I love seeing good rescue stories and this one is outstanding!
He may never run for the Kentucky Derby roses, but Illinois race horse Magna Fortuna and his owners are celebrating a victory none-the-less — his survival. The three-year-old gelding’s name means ‘great luck’, and he was a long shot when he won a recent race at Hawthorne Race Course outside Chicago – one of the biggest race tracks in America. His mother Lulu was purchased for $300 at an Indiana slaughter auction by Gail Vacca, founder and president of the Illinois Equine Rescue Center.
Vacca found out later that Lulu was pregnant when purchased. When the foal was born he was first named Taxi – that was until Vacca traced his lineage back to an impressive sire — a $2.58 million career stakes winner called Magna Graduate. Speaking about the race, Vacca said the horse – who was the number six spot in the seven horse race – led the entire way. ‘He was out for a joyride,’ she said afterwards. ‘He didn’t even look back.’ Magna Fortuna’s ‘biography’ explains the moment Vacca rescued the horse’s mother Silver Option from slaughter: ‘Ms Vacca was at the auction looking for any thoroughbreds that may have come from the tracks in Illinois when she spotted a smallish bay mare that was in obvious discomfort from being severely lame in both front feet. ‘Unfortunately the mare was already in a “kill pen” just waiting to be loaded onto a trailer for the grueling ride to slaughter in Canada.’ After being taken back to Illinois, Silver Option soon gave birth to Magna Fortuna, who was originally named Taxi until his routes were traced back to his race-winning father. It was then that Vacca decided he would be trained to race. Since the victory, offers have flooded in to buy the horse but so far they have been rejected.