Equine Encore Foundation

Equine Encore founder Patti Shirley gives treats to a couple of OTTBs at the sanctuary in 2018.

 

Services: Sanctuary

Location: Fredericksburg, VA

Founded: 2005

Website: www.equineencorefoundation.org

Social: none

Average Number of Thoroughbreds: 32


“We’re living a dream,” Dale Shirley told his wife, Patti, during their years of racing and breeding. Unfortunately, Dale died in 2002, leaving Patti Shirley, a noted Southwest-based conditioner, on her own with a 120-acre farm. That’s when the dream changed from bringing out the best of each equine athlete under her care to providing the best for them once their racing careers had come to an end.

In 2005, Equine Encore Foundation (EEF) officially began as she transitioned her Claremont Farm in Tucson from a breeding and training facility into an aftercare facility.

“Racing is a business,” Shirley said, “Here, we’re dealing with living creatures who have given us so much and ask so little in return. We need to step up and take care of our athletes.”

She did so in a big way. Over 100 former racehorses have enjoyed long-term retirement at EEF where the focus is mostly on retirement and sanctuary as many residents suffered injuries that prohibited them from having a second athletic career.

“Those are the ones I really care about,” said Shirley who realized that many people cannot afford to pay for a “pasture pal” anymore. “People have no idea the problem horses encounter when leaving the racetrack, these athletes did their jobs, paid their dues and they deserve a dignified retirement.”

Although Patti unexpectedly passed away in September of 2019, her legacy lives on through Equine Encore now officially renamed the Dale and Patti Shirley Equine Encore Foundation.

Currently 32 retired thoroughbreds call EEF home including 2003 Sapling Stakes winner Dashboard Drummer ($504,346; 61 starts overs 8 years), Del Mar stakes winner Raetodandty ($247,591; 21 starts over 4 years), as well as the two 26-year-old elder statesmen Soaring Games (unraced) and Sharp Looking Dude ($260,746; 75 starts over 9 years).