TOPEKA, Kan. — Through his one good eye, Clever Allemont sees life.
The aging thoroughbred stallion used to charge hard for the finish line and often crossed first in the 1980s. He ran at the respected Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., carrying vaunted jockey Pat Day to victory in 1985. He was trained by hall-of-famer Wayne Lukas and trod the hallowed track at Churchill Downs.
How things changed when just weeks ago he stared at another finish line — the ultimate one. Standing in a kill lot in Lyon County with one eye clouded by blindness, he was scheduled for slaughter in another country.
Then, a lucky draw, and he was saved. It almost didn’t happen.
Horse rescuer Kristin Chambers received a call about two weeks ago from a kill buyer. He had a "horse too pretty to ship.”
When Chambers arrived in Emporia on Dec. 12 she found the mare in question, then the KB pointed over her shoulder.
"Do you think you can do anything about him?” he asked.
That is when she discovered Clever, a tall, dark brown 26-year-old bay horse. He stood thin, shivering in the whipping wind behind a shoddy fence. His head, dotted with a blotch of white, hung low.
"He could sense it wasn’t a good place to be,” Chambers said.
She called for him, and he slowly walked to her. In her three years of saving horses, Chambers never cried while in the middle of a rescue.
Freedom and comfort
Clever came nearer and Chambers saw his blind right eye. She "loved on him” and wept for the great stallion who had fallen so far.
His former owner, a man in his 70s who was readying to move, had sold Clever to the buyer.