No surprises for me this week with the news from the
Street Sense connections that their boy would be passing
on the Belmont Stakes, and they have sold him as a
stallion prospect to Darley Stud, which already owns his
sire Street Cry and dam Bedazzle.
The only reason, at this point, for Street Sense to keep
racing at all is that a year-end championship would allow
his initial stud fee to be higher. That is, if his future
owners don’t care about racing him for the sake of racing
fans–and apparently, for the time being, they do. We can
look for Street Sense at Saratoga in August, unless Darley
has a change of heart.
In the meantime, and going from what happens to horses in
the upper echelons of Thoroughbred racing at the ends of
their careers, to what happens to the hundreds of
thousands of others, the US Thoroughbred Retirement
Foundation has a program designed to save retired
racehorses from the slaughterhouse.
The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, which is itself
based in Saratoga, began working with the New York State
Department of Corrections in 1984 by sending a retired
racehorse named Promised Road to the correctional facility
at Wallkill, New York. Promised Road was the first
racehorse ever turned over to the TRF, and the founding
member of its cornerstone program.
The Wallkill Correctional facility, in the years since
Promised Road arrived, has provided a safe, comfortable
shelter in which hundreds of former race horses have spent
their final years. The Thoroughbreds get a home, and the
Wallkill inmates have learned the skills necessary to care
for the horses; the Wallkill program, in fact, has
received accreditation as a state-recognized vocational
training course in equine management. The inmates who
successfully complete the horse care program have viable
job skills to help them resume their lives upon their
But even more importantly, the TRF program gives people
who may have never had the chance to interact and bond
with other living creatures an opportunity to take
responsibility for another life and to learn compassion.
The TRF is now overseeing programs which supply retired
Thoroughbreds to correctional facilities in Iowa, Florida,
Kentucky, Indiana, and South Carolina as well as New York,
and will be setting up two more programs in the near
The TRF also runs both the Exceller Farm in Poughquag, New
York, and the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center at the
Kentucky Horse Park, where hundreds of racehorses which
retired sound have been retrained as riding and jumping
horses and placed in good homes. And the TRF’s
Out2Pasture program in Jamestown, Missouri does just what
it says, placing retired animals in a pastured herd
managed by veterinary students at the University of
Missouri, who would otherwise have no way to work with
Here in Canada, Woodbine Entertainment announced last
September that one-quarter of one percent of all its purse
funds would go towards funding the Ontario Thoroughbred
retirement organization LongRun, to help Ontario
Thoroughbreds after they leave the track.
If Street Sense’s connections did the same with his
winnings to date, they would be giving $7750 to the TRF
tomorrow, and if they did it based on what they will
receive from Darley Stud, Street Sense could very well
treat an entire barnful of his kind to the good retirement
he will soon be enjoying.
Just a thought.