Off to See the Wiz…and Pearl

I came in from feeding the horses one morning in early July when I received a text from my friend Linda asking me if I heard about Weather Wiz. A pit sank into my stomach. I wrote back that I hadn’t and to please tell me. She told me to contact Lisa. I asked her to tell me, that I wanted the band-aid ripped off. I feared he broke down during a breeze, and I didn’t want to contact someone else to hear about it.

She wrote back saying, “You got Wiz.”

I sat stunned for I’m not sure how long.

For quite awhile I’ve offered a home to Weather Wiz through his former owner Centennial Farms, but his present owner/trainer was not interested in retiring him each time they reached out to him. After getting that text from Linda, I called Lisa. I honestly wondered if I was being punked I was in such shock. Centennial reached out two weeks ago, and he once again declined the offer. Lisa answered my call, told me the story, and I guess Jamie Ness (owner/trainer) told a friend of hers, “Tell Centennial I will give him to that woman who wants him.” That woman was me, and I was incredulous.

Next I called Danielle from Turning For Home who was the one that spoke to Ness. After a lot of back and forth, we agreed to meet outside of Denver on July 15th where I would meet Wiz for the first time. She was traveling with her niece up to Wyoming for a competition.

My husband stayed behind to take care of the horses and dogs, and I packed up and headed east. It was a hot day and I was making good time until I got east of Glenwood Springs. There I hit the weekend traffic heading to the mountains or Denver, and we all found ourselves in a monsoon downpour. Traffic crawled. Seeing Wiz was delayed by an hour at the least. I grew irritable.

I’ve watched Weather Wiz since his first race at Belmont back in 2017. He is by Tiznow, who is a California bred horse and won two memorable Breeder’s Cups back to back. He is the first and only horse to do that. Tiznow is a special horse that found a huge place in my heart during his racing days. He had this grit, such heart, and he seemed to pass that on to his offspring. Also, when Mojo was supposedly abandoned in some field in Oklahoma, he was found with a Tiznow mare. When Mojo died, I swore I would take in another Uncle Mo or a Tiznow in honor of him. Before I left for the Front Range to pick up Wiz, I realized the day I would meet Wiz was also the anniversary of when Shandoka died. It seemed that I was coming full circle on both tragic losses.

When I finally hit the plains, I couldn’t wait to get to him. My nerves were frayed, and the temperature boiled at 98 degrees. When I exited the freeway, I realized I was in the middle of nowhere. As I looked around it seemed that everyone but a few farms sold off their water. Brown, burnt grass sizzled under the hot sun all around. What used to be thriving farms was now dried up, barren land.

Following the directions, I was surprised to see that I did drive by a weather station that looked like a gigantic golf ball. A short ways down the road, I turned left into the motel where I found other people staking out their spots for the night in a dirt field covered with sparse, brown grass. Butterflies fluttered. All I wanted to do was get to Wiz, but first I had to park where the owners of the horse hotel wanted me to. I got out and headed straight for Wiz where I found him in the back barn. He was tired, worn, and dehydrated from the long trip from Maryland. Laying on the floor of his stall he gave me a look that said, “Get me out of here.”

Exhausted Wiz after a long trip

I pushed a full tube of electrolytes into him to treat the dehydration, which got him up on his feet within ten minutes. He looked straight into my eyes and buried his head in my chest; I held his head while kissing him on his neck.

He loves to be kissed

“Let’s get out of this stall,” I whispered to him.

It was 98 outside but much warmer inside the barn that was filled with stale and heavy air. Nothing circulated. The owners were kind and hung a fan for him when they realized he needed some help. We walked through a small arena to an open area where a gentle, hot wind blew. I hoped the monsoons would come.

His tired yet gentle eyes filled with interest as we watched an elderly man strolling around his yard with his elderly dog. He was fascinated with them as they plodded along on his green grass.

I took him back to his stall where he drank down quite a bit of water over the next few hours. Relief eased my wrinkled brow. I went back to the truck to haul more water for him when I saw the monsoons. They’re coming.

Wiz watching the neighbor walk his dog

I headed back, pulled him out of his stall, and we went back to the opening in the arena. The breeze cooled and the sky poured a blissful rain upon the parched plains. Wiz and I stood in the mist and he let out a long sigh. We stood there or walked around gently for almost an hour. When it was dark and time for sleep, he hadn’t pooped due to the dehydration, I worried about him becoming impacted, although he drank a lot of water since I arrived.

