From an EEPCT release
Equine Encore Performance at Charles Town (EEPCT) recently completed its first year of operation, and is happy to report the placement of 54 Charles Town-based horses during that year.
“We are thrilled to have been able to place so many horses in just our first year,” said Executive Director Susan Schramm.
EEPCT is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to the rehoming, repurposing, and retirement of Thoroughbred racehorses that raced and/or trained at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races. The majority of financial support for the organization comes from the owners of the horses who race at the track, through a $2/start fee assessed on every starter. In addition, EEPCT has received some generous donations from foundations and individuals.
EEPCT partners with other retirement groups, and has been working closely with Aiken Equine Rescue in South Carolina (www.aikenequinerescue.org) to secure placement for as many horses as possible. EEPCT arranges and pays for shipping of horses to Aiken, as well as providing financial support to the Rescue to help cover expenses. Farm manager Jim Rhodes has been impressed with the versatility of the Charles Town horses, finding them suitable for a variety of new careers. Horses sent there have been adopted as riding horses and pasture companions, trained for the polo field, and used as recipient mares in a local veterinary hospital’s embryo transfer program.
In addition, Aiken Equine Rescue recently became the winter home of the Saratoga War Horse program (www.saratogawarhorse.com), an equine-assisted program which works with returning veterans with PTSD and other issues. Several former Charles Town horses have been used in the program, including Four Cross Roads and Younique Cat. Four Cross Roads ran all seven of his career races at Charles Town for Rusty and Yvonne Davis, and while he did not have much success on the track, he has been a welcome addition to the War Horse program. Said owner Yvonne Davis, “He is such a nice horse to be around, and I think it’s great that he could find a new occupation and help veterans as well.”
Younique Cat, on the other hand, was a true “war horse” at the track, making 83 starts over his seven-year career while earning over $123,000. Starting in northern California, he made his way to Arizona and New Mexico, finally ending up at Charles Town, where he raced 35 times. Trainer Bob Pledge, who raced Younique Cat for the last several years of his career, is proud that his former charge is doing such important work. “He was getting older, and kind of losing interest in racing, and when I heard about this program I was happy to donate him to help our veterans.”
Caroline Mulstay, who supervises the retraining of the horses at the Rescue, has enjoyed working with the former racehorses, saying that “training the horses for the program helps the horses as much as it does the veterans.”
EEPCT is completely volunteer-run, with a four-member Board of Directors at the present time. Assistant Director Mary Longerbeam stressed that it is very much a team effort, with valuable assistance coming from both the horsemen and track management, and said “We especially would like to thank Penn National Gaming for all their help in providing stall space for horses that are being shipped out for our program.”
EEPCT is hoping to build on its success in the coming year, and find additional placement opportunities for Charles Town’s retiring racehorses. For more information, go to their website.