Keeneland Magazine

WINTER 2014

Keeneland, Investing in Racing's Future since 1936.

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28 WInTeR 2014 K Keeneland.com MERSANT INTERNATIONAL LTD. spotlight on with more and more horses racking up frequent fyer miles these days, Santarelli says little has over the years. The weath- er, on the other hand, can sometimes be much more of a sticky wicket — but not for the reasons you might expect. "In order to load cargo we use something called a scissor lift," he said. "If the hy- draulics on the lift freeze, it won't work. Planes can fy in snow or rain, but if the loading equipment doesn't work … it's very detrimental." With the attention to detail that's required, Sarah Munoz, who manages Mersant's Lexington offce, compared a successful journey to a symphony performance. At a recent shipping "I was standing there by the aircraft thinking, 'This is like an orchestra — everybody has a part to play,' " said Munoz. "And when the plane is fnally in the air, it's like, 'Yeah!' Everything has to go right," she added. "And it's our job to make that look simple." Mersant has been the offcial agent for the Breeders' Cup World Championships since 1985 and the offcial U.S. agent for the Dubai World Cup since 1996. Consequently, it has had the privilege of transporting some rather classy horses around the world. To name drop just a few, Mersant sent "the invincible" Cigar to the inaugural Dubai World Cup in '96 (a race he won with authority) and ushered English champion Ouija Board to the United States for her double wins in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. In 2013 it escorted American super mare Royal Del- ta and Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom on the roughly 18-hour fight to Dubai for that year's World Cup. Barry Irwin, CEO of Team Valor International, which co-owns Animal Kingdom, credits Mersant with helping to keep its champ ready to race. "When we ship horses long distances, we have a hydration protocol that we use, which takes a lot of preparation," said Irwin. "It takes expertise to administer, and we need help from them while the horse is in the air. Some companies balk; some say they'll do it and don't. But these guys have always been extremely helpful and very reliable. They know what they're doing." (They must: Animal Kingdom won the Cup by three lengths.) Show horses traveling to international competitions or circling the globe for breeding purposes are also regular cargo. The company recently imported sever- al Grand Prix jumpers from Europe for rock superstar Bruce Springsteen whose daughter, Jessica, is an international competitor. Town & Country Farm owner Kiki Courtelis just imported two Warm- blood geldings from Holland. But while Mersant has built a reputa- tion in horse transportation, not every payload is of the equine variety. Over the years the company has expanded its services to include other out-of-the-or- dinary — even exotic — cargo, making it one of the few multi-faceted freight-for- warding businesses in the United States. "We're the offcial pet-traveling company for Emirates Airlines," said Chuck San- tarelli, who is Mersant's vice president of operations. "So we send a lot of dogs and cats to the Middle East for expats being relocated for new jobs. It's a part of our business that has grown signifcantly in the last fve or 10 years." Chuck Santarelli also oversees ship- ments of exotic animals for zoos, from San Diego to the Bronx, and the freight- From hot rods and luxury sports cars to exotic cats and penguins, Mersant moves a diverse array of cargo. meRSant inteRnational

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