Talk Show Man. Phlash Phelps. Eighttofasttocatch. Roadhog. Admirals War Chest. Whether you bet on them, cheered for them, smiled when you spotted their names in the Maryland Million Souvenir Guide’s pages, snapped pictures as they left the winner’s circle or just simply loved them, they’re just a handful of the greats whose names ring synonymously with Jim McKay Maryland Million Day.
With more than one Maryland Million victory, each took his connections on the ride of a lifetime with every trip around the Laurel Park track on Maryland’s Day at the Races, leaving a new wave of fans, home-state pride and memories. Though their racing days are behind them, the Maryland Million fan favorites continued their legacies of success as retired racehorses enjoying new careers.
Talk Show Man Dr. Michael Harrison’s homebred Talk Show Man started his career on the dirt back in 2013 as a 3-year-old, but there was no denying that he found his true stride on the turf.
Despite a fifth in his Maryland Million debut in the 2013 Classic, the Maryland-bred son of Great Notion demolished any doubts when he returned the following year to have the last word in the Turf as he finished a half-length ahead of Ben’s Cat, already a three-time Turf Sprint winner, and Roadhog, a two-time Turf winner.
The Hamilton Smith trainee returned for another attempt in the Classic in 2015 to finish fourth, 12 lengths behind winner Admirals War Chest, before switching back to the Turf in 2017, where he finished a hard-fought third, just a head behind winner Spartianos.
In 2018, the 8-year-old made his last Maryland Million start, in the Turf as he spoiled two-time Turf winner Phlash Phelps’ bid for a record third victory as he passed him in deep stretch to win by a half-length.
The hard-knocking gelding returned in 2019 to make two starts in the spring and early summer before going home to Harrison’s Willowdale Farm in Butler, Md., for a well-deserved break. The plan was to get back to racing. Well, until Talk Show Man decided otherwise.
“He sort of made the decision of whether he was going to go back or not on his own, when one morning I went out to feed and noticed he had some filling in one of his front legs,” said Harrison. “It turned out to be a mild bowed tendon but in my mind that was enough. I’ll never know what actually occurred, but that sort of for me said, ‘It’s retirement time.’”
Officially retired Oct. 6, 2019, the multiple stakes winner left behind a career record of 40-8-2-7 with $456,556 earned. Harrison planned to let the horse enjoy a quiet life on the farm. But plans changed when Lindy Gutman, a veterinary client of Harrison’s for nearly 15 years, came into the picture to pitch a different idea.
With her off-track Thoroughbred Fullback on layup at Willowdale while being treated for rotating abscesses, Gutman’s curiosity got the best of her one day at the barn as she asked Harrison, “So what are you going to do with Talk Show Man?”
Gutman asked about taking the horse to the Retired Racehorse Project’s Thoroughbred Makeover. She was patient as Harrison did his research and mulled the idea. Just a couple months later, she received the answer she’d been hoping for, as Harrison sent a text message: “Let’s talk about your plans for Talk Show Man. His leg looks great.”
Gutman was pretty blunt.
“First of all, let me tell you that you could find a better trainer for this horse,” she said to Harrison. “I’m just an amateur that’s farting around, I’m sure there are a lot of people that would like to take this horse.”
Harrison trusted Gutman, who took Talk Show Man to a farm just four miles down the road from Willowdale, in late November 2019. They began with ground work and walking under saddle as Talk Show Man, nicknamed “Riley,” continued to recover from his tendon throughout the rest of 2019 before slowly moving into regimented flat work at the beginning of 2020. Racehorse and off-track Thoroughbred trainer Jazz Napravnik rode him first, but quickly passed the reins to Gutman.
“I started out just flatting him a little bit. We do have an indoor and I am a huge trail rider, so I just started taking him out really close to the barn. I could flat him for 10 or 15 minutes, then I’d have a little loop I could do that was sort of a 15-minute round trip, which included some pretty good hills, so I think we really got to know each other out hacking, not in the ring,” said Gutman. “I took him off property from the very, very beginning. That horse has literally been in the trailer twice a week, probably from the 90-day mark since I got him.”
With a healthy mix of lesson work in the ring, on the flat and over fences, with trainers Napravnik and Katie Fitzpatrick, along with trips off the farm and trail rides, Talk Show Man blossomed as he prepared for the Makeover and continued to do so even after the news broke that the competition at the Kentucky Horse Park would be postponed until Oct. 17-21, 2021.
