We’ve got an action-packed week ahead! Here’s the schedule of our activities and opportunities in celebration of what would have been the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America.
ONGOING ALL WEEK
Virtual Vendor Fair: shop from participating vendors and enjoy special deals and discounts! Browse the list of participating vendors online, check out featured products and services on the RRP Facebook page, and keep an eye out on Tuesday for a special e-blast
Silent Auction, sponsored by Ocala Jockey Club: browse an array of unique and original items and experiences, including halters from star racehorses Tiz The Law and Authentic! The Silent Auction closes on Saturday, October 10 at 4 PM ET
While the in-person horse shopping and adoption experience at the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium may no longer be possible this year with the postponement of the event to 2021, the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP), thanks to a generous grant from the ASPCA, will continue to produce the Makeover Marketplace and promote transitioned Thoroughbreds as premier sport horse prospects online.
Expected to feature dozens of restarted Thoroughbreds, the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog will once again be offered in print as well as digitally. Sign-ups are now open to receive the catalog, which will be printed in the Fall 2020 issue of Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, the RRP’s award-winning quarterly publication. The catalog will be printed in color and feature each horse’s Jockey Club name and basic details, price or adoption fee, home location, description and photo, as well as trainer contact information. Each advertisement will also include a QR code that will direct smartphone users to the horse’s full online listing, which may include additional information and video.
“The ASPCA Makeover Marketplace has become one of the country’s premier horse shopping and adoption opportunities for equestrians looking for well-started sport horse prospects,” said Jen Roytz, Executive Director of the RRP. “Traditionally, horse shopping includes extensive travel, often going to multiple farms in different states in order to consider horses, but changing mandates and travel restrictions during the pandemic are limiting those opportunities. The Marketplace lets you browse from the comfort of your couch and peruse dozens of photos, videos and descriptions of equine athletes for adoption or sale who have had the proper care, nutrition and training to make a successful transition to a competitive or recreational career after racing.”
Dewey Square, 2015 Thoroughbred Makeover Marketplace graduate, now owned by Nicholas D’Amore and in training with Kate Chadderton. Photo by Amy Dragoo
The ASPCA Makeover Marketplace has become an adopter’s or buyer’s trusted source for Thoroughbreds for sport or pleasure. Though the Thoroughbred Makeover competition will not be taking place this year, each horse entered in the Marketplace catalog will have undergone preparation for the event, with emphasis placed on a healthy transition from the track and training for a big show environment. Past ASPCA Makeover Marketplace graduates have gone on to successful careers in eventing, hunter/jumper, field hunter, western performance, pleasure and trail riding.
“Creating opportunities for more equine enthusiasts to find their Right Horse is a vital component of our work,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, Vice President of ASPCA Equine Welfare. “The RRP continues to support us in shifting the perspective of who a retired racehorse is and showcasing the incredible potential they will bring to their next homes. While we will miss seeing all the event-goers and talented competitors this year, we celebrate this innovative virtual Marketplace experience that will help transition more great horses to their next chapter.”
The digital catalog will be released at tbmakeover.org the week of August 10, and individual horses will be featured on the RRP’s social media. Watch the RRP’s Facebook page for additional virtual spotlights of Marketplace horses this fall.
Sign up now for the print catalog at tbmakeover.org/catalog. Catalogs will be printed and mailed in mid-September.
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to putting on the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics and programming at major horse expos and events around the country, and maintains the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds). Visit the RRP online at RetiredRacehorseProject.org.
Founded in 1866, the ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) is the first animal welfare organization in North America and serves as the nation’s leading voice for animals. More than two million supporters strong, the ASPCA’s mission is to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States. As a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, the ASPCA is a national leader in the areas of anti-cruelty, community outreach and animal health services. For more information, please visit www.ASPCA.org, and be sure to follow the ASPCA on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
After extensive information gathering, research and consideration, the board of the Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) has made the difficult but unanimous decision to postpone the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), until 2021. The RRP plans to host an expanded Thoroughbred Makeover on October 12-17, 2021 that will offer separate classes in all ten disciplines for both 2020 and 2021 entries.
Click here to watch a video message from the RRP.
