Pensioners on Parade

Stories about your favorite retired racehorses. For archived stories, click here.

Pensioner on Parade July 2019: Reese

Spend just a few hours with Michelle Rosenkilde at her Monkton, Md., farm, and you’ll leave hoping you’ll end up reincarnated as one of her horses. Michelle and her husband, Jeff, have created a home for every living thing, be they human, canine, feline or equine.
It’s a life that 24-year-old bay gelding Reese has shared with the Rosenkildes for the past 17 years. And given his laundry list of isms and peculiarities, he’s beyond lucky to have made such a soft landing.

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Private Attack

Billy Santoro can’t say enough about his best friend. Listening to the steady stream of superlatives, you end up wishing this guy could be your wingman too. Seriously, he’s the goods.
“He’s the most wonderful friend a person ever had, and we have such a partnership. He has personality that can’t be beat; he makes you smile. He is all about fun every single day and is such an extraordinary individual. And he’s the best jumper I’ve ever sat on.”

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Eddie Maple and Crandall

“You’re about to spend the next 15 minutes watching me try to catch this horse.”
On cue, the dark bay mare lifted her head from the grass and walked off, a slightly miffed dowager duchess. Calm but determined, she kept what seemed a calculated distance between herself and the man with the halter and shank. He moved, she moved.

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Ah Day

In any Thoroughbred word-association game, King T. Leatherbury will automatically elicit “Ben’s Cat” as the response. Leatherbury bred, owned and trained the nearly black gelding who became not only a Maryland legend, but a national treasure.

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Pa Pa Da

Ivan Dowling has grown accustomed to that reaction when people first set eyes on Pa Pa Da. Dowling, huntsman for the Cheshire Hunt Conservancy (Mr. Stewart’s Cheshire Foxhounds) in Unionville, Pa., felt the same way 12 years ago when he drove to a Maryland farm to pick up the huge bay gelding.

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Free Strike

 It was arguably the package deal of a lifetime. In 2007, breeder/owner Don Wilson agreed sight unseen to purchase a pregnant 6-year-old Smart Strike broodmare, the foal at her side and her yearling filly for $80,000 from Bob Bathen’s Bathen Thoroughbreds. Wilson was confident he knew all he needed to know about his new acquisition: she had The X Factor.

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Banjo Picker

Barbara Luna has always considered herself “a reincarnated Southern belle.” So magnetic was the pull to head below the Mason-Dixon Line that Luna put down roots literally a few miles from where Generals Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant met and signed the documents which ended the Civil War in April 1865.

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Hola C Bright

In the summer of 2009, Wendy Uzelac didn’t want to look at, think or hear about another horse. Still grieving the sudden loss of her off-the-track Thoroughbred in a paddock accident that March, she was nowhere near ready to even contemplate his successor.

Jaguar Hope stole the photographer’s heart when she first saw him running for a $4,000 claiming tag at Great Lakes Downs near Fruitport, Mich., in 2007. Then 9, the son of Turkoman was big, elegant, nearly black and, to Wendy, the very embodiment of the ideal Thoroughbred. Within a year, he was hers – but her happiness was all too brief.

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