I went to the truck, got my mat, bedding, and some banamine just in case. The closest vet was an hour away. I unrolled my mat and bedding on the floor next to Wiz’s stall. I plopped down from exhaustion. The sky ripped open and it rained hard for almost four hours. I was sure the ground would be mud, and I wondered how difficult it would be to drive out in the morning. The temperature dropped by twenty degrees, and I was lulled into a comfortable sleep listening to Wiz and all of the other horses munch on their hay.



Startled, I shot straight up after an hour of deep sleep; a horse violently kicked the side of one of the stalls. I jumped up to turn on the lights. This is when I finally noticed Pearl. How did I know her name? Her owner hung a sign with her name written in glitter on her stall.

Pearl is a Palomino mare, tall and wide, and she definitely was the queen of the barn. None of the geldings felt like taking her on. Her ears were pinned to the backside of her head, her eyes narrowed, and she bared her teeth at the thoroughbred next door to Wiz. She quickly turned her ass at this terrified horse, and kicked the stall wall that they shared extremely hard. I ran over to her to make sure her leg was still in tact. She upset all of the other horses who began to express themselves in different ways. The horse next to her began walking the stall. The horse directly across from her incessantly pawed the ground. Two other horses were trying to break out of their stalls. Wiz stayed pinned to the stall door next to me not moving.

The thoroughbred moved over by Wiz’s wall and the mare instantly perked up here ears and relaxed. Kindness returned to her eyes as her whole demeaner changed with the flick of a light switch. I went to the stall walker and nuzzled with him, went to the pawer and soothed his mind with some kind words, and went to the two that were sure they could break out. I stood with them until they returned to their feed. I walked back to Wiz reassuring him that all was well. He took a sip of water and returned to eating his hay.

I turned off the light and fell back to sleep. An hour later:



“Pearl, he is only trying to stretch his legs!”

I got up and repeated the above until everyone calmed down again. This happened every hour on the dot.

At 2am when Pearl started, I had it. I turned on the light, checked on Wiz, and stomped over to Pearl.

“Listen you, you’re not the only one in here with mare energy. I have more than enough to match yours. What are you going to do about it? Her ears instantly went up, and she walked over to me for some cuddles. I then went around calming everyone down before collapsing on my mat.




Wiz pooped. Finally. “We’re going to be okay buddy,” I whispered as I dozed off.

At 4am Pearl started up again. I looked at Wiz and said, “Let’s get out of here and go home.”

I normally would never do this with a horse I didn’t know, but Wiz and I had already been through a lot in the twelve hours we knew one another. I also wanted to get him home before the heat of the day boiled. A heat wave was moving in.

I calmed everyone down, rolled up my bedding, and I headed out to the truck in the darkness. Several generators were running, so I didn’t have to worry about waking anyone up. I slid open the main door to Wiz’s barn. I went into his stall, and I told him if this was too much for him, we would head back. We both looked at Pearl, and he seemed more than willing to go. I trusted our relationship.

We headed out of his barn into an open breezeway, through another barn, between two very long horse trailers with generators running, into a moonless night. We walked through a crunchy field to my truck when it dawned on me that despite all of the rain the ground was as hard as a rock, this drought is horrible. Without any hesitation he loaded in the trailer.

I kissed him on the nose and off we went. We drove easily through Denver, but instead of driving along I-70, we went on 285 through the mountains. We climbed passes, drove through beautiful forests with interesting rock formations, followed creeks and rivers, saw a herd of buffalo wandering through an old homestead on a wind swept, high mountain plain before we made the turn for home. The temperature stayed in the low 50’s the entire trip. Each time I stopped to check on him, he was bright eyed and chomping on hay.

After six hours, we pulled into our driveway. The other horses were snoozing in their stall avoiding the heat. When I put Wiz in his turnout area, Sueño came over to greet him. Ever since that moment Sueño has been his companion. They love one another.

Pearl exhausted me, exhausted all of those horses that night, but I honestly think Pearl is the reason why Wiz trusted me as we walked out to my truck in the dark. He knew I was his safety net, and I think we all wanted to escape Pearl. If he ever gets ornery, which happened one time, I tell him, “Don’t tell me you learned that from Pearl!”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I walk outside and can’t believe he is here. I honestly never thought he would come here even though I never gave up. Seeing him each day brings a huge smile to my heart and soul. If you are offering a home to a thoroughbred that is currently racing, remember it takes time.

