Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thewifedoesntknow Training Blog: Week 23

Part 16 in a series of Sarah Andrew's training blogs about Thewifedoesntknow, a Thoroughbred mare made famous by a viral YouTube video and who is now in training to be a show hunter with New Jersey-based trainer Carole Davison.


You can see confidence in a Thoroughbred when he wins his first race. You can see it in the morning when the horse bounces on to the track.
In late October at the Second Call "Fall For Horses" All-Thoroughbred Charity Show and Festival, Ally-Gator (Jockey Club name Thewifedoesntknow) showed the same confidence. She was in a strange environment, surrounded by strange horses, and she performed like a star, earning ribbons in two classes.  
I only had time to watch Carole warm Ally up at the show, but it was a successful outing, and a hint of the great things to come in the show ring for this mare.
Five weeks after the show, Ally was brimming with even more confidence during our photo shoot. Just five months ago, she was fresh from the track, and learning her new career as a riding horse. Now, she has mastered the basics and shows them off with style. At the trot, her shoulder is freer, and she is able to carry herself and rely less on Carole for balance and guidance. As her topline improves and she becomes more muscular, she becomes more elegant and powerful.
Due to Hurricane Sandy derailing everyone's plans and schedules, Ally's training slowed a little. For the past couple of weeks, she and Carole did not do much jumping. As soon as they trotted up to the first cross rail on Sunday, Ally's expression perked up, and she bounced over it with enthusiasm. During her over-fences work, the mare's outline rounded, her eye brightened, and there was a spring in her step. Unlike horses who rush fences when they lack confidence, Ally - full of confidence - floated to each jump. 
After warming up over a few cross rails, Carole and Ally rode a line from one cross rail to an oxer. Ally accepted the new challenge with alacrity, rounding her neck and basculing over the fence. 
I got to see more of Ally-Gator's playful side when Rio, a resident barn cat, decided to hang around with us. 
Carole's daughter, Liz, rode Ally at the end of the session. She said she had not ridden the mare in a while, and it was a pleasure to watch her work with the mare. 
Liz rode Ally in a slightly looser and more forward frame than Carole did, and the mare adjusted nicely to her rider.
Each time I visit Ally-Gator, the mare blossoms more and more, both in her physique and in her personality. Clearly, she enjoys her new career, from jumping oxers to playing with cats to massage sessions. She came to this farm as a promising prospect, and now she's learning every new lesson with trust and confidence.  

Horses and Hope 2013 Calendar
With the help of Gina Keesling of HoofPrints, my 2012 debut calendar contained over 100 photos of auction horses. Thanks to the support of horse lovers all over, it raised nearly $40,000 for One Horse At A Time, helping hundreds of horses in need directly, and untold others indirectly through increased public awareness. Now that we have one calendar's worth of experience to draw upon, the 2013 version promises to be even more exciting, even more creative, and as always, inspirational and positive.  

Monday, November 26, 2012

Horses and Hope Calendar: Your Cure for the Cyber Monday Blues

 Cyber Monday chaos? Have hope! 

