By on June 29, 2016

Z Camelot is among six horses accepted into the TRF Blackburn facility on Tuesday.

Silver Cliff and Z Camelot, two Thoroughbreds discovered in a herd of abandoned horses linked to a Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer, were officially released yesterday to the safety of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation(TRF).

Following a decision by Mercer County Kentucky officials, which declared a herd of 43 horses to be legally “abandoned” and available to rescue workers, the TRF arrived and took the two Thoroughbreds, as well as other tattooed, unidentified horses and a foal.

Diana Pikulski, TRF director of external affairs, says the two OTTBs were picked up and delivered safely to the TRF’s Blackburn facility in Kentucky at around noon yesterday.

Silver Cliff, a 2002 gelding by Silver Charm, and Z Camelot, who was owned by Triple Crown winning Zayat Stables, were to receive care from inmates at the Blackburn Correctional Complex, where the TRF has a facility. “The inmates will be 100 percent devoted to nursing them back to health,” Pikulski says.

Silver Cliff, who was originally retired to TRF Blackburn after his racing career ended in 2006, according to the Paulick Report, was welcomed back with gratitude and relief.

“We’re just really thankful that the story with the Paulick Report seemed to get the facts out there so that” the abandoned horses could be removed from the property, says Pikulski. “Time will tell, and we’ll see how everybody does. The horses will live in a very secure spot and veterinarians from Rood & Riddle will be very involved with their care.”

A hungry mare grazes with her foal. All horses had lip tattoos and will be identified shortly.

So far, all horses taken into the TRF herd at Blackburn are doing very well, says TRF herd manager Sara Davenport. Identities of the horses have not yet been determined. However, all have lip tattoos, she notes.

“Aside from being hungry, they’re really friendly, alert, and interested in the world around them,” Davenport says. “When we walk out into the fields to visit them, they pick their heads up and allow us to pet them.”

And when a mare and foal from the same herd were delivered to an adjacent paddock later in the day, Silver Cliff gave up his grazing to go pay a visit, she adds. “He hasn’t eaten anything in the last half hour because he’s so infatuated with the mare and her foal. And Z Camelot is just kind of following Silver Cliff around. They’re both aware and still very involved in everything going on around them.”

Though both horses show signs of malnutrition, and Z Camelot’s coat has a few patchy spots where the hair has fallen out, neither show signs of infection, illness or lameness, Davenport adds. “They seem to be in good spirits. They’re not limping. They don’t have snotty noses or runny eyes, and they seem to be fairly perky,” she says.

Davenport confirms that the TRF welcomed a total of six, with the possibility of taking in another mare and foal currently still living at the farm on Martin Lane in Kentucky, which has been at the center of controversy. The mother and foal are not in dire need, and are being cared for by volunteers, says Davenport, noting that the TRF may wind up taking them as well.

Silver Cliff and Z Camelot were the first to arrive at the TRF Tuesday following weeks of press and social media attention shedding light on the conditions they lived in with a herd of 41 other horses.
Silver Cliff and Z Camelot were the first to arrive at the TRF Tuesday following weeks of press and social media attention shedding light on the conditions they lived in with a herd of 41 other horses.

The plan now is to restore the health of the horses, and help them regain weight and body condition under the watchful eye of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. A veterinarian team from the renowned medical facility evaluated all horses yesterday, and will work closely on a regimen with Blackburn farm manager Linda Dyer, Davenport says.

The herd of underweight horses came to the attention of local authorities and horse lovers after the Paulick Report ran a succession of stories detailing their plight. The horses were linked to Breeders’ Cup winning-trainer Maria Borell. She trained 2015 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Runhappy before she was reportedly terminated from the position. The library of Paulick Report stories related to Borell and an ongoing investigation can be found here:

Donations to the TRF may be designated to help the newest additions to the Blackburn facility by clicking the donations link at the end of this sentence, scrolling to the lower left of the page, and clicking the Designations drop-down menu: