Pensioners on Parade

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


His Jockey Club name comes from sire Iron and dam Miss List, but whoever christened Ironfist, now 29, could not have been more prophetic. Bred by Gordie Keys’ Oatland Farm, he was foaled in Maryland May 5, 1993, and aimed straight for a steeplechase career.

Side by Side

“He/she doesn’t owe us anything.”

It’s an oft-repeated declaration among owners of retired Thoroughbreds. A stallion who became the cornerstone of a successful breeding farm. A blue-hen mare whose offspring consistently overachieved. A trusted family foxhunter; a gifted show jumper; an event horse who steadily climbed the ranks to the sport’s loftiest level. Or, as in the case of Side by Side, a 30-year-old non-winner of a race whose owner has never sat on his back.

Weekend in Paris

You can’t go for long in the Mid-Atlantic without encountering an off-track Thoroughbred who spent time in the care of Ann Merryman and Holly Robinson. The veteran Maryland trainers crafted a strong network with a steady pipeline filtering retirees into solid second careers with devoted owners.

Sermon of Love

After steeplechaser Sermon of Love won the Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes and New York Turf Writers Cup-G1 in 2010, trainer Jonathan Sheppard casually told the press, “He seems to like Saratoga.”

Power by Far

Twenty-two years after Power by Far’s last race, breeder/owner Barbara Geraghty still recounts his career with wonder and awe. Those sentiments resonate with everyone who knows the 27-year-old stallion.

Peace Fire

In her role as program administrator for Beyond The Wire, Jessica Ryley Hammond routinely meets Thoroughbreds transitioning to new lives after racing. She’s passionate about the job and the cause.

Poppy’s Punkin

It’s not how you start; it’s how you finish. Poppy’s Punkin earned high marks in both cases. He began his career with a resounding win on debut as a 3-year-old at Laurel Park in 2007. He finished six years later with another score at Pimlico. Now 18, the bay gelding enjoys a privileged retirement on Christy Clagett’s Larking Hill Farm in Harwood, Md.

Gilded Cove

“I want to ride HIM, Mom.”

The announcement struck momentary dread into the hearts of trainer Sherene Bracho and her former husband, jockey Jesus Bracho, when uttered by their young daughter Jacqueline 12 years ago. “Him” was Gilded Cove, a recently retired 8-year-old gelding trained by Sherene’s father, Victor Chung.


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