If my bank account wasn't so laughable, I could do all my holiday and birthday shopping for... me, starting with the painting of Zenyatta, at the Equine Advocates' Tenth Anniversary Awards Dinner & Charity Auction, Thursday August 4, in Saratoga Springs, NY. Based in New York's Hudson Valley, Equine Advocates does what its name says, it advocates for the welfare of horses; it does it well and it does it without fanfare.
Equine Advocates hands-on facilitates horses (and their kin) in need of homes and/or in jeopardy of going to slaughter. The organization works closely with thoroughbred owners and trainers to optimally retire race horses. To the benefit of all equids, Equine Advocates is an equal opportunity rescue and sanctuary, as can be noted by its farms' mule community, Mule Town. Susan Wagner, the charity's executive director, is passionate about educating decisionmakers and the public about horse welfare issues.
On Thursday evening, horse welfare advocates (and celebrities) Bo Derek, Bebe Neuwirth, Carson Kressley and John James, join with the thoroughbred racing industry to honor Arlington Park Chairman Richard L. Duchossois and Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux.
Dick Duchossois will receive the Ellen & Herbert Moelis Equine Savior Award for Philanthropy. Two time Emmy & Tony Award-winning actress, Bebe Neuwirth will present Mr. Duchossois with his award.
Hall of Fame jockey and sports anchor, Gary Stevens, has high praise for Duchossois,
"Without the horses we wouldn't have thoroughbred racing. But these horses are not just athletes. They're individual beings that need to be looked after when their racing careers are over. It takes a guy with his voice to make people realize that all horses, and not just race horses, should be given every chance to go on and live happy lives."
California Horse Racing Board member and actress Bo Derek will present Kent Desormeaux with the award she sponsors, the Bo Derek Award of Merit. "A jockey is a horse' last line of defense. There's a lot of pressure on jockeys to get a horse across the finish line. When a rider does the right thing and pulls up a horse, protects the horse, because he is the one that feels it when something goes wrong, then he can make the difference in saving that horse' life. Often a jockey has to defend that decision, rather than be applauded for taking care of the horse," explains Derek. She feels that Kent Desormeaux pulling up Big Brown in the Belmont Stakes when he didn't feel right after springing a hind shoe, he put the welfare of the horse first. A hard decision to make when a triple crown bid was still live, but the outcome was Big Brown was OK after being eased, and, he raced and won again. Twice.
Along with the awards to Duchossois and Desormeaux, the Equine Advocates gala is a great party. And there is that shopping...
At the charity auction, the original painting by Katie Upton of Zenyatta, a Holly Golightly treat of Breakfast at Tiffany for four including a Tiffany Diamond Horseshoe Pendant/Necklace, and a full corporate hospitality suite adventure for four at the 2012 Kentucky Derby are some of the tempting offers.
Unfortunately, I'm still waiting for that useful black AmEx card to show up in the mail. Failing its arrival, let's give a round of applause to Dick Duchossois and Kent Desormeaux for taking care of our horses. And a huge thanks to Equine Advocates for stepping in where many fear to, or, choose not to tread.