2012 TROTT Legends Event. Photo courtesy of Bunny Hinzman
By Bunny Hinzman
During the week leading up to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park, it is a privilege to witness our modern-day racing heroes flex their muscles on the historic Southern California track.
However, a top spot on my “favorite things to do” list is to attend the Legends Event hosted by TROTT (Training Racehorses Off The Track). Some of horse racing’s two-legged stars donated their time to come together and share their stories to help bring awareness and raise money through a charity auction of horse racing memorabilia.
The exceptional effort to protect the well being of the star athletes, the horses, is obvious when one attends the high-caliber racing venues. However, there is an existing imbalance in the horse racing industry that begs the question: What happens to many of these athletes, after all the investment, once they leave their racing career?
Recently there has been increased awareness that horse racing as a business must become accustomed to including the final phase of a horse’s career as part of doing “business.” Not only will this mindset boost the public opinion of horse racing, but also - and most importantly - protect these fine-working athletes.
In 2010, Bonnie Adams began TROTT, a non-profit organization that helps ex-racehorses find new careers as hunters, jumpers, dressage competitors, event horses, trail horses or even just a life of luxury as a pasture companion.
TROTT’s goal is to give these horses a new, suitable vocation so they can transition successfully from the track, creating opportunities for a prosperous, useful life away from racing.
TROTT states, “By giving these horses training for a new discipline, TROTT believes we are giving them value, and thereby giving them a future. We strive for a day when OTTBs won’t need to be rescued.”
Sitting on this year’s TROTT’s Legends panel is trainer Adam Kitchingman, who gave TROTT its first horse, Cannonball Charlie, who now enjoys a spoiled life in his Northern California home. Joining Kitchingman is Hall of Fame jockey Laffit Pincay Jr. At the time of his retirement in 2003, he held the record of racing’s winningest jockey. Pincay rode multiple Breeders’ Cup winners and other stars such as Affirmed, Conquistador Cielo, Genuine Risk, John Henry, and Sham. Jockey David Flores is a repeat panel guest and an active advocate for the well being of not only his local jockey colony in Southern California but also all fellow riders. Jen Roytz, director of marketing and communications for Three Chimneys Farm, will also join the cast. Anchoring the panel is Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, who became the first trainer to send out 5,000 winners, including Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic victor Alysheba. Van Berg also takes the role of auctioneer for the evening and Zoe Cadman, HRTV race analyst, will be expertly emceeing the event.
This year’s TROTT’s Legends Event will be held on October 29 from 5:30 – 9 p.m. PT at The Derby Restaurant. For tickets - $50 pre-sale, $60 at the door - contact: TrottSoCal@gmail.com
For additional information on TROTT, visit www.trottusa.org