Put on each year by the RRP, a 501c3 nonprofit organization, the Thoroughbred Makeover typically draws hundreds of competitors from 40+ states and multiple Canadian provinces, each of whom has taken on the challenge of bringing along a Thoroughbred in his or her first year of retraining post-racing. In a normal year, the event also includes the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace (a large-scale horse shopping experience), a vendor fair with more than 70 on-site retailers and other equine businesses, seminars, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit and various social and networking events.
To comply with COVID-19 pandemic event guidelines as recommended by US Equestrian and the Kentucky Horse Park, many of these aspects, which monetize a significant portion of the event, would have to be eliminated or heavily modified.
“This was a decision that was not entered into lightly,” said the RRP’s executive director Jen Roytz. “We went to great lengths to look at the feasibility of putting on the event from various perspectives, including preparedness of our competitors, current sponsorship commitments, the cost and steps necessary to implement COVID-19 risk management protocols for an event like ours, and what changes we would need to make to the event to comply with state and venue regulations. We also explored various ‘what if’ scenarios with our legal counsel, insurance company, and board, and what their impacts could be on not only the event, but our organization as a whole.”
With the Thoroughbred Makeover being a competition for horses in their first year of training after racing, the organization sent out two surveys to its competitors, one in April and one in June, to better understand how the pandemic was affecting its competitors’ ability to prepare their horses. Questions in the survey also aimed to gauge how their competitors would feel about the changes to the event that would have to be made in 2020 in order to put it on.
Trainers expressed concern through these surveys about having their horses adequately prepared for the show environment, as well as financial concerns due to lost income during shutdowns. In some cases, horses could not receive necessary maintenance care or undergo elective veterinary or therapy procedures. Furthermore, every state’s pandemic guidelines were different which had, and continues to have, an impact on competitors.
“We worked hard to identify what the best course of action would be, not only for our constituents and horses, but for the long-term viability and stability of our organization,” continued Roytz. “Our competitor survey responses showed us not only that a significant percentage of our competitors were behind on their training due to a variety of factors, but also that if we were to implement the changes that the pandemic would force us to make, it would not only put our organization in a precarious position financially but would negatively impact our competitors’ enjoyment of the event.”
A critical aspect of the Thoroughbred Makeover on the part of participating trainers is having recently retired racehorses, all of which are relatively green in terms of their show career, adequately prepared for a big show environment at the Kentucky Horse Park. Typically, this is achieved by trainers exposing their horses to various competitive environments in the ten-month training period prior to the Makeover.
“The Thoroughbred Makeover at its core is designed to serve the mission of the RRP as a showcase of the versatility and trainability of the breed,” said Managing Director and Event Organizer, Kirsten Green. “Much of the feedback we’ve received, as well as the results of our surveys, tell us that the majority of our competitors are not feeling as confident as they typically would about their ability to showcase their horses as well as they otherwise would have. Furthermore, the Makeover typically draws entries from more than 40 states, as well as a significant Canadian contingent, and we’re still contending with a continually changing landscape over the coming months. We don’t yet know when the Canadian border will reopen, we’re seeing states re-implementing quarantine mandates for travelers, trainers having their income impacted, and more. That is only compounded by the financial challenges we and other nonprofits have faced in recent months and changes we would have to make in order to move forward with the event. By postponing the competition until next year and expanding the Marketplace virtually for this year, we felt it was the best way to create the most opportunities for all involved, while also doing what is in the best interest of the horses and our organization.”
Several aspects of the 2020 TCA Thoroughbred Makeover will be run virtually this year in October, including a virtual vendor fair, webinars in place of seminars, and the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace. The Marketplace will transition into an expanded online showcase of transitioned Thoroughbreds who were intended to compete in October and be offered for sale or adoption at the Makeover.
“I know I speak on behalf of the entire RRP board and staff when I say this was an incredibly difficult decision, but we feel it’s the right one,” said RRP board president Carolyn Karlson. “The challenges presented by the pandemic are unprecedented. The RRP expanded its online educational offerings this year to better support those retraining horses amid all of the travel and shelter-in-place restrictions, like our Five-Minute Clinic series and webinars, and we have several more exciting initiatives to roll out as the year goes on. We are steadfast to our commitment to our competitors, sponsors, vendors, volunteers, supporters and, most importantly, the horses we and they serve.”
