March 2021 Newsletter:
Spring is Just Around the Corner

By Francis LaBelle

      John Evans, the Equine Program Director for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's Second Chances Program at the Lowell Correctional Institution (LCI) in Ocala, Florida, was having a hard time hearing the person on the other end of the phone.
           So, he turned to one of the Second Chances students/inmates and asked for help.
           “Will you please take this baby turkey out of here?”
           With that, the student came into Evan’s office and removed the source of the "fowl" language.
           Evans then returned to his conversation, which centered on the upcoming 20th anniversary of Lowell’s Second Chances program. Evans also has his own anniversary to celebrate this year. This October will...
A Little Luck Goes A Long Way!
Long before the invention of the steam engine or spinning wheels, one human invention was revolutionizing ancient means of trade, transportation, and warfare: horseshoes.

You may associate the horseshoe with stories of the old west, but the folklore surrounding the belief dates back to 959 A.D. in Irish Folklore.
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, the horses of the TRF want to send you a horseshoe for some good luck!

Anyone who donates $30 or more between March 15 and March 20 will receive an authentic Thoroughbred racehorse horseshoe.
CCE and TRF Partner for an Event You Don't Want to Miss!
Teamwork makes the dream work!

Sign up now for the 2021 CCE Virtual Horse Symposium, which will include speakers from around the country. 
This virtual event will run from March 16 to April 2. The cost for the Virtual Horse Symposium classes is $15, with an option to purchase a charcuterie board for local pick up for $40. Please see the CCE Equine site for details.

Within the fantastic lineup, which will cover several topics, the TRF will be a speaker for the presentation on April 1st called "Long Term Planning for Horse Lovers”. If you own horses, you won't want to miss this one!

Running concurrently to the CEE Equine Virtual Horse Symposium, The TRF is hosting an Art and Tack sale via eBay. Items purchased through the TRF tack and art auction on Ebay will be available for pickup at designated times at the 4-H Center in Ballston Spa, NY. Register with CEE Equine Today!
Sponsor Horses of the Month
In light of all our good news coming out of Florida, let's meet two key players in the Ocala herd! Horse sponsorship is a fun, easy and rewarding way to support the beloved TRF herd.
Glorious Gambler

Glorious Gambler is Kentucky-bred and was foaled April 22, 1998. He resides at our Lowell Second Chances Program. He had nine starts and earned just over $20,000. He is a great teacher for program participants and a leader in his herd
Hurricane Sergio

Hurricane Sergio was foaled February 17, 2005. This Kentucky-bred gelding only had one start in his racing career. Sergio has loved working with program participants and has been a wonderful teacher at our recently-launched TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala.
Ambassadors in Action: Across the Country!
Ocala, FL

Clockwork Fury was generously donated by Brent and Crystal Fernung of Journeyman Stud to be sold at auction to raise money for two charities dear to the couple’s hearts. The proceeds will be directed to the Marion Cultural Alliance and Florida Thoroughbred Charities, which supports the TRF Second Chances Farm at the Lowell Correctional Institution.  

Clockwork Fury will go up for live auction on March 16 during the Ocala Breeders’ Sales’ (OBS) Select 2-year-old sale. Phone bids will be taken.

This unique work of art would be perfect for a children's museum, a science museum, a children's hospital or even a grand lobby!
Saratoga Springs, NY

Multiple Graded Stakes winning, millionaire son of War Front, New York's "Sire on Fire" War Dancer is sharing the love with the TRF Herd.

Learn more about this creative example of "Horse Giving to Horses," a program created by the generous team at War Dancer Stud and be inspired!
We love to speak about our horses at conferences!
The PATH Region 2 Conference - TRF Presentation on March 27th
Aiken, SC

For nearly 10 years, the TRF has cared for more than 75 horses living in South Carolina, including those at our TRF Second Chances Program at the Wateree River Correctional Institution.

In March, the Aiken Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit celebrating the horses of the TRF, our history (and our future) in South Carolina future too.

The exhibit will run March 23 - April 18th, with a live-streaming "Virtual Exhibit Launch" on March 22nd.

If you're in Aiken or just driving through, be sure to stop in and visit!
Meet Vandalia's New Farm Manager
As our TRF supporters learned of Alyssa Haney's farewell, we wanted to introduce Vandalia's new Farm Manager.

The TRF is happy to welcome Kelly Lehn as the new Equine Director of the TRF Second Chances Program at the Vandalia Correctional Facility in Illinois.

Kelly will feel right at home because she was born and raised in Vandalia. “It is a small town, and the people know where you are before you know yourself,” she joked. 

