Airville, PA – Does seven hundred thousand dollars sound like a lot of money to you? It does to me. Unfortunately, the $700K that Nikki’s Sandcastle won for his owners was not enough to earn him a life of security after he left the track. Just this past Sunday while going through the grotesque task of weeding through horses to save out of the kill pens, Kelly Smith from Omega Horse Rescue came across a horse that she could see that under all the filth and bones that he had become, this horse, at one time in his life, was something special.
As she always does, Kelly jumped into action to save the horse. His name was Nikki’s Sandcastle and he had a long and illustrious career with 41 starts that included 10 wins and 10 second place finishes. This noble animal had run his heart out 41 times for the sake of earning his owners cash and yet, there he stood, thin and covered in mud in a cold kill pen in Pennsylvania.
You hear it over and over again, all the time, horse owners saying “that will never happen to my horse, they’ll never wind up at an auction” and yet, it happens. Nikki’s Sandcastle wound up there, as did Ferdinand the winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby who was not as lucky as Nikki’s Sandcastle. Ferdinand was slaughtered for human consumption in Japan in 2002. This is the fate of thousands of racehorses throughout the world every year, used up and then forgotten.
After a few phone calls, Kelly managed to find Nikki’s Sandcastle a forever retirement home. After all, that’s what Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation is all about. For the rest of his life he is safe and will live out his years at the Exceller Fund retirement farm.
The 2019 Kentucky Derby is only a month away, the best of the best running in the most prestigious race of them all. How wonderful it would be if every trainer and owner of those magnificent horses pledged to care for them for their entire life. Kelly Smith won’t be celebrating, or even watching the race. She’ll be back to the kill pens looking to save yet another soul that didn’t deserve to be there.
Nikki’s Sandcastle has a long rehabilitation ahead of him, but he is safe. He’s one of the lucky ones. You are invited to google his name and see what a beautiful horse he was and will be once again.
To make a tax-deductible donation to help with the costs of rehabilitating and caring for Nikki’s Sandcastle please visit the Omega website. Omega Horse Rescue & Rehabilitation is a 501c3 Not for Profit rescue.