Trainers who entered this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover will have the opportunity to retain their registered 2020 horses to compete in a special 2020 division at the 2021 Thoroughbred Makeover. They also have the option to withdraw their 2020 horses and roll their entry fee to the 2021 competition with a new 2021-eligible horse. In some cases, some 2020-entered horses will be able to retain their eligibility for the 2021 division as long as they do not exceed the maximum of 15 retraining rides before December 1, 2020.
“It’s been a priority for us to make sure that we found a solution that was flexible for our trainers and their horses and give them options to suit whatever their goals might be,” said Green. “We look forward to working with everyone to offer content and activities to honor the Makeover this October, and to welcome everyone back to the Bluegrass for a knockout event in 2021.”
Added Roytz, “We are incredibly grateful to the TCA, ASPCA and our other major sponsors and donors for being exceedingly understanding and supportive of this decision. Many of them have also been affected by this pandemic and anticipate feeling the effects well into the coming year, but were eager to help us find ways to support both this year’s and next year’s classes of Makeover competitors in meaningful ways.”
For more information and updates about the Thoroughbred Makeover, please visit tbmakeover.org. More announcements about virtual activities and events will be released throughout the summer and early fall. Sign up to receive the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace catalog at tbmakeover.org/catalogsignup.
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to increase demand for off-track Thoroughbreds in the equestrian world. In addition to putting on the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, the world’s largest retraining competition for recently retired racehorses, the organization also publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, hosts off-track Thoroughbred retraining clinics around the country, maintains the Thoroughbred Sport Tracker(the internet’s only user-driven database tracking second career talent and accomplishments of registered Thoroughbreds) and presents programing at major horse expos across the country. Visit RRP online at retiredracehorseproject.org.
The Retired Racehorse Project announced today that applications are open for the 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Applications will be accepted through January 15, 2020, and accepted trainers will be announced on February 15, 2020.
Now in its sixth year, the Thoroughbred Makeover features competition in ten disciplines for recently-retired Thoroughbreds in their first year of retraining for a second career after racing. Disciplines include barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunter, show jumper, and ranch work.
Horses and trainers will compete for more than $125,000 in total prize money, plus the coveted title of Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 7-10, 2020. The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium includes not just the competition, but educational seminars, a vendor fair, the Makeover Marketplace horse sale and the Makeover Master Class featuring demonstrations and insight from leading trainers. The Finale features the top five horses in each discipline and will be livestreamed for viewers at home.
“The Retired Racehorse Project was created to drive demand for Thoroughbreds after racing as sport horses, and the Thoroughbred Makeover is one of the most successful executions of this mission,” describes the RRP’s executive director Jen Roytz. “Each year the event has grown in both size and scope and we’re seeing more and more Makeover graduates representing the breed on the national stage.”
2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion Cowboy Swagger, trained by Fallon Taylor. Photo by CanterClix
The Thoroughbred Makeover is open to professionals, amateurs, juniors (ages 12 and older) and teams. Applicants are required to provide information about their riding and competition background as well as references, including one from a veterinarian. Applicants are encouraged to provide links to riding video, which is a requirement for first-time competitors. Competitors do not need to have acquired their horse at the time of application, though must declare their horse no later than July 31, 2020.
Approved trainers may acquire eligible Thoroughbreds through whatever source they choose, or can ride under contract for an owner. Eligible horses must have raced or had a published work on or after July 1, 2018 and must not have started retraining for a second career prior to December 1, 2019 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides. The 2020 Thoroughbred Makeover Rulebook outlines all rules and information relevant to the competition, with changes for 2020 marked in red and clarifying information marked in blue.
The Thoroughbred Makeover, produced by the 501(c)3 non-profit organization Retired Racehorse Project, is made possible each year by the generosity and support of sponsors and donors. In addition to the Makeover, the RRP publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine, maintains the Retired Racehorse Resource Directory, the online Thoroughbred Sport Tracker (the only user-driven database for Thoroughbred bloodlines in second careers), and a library of educational materials online, and produces educational demonstrations around the country at clinics and expos, all with the goal of increasing demand for Thoroughbreds in second careers.
673 trainers were accepted to compete in 2019. The accepted trainers represented 44 states and four Canadian provinces.
