Monday, September 01, 2008

Lights on Broadway Shines in Texas

On Saturday, as Curlin raced in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga, a horse transport van quietly pulled into a gravel driveway of a farm just south of Fort Worth. On board was another champion: Lights on Broadway.

Lights on Broadway (Majestic Light) is an 11-year-old gelding, winner of $572,000 in 83 starts; 2001 Texas Horse of the Year and Champion Older Horse/Gelding. And this year he very nearly ended up being someone’s déjeuner in France.

I first read of the rescue effort from the Texas Thoroughbred Association. The press release indicated that the champion horse was now relegated to running in cheap claiming races at exotic locales such as Nebraska and Kansas. However, that’s only part of the story.

According to a post from the Fans of Barbaro,

Early this past June, an Oklahoma-based racing quarter horse trainer was approached by a kill buyer who said he had something to show him. The man pulled some sun-bleached papers off the truck dashboard. The trainer unfolded the pages – a set of Jockey Club papers – and couldn't believe his eyes.

The trainer, recognizing the horse, purchased him off the crowded slaughter truck for $300 and brought him to his own stable. After a couple of unspectacular starts at Anthony Downs and Blue Ribbon Downs, an effort went underway to purchase and subsequently retire Lights on Broadway and bring him back in Texas.

Asking price for the 2001 Texas Horse of the Year: $3,000 plus transportation fees.

And thus, Alex Brown Forum #27275.1, Horse Rescue Issue, "Top Bunk List – Lights on Broadway Needs You" became an intense fundraiser. Pledges of $10, $25, or $50 came rolling in by various individuals, each pledge generating excitement and commitment. The new total of $475 total pledged by August 8th generated, Yippee-i-aaaa!! Yippee-i-ooooh!! (Is that Texanese?) $670 pledged by August 11th. $845 total pledged by August 14th. The goal never changed. The energy never waivered.

(Only $2,155 left to raise in total! Great work, all!)

And then on August 19, message 153 from txexracehors, whoever he/she may be,

I am a life long racing fan and a Lone Star regular. The last time I saw Lights On Broadway run at Lone Star Park, he was running in one of the higher priced claiming races, then he disappeared. I was just wondering what had happened to him and hoped he had been retired; now he can be. I am pledging the remaining amount of his purchase, 2035.00 dollars, so he can be brought home.

Additionally, Donna and Dallas Keen offered to give Lights on Broadway a home as well as retrain him; reports indicated that the horse enjoyed working and would probably not be the happiest of animals just lounging around a pasture, eating grass all day. Donna wished to take on this new project, donating her time and training to teach Lights on Broadway new jobs and go without a bridle, perhaps developing him into a track pony.

Lights on Broadway arrived at the Keen’s Saturday evening, a couple hundred pounds lighter than he should be, but certainly every bit the handsome champion that he is.

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Donna and Dallas Keen the following day, and see how Lights on Broadway was settling into his new surroundings. Clearly, the Keens are delighted to have such a wonderful animal on their property – he already had a couple of baths and was fitted with a new halter, complete with a brand new engraved name plate, Lights on Broadway. A racehorse. A champion.

Lights on Broadway, at home with Donna Keen, August 2008


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story.. I love great Rescues efforts. Tommy

Anonymous said...

thanks for covering this story. so many people came together for this horse and i am really psyched about where he is now! cheers, alex

Unknown said...

WOW...just love it when there's a happy ending...kudos to all involved in giving this saving this horse and giving him the life he deserves. June