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View Full Version : LA Daily News: Old geldings struggle to survive while millions spent on Breeders Cup



NStephensUCD
Nov. 4, 2009, 08:48 AM
This was a trip down memory lane for me. I remember seeing some of these horses when I was a little kid. A lot of them have lived to be very old, thanks to the pampering they have gotten. What do you all think of this?

http://www.dailynews.com/sports/ci_13708629

Pronzini
Nov. 4, 2009, 09:59 AM
The two aren't connected at all. Not taking sides, but as I understand it, part of UPF's problems are politics not touched on by this article. UPF used to have people associated with it like Gary Biszantz and of course Trudy McCaffrey who has since passed away. Major and minor benefactors have moved on --many to other charities.

While I wish Helen Meredith well, her husband had no problems taking part in the BC when Cardmania won and I suspect Derek Meredith would be thrilled if he again had a horse that good. Implying that these issues are somehow BC related or that the TB world is just a bunch of rich uncaring wankers is a bit much.

Linny
Nov. 4, 2009, 04:53 PM
Pronzini is right. Sure millions are flowing at the Cup and retirees are struggling at rescues/retirement farms but it's not fair to assume that they are related. The fact is that my guess is that the various well to do that are in town for the Cup have spent millions at benefits during their stays. I'm sure plenty of the money went to rescue and retirement for horses. If a particular organization didn't put something together when the "world came to town" that is not the fault of those unaware of the plight of such places.

On the face of it it seems "unfair" that some are racing for millions while others are concerned as to how to feed their stock all winter. Nothing in life is fair. It's not "fair" that I don't have a string of showhorses or a race horse in the BC. It makes a great splash in the media to discuss the disparity. It's like how newspapers love to cover stories on poverty which always make mention of how the community's "rich" are eating caviar and riding in limousines. They don't mention that many of those fat cats donate millions to charitable causes every year. They don't mention that if they stopped doing so, the limo drivers and caviar dealers would soon join the line at the soup kitchen.

rcloisonne
Nov. 4, 2009, 05:15 PM
Huh. What I got from the article is there are horses who've made hundreds of thousands or even millions for their people but are now at the mercy of rescues struggling to feed them. Chewed up and spit out by an industry that for the most part doesn't give a damn.

War Admiral
Nov. 4, 2009, 05:37 PM
Pronzini is right. Sure millions are flowing at the Cup and retirees are struggling at rescues/retirement farms but it's not fair to assume that they are related.

Seriously, how do you all DO this math?? They are UNRELATED???? How does that calculate in your head?? I truly want to know. Some of these horses ran and won, or at least ran very respectably, in BC races and now their owners have ditched them and don't even have the class to ante up a few bucks for their care.

Is there just some sense of entitlement on the part of some TB owners that makes them think someone ELSE is supposed to clean up and finance the mess they leave???

On WHAT planet??? On what planet is that anything other than cheap, tacky and classless?

Anything, in my opinion, that brings the plight of OTTBs into the public eye is a GOOD thing, be the politics as they may. What better opportunity to do so than the Breeders Cup. As to the particular rescue in question, I do know some of the stuff that has gone on behind the scenes, but to me, THAT is the irrelevant part.... The horses still have to be fed, and the owners aren't bothering.

NMK
Nov. 4, 2009, 06:00 PM
OK well there are some people willing to step up and combine efforts for a good cause:

www.canterusa.org

Zenyatta's Halter will be auctioned off to benefit CANTER CA.

Many thanks to all this fine horse's connections. They rock.

Nancy

Glimmerglass
Nov. 4, 2009, 06:04 PM
There is this quote from Michael which I don't think anyone could take issue with. It is as on-point as possible:


Michael Blowen, president of Old Friends Equine Retirement Farm in Georgetown, Ky., says he is "regularly disappointed" at the unwillingness of owners and breeders to contribute to their horses' retirements.

"I guess I don't put a lot of faith in the power of persuasion or logic," Blowen said. "If you want to have an excuse not to support your horse, it's easy. I don't know what it is that makes people turn their backs on these guys … the money, the competition. The priorities are upside down."

Unquestionably there are some owners - just as there are parents to children - who fail to do the right thing yet carry on as if it was someone elses problem. That said, it's not every owner, every breeder or "the Industry" with their official stand who is to blame. Each owner and breeding farm who fails to do the right should be called out. I have no problem with that.

Rather then beat the same old drum and say that the "industry/owner/breeders" are doing zip why not cite the reality that there have been many progressive steps taken? More are but there are multiple TB charities, there are more track-NFP partnerships then ever to help horses with second lives and careers, there are fund drives and more awareness then ever before. Attitudes changes and the days making the cheeky quip of "I'll send you off the glue factory" as punchline worthy of ha-ha smile are long gone. Say that nonsense openly at Keeneland and you'll get (thankfully) more then an earful in 2009

Having been to Old Friends I know that some came there without a cent to their name and plenty of costly needs for their care beyond the routine of hay, oats and water. However there are a few others who did arrive with money upfront and a check each month. Escapefromnewyork, an Ernie Paragallo victim and now survivor, is there but I suspect without a penny coming from EP - despite him still reaping in a fortune from a high profile sire ownership stake.

The Breeders' Cup, the big name in this article, however is to blame exactly how with the plight of any horse who I presume was paid out for his/her success in a BC race?

Are we saying that the BC should be strung up for having not set up some sort of mandated trust fund for each starter?

