By: Erin Shea, @BH_EShea
Even though the primary goal of the 21-year-old ReRun Thoroughbred Adoption is to find second careers and new homes off the track for retired Thoroughbred racehorses, the organization gets significant attention from a few of its permanent residents.
One of the most popular is Saratoga Snacks, who won almost $700,000. The New York-bred son of Tale of the Cat was previously owned by former NFL coach Bill Parcells and became a fan favorite while accumulating four stakes wins and six stakes placings in New York. Racing initially for trainer Gary Sciacca, "Snacks" was moved to the barn of Bill Mott in 2014, but was then sold to Sciacca, who raced him until his retirement at the end of 2015.
Saratoga Snacks, now 8, last raced in December of 2015 and settled into his new home the following December at ReRun's farm near Albany, N.Y. While "Snacks" serves as an ambassador for the organization (and as a model for Saratoga Horseworks), the two other permanent residents, stakes-placed Most Happy Fella and war horse Metaurus, also draw some attention for ReRun as recognizable names for New York racing fans.
"It's funny because we have Most Happy Fella—a lot of people remember him—and we also have Metaurus, a horse of Gary's that had 103 starts (who) lives with us as well. Between the three of them, we get quite a bit of traffic and that's not really what we do, we're primarily rehabbing and retraining," said ReRun's executive director Lisa Molloy.
"(Saratoga Snacks) actually brings quite a lot of people in (to ReRun). People who might not have stopped by in the first place or they might not have been aware of us. They find out that we have him and they come over to the farm, and they find out that we have other horses like Most Happy Fella."
Saratoga Snacks at ReRun. Photo courtesy of ReRun
Although he's been gelded, Saratoga Snacks still has a larger-than-life personality to go along with his towering physical presence.
"He knows he's the boss. He's very aware of how big he is and he's very aware of what he could do to you if he wanted to... as long as you respect him and listen to what he's trying to tell you, you won't have any problem with him," Molloy said.
"Even gelded, he still has a very, very strong personality. He's still kind of master of his own domain even here."
In addition to becoming the new home for "Snacks," the organization has seen a busy couple of years. According to Molloy, ReRun took in approximately 125 horses over the last year and continuously places about 90-100 horses in new homes per year, with 15-20 pre-approved adopters looking for horses at any one time. Just in the past month the organization placed 10 horses in new homes, and in August raised $53,000 at its annual fundraiser in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
Now ReRun looks to the immediate future as a few more notable grads will be competing in various disciplines at this year's Thoroughbred Makeover Oct. 5-8 at the Kentucky Horse Park.
The group of grads includes: Billsperfectstorm, a $300,000 yearling purchase and half brother to grade 1 winner Brilliant Speed, who will be competing in eventing; and Gimme Jimmy, a 6-year-old daughter of Sweet Return who suffered a suspensory injury on the track, who will be competing in competitive trail and will also show off her new skills in a vaulting demonstration with vaulting world champion Devon Maitozo. Others are Master Magician, Jack Rocks, Keen On Green, Sanctify, Wilfork, and Professor Pegasus.
Molloy is excited to see the former runners competing in their new careers, but is also looking forward to returning to ReRun's roots in the Bluegrass state, where the organization was founded in 1996 as a part of the Kentucky Humane Society.
"I haven't been back to Kentucky since I left in 2012," Molloy said. "But I think it'll be good to not only see some familiar faces, but (for) ReRun (to) go back to where we were founded."