Zenyatta Helping Fellow Horses
Photo: Mathea Kelley

Zenyatta may be retired, but she remains the gift that keeps on giving. Through her memorabilia and her  “Moneigh” paintings she has contributed to such worthy charitable organizations as CANTER (the Communication Alliance to Network Thoroughbred Ex-Racehorses), the Racetrack Chaplaincy, and Re-Run.

 

“We are having so much fun with her before she leaves for Kentucky,” said Dottie Ingordo-Shirreffs, wife of trainer John Shirreffs and racing manager for Zenyatta’s owners, Jerry and Ann Moss. “She is doing all of her charitable work now...for all of the horse organizations and our industry. She is really giving back to help her other horse friends who need a bit of support right now. The money that was raised for her one halter helped to provide the funds for four horses to be re-trained through CANTER. Just one halter; it is so sweet. She wears them like Liz Taylor would wear diamonds. After we put them on, we take a photo, and John, Mike (Smith) and/or Ann and Jerry sign it to show she actually wore it. Shoes, paintings, photos, T-shirts -- she is doing the whole thing, all to help her ‘buddies in need.’

 

“She just finished painting her latest set of Moneighs for Re-Run and has worn halters for the Racetrack Chaplaincy and Canter, just to name a few. One was at the Spendthrift Gala right before the September yearling sale, and it was in the silent auction for a horse charity. Then with CANTER, she has halters, and photos. They have made up T-shirts with her photo on them and sold them as well  Zenyatta did a TV segment on this the other day, showing some of the things she has done to help. We’ve also been able to donate a lot of her shoes, and she went through a lot of them because of all the dancing and strutting she did.”

 

CANTER, founded in Michigan in 1997, helps racehorses find new careers by connecting buyers and sellers through posting racehorses for sale on the Internet. The program quickly grew and now includes chapters in California, Illinois, the Mid-Atlantic region, the New England region, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

 

“This is a wonderful story that needs to be told,” said CANTER’s Bonnie Adams, who started up CANTER Southern California last January. “A famous, history-making racehorse is helping the less talented racehorses, thanks to the generosity of her connections. I've never heard of a famous animal fundraising for less fortunate animals. It is truly heartwarming.”

 

CANTER’s goal has been to help owners and trainers list the horses they want to sell. CANTER then refers buyers to them to work out a transaction. Thoroughbreds on the track and ponies can be listed on CANTER's Web site (CanterUsa.org).

 

CANTER Southern California boards their horses at a facility in Bonsall, where they are trained by the resident Hunter/Jumper trainer and former racehorse trainer who gives CANTER a discount for boarding, and donates her training time. CANTER also has volunteers who help in the care and training of the horses.

 

“So, earlier this year the Mosses donated a Zenyatta halter for our first fundraiser in Del Mar, and we were able to take in our first donated horse and found it a wonderful home in Colorado," Adams said. "Then as Zenyatta kept winning and getting more and more popular, the Mosses donated another halter -- this time it was her beautiful Steuben halter. We had an event during the Breeders’ Cup weekend and made up Zenyatta T-shirts and sold them along with her photos, signed by Mike Smith and John Shirreffs, and had a silent auction for her halter.

 

“The Derby Restaurant in Arcadia bought her halter, and it is displayed in their memorabilia case where all can enjoy it. We were able to take in four donated horses because of that event, and they are currently in re-training and up for adoption.”

 

For the Zenyatta celebrations prior to the Eclipse Awards, CANTER designed a new Zenyatta T-shirt in her racing colors and sold it at Hollywood Park, where they raised additional money. The shirts are still available on Ebay, at The Derby Restaurant, and they plan on selling them  Dec. 26 in conjunction with Santa Anita's Zenyatta parade.

 

“Thanks to Zenyatta and her immense popularity, we are having great success, and now have eight CANTER horses at our facility," Adams said. "All of them will be cared for and trained until we find the right home for them. Zenyatta’s fans can show their support for their favorite horse, while helping other racehorses who need a home. Having her halters to auction off, and having  Zenyatta T-shirts to sell have made a huge difference for CANTER SoCal, and for the horses we can now help.”

 

While Zenyatta has been doing her part, contributing to CANTER and other organizations and charities, the Shirreffs' are enjoying their final days with her before she leaves for Kentucky.

 

Everyone seems to want a part of her these days, but as Dottie says, “For the time being, we still have the real horse to hug and play with.” 

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