Kelly is also at home around horses. “I was a barrel racer in rodeos and rode all over the surrounding states,” she said. “I had a friend, LeRoy Hellman, who got me started. Then, I met Ray Parker who worked with standardbreds. He used to do horse shows at the Greenville Fairgrounds in Illinois.”

Kelly started out as a groom for trainer Jimmy L. Wiser, who raced his horses mainly at Fairmount Park and Hawthorne Park in Illinois. Before leaving racing and heading to Wyoming, Wiser started 2,574 Thoroughbreds, who combined for a record of 370-310-316 and earned more than $2.5 million.

Kelly took out a trainer's license in 2005 and raced her own string for 10 years. Additionally, she trained quarter-horses. Her standouts included Delta Dance, a mare who won the Fairmount Park Invitational, and Bv Teller in Motion, who won Fairmount's Glen Allen Memorial.

Of the 33 TRF horses currently at Vandalia, Kelly has bonded closely with Creek Code and Just a Flash. Creek Code, a 23-year-old, Kentucky-bred son of Lost Code, earned $154,783 as a racehorse, winning nine of 39 starts, with three seconds and two thirds. Just a Flash, a 22-year-old Indiana-bred, was winless in 10 starts.

“They have the cleanest legs, and they are both sound,” Kelly said, “But I just like the way they hold themselves. They are very classy, and they have no bad habits.”
TRF Ambassador's Corner
Help us recognize and celebrate our amazing TRF Ambassadors who use their talents to benefit the horses in unique and inspiring ways.
Thank you for helping us raise awareness and support for the TRF Herd!!!
Meet Christina Sawelsky
Christina Sawelsky first adopted a horse from TRF in 1998, sparking her passion for and dedication to aftercare and the TRF retirees (especially warhorses). She adopted Sing Me Back Home, who was 13 years old with 14 career starts, as well as Charley Business. While those horses don't encompass her entire herd, they do exemplify how Christina has advocated for aftercare since the beginning. In addition to her volunteer work with TRF, she’s involved in multiple aftercare organizations. Christina also hosts her own fundraiser at the Borderlands State Park in Massachusetts. The money raised benefits the horses in the TRF's care and the Thoroughbred Booth and Breed Demo at Equine Affaire in Massachusetts every year. 

Christina and her daughter, Elisabeth, work to promote the warhorse while attending RRP and local riding competitions. We couldn't fulfill our mission without the support of people like Christina, who does far more than we can encompass here.- and this doesn't even breach the surface of all her love and support for the OTTB!
Volunteer Spotlight
Eric Bitetto and Big Brown
Eric Bitetto
South Carolina
What do you enjoy about being a TRF Volunteer? Or Why do you choose to volunteer your time with us?
I love animals and I have come to love horses. For years I have supported various animal welfare organizations monetarily, but I always wanted to get physically involved with an organization where I can be involved and physically help. After moving to Saratoga Springs in the summer of 2019, I found TRF in an internet search as I was looking to take the step and volunteer some of my time. Being in Saratoga, the choice was pretty clear to me that I wanted to spend time with horses in any way I can besides visiting the track.

I completed my volunteer application and some time after that before my involvement was placed in a seat next to Kim at a local Kiwanis dinner and we never stopped talking to each other about the horses. That night happened through divine design. There is no other explanation! I have been a TRF person ever since."​​
Describe some of the projects you do for us. 
My work thus far with TRF has been fun. I have not yet volunteered in a capacity where I am physically involved with the care of our horses, but I have been able to use my strengths which is the understanding of aspects of financial planning and my love of meeting people and networking to be a resource to Kim and to the TRF in any way I can. I moved to South Carolina in June 2020 and since being here, I have become a team member of the South Carolina program and I have been able to make contacts in the horse community here, such as the Aiken Hall of Fame and the Aiken Horse Magazine. I think that these new relationships with other Thoroughbred horse organizations can benefit TRF in South Carolina by increasing awareness and offering the opportunity to meet new friends of horses, whether it be volunteers or those that care to provide for the horses financially.
In Case You Missed It - We Launched!
Building on more than 35 years of experience of working with correctional facilities across the country, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) has launched its first-in-the-country program in partnership with the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice. A virtual launch event was held on Feb. 23 to introduce the TRF Horses and the Program Manager at the TRF Second Chances Juvenile Program at CSI-Ocala. In case you missed it, the recording of the launch is available to watch "on demand" (30 minutes running time) on the TRF website.
Shop Your Favorite Gear and Support the Herd!
Guidestar Platinum 2020
Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation
P.O. Box 834
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866