Honoring Labirinto

Today the Gr.2 San Luis Rey handicap will be run at Santa Anita, and it is a good day to honor our retiree LABIRINTO, who placed second to Meteor Storm in 2004. Of all of our retired stakes horses, Labirinto has had one of the most international careers. He won the Gr.3 Stockholm International Gold Cup in Sweden; three stakes races in France; the Copa de Oro de San Sebastian in Spain; and then placed in the Gr.2 San Luis Rey and the Gr.3 Carlton Burke Handicaps here in the USA. His career spanned 35 races in the US and abroad, with a record of 8-7-3 and earnings of $348,966.

Today Labirinto travels between the pasture and the loafing shed at Tranquility Farm, but I have to think that his Cal-Bred buddies must be very impressed with his sophistication and continental manners. I know I am.


Saving Ginobili

Nearly a year ago a sad, skinny, broke–down, four-year- old bay gelding was bid away from a killer buyer in a livestock auction by Southern CA Thoroughbred Rescue at the request of Tranquility Farm. His name was Ginobili, and he was the veteran of 14 races with earnings of $157,448, who was vanned off in his last race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 20,2008. It would have been a crime to let this honest little horse go to slaughter. Of course,in California,it is actually a crime to let any horse go to slaughter. But that is a story for another day,a day when the state judiciary and racing authorities decide to enforce our laws responsibly. A day when the excuses and denials of those who abandon their injured horses to slaughter are finally stripped away. But Ginobili’s story is told today not because of his rescue, but because his stay at Tranquility Farm has come to a happy conclusion. Over many years we have worked closely with Plasvacc in Templeton, California,a veterinary supplier that produces the plasma transfer products which save the lives of countless newborn foals and ailing horses every year. Here healthy horses that are not adoptable can still lead useful, normal lives. Ginobili has been accepted as a donor horse there, and today he is headed for the green pastures and long life that he so deserves.

Ginobili will join an elite band of nearly thirty former racehorses rescued by Tranquility Farm that are now living out their lives at Plasvacc. Among them are: Speak Firm, a son of Affirmed who raced 112 times with earnings of $177,000 who was saved from starvation on a pack string in Arizona; Sabalucious, the veteran of 55 races with earnings of $181,707 who was rescued from Los Alamitos; Speedy Pick, a stakes-placed winner of $211,000 who became an “unwanted horse”; and Force of Nature, who after 43 races with earnings of $119,000 and was a starvation case rescued from Los Angeles County Animal Control. He is about to make some great new friends.


Honoring our San Felipe Stakes winners.

This weekend the Gr. 2 San Felipe Stakes will be run at Santa Anita Park, and Tranquility Farm salutes our retirees Buddy Gil, winner of the San Felipe in 2003…

And I Love Silver, who ran a blazing second to Point Given in 2001.

Hardly a weekend goes by that we do not have the opportunity to honor one or more of our retirees for their outstanding performance in a graded event in southern California. “Buddy” and “Silver” are with us to live out their days playing in the paddocks and pastures of a piece of rare earth called Tranquility Farm. One has only to read the daily reports of horses being abandoned after racing to know that their life here is truly exceptional. And Tranquility Farm can only be here because you CARE.


Saving Jitterbug Jan

On March 3rd a press release appeared in the California Thoroughbred Breeders website that reads : “Warren’s Jitterbug is the lone California-bred entered in Saturday’s $250,000 Grade I Santa Anita Oaks for 3-year-old fillies. Warren’s Jitterbug is by Affirmative, out of the Peaks and Valleys mare Jitterbug Jan, was bred by owner Benjamin Warren and is trained by Jorge Gutierrez. She has one win in nine starts, earnings of $121,668 and is coming off a maiden win Feb. 4.”

And nothing would suggest that as this delicate chestnut filly stepped out on to the track to race in the prestigious Gr. I Santa Anita Oaks, that she was in any way distinguishable from the field except for her status as a California bred. But here you would be wrong.

This is Jitterbug Jan, a mare who raced 24 times with a record of 4-5-5 and earnings of $91,000, on the day of her rescue from a feedlot along with thirty- nine other pregnant broodmares in August of 2008. Jitterbug Jan is the dam of Warren’s Jitterbug, and in spite of a one month ordeal on a feedlot that nearly crushed many of her companions, she emerged proud and strong. It would appear that she passed on her fighting spirit to her overachieving daughter, who finished a valiant forth today in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks.

I’m happy to report that Jitterbug Jan went to a wonderful home where she is truly appreciated, and that she will go on to have more foals and live a long a happy life. The big lie put forth even by some organizations that claim to be about horse welfare is that slaughter removes the old, the lame, the sick, and the horses no one could ever want. The insidious tragedy of horse slaughter is that it targets whatever shakes loose.


In Memory of Sweet JC

Photo courtesy of Big Heart Ranch.

Yesterday we received the very sad news of the death of one of our adopted horses, Sweet JC, in a pasture accident. JC's short life had a special meaning, as he was unsuccessful as a racehorse and found himself unwanted and homeless at age three. But every horse has their gift if only the right key is found to fit the lock, and for JC, that key was the love he gave to disabled and autistic children at Big Heart Ranch in Malibu CA.

His owner writes "He was truly the sweetest horse I have ever known, and I miss him dearly. I am so sorry to report this to you. He touched the lives of thousands of kids and adults and made a real difference. I will never forget the great times we had together, he taught me so much and I will love and miss him forever."

To learn about the wonderful work that gave such special meaning to the life of a little rescued horse visit Big Heart Ranch in Malibu. I'm sure they will deeply appreciate any donations to their program in memory of Sweet JC.