“I had a huge advantage in that last October, I had a horse that was a coming 10-year-old to take to the Makeover and a lot of other people had 3, 4, 5-year-olds, so I had a mature horse. I didn’t have to deal with the things that come along with having a young horse, so last October I was readier than I’d ever been,” said Gutman. “When they postponed I knew it was going to be harder for me because now everybody in my competition year has had another year, so everybody’s horse is older and they’ve had another year of training. I think everybody will have caught up but that’s OK. I’m going and I have an unbelievable horse that’s going to come home with me, that gets to stay with me and we can continue to be 2’6” amateurs.”
In the interim, Gutman and Talk Show Man have added to their resume, including: riding through obstacle courses, herding cattle (in an English saddle), walking hounds, delving into foxhunting, riding in paper chases, trying sidesaddle, participating in an international Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association training program, submitting a show-jumping round as competitors in the virtual Real Rider Cup, competing in local hunter shows and sweeping quite a few divisions at this year’s MidAtlantic Horse Rescue All-Thoroughbred Show in May, including leadline with Fitzpatrick’s 4-year-old daughter.
“I have not found anything that he is not a fan of yet. He has a super work ethic and he’s very brave. He knows he’s important and he likes to be treated like he’s important and he likes everything. Every time we do something different, he just goes and does it,” said Gutman. “He wants to work. I don’t think he’d be as appreciative if I was the kind of rider that took him in the ring and we did show hunters all the time, and we stayed in the ring and didn’t go hack around. He’s as game in life as he was on the racetrack, in that he just has that, ‘What are we doing today?’ kind of attitude.”
For this year’s Mega-Makeover, which includes the classes of 2020 and 2021, Gutman entered Riley in the show-hunter division with field hunters as their second choice. Though the original agreement between Harrison and Gutman had been that Talk Show Man would return to Willowdale after the Makeover, the bond between the special homebred and his new rider has shown Harrison that he’s exactly where he belongs.
“If he has issues or anything else he has to come back to me and I’ll stay involved and cover some of the maintenance and routine things for healthcare and so forth, but she’s done a fantastic job and she’s very kindly shared images and updates, which keeps me really in the loop and honestly gives me tremendous satisfaction and enjoyment to see that,” said Harrison. “He was a special horse and special to a lot of people, and we need to be responsible for them and do the best we can, so I’m very happy with how his second career has come about and how he’s doing with it.”
A horse lover and racing fan since she was young, Gutman has found immense pride in promoting the versatility and talent of retired racehorses with her first off-track Thoroughbred, as she has documented their journey on the “Talk Show Man – Our Adventures on the Road to the Makeover” Facebook page and through a blog on JumperNation.com.
“It’s like the coolest feeling that this horse likes me, he really likes me, and he likes the way I ride him and he likes me on the ground, and last October, we didn’t have the relationship yet,” said Gutman. “I think he’s not the kind of horse who gives it up right away. Now he does, but I think that’s because he’s come all the way down. He’s friendly as can be to everybody, but a year ago he was probably still a little reluctant to let you see his soft side and now that’s just who he is, he’s just that sweet.”
Ever since exercise rider Sabrina Morris first met Hillwood Stable’s Phlash Phelps in 2014, she knew he was special. And she knew she’d take him home someday.
Bred by Carol Kaye, the bay son of Great Notion was purchased by Hillwood’s Ellen Charles as a yearling for $85,000 at the 2012 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall sale. He made one start as a 2-year-old and five as a 3-year-old before breaking his maiden on the turf at Pimlico, as a 4-year-old in April 2015. He continued on a winning streak with an allowance win the following month, followed by a half-length victory in the Find, his stakes debut, before making his Maryland Million debut in the Turf that fall.
Phlash Phelps faced off against Turf veteran Roadhog, already a two-time winner of the 1-mile stakes, and won by three-quarters of a length. The result was much the same in 2016, the Rodney Jenkins trainee’s 5-year-old year, as he picked up a second consecutive Turf victory.
After a single start in 2017, a win in the Mister Diz Stakes and an injury that took him out for the rest of the season, Phlash Phelps returned for the 2018 Maryland Million Day in hopes of securing a record third win in the Turf. He fought hard and gained a short lead nearing the sixteenth pole, but couldn’t hold off Talk Show Man’s late run.