I have the perfect gift for all your animal-loving friends. This summer, I teamed up with Gina Keesling of HoofPrints, and we created our second charity calendar project, titled Horses and Hope: Faces of Rescue (click here to order). 
 Like last year, 100% of the calendar's profit is donated to One Horse At A Time, a 501(c)(3) charity. The 2013 calendar features a wider variety of equine subjects than the 2012 calendar, which focused on horses at Camelot Auction in New Jersey. Horses and Hope: Faces of Rescue contains over 100 photos of horses and dozens of inspirational stories and quotes, and represents almost three years of volunteer work. In addition to my home state of New Jersey, I traveled to New York, Kentucky, Virginia, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Maryland and visited horses at equine rescues, as well as in their adopted homes.
Thanks to the generous calendar purchases of hundreds of horse lovers, the 2012 Horses and Hope calendar raised over $40,000. With that money, One Horse at a Time (OHAAT) wrote grants to help 317 horses, including supplies for emergency feed deliveries, and funds for 255 new geldings.
Gina and I worked hard to keep the calendar inspirational and positive, and highlight the great things that people do to help horses all over the country. Thank you so much for all of your orders so far- the response has been extraordinary. Here are just a few of the fantastic comments that we have already received:
"Sarah Andrew is an unbelievably talented photographer, world-class - and she treats each horse in this calendar with beautiful reverence. The profits from the calendars all help an important cause - helping equines in need - and the images, and the accompanying stories, will stir your!" -Barbara Livingston, Eclipse Award-winning photographer, Daily Racing Form
“The journey of feedlot horses from forgotten to beloved is documented in this incredible calendar, a gift of  love from top equine photographer Sarah Andrew.  She sees hope in their guarded expressions, bloom in their lackluster coats, and shows that these animals have so much yet to offer. Every page and every story warms the heart and steels the nerves for the continuing fight for the lives of these horses. No true horse-lover should be without this calendar, with its proceeds making a difference for these horses." -Gina Spadafori, author, The Ultimate Horse-Lover
"In a season filled with commercialism and cynicism, it's nothing short of a Christmas miracle to discover Sarah Andrew's Horses and Hope calendar. Filled with true tales of inspiration, Horses and Hope is a reminder of what can be achieved if we don't give up or give in, but dedicate our collective will to achieving that which needs to be achieved. Sarah's photography is beautiful, the illustration magnificent, and the overall result a masterpiece you'll be proud to share with your loved ones at Christmastime, all while receiving that special satisfaction you get from knowing that doing so means you're not part of the problem, but part of the solution." -Sue Finley, Vice President/Co-Publisher, Thoroughbred Daily News
 "They look like normal enough horses on the cover... but when you open this special calendar and read these horses' stories, you'll never take a horse's handsome head shot for granted again. Are you looking for a feel-good holiday gift that your friends will love? I think I've found it. I can say that with confidence, because the 2012 edition of this calendar is hanging over my desk...and I'm saving that spot of honor for the 2013 edition... Saving horses is, like any great mission, a thing that is worked on one day at a time. But at the end of the year, you can look back and see your accomplishments. By ordering this calendar, and giving it as a gift to your friends or business associates, you help assure that at the end of 2013, there will be many horses whose welfare needs were met, as a guarantee of the year's--and the calendar's--success." -Fran Jurga, publisher/editor, Hoofcare and Lameness and The Jurga Report 
 More testimonials from horse lovers:
"Already ordered mine. The photography and printing are coffee table quality and they make great Christmas gifts for horsey and non-horsey friends.Thank you, Sarah and Gina. You make my Christmas shopping really easy."
"Just wanted to mention how FAST this calendar arrived! Thank you for making such a beautiful memory book of these wonderful horses."
"Here is a great Christmas gift for your friends and fellow horse lovers. PLUS, it supports a wonderful charity. We will be displaying one at our barn over the holidays!"
 "I got mine a few days ago...cried at some of the stories. So touching!"
"The calendar is amazing, as was last years' (which I bought also, just to see the beautiful photography). This years' is a Christmas gift for the woman who boards my horse. She's heard the stories each week, of the one I almost couldn't resist, and I thought it so fitting that she finally experience some of what I've been talking about."
"Great calendar!!!! Great cause!! Great stories!!! What else do you need??? This is an awesome and meaningful Christmas gift for the horse people on your list. I buy one for myself and a few other people... Spectacular photos on top-quality heavy paper, and every cent goes towards horse rescue and after-care."
"I LOVE my new calendars. They are as beautiful, as touching and as beautifully done as the ones I bought in 2012. And I know my money is going for a good cause. Thanks for putting these together and making them available to those of us who can't buy another horse but still want to help.
"After working a 12-hour day, I came home to find my Horses & Hope 2013 calendar arrived... it may be I am over tired or the time change, but I cried over every month...not out of sadness, but out of over these saved souls & all the people who made this happen & took a chance! This is by far the nicest calendar EVER! Congrats to Sarah & team!
 Please click on the links below to read read about the horses, ponies, donkeys, and mules in the calendar:
Sarah Andrew

Georgia's Story

Sunny's Story

Rosebud's Story

Tristan's Story

Mimi's Story

Electronic Press Release: 2013 Calendar

Monday, November 19, 2012


by Carly Silver
If following horse racing has taught me one thing, it's that, as much as a handicapper may be confident about a race's outcome, the competition itself is always up in the air. I learned that lesson anew on Saturday, November 17, while attending the 1 -1/8 mile Discovery Handicap (gr. III).

