Monday, November 3, 2008

Giving Horses a Home

Horses are bred to race, bred to breed more, and that we do. It has been a bit of a topic on the blog here with horseplayers. We tend to care about what happens to the horses we bet on; it is quite emblematic of the game. It was with particular horror when everyone found out that Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was sent to slaughter in 2002.

We aren't seemingly able to give much good news on this front, but recently we got some. Alysheba, Ferdinand's rival in a couple memorable battles, has been sent back to the US as a gift to the racing fan. he will be spending his days in Kentucky at the horse park, in a stall that was reserved for John Henry.

"His Royal Highness King Abdullah realized how much Alysheba means to American racing fans and we are grateful for this magnanimous gift of one of his favorite horses to our country," said John Nicholson, executive director of the Kentucky Horse Park. "We are grateful as well for the great care His Majesty has provided for Alysheba."

Alysheba's comfort on the overseas journey was of prime concern to King Abdullah, who arranged for the Derby winner's two-month pre-export quarantine to be spent in the luxury of the Nad al Sheba Quarantine Center in Dubai.

"Shipping a 24-year-old horse is not without risk, so we had to take every precaution to ensure that the process was stress free," said Frank McGovern, manager of King Abdullah's stables. "We are very thankful to the Nad al Sheba Quarantine team for the care and attention they gave Alysheba during his stay there."

Sometimes stories have a good ending, and this is a good one. People out there really care for these horses and we have come a long way the past while in giving them a home. Harness racing has also stepped up to the plate as it was approved recently that a fraction of purses in Ontario will go to retirement homes.

Below is the Breeders Cup Classic in which both these horses raced each other, and raced their heart out. One of these great horses who gave everything for their owners, trainers, and fans made it to live a long and happy life. One did not. The one that did not however, just might save some of his brothers.

Ferdinand is pictured above in Japan, before he was sent to slaughter.

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