• 1 Horses, and history, at The Meadow
  • 2 Evil Storm
  • 3 An uneasy balancing act
  • 4 Petrify: Sagamore's first homebred champion
  • 5 September 2015: All aboard a good horse for racing
  • 6 September 2015: Alexis's David
  • 7 Top Midlantic-bred Poll: August 21, 2015
  • 8 Mid-Atlantic bred horses make splash at Saratoga sale
  • 9 August 2015 Pensioner: Prospect Bay
  • 10 Mid-Atlantic gets its day in the Hall
  • Horses, and history, at The Meadow

    What became of Meadow Stud after the heady days of the 1970s? Until a few years ago, that remained the question, as the Doswell, Va., property underwent ownership changes, failed grand plans, decay and disrepair.
    Read More
  • Evil Storm

    As their kids are growing up, it’s not unusual for most parents to face the dilemma of unexpected pets. Puppies, kittens, hamsters, reptiles, etc. often become unplanned members of the family once Mom and Dad have been worn down by one too many choruses of “Can we keep him. . . pleeeeeeeze?”
    Read More
  • An uneasy balancing act

    Balance. It’s about balance. I get asked all the time how people in jump racing justify the danger, the potential for equine injury. First I say it’s not as dangerous as it looks. Then I talk about balance.
    Read More
  • Petrify: Sagamore's first homebred champion

    In the 20th century, 63 runners bred in the Mid-Atlantic region were named national champions. Mid-Atlantic Thor­oughbred takes a look each month at one of those luminaries.
    Read More
  • September 2015: All aboard a good horse for racing

    At some point, a good horse crosses over. You know the drill. He or she starts out belonging to the owner, the trainer, the jockey, the people in the barn. Then everybody gets on board. And everybody’s all in with American Pharoah.
    Read More
  • September 2015: Alexis's David

    By Maggie Kimmitt Alexis’s David never won a stakes race. He never set a track record, never made headlines, wasn’t sold for a hefty sum at auction. After his seven seasons on the track, he didn’t segue into a flashy second career in the show ring or hunt field.
    Read More
  • Top Midlantic-bred Poll: August 21, 2015

    Once again the voters in the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll were in strong accord: Dame Dorothy is the top older Midlantic-bred, and Stellar Wind is tops among three-year-olds.
    Read More
  • Mid-Atlantic bred horses make splash at Saratoga sale

    The Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale saw several pricey Mid-Atlantic bred horses go through the ring. Here are the sellers.
    Read More
  • August 2015 Pensioner: Prospect Bay

    Prospect Bay walks out of the barn at Larry Johnson’s farm in Bluemont, Va., and puts on a standard issue stallion show.
    Read More
  • Mid-Atlantic gets its day in the Hall

    Take a bow, South Carolina. Be joyous, Delaware. Stand up tall, Maryland. The National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony belongs to you, Mid-Atlantic Region.
    Read More

Racing News

Post Time

  • Flying solo.

    Millionaire Eighttofasttocatch, a 12-time stakes winner who retired from the track in December 2014 at age 8, shows off his new skill as an event horse, with a hot-air balloon as a backdrop, at the Maryland State Fair for rider Rumsey Keefe. ©Anne Litz Photo.
  • Fit for a King

    Monmouth Park went all out – including a custom-wrapped van – to welcome American Pharoah to the Haskell.
  • Smooth Sailing

    Madeline Murphy and Bonnie take a dip during the Green Spring Valley Hounds summer pony camp. Carol Fenwick photo.
  • Triple Vision

    American Pharoah sees all while getting a bath at Churchill Downs. Six days later, he became racing's 12th Triple Crown winner and first since 1978. Mary M. Meek/Eclipse Sportswire.
  • Sidesaddle

    Sean McDermott hangs on to Choral Society at the Queens Cup in North Carolina. Tod Marks.
  • The Feet

    Hooves flash and fly on the turn at Laurel Park. Lydia A. Williams
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Read This Next

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RRTP TBMakeoverNatSymp2013smThe Retired Racehorse Training Project has run successful challenge and makeover projects since 2009, pushing for more Thoroughbred competitions beyond racing and shining a light on the need for more efforts to help horses find careers beyond the racetrack.

It all moves another step forward next month with the first Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium at Pimlico Race Course Oct. 5-6. The event will provide the public appearance of the latest crop of Thoroughbreds to dive into the RRTP, 26 horses chosen by 26 trainers to teach, convert and showcase in a variety of disciplines from polo to eventing to steer roping. We will be highlighting the Makeover's Mid-Atlantic connections (bothhuman and equine) in the weeks leading up to October 5 and 6.

07-ZF-6641-18288-1-001Makeover Trainer: Jessica Bortner-Harris of Thurmond, NC

Jessica Bortner-Harris, a native of York, PA, rescued her first event horse off the track in 199, a 7 year old named Mr. Lincoln. Her love of Thoroughbreds, though, began as a teen when she visited the great Seattle Slew at Three Chimneys Farm. "It was like meeting your favorite sports player.  I was in awe." From then on, Jessica knew Thoroughrbeds would play a central role in her life as a rider. In 2005, Jessica bought Win the War from Charles Town Racetrack. She has retrained him, and he is currently successfully competing at recognized events at the Advanced/CIC*** level with hopes of going CCI*** this fall.

"Almost all of my own horses have been OTTBs."  Jessica retrains and Events from her base at Rocky Start Stables in North Carolina, and is also a popular writer for the blog Eventing Nation, where she discusses the dominant role of Thoroughbreds in the eventing world. "I love how quickly most of them catch on to their new jobs and give it their all.  They have huge hearts and are such try-ers.  Because of this, they make excellent candidates for Eventing.  Speed, endurance, scope, and heart are some very important things needed in Eventing." 

ReadJessica Bortner-Harris' Thoroughbred Makeover Blog

Thoroughbred in Training: PrettyHippHopHotty ("Hotty")

2007, CH , M, Bowman's Band-She's Pretty Too, by Housebuster
Bred in Pennsylvania by Toni M. Kirwan & Edward Hipps

Racing Career: 
Starts: 17 
Wins: 2 
Place: 0 
Show: 3 
Earnings: $45,938
Last Raced: Penn National, 6/6/2012

Jessica began the Thoroughbred Makeover with a West-Virginia bred mare named Horizontal Love, but "Sexy's" hooves were not holding up to training right off the track. Despite doing everything she could for Sexy, Jessica finally realized that her new off-the-track Thoroughbred just needed a little extra time off her feet. "I just don't want to take shortcuts and push her if she isn't ready." Wtih 34 days until the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium, Jessica chose PrettyHippHopHotty from her own stable with Steuart Pittman's blessing, a big chestnut mare that has only been in serious training for 10 months. "She has come a long way, and is currently eventing at the Novice level with the hopes of moving up to Training by the end of this season." With "Hotty", Jessica hopes to showcase what an ex-racehorse with a bit more training can do at Pimlico in October. 

Watch: Jessica and PrettyHippHopHotty school at home


More information on the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium.

Buy tickets to the Thoroughbred Makeover and National Symposium and receive free general admission to Jim McKay Maryland Million Day, October 19, 2013 at Laurel Park!

Follow the Retired Racehorse Training Project on Facebook and on Twitter.



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