After resting and eating, I went out and stood with Wiz who was looking at the mountains., “You’re home Wiz. Those mountains are yours now.”

Wiz enjoying the pasture

I want to thank Centennial Farms for believing in me and putting up with me when I began getting a bit nervous about Weather Wiz. I thank them for reaching out to Jamie Ness for me several times. I especially want to thank Julie who has always been kind to me. I want to thank my friend since the 3rd grade, Lisa, for listening to me as I planned this out. I also want to thank Susan, Lisa F, J, and Linda for being so supportive and being a bridge for bringing Wiz here. I want to thank my dear friend Heather and new friend Robbie for trying to help solve the bumps in the road. You’re the best. Thank you Athena for always having my back. I also want to thank Danielle reaching out to Ness and for bringing Wiz to the Wild West, and I want to thank Jamie Ness for retiring Wiz to me. Thanks Mom for being his cheerleader. Last and the best, I want to thank my husband for all of his support and understanding. Weather Wiz is so loved by Bill, the horses, our dogs and me.

Mintz’s Rescue Needed A Village

As you can see Mintz is very thin. Photo provided by Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare.

I had a dream. My horse Shandoka, who died four years ago, was standing inside a barn with another horse. I wasn’t sure who the horse was. He didn’t look like Mojo or any of my horses. He was thin and tired. I approached him to say hello, but each time I tried, Shandoka herded him away from me. I finally saw the other horse’s face, and he had an interesting white blaze down his face. The phrase, “Not now,” entered into my mind as I woke up. In a few days I would know for sure that this was Mintz.

When I began writing this, Fish Trappe Road was on his way to Connecticut after a long stint racing in Puerto Rico. He is a stakes winning racehorse that somewhere along the line found himself on a ship to Puerto Rico to race at Camarero. This is usually a one way ticket for for horses as most never make it back to the states. Luckily, after a lot of effort by many, especially by Kelley Stobie of Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare and Sherrie Courtney of Racing For Home, they were able to secure his retirement. Fisher is now at his forever home in Connecticut with my friend Sherrie Courtney.

A horse on my radar needed help as well and fast. This is the story ab0ut how a bunch of people came together to help a horse by Candy Ride named Mintz who also ended up on a boat to Puerto Rico and nearly raced to his death.

I had my eye on Mintz for a long time, and while CTA worked feverishly to raise money to get FTR and nine other thoroughbreds back to the states, I worried about Mintz. He hadn’t raced in two months after he was scratched on January 28th. Horses in Puerto Rico often run every two weeks, and if they can’t, it’s not good for them.

On October 10, 2021, Royal Flag won the Beldame at Belmont. She is by Candy Ride as is Mintz. Mintz raced a few days later finishing third. Even though it was third, there was something about the way he moved that bothered me. I went out to spend time with Dulce, who is also by the great Candy Ride. I looked deep into his eyes, and he buried his head into my heart. It is something he does, a moment that I love, and I thought about Royal Flag and Mintz on such different stages. It was a moment that caused me to walk back into the house and make a commitment to Mintz. I wrote to my friend Chrissy who works with CTA asking if anyone had vouched for him. Nobody had so I filled out the paperwork. He raced three more times in Puerto Rico and vanished.

When FTR was in quarantine awaiting to leave for Miami, I wrote to Kelley about Mintz. The dream haunted me, and my red flag wasn’t just waving; it was in a gale force wind. Two months and still not a race. When he was scratched back in December, Mintz had a bout of colic. I wondered if he did again and was put down.

She wrote back after speaking with the owner saying he still had Mintz. He didn’t state why he wasn’t racing however. Kelley reminded the owner that he had a home when he was ready to retire him. Although, I was relieved to hear that Mintz was alive, my red flag was still up and flying hard. I kept asking silently for the forces that be to help this horse.

The following Friday Kelley wrote asking me to call. This is when I learned about Mintz’s condition. She would be sending me x-rays. FTR was preparing to fly out the next day. Filled with joy and anxiety at the same time for these two horses, I planned on where to put Mintz. I decided he could go by Chaco, and they could be companions for one another. I would loop his corral around, so he could intermingle with the other horses including his half brother Dulce over the fence. They are the same age, and how great would it be for them to be together?

Then the x-rays came, and I received some scary news. He was bad lame. The x-rays looked pretty bad, so I sent them off to several racing vets and my surgeons for their opionion. They were going to put him down that Friday morning, but Kelley stopped them saying that he had a home with me. If I never would have asked Kelley to check on him, he would have been put down.

