Friday, February 6, 2009

Trato Update

I'm a big proponent of knowing who/what you are and making the most of it. That's not to say that people shouldn't aspire to be all they can be and grow as far as their talents will let them, but on the way to the top, take advantage of what you are. That intro is really a preface to this statement: no blog update have I ever posted has received more commentary than the piece on Trato. That statement is relative - I know I'm not the most widely read racing blog in America. But still, Trato's story touched a lot of hearts and struck a chord with many.

Below is a comment that recently was left on that post. I include it here because I was going to write a Trato follow up and this sums it all up quite nicely. So, with Sandra Warren's kind permission, an update on our friend Trato:

"The reference to the anonymous comment intrigues me. I am the person who is keeping Trato right now. I picked him up from the trainer's barn at Golden Gate Fields. I can tell you that he came to me in very fine condition for a horse that was transitioning out of racing due to injury.
Often I pick up horses that look like they haven't had their stall picked since they broke down. Trato, on the other hand, was well groomed. His feet had been recently shod, and he had dapples in his coat, which is difficult to achieve in winter. He was obviously currently receiving anti-inflammatories for his tendon, which had rubbed and wrapped. Trato has a very pleasant demeanor typical of horses that have been treated kindly, and he knew how to eat carrots. He did not have any appearance of being a horse which had been discarded.

"When I contacted Mr. Lage and scheduled a pickup for the horse, there was later some confusion about transferring ownership of the horse, and I had to call him back to delay pickup. He was very accepting of this, which I appreciated because I am often threatened with immediate disposal by other trainers.

"Some of Trato's former owners have visited him at my farm, and others have sent me periodic emails inquiring about him. Southern California Thoroughbred Rescue has received donations for his care from some of the former owners. It's important to note that Trato has successfully transitioned out of racing because he had a safety net: he had owners that wanted to make sure that he went on to a kind home, and he had SCTR that followed up on him after he vanned off of the track. There are many horses that leave the track after the owners have been told they were going to a good home, only to be hauled to slaughter within a few days. Owners should always check out the new owner first, and then follow up to make sure that the horse did indeed go where he was suppose to go. It's just so easy for horses to become commodities, and when a trainer needs to get rid of one, for him to have a groom tell him that he has a place that will take the horse. An hour later that horse is $200 cash to the groom at a local feedlot. Owners should not believe any story unless they check it out for themselves.

"Regarding Trato's current condition: I can report that he is not limping, and in fact travels very sound. He does have rather large ankles, so he probably was reaching the end of his career even before the bow occurred. The tendon is a middle bow. It is still in a stage where it is rather large, but it has little heat left. I turned him out last week from a stall/paddock to a 1/4 acre paddock. He enjoyed the freedom very much, and now he is hanging over the fence to get out to the seven acre pasture. He likes other horses and has enough poise and confidence to be introduced into a new herd without much squealing. He is a very pleasant character and I enjoy being around him very much. I expect that in two years, the bow will be reduced to a near normal size. If I could tell him about his blogosphere fame, he would really enjoy having fans!

"I hope this update can help anon to know that this horse is indeed alive and well, visitors are welcome at my farm in Brentwood, and not everyone in racing is evil."

Thanks for the update, Sandra! It's great to hear that Trato is receiving such good care and is responding so well to it.

If you can, pick a horse charity and see how you can help out.

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