My OTTB was 10 years on the track. He retired at 13 yrs old with 118 +/- starts (and finishes). I adopted him when he was 16 yrs old, after his last owner had a failed attempt at re-training him for dressage. He's very opinionated. He's been enjoying life as a pleasure horse, trailriding, camping, a little ring work, little jumps (x rails), and ground poles, hanging out in the pasture with his buddies, etc. He's remarkably athletic.
His last trainer actually claimed him sometime in the last years of his career. He was the one who ultimately retired him, I believe. The trainer's name is Kevin Joy and I think he is at Suffolk Downs. Does anyone know this trainer? I have always wanted to send him a note with a current photo so he could see that one of his horses is thoroughly enjoying life. But I'm not very savvy about track etiquette, and I don't want to bother him either. Any advice from the track savvy crowd here? Do you think this trainer would be interested in knowing where one of his charges is now?
Thanks in advance, and I really enjoy the topics on this forum. Lots of great knowledge on this board.
I had a "problem OTTB" who I broke down and emailed the last known trainer. The trainer sent me a very kind (and sympathetic) reply, and I thanked him profusely for his time. I understand that I got "lucky" and hopefully didn't bother the guy too much. I think your email/note sounds like it would be far more enjoyed, being as it's from a "positive light." ((Unfortunately, my email simply got confirmation on somethings I was hoping to not have confirmed!))
I contacted a couple of my OTTB's trainers and they both were very glad to hear that he was safe and had a happy new career and life. Some trainers might blow you off, but, as someone who has worked in racing for 20+ years, I'm pretty sure the majority would be happy to get the update, even if they're too busy to call you back if you leave a message. I vote try to contact him and tell him. You don't really have anything to lose.
I have a suggestion, not so much directed at TB Fan but rather to owners of OTTBs in general.
A very unobtrusive, no-bother way to make it known that a TB is happy and well in his new profession (or life-of-riley) is to post a brief, to the point update in the horse's info at pedigreequery.com.
That way, if former connections are ever curious about said horse, there it is. If former connections don't want to hear another word about Spendy McSlowson, then no harm, no foul.
You can list yourself as owner, or remain completely anonymous.
Thanks for all the great replies. I would really like to get a hold of him, but don't want to get in the way. My OTTB is such a character, I hope he remembers him. At this point, he's been off the track for about 10 years now. Of course, no one told him that! He gives me a run for my money more often than not.
Texarakana, my gelding's name is Marathon Wish. He is N11901 and proud of it. He raced in mostly smaller tracks, and was mostly a claiming horse the second half of his career. He started in Woodbine in Ontario. He raced at the Fairgrounds in LA, Suffolk Downs, Penn Nat'l, Woodbine, and that track in New Hampshire that I can't think of the name right now. There might be some others in there too.
Barnfairy, I will definately post a note on the website you suggested. My gelding had quite a few owners/trainers for a bit as he was claimed a lot.
Calambar, help me out, what does the HBPA office represent or stand for? Is that just the track office? Or something else. I have called various tracks to get wins photos, but it's been a while so I might need a refresher as to what the protocal is.
The track in NH was Rockingham Park...and yes Kevin is in W.Va now...I would call the main number at Charlestown and ask for the racing office...someone there should be able to help you out with his phone number!
I have always let the former trainers/owners know about their past charges. There was only one trainer ( a big name too) who was not interested. But that may have been, because the owner fired him before I got the horse, LOL. But his barn manager and the track vet were all over the pix I provided.
I'd say go for it, you may find out some info you didn't know about your horse.
With one of my OTTB's I found out that he had tie-back surgery when I contacted his very first owner.
\"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"
You'd be surprised how many trainers truly care for and wish the best in their horses. All my horses are OTTBs (except my daughters welsh pony) and I've had a few friends that needed help finding out info on their OTTBs and I've called prior trainers for them. It's wonderful when you can learn the horses background.
For my first OTTB (he's 20 this year) I contacted Cardiff Stud Farm where he was born and they were kind enough to mail me his baby/JC registration pictures! That was so awesome! He has the same facial expression as he did at 6 months.
I had a multiple stakes placed racer who was still racing at 10. His trainer had bred and raised this guy and the footing at GGF was crappy in the winter and he didn't want to risk him breaking down. He'd more than earned his retirement winning over a quarter million. One of the other trainers at the track that I was friends with called me and I went and got him. I retrained him for dressage and his old trainer loved getting pics of him and seeing how happy and spolied he was.
Just wanted to say a big thanks to everyone who sent me a PM. I read them this morning and will be pursuing all of the advice. Caffeinated - I'll probably put a note together for you for the 9th. I am going to be out of commission this weekend due to a medical thing.
I'm sure it's too late but please let Katie, and Kevin, know that Swan (his barn name now - for his beautiful neck) is quite the character. He is still screaming around the farm like "people are betting on him." He basically thinks its all about him! If he weren't so damned handsome....
I will absolutley put a note together and a current photo and hopefully we can get them to Kevin Joy.
Remember also that at the breeders 'is someone who knew your horse as a foal, probably loved them dearly, gave them kisses on the nose, scratches or "scritches" in their favorite spots, and taught them that human"moms" can love, too, I think of such people every time I hear of a horse breaking down. I cried at two weeks when, they left for KY with their Moms who were to be re bred; and made it a point to say a personal good bye to "my " babies " before thy left for the sales; I know there are others who care as much as I did
I know that I would love to know about happy stories of the horses I worked with at the track. Unfortunately, it seems only the heart breaking ones get back to me. I'm sure you put a smile on his face.
From many mornings in the track kitchen, please call or send a note........they love it.
In between bragging about how fast their horses run, they love telling stories about where the old horses are and how great they are doing. Don't be suprised if the 'small jumps' becomes 'olympic jumper' and 'trail riding' becomes 'fox hunting'.