After analyzing each candidate's pedigrees, past performances, and connections, I picked Our Entourage as the prospective winner of the Discovery. To my chagrin, the Street Cry colt spun his wheels over the Aqueduct oval and finished last in the race.

Race day dawned crisp and cold. Eager to get to the racetrack, I donned my heaviest coat and endured an hour-and-a-half subway ride to Aqueduct. The new Resorts World casino loomed over the old track, as seagulls wheeled and squawked through the sky. Inside, the building appeared rather dilapidated, its faded floors littered with discarded betting tickets and crumpled up handicapping pages. I picked my way amongst the litter outside to the clubhouse, where I craned my neck to see the Discovery contenders trotting up the track.

Called to Serve galloped home first in the Discovery.
NYRA photo
Shoving my hands into my pockets, I waited earnestly as the horses loaded into the starting gate. When they sprang out onto the track for the race, I was alarmed, as Called to Serve bumped my choice, Our Entourage. Our Entourage regained ground to track the moderate pace in third, then second, places. Favored Willy Beamin showed off his superior speed by leading the field through most of the race.

Although he maintained his stalking position, Our Entourage began to wilt as the race went on. Eventually, to my chagrin, Called to Serve, a son of Afleet Alex, barreled up the stretch, past my fading choice and the fleet Willy Beamin. Called to Serve charged to a 4 3/4-length triumph, with Willy Beamin second and Stephanoatsee third. Our Entourage finished up the track, sixth and last.

"I'm glad I didn't have time to bet," I muttered under my breath. Discouraged, I scuffed my sneaker against the concrete step and made my way back inside to handicap the next race.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guest Blog: Analyzing the Discovery

by Carly Silver
On November 17, Aqueduct Racetrack welcomes the 68th running of the 1-and-1/8 mile Discovery Handicap (gr. III). Named for the famed handicapper and excellent broodmare sire, the Discovery has been a notch on the belt of such stars as Fappiano, Left Bank, Dynaformer, Kelso, and Forego. This year's contenders, which make up a field of six, might be worthy successors to those whose hoofprints preceded them.

1. Pedigree: Guilt Trip bears a pedigree worth noting - his sire, Pulpit, barely needs an introduction. This top sire son of A.P. Indy has fathered such luminaries as Tapit and Corinthian and traces to a grand female family: Pulpit's fourth dam is a full sister to the great Round Table.

Guilt Trip's dam, Mysterieuse Etoile, has foaled two other winners. The Quiet American mare is out of good English juvenile Rose Indien, dam of U.S. stakes winner Salty Sea and granddam of group II victor Silver Grecian. Under Guilt Trip's third dam, Green Rosy, are Majorien-tied for third-best ranking among European two-year-olds in 1996-and Melbourne Cup winner Americain. Farther back, the family includes grade I-winning filly Tarlow and two-time Jockey Club Gold Cup winner Flat Out.

Connections: With only nine starts so far at the Aqueduct meet, trainer Chad Brown has notched one win and over $80,000 in earnings. In the irons on Guilt Trip is Javier Castellano, who recently took the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. I) on Zagora.

Past performances/works: Though he hasn't run in a stakes race, Guilt Trip has won two of his three starts this year. He breezed a half-mile on the dirt on November 11 in :49 4/5.

