Pensioners on Parade

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


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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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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Bubble Economy

"Literally, he just walked out and I was like ‘DONE! I am in love with him!’ ”

You might automatically believe that the very newly married Mary McGlothlin was telling the tale of the first time she saw her husband, former professional polo player Darin Martin. You would be wrong. Rather, the object of her total devotion for the past 15 years has been the quirky bay gelding who became one of the most recognizable names in American steeplechasing – Bubble Economy.

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Chanceland Trio

These three are the retired herd. They spend their days grazing and chilling and just generally owning the place, as far as they’re concerned.”

The “place” is Bob Manfuso and Katy Voss’ Chanceland Farm, and “these three” are pensioners Grand Slalom, 28, Baste, 23, and Artist’s Way, 22. As Chanceland’s above-quoted broodmare manager, A.J. Hesketh-Tutton has looked after the trio she calls “a happy crew” for several years.

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Royal Champagne

The tale of Royal Champagne and Mary Dubbink begins on a very familiar note. Young, horse-crazy girl is taken to the track by her doting granddad, igniting a love of Thoroughbred racing that deepens and endures with each passing year. 

“But I never rode,” Mary explained. “I remember thinking when I was very young, one day I’d love to own a Thoroughbred. I didn’t know what that meant or where I was going with that, but I just fell in love with the breed.”

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Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred

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