TAKE2, the program created in 2012 to promote second careers for retired Thoroughbred racehorses, today unveiled an expanded schedule for its 2013 season. Thirty-two horse shows in 17 different states have signed on to offer TAKE2 hunter and jumper classes, which are restricted to registered Thoroughbreds, and more shows could be added to the roster this year. The 2013 plan expands the program nationwide to include 10 of the 12 U.S. Equestrian Federation zones. The calendar opens at HITS Ocala in Ocala, FL, in mid-February.
“We are really pleased to be a part of the TAKE2 Program,” said HITS President and CEO Tom Struzzieri. “Ocala is the heart of horse country and is the perfect place to kick-off the season. With the Thoroughbred industry here, I think we will have a great response, and I believe we will see that the Thoroughbred hunter is alive and well in Ocala.”
In an effort to develop more opportunities for Thoroughbreds after their racing careers are over, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (NYTHA) last year partnered with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. (NYTB) to launch TAKE2. The program is designed to highlight the success of Thoroughbreds as show horses, and to reward those who compete on Thoroughbreds with awards and prize money in restricted divisions. TAKE2 sponsored classes at AA-rated horse shows in New York, New Jersey (where they were co-sponsored by the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and Monmouth Park) and Texas (co-sponsored by The Paddock Foundation) in 2012.
“It is of utmost importance to racing’s owners and trainers that our horses have the chance for happy and productive lives when they leave the track,” NYTHA President Rick Violette Jr. said. “In recent years, it has been harder to find homes for retired racehorses in the sport horse world, because the popularity of Thoroughbreds as hunters and jumpers has been on the decline. We believe TAKE2 is helping to reverse that trend. The program was met with remarkable enthusiasm last year, and horse shows have been eager to add the TAKE2 classes to their prize lists this year. It is also encouraging to discover how many riders, from the pony clubbers to Olympic-class horsemen, now look to the Thoroughbred when it’s time to shop for their next horse.”
In addition to funding the prize money and awards for the TAKE2 classes, the program will also sponsor the $1,500 TAKE2 Jumper Stakes at the three Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Shows this year. Invitations to the TAKE2 Jumper Stakes will be extended to the top four finishers in the TAKE2 Jumper classes in 2013, as well as those qualifying at Thoroughbred Celebration and its partner horse shows.
The entries for the 2012 TAKE2 classes included Thoroughbreds with royal bloodlines and those more humbly bred.
Star Street, a son of Empire Maker who was winless in 12 starts while racing under the name Open Space, blossomed in the show ring; he was named the TAKE2 Hunter Champion at both the Garden State Horse Show in New Jersey and the Skidmore College Saratoga Classic in upstate New York. Also competing at Skidmore was Past the Point, who ran a game second behind Horse of the Year Curlin in the $500,000 Woodward S. at Saratoga Race Course in 2008 and earned more than $400,000 at the track. Pennsylvania-bred Four’s A Charm, by the modest sire Private Key, lost all five of his races, but turned it around in his second career to be crowned the TAKE2 Jumper Champion at Garden State.
Hollywood Hero, by Arch, was unplaced in his only racetrack outing, but is excelling at his new career. He was awarded the TAKE2 Pre-Green Super Stakes Series bonus at the Autumn Classic Horse Show in Katy, TX. Another star on the Texas circuit was Cuba Libre, who captured a TAKE2 jumper class at the Southwest Classic in Tyler, TX. The 10-year-old grey made $20,320 while finishing second in two of three trips to the post as a racehorse. His racing name was Twenty One Dollars.
TAKE2 is open to all registered Thoroughbreds, raced or unraced, that are verified by The Jockey Club registration papers or lip tattoo number. The TAKE2 Hunter Division offers classes over fences and under saddle, with the fences at 3’0″. For the TAKE2 Jumper Division, fences are at 3’3″/1.0 meter.