• 1 Cathryn Sophia Top Midlantic-bred of 2016
  • 2 Jump racing an option for breeders
  • 3 Trusted advisor
  • 4 Speculate fueled lifelong passion of Bayard Sharp
  • 5 Victoreen
  • 6 Improved Laurel leads to chance of Breeders’ Cup
  • 7 Pensioners Update: The Looper and Lord Don
  • 8 Go for Wand makes magic for Jane duPont Lunger
  • 9 A Pennsylvania Nursery Legacy
  • 10 Give the Gift of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred
  • Cathryn Sophia Top Midlantic-bred of 2016

    Stellar Wind’s bid to repeat as the top horse bred in the mid-Atlantic fell just short. Instead, it is Maryland-bred Cathryn Sophia who earns the laurels as the Mid-Atlanic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred for 2016.
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  • Jump racing an option for breeders

    In November, I left the 2016 Colonial Cup Races steeplechase meet with one, two-word, thought. Melting Pot. Maybe it was leftover election rhetoric, but I thought about the 62 Thoroughbreds who ran in seven jump races and smiled – during a long drive north – about their heritages and the example they provided.
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  • Trusted advisor

    Mary Jo Pons, matriarch of Maryland's Country Life Farm, passed away on Monday evening, Jan. 1 at the age of 87. We remember her fondly with this small piece of Pons history from the September 2007 edition. As the matriarch of a large brood growing up on a working Thoroughbred nursery, Mary Jo Pons had watched a vast mélange of pets roam the grounds of her family's Country Life Farm over the years.
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  • Speculate fueled lifelong passion of Bayard Sharp

    In the 20th century, 63 runners bred in the Mid-Atlantic were named national champions. Mid-Atlantic Thor­oughbred takes a look at one of those luminaries. Among Bayard Sharp’s priorities after he graduated from the University of Virginia in 1940 was to buy land to pursue a foxhunting passion. He chose a property, sight unseen, in Middletown, Del. He then looked for horses to populate it. One of his first purchases launched more than 60 years of racing, and later breeding, achievements. Sharp spent $2,500 in late 1940 for a 4-year-old Virginia-bred gelding named Speculate owned by Sid Holloway. The son of the Ultimus stallion Westwick, bred by the late Capt. P.M. Walker and foaled at his Pagebrook Stud near Boyce, had competed exclusively in steeplechases, getting his first win that October in his sixth start. Turned over to noted jump rider and trainer William L. Passmore, Speculate carried Sharp’s colors for the first time in July 1941 at Saratoga, and won. The lanky brown gelding became Sharp’s first stakes winner when he took Saratoga’s Shillelah Steeplechase next out. In his first seven starts for his young owner, all with Tom Roby in the irons, Speculate never finished worse than second, five in stakes. By far his biggest score came in Belmont Park’s Grand National, the richest steeplechase race in the county, that October. The easy 6-length win was not only lucrative, it secured a national championship. The Grand National was the highlight of Speculate’s career, as he struggled with injuries and bad racing luck in his final four starts. After finishing third in the 1943 Shillelah at Belmont Park, he pulled up lame and never raced again. Sharp had other steeplechase stars, but soon shifted his stable to flat runners. His 39 stakes winners, many homebreds, included Grade 1 winner Mississippi Mud and her son, Dixieland Band, a multiple graded winner who excelled as a sire. An original director of Delaware Park and steward of The Jockey Cub, Sharp remained active with his horse interests until his death at 89 in August 2002.  
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  • Victoreen

    Her name is Victoreen. On paper, she’s completely unassuming. She was foaled in Oklahoma in 1989, sired by Victory Stride, a Maryland-bred son of Northern Dancer who was at that time being bred to Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse mares.
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  • Improved Laurel leads to chance of Breeders’ Cup

    They’re serious, OK? No, really. They mean it. For years, officials from the Maryland Jockey Club have talked about plans to renovate, improve and reinvigorate Laurel Park. The old track, they said, will become a gem, a destination, a place where old-fashioned racing fans and newcomers will come together to celebrate the Thoroughbred.
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  • Pensioners Update: The Looper and Lord Don

    Occassionally, we run into some of our Pensioners while we're out and about.
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  • Go for Wand makes magic for Jane duPont Lunger

    Go for Wand was the first Pennsylvania-bred to win a Breeders' Cup race (Juvenile Fillies in 1989). She won five consecutive Grade 1 races and seven Grade is overall from 13 starts for Delaware's Christiana Stables.
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  • A Pennsylvania Nursery Legacy

    In 2003, a Pennsylvania-bred juvenile named Smarty Jones first captured the attention of the racing world when he dominated the Pennsylvania Nursery.
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  • Give the Gift of Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred

    Send someone you cherish a gift subscription to the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred magazine, and we'll deliver award-winning photos, features, and stories from the races and beyond to their favorite reading chair every month.
    Read More
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Post Time

