Last December, Horses Healing Hearts, Inc. rescued Spirit, a 5-year-old Thoroughbred that had been neglected and only weighed 700 pounds at the time. Months of rehabilitation have restored Spirit’s health and ideal weight of 1,100 pounds, and revealed his kind-heartedness.

Knowing that Spirit had been a racing horse, identified by the tattoo inside his upper lip, Melissa Austin decided to research his past. Her investigation revealed his blood lineage to Secretariat, the American thoroughbred racehorse that became the first U.S. Triple Crown winner in 1973.

Spirit’s racing name had been Lichtenstein and his previous trainers were Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neil, current trainer of I’ll Have Another, the current Triple Crown contender.