Every year at this time racing fans turn their thoughts to finding the next champion, a new hero to lift the Sport of Kings onto the front pages of the paper - at least for the six weeks it takes to complete the Triple Crown. Last year, Big Brown captivated the American public with his powerful win in the Derby and now stands at stud at Three Chimneys farm in Kentucky.
Big Brown is undoubtedly one of the lucky ones. By now, many are familiar with the story of Ferdinand who won the Kentucky Derby in 1986 and accomplished co-star of the great battles with another Derby champion Alysheba. While Alysheba was recently returned to his Kentucky home, Ferdinand ended up a victim of horse slaughter in Japan. You can read Ray Paulick's version of the story here.
Ferdinand Winning the 1986 Kentucky Derby
In 1978, Exceller made headlines defeating Triple Crown winners Seattle Slew and Affirmed in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Ridiculously speedy early fractions set up a 22-length cavalry charge as Exceller nipped Seattle Slew at the wire by a nose. Affirmed was unable to even hold on for show money. Sadly, Exceller also met his fate at the hands of slaughter though this time in Sweden. You can read the details here.
Exceller Tops Seattle Slew, Affirmed in 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup
To try and prevent tragedies like those listed above, Alex Brown is working with his Fans of Barbaro group to rescue all level of horses from claimers to champions. In an attempt raise awareness regarding horse slaughter, Brown has launched a video contest. The winner of the contest will have $1,000 donated to the rescue foundation of their choice. The details can be found here: YouTube Horse Slaughter Contest.
For background information, contestants should read the essay on Horse Slaughter that deconstructs the issue in detail.
If you need a little inspiration, check out the Alex Brown Youtube channel for some excellent horse rescue videos.
I know many of us are concentrating on finding a good price in the Kentucky Derby Futures Pool, but let's also take some time out to remember our past champs as well.
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If you don't have the technical savvy to make a video, you can always help out by donating to our good friends below.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
Visit Alex Brown Racing and read about the issues and get involved.
Visit Long Run Thoroughbred Retirement Society and adopt a horse or volunteer.
Visit Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society and adopt a trotter or pacer.
Visit Phase 2 Thoroughbreds and help a race horse find a second career.
Get political with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.
DID YOU KNOW that you can donate funds directly from your HorsePlayerInteractive account to the Long Run Retirement Society. 1500 points can be redeemed for a $5 donation.