Nitro Active, the great great grandson of Secretariat, was headed to a slaughterhouse just three months after his last race on Dec. 16, 2011, at Hollywood Park Racetrack.
After three wins and earning nearly $200,000 in his career, Nitro Active is no longer able to race. He endured years of overuse on the track where he suffered leg fractures. He required surgery on his front legs and has severe degenerative arthritis, according to a veterinary check-up.
Like many Thoroughbreds, when he was no longer able to perform at high standards, he was found at an auction ready to go to a kill buyer.
The veterinary recommendation is that he should never be ridden again. At 7 years old this is very difficult both emotionally and physically. The Thoroughbred horse is bred for speed and agility. A Thoroughbred that can no longer use these skills will always be at risk for neglect, abuse and ultimately slaughter.
With special shoeing, therapy and time, he may have the opportunity to live a comfortable life. There is difficulty stopping this practice as even the 1986 Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand, ultimately died in a slaughterhouse.
This is not the Hollywood ending that his great-great-grandfather, Triple Crown winner Secretariat, lived and enjoyed.
However, Nitro Active may still have a storybook ending, living out his days in peace at his new permanent home.
Villa Chardonnay Equine Sanctuary is one of the largest horse rescue and sanctuaries in Southern California, specializing in abandoned, neglected and starving equines that are often not adoptable.
"Nitro Active is very sweet and friendly," said Monika Kerber, CEO at Villa Chardonnay, Horses with Wings Inc. "It is so sad to see him lying down in his stall because of the pain in his legs. We are watching him closely and he will need ongoing veterinary care and medication. It is horrible and inhumane the treatment that he had to endure. We are thankful that he was saved from a deadly end at the slaughter."
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