Summit Racing LLC was only fortunate enough to own Spot the Diplomat for the final two races of his 41-race career. A career that saw him win seven races, including a stakes race as a 2-year-old, while earning more than $342,000 over five seasons.

After winning a Cal-bred allowance race at Santa Anita first time off the claim in early March, the 6-year-old gelding came back a month later and ran a terrific third against similar, earning a 91 Beyer speed rating–his best figure in nearly two years. We were riding high, having earned back our $20,000 investment in two races, and owners of a horse who clearly was in top form.

However, three weeks later the bad news came. He had fractured a sesamoid bone in a workout at Hollywood Park and would have to be retired.

After letting him rehabilitate at a farm in Murietta, we were able to find him a home with the Hays family, who would be relocating from California to Texas in August.

Grant Hays and his wife Greta are not your typical “horse people”. Grant was working as a producer at a radio station; Greta, in the fine dining business and a mother of two young boys, Jack, age 5, and Dylan, 2. But as the parents of two severely autistic children, they were moving to Texas so their young boys could be around horses, which are known to have a tremendously therapeutic effect on autistic kids.

“Spot” is enjoying his retirement in a large, shaded paddock and the Hays family is thriving. “Our family is so happy to be adopting Spot. All of us feel the good energy,” said Grant. “Being around these horses has changed my perspective on life. He is an angel around the kids. Worst he ever does is being too friendly and social!”

Trainer Jeff Mullins put it best. “He is one of the coolest horses I’ve ever trained, and he deserves a good home. Hopefully he can make a difference in these little kid’s lives. Thank you all for giving him a great life.”

And a special thank you to our partners Neil Haymes, Jeremy Peskoff and Selman Shaby, who continued paying bills after Spot’s racing career was over while we waited to find him that good home, one this old warrior richly deserved.


5 Responses to “Spot the Diplomat: Making a Difference–by Bob Ike”

  1. KAY on November 17th, 2010 5:58 pm

    Stories like these warm my heart. The retired racehorse deserves a long life after the last race, and whether the horse becomes a riding companion or a pasture ornament–or anything in between–there is value to every one of these horses and a special place in Heaven for those who rescue them and see that they are cared for.

  2. Grant Hays on November 18th, 2010 5:46 pm

    Spot Hays has become a part of our family. He is gentle and kind to our children. Someone in a blog dedicated to my son Jack pointed out that many of the traits in thoroughbreds are similar to autistic children. This is very true and has been overlooked. Both are overly sensitive to their environment yet when together become completely at peace and calm. Thanks Bob Ike for making this possible we love Spot very much. GH

  3. Patricia Bewley on November 18th, 2010 8:29 pm

    Heartwarming yes, however why do the people who do all the good with the horses aways look for a ” good home” like why can’t people in this industry take care of their own? Rescues are the main ways ,horses who are saved from horrible slaughter ever get a second chance. What is wrong with that picture? Why can’t this industry stand up and provide the necessary fundng for retirement of racehorses, period. ?

  4. Tracy on November 19th, 2010 11:03 am

    I watched Spot run, he was fun to watch. I am very impressed his people took care of him and found him a good home. They didn’t send him to the fair to run lame for $3,200 like some other people did with another nice horse that earned over 500k and was 4 th in last years Breeders Cup Turf Sprint.

    We need these owners, fortunately the other horse was rescued before he ran, he will have a good retirement and is getting sound. Thank you owners and thanks to the Hays family for giving Spot a good home.

  5. luuk & berg on November 20th, 2010 7:39 pm

    we walked and played with SPOT THE DIPLOMAT today and he is the nicest amazingly friendly & calm horse, certainly not a pasture ornament, but more a great companion and therapeutic horse for the kids.

    thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to have spot here in texas.

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