2. Adirondack King is bred to run all day. His late sire, 2007 champion older male Lawyer Ron, traces in tale-female to the blue hen Uvira II, dam of the prolific Missy Baba and ancestress of A.P. Indy, Summer Squall, and Havre de Grace. Adirondack King is out of Jostle (by Brocco, a Breeders' Cup Juvenile-winning son of Kris S.), winner of the 2000 grade I CCA Oaks and Alabama Stakes. Jostle's dam, Moon Drone, was by Drone (whose half-sister, Lady Capulet, foaled top sire El Prado) and out of Cute Little Moon, dam of stakes winner Foolin Spruce. This line traces to Double Sun (who was aptly named, being inbred 3x2 to Sun Teddy), ancestress of Santa Anita Handicap winner Ruhlmann.

Connections: Adirondack King boasts the same team that brought about his second-place finish to Stephanoatsee in the Barbaro Stakes-namely, trainer John Servis (of Smarty Jones fame) and jockey Jeremy Rose (best known for his rides aboard Afleet Alex).

Past performances/works: Adirondack King hasn't won this year, but finished a close second to Stephanoatsee last time out in the Barbaro, beating My Adonis in the process. He most recently breezed five furlongs in 1:02 and change.

3. Stephanoatsee ups the pedigree quotient of this year's Discovery Handicap. By A.P. Indy, he is out of 2011 Broodmare of the Year Oatsee, dam of Preakness Stakes winner Shackleford, grade I victress Lady Joanne, and graded stakes winners Baghdaria and Afleeting Lady. By Unbridled, Oatsee is from With Every Wish, whose maternal relatives include millionaires A.P. Jet and Tappiano; she descends from Mixed Marriage, dam of Atan (sire of Sharpen Up) and granddam of excellent sires Gone West and Known Fact.

Connections: Rider Junior Alvarado has taken a shining to New York racing, most recently winning the Empire Classic. He's also ahead of the likes of Edgar Prado in the current Aqueduct jockey standings. Stephanoatsee's trainer H. Graham Motion is perhaps best known for his work with Animal Kingdom.

Past performances/works: After finishing fourth after a bad trip in the grade II Pennsylvania Derby in September, Stephanoatsee triumphed in the Barbaro in October. He breezed four furlongs in 1:01 2/5 on November 10.

4. Called to Serve is a graded stakes-placed Afleet Alex gelding out of the Kris S. mare Andover Lady. Joanne Nor, former owner of Breeders' Cup Sprint winner Desert Stormer, bred several generations of this family before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2009. Her homebreds from this clan include multiple grade I winner Behrens, Hard to Copy's half-brother, and Texas Tammy, dam of grade II victor Cowboy Cal. Hot Novel's third dam, Cam Axe, was also the great-granddam of CCA Oaks victress Golden Bri. This female family traces to the great broodmare Etoile Filante, dam of Preakness victor High Quest and full sister to the good sire Chatterton. Etoile Filante's tail-female descendants include Arts and Letters, Grindstone, Pass Catcher, and Silverbulletday.

Connections: Called to Serve's trainer, Nick Canani, ranks low on the Aqueduct standings thus far. Jockey Joel Rosario, though, is on fire at the track, earning over $13 million so far this year.

Past performances/works: Winner of two of eight starts this year, Called to Serve last finished second in October in the Temperence Hill Stakes, which Our Entourage took by a nose. He came in third behind Willy Beamin and Politicallycorrect in the Oklahoma Derby, before which he outran Hansen to finish third in the West Virginia Derby (gr. II). He last breezed five furlongs in 1:02 2/5.

5. Our Entourage can count himself one amongst an illustrious entourage, including Zenyatta and Street Sense, of horses sired by Street Cry-that is, if he continues to prove himself on the track. Beyond his own talent-winning the Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster Handicap-Street Cry boasts a regal European pedigree. By top stallion Machiavellian out of Irish Oaks winner Helen Street (by Epsom and Irish Derbies winner Troy), he has a full sister, Helsinki, who foaled European champ Shamardal; other close-up relatives include Japanese Derby victor Neo Universe.

