On Tuesday, July 23, 2020, ten retired racehorses from the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF)’s Second Chances herd boarded a Brook Ledge van at the Wallkill Correctional Facility to begin a journey to their new home at Pastures of Point Lookout (PPL) in Chadds Ford, Pa. Each horse has a unique story that led to his retirement with the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, but today they all shared a similar stroke of good fortune thanks to an extraordinary gesture of kindness, love and generosity. After decades spent teaching incarcerated inmates life skills and equine care, the ten horses have begun the final chapter of their long lives in a sanctuary farm created to honor the memory of a beloved wife, muse and horsewoman.
Pastures of Point Lookout (PPL), a 501c3 nonprofit organization founded in early 2020, was created to provide for the lifelong care of 10 horses from the TRF for the remainder of their days. PPL was created by the world-renowned American artist, Mr. Jamie Wyeth, in loving memory of his late wife, Phyllis Mills Wyeth (1940-2019). On the anniversary of her passing Mr. Wyeth turned to longtime friends, Graham and Anita Motion of Herringswell Stables, to help bring this legacy to life.
“To honor my late wife, Phyllis Mills Wyeth and her Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, I am transforming our farm into a retirement sanctuary for racehorses,” Jamie Wyeth explained. “I view Pastures of Point Lookout as a lasting reminder of the contributions to the world of horse racing by Phyllis and her champion, Union Rags.”
Anita Motion will serve as the Executive Director of Pastures of Point Lookout. She will implement the organization’s guidelines and policies for equine care for the aging herd as well as providing oversight and hands-on management for the full-time farm staff who will care for the horses and maintain the 250-acre farm where they reside. Most recently the home of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, the farm used by PPL has been modified to support the “pasture lifestyle” to which the TRF horses have become accustomed over their many years at the TRF Second Chances Program at Wallkill.
“It has been a remarkable experience to participate in the creation of Pastures of Point Lookout and to enable Mr. Wyeth to realize his dream for a legacy in his wife’s honor,” shared Anita Motion. “Watching the horses step off the van on Tuesday and soak in the beauty of their new home was genuinely like experiencing a dream come true.”
Also, on hand to welcome the retirees were PPL board members Lisa Flagg and Katharine Maroney. On a very hot and humid afternoon, Lisa and Katharine were among several volunteers who helped unload and hose off the horses before hand-walking them down to their spacious new pasture.
“When I first received Anita’s call to share this idea in late January of this year, I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. It simply seemed too good to be true,” said Kim Weir, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at the TRF. “In less than six months, and despite all the challenges we have faced around the world in 2020 due to COVID-19, the dream has become a reality. With this bold and generous gesture, Mr. Wyeth has given ten horses the happiest possible final chapter of their lives while saving twenty total – the ten adopted by PPL, and the next ten retired racehorses that the TRF can accept into our herd to take their places over the months ahead.”
The horses will live together, as they did for so many years at Wallkill, in a natural pasture setting. Run-in sheds will provide shelter from the sun and inclement weather, water is available from a nearby stream flowing through the farm, and the two full-time farm managers will manage their hay and grain, to supplement the abundant grass of their 20 acre pasture. All expenses for the operation of the farm along with the feed, farrier and veterinary care required by these horses will be covered by Pastures of Point Lookout according to the TRF’s Adoption Policies.
Learn more about adopting a horse from the TRF at https://www.trfinc.org/adoptretire/.
The ten TRF adoptees have become the “inaugural herd” of Pastures of Point Lookout. Consistent with the TRF’s intake policies, all of these horses are registered Thoroughbreds and all have raced at least once. Six of the horses retired to the TRF when they were no longer able to continue their racing career and were unable to pursue second athletic careers, and four of the horses spent a number of years in adoptive homes, returned to the TRF when they had aged out of their second careers.