Happy Holidays to the Horses

December 05, 2013 04:37am
Snowy Horse 615 X 400
The season of giving is upon us and I would like my gift to be that the Horse Racing Nation community will join together to make a significant statement about the importance of racehorse retirement.
We all appreciate the grace, beauty, and competitive fire of the thoroughbred. We all get a great deal of enjoyment from horse racing. In December, during this holiday season, I would like all of us to seriously consider making a gift to one of the thoroughbred retirement organizations. Think about how much we spend on gifts for our loved ones. Now, let’s set aside some money, at least something for the horses.
There is always outrage when we hear the story of a horse like Monzante, the former California grade one stakes winner who was euthanized at Evangeline Downs this year. However, for every Monzante there are countless other horses that slide down the claiming ladder and go unnoticed at tracks around the country. So many horses disappear without public knowledge.
Below I have included profiles of five retirement organizations that I have financially supported over the years. I am not wealthy by any means. I have a family, mortgage, and car payments like everybody else, but I have always found some money to send to these retirement groups.  Retirement organizations will not survive without the financial help from all of us. Now it is our turn to make a difference and support one of these groups or another of your choosing.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation is one of the very first thoroughbred retirement groups having been founded in 1983. From the beginning TRF has had a dual mission combining the care of racehorses with the rehabilitation of prisoners. Today, close to 1,000 thoroughbreds are retired on their farms and at correctional facilities in 10 states prisoners are improving their life skills.
ReRun was founded in 1996 and believes that when thoroughbreds’ racing days are over, they don’t need to be sent to auction or slaughter but can be retrained to pursue second careers with their adoptive families. ReRun has farms in NJ, NY, and VA. Horse Racing Nation Managing Editor Brian Zipse is a member of the ReRun Board of Directors.
The Exceller Fund was formed by a group of racing fans in September 1997, three months after Exceller was killed in a slaughterhouse in Sweden. Exceller had career earnings of $1,654,003 and won 11 grade one races on the grass and on the dirt in the US and Europe.  Exceller lost his life because he was no longer useful as a stallion.
The Our Mims Retirement Haven focuses their efforts on the care of thoroughbred mares. Their name came from their first retiree, the multi-grade one winning Calumet Farms mare, Our Mims. In addition they recently acquired one of my favorite horses, the 1997 Breeders’ Cup Sprint champion, Elmhurst.
Old Friends operates thoroughbred retirement centers in Kentucky and near Saratoga Springs, NY. They now have 130 horses, most of them stallions whose racing and breeding careers came to an end. The farm attracts nearly 20,000 tourists annually to meet stars like Gulch, Sunshine Forever, Commentator, and Rapid Redux, along with Zippy Chippy, who failed to break his maiden in 100 tries. 
I am asking that after you have made a decision that you share your pledge in the comment section and that this one time we reserve the comment section for pledges only. Just let us know which organization will receive your check, it is not necessary to include the dollar amount. Be sure to click on the links for further information and to find out how to send your money to the groups.
Let me make the first pledge:
I promise that I will make a contribution the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in December 2013.
In advance I thank you for being part of Horse Racing Nation’s effort to make a difference for the horses that give us so much enjoyment throughout the year. 


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Older Comments about Happy Holidays to the Horses...

THANK YOU, jayr!
@Paul, I, too, donated to Old Friends and will donate to the ones Mr. Shifman mentioned in his articles. I concur completely, Old Friends is a terrific and wonderful program for retired runners.
I'm proud to be helping to support "Chip" at ReRun monthly.
I know that Old Friends is an eBay shop as well. 100% of the proceeds go to the organization. In addition to your purchases you can also make a donation at the time of check out.
... and THANK YOU to rafirox!
I made a donation. Thanks for writing.
More thank yous, this time to Mike in SB, Paul Rutherford, lisa.lideks. THANKS!!!!!
I have donated to Old Friends this year but I had not heard about Our Mims Retirement Haven. You have to love the mares, I will donate to Our Mims in December.
Matt, thanks for this important work. I've just made a donation to Old Friends, such a terrific organization for retired runners!
This post is a great reminder. Our Mims is the only organization on this list I've yet to donate to, so this year, I'll do one for the ladies.
That is correct, buckpasser ... ReRun has Moneighs on ebay right now. http://stores.ebay.com/The-ReRun-Shop
Many sites have ebay shops. I believe rerun does the monoleighs for sale too.
3kkori -- Are you making a donation to Old Friends?
How great, more people to thank ---> yukichan, Capper (Jasen), and slojag_ct, THANK YOU!
I made a donation to ReRun, thank you.
Matt, thanks for continuing to beat this drum. It seems this is only an issue for a few days after something bad happens. This needs to be up front and center year round just like to other problems of our great sport.
I'll be making a donation, as I have in past in honor of Monzantes, past present and, unfortunately future, to Harmony and Hope Horse Haven, Inc. It is a recuse/retire farm close to where I live : ) Thank you for reminding us all....
First big thank yous go to goblin, buckpasser, Brian Zipse, and Anne Shaw. THANK YOU all!!
I will make a donation. Thanks for the article.
Well done, Matt ... I have Egg Drop winnings earmarked for the good of our retired runners.

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Meet Matt Shifman

Matt Shifman has been on the Horse Racing Nation staff since 2011 and currently serves as Assistant Editor. Matt covers Aqueduct, Belmont Park, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga in his two HRN blogs, Racing at the Jersey Shore and New York State of Racing.

Since 2012, Matt has been a voter in the NTRA weekly polls for the Top Thoroughbred and Top Three-Year-Old.

Recently, Matt helped launch Derby Day Racing, a new 2-year-old racing partnership, that just purchased a promising Lookin At Lucky filly named Sooner Schooner.

You may also know Matt by his Twitter, Facebook, and HRN screen nameAndyScoggin.

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