Brian Zipse of Simpsonville, Ky., was recently appointed the new president of The Exceller Fund (TEF). Zipse replaces top Thoroughbred conditioner, Gary Contessa, in this role. Contessa served for many years leading and helping TEF grow and reach out to many horses in need.
Zipse is the editor of Horse Racing Nation, a fan friendly website. His wife, Candice, and daughter, Kendra, often are involved in his frequent trips to racetracks and horse farms across the country.
"As much as I love the sport of Thoroughbred horse racing, I love the horses even more," Zipse explained. "It's only natural for me to be involved in helping them after their racing careers are over. In fact, I think it is my duty to give back to the magnificent creatures that give me so much joy throughout my life. I believe everyone involved in racing should want to do something -- the collective little bit of help would go a long way."
The Exceller Fund was named in honor of the Thoroughbred racehorse, Exceller, born on May 12, 1973. Exceller is the only horse in history to best two Triple Crown winners, Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978), in one race. The 1978 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in Elmont, NY, was a stunning showcase for this son of Vaguely Noble out of Too Bald by Bald Eagle. After being considered less than desirable as a sire in the U.S., Exceller was shipped to Sweden to continue his career as a stallion. There, on April 7, 1997, Exceller was slaughtered for the meat he would provide. The world-wide outcry at this inhumane act helped focus light on the need for aftercare for all racehorses. The Exceller Fund was created by a group of racing fans who wanted to make a positive difference after hearing the shocking news of how Exceller was killed.
"The Exceller Fund is a cause and an organization I very much believe in," continued Zipse. "Having seen the great Exceller run on many occasions, it still tears me up inside to think about how he was discarded to a truly awful end. His legacy should never be forgotten. In a short time, I've also come to really like and admire the people involved with The Exceller Fund. It is a great fit for my beliefs and goals, and I am honored to be the President.
"I want to see The Exceller Fund to continue to do the great work that we already do. I also want the organization to gain greater recognition, both within the industry, and in the outside world. In this way, we can reach more people who want to help, for the simple goal of doing right by the horses, and helping as many of them as we can," Zipse concluded.
The Exceller Fund acquires Thoroughbred horses that might otherwise be at risk for neglect or slaughter, and works to provide a future beyond the finish line once they have completed their racing careers. In addition to transitioning potential adoptable horses into second careers, sanctuary is provided for those horses in need of retirement. TEF also works to facilitate the placement of Thoroughbreds with other equine organizations nationwide in order to save as many Thoroughbreds as possible.
Thoroughbreds are welcomed into the program regardless of their adoption potential, which may take several months to determine as the horses go through the evaluation process. Many of these horses remain with TEF for their lifetime. Racing Warriors, horses that have spent years on the track, are a major focus for TEF because they often have limited adoption opportunities due to age and athletic wear and tear.
The Exceller Fund's mission of 'Providing a Future Beyond the Finish Line' goes well beyond the immediate rescue of a horse. For us, saving a horse is a lifetime commitment. With good care, equines can live into their late twenties or longer. TEF continues to care for these extraordinary horses for as long as they need it.