Retired Horses from Suffolk Downs Give Inmates a New Skill and Career

An innovative program that uses retired horses from Suffolk Downs to develop career and transition skills for inmates at the Plymouth County Correctional Facility has received a major gift from three local charitable foundations.

The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF), which launched the Second Chances program at Plymouth County Sheriff’s Farm in 2009 with the support of the Fields Family Foundation, received $60,000 from the Gardinor Prunaret Foundation, Roberta M. Childs Charitable Foundation and Mary Elizabeth Pearce Foundation. Second Chances is a rehabilitative initiative for both inmates and horses. Through the program, inmates from the Plymouth County Correctional Facility care for retired racehorses as part of the facility’s vocational program. Several horses have been adopted from the Sheriff’s Farm since the program’s inception in November of 2009.

“The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation’s Second Chances at the Plymouth County Correctional Farm is an extraordinary program for both inmates and horses and its mission is consistent with these foundations’ commitment to conservation and preservation of open space in the area,” said Nathan Withington, who manages the foundations. “These gifts will help with additional capital investment in the stabling facilities and the potential expansion of the program.”

“Second Chances continues to be a vital facet of our rehabilitation programs,” said Plymouth County Sheriff Joseph D. McDonald, Jr. “We have plans to expand the program and are proud to have been the first correctional agency in Massachusetts to participate in this program.”

“We are very grateful to these three foundations for their generosity. Their support of this program highlights the universal appeal of this partnership to horse lovers, the racing industry and philanthropists across all aspects of society,” said TRF Vice President of External Affairs Diana Pikulski. “This collaboration is exciting and we look forward to growing the program with this support.”

“It is very encouraging to see this level of local charitable support of the TRF’s Second Chances program at the Plymouth County facility and we look forward to continuing our work with Sheriff McDonald and his team,” said Richard Fields, Suffolk Downs’ principal owner.

Founded in 1982, the TRF’s mission is to provide safe homes for Thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack. TRF’s nationally recognized Second Chances initiative provides humane aftercare for retired Thoroughbreds in vocational programs for incarcerated men, women and juveniles at correctional facilities in 10 states across the country. Second Chances began at the Wallkill Correctional Facility in New York and has been expanded successfully to facilities in Massachusetts, California, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and most recently Illinois.

About TRF

Founded in 1983, the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation (TRF) is the largest equine rescue organization of its kind, devoted to the rescue, retirement, rehabilitation and retraining of Thoroughbred racehorses no longer able to compete on the track. The TRF is perhaps best known for its pioneering TRF Second Chances Program which pairs inmates at various state correctional facilities across the nation with ex-racehorses. The inmates participate in a certified vocational training course in horse care and stable maintenance while experiencing the therapeutic benefit of working with horses.

CHS Roundup 

Red Devils play at Northeast Saturday

The Chelsea High football team will take on always-tough Northeast Regional Vocational School this Saturday morning. Kick-off time on the Golden Knights’ home field is set for 10:30.

“Northeast runs the Wing-T offense,” said CHS head coach Mike Stellato. “They have a very experienced team that is led by their senior running back, Kevin Rosado (who is from Chelsea). Their other backs are quick and their quarterback is very deceptive with the ball. The offensive line is big and physical. We definitely will need to bring  our ‘A’ game on Saturday.”

Chelsea dropped its season opener two weeks ago, 14-6 to New Mission High, on a swelteringly-hot CHS gridiron. The Red Devil passing game was particularly effective, led by Moises Casado, who had six receptions for 100 yards. Senior quarterback Albie Alicea had a nice day, connecting on 10-of-20 pass attempts  for 130 yards. Junior safety Nelson Vega and junior defensive tackle Petherson Braga led the defense with seven tackles.

Chelsea had many opportunities to win the game, driving deep into New Mission territory on four occasions, but could punch the ball into the end zone only once. They will need to improve on that percentage if they hope to come away with a victory Saturday.

Cross country teams run well in Jamboree

The Chelsea High boys’ and girls’ cross county teams made the long trek to Haverhill last Wednesday to face Whittier Tech, Presentation of Mary, and Lynn Tech in a pre-season Jamboree that featured a quad-meet among the four schools.

On the boys’ side, the Red Devils emerged victorious, topping all three opponents.  Chelsea’s Jeffrey Estrada was the overall winner in a time of 18:04.  Teammate Jansel Claudio came across in third overall, running 19:01.  Junior Sam Hernandez was next for the Red Devils in sixth place overall, followed by junior Eric Orellanna in eighth overall with a time of 19:47. Senior captain Brian Horn came across the line in 10th place and freshman Josue Vargas was right behind in 11th.

The final tally showed the Red Devils defeating their closest rival, Whittier, by a score of 25-31, with PMA and Lynn Tech far off the pace.

The CHS girls engaged in a very competitive meet against Whittier and PMA.  “These three teams are probably three of the top five teams in the league,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “We have been training hard, but we still have a lot more to accomplish this year if we want to do well in the league.”

Junior captain Wendy Becerra was second overall on the day for Chelsea, running 21:41. Junior captain Katherine Cabral was fourth overall for the Lady Devils, finishing with a time of 21:59.  Freshman Clarissa Sosa, who ran in her first cross-country race, was the third Chelsea girl and 11th overall.  Sophomore Melanie Nguyen was one second behind in 12th spot place.  Owliyo Mohamund finished 15th, running 25:29.  Tiana Jurisic was next in 16th and Cynthia Guzman was 19th in 27:20.

The final results showed the Lady Devils losing to PMA by the narrowest of margins, 27-28.  “Basically, if we flip-flopped any place with PMA, we would have beaten them by the same score,” noted Fay.  The meet against Whittier also was tightly-contested, with the Lady Red Devils falling short by a close score of 24-31.

“We know what we have to do better and we will have Whittier on our home course, so that should help us a bit,” noted Fay. “We have some newcomers to cross country who should be able to help us a lot this year.”

Both the boys and girls squads were set to kick off their season yesterday (Wednesday), hosting Whittier on the Admirals Hill course.

Boys soccer team falls to Everett, 4-1

The Chelsea High boys soccer team came out on the short end of its only contest this past week, dropping a 4-1 decision to across-the-Parkway rival Everett last Wednesday on the local field.

The Red Devils jumped to an early 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by senior Dominic Hightower, who alertly kept the pressure on an Everett defender, deflecting a pass, and then raced to beat the Everett keeper for the 50/50 ball before putting it in the back of the net.

Chelsea held onto its slim edge through most of the first half, but Everett’s speedy forwards eventually found some openings that resulted in a pair of Crimson Tide goals before the half ended. Everett added a third marker midway through the second half and then, with Chelsea pressuring to try to get back into the game, added another marker late in the contest for the 4-1 finale.

“Overall we played well, but Everett has some players who have a lot of speed and they tested us throughout the game,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki.

Protasowicki singled out the play of CHS captain and center midfielder Wilbert Tejada for his steady performance throughout the contest.  “Wilbert controlled the ball for us and kept possession despite strong pressure from Everett,” noted Protasowicki.

The Red Devils, who now stand at 1-2 on the season, have a tough stretch in the week ahead. Head coach Mick Milutinovic and his crew were set to travel to Greater Lowell yesterday (Wednesday) and will trek to Greater Lawrence tomorrow. They will stay on the road to Shawsheen Tuesday before returning home to host their Commonwealth Athletic Conference archival, Northeast Regional, next Friday.

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