474 horses were entered by the Aug. 15 registration deadline. Taking into account last-minute scratches, 359 horses completed.
The most-raced horse entered in the competition had 150 starts. The highest money-earner had career winnings of $1,050,400.
Total number of horses entered in each discipline, as of Aug. 15: Barrels, 31; Competitive Trail, 80; Dressage, 177; Eventing, 93; Field Hunters, 26; Freestyle, 44; Polo, 16; Ranch Work, 29; Show Hunters, 178; Show Jumpers, 136.
Approximately 150 horses were entered in the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace.
More than 115 volunteers helped staff the competition.
Cowboy Swagger is 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion With Fallon Taylor
Cowboy Swagger, 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion with Fallon Taylor. Photo by CanterClix
Champion barrel racer Fallon Taylor takes on a new challenge every year: in 2018, she took up show jumping. This year, she took on the Thoroughbred Makeover. Already a champion — she was the 2014 Women’s Professional Rodeo Association World Champion and 2018 AQHA World Champion — Taylor can add one more line to her deep resume: trainer of the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Champion, Cowboy Swagger.
Much like winning the average in a rodeo, Taylor and Cowboy Swagger’s consistent, steady performances earned them victory in the Barrel Racing discipline at the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Taylor didn’t lead after the horsemanship component, nor did she set the fastest times in the two daily barrel runs, but through those consistent performances she maintained the best overall scores in the division. After clinching the championship in Barrel Racing, Taylor’s fan base rallied behind her to vote her to the overall title.
In the TCA Covered Arena for the voting and award presentation, Cowboy Swagger stood quietly as the other horses circled around him, with just a set of reins around his neck and a massive blanket of roses that Taylor had made specially for her Thoroughbred barrel horse. A casual bystander might not guess that this horse just a few hours ago had been agilely turning barrels and sprinting for home flat-out in the same arena.
Fallon Taylor and Cowboy Swagger in the Finale in front of a packed house. Photo by CanterClix
“I think the coolest thing about these Thoroughbreds is their demeanor,” Taylor commented. “This is a special, unique horse. I’m just sitting here with no bridle on, people all around, all these cameras pointed at him, and he’s completely unaffected. The Thoroughbreds want to please. And these guys are made to run — they’re made for this job. It’s our job to be kind, be patient and help these horses learn the pattern and learn their new job. We need to go out and get these horses and scoop them up!”
Taylor acquired Cowboy Swagger based on the advice of a friend who knew the horse on the track and loved his personality. He was bred in Oregon by Dr. and Mrs. Jack B. Root Jr., and as of his last start on January 8, 2019 at Portland Meadows he was trained by Sam Dronen. By Grindstone out of the Baquero mare One Fast Cowgirl, Cowboy Swagger made 16 career starts with three wins and total earnings of $20,299.
As a savvy social media personality, Taylor understands how to lever that fan base for a good cause. She’s documented her journey to the Makeover with Cowboy Swagger over the past few months, but that turned out to be just the beginning. “I documented every single ride that I took on this horse so that I can keep sharing that next year with my following and help more people try this competition,” she detailed.
Fallon Taylor and Cowboy Swagger. Photo by CanterClix
“The horsemanship pattern was a challenge for me,” Taylor admitted earlier in the week. “But I like knowing that the horses are leaving the Makeover with a good foundation, especially if they’re selling at the Marketplace, to know that the next rider is going to have a really cool horse to play with later.”
And as for what this particular personal challenge has taught Taylor that she’ll take away to apply to her other barrel horses? “I’ve had to really be patient with this horse, and that’s going to help me on my other horses as well.”
2019 Thoroughbred Makeover Discipline Champions: Competitive Trail: Belfast Cowboy, trained by Toni Harmon Dressage: Fifth Ace, trained by Alison O’Dwyer Eventing: Sanimo, trained by Rosie Napravnik Field Hunter: Diplomat, trained by Sara Katz Freestyle: Grande Warrior, trained by Amy Bowers Polo: Great Reward, trained by Buck Schott Ranch Work: Silence Is Awesome, trained by Amber Jacobson Show Hunter: Furaha, trained by Susan Deal Show Jumper: Tenpin Sugar, trained by Katherine Deichmann
Tenpin Sugar, a 2013 bay mare by Tenpins out of Storm Cat mare, Hurricane Amy won the show jumper division of the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover with trainer Katherine Deichmann. Bred in Louisiana by Emile J. Barras Farm Stables LLC., Tenpin Sugar earned $7,586 in her racing career.
