Pink Ribbons is her name.
It fits like a snug glove on the fleet-footed filly that has won more than $138,000 in harness racing the last two years.
Perrysburg's Nancy Greenfield, 51, and Monroe's June White, 42, were presented with the horse three years ago by their husbands as a gift not long after both had been diagnosed with breast cancer. June's husband, Mike, suggested the name derived from the symbol that promotes breast cancer awareness.
It was the only name offered for Pink Ribbons, who brings attention to their shared situation every time she trots onto a track.
"He mentioned [Pink Ribbons] and we said, that's it," Nancy recalls.
It didn't take the Greenfields nor the Whites long to recognize this horse was special.
Pink Ribbons was purchased for $10,000 primarily to help the two horse enthusiasts keep their spirits high while dealing with a common concern. However, the bay-colored horse, who races with two pink ribbons tied in her mane, has impacted their lives far more than they had imagined. She has quickly become known as a horse with a cause and a horse to be reckoned with.
Pink Ribbons has competed in seven races this year, claiming two wins and three places. She finished second in a three-way photo finish in the Del Miller Memorial Trot at the Meadowlands on Friday. That finish earned $87,000 of the $350,000 purse to help raise her two-year winnings into six-figures.
"It's been one heck of a first horse to have," June said. "I have horse racing fans out there saying this is a one-in-a-million situation."
The Greenfields, who have owned a horse farm in Findlay for the last 15 years, haven't had a horse quite like Pink Ribbons.
"It has taken the focus off the day-to-day things associated with what I have to go through," Nancy said. "I look forward to her racing. I look forward to her helping the cause."
Pink Ribbons' owners agreed to donate 10 percent of any earnings from races to the Victory Center, at 1041 South Reynolds Rd. The center is a nonprofit facility that supports cancer patients and their families. Nancy has utilized the facility, which provides a variety of offerings, including counseling and yoga, to help deal with some of the problems associated with cancer.
More than 300 cancer patients received service from the Victory Center in 2004, according to Victory Center executive director Robin Isenberg. The center, which has existed since 1996, has benefited from more than $13,000 donated from Pink Ribbons' earnings over the last two years.
"She's done a lot of stuff for us and we're so proud of her," Isenberg said of the filly.
Furthermore, Isenberg praises Pink Ribbons' owners for choosing the center as a recipient of their winnings.
"The way we look at it is, they are two very generous ladies," Isenberg said. "We are so thrilled to be able to give from their donations back to others who can receive the services from the Victory Center."
Pink Ribbons is looking to add to her donation total. Her handlers hope to race her in the $749,000 Hambletonian Oaks on Aug. 6 at the Meadowlands, but she needs to qualify for the race during elimination races July 30.
"The purses have been increasing and the donations to the Victory Center have been increasing and that has been important to me," Nancy said. "I thought it would be fun, but I didn't really know how great it would be and how successful she would be."
Pink Ribbons, trained in Columbus by Jim Arledge and driven by David Miller, has also been able to contribute to the cause of promoting breast cancer awareness.
"People have come out of the woodwork to tell us stories about how they've enjoyed watching her because they know of someone who has dealt with cancer," Nancy said.
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