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Ex-Race Horses May Get Second Life

Aired 8/22/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Maureen Cavanaugh


Dawn Mellen, President, After the Finish Line

Karen Groebli, Tijuana River Valley Rescue


The thrills of the Del Mar racing season are in watching the sleek thoroughbreds pound at full speed around the track.

But what happens to them when they are too old or their injuries become too serious to compete? Top race horses may be valued in the millions, but eventually their value diminishes while the cost of their upkeep remains high. Retired race horses often are neglected or even slaughtered.

A local non-profit, After the Finish Line, was founded in 2007 by Rancho Santa Fe resident Dawn Mellen. Dedicated to finding new homes for race horses when their careers are over, the all-volunteer organization has awarded more than $100,000 to 65 rescue groups to transition nearly 300 horses. In just the first five months of 2013, the group gave nearly $60,000 in grants to some 30 organizations to care for aging and injured horses.

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