Hosting its most competitive show to date, the Virginia Horse Center welcomed Thoroughbred ex-racehorses from Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, West Virginia and Virginia to the Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Show June 12-13, 2010. Considered to be the only two day Hunter/Jumper horse show series in the United States featuring Off the Track Thoroughbreds, the Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Shows strive to provide a venue through which the racing industry can transition racehorses into their second careers as show competitors. With the continued support of several racetracks and organizations such as Maryland Jockey Club, Pimlico Race Course, Fasig-Tipton, Suffolk Downs and Charlestown Races and Slots, each show now offers more than $5,000 in prizes and special awards, in addition to the $2,000 in prize money.

The $1,000 After the Finish Line Hunter Stake, generously sponsored by Dawn Mellen of California in honor of After the Finish Line, a funding non-profit for rescued Thoroughbred racehorses, was won by the 9-year old mare, Well Spent (formerly raced as All Game, a daughter of Game Quoit) with her owner/rider Krista Hodgkin of Virginia. The $1,000 Pennsylvania HBPA Jumper Stake was won by the 12-year old Pennsylvania-bred gelding, Stuck On You (formerly known as Mr. Stinky, a son of Judge Smells) with his owner/rider Liz Hansen Hinds of Virginia. Todd Mosteller and the Pennsylvania Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association were the generous sponsors of the Jumper Stake. At the June show, there were a dozen horses in attendance that were either bred or raced in Pennsylvania.

Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Shows welcomed jockey Thomas Foley for the weekend. Mr. Foley had raced aboard some of the horses in the show ring. One horse in particular, Cold Cat, a son of Skip Trial, who had 40 lifetime starts, was his mount in the 2001 Grade 2 Foxbrook Stake. Cold Cat qualified and placed fourth in the $1,000 Pennsylvania HBPA Jumper Stake with his owner/rider Rebecca Smith of Virginia. Mr. Foley has written a book, The Simple Game, due to be published this year, about his reflections on horse racing. He played Secretariat’s exercise rider, Jimmy Gaffney, in the soon to be released movie, Secretariat.

Mr. Foley donated a beautiful leather halter from the movie with “Secretariat” engraved on the nameplate, along with several autographed photos and books to the silent auction. Another feature item in the silent auction was a Zenyatta jersey, signed by her trainer Bill Sharriff and jockey Mike Smith, and donated by Dawn Mellen. The bidding was active at the silent auction tables and $1,300 was raised for the Thoroughbred rescue non-profit, After the Finish Line.

Special Awards included: Hunter Style Award - In Tandem, owned by Paula Haughey and ridden by Billie Rae Croll. The award was sponsored by Sarah Starr of Pennsylvania in honor of her OTTB Wedonit. Jumper Style Award - Pam’s Thunder, owned by Sarah Warmack of Hilltop Farm and ridden by Andra Simons. The award was sponsored by North Shore Designs and Tom & Nancy Ginaven. Most Recently Off the Track - Bubba’s New Nikes, owned by Willow Brook Stables of Pennsylvania. Bubba’s last race was June 2, 2010. He also received the Youngest Horse Award, having just turned three May 7, 2010. Bubba competed in the Fasig-Tipton Model Class. Oldest Horse - G.Q., age 21, owned by ESP Farm of Maryland and ridden by Rebecca Smith to the Saratoga Jumper Championship. The award was sponsored by Hannah Ong of Maryland in honor of her retired OTTB R Huey. Youngest Rider - Madison McKinsey, age 12. Oldest Rider - Richard Rozek, age 62 and winner of the Blue Horse Charities Pleasure Walk/Trot class aboard The Full Monty. People’s Choice Award - Polish Huckleberry, owned by Billie Rae Croll and ridden by Samantha Port. Sportsmanship Award - Katie Gardner.

Join the Virginia Horse Center in celebrating Thoroughbred ex-racehorses at the final show of the 2010 “Triple Crown” series, November 20-21, 2010. The prize list and time schedule can be found at Complete results from all of the shows can be found at Stay in stride with activities leading up to the November show on Facebook: Thoroughbred Celebration Horse Shows.

Photo credits: 1) Danny Young, Action Shots Photography (Photos of Well Spent, Stuck On You and Cold Cat)
More show photos can be found on his website:
2) Nicole Lenderking Photography (Pennsylvania Bred/Raced Photo)
More “behind the scenes” photos can be found on her website: