Pensioners on Parade

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

Battle Op

Olympic gold medalist Bruce Davidson was happy to see Regina Welsh. Welsh ventured to Davidson’s Unionville, Pa., farm in search of show jumping prospects for a group of buyers from Mexico. Among the sales horses presented was a tall, rangy gray ridden by a working student of Davidson’s.

Harry the Hat

"He’s wonderful; he’s the best horse ever. He’s the world’s largest lap dog. And I guess that’s all I need to say.” 


The chart footnotes from the eighth race at Penn National on Nov. 3, 2004, stated that Fort, running for a $2,500 claiming tag, “showed speed three wide to the stretch then tired.” In the absence of further knowledge, the average racing fan could venture a guess at what came next for the 5-year-old dark bay gelding.


She looks like the live-action version of every Black Beauty illustration we saw as children. That midnight-in-the-middle-of-nowhere shade of coal with a perfect white star on her forehead.

Edge of Reality

Typically speaking, Edge of Reality doesn’t embody the term “pensioner.” He’s not an equine senior living out his twilight days. He’s not creaky or cranky. He doesn’t require special dietary needs or maintenance. But although he’s just 9 years old, Edge of Reality does epitomize the concept of a responsible breeder/owner providing a former runner with the best possible retirement.



While making her veterinary rounds one morning at Delaware Park in 2011, Dr. Jane Teichner came upon a solitary horse in an otherwise empty barn. After a quick inspection, she made some calls to try to fill in the blanks about the chestnut gelding. She discovered that he was waiting for a van ride to a new life. Trainer Graham Motion had just purchased the gelding to retire him.


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.

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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Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred

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