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This is going to be a long post, and for that I apologize. I hope you will read it through.
I first brought this thoroughbred to everyone's attention in the Horse Racing folder. Take a look at Thread #19212.1 for a little background on him - his record, his injury, his owner and his trainer, and the story of the people who care about him desperately and would like him to be retired.
No one realizes more than I that the need for funds to rescue and care for all of the horses we read about here on ABR is huge.
Even knowing that, I'm bringing this request here. This is a request to raise the balance of funds needed to claim this horse. He is currently scheduled to head to the gate for his 90TH START on Saturday, March 15. (Top Bunk's racing date has been changed from March 15 to ... we don't know now other than that it will be sometime after March 22.) It is expected to be a $4,000 claiming race. He has never before run in such a low-priced claimer. A total of $2,000 has already been raised by the folks who want to retire him. I'm starting a fundraiser here for the remaining $2,000—$5, $10, whatever, at a time. And to make this even more ... well ... desperate, we're trying to raise the funds by the end of the day Friday, March 14. (Now our fundraising end date has been extended, and the amount we need to help Top Bunk raised to $4,000. Please see Post #230 in this thread.)
If you are reading this and thinking $2,000 could save one heck of a lot of horses in need, and buy a lot of hay, farrier work, and veterinarian care for the horses we have already saved, please know that I am going to agree with you absolutely. And if those are the places you want your donations to go exclusively, I urge you to continue to send them there as they are certainly needed.
This thread is not about those horses or those needs.
This thread is about this thoroughbred—this one horse.
His name is Top Bunk and he was foaled on St. Valentine's Day in 1997.
He ran his first race at Woodbine on August 19, 1999, and came in second. His fifth time out of the gate, he broke his maiden, and by the time he crossed that finish line, he had won in excess of $40,000 for his then owner. The next time he raced was the first time he finished out of the money. He would not finish out of the money again until the Spring of 2001, some 16 months and 22 starts later, and his total winnings by then were over $235,000.
Between his first race and the Spring of '01, Top Bunk had been claimed 3 times by 3 different owners, the third time at a claiming price of $60,000. By then, he had raced not only at Woodbine but also at Saratoga, Belmont and Aqueduct.
During the rest of 2001, through 2006, he would also see the tracks at Philadelphia Park, Monmouth (where he ran in the Skip Away Stakes), The Meadowlands, and, lastly, Calder Park. During that time period, he would not finish out of the money once. After his last race in 2006, his winnings totaled in excess of half a million dollars after 81 starts. He had been claimed 6 more times by 6 different owners. He was 9 years old.
During 2007, Top Bunk would not see the likes of Saratoga or Belmont again. His first four starts were at Gulfstream, followed by two at Arlington, one at Presque Isle Downs, then four at Hawthorne in Cicero, Illinois. His most recent race took place at Hawthorne on January 5, 2008, after which he was vanned off the track. From January of 2007 to January of 2008, Top Bunk finished out of the money only once. Also during that time, he was again claimed, twice, once at $12,000 and most recently at $6,000.
As of today, Top Bunk's winnings total $575,709. He has had 12 different owners, in addition to his breeder. He is 11 years old.
From late 2000 through 2002, he was running in claiming races of between $75,000 and $100,000. In 2003, he ran in claimers averaging $45,000. In 2004, that average dropped by more than half, to less than $21,000. In 2005, it was $14,000; in 2006 it was $11,000 and in 2007, it was $10,000. His last three races of 2007 were $6,000 claimers. And, as I said at the beginning of this post, the race he is expected to run in this weekend is a $4,000 claimer.
Like many others, I think he has run hard enough and long enough for his money and his life.
If Top Bunk runs as scheduled, if we can raise the $2,000 still needed to claim him, and if the claim is successful, you will ensure him a SAFE retirement from racing and a REAL future—with people who care about him for his great heart and courage, and not for the few more dollars he can win as a racehorse.
I have offered my PayPal account for collecting donations towards Top Bunk's future. My e-mail address is email@example.com. You can make your donation for Top Bunk on the PayPal website using that e-mail address as the recipient. You do not have to have a PayPal account to make a donation. I will be covering ALL PayPal fees.
Your donation of any amount, for which I would be exceedingly grateful, is NOT a donation to a charity; it is, therefore, unfortunately, not eligible to be claimed as a charitable donation on your personal income tax return.
In the event we do not raise the $2,000 (now $4,000) needed by the end of the day March 15, 2008 (fundraiser has been extended.), please let me know what you would like me to do with your donation. I would be happy to refund it, to hold it until Top Bunk's next race (in which case I would continue this fundraiser until we reach $2,000 - now $4,000), or to deliver it to the rescue effort or charity of your choice and in your name.
I will provide everyone with a complete accounting of all monies raised and their disposition.
Please don't forget these old racing warhorses. This past weekend, Wendy (our co-moderator) was good enough to point me to the song "Small Victories" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0c3gA76uPQ&feature=related , posted by Brenda of Another Chance Equine Rescue of Ohio (#20077). It's worth another listen.
(Edited to update information.)
Any info on who would be claiming him if the money is raised and where he would be going?
I don't know who the trainer will be to do the claiming (there is one but I, personally, do not know who that is) but I do know that a board member of CANTER-MI has offered him a forever home in retirement.
I don't know a lot about the claiming game, but might the new owners also need transporation money to move him from the track?
I will pp $25.75..
FOB's help to raise money to claim racehorse.