No matter how many horse races one watches in a lifetime, seeing a horse injury on the track never becomes less devastating. The immediate thought is that the horse’s life may be in danger, but there are dedicated people in the game that have saved many horses in these situations.
That was the case on August 30 last year at Saratoga. It was the day after the Travers and the third race on the card ended with an exciting stretch duel between Wake Up in Malibu and Cleancut Kid. Cleancut Kid lost the duel by a nose at the wire, and then fractured two sesamoid bones in his legs during his gallop out.
The prognosis looked grim, but veterinarians cared for Cleancut Kid and miraculously saved his life in the process. The chestnut gelding now has a second chance at not only life, but possibly a second career, as he is one of the many horses available for adoption at ReRun, Inc., in East Greenbush, NY.
“Cleancut Kid wasn’t really expected to pull through,” said ReRun’s Program Director Lisa Molloy. “Veterinarian Dr. Rod Stewart and trainer Richard Shosberg are just amazed that the horse is so sound and that he survived and came back like he has.”
Cleancut Kid is just one of the amazing stories of devotion and dedication amongst the 48 stalls at ReRun’s 21-acre home. Founded in 1996 in Kentucky, ReRun is one of the oldest thoroughbred retraining and adoption programs in the country, which helps find homes and second careers for thoroughbreds after their racings careers. Now focused in New York (where it has had a presence since 2002), ReRun offers rehab and retraining options for horses in the state.
Cleancut Kid (seen here wearing a different bridle) relaxing at the Re-Run facility.
Re-Run gets their horses from retirement programs and directly from trainers. One of those programs is the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association’s (NYTHA) retirement program for thoroughbreds stabled at New York Racing Association (NYRA) tracks. The NYTHA “Take the Lead” program facilitates the search for rehabilitation and retraining placements for retiring NYRA racehorses.
“Cleancut Kid came here through the NYTHA Take the Lead program and he’s been here for a year,” said Molloy. “He has screws in his legs, so people are reluctant to adopt him. I really like that horse.”
The majority of the horses come directly from their trainers like Hall-of-Famer Nick Zito, Tom Morley, Glenn DiSanto and others.
One of those horses that directly came from the Morley barn is Lead Singer. Purchased for $315,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Select 2-Year Olds in Training sale, Lead Singer had 4 wins from 23 starts earning $150,000 in his career. After being retired from racing in late 2015, he was expected to be used as a pony at the Morley barn, but had some arthritic changes in his ankles and couldn’t hold up to the work.
“They (the Morley barn) wanted to find him a good home. We took him the ASPCA Adoption Day at the Hampton Classic (on August 29). Jessica Springsteen (daughter of rock legend Bruce Springsteen and show jumping champion) rode him,” said Molloy. “He’s since been adopted and going to live in Michigan. He’s going to be a pet with some occasional trail riding and he’s going to have a pony as a buddy, so it worked out pretty good for him.”
Lead Singer is one of the most recent horses to be adopted from the Re-Run program.
Some horses that go through the ReRun program go onto excel in second careers as show jumpers or dressage horses.
Sustainable Forest only won twice out of ten career starts from 2011 to 2012, but the Ontario-bred gelding has shown success as an event horse.
“Sustainable Forest is one that came from trainer Glen DiSanto. He was recently a national event grand champion with an under-18 rider,” said Molloy. “Glen said that he was one of the toughest horses he had at the track and now he’s wining shows!”
Another gelding with potential in event riding may be Professor Pegasus. Sired by Malibu Moon and bought for $130,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Two-Year Olds in Training sale, Professor Pegasus could only muster one win in 17 career starts, but he has major upside in his new career. He was recently adopted by four-star event rider, Sinead Halpin, who is a member of the United States Equestrian Team.
“Professor Pegasus was trained by Nick Zito,” said Molloy. “Sinead Halpin said that Professor Pegasus has the potential to be an Olympic horse. She said he’s a natural jumper and has a great disposition.”
Re-Run into the Future
Based on the number of horses accepted into the program and placed in second careers, ReRun is now the largest thoroughbred adoption program in New York. ReRun has already adopted out over 65 horses so far in 2016 after moving into their new home in East Greenbush in December 2015.
“We aim to place 95% of the horses that come in. They go into pre-approved, screened homes. (Adopters) have to fill out a five-page application with references, photos, etc. Two (volunteers) check all the references and use Google Earth to check on the homes that they are going to,” said Molloy.
Molloy continued that follow up is important to ReRun. “We require three updates a year after they are adopted to keep track of them. A lot of the adopters friend me over Facebook and constantly send me photos.”
The future looks bright for ReRun as they are continuing to bring thoroughbreds to new homes after their racing careers. Intake is up 30% so far in 2016 and adoptions have increased by 20%. Applications have increased by 50% in 2016, also.
“We just need to continue to encourage trainers to retire horses when they still can be used for a second career,” said Molloy. “We do need to have a more predictable stream of funding coming in, though. We try to be as fiscally responsible as possible. We get discounts from veterinarians like Dr. Rod Stewart. I clean the stalls and ride the horses.”
Re-Run’s program director Lisa Molloy seen here with Unsportsmanlike, who only ran once in his career for trainer Nick Zito in June and is available for adoption.
Molloy joined ReRun in September 2013 as their Program Director. She has brought her expertise from her past experiences managing at several public stud farms in her native England for well-known operations run by John Warren (The Queen’s racing and breeding operation) and Richard Hannon, Sr.
To help ReRun by donating or even adopting a horse, please visit rerunottb.com. Donations can be easily made via PayPal through ReRun’s site. Horses available for adoption can also be found on the site.