The Frederick News-Post

UNION BRIDGE, Md. (AP) — Metro Meteor, also known as the painting horse, has come a long way since bad knees ended his racing career.

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When Ron and Wendy Krajewski adopted the thoroughbred four years ago, he couldn’t be ridden, they said.

Today, Metro is a star, not for winning races but for painting, and the sale of his work is benefiting other horses.

“He’s actually saved quite a few horses, and I can ride on him now,” Wendy Krajewski said. “We’re very proud of Metro.”

Metro Meteor, who lives at Motters Station Stables in Union Bridge, is proof that there is life after horse racing.

How did the horse earn his painting stripes?

When the Krajewskis saw Metro Meteor bobbing his head up and down, Ron decided to put a brush in the horse’s mouth where his bit used to be, and put a canvas in front of him.

The strategy worked and Metro began to paint. His website — http://www.paintedbymetro.com — describes his work as “bold freestyle strokes that create a palette of exquisite fanciful swirls and layers of textured color.”

Metro has now taken another professional leap. Art by the former four-legged racer is being artwork reproduced on products such as decorative pillows, wall decor and fashion totes. To date, the sale of Metro’s work has resulted in donations of almost $60,000 to help other horses’ rehabilitation via New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program.

The Painted by Metro Eco-decor Collection is available at http://www.dreamgreenusa.com

Mark Molinas, of Dream Green USA LLC, said he and his partner and production manager, Victoria D’Angelo, have marketing backgrounds.

“When she saw Metro on TV, she was blown away by his painting ability,” Molinas said.

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Molinas and D’Angelo contacted the Krajewskis and suggested a partnership to use Metro’s paintings on home products. A licensed agreement between Metro and Dream Green USA was crafted, production began in October, and the response has been great, Molinas said.

It’s obvious that Metro can’t mix his own colors, product designer D’Angelo said, “but what he has achieved with a paintbrush in his mouth is both exceptional and sublime.”

More products will be added later, including place mats, napkins and fashion items.

Metro’s unique story is really driving the business, D’Angelo said, adding, “We call him our four-legged rock star.”

Metro has a wide fan base, Wendy Krajewski said. “He’s a popular guy.”

Metro has gotten famous, Ron Krajewski said.

“He’s been on the `Today’ show, `Good Morning America,’ in The New York Times and on (National Public Radio),” Ron Krajewski said. “We can’t keep up with the demand. He can only do so many paintings.”

Metro is 11 years old. Horses can live for 25 to 30 years, Krajewski said.

Last year, Metro was given only two years to live due to his injuries, Ron Krajewski said: Money from his paintings is helping to keep him alive, and he will probably live until he’s 20.

“We’ve made great strides with him,” Ron Krajewski said. “Last year, we were not able to ride him, and he’s ridable now.”

Information from: The Frederick (Md.) News-Post, http://www.fredericknewspost.com

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