By Dick Jerardi
The PTHA’s Turning for Home program was well represented at last week’s Retired Racetrack Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. According to TFH program administrator Danielle Montgomery, 27 TFH horses were originally scheduled to be in the retraining competition, including Barrels, Dressage, and Show Jumping among the ten disciplines. In actuality, 17 TFH horses did compete, and seven made the top ten in their disciplines.
According to Montgomery, the typical attrition rate is 45 percent from the original schedule, but it was even higher this year due to Covid. So, the TFH horses competed at a higher percentage than many other retraining entities that typically bring horses from half the states in the USA, several Canadian provinces, and sometimes from other countries.
Gumdrop’s Chiclet raced just five times from January to
November 2020. The Pennsylvania-bred showed some speed in a few of her races for Bob Hutt’s Uptowncharlybrown Stud LLC and trainer Eddie Coletti, but just wasn’t really competitive, losing those starts by a combined 144 lengths.
Great supporters of the TFH program, the owner and trainer made the decision to retire her with TFH. Gumdrop’s Chiclet, now ridden by Kaitlin Hartford of Full Gallop Farm in Aiken, South Carolina, was retrained and has found disciplines where she can compete. She finished an impressive fourth in Eventing, where she will continue to train up the levels, and eighth in Barrels at the TB Makeover. Uptowncharlybrown progeny are becoming much sought after as natural jumpers, and we can look forward to Downtowncharlybrown entering to compete in 2022 with Hannah Freeman.
One of the main ideas behind TFH is to give retired race horses a chance at second careers. The horses initially go to partner farms and eventually find permanent owners. The TB Makeover is the perfect forum to demonstrate what they have learned.
Southern Kisses raced 63 times from April 2015 to November 2019, with all but six of those races at Parx. The Pa – bred had four wins, seven seconds and 11 thirds with earnings of $222,075. Trainer Joe Taylor had the horse at two different stages of his career. When it became obvious in late 2019 the horse could no longer compete, Southern Kisses was retired to Turning for Home. A9-year-old, Southern Kisses, now named “Pirate” due to his eye having been removed, is doing quite nicely in his second career, and remarkably executed a ninth-place Competitive Trail pattern and decent Dressage performance under the patient training of professional Kate Rakowski.
Cinco Y Cinco began his career at Hawthorne in Chicago on Dec. 2, 2012 and ended it March 14, 2020 at Penn National. The majority of his 77 races came at Parx, as did much of his $300,489 in earnings.
The horse finished his career with trainer Ronald Abrams and was retired with TFH Partner Nina Lyman of TRRAC at Maui Meadow Farm. Now 11-years-old, Cinco Y Cinco finished 20th for Nina, who competed with her husband Charlie to showcase warhorses in Competitive Trail.
D’yer Mak’er, who had several different trainers through his 36-race career, which included $157,848 in earnings, finished an elegant fifth in Freestyle and seventeenth in Dressage at the TB Makeover. Trainer Everton Smith and owner Lee Stable had the horse for the final race of his career on Dec. 23, 2019. That the New York -bred ended his career at Parx was providential. Just about everybody at Parx values the Turning for Home program and what it does for retired racehorses. When the horse is ready, so is Turning for Home.
Star Player ran five times from the fall of 2019 until early winter 2020 at Parx for trainer Lupe Guerrero and owner Emerald Field Farm. The horse had raced in New Jersey and Florida before coming to Parx and getting claimed by Guerrero. Star Player won once for his new connections but was not particularly close in his other four races. So he was retired to TFH and became the Top Team horse in Eventing at the TB Makeover. Lupe also had retiree Bluegrass Demon compete in Dressage.
Poised for Action lived up to his name, running 34 times from October 2015 to June 2019, mostly at Parx for trainer John Servis. The horse was claimed in October 2018 by trainer Patricia Farro and Vaccaro Racing Stable. Poised for Action won $206,718 in his career, but when it was clear he was no longer competitive, his owner and trainer made the decision to retire him to TFH.
Poised for Action loves his second career so much that he was second in Working Ranch and eighth in Competitive Trail at the TB Makeover for adopter Mike Leverette. Watching an ex-racehorse cut
cattle and show Western is always fun to watch. Kelly Lupton of KL Sporthorses helped with the adoption.
Since its inception in 2008, Turning for Home has found new homes for more than 3,200 retired racehorses. And many of those horses have not only found new homes, but new careers which are showcased in wonderful events like the Thoroughbred Makeover.