Derby winning team keeps promise to help OTTB
Byon November 4, 2016
Making good on a promise to help an unremarkable racehorse who once passed through the hands of Kentucky Derby winning trainer Graham Motion, a staffer of the famous horseman worked tirelessly to secure a sanctuary home at the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation for a sweet gelding who’d run out of options.
Because of a note written by Graham Motion’s Herringswell Stables Ltd., and affixed to Jockey Club paperwork for bay gelding Don’t Quit Dreaming, Sue Kenny, an office manager for the famous horseman who trained 2011 Derby winner Animal Kingdom, hit the phones on behalf of the little-known racehorse who loves peppermints and needed a home.
“I got a call at the beginning of September from a lady who saw our number and note on Don’t Quit Dreaming’s papers. We had written the message, ‘If this horse needs a home, please call us. This horse is not bred for slaughter.’ And we included our number,” says Kenny of Herringswell Stables Ltd.
Upon learning that the 5-year-old had been retired from racing in June from Thistledown racetrack, and that a second home was not working out, Kenny reached out to Sara Davenport, herd manager of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF, Inc.).
As luck would have it, Davenport had an open stall at the TRF’s Sykesville, Md. facility, and a deal was struck. “Sue Kenny called from Graham’s office and said, ‘What can we do?’ And it worked out perfectly because we were just considering adding a sixth horse to our prison program in Maryland,” Davenport says. “We were especially happy to work with Graham because he has been such a responsible horse owner. He may not have been the last owner for Don’t Quit Dreaming, but in the short time he had the horse, he made sure those papers said he wasn’t for slaughter.”
Though Don’t Quit Dreaming was not in the slaughter pipeline, the animal’s newest owner could no longer keep the horse. She reached out to Motion’s office for assistance in her effort to find the horse a new home.
Kenny says she remembered the animal immediately, and was happy to help.
“I used to feed him peppermints everyday. He was a peppermint fiend,” she says. “His kindness is what I remember most about him. We see a lot of horses, but this one was special to me.”
The 16.3 hand “gentle giant” arrived at the TRF on Oct. 20 and was walked into his new stall, which is the first one on the right at the barn’s entrance, says Sarah Stein of the TRF.
“He’s a super sweet horse,” Stein says. “He’s very gentle and curious. I’m not sure he can ever be ridden, because he has an old ankle injury, but he’s pasture sound.”
Don’t Quit Dreaming will now be cared for by inmates participating in the TRF’s Second Chances program. In the program, inmates learn life and job skills while caring for ex-racehorses.