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.