Broadway Kevin waited in the auction holding pen, a successful harness horse whose life was now worth less than the cost to take care of him.

If the local Amish farmers bought him, he’d spend his last years pulling carriages over the countryside. If the meat procurers won, a horse that went to the winner’s circle five times would be shipped to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for meat to be sold in Europe and Japan.

Broadway Kevin caught a break: The 11-year-old was sold for $525 to a rescue group and became a member of the Newark Police Department’s mounted patrol. Across the country, retired race horses like Broadway Kevin are finding new careers fighting crime.

Retired standardbreds and thoroughbreds have run downs hoodlums in Newark, thwarted car thieves in Richmond, Va., patrolled the streets of Omaha, Neb., and guarded the trails of some of the nation’s most beautiful parks.

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(Pictured: Newark police officer Manuel Spruill strokes his police horse Saber while on duty in Newark, N.J., Tuesday, June 23, 2009. Saber, once a harness racing champion named Broadway Kevin.)