Near the end of January, a friend, Nicole, found two Thoroughbreds at an auction near Houston. They were able to bid and save the gelding, but the little mare slipped through. Her name was Zibeth. While they were loading, the saw her being pushed through the cattle chutes and into a stock trailer. She was very frightened and definitely had a reason to be. Nicole asked where she was going and she was told to a feedlot in Carthage, Texas. A “feedlot” is actually a kill pen and once there, her future would definitely be uncertain. Kill pens are miserable places where disease runs rampant and the animals don’t really receive the best of care. Fortunately, Nicole in conjunction with Thoroughbred Athletes, a rescue in Guthrie, Oklahoma, was able to raise the funds to get her safe. Next was getting her a ride out of the kill pen and on her way to Oklahoma. I stepped up and offered her a place to stay until a trailer could be arranged from our barn to Guthrie. Another lady, Stacy, stepped forward to get her a freedom ride out of the kill pen and to Lake Fork Stables.
It was cold and drizzly when Stacy arrived with her. We unloaded her in the parking lot of the cabins because it was too wet down by the barn. It had been raining for days and the mud was thick. As I walked up through the pasture, she stood patiently by the trailer with Stacy. She was a little nervous, for which she had every right to be, this was yet another ride to another unknown place. New sounds, new sights, new smells. I took her from Stacy and she walked with a nervous quite down to the barn. It’s a pretty good walk through the pasture. It can be exciting for a new horse as Path and the others came over to the hotwire fence to greet her. Path is always excited when somebody new arrives.
We got to the barn and I put her in a clean and freshly bedded stall. Unfortunately, the only blankets they had for sale at Tractor Supply were hunter orange and camo! But she stood quietly as I put it on her. I apologized to her for the horribly ugly blanket. She still had her racing shoes and she had short hair. She had obviously been very well taken care of and her Coggin’s papers had her owner’s name on them. The one who sent her to the sale in the first place. Apparently, he’s known for doing that.
Zibeth and I just clicked. She was so sweet. The next day we actually had some sun, so I turned her out in the round pen and she just put her head in my arms. She was so grateful. She knew she was safe and loved. It was so difficult to put her in a stall that night knowing that the hauler would be there in the middle of the night to get her and she would be gone in the morning. I told Lynn at Thoroughbred Athletes that I was definitely interested in her when she became available for adoption.
I patiently waited as the months past and heard that Zibeth had gotten sick. It was most likely some crud she picked up from the kill pen. In the meantime, I had also helped Nicole save Tilodi. We unfortunately had to put her down as she had been far too neglected and was very ill from being in the kill pen in Kansas.
On May 2nd, Thoroughbred Athletes shared a video of Zibeth under saddle, describing her as the “sassiest filly they’ve ever had.” Those words made me a little nervous, so I didn’t jump on the opportunity to adopt her right away. Then she had professional pictures taken of her and she was breathtakingly gorgeous, which made my heart twinge with desire. I was just a little worried that she was a bit too much horse for what we need.
Fast forward a few weeks later and Lynn asked if I wanted her. She said she had several people interested in her, but she didn’t feel comfortable sending her off to just anyone. She said she’s a sensitive soul and she really needs to trust her person. Lynn made it clear that if things didn’t work out, she’d be more than happy to take her back. Of course, I said yes! Zibeth arrived on May 31st at 10:30 at night.
It did not take her very long to remember where she was and to settle in. She was a bit different than when she first arrived in January, but she’d had a lot of change over the past few months. She is very vocal and has a lot to say. She greets everybody and she loves her food!
We have been working slowly and the connection we had when we first met in January is back. She is still so sweet. I’ve not seen much sassiness out of her at all even though she is energetic. She’s still young as a 4-year-old and still growing. We’re having some challenges finding tack that fits, as well as fly sheets that won’t rub. She finally found a buddy that she gets along with in Otis, although I think he just puts up with her more than anything.
What Else Do We Know About Zibeth?
One of the things that make Thoroughbreds unique (and also great) is the fact that so much of their life is often documented, particularly if they raced. With Zibeth, we know she was born in Texas on May 24th, 2016. Her sire is Sunday Sunrise, who is by Lemon Drop Kid. Lemon Drop Kid won the 1999 Belmont Stakes. That year Charismatic was fighting for the Triple Crown win, but lost it to Lemon Drop Kid and finished third.
Sunday Sunrise didn’t have any wins nearly as exciting as his sire or his dam’s sire for that matter. His dam’s sire is Sunday Silence. Sunday Silence was another horse trying to win the Triple Crown, but only came away with the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in 1989. However, Sunday Sunrise, only ran his best at in the allowance races and lower black-type stakes races. His one stakes win was the Veterans Stakes at Zia Park.
Zibeth’s dam is Myakkahatchee. Say that one one time fast! Born in Kentucky, she ran six times but never placed better than fifth. And her sire is Bob and John. Bob and John was a multiple graded stakes winner trained by Bob Baffert. He won the Sham Stakes (G3), Wood Memorial (G1), and the Lone Star Park Handicap (G3). He placed 17th in the Kentucky Derby and eighth in the Belmont, skipping the Preakness. He obviously ran his best in lower company. But was well bred and a son of Seeking the Gold.
To me, the pedigree is pretty telling. Her mother never won a race and her sire ran best at the lower levels, so you wouldn’t expect a Kentucky Derby winner out of a horse with Zibeth’s parents. We know that Zibeth raced one time on October 12, 2019 at Delta Downs. Delta Downs is located in Vinton, Louisiana. It was a race for maiden fillies and mares, three years old and up. She placed last out of 8th. She broke from post three at odds of 27-1. In fact, she never got out of 8th. She was never a factor, always outrun.
The rest is a bit of a mystery. She still had racing plates on when she arrived in January, so she must have had workouts and was in training. But unfortunately, I can’t find any record of her workouts anywhere. She must have not showed enough promise to continue trying to race her. One thing is for certain, however, is that there are plenty of ways that a trainer and an owner can responsibly find a new for a Thoroughbred. There are organizations all over Louisiana and Texas (not to mention nationwide) that would have helped to rehome her rather than just sending her to an auction. Everyone knows where the majority of those horses end up.
I don’t believe in the kill pen scam. It is a scam, believe me. They buy the horses for cheap prices and then they post them online and try to pull at heartstrings to get them “saved.” Sometimes they network with each other and a horse will be posted on multiple kill pen pages and they try to rally people to fundraise for them. But, while I don’t condone buying a horse from a kill pen, I also don’t believe that a young and promising horse or an older, proven broodmare (like Tilodi) deserves that kind of ending to their lives. Part of my mission at Lake Fork Stables is to provide them with a safe home where they can live a happy and healthy life and with a purpose. Zibeth has a safe home and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.