Those of you who watched last night’s Eclipse Awards heard Jerry Moss read an excerpt from a piece written by Priscilla Clark, president of the Thoroughbred retirement facility Tranquility Farm in California. The prose was from the 2011 Tranquility Farm calendar and is entitled “The Story of Tranquility Farm.”
It is reproduced here in its entirety:
Calm has returned to Tranquility Farm this evening. It is a crisp, clear night and I can still hear some of the retired geldings trotting happily away in the darkness, savoring the mountain air. Walking through the barns and paddocks there is everywhere the familiar comfort of horses munching their evening hay. The phone has finally stopped ringing. The tears have dried. Zenyatta has lost, or so they think.
If you love Thoroughbred horses you go through life hoping that you can see just one more in whose presence the clouds fall away to reveal the mountaintop. It can take a generation or infinitely longer for such a horse to arrive, a horse that is capable of carrying the human heart. For the last one hundred years we know them all by name, but Zenyatta brought to us a beauty that was a tonic for the soul. She allowed us to believe in the impossible, and it was the light of her being as much as the thrill of her races that got us dancing. Zenyatta was transformative.
And what do we take away from this? In the year ahead there will be thousands of young horses who will come away from racing and they will not be legends. Many will be injured, most will be unwanted, and unless we who love the Thoroughbred act in concert for their protection, there will be no storybook ending.
To join together to insure that retiring Thoroughbreds everywhere can have a future could be the final and perhaps the greatest legacy of America’s love affair with Zenyatta. She showed the world without question that Thoroughbreds have great depth of feeling and a true affection for humankind. She proved beyond measure that horses are worthy of our respect. It is impossible not to believe that because of her there are young people all across this country waiting with open arms to bring one of these marvelous creatures into their lives. It is our duty to make that connection.
If we can rise up, and we can rally, and we can be fearless in overcoming the tremendous obstacles to achieving this goal, then we can perhaps be worthy of the marvelous gift that Zenyatta was to all who saw and loved her. We owe it to her, but of course she is a horse, and it was all for free.
— Priscilla Clark