08/22/2016 2:48PM

King Congie saved from slaughterhouse

Coady Photography/Keeneland
King Congie was Grade 1-placed, having finished third in the 2011 Blue Grass Stakes.

On Friday night, Rosemary Farm, a horse-rescue operation in the Catskills region of New York, purchased an unknown Thoroughbred with a “strange leg” from a livestock auction where kill buyers were shopping and immediately drove him to Rhineback Equine Hospital for evaluation.

“It’s a mystery how he came to be in need,” Rosemary representatives later wrote on their Facebook page, as the horse’s identity was being determined. “His left leg was so lumpy that we decided to take him right in to be looked at in case he needed immediate intervention. Turns out, we were looking at a [currently existing] surgical implant, a major and expensive repair to his leg where it was broken. A $10,000 surgery that would have saved his life ... who paid for this? ... This gives us hope that aside from being a talented athlete, that this boy was loved.”

It turns out that the farm’s mystery horse, an “impulse save,” was the 8-year-old ridgling King Congie, a winner of 2 of 11 career starts for West Point Thoroughbreds, including a score in the 2011 Tropical Park Derby. He also finished third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes and Grade 3 Saranac Stakes. His effort in the Blue Grass earned him a start in the 2011 Preakness, where he was seventh.

King Congie last raced in April 2012, and following a career-ending injury, West Point provided surgery to assure his quality of life as a retiree. When Rosemary reached out about the horse’s identity, West Point was surprised to find him in such condition, as he had fallen through the cracks after the partnership seemingly secured his retirement.

“He was adopted by a friend of reputable farm owner in Saratoga. So saddened to hear somebody could do this to such a special horse,” West Point posted on its social media outlets.

West Point plans to assume the costs associated with King Congie’s care.

“We’re adopting him, and he’ll be picked up in a few days. He’ll have a great life,” West Point said.

King Congie was named for former West Point employee Congie DeVito, who died in February 2011, shortly after his namesake’s win in the Tropical Park Derby, of complications from osteogenesis imperfecta. He was 35.

In his honor, West Point, a longtime leader in Thoroughbred aftercare, established the Congie Black and Gold Fund to provide for the rehoming, retraining, shipping, and daily care of former West Point runners. Beginning in 2012, financials for each new partnership formed by West Point included a $1,000 donation to the fund; $10 per start per horse is drawn from the partnership to be placed into a fund for that horse’s future, with West Point matching the amount.

Former West Point runners in second careers include stakes winner Rock Me Baby, who is training for the 2016 Thoroughbred Makeover. Commanding Curve, the runner-up in the 2014 Kentucky Derby, joined Olympic event rider Phil Dutton’s barn in May to train for a new career.

Mark More than 1 year ago
Come on GET IT TOGETHER!! we are way to visible to the public and accountable for our actions in this sport. There should Never be a horse sent to slaughter PERIOD. There should be MANDATORY FUNDS set up to take care of horses and jockeys PERIOD. We will NEVER be a accepted by the public as anything but cruel unless we eradicate anything seen as grotesque and inhumane. There is HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS of dollars paid in purses annually. NO EXCUSE BUT GREED they are scent to DIE and JOCKEYS are left crippled and destitute. 
Larry Benjamin More than 1 year ago
I have seen Westpoint Thoroughbredowners in action and this only strengthens my idea that they are a topflight outfit. If I were ever to own a race horse I would contact them first.!!  
rennhack More than 1 year ago
Money is the root of all evil.Set aside a percentage of every purse for horse and jockey retirement.
While were at it set aside a percentage of what we spend for our vetrans.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Let me correct you....The LOVE of money is the root of all evil.  Nothing evil about money itself 
Patience Miller More than 1 year ago
A friend corrects me when I say that money is the root of all evil...she says it is the LOVE of money.  And I agree.  Money by itself is nothing, it is just a thing, it is when humans become greedy and selfish about money.
They actually have a program to set aside money which is a start.
Suzanne Bonilla More than 1 year ago
I think Joann Lawyer needs to get her story straight.
Christine Koelsch More than 1 year ago
My previous comment was meant as a reply to that Joann Lawyer 
Christine Koelsch More than 1 year ago
I agree with all the comments about YOU!    you are a very confused and saddened person.   Trying to make yourself look good and the "good" ones look bad because you made a huge mistake.  You NEVER cared about this horse's life you just wanted to be rid of him.  God put RF Sanctuary there for a reason and they out of the blue pick this horse...so don't blame them you are not winning this one my dear. Go get help now or maybe you should be investigated for cruelty to animals as this poor boy was so underweight  Best to just go quietly now and leave this alone.
william More than 1 year ago
In Hong Kong, owners must put up 50k for any horce racing in HK to insure that the horses have their retirement bought and paid for.  With these juiced up purses at NYRA, they could afford to put aside a measly 1% for these gallant horses' retirement.  
Nay Rod More than 1 year ago
How many other Congie like horse's are out there that don't get saved. Owners are the worst and many are as crooked as the trainers. Thank you West Point for stepping in!
SharieTweets More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful story of hope for a racehorse who can't race anymore!  THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART for what you are doing for this particular race horse and all racehorses.  God bless you with overflowing funding!
Richard Glassman More than 1 year ago
Everyone in horsracing including jockeys, trainers and owners should all contribute money out of every purse for the retirement of racehorses. People think that it's the owner's responsibilty solely but others also need to help because without racehorses  there wouldn't be a sport . Not all owners are rich and a jockeys and trainers also are responsible to save horses if they really care about them.