Our Entourage isn't just bred for distance on top, however. His dam, grade I turf winner Sand Springs, is by grass influence Dynaformer, and has foaled additional stakes winner Mellon Martini. Her dam, Lovely Martha, is out of the Alleged mare Darling Lady. Darling Lady is from Olmec, by top Australian stallion Pago Pago; Olmec foaled stakes winner Navajo Princess, dam of European champion Dancing Brave and French group I winner Jolypha (in turn dam of grade I victor Redwood).

Connections: Our Entourage is ridden by Aqueduct's leading jockey, Ramon Dominguez. His conditioner, David Jacobson, is also on a roll, taking five out of fourteen starts so far this meet.

Past performances/works: Seventh last time out on the Aqueduct turf, Our Entourage defeated Called to Serve in October. Before that, he took an allowance race at Parx by 5 ½ lengths. He last worked four furlongs on the Aqueduct dirt in :51 1/5.

6. Willy Beamin, carrying the high weight of 121 pounds, took this year's grade I King's Bishop Stakes. Though the King's Bishop was a sprint, this gelding also won the 1 1/8-mile Albany Stakes. His sire, Suave, was a graded stakes-winning A.P. Indy colt out of the grade I-winning mare Urbane. His second dam, Dumfries Pleasure, was sired by Derby and Preakness winner Pleasant Colony and was a half-sister to top European sire Lyphard and Washington, D.C., International winner Nobiliary. This female family also includes grade I winner Flower Alley, sire of Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another.

The dam of Willy Beamin, stakes winner Big Tease, is by Gold Token, a son of Mr. Prospector. Big Tease's dam, Another Rita, is a half-sister to grade III winner Eagle Toast (both are out of Aquarian, by Grey Eagle, a son of Heliopolis). Aquarian's dam, Yvon, was by Succession, a regally bred son of Beau Pere and the blue hen Boudoir II. From there, Willy Beamin's family is a series of fairly undistinguished sires and dams.

Connections: Jockey Wilmer Garcia has won five of thirty-four starts so far this meet, while trainer Dick Dutrow-a perennially leader atop the rankings-has taken five of fifteen starts.

Past performances/works: Second last time out in the Oklahoma Derby, Willy Beamin is the lone grade I winner in the field. He won the Albany Stakes over the Discovery distance of 1 1/8 miles this year. He last went five furlongs in 1:04:32 on November 3.

My pick: With the incomparable Ramon Dominguez up, Our Entourage is ready to take on Willy Beamin in the Discovery. He's got four pounds on the likely favorite, is bred for distance, and won at one and one-eighth miles recently.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Horses and Hope: Sunny's Story

Part 5 in Sarah Andrew's Horses and Hope series, an uplifting look at how the equine community helps local horses in need. 

