Since 1935, Boston’s Suffolk Downs has been home to the sport of kings, horse racing. Sadly, it closed its doors this past October, as the clientele over the last few decades dwindled significantly and the casino deal, where Mohegan Sun would incorporate the track into its new resort, failed. So that leaves many people wondering, what happens to the horses?
There are a few potential scenarios that many of you may not be aware of. Some of the horses will go to other tracks to continue their racing careers, but race horse owners may not have any interest in relocating them to another state. Therefore, many will be available for adoption. The owners may not be aware of the potential value of these horses and the need to be trained to a new discipline, so often times they can be bought for bargain basement prices. It’s not uncommon to see a stunning, well bred, 3 year old race horse sold for as little as $500 (that same horse may have been purchased for $100,000 as a yearling) simply because it’s owners have no use for the animal any longer in the sport of racing. Thoroughbred race horses generally retire very young, and being beautiful, finely bred athletic animals, they have the potential to go on to be show jumpers, pleasure horses, polo ponies or, in my case, fox hunters.
I am an owner of one of these horses; a beautiful, sure footed, jumper named Eros. I bought him 8 years ago for the ridiculously low price of $600.00 and since we are in the midst of fox hunting season, I’m riding him with the Myopia Hunt Club. Fox hunting in New England is actually a misnomer-there is no “fox”and there is no “hunting”. In the North East it’s a drag hunt where a scent is laid across the country coarse ranging about 10 miles. The sport is really about the excitement of keeping up with the hounds cross-country once they have found that scent. If you want to get the real skinny on what happens in a fox hunt watch my styleboston segment below, and you’ll see some horses that got a second chance at a whole new career!