Pregnant horse headed to slaughter saved; race horse born

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On a small farm just west of Aurora, the falling snow masks this amazing horse tale

Gail Vacca, the founder of the Illinois Equine Humane Center will proudly tell you about all of the horses she’s saved from slaughter over the years; but it’s 15 year old thoroughbred named Lulu who may take up the majority of your chat.

In 2009, Vacca found Lulu at a slaughter auction in Indiana. A former racer, Lulu was nearly crippled in pain. A man had already bought her, intent bringing her to Canada for slaughter. That’s when Vacca stepped in.

“I told him I didn’t think she’d survive the trip and he was going to lose money anyway, so name your price and I’ll buy her,” Vacca said.

The price was $300.

Here’s where this tale takes on a different color: Without knowing it, Gail not only saved Lulu but the unborn foal growing inside of her.  Lulu gave birth, and much to everyone’s surprise, the baby they named Taxi — born on Tax Day, April 15 — had the look, the stride of a potential champion.

Gail learned Taxi’s dad was also a former racer named Magna Graduate.

“When I looked up Magna Graduate’s history online, I was floored to find out that Magna Graduate had just retired from racing having earned $2.5 million,” Vacca said.

Taxi, who’s known in racing circles as Magna Fortuna or “Great Fortune,” is now three and is set to run his second race at Hawthorne Race Track in Cicero on February 15.

For more information about how you can help other horses in need, go to


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