Mintz was purchased by Centennial Farms for $320,000 at the Keenland September sale as a yearling. He won his second time out, and stayed up in the Northeast for awhile. To be honest with you, I’m not sure Mintz was ever a fan of racing, but that didn’t matter; he had a loyal fan base. There were good races and not so good races. I watched him from afar with a special place in my heart, because I am a huge fan of Candy Ride. Also, I liked Centennial Farms. They seemed like a good organization that truly cared for their horses. He traveled south to Gulfstream where he was put in a claiming race, and that is when he fell into the devil’s hands; the Navarro barn. The Navarro barn claimed Mintz and another horse named Wonder In.

Jorje Navarro was arrested with several others in a big drugging scandal. He bragged about all of the horses that died in his care due to these drugs. All of us horse racing people immediately think about X Y Jet who died from a massive heart attack in his care. The FBI has wire taps where Navarro bragged about drugging X Y Jet, so as I write this, I have no doubt that Mintz was a victim of who knows what kind of drugs that Navarro raced his horses on. They can not be detected by present day tests, and who knows what the long term health effects will be on these horses.

Navarro was sentenced to five years in prison. Here is an article if you wish to read about him.

Mintz raced for Navarro three times. The third time he finished second to last. I wonder if this is when a problem emerged. Maybe he came back slightly lame. Maybe some x-rays were taken, and instead of retiring him as he should have been, Navarro shipped him off to Puerto Rico instead like he did with numerous other horses.

The last time he raced in the states was July 11th, 2020, and the first time he raced at Camarero in Puerto Rico was Christmas Day in 2020. Why was there such a long space between races? The journey to Puerto Rico from Florida is a long and tortuous trip for horses. Mintz, like hundreds and hundreds of other horses, traveled by cargo ship in a metal container with windows cut out of it. The container was forty feet long, had small, wooden dividers, and a fan in one corner. They have some hay and water. He probably traveled with eleven or more horses in it, and none of them had any room to turn around or lie down. The horses usually arrive 50 to 75 pounds lighter due to dehydration and/or pneumonia. Due to the cramped space and inability to move, he may have landed in Puerto Rico with injuries.

For whatever reason, it was six months before his racing career started at Camarero. He raced sixteen times often two weeks apart. We all watched from afar hoping somehow he would make it back to the states. Since he often finished in the top four, that didn’t seem likely. Lately, I saw Mintz struggle. I saw him run well in the beginning but fade. This made that red flag of mine wave harder and harder until I finally found out from Kelley that he was about to be put down.

After a lot of consideration and guilt, I realized that if I brought him here, he would be in worse shape. I live in Colorado by Utah. In between Denver and where I live it is all mountains and valleys filled with steep passes and winding roads littered with hairpin turns on steep grades, which would be hard for a horse in his condition. He has osteoarthritis in his left fetlock, an osselet, and his suspensory is compromised. In the video that was sent to me, I saw a horse in a lot of pain. The further he walked, the more ouchy he appeared, and turning was a challenge for him. His hips don’t track well, which I believe is his way to compensate for the pain in both front ankles, which are huge. Coming to Colorado could be his end. I had to admit coming here first was not a good idea, and the guilt that flooded me was suffocating. I called my friend Sherrie hoping we could figure something out.

This is where Sherrie from Racing for Home enters into the story. As I mentioned, she runs a fantastic OTTB Non Profit having rescued and rehomed many. She is taking in Fish Trappe Road, and she and I wanted to give Mintz a chance. She hatched a plan. She found a person that could foster him where it would be much easier for Mintz to travel to. This sealed the deal for me even though I was riddled with guilt still. Sherrie found the best solution. He can rest and heal, and if it is determined in 6 or more months that he can travel here, we will do that. He now has his soft landing.

Mintz at CTA

Acacia Courtney Clement, who is also on the Racing for Home Board, would be attending the Ocala Sales, so she planned on talking with Centennial Farms to see if they would be interested in helping bring Mintz home. When she spoke with the President, Donald Little, there was no pause, no hesitation….only a yes. Centennial said that they would pay for his flight back and help with vet bills as we rehabilitate Mintz.

