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Rescued from the brink: On Demand’s journey to a life of dignity


By Susan Kayne

For Capital Region Independent Media

The Thoroughbred mare On Demand recovering after her days in the kill pen. Contributed photo

In the heart of the Thoroughbred world, where legends are born, a remarkable story unfolded – one of resilience, compassion, and the unyielding spirit of a Thoroughbred mare named On Demand.

Her journey, spanning from her extraordinary birthplace at Mt. Brilliant Farm to her eventual rescue, highlights the importance of protecting and honoring the lives of senior Thoroughbred mares long after their racing days.

On a picturesque Kentucky morning, in the legendary Mt. Brilliant Farm, the world welcomed On Demand into existence.

She was born in the shadow of greatness, on the very same grounds that had once been home to the legendary Man O’ War, one of the greatest racehorses of all time. Her pedigree was steeped in history, as she was a daughter of the world-renowned stallion, Giants Causeway.

From her earliest days, On Demand was destined for greatness, a living testament to the legacy of Mt. Brilliant Farm and the promise of the Thoroughbred racing world.

On Demand pictured with her 2017 filly at Sagamore Farm in Maryland. Contributed photo


As a yearling, On Demand graced the grounds of the Keeneland Sales Ring. Bidders and onlookers could hardly contain their excitement as they beheld this magnificent filly.

With her lineage and prowess, she became the center of attention, eventually commanding a price of $500,000. The man who recognized her potential and acquired her was none other than Richard Santulli, the founder of NetJets.

Her journey had just begun, and her future looked bright. Racing enthusiasts envisioned her as a future champion, a name that would resonate throughout the racing world.


On Demand carried Santulli’s silks to victory in two memorable races, showcasing her speed and determination.

Her victories endeared her to racing fans, and her future as a broodmare seemed even more promising.


After her racing career, On Demand transitioned to a new role – that of a broodmare.

Sold again through Keeneland and pregnant for the first time, she fetched a final bid of $310,000. Her destination was equally as iconic as her birthplace – Sagamore Farm in Maryland, owned by Kevin Plank, the founder of Under Armour.

Here, she was expected to produce the next generation of champions, continuing the legacy of her lineage.


Life for Thoroughbred mares can be unpredictable, and On Demand’s story took an unexpected turn.

On Demand receiving hoof care and recovering while in quarantine. Contributed photo

After her racing and breeding days were behind her, she found herself in a situation no horse should endure – abandoned and neglected in the slaughter pipeline. How she ended up in North Carolina, tagged and sorted for slaughter, remains a mystery, but her plight was far from isolated.

On Demand’s situation echoed the struggles faced by countless senior Thoroughbred mares who, after giving their all to the racing and breeding industry, find themselves discarded, unwanted, and vulnerable. Their stories often remain untold, and their fate uncertain.


In the darkest hour of On Demand’s life, a ray of hope emerged when the community that supports Unbridled rallied together to save her from shipping to a slaughterhouse in Mexico.

Abandoned and alone in the kill pen in North Carolina, On Demand’s identity was confirmed by a tattoo on the underside of her lip. Contributed photo

As the news of On Demand’s plight spread, an unexpected hero stepped forward — Greg Goodman, the owner of Mt. Brilliant Farm and the breeder of On Demand. With immediate action, he contributed to the rescue and rehabilitation of On Demand, setting an example for the industry.  


On Demand’s journey from the grandeur of Mt. Brilliant Farm to the depths of neglect in North Carolina serves as a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by senior Thoroughbred mares. Her rescue is a testament to the power of compassion, advocacy, and collective action in safeguarding the well-being of these magnificent animals.

As we celebrate On Demand’s triumphant rescue, let her story inspire us to be proactive in protecting and respecting Thoroughbred mares throughout their lifetime, from their days on the racetrack and as a broodmare to a dignified retirement. It is a commitment owed to the equine athletes who have given their all in service to the dreams of others.

They deserve nothing less than our unwavering protection, respect and support.

Susan Kayne operates the horse rescue organization Unbridled Thoroughbred Foundation, on the border of Albany County and Greenville.

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