Cross-posted from Philly.com Sports
Written by NATALIE POMPILIO
The horse was scrawny and matted and so sick, he could stand for only minutes at a time.
When Arizona animal-control officers found the thoroughbred wandering the desert last December, they considered immediately euthanizing the animal.
But someone suggested they bring the horse to Judy Glore at the Heart of Tucson, an equine rescue center. She sat with the dying horse.
“He had more fight in his eyes than any other horse I’d seen in my life,” she says.
She soon learned why: He came from a family of fighters. The tattoo on the horse’s inner lip revealed he was Dyna King, son of Dynaformer, who also sired Barbaro.
And then Glore knew where she could go for help to pay for the horse’s expensive care.
Since Barbaro’s death in 2007, an informal network of supporters known as the Fans of Barbaro has, by rough estimates, saved thousands of horses and donated more than $1 million to their care.
“They’ve been very, very generous. Actually, to call them generous is an understatement,” says Dr. Dean Richardson, the center’s chief of surgery and Barbaro’s veterinarian. “They want something good to come out of a very bad outcome.”
In his younger days, Dyna King ran 56 races and had been nominated to run in the Kentucky Derby in 2000, Glore says. His last race was at Tucson’s Rillito Racetrack in 2007. He was 10 years old.
“At one time, he had grooms and good care and was just treated like a prince,” Glore says.
After Dyna King retired from racing, his owner gave him to a friend. The horse was handed down that way until his last owner, a Mexican immigrant, was deported, and Dyna King was left to wander in the desert.
Glore says that when she first saw the horse, she assumed he was about 20. His ribs were prominent and his feet were abcessed. He couldn’t stand for more than 5 minutes at a time.
But he had the will to live.
“I had no idea who he was, and now people send me emails and tell me Dynaformer is one big, tough cookie and he makes tough babies,” Glore says. “I believe it, because I’ve watched this horse. This whole family of horses has got this fire, this really strong spirit to live.”