Goody baskets for the horses

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By Brent Schanding

Favorite Friesan Fire may have missed out on the big purse in Saturday's Kentucky Derby -- but the horse didn't go home empty-hoofed. 

The 3-year-old Thoroughbred, and each horse who raced in this year's Kentucky Derby and Oaks, received a consolation prize basket of shampoos, medical supplies, grooming products and treats from Metzger's Country Store in Simpsonville.

"We felt that since everything with the Oaks and Derby festivities revolved around the horses that they needed something special," said Gary Metzger, a co-owner of the store who also helped initiate the giveaway. "The horses make the trainers their living. They're what Churchill and other racetracks are all about, yet they don't get anything."

Metzger's teamed with manufacturers to fill 70-quart tubs with more than 31 gifts. Each tub featured an 8x10 framed photograph of Churchill Downs and listed the names of the horse, trainer, owner and jockey.

The estimated value for each tub was about $1,000, Metzger said. 

Fillies in Friday's Kentucky Oaks received pink tubs -- part of the track's partnership to promote breast cancer-awareness with the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.

Metzger's supplies products and feed to trainers, jockeys and groomsmen on the backside of Churchill Downs, but this was a first-ever treat for the horses. 

"Undoubtedly, we'll have a much larger giveaway next year," Metzger said.