The Exceller Fund: To Help the Horses

The Exceller Fund: To Help the Horses
Photo: The Exceller Fund

Sometimes the best of things can be born from the worst.

Exceller was a phenomenal racehorse. I know this firsthand, because I remember him well. I had the pleasure of seeing him run in person many times as a youth. Best known as a runner for beating two Triple Crown winners in the same race, the Kentucky-bred son of Vaguely Noble was much more than just his victory in the 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup over Seattle Slew and Affirmed, though. He was a winner of major races in California, New York, Canada, England, and France. Think about that list for a moment. It’s not something many horses in the history of the sport can claim. Excelling to the highest levels on both dirt and turf, Exceller was one of the best horses in the world of the late 1970’s. He was retired at six-years-old after racing in 1979, and went to stud as a high-priced new stallion at Gainseway Farm in Kentucky.

Unfortunately, Exceller proved not to be the same success as a sire, as he was a runner, and with American breeders looking for speed on dirt, the Hall of Fame runner gradually lost favor as a stallion in the United States. He was sold to a Swedish owner in 1991, and spent several years there, before his bankrupt owner signed off on his ultimate demise. I can’t bring myself to write about how his end was reported to have come in 1997, but suffice it to say it was slaughter. Inhumane slaughter. Unthinkably awful for such a great racehorse to have his life ended this way, I believe that every single horse deserves far, far better.

To help ensure that this horrific ending, of one of the greatest horses of my formative years of following the sport, does not happen again, is exactly why I am so pleased to announce that I have been asked to serve on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund.

The Exceller Fund was formed within months after the world learned of Exceller’s tragic death in 1997. A first of its kind, it was the initial Thoroughbred rescue/adoption/retirement organization that was started entirely by fans of racing. Their only goal was to help horses. Nearly two decades later, that is how it stands today.

There are no employees at The Exceller Fund. The officers and board members cover most of the administrative expenses either out of pocket or by making donations. They strive to spend as little as possible, so that all the funds go directly to the care of horses. Quality of care is the priority, whether a horse lives out its years with The Exceller Fund, or has been adopted.

I’m sure you can see why I am so interested and excited to help as much as I can. One of the ways I can do this is by spreading the world, so I might as well start as soon as possible ... It ends tomorrow night, but it is not too late to check out the vintage race themed auction to support the racing warriors of The Exceller Fund. Just click on the image below … thank you!

Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to HRN, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing webcast HorseCenter, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars and is a Vox Populi committee member. He is a voter for racing's Hall of Fame, as well as a weekly NTRA poll voter. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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