Earlier this year when 46 Thoroughbreds from a California breeder’s farm wound up by deception at a feedlot in Arizona, their eventual destination likely to be a Mexican slaughterhouse, Priscilla Clark of Tranquility Farm in Tehachapi, Calif., stepped in. Working with a nationwide network of friends and supporters who helped raise awareness of the horses’ plight and, more importantly, the funds to buy them, Clark saved the Thoroughbreds from likely slaughter and within weeks found adoptive homes for nearly all of them.
Without Tranquility Farm, those horses would almost certainly have gone through a terrible ordeal ending with an undignified death, and in so doing tainting the Thoroughbred industry as one that discards its equine participants with little regard for their welfare.
Since 1998, the mission of Tranquility Farm, a 501(c)3 organization, has been to take in Thoroughbreds retired from racing or breeding and to either find them new homes, after rehabilitation and retraining, or give them a comfortable retirement whenever possible. The operation is based at the Harry A. Biszantz Memorial Center, developed on an abandoned horse farm located 120 miles north of Los Angeles. The center was made possible through the generosity of Thoroughbred owner and breeder Gary Biszantz, the former golf club manufacturer and owner of Cobra Farm whose dream was to create a horse sanctuary in honor of his late father. After Biszantz purchased the property, donations came in from a variety of sources throughout the industry to help build new barns, fencing and training facilities.
The current horse population at Tranquility numbers about 100 and includes millionaires, stakes performers and many fan favorites. Because it cannot accommodate every retired racehorse, the farm prioritizes its adoptees by their racing or breeding accomplishments. Owners are requested but not required to contribute sponsorship funds to defray costs, which exceed $250,000 on an annual basis.
Clark, who has bred and raced Thoroughbreds for many years, serves as Tranquility Farm’s president. She is supported by a board of directors of knowledgeable and influential California racing industry participants.
Click here to find the different ways you can support Tranquility Farm, though one of its most popular fund-raising efforts is its annual calendar. The 2009 calendar, “In the Presence of Champions,” includes such stars as Big Brown, Zenyatta, War Chant, Nashoba’s Key, Lethal Heat, Street Boss, Golden Doc A and Colonel John.