The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation's sixth annual fund-raising party held Monday night at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club exceeded all expectations as 450 guests attended for a chance to bid on unique experiences and stallion seasons while helping out a good cause. The event raised $425,000.
"At this time, with such heightened awareness about the need to provide retirement for all Thoroughbred horses who have no other options, it is a wonderful thing that so many fine and upstanding people in racing can come out and put on such a huge show of support for the TRF and have so much fun in the process," said TRF Executive Director Diana Pikulski.
"We raised a record amount of money and every cent of it is needed to take care of our exploding population of horses and our on-going mission of providing homes for as many retirees as possible."
The bidding was lively Monday night at the Saratoga Golf and Polo Club, where the sale topper was an option to breed to Elusive Quality, the sire of Smarty Jones, at the 2004 fee of $50,000. It was purchased by Classic Star Thoroughbreds for $90,000. John Oxley was the underbidder. An option to breed to Successful Appeal at the 2004 fee of $6,000 brought $21,000 and was purchased by David Greathouse. A pair of live foal seasons to Congaree were sold for $27,000 each to John Hettinger and Hansley Albina.
The top selling experience was an all-expenses-paid trip to the 2005 Dubai World Cup. It was purchased by Mike Ryan for $20,000. Chester Broman paid $17,500 to have a portrait done of a horse of his choice by equine artist Leslie Priggen. Priggen also agreed to do a painting for underbidder, Dr. Charles Kidder, whose last bid was $17,000.
The right to throw out the first pitch at a Baltimore Orioles game during Preakness week went to famed chef Bobby Flay for $13,000. The underbidder was former Duke basketball star Bobby Hurley.
"This party gets bigger and better every year," said Pikulski. "I think that's because we go out of our way to show everyone a good time, but more so because there is a growing awareness of the importance of the work the TRF does and the industry's responsibility to care for its equine competitors when their racing days are done."