The BC largely takes in revenues from breeders who pay to be BC eligible (plus other sources of revenue) and they then pay that money back out to said owners based upon accomplishment on the track. While they have built up reserves in some years they are at present running a deficit.

By comparison its like the articles that sprout up about former baseball players who are now old, injured, poor and without any pension looking at the success of the sport they feel they helped build. The media and these past players look at disablief at the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing in the sport with mega salaries, tv deals and the World Series.

However if the arguement is that somehow they weren't paid, were cheated from their rightful earnings, or denied an entitlement once promosed that is one thing. Essentially the issue at hand is another. It is a lack of planning for the future when the salad days are over and the aches and pains plus daily obligations of food and shelter remain.

Obviously this article is timed to leverage off what little interest there in the BC locally but if that's what the dying print media business needs to do so be it. However it is a-typical of the type of article that offers no solutions, doesn't fully disclose all the issues at hand (such as how said rescue organization was founded and how they thought they'd survive long term) and just takes aim at the BC, every person connected to the business and any fans of racing for supporting "it".

NStephensUCD
Nov. 4, 2009, 06:16 PM
I don't read the article as blaming the Breeders' Cup. It's totally about owner responsibility, IMO, timed (as you said) because of the Breeders' Cup. I think for a mainstream newspaper story it gets all the points across in about as much space as it given to such stories these days.
I love the concept of CARMA and am so happy to see these rescues get some money that really isn't being missed by so many owners.

Junie's Mom
Nov. 6, 2009, 12:30 PM
I'm sorry, but racing is not the only discipline that "chews them up and spits them out". The scale is just a little more public, and the thoroughbred population is large.
Name one discipline/breed that doesn't end up at rescues and auctions. Whether you consider it callous or heartless or irresponsible or whatever, it exists EVERYWHERE - not just racing.

Brandy76
Nov. 6, 2009, 12:32 PM
What War Admiral said.

I am not condeming all of the owners/breeders/trainers, because some do step up, but it seems the exception, not the norm. If even half of them did it, imagine the impact. Might we try to duplicate CARMA nationwide? I have thought about something like this for years.

Meanwhile, silly me, at my riding clubs' annual tack swap, I will have a table set up with RE Run flyers, and a picture of the guy I am currently fostering, and here is the silly part, I am baking goodies to sell with the proceeds to go to ReRun. A drop in the ocean, I know.




Seriously, how do you all DO this math?? They are UNRELATED???? How does that calculate in your head?? I truly want to know. Some of these horses ran and won, or at least ran very respectably, in BC races and now their owners have ditched them and don't even have the class to ante up a few bucks for their care.

Is there just some sense of entitlement on the part of some TB owners that makes them think someone ELSE is supposed to clean up and finance the mess they leave???

On WHAT planet??? On what planet is that anything other than cheap, tacky and classless?

Anything, in my opinion, that brings the plight of OTTBs into the public eye is a GOOD thing, be the politics as they may. What better opportunity to do so than the Breeders Cup. As to the particular rescue in question, I do know some of the stuff that has gone on behind the scenes, but to me, THAT is the irrelevant part.... The horses still have to be fed, and the owners aren't bothering.

Linny
Nov. 7, 2009, 12:48 PM
First, most of the horses donated or that end up in rescues come via a long line of owners. If I buy a $4k race horse and feed and care for him for a year (his last year at the track) and he was not a success I may be as much as $20k in the hole on him, even though over his career he earned $200k. To me, he's a money pit. I may give him away hoping to cut my losses and hoping that the people that get him love him, retrain him and that he's happy and well tended. Most of the "end users" of race horses are small time, struggling horsemen that simply are the worst equiped in the game to finance long term care.
I do want to see more "early users" (defined as the folks that might have made some money on a horse) step up and pitch in. Now, I do know some who do, IF they find out that the horse is in need.
I'd like to see the guy that sold the yearling for $1m and the guy who bought the yearling step up when said horse turns out to be a bum and end up dropping down through the ranks and lands in a feedlot in Missouri, of course I do! My point is that it is unfair to assume that everyone celebrating the game at the BC is unwilling to help. When a trainer that was happy to collect a huge payday when his own horse was winning Cup races now stands by and say's "what about me?"
Racing is no worse than any other equine endeavor in terms of unwanted animals. In fact, it probably has MORE people involved than most. I don't know of tons of retraining and aid programs for old show horses. More QH's than any other breed show up at auctions and feedlots. (Granted, there are more of them.) Is every horse guaranteed a happy post race life? No. I wish that they were. My point is that racing folks from owners to fan do pitch in and maybe the industry needs to do more, but steps are being taken.
Part of the issue is that racing is the only horse sport that ever gets national media attention. Everyone read about the horrible Paragallo situation but only the hardcore like us here on COTH know about the hundreds of other neglect and abuse cases because they appear in a local paper, then vanish. The NY Times isn't covering it.

dmj
Nov. 9, 2009, 07:43 PM
I know when i adopted my gelding from United Pegasus, gosh - must be 7 years or so ago now - thye had quite a few that they were retraining/working with to adopt out - for a fee of course. In recent years, as the article states, it seems the ones they have taken on have been too injured to rehab and adopt out. They also do alot for PMU mares and foals.

Helen Meredith is a wonderful horseperson, I hope that the UPF can land on its feet. My gelding from there is an absolute horse of a lifetime and I would not have found him but for UPF.

NStephensUCD
Nov. 13, 2009, 05:32 PM
DMJ, who is your horse? A friend of mine got one from them years ago and he is still eventing.