No two horse rescue stories are the same. The story of Sunny is a story of matchmaking, and a story of how one of my favorite horses arrived at one of my favorite rescues, and was adopted by one of my favorite people. 
Lisa Post of Helping Hearts Equine Rescue (HHER) remembers how Sunny, an American Mustang mare from the Twin Peaks herd in northern California, arrived at her New Jersey rescue:
"I first met Sunny as a fresh-from-the-BLM youngster. Her owner was a client who would trailer her over on occasion to get her out to see the world. When Sunny turned 3, she came to me to be started under saddle and thereafter for several years trailered in for weekly sessions with her owner and her friends. During the first year Helping Hearts was in existence, her owner contacted me asking for help placing Sunny. She'd been trying without success and was considering putting her down rather than sending her into questionable circumstances. There was no way I would let that happen. Sunny had always been a favorite 'student' of mine. Sunny was relinquished to Helping Hearts."
I first learned about Sunny when she was added to Lisa's list of HHER's adoptable horses. Although Sunny was not the perfect match for her previous owners, she sounded like the ideal horse for my friend Kris. Kris and I have been friends since college, and she was looking for her first horse. For a few years, she took riding lessons and leased a mare, and was ready to look for a horse of her own. The stout Mustang mare with the cat-shaped star on her forehead turned out to be just what she was looking for. 
 The intelligence of the Mustang is celebrated by horsemen, and Sunny had a clever plan for sealing the adoption deal when Kris met her at the horse rescue:
"When I read Sunny’s adoption posting, I thought she was a good age, a good size, and had some good experience.  I was intrigued by the fact that she was a Mustang, not a very common breed here in New Jersey.  I tried not to be too excited, because this was the first horse I was going to see in my search for a horse of my own.  My trainer and I went to meet Sunny, and we were both impressed, she had a beautiful trot and was generally pleasant to handle. As I stood next to Sunny discussing the adoption, she sealed the deal by putting her chin on my shoulder and licking my face. Clearly, this mare was coming home with me!"  
Trainer Carole Davison (also the trainer of TDN Blog star Thewifedoesntknow) accompanied Kris when she evaluated Sunny and rode her for the first time. 
 Although Carole's clients usually ride Thoroughbreds and warmbloods, Carole liked Sunny right away:
"When Kris asked me to take a look at a Mustang that she was interested in adopting as her first horse, I was a bit hesitant. However, the first thing I noted was her kind eye. Although she wasn't sure what was expected of her, she remained calm throughout the entire ride. Sunny is a very sweet mare, with a calm, confident demeanor. She is a comfortable ride with steady consistent gaits. Her canter has improved significantly. When Kris first brought her home she had a difficult time getting into as well as staying in the canter. She now steps into the canter easily, well balanced, and maintains a nice forward pace."
Two times a week, every week, Kris and Sunny train with Carole. Through the lessons primarily focus on dressage, they also school for judged trail rides, and are beginning a little work with cavaletti and small jumps.  
Their dedication and commitment was rewarded handsomely in 2012, when Kris and Sunny competed in their first two dressage shows, and scored in the high 60s (for those who are unfamiliar with dressage, those are great scores!). Sunny shows under the name Sunshine Daydream, as a nod to her California roots.

Kris is a true student of the horse, and always works hard to improve her communication with Sunny:
"Over the next year, I discovered that Sunny was all that I had hoped she would be – patient, smart, willing, and calm.  She is tolerant of my rookie mistakes in the saddle and my occasional bouts of fear, gamely trying her best to decipher my sometimes murky aids. Sunny is helping me to become a more confident rider, and already we have tried our hand at intro-level dressage and a judged trail ride."   
A judged trail ride is a very different type of competition from a dressage show.  A dressage show requires a horse to be intensely focused during a dressage test, which lasts less than ten minutes.  A judged trail ride is a test of a horse's willingness, bravery, and patience.
These rides can last over an hour, and horses are introduced to obstacles that they have never seen before, like the life-sized model horse pictured below. Sunny, in true Sunny fashion, tried to make friends with the "horse".
Don't let Sunny's primitive wild bay coloring fool you- she is built to MOVE. Her lovely conformation enables her to collect like a dressage horse, and also run and corner like a barrel racer. Genetic markers in the Twin Peaks herd have been linked to Spanish ancestry, and perhaps this is why she can move with such agility and grace.    
Descendants of US Army Cavalry and historic ranch stock are also part of the herd's genetic makeup, which might explain Sunny's amenable disposition.
This spring, Sunny was diagnosed with Equine Cushing's Disease, but with careful management and excellent veterinary care, it does not slow Sunny down at all. Kris and I board our horses at the same barn, and we've spent many, many hours enjoying trail rides together. I think Kris and Sunny are great riding buddies, and my horse Wizard agrees- he's quite fond of Sunny. 
 To know Sunny is to love her. Lisa Post worked hard to find the perfect home for her, and she couldn't be happier with Sunny's partnership with Kris, "I always considered Sunny a great example of what Mustangs have to offer. Now, partnered with Kris, she has become a great success story- a wonderful representative of both rescue horses and the American Mustang."
Kris is excited about a bright future with her lovely mare: 
"Sunny is an excellent ambassador for her breed; she is eminently practical with a steady and even temperament. It amazes me every day that a horse born in the wild could be so accepting of all the things we ask of our domesticated horses. We are daily becoming a better team, and I can’t wait to find out what we will accomplish together over the years. I am eternally grateful to Lisa Post at Helping Hearts Equine Rescue for allowing me the chance to become Sunny’s rider and caretaker, and to Sarah Andrew for pointing out the adoption posting (and countless hours of advice giving, commiserating, and encouraging!)."

