King of the Hill
Leigh Gray, founder of the non-profit Thoroughbred Rehab Center Inc., specializes in finding good homes for retired racehorses, and she has found a piece of heaven for Darley Stable's former colt King Augustus near Portland, Oregon in the foothills of Mt. Hood.
Darley's A.P. Indy homebred is now learning to be a trail horse for his new owner after racing three times. The 4-year-old gelding shares a pasture with a son of Seattle Slew and a son of Raja Baba, both in their twenties. The elder horses not only enjoy frolicking with the younger newcomer, but they are helping to school him in trail etiquette and introducing him to new feline friends.
Gray is a veterinary technician and an accomplished horsewoman who was awarded the first annual White Horse Award in 2003 for her humanitarian work with her racehorse rescue operation and for her courageous act of stopping the runaway patrol judges' horse-drawn carriage on the track at Santa Anita, avoiding a catastrophic collision with a starting gate full of horses.
Gray has arranged for pro-bono surgeries for hundreds of seriously injured racehorses, many of whom would otherwise have been destroyed. After nursing them through recoveries, she finds appropriate homes for them. Her foundation uses the Winner's Circle Ranch in Bradbury, California for its operations. Owned by Dr. Don Shields, Winner's Circle houses lay-ups, ponies, and show horses, as well as allowing the Thoroughbred Rehab Center space for its charity operation. Dr. Shields donates much of his time and effort to the foundation as well.
Leigh Gray may be reached at:
Winnerís Circle Ranch
150 Sawpit Lane
Bradbury, CA 91010