On October 1, 2019, the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA), Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), Thoroughbred Incentive Program and Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) will join together to present the inaugural Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit, a conference focused on education and networking among those with a professional interest in the retraining and rehoming of Thoroughbreds after racing. The conference will be held the day before the start of preliminary competition at the Retired Racehorse Project’s annual Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America.
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit will focus on topics such as finance, business management, board governance and grant and sponsorship-seeking best-practices. There will also be a roundtable session for individuals and organizations to discuss and idea-share on challenges affecting them.
“The Thoroughbred Makeover is the perfect opportunity to convene aftercare advocates for a couple hours to learn, discuss and share some best business practices,” said Erin Crady, executive director of TCA. “The session may be particularly helpful for grant-seeking nonprofit aftercare organizations, however most topics will be generalizable to for-profit retraining and rehoming operations as well.”
Featured speakers will include Mike Meuser, TAA president and a Lexington-based attorney with the law firm of Miller, Griffin & Marks whose specialty includes equine law and civil litigation and Jen Shah, TAA treasurer and a CPA who serves as the head of equine services for Dean Dorton, a Lexington-based financial consulting firm, as well as representatives from grant-funding organizations, including the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, Thoroughbred Charities of America, ASPCA and The Right Horse Initiative.
“We at the TAA are thankful for Mike Meuser and Jen Shah’s leadership and knowledge about both the nonprofit sector and the equine industry, and we think this will be a great experience for TAA-accredited organizations and those wanting to become accredited to learn from these experts,” said TAA operations consultant Stacie Clark.
The conference is a collaboration of the four presenting organizations in an effort to bring together the Thoroughbred aftercare community.
“Whether we work in the for-profit sector, for a non-profit organization or work to rehome or otherwise advocate for Thoroughbreds after racing as private individuals, we all often face similar challenges as both horse people and as professionals,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of the Retired Racehorse Project. “We worked hard to curate a collection of topics and speakers for this inaugural Summit that will offer valuable insight to those in all sectors of Thoroughbred aftercare, and we look forward to expanding the subjects broached in future years.”
Tickets for the Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit are free, however limited seating is available, so those planning to attend are asked to register. Parking at the Kentucky Horse Park is $5 per car without a Kentucky Horse Park or Thoroughbred Makeover parking pass.
The Thoroughbred Aftercare Summit will be held in the Covered Arena Lounge at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky on October 1 from 3:00 to 5:00. It is held in conjunction with the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover, a training competition for horses in their first year of retraining after retirement from racing. This year’s Makeover will feature approximately 450 Thoroughbreds coming from 40 states and 4 provinces to compete across ten disciplines, including barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, ranch work, show hunter and show jumping. The full schedule of events can be found at tbmakeover.org.
Retired Racehorse Project announced December 15, 2019 that applications are open for the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. Applications will be accepted through January 15, 2019, and accepted trainers will be announced on February 1, 2019.
Now in its fifth year in its current format and at its current location, the Thoroughbred Makeover features competition in 10 disciplines for recently-retired Thoroughbreds with less than 10 months of retraining for a second career. Disciplines include barrel racing, competitive trail, dressage, eventing, field hunters, freestyle, polo, show hunter, show jumper, and ranch work.
Horses and trainers will compete for $100,000 in total prize money, plus the coveted title of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred (as determined by audience vote) at the Kentucky Horse Park on October 2-5, 2019. The Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium includes not just the competition, but educational seminars, a sponsor fair, the Makeover Marketplace horse sale and the Makeover Master Class featuring demonstrations and insight from leading trainers. The Finale features the top five horses in each discipline and will be livestreamed for viewers at home.
There is no need to have acquired a 2019 Makeover-eligible horse at the time of application, and professionals, amateurs and juniors are all encouraged to apply. Applicants must demonstrate expertise in at least one Makeover discipline through competition highlights, references and optional video links.
