by Joy Aten
Stand Pat won his first race at Saratoga in 2007. Just two years old at the time, he was claimed that race from breeder/owner Ralph Evans and trainer Rick Violette. Less than one month later, he finished last – 25 lengths back – in the Futurity Stakes at Belmont where his competition included Kentucky Derby/Belmont Stakes-bound Tale of Ekati. Just 14 months later, Stand Pat’s racing “career” would end in a lowly 10K claiming-race at Aqueduct for owner Sunny Meadow Farm and trainer Mitchell Friedman. He was three. That was November 2008. At the end of 2017, the bay gelding was owned by a kill buyer.
I’m quite certain most of you have seen the “Winner’s Circle” celebration after a race. Think on Stand Pat after his win at Saratoga Race Course – “The highlight of summer in Saratoga is the summer racing meet, featuring world class thoroughbred horse racing. Throngs of people from all over the world gather [here]…” Picture Stand Pat in the “Winner’s Circle” – you can bet he was gorgeous and fit, and those around him were reveling in his victory. Get a good look at him in those moments. A beautiful, young Thoroughbred in a picturesque, historic setting. See it.
Now picture his final hours. Stand Pat laid in a cramped, filthy kill-pen, his body so wracked with pain that he didn’t even rise when other horses urinated and defecated on him. See that. Think on that. Get a good look at him in those moments. And understand that the racing industry put him there.
(Stand Pat was purchased to spare him the horror of slaughter and was humanely euthanized. He was 12.)