by Erica Hill of CBS News
“I’ve been amazed at the progress that she’s made”
(CBS News) In the stands of Belmont Park Wednesday, Sean and Angelika Kerr were nervous.
Their four-year-old filly was about to run her first race.
The expectations for the rookie were admittedly low – in so many ways, her name, “Notinrwildestdremz,” pronounced: not in our wildest dreams, said it all.
“I don’t know if you remember the news, where some of these horses looked like Holocaust victims,” recounts Sean.
In the spring of 2009, police and a local humane society raided an upstate New York breeding farm, where they found deplorable conditions: 177 horses close to starving, their bodies ravaged.
The animals were confiscated and put up for adoption.
Among them, two young fillies and a gelding – each of them severely underweight and in desperate need of care.
“So we drove up,” recalled Angelika, managing partner of the 5R Race Horse Stable, “looked at them, and the decision was to be made which one we take. … So, we said, ‘Let’s take all three of them.”‘
With that, Captain Crime Scene, Driving Miss Dixie, and Notinrwildestdremz suddenly belonged to the Kerrs.
With three recovering horses now in their care, the couple knew they’d need a little help.
They created 5R Stables, and sold shares to finance their new mission.
What are the five Rs?
“They stand for rescue, rehabilitation, racing, re-training and retirement,” says Angelika.
More than 100 people have a share in 5R, whose goal it was to rehabilitate the three horses.
For two of the horses, the focus was on rehab – physical conditions as a result of their time at that breeding farm in upstate New York meant they’d never train as racehorses.
But Dremz – that’s her nickname – stood out.
“She came out of the barn with this confidence. I went, ‘Oh my God, she’s a racehorse!”‘
Through careful nurturing and rehabilitation, Dremz’s potential began to emerge, and the Kerrs went looking for a trainer.
They found Billy Turner, who has a rich pedigree of his own. Turner trained 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew. And though nobody imagines that kind of success for Dremz, Turner agrees there’s something special about this horse.
“I must admit,” he says, “I’ve been amazed at the progress that she’s made.”
Two weeks ago, on the muddy main track at Belmont, Dremz impressed during a training run. The Kerrs and Turner knew she was ready to compete.
Which brings us back to the nervous couple up in the stands and Wednesday’s sixth race.
In the end, Dremz did not win. In fact, she finished dead last.
But that’s OK, because the race itself was a victory. She’d already beaten the odds.
As Sean and Angelica hugged, he said, “She did it. She did it!”
To see Erica Hill’s report, click on the video in the player above.