Track goers know that not all race horses make it. Whether injuries take a toll or poor performance is the cause, owners and trainers are constantly forced with making that tough decision of when to pull the plug on a horses’ racing career.
The choice after that is often harder and more controversial than the original decision its self. What do they do with the horse.
Many options are there but which is the right one. Horse rescue organizations exist as does the option of horse slaughter, which was brought back to the forefront in November when President Barack Obama signed a law that allowed funding for inspections of horse meat for human consumption, that could open the door for slaughter houses to operate in the United States again.
While that is the un-popular decision to most, it’s potentially the easiest.
One organization is trying to get the word out that there is an easy way to make sure local trainers have an option to help their horses get a good home.
The Second Race is the creation of Southern California based Sharla Sanders. Since its beginning in June of 2009, The Second Race has successfully placed over 300 horses in good homes. Widely known at the So Cal tracks, Sanders is now making Northern California a priority. Twice this year she has visited Golden Gate Fields and had already placed horses for Armando Lage, Val Rhoden, Bill Morey Jr., Steve Sherman and Steve Miyadi. She also helped Greg Gilchrist place Smokey Stover to a good home.
“I will take any horse that was bred to race” Sanders said during her recent visit. “Arabians, quarter horses, thoroughbreds, heck someone even asked if I would take a mule and my answer was yes.”
The Second Race runs more as an adoption agency with screening and placement of most importance. They want to make sure when they place a horse it stays and if not, unlike some other organizations, they will take the horse back.
“My goal is to meet more people every time I come up here,” she said. “These horse up here deserve the same attention as any horse. I have an affinity for horses up here because many of them started down south. The race track is built on relationships and who you know and who you trust is very important.”
And where is she able to place the horses? Just about anywhere.
People are always looking for jumping horses, trail horses or just pets for their farm.
“We will take just about any horse,” Sanders said. “Horses that are just too slow to race or have a suspensory injury it doesn’t matter. Some horses are easier to place than others but we allow and encourage communication between the adopter and owner/trainer to make things as smooth as possible.”
As the Second Race grows, so does Sanders’ ideas. She is looking to branch out into northern California to set up a place locally to keep horses that can ease the burden of shipping costs. Eventually she would like to hook up with Golden Gate Fields in networking and build a partnership. Also this summer she will be making trips to the Pleasanton, Santa Rosa and Fresno fairs for the first time to meet more people.
“The GGF racing office has been very supportive and a big help,” Sanders added. “I’m looking forward to working with them in the future.”