Willie The Whale joined the barn of Wasabi Ventures Stables in July 2018. He was homebred by his trainer, Beth Worton and was purchased privately by WVS. He raced for WVS five times before being sold in a private transaction with Ronney Brown.

Willie continued to run until early August of 2022. In his last race, his trainer saw that he wasn’t interested in running and proactively decided to retire him. That is how Willie met Alison and found his forever home.

Currently, he’s unwinding from his track career and beginning a little bit of groundwork. We look forward to following Willie’s and Alison’s adventures!

To read about another WVS retiree, please click here.

Wasabi Ventures Stables acquired Lap of Luxury in the fall of 2019 when she was a foal along with her mare, Littlemissperfect, from Housatonic Bloodstock. As a yearling, WVS decided to keep Lap for their racing program.

Lap ran six times with three wins for WVS before being claimed away in June 2022. At the end of July she raced in a $6,500 claiming race at Monmouth Park. WVS dropped a claim on Lap to retire her, but there was a two-way shake and another owner got her. However, WVS reached out to the new owner, who was more than glad to sell her to them for her claiming price.

Lap of Luxury’s retirement was our second private purchase. Due to the larger pricetag, TK and Michele Kuegler made a generous donation to The Horse Fund to assist with the purchase.

After a few day stay back in the barn of Jesse Cruz, Lap moved to Maryland to start her transition to off-track life with Nicole Martin. Nicole will give Lap time to unwind before preparing her for her forever home and second career.

We look forward to sharing many wonderful updates on Lap of Luxury.

To make a donation in support of our aftercare mission, please click here.

In January, I wrote an article that outlined planned events for 2022. One of the events I described was the WVS Signature Item Auction. Note that the word Auction has no “s” at the end. I assumed that The Horse Fund would host one per year. That assumption was quite inaccurate. As I write this post, not quite two-thirds of the way through 2022, we have held four of these auctions, with at least one or two more happening before year’s end.

There are a few factors that contribute to this event becoming more frequent. First, I have been fortunate to work with trainers who collect items for me. Both Grace and Zoe have saved halters and horseshoes for the auction. Second, we have acquired items from racetracks that have been popular, such as the 2021 Monmouth win trophies. Third, Benevengo ran in the Haskell Stakes, which provided many items for the auction, including a replica saddlecloth, paddock passes, official jackets, and more.

These WVS Signature Item Auctions have been popular with members of the WVS community. The most recent auction, held on July 31st, raised almost $1,300 from 39 items. In addition to the money raised, twenty different club members now have pieces of memorabilia to wear, display, or place in safekeeping.

We look forward to the next auction, probably in September or October. We can’t wait to share all the fun items we are collecting!

In many ways, the formation of The Horse Fund was an obvious project for me. My work with Wasabi Ventures Stables, my love of animals, and my previous experience building small businesses all made the creation of The Horse Fund seem like the perfect venture. However, like any project, there were underlying factors that motivated and inspired.

Our club

The first outside influence that encouraged me to build The Horse Fund was our club. When I introduced voluntary aftercare donations to our members in 2019, there was a general atmosphere of excitement and commitment. While my request was small, only a five dollar donation per co-owner on a positive exit of a horse, the reaction was fully supportive.

With the backing of our club members, I began researching the requirements of building a non-profit. Although I have started other small businesses, this was my first foray into the non-profit world. Building a non-profit wouldn’t be difficult, the application for 501c3 status would be more onerous.

Our horse

The second outside factor is what sealed my commitment. In March of 2021, our horse, Shamrock Kid, broke down during morning training. The outpouring of support and donations from our club provided the final inspiration I needed. I knew that I would have a group fully supportive my initiative. It was time to bring this non-profit to reality.

I have told the story of Shamrock Kid and our club many times. Rather than retelling this amazing story of generosity and love, I am sharing a link to an article published in Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred.

Building this non-profit was not created by my enthusiasm alone. The generosity of our club and the memory of Shamrock Kid provided the extra nudges I needed. Now that this dream has become a reality, I look forward to seeing how much I can accomplish with The Horse Fund. I want to make our club proud and continue to honor the memory of Shamrock Kid.

I have been involved with Wasabi Ventures Stables since its inception with a role that grew along with the business. Starting as the Community Evangelist, I added responsibilities and gained the title the Director of Community. In time I saw the need to focus on aftercare and, again, added to my title and became the Director of Aftercare and Community. This was not a title without merit; I created programs and carried out the work for these areas.

My initial aftercare work involved soliciting donations from co-owners on cash positive horse closeouts. This program was successful and spurred me to consider the aftercare of all of our WV Stables horses, current and past. I realized that quite a few horses had left our barns, and I was unsure of their whereabouts. Thus, in late 2019 I created a spreadsheet to track each and every horse that was part of WV Stables.

The Master Sheet

Thankfully, I started tracking our former horses only two years into the creation of WVS. Even at that, it took a decent amount of time to list each horse and note its developments. With our own website, it was easy to record each horse we owned, the dates acquired and exited (if applicable), by whom it was trained, and where it was located. The more time consuming part was utilizing Equibase to determine where the horse may currently be situated. The frustrating part was the lack of information for horses who no longer ran.

I update this sheet frequently. Every time we acquire a new horse, he or she is added to my sheet. Every time a horse is retired, sold, or claimed away, that horse’s status is changed and information about new ownership is added. Horses that leave the WVS barns are added to my Equibase virtual stable, so that I get alerts on training and racing.

Why I Am Tracking Our Former Horses

Outside of updating information, I review this spreadsheet at least twice a month. I check any former horses that are still racing to see what the most recent date was. Once a horse has not raced or trained for three months, their status is noted in bold. At the four month mark, I reach out to the last known owner or trainer for an update. I have done that twice in the past month. One trainer was kind enough to notify me that the horse had been euthanized due to a race injury. The other trainer chose not to reply.

My goal for The Horse Fund is to raise the funds to be able to take action on our former horses if needed. Horses that have been dropped to bottom level races and still cannot compete consistently are ones that I watch with an especially careful eye. For the safety of the horse, I want to be able to try and privately buy the horse for retirement. If necessary, I would claim a horse for that same reason.

Along with educating the public about the post-racing lives of thoroughbreds and ensuring the safe transition of Wasabi Ventures Stables’ horses, I also want The Horse Fund to have a level of funding that will allow me to acquire and safely retire horses who are no longer in our barns.