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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Julie L. Jones

Florida Department of Corrections
Julie L. Jones, Secretary

For Immediate Release
June 18, 2002
For More Information
Contact: Public Affairs Office
(850) 488-0420

Thoroughbred Retirement Program
VNR Script

For more information, see the press release.

Estimated Run Time 2:20 (not including anchor lead-in)

Video Audio

Suggested Anchor Lead-in


Will Rogers once said: "The best thing for the inside of a man is the outside of a horse." This goes both ways for prison inmates and retired racehorses in the heart of Florida's horse country.


Claire is riding her horse.

Locator: Middleburg, Florida


Claire Jagger is riding Shooey. She adopted the thoroughbred once known in the racing world as Legal Battle. The 6 year old mare, a 25 time starter, and two time winner, was renamed by her trainer, who brought her from skittish racer to beloved pleasure horse.

Claire riding Legal Battle, then go to Torres on screen.

John Torres, Inmate

I have learned to control myself. Working with the horses you got to have a lot of patience with them cause sometimes you ask them to do something they not going to do it all the time.

Exterior of Institution

Locator: Ocala, Florida


Inmate Torres, and nine other minimum custody inmates are assigned to work at this 100-acre farm next door Marion Correctional Institution outside Ocala.

Wide shot of Farm with inmates leading horses out of the barn.

Here they are learning to take care of and eventually rehabilitate retired thoroughbred racehorses.

Horses in paddy and out in field.

The horses come from all over the country, retired from racing due to age or physical condition. Some may have even been headed for the slaughterhouse. It's a second chance for these former athletes to be rehabilitated and hopefully adopted.

Inmates working with horses

It's also a second chance for these offenders to learn new skills and new ways of dealing with life.

More cover of Betty Jo and Inmates, then go to her on camera.

Betty Jo Bock, Vocational Instructor

So you can take somebody with, like, and anger management issue, who tends to get hot real quick and if you get hot real quick around a horse he's not going to want to cooperate and have a good relationship with you, because the horse is a flight animal. So the minute you become aggressive and hostile and loud, these are all things the horses do not like. So the inmate learns he has to talk softly, move quietly, and then he take this out with him by realizing that everything I do affects my environment and those around me.

Various shots of the farm including fences and barn.


The farm was built on unused prison property. It was constructed entirely with prison labor using donated materials.

Inmate feeds horse in stall.

Despite the pastoral setting, this is not an easy assignment. The inmates go the barn seven days a week to feed and groom the horses.

Inmates in classroom

Additional time is spent in the classroom, and after 12 months they may earn a state certificate in equine care technology.

Claire and Legal Battle.

...She's a wonderful horse.

The inmate that took care of her should be very, very proud

Claire Jagger

Claire Jagger, Adopter

There's a lot of people that would look at a horse like this and say, "She's not worth it, cause of her history, her racing history." And unfortunately, you know, people probably think that about the inmates too, but they are worth it. They deserve a second chance.

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If you're interested in adopting a retired thoroughbred you can contact the Florida Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation at 800-728-1660.

Return to press release.

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