 I'm sure Sunny agrees, Kris!

Click here to read Horses and Hope: Rosebud's Story 
Click here to read Horses and Hope: Georgia's Story 
 Click here to read Horses and Hope: Mimi's Story

Horses and Hope 2013 Calendar
With the help of Gina Keesling of HoofPrints, my 2012 debut calendar contained over 100 photos of auction horses. Thanks to the support of horse lovers all over, it raised nearly $40,000 for One Horse At A Time, helping hundreds of horses in need directly, and untold others indirectly through increased public awareness. Now that we have one calendar's worth of experience to draw upon, the 2013 version promises to be even more exciting, even more creative, and as always, inspirational and positive.  

Monday, November 5, 2012

In photos: Monmouth Park stands strong in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

Bazinga Rules is cozy and safe in trainer Tim Shaw's barn at Monmouth Park
 In the wake of the devastating superstorm Sandy, Monmouth Park in Oceanport, NJ stands strong. Horses and humans weathered the winds and flooding, and now crews are cleaning up in the aftermath.

Since I live just a few miles from the track, I received many inquiries from people who were concerned for the safety of the horses and humans at Monmouth. On Monday morning, I visited the track and photographed buildings, barns, and the surrounding areas.   
Most barns were able to shelter horses in the storm, but about six barns were evacuated due to flooding and flood damage.  Before the storm, horses from those barns were moved to higher ground, and all horses are warm and dry. Damage to the barns is under evaluation.
The track surface needs to be evaluated, so all training at the track is cancelled for the year (Monmouth is open for simulcasting).  For their daily exercise, horses play in round pens, walk with their grooms, and jog the shedrow under tack.
Part of the fence around the track was damaged in the storm.
A week after the storm, people at the track are still cleaning up the branches, debris, and leaves around the barns.
The track is about a mile from the ocean. At the height of the storm, this building at the stable entrance flooded past the window sills.
Inside the building, desk drawers are still filled with flood water.
The offices in the building suffered flood damage, and are still drying out.
In the summer, Monmouth Park's parking lots are filled with spectators' cars, but today, rows of utility trucks fill the lots. The lots are beehives of activity, and trucks from all over the United States are coming and going, working hard to bring power back to the houses and businesses of hurricane victims.
There is a steady stream of trucks driving in and out of the parking lot as they are deployed to different parts of the Jersey Shore.
In the parking lot across the street from the grandstand, trucks were loaded and filled with supplies.
The spacious parking lots are a perfect place for a large-scale relief operation like this.

Water and many other critically-needed supplies are being distributed as part of the relief effort.
Tents in the parking lot serve as a place for utility workers and first responders to rest.
Tractor trailers deliver supplies to the tents in the Monmouth Park parking lot.
Several boats safely weathered the storm in the Monmouth Park parking lot.
Residents post these notes of encouragement and gratitude for the hurricane relief effort workers and volunteers.
To help with the hurricane relief effort, please visit the Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund:

 Volunteers in New Jersey are being coordinated through an emergency response hotline, 1-800-JERSEY-7 (1-800-537-7397). Alternate numbers, for when the hotline isn’t staffed, include 609-775-5236 and 908-303-0471 or e-mails can be sent to


Horses and Hope 2013 Calendar
With the help of Gina Keesling of HoofPrints, my 2012 debut calendar contained over 100 photos of auction horses. Thanks to the support of horse lovers all over, it raised nearly $40,000 for One Horse At A Time, helping hundreds of horses in need directly, and untold others indirectly through increased public awareness. Now that we have one calendar's worth of experience to draw upon, the 2013 version promises to be even more exciting, even more creative, and as always, inspirational and positive.