Little Red Feather Shows That Ownership Is More Than Just Racing: Charity Spotlight Presented By Avion Law - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Little Red Feather Shows That Ownership Is More Than Just Racing: Charity Spotlight Presented By Avion Law

The Hunted, who raced for a partnership that included Little Red Feather, in his new career as a top eventer

Fractional ownership groups have been touted as the future of racehorse ownership for the industry, as a way to introduce the sport to more people. So, what better way to use that introduction for another introduction into the world of aftercare?

Enter Little Red Feather Racing and their program Little Red Feather Cares. Named after a fictitious character in bedtime stories read to Billy Koch, Little Red Feather's founder and managing partner, the growing partnership group is celebrating its 20th year as active racehorse owners. Considering the fictitious character is known for developing a sense of empathy and trust, it's rather appropriate that the group has since developed its own sense of empathy with the start of its retirement program.

Little Red Feather Cares was started as a way for the partnership group to care for the horses it owned after a partnership ended. Being cognizant of differing opinions regarding aftercare or charities, Managing partner Gary Fenton says that the registered nonprofit program allows current LRF partners to donate if they want to, or do with their charitable efforts as they see fit.

“This is a way for our partners that want to provide for the aftercare of their horses can,” says Fenton. “However, if there are some that don't want to, we don't judge. We don't force our partners to spend more than they have already committed to. We'll explain to all partners that it will cost a couple thousand to send a partnership horse onto his retirement home and new career, and the partners all love it because Little Red Feather Cares picks up the tab, not them.”

With more than 300 owners and 100 currently active racehorses, it might seem like a lot for the group to juggle, but LRFC enlists the help of CARMA to help move the retired racehorses to the next step off the track.

“If you don't have organizations like CARMA who can step up and help you, and the horse, then where do you go?” asks Fenton. “That's why our organization not only supports our retired racehorses, but we also donate and support other nonprofits doing the same good work, such as CARMA. We support other aftercare programs. We support the industry.”

The nonprofit has come a long way in the five years since it was started. Funded mostly by partner donations and fundraisers held at Del Mar, LRFC works with groups such as CARMA, Del Mar and TVG with handicapping contests, etc. “Horseplayers love to play and support aftercare,” says Fenton.

One of the biggest success stories of LRFC is McLovin. The 17-year-old son of Hussonet and the Buckfinder mare Classic Contender retired with 19 starts, five wins and one second and a total lifetime earnings of $75,638. He has since captured the hearts of many eventing fans, finishing in the 2016 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event. In fact, one of McLovin's former LRF owners bought into the syndication campaigning him now, so that owner is now enjoying following his second career.

Another unique story showcasing the dedication Little Red Feather has for the racehorse is the story of Tooreen Dancer (IRE). The partnership group came together and funded the care of the Ireland-bred mare who was stuck in quarantine due to a false positive Glanders test at the height of her racing career.

“Our partners just couldn't be more supportive of our group working and spending the money on legal fees and lawyers to save a horse's life,” says Fenton. “Not only did we save her life and got her out of quarantine, but we also changed the protocol for Glanders tests, allowing for second and third testing for imported horses in case of a false-positive.”

Tooreen Dancer raced under the LRFR silks and then retired to be a successful broodmare.

It is the goal of Fenton, Koch and all of Little Red Feather Racing to provide for every one of their horses, current or former.

“Aftercare is the responsibility of all owners,” says Fenton. “As the chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, I certainly keep that stance, but we also respect everyone's right to make charitable donations in any fashion as they wish. We're here to help the horses in our partnership and we're fortunate that so many partners want to step up and do so as well.”

To learn more about Little Red Feather Cares, you can visit their website:

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