  • Worm’s eye view

    Worm’s eye view

    Under a striking autumn sky, Spartianos and Luis Garcia battle for position late in the Maryland Million Turf at Laurel Park Oct. 22. They finished second to Phlash Phelps in the $125,000 race. Scott Serio/EclipseSportswire
  • Red Sky at Night

    Red Sky at Night

    Ghost Hunter looks all right before loading in the gate for the Presque Isle Mile at Presque Isle Downs Sept. 18. He ran his winning streak to five in the $200,000 stakes. Coady Photography.
  • The shadow

    The shadow

    Convey, a mare at the Safely Home division of Dark Hollow Farm in Upperco, Md., stops the camera of Lucas Richardson during a summer visit. Richardson, who turns 9 on Oct. 11, won a blue ribbon in the Maryland State Fair photo contest for the image – judged the best in the Animals (black and white) division for photographers under age 16.
  • Big Sky Country

    Big Sky Country

    Laurel Park does its best Montana impression as a runner heads back to the barn in August. Jim McCue photo.
  • Pony Ride

    Pony Ride

    The day after her 600th win, Maryland-based jockey Forest Boyce (right, aboard July 2015 Pensioner on Parade My Lord) leads out some Green Spring Valley Hounds pony camp riders June 20. Boyce was joined at the head of the group by Maryland Hunt Cup winner Liz McKnight. Carol Fenwick photo
  • Family Portrait

    Family Portrait

    Ben’s Cat heads to the Pimlico paddock accompanied by his half-brothers Pair (left, Doug Leatherman aboard) and Hound (Kerry Hohlbein).Lydia A. Williams photo.
  • Hey, It's a Maryland-bred

    Hey, It's a Maryland-bred

    Sister Keys showed off her day-old baby Purple Rain (in honor of Prince, of course) at Seven Dots Farm in Butler, Maryland. Anne Litz photo.
  • Senior Moment

    Senior Moment

    Hansel, who won the Preakness Stakes 25 years ago, enjoys a regal retirement at Lazy Lane Farms in Virginia. At 28, the Virginia-bred is the oldest North American classic winner. Champion 3-year-old of 1991, he won the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and earned more than $2.9 million for Lazy Lane and trainer Frankie Brothers. Douglas Lees photos
  • Final Salute

    Final Salute

    The New Castle County (Del.) Police Department's mounted patrol unit stands at attention at the funeral of Harford County Sheriff's Senior Deputy Patrick Dailey in February in Maryland.
  • Snow Angel

    Snow Angel

    Retired champion Declan's Moon enjoys a roll in the snow from the blizzard of 2016 at Maryland's Country Life Farm. Ellen B. Pons photo.
  • Dawn Patrol

    Dawn Patrol

    Training starts with the sun at Fair Hill Training Center, and all around the region. Kathee Rengert photo
  • The Last Gallop

    The Last Gallop

    The Last Gallop. Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year American Pharoah enjoys his morning work at Keeneland before the Breeders’ Cup. Lydia A. Williams photo
  • Where's Waldo

    Where's Waldo

    Trainer Shug McGaughey’s exercise riders at Fair Hill Training Center are dressed for Halloween, but could pass for Santa’s elves too. The horses don’t seem to care. Kathee Rengert photo
  • Sky Riders

    Sky Riders

    Paris Vegas (right) and Gnostic head back to be unsaddled after a flat race at the Shawan Downs steeplechase meet Sept. 26. Trained by Elizabeth Voss, the Maryland-based stablemates finished first and third, respectively, for jockeys Jack Doyle and Gus Dahl. Lydia A. Williams photo.
  • Flying solo.

    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

    Fit for a King

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

    Smooth Sailing

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

    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

    Sidesaddle

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

    The Feet

    Hooves flash and fly on the turn at Laurel Park. Lydia A. Williams
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Top Midlantic-bred Poll with The Racing Biz

  • All Horses Stellar Wind (VA) Cathryn Sophia (MD) Al's Gal (PA) Tom's Ready (PA) Illuminant (PA)
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THE MILL 0117
Earnings through 12/31/2016

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")

Breeding:
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.

 

 

Say It Again

  • “When you come in and the water buckets and snaps are frozen, you have to question the sanity of what you’re doing.”
    Trainer Mike Lerman, who owns a house in Florida, about winter at Fair Hill Training Center
  • “What a machine, my friend. Give me a hug.”
    Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, to Noholdingback Bear’s groom, after the horse won the Gallant Bob at Parx Racing
  • “I thought I could beat Songbird. But, she’s a champion. I give her all the credit. If you chase, you’re just going to die. If you let her go, you can’t catch her.”
    Javier Castellano, about riding Cathryn Sophia against Songbird in the Cotillion
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Connections

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