arrived recently from Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue in
Glenville, Pennsylvania. Hendrickson contacted Jo Deibel of
the organization over the past weekend and immediately agreed
to reclaim the gelding, Cviano, who they had named in honor of
Whitney’s late husband, owner and breeder C. V. "Sonny"
A winner of four of 49 starts who earned $73,883, Cviano
had drifted down in the claiming ranks since he was taken from
Marylou Whitney Stables for $25,000 in April 2001 at Keeneland
Race Course. The seven-year-old bay had raced six times in
2004 without winning and was found in the "killer pen" set
aside for horses going to slaughter at the New Holland Sales
in New Holland, Pennsylvania.
"Thank God for these small organizations that are saving
lives," Hendrickson said on Wednesday while praising Deibel’s
efforts. "Marylou and I both believe that we need to be
responsible not just for their births and racing careers but
also for their retirements.
"It did not matter that he was a half brother to Bird Town
and Birdstone, other than it made for a more salacious story,"
he added. "This was a horse we bred and we loved. We love all
Whitney and Hendrickson paid Angel Acres $2,500 to adopt
Cviano, who was scheduled to be shipped to their farm in
Lexington on Wednesday. Instead of being slaughtered, the bay
gelding by Rubiano will fulfill a dream of 11-year-old Allie
Redmon, the daughter of the couple’s farm manager, Jouett
Redmon, and become her riding horse.
Hendrickson said he and Whitney have decided they will
offer double the amount of money agents receive for horses
sent to slaughter on any runners they have bred that are found
in jeopardy. They suggested that other owners and breeders
also take action on behalf of horses they have owned who later
"fall through the cracks."
"This is about lives we created," said Hendrickson, who
also advocates the passage of pending federal legislation that
would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption.
"We’re responsible for them, and this makes all of us owners
Deibel said she was driving down a Pennsylvania road when
Hendrickson called her cell phone.
"He said, ‘My name is John Hendrickson and I’m Marylou
Whitney’s husband.’ I don’t remember much else," said Deibel,
recalling her surprise. "I was just shocked that they would
care enough to actually call me."
A colleague who works with Mid-Atlantic Horse Rescue
spotted Cviano in the New Holland "kill pen" on August 23 and
called Deibel, who agreed to pay $325 to save the gelding, who
she described as a kind and gentle horse.
Produced by the stakes-placed Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie,
Cviano is a half brother to eight other winners, including
2003 champion three-year-old filly and Kentucky Oaks (G1)
winner Bird Town and ’04 Belmont (G1) and Travers (G1) Stakes
Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue focuses on saving
Thoroughbreds who can no longer race and on finding them
suitable homes and new careers. While Cviano, who last raced
on March 26 for owner and trainer Jose Martinez at Penn
National Race Course, had pulled a suspensory ligament at some
point, he is sound for riding, Deibel said.
Martinez, who currently ranks fourth in the trainer
standings at Penn National, could not be reached for