The Chronicle is pleased to introduce Allie Conrad as our newest blogger! Allie is executive director of CANTER Mid Atlantic, which provides retiring Thoroughbred racehorses with opportunities for new careers. Allie founded the organization in 1999 at Charles Town Racetrack (W.V.) after purchasing her beloved Thoroughbred Phinny, who had more than 60 starts at Charles Town, at the infamous New Holland Auction in Pennsylvania. A resident of Southern Pines, N.C., Allie also works full time as a project manager for a Washington, D.C., consulting firm. You can learn more about CANTER Mid Atlantic on their website, www.canterusa.org/midatlantic.
When I first approached the organizers of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event about CANTER awarding a prize to the highest-placed ex-racehorse, the response was one I run into a lot. Perhaps because I live and breathe Thoroughbreds and ex-racehorses, I found myself shocked, but the reality is that there are a lot of horse people who don’t realize quite how popular OTTBs (off-track Thoroughbreds) are, not only among those people on a budget, but also upper-level eventers.
“I think it’s a great idea, but I think you’ll be disappointed about finding someone to award it to—Rolex horses have all been purpose-bred for the sport of eventing,” I was told.
Couple that thought with the idea that jobs for OTTBs are diminishing with the loss of the long format, and…
I was pretty darn pleased when I was able to not only provide an education, but also really open an event organizer’s eyes with a list of all the Thoroughbreds that had competed at the just-then-completed 2010 Rolex competition. The list was pretty impressive and led to the organizer asking me to keep an eye out for a horse for her, AND getting permission to present an award at the 2011 Rolex CCI****.
I thought I’d use my first blog post for the Chronicle to highlight this year’s entrants, to show just how popular OTTBs are in the sport of eventing and prove that they aren’t just for horse shoppers on a budget.
In no particular order whatsoever:
St. Barths: ridden by Hannah Sue Burnett, was a co-winner of the inaugural CANTER Rolex Thoroughbred Achievement Award, presented by SmartPak, as the highest-placed OTTB. His Jockey Club name is “Red Track Shoes,” but he is now known as “Nike” around the barn. St. Barths did not race but was bred (and initially trained) for the racetrack.
Exponential: ridden by Jessica Phoenix, shared the CANTER award at this year’s Rolex CCI****. His Jockey Club name is “War Buckaroo” (by War Deputy out of Misspent Bucks). He raced 44 times, winning three times and bringing home $55,600 in earnings.
Icarus: ridden by Michael Pollard. His Jockey Club name is “I Just Want to Fly” (by Boundlessly, out of Suzan’s Silver). He is Iowa bred and raced four times with earnings of $540.
Anthony Patch: ridden by Laine Ashker. His Jockey Club name is “Alex’s Castledream” (by Castleguard out of Aimee Alexis), and he won a whopping $815 in 10 starts at Charles Town Racetrack. An additional interesting bit of information—“Alex” was sold through the CANTER Charles Town trainer listings in 2003.
Prowler: ridden by Susan Beebee. His Jockey Club name is “Kittoman” (by Turkoman out of Another Deposit). He raced 28 times with one win.
Hollywood: ridden by Kelly Sult. His Jockey Club name is “Mighty Reckless” (by Mighty Adversary, out of Reckless Knight). He raced 12 times with a windfall of $626 in winnings.
High Society: ridden by Jessica Hampf, is an Australian-bred Thoroughbred by Vain Karioi out of Test Bat. He ran seven times and was unplaced.
Parker: ridden by James Alliston. His Jockey Club name is “Eastside Park” (by Marquetry, out of Hello Mom), and he raced at Monmouth Park with 15 starts and just over $8,000 in earnings.
Shiraz: ridden and owned by Colleen Rutledge. His Jockey Club name is “Bold and Burley,” by Gallapiat out of Bold Blossom. He raced 14 times with 2 wins and just over $14,000 in earnings.
Sandhill’s Tiger: ridden by Hamish Cargill, is an Australian Thoroughbred and was originally known as “Danribot” (by Danzero and out of Sparkling). He is listed as starting 28 times.
Our Questionnaire: ridden by Heather Gillette, is registered as “Questionnaire,” a New Zealand Thoroughbred (by Westminster out of Strike a Pose). He had 13 starts and was placed.
Wonderful Will: ridden by Michael Pollard (shout out for keeping a Jockey Club name!), by Woodman and out of Shir Dar, raced 11 times, never placing and barely paying a day rate at $208 in winnings.
My Sedona: ridden by Jil Walton. His Jockey Club name is “Montana Hot Stuff” (Starbird Glacier—Past Noon) and he raced four times, ending his career at Turf Paradise with exactly zero dollars earned.
Gaelic Marriage: ridden by Martha McDowell. His Jockey Club name is “Gailic Marriage” (Husband out of Gail On The Run) and was unraced.
Exploring: ridden by Jessica Phoenix (by Discover and out of Sistene) raced twice with earnings of $185.
Gryffindor: ridden by Kristin Bachman. His Jockey Club name is “Budweise” (by Country Light out of Lani Molly), and he raced 26 times at Emerald Downs.
Titanium: ridden by Buck Davidson, is by Shuailaan out of Lost Silver, and ran 14 times. Word on the street is that this horse was purchased sight unseen by Buck!
There were 55 Rolex entrants this year. Seventeen of those were OTTBs! By my math (and those who know me realize that my impressive lack of skills in math is matched only by my lack of skills in walking on my own two feet), I’m pretty sure that’s over 30 percent, which is pretty darn cool. More soon!