“Over the next 10 months, nearly 1,000 Thoroughbreds who are either recently retired from racing or who are winding down their on-track careers will receive a solid foundation of retraining, thanks to the hundreds of equestrians preparing to compete in the Thoroughbred Makeover,” said Jen Roytz, executive director of RRP. “The Thoroughbred Makeover is unlike any other equestrian competition in the world. There are a number of key updates in this year’s rules aimed at elevating the caliber and quality of the competition, including an expanded ‘team’ division. We encourage even those who have competed at the Makeover in the past to read through our expanded rulebook carefully and to contact us with any questions they might have.”
Approved trainers may acquire eligible Thoroughbreds through whatever source they choose, or can ride under contract for an owner. Eligible horses must have raced or had a published work on or after July 1, 2017 and must not have started retraining for a second career prior to December 1, 2018 other than a maximum of 15 allowable rides.
A record 794 trainers were accepted to compete during the initial application process, a 37 percent increase from 2017. The accepted trainers represented 40 states and the District of Columbia, plus three Canadian provinces
560 horses were entered by the Aug. 1 registration deadline. Taking into account last-minute scratches, 420 horses completed.
Thirteen teams are entered in the Starting Gate College Consulting Team Competition.
The most-raced horse entered in the competition had 111 starts. The highest money-earner had career winnings of $676,480.
Total number of horses entered in each discipline, as of Aug. 1: Barrels, 36; Competitive Trail, 77; Dressage, 182; Eventing, 128; Field Hunters, 50; Freestyle, 70; Polo, 16; Ranch Work, 63; Show Hunters, 173 (plus 13 team entries); Show Jumpers, 144 (plus 9 team entries).
Approximately 200 horses were entered in the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace.
More than 115 volunteers helped staff the competition.
We will accept trainer applications from Dec. 15, 2018, through Jan. 15, 2019.
Trainer approvals will be announced Feb. 1, 2019.
Horse eligibility rules will remain unchanged from 2018: horses must have raced or had a published work on or after July 1, 2017, and must not have started training in a second career before Dec. 1, 2018.
The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) held its fourth annual Thoroughbred Makeover this past week, October 4-7, 2018 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The 2018 RRP Thoroughbred Makeover had 23 Louisiana breds entered in the competition, more than double the number that competed in the 2017 event. This year Louisiana breds competed in Barrel Racing, Competitive Trail, Dressage, Eventing, Field Hunter, Freestyle, Ranch Work, Show Hunter, and Show Jumper disciplines.
Retired Louisiana bred thoroughbred racehorses showed up in the top ranks in many of the ten different disciplines represented with Interactif Spy earning the number one spot in the Show Jumper category. Interactif Spy, a 2013 gelding (Interactif—Runaway Spy, Mt. Livermore), was bred in Louisiana by D&F Horse Farms LLC, and ridden by Morgan Boyer, a professional from Stokesdale, North Carolina. On the racetrack, Interactif Spy started three times as a three-year-old, with one victory and a second place finish. He retired with racetrack earnings of $9,305.
While this year was Boyer’s first time competing at the RRP Thoroughbred Makeover, she has competed in the Eventing discipline up to the intermediate level on a thoroughbred. She now works as a professional alongside her mother at Blue Line Farm, with plenty of customers who own off-the-track horses in training.
“Honestly I don’t think they’re for everyone because they’re very forward thinking, but that translates very well to a working horse,” Boyer said of off-the-track thoroughbreds. “It translates incredibly well to eventing. They’re catty and athletic; they’re cooperative. They just have the brain to try really hard. They’re so, so smart.”
Another Louisiana bred, Delightfully, a 2014 mare (Redding Colliery—Like a Lover, Pleasant Tap), earned third place in the Freesytle discipline. Delightfully was bred in Louisiana by Columbine Stable, LLC, and ridden by Amy Lent, a professional from Versailles, Kentucky. Delightfully was unsuccessful in her one bid on the racetrack and retired with earnings of $1,230.
An unplaced Louisiana bred gelding Bazillion Bells (Calibrachoa-Zada Rae, by Unbridled’s Song), earned sixth place in the Eventing discipline for professional competitor Kaitlin Hartford of Callahan, Florida. Bazillion Bells was bred by Joseph Adcock.
