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Horse farm offers retired racehorses a second chance

Kind Regards, a six year-old bay gelding, is the newest rescue at Second Chance Thoroughbreds, Inc.
A bay horse bounces his head rhythmically before he nibbles nervously at the plastic rope that comprises his stall door. Shifting his weight from hoof to hoof, Kind Regards, fondly known as Glenn, looks out with soulful brown eyes at his new home at Second Chance Thoroughbreds, Inc.

The six-year-old bay gelding, a castrated male horse, had a prestigious beginning, bred by Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates in 2007. Last May, he was claimed for $35,000 before he sold to Finger Lakes Race Track for $4,000 in September after he injured a hoof and retired from the racetrack. By February, he was sold to Clear Star Stable for $800. Finally, King Regards arrived to Second Chance Thoroughbreds, a rehabilitation center for race track horse, on Monday Feb. 25.

“We just rescued him,” Executive Director of Second Chance Thoroughbreds Collette Duddy said. “He doesn’t have a happy story. He’s lame and whether he’ll ever be able to be ridden — we’ll see.”

Located in Spencer, NY, Second Chance Thoroughbreds Inc. takes in horses from the racetrack through Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds, a trainer-listing service for horses off the Finger Lakes Race Track, and acclimates them to life outside of racing.

According to an article featured on Animal Planet’s website, there are hundreds of both horse rescue and sanctuary organizations across the country that care for former racehorses. These organizations work to prevent retired horses from being sold to slaughterhouses.

The article cites Diana Pikulski, executive director for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, who said, “When a thoroughbred first arrives at a rescue, it is evaluated according to its ability, temperament and many other factors.”

There are ten horses currently at the farm and Duddy has received many from Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds.

“[Collette] comes onto the track frequently to look for horses specifically for what she has in mind or something that appeals to her,” Rosemarie Decker, a member of the board of directors for Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbreds, said. “We have been working together quite successfully.”

These horses are trained for careers outside of racing, primarily English riding, dressage (a type of competitive riding) and jumping. Duddy has owned the farm since 2000.

“It started out as Settlement Stables, where I was doing horseback riding lessons and summer camps,” she said. “Then in 2011, when I went to the racetrack and we recognized the need for all these horses, we decided to switch over. Just this October we became a nonprofit officially.”

As a non-profit organization, Second Chance Thoroughbreds will be able to receive donations. Duddy said that though the State of New York channels funds into horse breeders and stallion-owners, no money goes directly to horses who have retired from the racetrack. These horses can retire as early as the age of six with medical complications such as arthritis, said Duddy.

Skye-Anna Aubin, secretary of Second Chance Thoroughbreds, owns two Thoroughbreds. Both Just Plan Partners, or Penny, and Offshore Score, otherwise known as Dylan, came from the Finger Lakes Race Track.

“Fortunately there was nothing wrong with my personal two,” Aubin said. “Penny never came close to winning, and Dylan lost interest and wouldn’t involve himself in his last race. But for other [horses], they need a chance.”

Duddy said ultimately the mission of the farm is to rescue unwanted horses and help them find their permanent homes.

“You can’t save them all but one horse at a time,” Duddy said. “They have soft landings, I guess, but not all of them do. They have such heart. They forgive.”


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