(A group of riders get ready for their “ride” under the Twin Spires to help benefit “Second Stride” / Photo by Holly M. Smith)
By Holly M. Smith:
On a warm Saturday in July, a few supporters of “Second Stride” got to take a dream ride on their own horses under the famed Twin Spires at Churchill Downs.
Wow. What a moment in time. Right?
What is “Second Stride” and how did they get to do this you make ask?
“Second Stride” is a 501c3 tax-exempt, non-profit organization providing professional rehabilitation, retraining, and placement for retired Thoroughbred racehorses in qualified homes so that they may reach their full potential in a productive second career.
They are based in the Louisville area, and accredited by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance.
And, each year “Second Stride” hosts a pre-Derby party at Molly Malone’s with live and silent auction items. One of the items auctioned off is the opportunity to ride on the track at Churchill Downs and under the famed Twin Spires.
On Saturday, the winners of that auction got to “cash in” with their ride around the Churchill Downs’ oval.
The outriders of Churchill Downs have gained permission for “Second Stride” to auction off the opportunity to take a ride on the track after training hours one morning in the off season.  Outrider Lee Lockwood, along with the other outriders are on hand to supervise, ensure safety, and join in the fun.
Included in this years group was “Second Stride” Board Member Debbie iezzi-Snyder on former “Second Stride” horse, Maxlfi (whose was formerly known under his Jockey Club approved name of Dick’s Gamble).  Debbie and Maxfli have gone up to intermediate level eventing, and they are quite the team.
To find out more about Second Stride visit their website: http://secondstride.org/index.html
If you ever find that you are in need of placing a race horse off the track, make sure to reach out to great organizations like Second Stride.”  Most racetracks will have people in the know of aftercare organizations and willing to help place a horse in their next career.
Editor’s Note:
A big thank you goes out to Churchill Downs, the outriders and the entire group on donating their time and energy to this worthy cause:
Here’s a closer look at the “Second Stride” horses and riders at Churchill Downs.
(Photos by Holly M. Smith)