Why We're Doing This, and How You Can Help

What would inspire two men, ages 65 and 59, to take on 11 racetracks in 21 stages and 25 days over 1,000 kilometers...on their bicycles?

The way we see it, Thoroughbred race horses have contributed to the very meaning of life, so they too deserve to retire with dignity and not be sent to the slaughterhouse just because they now do six furlongs in 1:16 instead of 1:12.

As American expatriates living in Paris, we have decided to ride our own Tour de France--riding from racetrack to racetrack across France--during the 'real' Tour de France to raise money for Thoroughbred retirement. But we need your help.

We invite you to follow our journey, and if you'd like to sponsor us, just click on www.firstgiving.com/trf or on the Sponsor Us link below.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation currently cares for over 1200 unwanted horses. When you sponsor us, we are helping them in their mission to save ALL unwanted racehorses.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We all know an answer for the preventing the slaughter of gallant thoroughbreds once their career is over. A microscopic percentage of the handle and purse money, an amount no one would notice, could be redirected to receiving retired thoroughbreds on farms and then looking for their new homes.

When our computers or batteries wear out, we’re not allowed to trash them. When our thoroughbreds are still able to get around, we shouldn’t be allowed to slaughter them. I’m 65. When I’m out there bicycling a thousand kilometers to raise funds, I carry within me the soul of a retired thoroughbred who still loves to gallop in a pasture.

The racing industry is aware that the slaughter of thoroughbreds is wrong. All they have to do is get together and come up with a simple formula that even a software novice can set up.

I can’t explain the mysterious paralysis that prevents racing industry leaders from e-mailing each other, having a conference call, and establishing a procedure. What they would lose in revenue would pale in comparison with what they would gain in public relations.

In the meantime, we horseplayers cannot sit by when many of the horses that entertain us will eventually meet a fate that none of us would accept if we were present to watch it happen.

So let’s prove that we players, rugged individualists who are essentially betting against each other, can get together and act in unison on this one issue. Please consider my modest proposal. The logic is impeccable.

When we collect on a big score, most of us give a tip to the pari-mutuel clerk. It stands to reason that we could also give a tip to the horse, in the form of a donation to thoroughbred retirement.

Even in these days of hard times, we players remain thrilled with a game that depends on the interaction of horse and human. Jockeys take risks in slipping through traffic on the rail at 40 miles per hour. Trainers take financial risks in having chosen a profession whose downs are inevitably more than the ups. Owners take risks for the thrill of the sport. And of course, bettors take risks and push money into the handle.

All of us, jockeys, trainers, owners and bettors depend on the horse. So many humans whose meaning of life depends on a horse!

None of us has found any pleasure in virtual horse racing video games. We need the living horse.

It’s not a mere game. It’s bigger than that. That’s why we say, “I’m ALIVE in the pick three.”

Well, if the pick three comes in and the payoff is substantial, let’s all give a tip to the horse that made it possible, in the form of a donation to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Let’s prove to the leaders of the racing industry that rivals can come together on a common issue, that we players, who bet against each other every day, can get it together and save the horses.

STAGE 2. Sunday, May 30. Our next preliminary stage leading into the July 3 “tour de racetrack France” is to Auteuil, where Ernest Hemingway played the horses in the early 1920s. The old and wounded grandstand at Auteuil will stand until the sun dies out because it has been declared an official heritage monument, in a country where preservation is almost as sacred as red wine.

On our roundabout path to Auteuil, Alan and I will cycle by dozens of Paris monuments, across the whole city (picking up some frequent cycler miles), and then rank them in order of our own taste. You’ll find out where the Auteuil grandstand ranks in comparison to the Moulin Rouge, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Canal Saint-Martin, and so many others, including the Bar Les Vendages, where I do my handicapping.

And you’ll get a glimpse of the Sunday morning sidewalks of Paris, as we swerve around to avoid the broken bottles in the street, left over from Saturday night’s partying.

Alan will loop around the left bank, I’ll do the grand loop of the right bank, and then we’ll meet in front of Notre-Dame, at the core of the city, continuing on to the races at Auteuil at the west end of Paris.

1 comment:

  1. OK, guys, I'll definitely finally meet back up with you in person at Auteuil! We'll be coming with the Remember Rose entourage; he will be the favorite for the Grand Steeplechase de Paris and we're hoping for success. Let's lobby the PMU to train clerks paying out on larger tickets to suggest a contribution to horse retirement on the spot. Get them while they're happy and in the money!