Priscilla Clark, president of Tranquility Farm in Tehachapi, Calif., said that unless her facility can raise the money to buy and place the Thoroughbreds, which include six stallions and 40 pregnant broodmares, they would be put up for sale with an uncertain future. Most would likely be slaughtered, she claims.
"The plan is to procure as many of the horses as possible and put them in a safe situation," Clark said.
Clark said that she had feared that the "cheap" horses would go on the block this weekend. But the current owner is apparently willing to wait until a meeting set for Aug. 5 to discuss a private purchase of as many of the horses as possible with a Phoenix-area trainer that is representing Tranquility, she said.
Since learning of the horses' plight Aug. 1, Clark said that about $4,700 has been raised through publicity on various race charity Web sites in a 24-hour period. She said they have commitments from private parties to give homes to 12 of the mares. She also has heard from a horse rescue ranch in Nevada that would take several more mares through its network of farms.
The horses are all believed to be from Warren's Thoroughbreds in Hemet, Calif., Clark said. Through an agent with connections to the Arizona Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, Clark learned that the owner Ben Warren had given or sold the horses to an unidentified individual in Riverside, Calif. She said they were later transferred to a new owner near Phoenix who sells unwanted horses cheaply at auction or transports them to Mexico for slaughter.
The Blood-Horse could not independently verify the claims of Clark, nor whether or not the horses had been sold or given away by Warren, who could not be reached for comment Aug. 2. His farm lists 25 stallions on its roster, including five of the six that are in Arizona.
Barbara Corey, who also owns a farm for retired horses and works with Clark, told The Blood-Horse that in a phone conversation with Warren on Aug. 1, he confirmed to her that the horses were his. Warren said he gave the horses to an individual in Riverside and denied that he had sold them to a buyer in Arizona, according to Corey.
"When I told him that the horses were in Arizona, he said, "No they aren't. I gave them to a guy (in Riverside).' Then I read him the names of the stallions that had been identified and he said they were his," Corey said.
"When I asked him for the names of the mares, he told me that he'd been giving out the names for the past three days and that he didn't have time for this."
A trainer in Arizona, working with Tranquility, inspected the animals and told Clark that they are all in good condition, Clark said. She identified the stallions as Seattle Bound (retired as of 2008), Dante's Inferno, Kris Kross, Mr. Bolg, Major Moment and Dynamite Vision. She had not been able to verify the identities of any of the mares, although she has been told they have the proper Jockey Club paperwork.
"Our hope is that if we can get the ages and IDs of the mares, which we should be able to, we can put together a little catalog," Clark said. "If we have a little time, we'll pull this off. We'll get them out of there."
She said a private buyer in Indiana wants to purchase Dante's Inferno.
Anyone wishing to donate money or adopt one of the Thoroughbreds may do so through the farm's Web site, at www.tranquilityfarmtbs.org, or by phoning (661) 823-0307.