Victoria Don Dorrian Receives White Horse Award

Horse Racing Radar
Valerie Mellema
Valerie Mellema is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Friday, November 13, 2020

Not all superheroes wear capes and star in adventure movies. Some are attractive, auburn-haired young women who love horses and are willing to dash onto interstate highways to rescue runaways that don't even belong to them.


Such is the case with Victoria Don Dorrian, a groom who works with a variety of horses at Prairie Meadows Racetrack in Des Moines, Iowa. During her daily duties at the track in September 2019, Dorrian heard the unmistakable sound of hooves on cement and realized that a horse had gotten loose. Indeed, a racehorse had slipped his lead rope on the backstretch of the dirt oval and somehow maneuvered his way through the stables and gates, eventually galloping the wrong way up the exit ramp onto a very busy I-80.


With a lead rope in her hand and a halter in her car, Dorrian raced onto the interstate and pulled ahead of the horse. She managed to crawl over the concrete median and calm the horse enough to allow her to put on the halter and lead rope. Soon an Iowa state trooper arrived and helped them cross the multiple lanes of the interstate, leading the horse back to its stable.


For her part, Dorrian considered it just another day at work. The event made international news, however. Multiple videos of the rescue were posted on the Internet. The crowning glory came more than a year later when Race Track Chaplaincy of America honored Dorrian with its annual White Horse Award for "exhibiting courage, outstanding achievements, and noble qualities" during her heroic rescue of the racehorse.


Her actions came as no surprise to her grandfather, Dick Clark, a long-time horse trainer. He noted that Dorrian has a long history of being able to calm anxious, trouble-making horses. She also has a notable ability to track down and capture runaway ponies.


In announcing the award on November 10th, the RTCA also recognized Erin Crady, the Executive Director of the Thoroughbred Charities of America, with its Community Service Award. Crady was cited for her work in improving the lives of Thoroughbred horses and their caretakers. In presenting the award, Dan Waits, the Executive Director of RTCA, commented, "Erin has always been an advocate of the Chaplaincy and partners with our national office and several local chaplaincies to get backstretch and farm employees the help they need."

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