Suffolk Downs enacted a no-slaughter policy in 2008 ensuring that the connections of racehorses found at slaughter plants would be severely punished. Then the vice-president of racing, Sam Elliot got wind of several horses being held at the New Holland auction, a place frequented by kill buyers, according to offtrackthoroughbreds.com.
The racing executive was able to buy back all of the horses that October day, including a 2003 mare named Arrested Gatorgirl. The mare was shipped to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in Virginia, where she was treated to four years of gentle re-schooling. “Gator” had never been much of a racehorse, and once even refused to leave the starting gate when it opened.
In 2012, Gator met young Madisyn DeCant, and the connection between the pair was instantly apparent. The family adopted her that day, and now at 13 years old, Gator has competed in dressage, eventing, and even polocrosse for her young rider.
“Gatorgirl was saved as the result of one of our early enforcement efforts,” said Elliot, now employed by Parx Racing. “She got very lucky. Prior to that policy, she probably would have wound up dead. Instead, she's a good show horse, and she has someone who loves and takes care of her.”
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