ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 3, 2014)–In a racing first, Santa Anita Park has designated a popular four-footed staffer as Employee of the Week, and will honor 2,000 pound “Homestead Sally,” a Nebraska-born Clydesdale who stands a giant 17.2 hands, in a winner’s circle ceremony following Sunday’s fifth race.
“Paige Rickerd, who works in Operations, found Sally on Craig’s List last summer and she has been an absolutely wonderful acquisition for us,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “Sally works in the afternoons pulling one of our carriages for racing officials and she’s thriving in her new job. Our fans love her and so do all of us here at the track.
“She’s kind, gentle and you can see that she takes great pride in her work. In addition to being seen in the afternoons, Sally is now an integral part of our free Seabiscuit Tram Tours on the weekends. Full credit goes to Paige for bringing her here and for doing such a great job in getting her acclimated to her new surroundings and job. We’re happy to be able to acknowledge both Sally and Paige and the great work they do for us here at Santa Anita.”
Santa Anita’s Employee of the Week typically receives a designated parking stall and a complimentary dinner at the nearby Derby Restaurant in Arcadia. Haines allowed that dining accommodations are proving problematic.
“We’ve been in negotiations with the Derby staff and we’re having a tough time with the menu at this point,” said Haines. “We have agreed upon an outdoor option in their valet lot, but they’ve told us they’d be out of Derby Cobb Salad for two months if Sally has her way. We’ve suggested bringing over our own hay, oats and water, but that apparently would be a violation of the Health Code, and we certainly don’t want to break any laws. At this point, it’s looking like Sally might have to settle for a home-cooked meal.”
Born and raised on a farm near Lincoln, Nebraska, “Sally,” age six, arrived at Santa Anita in early August and resides in the small stable area that adjoins the Racing Office near the Kingsbury Fountain.
According to Rickerd, she’s still on the lookout for a Midwestern winter–so far, none in sight!!