“Mrs. Charles and Rodney and Eveline [Kjelstrup] have basically all known since the time he was a 3-year-old that I absolutely adored the horse. Every year we joked that he won another stake or he did something else good and I’d be like, ‘Well, guess it’ll be another year before I can get to take him home,’ ” said Morris. “When they finally decided to retire him, they were pointing him to the Maryland Million and he was training fine but not fantastic and he’s a little bit of a difficult horse because he wants to go out and train hard every day and you kind of can’t let him.”
Phlash Phelps made three winless stakes starts in 2019 before Morris got the call.
“Rodney called me one day before work, it was actually that early, and told me to bring my trailer and said I was taking Phlash home,” said Morris. “That’s how the conversation went. It wasn’t like, ‘Hey do you want him?’ It was like, ‘Bring your trailer, bring your horse home.’ ”
Late that summer, Morris brought Phlash Phelps home to Another Round Farm, her facility in Westminster, Md. He retired as a multiple stakes-winning 8-year-old with seven wins, four seconds and four thirds from 24 starts, with $434,801 in earnings. But most importantly to his connections, he retired sound.
He had to re-learn how to be a “horse on the farm” as he was turned out in a five-acre field with a small herd of geldings, including a Welsh Cob pony who was quick to befriend the nearly 18-hand retiree. The plan was to let Phlash Phelps enjoy his downtime as he acclimated to new surroundings, while Morris waited until he let her know that he was ready to start training for his second career. With years of experience in the racing industry and as an event rider/trainer who has retrained many off-track Thoroughbreds, Morris had patience on her side.
“One day one of the girls that works for me was still here when I got home from the track in the morning and she was like, ‘Something’s wrong with Phlash. He’s just screaming his head off and walking around his stall, he’s acting like he’s really upset about something,’ ” said Morris. “So I walked into the barn and I was like, ‘Whatcha doin’, buddy?’ and he started screaming at me, which is normal, he’s a very vocal horse.”
Morris knew the issue. He wanted to go to work.
The work began last January, though it was put on pause from February through the spring as Morris recovered from ankle surgery and her students took over some of his exercise. By the end of the summer, Morris was back in the saddle and had him on a serious schooling schedule.
As they’ve worked their way up to competing in local eventing shows, Morris has discovered that the 10-year-old Maryland-bred isn’t the biggest fan of cross country, but enjoys showjumping and dressage, which she’s entered him in for this year’s Mega-Makeover.
“From being a racehorse for so long, he still had all of his musculature that was developed for racing and it has taken a decent amount of time for him to develop a different set of muscles,” said Morris. “I’ve had several older racehorses and they have to do that, they have to go through that phase. Now things are a bit easier for him because he has been able to adjust and have a better musculature for the dressage work, for the jumping. At this point the level of stuff that he’ll be doing is well within his wheelhouse. I am more interested in doing what makes him happy, what he enjoys doing, than necessarily kind of going up the levels and seeing how high and how far he can go.”
As the horse’s main exercise rider at the track, Morris was accustomed to his opinionated and stubborn mindset, with a knack for leaping into the air, being more than full of himself while getting saddled in the paddock and being spatially sensitive to other horses on the track during morning training. The quirks intrigued Morris.
Morris has a feeling Phlash Phelps will enjoy the atmosphere of the Mega-Makeover, an overnight show at a large venue, as a horse who likes “thinking he’s the center of attention.” The pair have competed at local dressage schooling shows and smaller jumper schooling shows in preparation for the trip to Kentucky. His regular jockey Victor Carrasco even visited during one of his outings.
Though competing in the Mega-Makeover has been the ultimate goal, Morris also hopes to educate and inspire others.
“It’s ridiculous how many people see a 5-, 6-, or 7-year-old that’s just starting into a different career and they think it’s too old. They’re sound, they’re mentally stable, they’re horses that still have plenty to offer someone, but people have to change their mindset a little bit,” said Morris. “Yes, Phlash is kind of a local celebrity, but he shows what a good Maryland-bred can do and that we have a good breeding program that [produces] horses that have longevity that can be retired sound and be able to be functional and do something and still have a good athletic career, even if it’s not at the highest level.”
After their adventure in Kentucky, Morris will bring Phlash home, where he’ll spend the rest of his life being her partner, teaching her students a thing or two and otherwise enjoying life on the farm.
