I'm often asked, "Say, whatever became of old so-and-so"-referring to some long gone Dogwood horse, probably lost in a claiming race. Sometimes I don't know, and I always feel a little guilty when I say that. It doesn't sound good to admit you don't know the whereabouts of a horse you bought, trained, and campaigned. They are like old friends - some gifted, many not gifted… similar to the general population of humans.
We hope every horse we buy will be a fine athlete and exhibit character in competition. We give them the finest education and care to prepare them for racing. Some then develop… some do not. I have said - perhaps too often - that finding young untried horses at public auction is like recruiting a professional football team by looking at a group of ten-year-old kids. Good analogy.
We hope our horses will enjoy competition and acquit themselves in a way that will warrant a future living out their days in lush pastures producing other stars of tomorrow. Alas, many don't.
With the lesser lights we try to find an easier level at which to compete and earn. This may entail selling the horse - outright or more often through claiming races. Stated in hard business terms, the end use of a racehorse is to win races and earn money. So, as the manager of partnerships I am fiscally responsible to the partners for trying to maximize any salvage value that may be there.
But I am a sucker for a racehorse. I like all horses, and I adore a good horse. Some of them have changed my life, giving me a great career. How could I not adore them?
So it is always difficult to say goodbye - in whatever manner - to any horse.
One thing we are adamant about: if a horse is injured or becomes unsuitable for racing for any reason, we see to it that he or she has a good home as a pleasure horse. Other than broodmares and stallions, there are many hunters, jumpers, sheriff and police mounts, backyard pets, and horses in retirement facilities that once carried our green with yellow polka dot silks. God bless them… and their current caretakers.
This is Cot Campbell, and this is my view.