TUCSON, Arizona — Former thoroughbred racehorse Sing a Prayer lets out a morning yawn at Desert Oasis Rescue, a non-profit sanctuary for him, and other race horses, in northwest Tucson managed by Cass Dewey.
"I've always had a passion for horses," said Dewey.
Sing a Prayer used to race at venues such as Rillito Race Track until he took a bad step and severely damaged his ankle. The injury was career ending. The horse then became Rillito Race Track's first recipient of its Wellness Program two years ago.
"He came here the next day," added Dewey. "He stood in a stall for four months. We gradually put him in a bigger area."
Sing a Prayer's story isn't too much different from other horses, and animals at Desert Oasis Rescue, which spans four acres.
One horse is a descendant of 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. Race horses, just like human athletes, have to find their way after their competing days are over.
Sing a Prayer is known as a sanctuary horse, which means even though he isn't in any pain, he's too critically injured to go anywhere else. But, the goal for most of these horses is to be repurposed, and to go elsewhere.
"We want to get them physically and mentally healthy, and find them the proper home."
The rehabilitated horses become show horses, trail horses, and companion horses.
"I love it. I wouldn't do anything else or be anywhere else."
You can donate to this non-profit at dorescue.org.
Jason Barr is a sports anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Jason's stories have won KGUN four prestigious regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for sports reporting. He has also won two Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards for sports reporting. Share your story ideas with Jason by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.