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Hogan Helps Save A World Champion

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Published: December 19, 2009 7:51 am ET

Last Comment: December 20, 2009 3:33 pm ET | 13 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

When Keystone Wallis raced in the late 1980s and early 1990s, she was one of the most recognizable performers in harness racing with her light grey appearance and blazing speed. She almost slipped through the sales ring last month and would have been purchased for $100 had it not been for a woman that remembered the pacing mare from her days at the Meadows.

"Because the old mare's racing and breeding days are over, I knew no one would want her but the killers," said Kate Miller said in a telephone interview with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I just had to buy her."

Miller, who lives and works in the Pittsburgh area, scraped together some of her own money, collected cash donations from friends and drove to Ohio to purchase Keystone Wallis for $150. A friend shipped the horse back to Pennsylvania for her for free, but the daily board bills became too much for Miller to afford.

Enter renowned equine surgeon Dr. Patricia Hogan. Dr. Hogan had seen a story on Miller and Keystone Wallis that was published in a standardbred industry publication. After seeing it, Dr. Hogan emailed Ellen Harvey of Harness Racing Communications and asked if she knew how to get in touch with Miller. After providing Dr. Hogan with Miller's email address, the two of them took it from there.

"I was just so impressed and touched that a young person would step up to help a horse," Dr. Hogan said. "Keystone Wallis was a world champion. I thought she deserved better."

To read the full article and find out how Keystone Wallis is doing now, click here.

December 20, 2009 - 3:33 pmI wholeheartedly agree with

bill douglas SAID...

I wholeheartedly agree with Marissas idea of being able to flag one of your Horses in case he/she is unwanted. Standardbred Canada should immediately adopt this program. I'm sure it would be pretty simple, just a matter of ticking a box on the transfer papers, "i would like to be notified if this Horse is unwanted: Yes/No". I know there are quite a few Horses from my past that I would have liked to have had this option with. These animals don't ask for much and some will race their hearts out for you. I realize selling them at some point is the only viable option; but this idea of being notified and given the chance to be able to save an old favorite of yours is a good one.

December 20, 2009 - 2:53 pmKeystone Wallis What a

Keystone Wallis What a great mare! I have personally cared for this mare through the last three years of her foaling career and attended her final foaling this year. The decision to sell her was a very tough one. I know that her owner had her protected at a higher price than Kate Miller paid but let her go because she promised a forever home.Unfortunately not all farms can afford to keep all of their retired broodmares. We no longer had a winter pasture buddy for her and since shes deaf she would not do well alone. The owner was at the sale to make sure she did NOT go to the killer. If Kate had not promised she would give her a home for life she would not have been able to buy her.I am really tired of almost everyone accusing her owner of throwing her away without checking the facts.

December 20, 2009 - 2:30 pmJohn, if all owners would be

Ken Worth SAID...

John, if all owners would be like you I wouldn't be writing this, you have a wonderful heart. The previous owners of this wonderful mare are good people I'm sure, but I've seen good people treat horses like this and it's just awful. Horses work hard for people and should be treated with dignity in a dignified manner, sending a horse to slaughter should NEVER happen. I had my older horse put down humanely last year at 16 years old (very hard for him to get around) I was with him when he left and it was very peaceful, he raced for me for seven years. Before I start to cry, I think horse slaugter should be banned, it's a horrible way to treat such a wonderful animal. Thank you to all the people that show respect and thumbs down to the people that don't, you know who you are.

December 20, 2009 - 6:56 amWhile we don't know the

Allan Schott SAID...

While we don't know the specifics of this case, let's not kid yourself. There are plenty of people who treat these horses as disposable livestock and don't think twice about sending them to the sales.

December 20, 2009 - 1:52 amI was very happy to see that

john king SAID...

I was very happy to see that someone took it in to their hearts to take in this old champion, god bless you. It makes me so sad to know that we cannot save all the horses from slaughter, but i know there are too many bred each year to save them all, sad but true.

After i ended my membership as an owner and groom, i started taking in abused horses and am willing to take unwanted race horses as i have been in contact with the people who foster these horses, they make wonderful riding horses when their days on track are done. I commend people who take in unwanted horses.

God Bless You, Merry Christmas to all.

John King, goderich ontario

December 19, 2009 - 11:46 pmSHAME on everyone for

patsy white SAID...

SHAME on everyone for judging and condeming the sellers - has anyone heard their side of the story. With times being what they are has anyone ever thought about what the owners felt to make that decision! Im glad that the mare went to a good home - but in these times painful decisions have to be made everyday! I would like to hear their side of the story before I publicly shame them! There are two sides to every story. maybe they are bad people but maybe they are not! I would like to know!!

December 19, 2009 - 11:03 pmWhile yes it is great that

While yes it is great that Keystone Wallis has a good home - with times being the way they are has anyone even thought about the pain it must have been for the owners to sell this mare - everyone assumes that these are bad people. I would like to hear their side of the story before I judge and condem them!! Has anyone heard the other side of the story - shame on those of you who are condeming without all the facts.

December 19, 2009 - 9:20 pmThe AQHA has recently

The AQHA has recently adopted a new program called greener pastures. It allows active members to indicate on a horse's registration certificate that should that horse ever become unwanted, unusable or simply ready for retirement, the member will – if possible – assist in finding the horse a suitable home. I personally feel that something like this could be used in our business. I believe past owners, trainers and even grooms should be allowed to flag a horses pedigree and if that animal becomes unwanted at a sale or the current owner wants to get rid of them that individual would be notified and given the option to adopt the horse. I think there are more people like Kate Miller who want to adopt past racehorses that have made a hoof print in their life. I don't think shame should be attached to this story. Great horses can go through multiple sales over many years and have dozens of owners. Unfortunately, sometimes they end up at slaughter, we can't save them all, we make too many. But I feel that we can do better than we are currently at protecting useful animals from unnecessary slaughter.

December 19, 2009 - 8:00 pmA great story that brought

A great story that brought tears of joy to my eyes. I knew the mare well and she had a heart as big as a barn. A huge, HUGE hug to you Kate and Dr. Hogan for saving such a beautiful mare.

December 19, 2009 - 12:25 pmTHIS IS THE FEELGOOD STORY

LIZ THERRIEN SAID...

THIS IS THE FEELGOOD STORY OF THE YEAR AND KATE MILLER AND PATRICIA HOGAN ARE THE HEROES.

SHAME SHAME SHAME ON THOSE WHO LET THIS HAPPEN TO A MARE THAT MADE YOU CLOSE TO A MILLION

December 19, 2009 - 10:45 amGreat story. So many

Kevin Jones SAID...

Great story. So many standardbred & TB's slip through the cracks & end up at these sales for people to buy them to ship to the slaughterhouse, after their racing & or breeding careers are over. Ones like this mare who had earned lots of money over their career for their owners & they are just disposed of! Kudo's to Kate Miller for doing all she could, taking money she could not afford to save this mares life & Dr. Hogan for stepping up & giving the mare the home she deserves!

December 19, 2009 - 9:03 amWhat a wonderful story. I

What a wonderful story.
I didn't see in the article - who is the genius who owned this champion and put her in the killer sale in the first place.
They should be ashamed.
Our champions deserve better.

December 19, 2009 - 8:37 amwhat a wonderful feature.

what a wonderful feature. These great athletes deserve better and it's always nice to read such thoughtful stories. We all need more of these episodes.


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