“He’s such a loud personality but he’s a unique horse and the fact that everybody knew him, I think that’s what was so special to me. He still does some of the very same things and then other things he’s very different about now, and it’s just very comfortable. He was a horse that every year I obviously looked forward to riding, to kind of pick up where our relationship left off,” said Morris. “It’s kind of a joke I have, and all the girls know that, they know he’s basically a pet. He’s very happy and Rodney can tell the horse is happy and that I’m happy, and obviously the horse is never going anywhere, I mean he’ll live in my living room if he needs to.”
When Sylvia Heft’s Eighttofasttocatch stepped onto the track for the post parade ahead of the 2014 Maryland Million Classic, all of the minute details of the big day at Laurel faded away as the weight of the test ahead took center stage. The glistening chestnut son of Not For Love entered the Maryland Million starting gate for the fifth time as he aimed to make history with a record third score in the Classic.
He made his first Maryland Million start in 2010, a third in the Turf as a 4-year-old, before switching back to the dirt the next year to win the Classic. The Tim Keefe trainee tried again in 2012, but only managed to finish fifth in the six-horse field, until he re-established his dominance with a victory in 2013.
Eighttofasttocatch’s attempt at a third Classic came with pressure for his people, but to the 8-year-old gelding, it was just another trip around his home track. Reunited with jockey Forest Boyce, who had moved her tack to Fair Grounds but returned home for Maryland Million Day, Eighttofasttocatch assumed his regular position in the lead and held it as he went on to win by 4 1/2 lengths over Concealed Identity and wrote himself into the Maryland Million history books.
It was not only historic but sentimental, as it was the Maryland-bred’s second-to-last start in his final season at the track, his final start on Maryland Million Day and his first victory since Heft’s husband Arnold, a co-owner, passed away that March.
That December, Eighttofasttocatch won his fourth consecutive Jennings Handicap to retire a millionaire, capping a 49-start career with a record of 17-7-4 and $1,072,970 earned, nearly 23 times the $47,000 the Hefts paid for the yearling at the 2007 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic fall sale. In 29 stakes starts, including a second in the 2013 Pimlico Special-G3, the chestnut bred by Dark Hollow Farm and Herringswell Stables won 12.
Given to Keefe and his wife Rumsey upon retirement, Eighttofasttocatch took a few last laps around the shedrow Dec. 14, 2014, before heading to the Keefes’ Avalon Farm in Montgomery County, Md., to enjoy some downtime through the winter.
“I’ve always taken horses off the track, but yeah especially someone that special, who’s run that long and [was] that hardy, to come back and do another career, that was neat,” said Rumsey. “It was difficult to change because he’d spent nine years on the track, so just trying to get him used to being turned out and into a different routine was a little tough.
“At the racetrack, he had a goat that he loved and the goat did not come back to the farm with him, the goat stayed there, and I had this old broodmare who’s good company, she doesn’t get attached to whoever she’s with and that’s who he ended up turned out with. They were in a situation where they had access to a stall 24/7, so they could go in and out, and she just kind of taught him how to be a pasture animal.”
By spring 2015, Rumsey, an accomplished three-day event rider, started working “Catcher” into his new life as an eventing prospect. Peter Brown-Whale, his regular exercise rider at the track, was the first to take him out for a few rides around the farm before Rumsey took over and began working him into a new routine.
“The hardest thing was extending the length of time that you’d be on him. I wouldn’t say he’s barn sour but he definitely was cued into going out to work, doing his thing, then coming back to see his goat. But here, I had to take my time and do a lot of hacks,” she said. “I do it with a lot of my horses but especially with him. I made sure I walked in our woods for 20 minutes, then I came to the ring and I did 20 minutes of work, and I didn’t go right back to the barn, [instead] I extended and tried to walk farther out. Even sometimes when I was riding him out in the field, it took me awhile just to be able to ride out in the field sort of by myself without him being a real bundle of nerves.”
She took things day-by-day, slowly building his self-confidence as she added more to each ride, before taking him on his first outing late that July, a twilight event at Loch Moy Farm in Adamstown, Md., as they started seriously preparing for the Thoroughbred Makeover in the fall. Amidst outings to other local events, Rumsey brought Eighttofasttocatch to the Timonium infield for a special demonstration during the Maryland Horse Infield Fest that September. Ninth in the eventing discipline at the 2015 Makeover, Rumsey continued to show Catcher as they competed at the beginner novice and novice levels before her daughter Ryan took over in October 2016, where they moved up the ranks to novice training and even tried a bit at the preliminary level through the summer of 2018.
