APEX, N.C. (WNCN) — On a small farm in the middle of Apex you can watch the sunrise coat everything it touches in a golden hue.
The sun also brings with it a day that might not have been for one horse.
A direct descendant of Triple Crown winner Secretariat, Saudi Poetry has her own esteemed legacy. One of her former trainers, also known for another Triple Crown winner, American Pharaoh, helped her win some of the most prestigious races at Churchill Downs.
“I come at it from the standpoint of a person who loves the horses, loves the racing and wants to see all the horses who participate wind up with very happy outcomes,” said Saudi Poetry’s new owner Jeff Morris.
Saudi Poetry was aptly named by the Saudi prince who owned her. She was sold multiple times commanding at least $1 million for each sale.
After Saudi Poetry was no longer a race horse, the thoroughbred was sold to breed. She gave birth to 10 foals, but none lived up to her achievements on the track. When it came to offspring she was simply seen as a disappointment.
Saudi Poetry recently ended up at auction.
“You always worry they could wind up going to one of these slaughterhouse buyers who buy the horses for meat,” Morris said of Saudi Poetry.
She could also be sold to breed again, which could be deadly since she’s nearly 65 years old in human years.
“It would be unwise and probably unethical to breed her anymore. She’s had 10 babies in her life and none of the babies have turned out to match her talent and ability,” he said.
To keep her from being sold for meat or to be bred again, Morris teamed up with longtime friend, of Seabiscuit fame, Laura Hillenbrand to give Saudi Poetry a forever home. After a lot of handwringing and anxiety during auction, Morris won her for just $1,500.
“A mare like her with her fantastic history and all that she’s done for all the people who have been associated with her, she clearly deserves so much more,” said Morris.
Now she has just that by sharing a pasture with a miniature cow, miniature horse, two mules, emus, chickens and three very happy little boys.
“I think it’s my duty and anybody who’s associated with the sport to raise that awareness that these wonderful horses are available for adoption and can be companions or riding horses or dressage or hunters or anything you like,” said Hillenbrand.
Now because of people like Jeff and Laura, Saudi Poetry is getting her own just reward.
“What matters now is she’s happy and safe and she’s going to have a very, very good future” said Morris.
CBS Evening News recently profiled Barbara Livingston, whose photos of Saudi Poetry are linked above.
To learn more about how you can become involved with retired thoroughbreds, here’s a link to the North Carolina Thoroughbred Association.