CHADDS FORD, PA.--Phyllis Wyeth loved horses all her life, and her greatest accomplishment in her race horse operation was breeding and racing Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags.
To honor her memory, her husband Jamie has donated the farm where she based her breeding and racing to the Thoroughbred Retirement Fund to house retired racehorses.
The first 10 have already arrived at the facility, known as Pastures of Point Lookout.
“To honor my late wife, Phyllis Mills Wyeth and her Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags, I am transforming our farm into a retirement sanctuary for racehorses,” Jamie Wyeth explained. “I view Pastures of Point Lookout as a lasting reminder of the contributions to the world of horse racing by Phyllis and her champion, Union Rags.”
After spending many years helping to teach incarcerated inmates life skills and equine care, a group of 10 retired Thoroughbreds were vanned to Pasture of Point Lookout, the sanctuary farm founded by world-renowned artist Jamie Wyeth in memory of his late wife Phyllis.
On the anniversary of her passing, Mr. Wyeth turned to longtime friends, Graham and Anita Motion of Herringswell Stables.
ANITA MOTION will serve Pastures of Point Lookout as its executive director.
She will implement the organization’s guidelines and policies for equine care for the aging herd as well as providing oversight and hands-on management for the full-time farm staff who will care for the horses and maintain the 250-acre farm where they reside.
The farm has been modified to support the “pasture lifestyle” to which the TRF horses have become accustomed over their many years at the TRF Second Chances Program at Wallkill.
“It has been a remarkable experience to participate in the creation of Pastures of Point Lookout and to enable Mr. Wyeth to realize his dream for a legacy in his wife’s honor,” said Anita Motion. “Watching the horses step off the van on Tuesday and soak in the beauty of their new home was genuinely like experiencing a dream come true.”
The horses will live together, as they did for so many years at Wallkill, in a natural pasture setting.
Run-in sheds will provide shelter from the sun and inclement weather, water is available from a nearby stream flowing through the farm, and the two full-time farm managers will manage their hay and grain, to supplement the abundant grass of their 20 acre pasture.
All expenses for the operation of the farm along with the feed, farrier and veterinary care required by these horses will be covered by Pastures of Point Lookout according to the TRF’s Adoption Policies.
“When I first received Anita’s call to share this idea in late January of this year, I could scarcely believe what I was hearing. It simply seemed too good to be true,” said Kim Weir, Director of Major Gifts and Planned Giving at the TRF. “In less than six months, and despite all the challenges we have faced around the world in 2020 due to COVID-19, the dream has become a reality. With this bold and generous gesture, Mr. Wyeth has given 10 horses the happiest possible final chapter of their lives while saving twenty total – the ten adopted by PPL, and the next ten retired racehorses that the TRF can accept into our herd to take their places over the months ahead.”
Also, on hand to welcome the retirees were PPL board members Lisa Flagg and Katharine Maroney.
On a very hot and humid afternoon, Lisa and Katharine were among several volunteers who helped unload and hose off the horses before hand-walking them down to their spacious new pasture.
The 10 TRF adoptees have become the “inaugural herd” of Pastures of Point Lookout.
Consistent with the TRF’s intake policies, all of these horses are registered Thoroughbreds and all have raced at least once.
Six of the horses retired to the TRF when they were no longer able to continue their racing career and were unable to pursue second athletic careers, and four of the horses spent a number of years in adoptive homes, returned to the TRF when they had aged out of their second careers.
Learn more about adopting a horse from the TRF at https://www.trfinc.org/adoptretire/.