of the Year), My Turbulent Miss (dam of Prized and Exploit), Alabama Nana (raced in the 1985 Breeders Cup Distaff), Hope of Glory, Jamra, and Exactly So.