Illinois-bred Scooter Roach Returns Home for Retirement
By: Gail Vacca
The long and illustrious racing career of Illinois-bred Scooter Roach (Mi Cielo - Heroic Dreams, by Mr. Leader) came to a story-book close last week when the 11-year-old gelding was permanently retired from racing and into the care of the Illinois Equine Humane Center (ILEHC) in Maple Park, IL.
Scooter Roach retires as one of Illinois' most successful state-breds with 15 wins from 88 starts and $842,754.00 in total earnings. During a career spanning nine years, the IL-bred champion won or placed in 10 stakes races including wins in the 2002 Hawthorne Derby (GIII-T), 2004 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (GIII-T), 2004 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap, and the 2005 John Bullit Stakes.
The durable gelding proved himself to be just as versatile as he was talented with seven of his wins recorded on turf and eight victories on dirt - at seven different racetracks.
A March 2010 Daily Racing Form article highlighting Scooter's outstanding racing career and upcoming participation in a low-level claiming event at Beulah Park in Ohio sparked a movement among several of Scooter's former Illinois-based connections and long-time fans to launch an effort to retire the gelding and bring him home to Illinois.
When one of Scooter's fans contacted us to ask if we'd be willing to help with the effort to retire Scooter, our response was an immediate, "count us in," said ILEHC President, Gail Vacca. From there a fundraising effort began to cover the cost of claiming the gelding when he was next entered to race. Owned and trained by Ohio-based Charlie Lawson, it was anticipated that Scooter would next be entered to race either on April 27 at Beulah, or May 1, at River Downs.
When that didn't happen, concern grew among Scooter's fans that something might be amiss with the horse, so a decision was made to call Mr. Lawson to check on Scooter's condition and to propose a deal for the horse's retirement. "Only minutes into my conversation with Mr. Lawson it was plain to see that he had a genuine love and respect for this old campaigner," said Vacca, "and once assured that Scooter would have a wonderful life with us here at the ILEHC, the deal was made and plans were cemented to bring Scooter home to Illinois."
The ILEHC is incredibly grateful to each of Scooter's many advocates for their role in bringing Scooter home and to Charlie Lawson for putting Scooter's best interest to the forefront. Additionally, the ILEHC expresses its gratitude to After the Finish Line and Rogers Transport for their efforts and support.
Scooter arrived at the ILEHC on May 8 and is now available for his legions of fans to visit anytime they wish. Visitors are encouraged to bring lots of carrots and mints - Scooter has most certainly earned them!