“He could do the cross country but the showjumping, staying on a 12-foot stride and behaving himself and having to really use himself up over oxers, was a little harder on his back. His Achilles heel was some back issues,” said Rumsey.
The following summer, after Rumsey had started getting Eighttofasttocatch back into condition after he recovered from a splint, the Keefes reached out to see if Boyce would be interested in taking him to her family’s farm in Fallston, Md., to see if he might like to try foxhunting. Without hesitation, Boyce agreed, and picked up her new mount Aug. 26, 2019.
“I just always knew he was the type of horse that wanted a job, he didn’t just want to sit around and be a pet, but I didn’t need to be competing at the lower levels and my younger daughter wasn’t quite ready for him,” Rumsey said. “He always loved going out trail riding, just going out and about, and he didn’t initially need to be schooled and drilled, so I asked Forest if she would try him as a foxhunter.”
Now in his third season as a foxhunting mount for Boyce, and occasionally her mother, sister and even 13-year-old nephew, Eighttofasttocatch continues to excel during their time out with Elkridge-Harford.
“He’s actually one of the strongest horses I’ve ever had to hold, getting to the pole in the morning, you know to breeze him [at the track], and when they told me, ‘Oh yeah, we’re eventing him,’ I was like, ‘Y’all are crazy, this horse is so strong,’ and it’s amazing how different they are once you get them away from the track. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be able to foxhunt him in a snaffle,” said Boyce. “He took to [foxhunting] so well, like a fish to water. Most foxhunting people had told me, ‘Oh a horse that’s evented normally won’t like to foxhunt because they’re very brave, they don’t really want to stay behind other horses,’ and he loves it. Every now and then, if another horse kind of gives him a funny look, he’ll run on past them, it’s really cute.”
Now 15, Eighttofasttocatch will stay with Boyce and her family for as long as they have a use for him, and when that chapter comes to an end, he’ll return home to Avalon.
“He was so good to me so I’m just trying to keep him as happy as I can. He likes being ridden out, so that’s what we do,” said Boyce. “He’s absolutely wonderful.”
To this day, Dale Schilling still has the replay of the 2013 Maryland Million Turf saved to his phone and every once in a while he’ll pull it up to watch the battle between Roadhog and Ben’s Cat down the stretch. In the end, Schilling’s homebred Roadhog pulled away and won by a neck to upset the three-time Turf Sprint winner’s bid for a fourth consecutive Maryland Million victory.
“It was definitely the highlight of our racing career. We’ve had some other nice horses but he’s special. He was born here, I remember driving down to Maryland to breed [his dam] to Bowman’s Band. He was just a tough, tough horse,” said Schilling, who races under the Ellendale Racing banner with his wife Ellen Lea.
That race was the Pennsylvania-bred’s third start in the Turf on Maryland Million Day, following a seventh in 2011 as a 4-year-old and a win over Change of Command the following year.
Roadhog, trained by Ned Allard in his debut season in 2010 as a 3-year-old before he was switched to Lizzie Merryman for the rest of his career, would make two more runs in the Maryland Million Turf. In 2014, he finished third behind Talk Show Man, who beat runner-up Ben’s Cat by a half-length. In a final attempt in 2015, 8-year-old Roadhog was unable to catch Phlash Phelps, who hit the wire three-quarters of a length ahead.
The next year, the veteran made two winless starts in the summer before being retired in late July. He returned to Willow Lake Farm in Bucks County, Pa., with a record of 44-10-9-6, including six stakes wins, and $670,264 earned.
“He was getting older and we didn’t want to get him hurt,” said Schilling. “He’d given us his best and I knew he’d be great at this job, running the farm.”
Roadhog settled easily into life on the farm, where he was used occasionally as a trail horse though his main job has always been to serve as a babysitter of the younger horses.
“Every baby, every horse that comes through here that needs calmin’ down, we put them out with him, he’s terrific,” said Schilling. “He’s here in the backyard, [right now] he’s with a Temple City filly, a yearling. As soon as we wean we put the weanlings right with him, never a hair is turned. He’s tops.”
His only flaw may be that he’s too smart for his own good, exemplified by the unfortunate occasions when he loses his halter and won’t let his owners catch him.
“If he sees us coming out to do anything to the horses, worm them, vaccinate them, he’s like, ‘You’re not getting me today,’ ” Schilling said. “He’ll stand right there but won’t let you get him. If you come out with mints or to bathe him, he’ll stand there and he’s fine, but he’s sly.”