Two competitors from Louisiana also made the trip to the Kentucky Horse Park. Brooke Miller, head trainer at Woodland Hills Equestrian Center in Carencro, La, competed Classy Clown in Show Jumping and Eventing. Classy Clown is a 2014 gelding by Tenpins– Lady Button Eyesby Belong to Me. He was bred by Ada K. White.
Sarah Alexis Rouse competed as a Junior on her Pirate Island in Show Jumping and Barrel Racing. Pirate Island is by Storm Day– Jaycor Pass, by Pikepass. The 2008 gelding’s breeder is Maurice W. Smith.
The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association (LTBA) sponsored a $2,500 cash prize for the top-placed Louisiana-bred at the competition.
“The Louisiana Thoroughbred Breeders Association continues to make an investment in the future of our thoroughbreds by helping our former runners secure a beautiful life after their time on the racetrack is done,” said Roger Heitzmann III, secretary-treasurer of LTBA. “We believe that by assisting the Retired Racehorse Project, former racers have the ability to show to others the true beauty of the Thoroughbred, as well as their continued usefulness.”
The Retired Racehorse Project announced October 2, a partnership with the 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, bringing together the most prestigious weekend of Thoroughbred racing in the United States and the premier showcase of off-track Thoroughbreds.
RRP organizes the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America, which takes place Oct. 4-7 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. The event features approximately 500 recently-retired Thoroughbreds competing in 10 different non-racing disciplines. Spectators vote for one overall winner among the 10 discipline champions, and that horse is crowned America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred.
The Breeders’ Cup World Championships takes place Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The best racehorses in the world compete for $30 million in purses and awards, culminating with the famed Breeders’ Cup Classic, which often portends Eclipse Champion Horse of the Year honors.
In addition to prize money and other merchandise, the rider of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred from the Thoroughbred Makeover will receive two tickets to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, where the recipient will be honored in the winner’s circle on Friday, November 2 between races. RRP will also be promoting Breeders’ Cup weekend to off-track Thoroughbred enthusiasts.
“We are honored to be partnering with the Breeders’ Cup to recognize the winner of this year’s Thoroughbred Makeover,” said RRP Executive Director Jen Roytz. “The Breeders’ Cup has long been the proving ground for the best racehorses in the world, and in recent years the Thoroughbred Makeover has earned the same reputation for the country’s top Thoroughbreds in their post-racing careers. For the Breeders’ Cup to show such dedication and support in celebrating these horses after they’ve run their last race is a testament to how much they respect and value these athletes through all phases of their lives.”
“We are delighted to partner with the Retired Racehorse Project in support of the Thoroughbred Makeover and to honor the winning rider of America’s Most Wanted Thoroughbred at this year’s World Championships,” said Craig Fravel, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “In just a short time, the RRP has become a remarkable success story in not only expanding the market for retired racehorses, but increasing value and demand for them at the conclusion of their racing careers.”
In addition to the competition, the Thoroughbred Makeover includes educational seminars and panel discussions focused on Thoroughbreds in second careers, as well as the Makeover Master Class, a demonstration featuring top trainers discussing how to select and restart an off-track Thoroughbred. The Makeover is also a premier opportunity for recreational or competitive riders to shop for horses, as approximately half of the entrants will be available for sale in the ASPCA Makeover Marketplace.
The event also includes an extensive Sponsor Fair and silent auction with racing memorabilia. All seminars are free and open to the public to attend, as are the initial rounds of Makeover competition on Thursday and Friday. The Makeover Finale, featuring the top five horses in each discipline, requires an admission ticket, which can be purchased online at www.tbmakeover.org/tickets.
All horses competing in the Makeover are listed online, along with their pedigrees, race records, breeder, and their racing connections at their last start. The list is searchable and can be sorted by state and sire. View entries at www.tbmakeover.org/entries.
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred racing’s year-end Championships. The Breeders’ Cup also administers the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The 2018 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 races (13 Grade 1 events) with purses and awards totaling more than $30 million, will be held November 2-3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., and will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, www.breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Retired Racehorse Project is a 501(c)3 charitable organization working to facilitate placement of Thoroughbred ex-racehorses in second careers by increasing demand for them in the marketplace and inspiring equestrians to provide the training that secures their futures. RRP offers online directories, educational resources, and publishes Off-Track Thoroughbred Magazine.