Serene Queen was a blue collar horse through and through. While she raced almost exclusively in the claiming ranks, she earned her keep and then some, banking nearly $240,000 in her 50-race career.
While her 49th race in January of 2015 saw her visit the winner's circle for the 14th time, it also resulted in a change of ownership, as she was claimed out of Parx trainer Dee Curry's barn. Just a month later in Serene Queen's first start for her new connections, however, an issue arose. Heat in an ankle led to the diagnosis of a fracture, which would require a minimum of four months rest. A return to the races was questionable at best.
“No one wanted to step forward and give her the time off,” said Leslie Molinari of Nuzzle Me Safe Horse Rescue. Molinari explained that the filly's new connections were considering euthanasia.
Whether sensing how dire her situation had become or by sheer coincidence, Serene Queen broke out from her stall and ran throughout the Parx backside one night, returning to the barn of her former trainer, Curry. Nobody could have guessed how life-altering her escapade around the backside would be. Not only did it possibly save her life, but it paved her way to Kentucky, where she is enjoying the lush spring grass with her new foal.
“I am an advocate for euthanasia when a situation warrants it, but, in my opinion, this situation did not warrant it,” said Molinari. “Dee contacted Turning For Home, who posted her story.”
It was on Turning For Home's Facebook page that Molinari first learned of Serene Queen's precarious situation. Molinari, who operates a boarding stable from which her equine rescue operation is based, was moved by the mare's plight. With very little time to act, she called one of her boarding clients and friends, Jerry Kane.
“I called Jerry and explained the situation. He said to go ahead and get her to the farm and that we'd figure the rest out later,” said Molinari.
Kane is a Thoroughbred owner, as well as an aftercare advocate. In addition to riding horses boarded at Molinari's farm (which are his former racehorses Jude and Schredder, both of whom were featured in this column back in 2012), Kane has a few horses in training, including last weekend's Grade 3 Beaumont Stakes runner-up Sine Wave. He also has several former racehorses-turned-broodmares in Kentucky.
Kane's involvement in Thoroughbreds goes past the ownership level. He also hosts an annual golf tournament in an effort to support Molinari's aftercare efforts and is known to pitch in when situations similar to Serene Queen's arise.
“It was on a whim that I looked at Queenie's pedigree. I was intrigued. I liked the Hoist the Flag in her broodmare sire line and she descends from Mr. Prospector through her sire. Plus, her dam, Cosmic Secrets, has thrown a number of six-figure winners,” said Kane, who said once he saw her in person, he was even more interested. “She's a big, athletic mare with long legs.”
Kane arranged with Molinari to transfer Serene Queen's ownership to him and he shipped her to Scarteen Stud in Kentucky, where his other mares are boarded.
She's a great mom. Her colt never stops, always running and bumping into her or anyone who comes into the pasture. She is very patient with the little bugger,” said Kane. “Breeding is all about hopes and dreams. When that little individual is born, watching them learn and interact with mom is pure magic.”
Added Molinari, “Serene Queen was a working man's royal – the kind of horse people dream about getting because she produced results and checks for anyone lucky enough to own her. She had the heart of a mountain lion. No doubt her foals will have her heart and desire to compete, and maybe some of the heart from those who made her rescue possible.”
Name: SERENE QUEEN (a.k.a. “Queenie”)
Born: April 29,2007
Dam: Cosmic Secrets
Sale History: Did not sell at public auction
Race Record: 50-14-10-6
Race Earnings: $239,580
Jen Roytz is a marketing, publicity and comprehensive communications specialist based in Lexington, Kentucky. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, her professional focus lies in the fields of equine, health care, corporate and non-profit marketing. She holds board affiliations with the Make a Wish Foundation, Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and the Retired Racehorse Project, among others. While she currently has no plans to build an arc, she is the go-to food source for two dogs, two cats and two off-track Thoroughbreds.
Email Jen your story ideas at [email protected] or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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