For Merryman, the biggest reward is knowing one of her top trainees, one she galloped most of his career at the track, is enjoying retirement.
“He was a really neat horse with a great personality that was just fun to be around and fun to ride. I galloped him a lot myself through his career and he had a very unique personality, very much wanted things his way, and he and I got along quite well,” she said. “He retired at 9 because his form was tailing off. It was sad to see him leave the barn, but I was happy that he was going out sound. I get pictures of him all the time and I went out to visit him one time, and he just looked like, ‘Hey mom,’ he’s just a real character. It’s fun to see him because he’s just a big, massive, lovely horse.”
Now five years retired from the track, the 14-year-old still enjoys the occasional gallop across the grass, which remains his surface of choice. “Say it’s fall and we have late yearlings, the yearlings will take off and Roadhog catches them every time,” said Schilling. “Oh yeah he can giddy up, he loves to still run with them, it’s great.”
Admirals War Chest
When Admirals War Chest delivered an impressive gate-to-wire triumph in the 2016 Maryland Million Classic, he became the fifth back-to-back winner of the Classic as he joined the likes of Timely Warning (1990-91), Algar (1997-98), Docent (2002-03) and Eighttofasttocatch (2011, 2013-14). The victory was the epitome of what Maryland Million Day represented, as he returned to the winner’s circle to be celebrated by his owner/breeder Dr. Stephen Sinatra, also the owner of the gelding’s sire Elusive Charlie, standing at Sinatra’s Berkley Training Center in Darlington, Md.
The history-making score followed his stakes debut in the 2015 Classic, where Admirals War Chest managed to outlast a late run from Bullheaded Boy to win by a neck. When they faced off again the following year, the 5-year-old Corby Caiazzo trainee wasn’t so lenient as he put a solid 31⁄2 lengths between himself and Bullheaded Boy, once again the runner-up.
Though he had the heart of a prize fighter, Admirals War Chest was limited by hoof problems.
“I had to hold him together with glue so to speak. He had chronic inflammation of the feet and that was a tough thing to overcome. I tried nutraceuticals, I tried medications, I tried earthing and grounding, I tried everything I could to get his feet in shape and he just had these hoof problems that were rough to deal with,” said Sinatra. “If he had healthy feet, he would have been a far different horse.”
After making just one start in early October prior to the 2017 Classic, Admirals War Chest attempted to add a third victory but couldn’t hold the lead and faded to finish 10th. It was the 6-year-old’s final start as he retired after 22 starts with a record of 5-2-5 and $305,781 earned.
The two-time Maryland Million Classic winner returned to Berkley, where he’d been enjoying life as a retiree in a field of his own before moving this July to Phyllis Smith’s February Star Sanctuary in Knoxville, Md., after Sinatra decided to sell the facility and sought a safe place for his retired racehorses and older broodmares to land.
“Phyllis is wonderful, she runs a nice operation and I’ll be sending her some of my older horses, because basically what I want to do for these animals is give them a good home,” said Sinatra. “We gave [Admirals War Chest] the best shot possible and now he’s turned out so visitors see him at Phyllis’ farm and I understand from Phyllis that people love him.”
February Star Sanctuary, home to 32 horses and 121 cats, exists with the mission to teach compassion toward animals and hosts many educational programs for youth and other visiting groups. For now, Admirals War Chest is enjoying life as a pasture ornament while also serving as an ambassador for off-track Thoroughbreds. After some more downtime, Smith hopes to work with Admirals War Chest to assess his soundness and the possibility of his chances to start a new career as a riding horse.
“He’s a beautiful horse, beautiful personality too, he’s very, very friendly. He doesn’t even realize how big he is, he’s just right there. He’s the first one to meet you at the gate,” said Smith. “He’s a little more high maintenance than our average rescue that we have here, just because he has to be sedated to have his feet even trimmed. We’ll do more of the lameness tests after he’s more comfortable with his surroundings and after we’ve kind of got a good plan when it comes to getting his feet trimmed. He has had a lot of issues in the past so we’re just kind of trying to take it slow.”
Smith keeps in contact with Sinatra, who enjoys the updates on 10-year-old Admirals War Chest, along with his other horses.
“He really wanted them to go have another purpose and have a good life and you know, it was so good that he was so responsible about what happens to these horses and is still interested in their lives,” said Smith. “But [Admirals War Chest is] one of those ones, no matter what, if he can’t be rideable again then he’ll live out his life here.”