Racing fans will remember Sweetnorthernsaint. He was the unsuccessful favorite in the 2006 Kentucky Derby, left in the dust by the spectacular winner that year, the unforgettable Barbaro. The game gelding continued on in the racing game, as geldings do, and earned almost $1 million for his Maryland-based owners.
For most geldings, it’s a tough assignment to find a home these days when the horse’s racing career finally comes to an end. There’s an overstock of horses of all types, even mares, looking for good homes and second careers. Geldings may have legs and windpipes that tell stories and scare off trainers who shake their heads and say, “He’ll never jump.” (Or show. Or drive. Or hunt. Or whatever they might have in mind.) And they might be right.
Star power counts, though. Horses with a recognizable name can get some attention when they are looking for a home, but prospective owners may still be reluctant to take on horses with injuries, infirmities and behavior issues. A pre-purchase exam on an aged racing gelding can be a lengthy document. Beyond the radiographs, the glamour of having a famous horse in your barn quickly wears off if you can’t walk into his stall safely.
But some geldings are lucky. Sweetnorthernsaint apparently is laid-back and trainable and he’s headed for the hounds. Not as their dinner, which is where many geldings would traditionally end up, but as a bona fide lady-to-ride foxhunter in the hands of a new owner. His racing owner and trainer specifically set out to find him a new home, and they did.
The story of Sweetnorthernsaint’s redemption at Maryland’s Black Fox Farm was told in yesterday’s Baltimore Sun, with a nice slide show of Sweetnorthernsaint, then and now.
Tally ho, big guy. Just remember to let the hounds win.
by Fran Jurga | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
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