ARCADIA, Calif., Nov. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Just weeks after the Breeder's Cup in Arcadia, CA, the American Association of Equine Sports Preservation (AAESP) continues to collect signatures for a petition to preserve the iconic Hollywood Park race track in California, while ramping up for an exciting 2014 horse racing season, which includes exhibits at the Dubai International Arabian Horse Championship and Fair (DIAHC) on March 20-22, 2014, and the world's richest race ($10 million prize money), the Dubai World Cup (DWC) on March 29, 2014, it was announced. Nominations for the DWC open in January, with invitations to be sent out in early March 2014.
The AAESP is asking horse lovers, members of the race-going public, and horse industry insiders to sign the petition. In addition, the association will have a major presence at the final Hollywood Park Meet and at The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Convention in Nashville, TN December 7 –11, 2013.
AAESP, founded by Allison Booth earlier this year, made a big splash at the Breeder's Cup World Championships in early November, gathering signatures from famed trainers, jockeys, and owners in a major petition drive to save Hollywood Park and the beautiful rare flamingos that reside at the park. During its racing heyday, Hollywood Park played host to some of the nation's greatest horses: Seabiscuit, Citation and Seattle Slew. It is the oldest and widest turf track course in the country.
Booth said one of her first signatures came from Chantal Sutherland, a glamorous model, television personality, and one of the few female jockeys to achieve success in the horse racing industry. Booth also received celebrity endorsements from Hall Of Fame trainers Jack Van Berg and Bill Mott, and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, as well as several testimonials.
Booth said her goal is to build on the success she achieved at the Breeder's Cup and have 10,000 signatures to present to the National Trust for Historic Preservation by March 2, 2014. To sign the petition, go to: http://bit.ly/SaveHollywoodPark.
Booth said the AAEP convention this December is "yet another source of signatures for the petition." Guests will include veterinarians, AAEP officers, board members and honorees, horse owners, exhibitors, education partners and friends of the AAEP Foundation.
Booth also hopes to meet with Governor Jerry Brown (CA) to inform him of the petition drive and the many productive uses of the track, particularly for wounded warriors and retired racehorses. Booth added, "The general consensus is that Hollywood Park is a much kinder track to train on for horses – yet another reason in favor of its preservation." Last week, Booth also supported a team to discuss her projects at a major conference in Arizona that brought together governors and representatives from over 25 states.
In 2007, Booth was a part of a campaign to save Hialeah Park Race Track in Florida, the oldest track in the U.S., which has the only fertile flock of flamingos in the U.S. Hialeah is now one of America's 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, according to the National Trust.
At the Breeder's Cup, Booth was invited to join the winner's circle with fellow Irishman and horse trainer, Aidan O'Brien. O'Brien's Coolmore colt, Magician, beat out favorite, The Fugue, to win the Breeder's Cup Turf. O'Brien is a four-time winner of the race. Booth was also invited to walk up with seven horses with John Sica, a hands-on assistant to Hall of Fame Trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Sica owns Sica Equine Transportation and has being shipping horses for 12 years for Lukas. "It was both exciting to think we won, and disappointing to see the photo finish that put Mucho Macho Man in front by a whisker. In one more jump, Will Take Charge would have had him beat. The crowds went wild for Will Take Charge, a champion three-year-old, who was facing older horses for the first time. He ran a huge race," said Lukas.
Booth said, "It was an amazing experience to meet up with friends from all over the world and to be a guest in the Winner's Circle with the great Aidan O'Brien and his team." Booth said she was bursting with pride and knew Magician took the entire country of Ireland on a ride past the finish line. "It was a great day for the Irish and a tremendous moment which I hope to relive at the Dubai World Cup next year."
Booth is also planning to attend the DIAHC on March 20-22, 2014. The competition displays the beauty, agility and heritage of purebred Arabians and is the biggest horse fair in the region. It attracts over 200 exhibitors and visitors from over 50 countries.
On a parallel track, Booth – whose own career in horse racing spans four continents – said she is proud of the female trainers that made racing history with victories in California and Australia earlier this month. Horse trainer Kathy Ritvo became the first female to ever win the Breeder's Cup Classic with her horse, Mucho Macho Man. The Classic is the biggest and the richest race at the Breeder's Cup.
On the other side of the world, Gai Waterhouse made history as the first female trainer to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup with Irish-bred Fiorente before 100,000 fans. Waterhorse and her horse both benefitted from the training expertise of famed horse whisperer, Monty Roberts, who has been Booth's mentor for many years. Roberts is the creator of the world-renowned and revolutionary equine training technique called Join-Up®, which is a set of training principles that uses the horse's inherent methods of communication and herd behavior rather than force and violence.
In a letter to Roberts, Waterhouse said, "The expertise you've passed on to Caroline (the certified trainer), has worked wonders. The intuition you shared with Ryan (jockey) and my barrier attendants has been invaluable… [The] win in the Melbourne Cup was a result of a year working together as a team; getting the talented yet bullish Fiorente to accept a more user-friendly approach to training and racing. [Thank you] for all the time and energy you gave me to help make this Cup win happen." To learn more about Roberts and his Join Up program, visit: www.montyroberts.com.
Said Booth, "Monty and his wife, Pat Roberts, have been major influences in my life. It's great to know that Monty is still making a world of difference in the lives of humans and horses across the world."
Added Booth: "The feats by Gai Waterhouse, Kathy Ritvo, and other women, are tremendous and show the major gains women are making in one of the toughest industries in the world. Not only is horse racing physically demanding, but it is also a traditionally male sport. I'm excited for what women achieved in 2013 and can't wait to see what they'll do next year."
Booth is herself hoping to again make history among the horse racing set. She recently founded her organization, AAESP, to support the equine industry, give horses a new job after they retire from the track, and protect historic race tracks and the flamingos that live on those tracks. The organization also showcases equine-assisted programs that help children with autism, military veterans, and other victims of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Booth is also raising awareness for breast cancer on her website in conjunction with her campaign to save The Breeder's Flock flamingos. "Our flamingos wear pink and support Susan G. Komen," states the website.
Noting how old racetracks can be new stomping grounds for retired racehorses, Booth pointed to the Retired Racehorse Training Project (RRTP), which recently hosted a Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico Race Track with special guest, Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown. RRTP's mission is to facilitate the placement of retired Thoroughbred racehorses in second careers. In addition, October 5, 2013 was declared Retired Racehorse Training Day in Maryland.
The mission of AAESP is to protect the historical, cultural and economic value of equestrian sports, and related industries, throughout the world in recognition of the innumerable contributions of horses to mankind over centuries. Learn more at aaesp.org.