I want to underline how amazing this is, and how much I appreciate Centennial from the bottom of my heart. Mintz never made them that much money. They could have easily said no, but instead they are eager to bring him back and give him what he needs. I’ve helped rescue several horses, and there have been times that the owners and/or breeders either never responded or said no to helping out. Centennial Farms didn’t even blink an eye at the cost to fly him home. We will forever be grateful to Centennial for their help. Their participation in this village along with Acacia’s of support for Mintz was crucial, and this needs to be lauded from the highest of mountain tops. Instead of fundraising and trying to get him home, he already has his plane ticket.

Next step was where could he have time to rest before traveling to Connecticut? Clement Stables, who never had anything to do with Mintz, offered to send him a private farm in Ocala, Florida for two weeks. There he will be treated like royalty. He will be able to graze and relax. He will be seen by some of the best vets, and this is when many decisions will be made.

Rescue can be messy, and there is often no black and white. Instead there are all shades of colors that paint a picture that is rarely perfect. So many nights are spent in the barn with the horses to make sure they see the light of the next day. I slept outside with Dulce for three weeks until we got him through the worst of his gut issues. There are so many highs and lows on the journey to wellness, and Mintz will have many of those.

At first we thought we were flying him home to put him to sleep, but after seeing him and his personality, we have hope that we can rehabilitate him. Sherrie is in the perfect location to give him what he needs. Tufts University is an hour and a half a way. She has an excellent vet, and he will be given every opportunity to be the horse that he can be.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from horses is that I can have a goal in my mind as to what I want to achieve with my horse as I walk into the arena. However, there really is no “I”, and often my goals are reimagined as my horse communicates his needs. We may all have a goal to get Mintz pasture sound and live a good life, but along the way he may tell us that he needs something else. If the vets believe that we can’t help him, we will do right by him. All of us came together for him….not because we want anything from him at all….but for him. We want to give him a chance, dignity, and love in whatever shape or form he needs.

As I’m writing this, he is going into quarantine, and on April 1st he will fly to Miami. I have hopes that one day he will find his way here, but I’ve surrendered that idea. Whatever is best for him is all that matters to me. If he does make it here, he will have a run next to Chaco. They will be called the Blister Buddies, since they were both blistered while racing. It will loop around, so he can visit with his brother out of another mother, Dulce. Sueño can teach him how to play, while Harley will help him adjust to and get to know all of the wildlife that moves through with the changing seasons. No matter where he will be he will have a home thanks to Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare, Sherrie Courtney and Acacia Courtney Clement of Racing For Home, Centennial Farms, his Foster, Kinsman Farm, and Clement Stables.

Mintz has a fantabulous village. I have a good feeling. Growing up in racing you always look for a good sign. He went into quarantine on the anniversary of my grandparents’ wedding. He flies home on the 21st anniversary of my first date with my husband.

Mintz is on the right as these three head to quarantine

Mintz is coming home everyone, and he will be in great hands every step of the way.

UPDATE: Mintz will not be able to come here. His leg cannot support the long trip through the mountains. He has arrived at Racing for Home in Connecticut where he will receive the best of care. He already has received an injection into his left fetlock and had an acupuncture treatment, both of which have done him wonders. He gets to go for a hand graze on beautiful grass each day for fifteen minutes. He is loving his new life.

Please consider going to these sites to thank everyone for their efforts in helping Mintz on his healing journey. They need to know how appreciated they are. During a time when all is focused on the negative, they all are doing what we want to see in racing…..caring for the horse….putting the horse first.

You can reach Centennial Farms on Facebook at or on Twitter at . We couldn’t have done this without them. Please thank them a lot.

I also want to thank his foster for providing him a safe spot to land and heal. He will have a lot of vet bills, and we need to raise funds for his boarding. If you would like to donate to his ongoing care, please go to:

Please give a lot of thanks to Kelley, Chrissy, and Shelley at Caribbean Thoroughbred Aftercare. The work they do is beyond any words. To say that they are in the trenches of rescue is an understatement, and they need all the support they can get to keep up the rescue work they do. You can thank them on Twitter at: and on Facebook at, and if you would like to make a much needed donation to bring more thoroughbreds home, please go to

Please give A LOT of thanks to Sherrie Courtney at and Acacia Courtney Clement at . If it weren’t for these two, I don’t know how he would have gotten him to a safe space where he could heal. You can also thank them on Facebook at

Please thank Clement Stables for helping out Mintz by letting him go to Kinsman for two weeks to get some of the best care. You can visit them on Twitter at or

Finally, I would like to thank Kathryn Papp, Elizabeth Yarberry, and my surgeons at Roaring Fork Equine Medical Center for all of their help. I will always be grateful to you.