United front proves successful for Run for the Horses
The Sixth Annual 5K Run/Walk for the Horses and Kids’ Fun Run brought together five local Thoroughbred racehorse rescue organizations, 350 runners and a community made aware of the plight of horses that are no longer able to race.
Held on Saturday morning, September 5 at the Orenda Pavilion at the Spa State Park in Saratoga Springs, NY., the event raised approximately $5,500, or about $1,000 per organization. Originally run by the Saratoga Springs-based Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, the Run for the Horses was held this year to benefit some of the member organizations of the newly-formed Racehorse Aftercare Charities of Saratoga coalition. Those groups were the TRF, Old Friends at Cabin Creek, ACTT Naturally, Heading for Home and Re-Run at North Country Horses.
“It was great to have such a huge turnout of supporters for the Run for the Horses,” said Diana Pikulski, director of external affairs for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation. “The mission of all the participating organizations goes right to the heart of what makes Saratoga Springs such a special place. I also thought the media response following the event was fitting for such an important and popular cause. We look forward to growing this event further. It was a great family day and lots of people – and dogs – got exercise.”
The fun-filled day also brought two living examples of the good work done on behalf of retired Thoroughbreds. Ex-racehorses Prince Raffie and Celtic Walk were a hit with everyone, especially the children. They were ridden, respectively, by Dr. Ashley Navin of the Upstate Equine Medical Center, and Chelsea O’Reilly of North Country Horses.
Additionally, Peter Goutos, who is co-director of the annual Firecracker 4 race that benefits the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, was aboard this year to help the Run for the Horse go smoothly and to create awareness for the future.
“The Run for the Horses was an extremely gratifying and fun event,” Goutos said. “We had a diverse group of participants that ranged from walkers with their dogs, first time runners, an athlete on an adaptive tricycle, all the way up to United States and Irish national distance champions. And we had horses. That, in my book, is a great day.”
Run for the Horses wishes to thank the Firecracker 4 Inc. Event Team of Mary and Bob Vanderminden, Jarard Davidson, Demetri Goutos, who rode the lead bike, Cassandra Goutos, the children’s race coordinator, Phil Kline, Joe Battaglia, Amanda Vance, Valerie Buck and all of the volunteers. Additional thanks to The Barrel House and Saratoga Crackers for donating auction items.
“This is only the beginning,” said TRF Event Director Mary Abbruzzese. “We’ve started a new tradition in Saratoga, with Thoroughbred rescues coming together to promote awareness and raise much needed funds for off-track thoroughbreds. And volunteers are what make an event like this possible, we would not be able to do it without them. Especially the team from Firecracker 4, they were behind us 100% from the beginning and it made all the difference.”