Susan Salk reports on the October 14 CANTER New England Suffolk Showcase, in which 80 Suffolk Downs racehorses were featured. Thirteen went to new homes that day, another eight left shortly after, and more are purchased each day as the meet gets closer to its end. Because of Hurricane Sandy, racing at Suffolk on Monday, October 29 has been cancelled and rescheduled for Saturday, November 3. (Hey, that’s means there’s live racing at Suffolk on Breeders’ Cup Saturday!) Saturday is the last day of racing for 2012; horses must be off the grounds by November 14. Check the CANTER New England listings to see the horses available, and check frequently — at this time of year, listings change almost daily.
The 2012 Suffolk Downs meet ends on October 31, and CANTER New England will be helping move horses from the racetrack to second careers over the next three weeks. Those new jobs can be diverse:
“One of our buyers,” noted Montfort, “trained the horse for mounted skeet shooting. Hey, whatever works. The owner’s happy, and so is the horse. That’s all we’re looking for.”
Find your OTTB: Browse the CANTER listings.
Our Revival had a modest career as a racehorse — she won her maiden at Keeneland, and then won 10 more times in 34 starts, at tracks such as Tampa Bay and Suffolk Downs — but trainer John Botty remembered her well:
“She was like a street fighter. She mostly won off the pace. She didn’t mind dirt in her face, she relished it,” says Botty, who claimed her as a 3-year-old in 2003. “She was like Dustin Pedroia, never afraid to get dirty. Like Milan Lucic, not afraid to dig in the corners.”
Thank goodness, because when the mare turned up at auction in Texas, it was Botty — and a network of dedicated horse people — who ensured she ended up at Old Friends in Kentucky and not at a Mexican slaughterhouse.
Botty is also one of the many trainers at Suffolk Downs who work with CANTER New England to move horses from the track to a second career when their racing days are over. The organization’s annual end-of-the-meet showcase is scheduled for Sunday, October 14, beginning at 8:30 AM, and if you’re looking for a new jumper, eventer, or companion (or you know someone who is), be sure to put the Suffolk showcase on your calendar — it’s a chance to check out several horses up close and talk to their connections. Browse the listings of currently available horses; more will be added in coming weeks!
If you’re wondering what an off-track Thoroughbred is capable of, here’s just one success story of many: Unbridled’s Jewel, renamed The Tempest and pictured below with her owner and Susan Salk of Off-Track Thoroughbreds, was the star of a Steuart Pittman eventing clinic earlier this year, mere months after leaving the Suffolk Downs backstretch.
Are you coming to Suffolk Showcase on Sunday?
Looking for a new horse? The sixth annual Suffolk Showcase is this Sunday, October 23, at Suffolk Downs. From 9:00 AM to noon, visitors will have a chance to check out dozens of great thoroughbreds ready for new careers and ask questions of trainers and owners directly. Browse the CANTER New England listings to get a sense of what’s available. It’s no exaggeration to say there’s a horse for every rider — CANTER volunteers (including me) have been busy as the Suffolk meet winds down, cataloging horses athletic and adorable. Racehorses make terrific sporthorses and companions — as the success stories Susan Salk has been publishing on Off-Track Thoroughbreds prove, there’s little these athletes can’t do when they leave the racetrack.
There have been retirements, defections, and unexpected announcements, but the recent Breeders’ Cup news that’s most interested me is that Theyskens’ Theory is now a probable for the Juvenile Fillies. ‘Theory,’ a Bernardini-sired 3/4 sibling to 2005 juvenile champion Stevie Wonderboy, started her career with
three straight wins two wins from three starts before finishing third to Together and White Moonstone in the Fillies’ Mile. Trainer Brian Meehan, who hadn’t been talking about the BC for the buzz baby before that race at Ascot last month, much less a surface switch, said of the effort, “It was a good run, just not her best.” Maybe she’ll show that at Churchill Downs.
Keeneland president Nick Nicholson is succeeding Alan Marzelli as Equibase chairman at the end of the year. Dare to dream? It would be nice if the announcement heralded positive changes for the industry’s database going forward. Getting ahead of things, I started wondering what datasets I’d most like Equibase to make freely available in the way that Keeneland has its Polycapping database and sales results. All the Triple Crown races, of course, and the Breeders’ Cup races, as a group and by division. The Eclipse winners, as a group and by division. Pools, certainly, by track, by year, by wager type …
While watching Mr. McMillan direct every issue back to the rent being too damn high, it occurred to me that maybe this is just what we need in horse racing. Instead of analyzing to death all the nuances of the issues that plague our sport, maybe we need the single-mindedness of Mr. McMillan. Maybe, we need Mr. McMillan himself to be our leader. Maybe we need Mr. McMillan to head up a new movement called “The Takeout is Too Damn High!”
Racing already has a McMillan. Its name is HANA.
With the end of the Suffolk Downs meet fast approaching, many East Boston racehorses are in need of new careers. CANTER New England is holding its fifth annual Showcase this Sunday, October 24, on the Suffolk backstretch, from 9:00 AM to noon, for just that reason. Read this delightful OTTB success story, about how well a retired Suffolk thoroughbred adapted to life off track, and stop by to check out the dozens of jumper, riding, and pasture prospects that the hard-working CANTER volunteers have cataloged for this year’s event.